A Thief in the Night
Written by Jay Yeager
Thursday, 14 August 2014 20:05

A Thief in the Night

(By Jay Yeager)

     “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10).

     A thief in the night conjures one of our worst fears. We take many precautions; locks, lights, alarms etc, but despite that, each of us understands that it could happen to me. Thieves do not announce a day or a time, no sir, under the cover of darkness a thief strikes suddenly, when least expected, whether you are prepared or not.

     Just so, when Jesus comes there will be no advanced warning, the day and the time are unknown (Mark 13:32-33). “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (I Thessalonians 5:1-3).

     In I Thessalonians 5:4-7 humanity is divided into two camps if you please, vastly different, opposites of one another:

  1. Those of the night (darkness)
  2. Those of the day (light)


Those of the night

     All of us realize that there are those who live in darkness by choice, they are haters of the light, because their deeds are evil (John 3:19-20). We will address them, of course, as a part of this lesson, but not all those who are of the night are wicked people. Many are in darkness by virtue of either ignorance or indifference concerning spiritual matters.

     Obviously, the cure is within their grasp. God is light, in him there is no darkness at all (I John 1:5). Jesus is the light and life of men (John 1:4-5). The Bible, inspired by God, is the source by which we come to know that light. Therefore the scriptures are spoken of as being the light that guides our path. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105).

     The gospel of Christ is a light that can shine in the hearts of men. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake. For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:3-6).

     But you have to open the Bible to read the revealed truth. If the Bible is nothing more than a decoration or a heir-loom passed down from generation to generation, the cover of darkness is given permission to cloud the mind through ignorance. Certainly darkness can seem normal to those who have never seen the light of the truth. All need to be delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13), and we can. Jesus invited all to come to him, listen to his invitation:

     “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

      There are those who choose to live in darkness.  Let’s be frank, those who prefer darkness resent the light of truth shining upon their activities. Now, they do not mind a pretend examination, as long as you follow their rules, for they have no intention of changing and refuse to hear genuine criticism.

     You can however, call the darkness they wish to live in light, the evil they practice good, the bitterness of their sin sweet (Isaiah 5:20), as long as the true light does not shine, for they hate that light and they will not come to it (John 3:19-20).

     There is a third group living in darkness, but they do not realize it, these folks have come to believe a lie “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).

     The devil aids them to be religious. He and his followers disguise themselves so they do not appear as they truly are (II Corinthians 11:14-15). But in fact, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).

     The devil and those who serve him are so effective that Jesus gives us a view of their victims. In this scene of the judgment those deceived are heart-broken, confused and pleading; surely there must be some mistake. Jesus makes it clear that there is a truth to follow and excuses will not be accepted for those who do not!

     “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

     Folks, there is a true light that has come into the world (John 1:9). You find the truth that will make you free (John 8:32), and never turn from it. Solomon would write by inspiration, “Buy the truth and sell it not…” (Proverbs 23:23).


Those of the day

     These are the children of light, the children of the day (I Thessalonians 5:5). Every member of the Lord’s church was at one time in darkness, but that changed when we obeyed our Lord (Hebrews 5:8-9).

     “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord, walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

     Those of the day do not fear the day of the Lord, for they are neither in darkness through ignorance or immorality, being delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13).

     Christians know that Jesus said to watch and be ready for we do not know when the day of the Lord is (Matthew 24:42; 50).

     But there are things that aide Christians to be ready for the Lord’s return; “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (I Thessalonians 5:8).

     Faith, hope and love are the three things that are to remain until the end of time (I Corinthians 13:13). Protection for the heart and mind!

     A precious promise given to those in the light, the children of the day: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we wake (alive when he comes) or sleep (faced death before he comes), we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (I Thessalonians 5:9-11).

     Humanity is divided into two camps in I Thessalonians chapter 5. Those in darkness; the day of the Lord will catch them as a thief. Those in the light, awake and watching. Which camp are you in???