Like a Thief in the Night

Have you ever been robbed? In December of 1989, just before Christmas, I returned home from college one afternoon to find our back door standing wide open. It had been kicked in by thieves who had robbed our home and the home of my aunt and uncle down the road. All of our Christmas presents and many valuable things had been stolen from us. We were devastated. Needless to say, the burglars did not give us any warning that they were coming.

That’s just how the Bible describes the second coming of Christ in judgment. In Matthew 24:42-44, Jesus Christ said, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

Other Biblical writers borrowed the Lord’s metaphor. For example, the apostle Peter wrote, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10; cf. 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 3:3; Rev. 16:15).

Even though different preachers and religious groups have tried to predict when Jesus Christ is coming again, they have all been wrong and they will continue to be wrong. Just as the coming of the thief is unknown and unexpected, even so will be the return of our Lord in judgment. But even though we cannot know the date, we can be ready to face Him in judgment. Like the old hymn says, “There’s a great day coming… Are you ready?”

Travis Quertermous
Dexter church of Christ
Dexter, MO


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