"The DAY of the LORD"
The Juxtaposition on the Timeline between the Millennium and
"the day of the Lord."
Which comes first?
“The day of the Lord will come like a thief…”
Will it come before or after the Millennium?
2 Peter 3:10-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Revelation 16:12-16
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God
and speed its coming.
That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” 2 Peter 3:10-14
“‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’
and ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him;’ and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’ So shall it be! Amen.” Revelation 1:7
I. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” 2 Peter 3:10 KJ21. In verse 12, the “day of the Lord” is identified as the “day of God.” “…as you look forward to the day of God and its speedy coming.” 2 Pedro 3:12
A. What is it that “…will come like a thief in the night?”
1. “…the DAY of Lord” is what “will come like a thief,” according to the revelation of the Holy Spirit to the apostle Peter. When the apostle Paul instructed the church in Thessalonica on what was to come, he used the same terminology. “For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2
a) The emphasis in both texts is on “the day.” In both clauses the subject is “the DAY,” “of the Lord” being the preposition that identifies it, while “will come” is the future tense verb that points to what “the day” will do and the adverbial phase “like a thief in the night” explains how “the day” will come.
The subject “the day” belongs to the category of nouns used to designate times, other examples being: “the hour,” “the week,” “the month,” and “the year.” Guided by the Holy Spirit to select “the DAY” as the principal subject of their respective declarations, the apostles Peter and Paul shine the divine spotlight on the factor of TIME.
This is even more evident in the precise terminology of the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:4. “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.” What, particularly, is it that “should surprise… like a thief?” The answer: “…this DAY…” Underlining and emphasizing once and again: “…this DAY…” “…THIS DAY…” The TIME of the manifestation of Christ is, then, what surprises human beings who sleep in the “night,” in the “darkness,” of their drunkenness and other sins, as is explained in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8.
b) As the thief usually comes “in the night,” surprising the careless, the unsuspecting, the one in a stupor caused by his/her excesses or vices, so also “…this DAY,” “this day of the Lord,” a day of violence and destruction, will come upon the obdurate and unrepentant, sleeping trustfully “in the night” of his/her spiritual ignorance, his/her moral stupor, his/her illusory dream of
“Peace and safety.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3. Given that this social-moral-spiritual “darkness” predominates day and night (2 Timothy 3:1-7) during the “little time” (Revelation 20:3, 7-10) previous to “the day of the Lord,” “this day” greatly surprises those who are immersed in it, no matter at what hour it begins.
c) But it will not surprise the “brethren” (faithful, knowledgeable Christians) who are not in “darkness!” “…you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.” Are we duly allowing this truth to illuminate our understanding? Once again stressing: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ does not surprise Christians who are living in “the light” of the translucent teachings imparted by the Holy Spirit on the principal events programmed by God for the time of the end! For the simple reason that they are fully instructed on the subject “of the times and the seasons” (KJ21), or “dates” (NIV), are “of the day,” are “sober,” and are watching.
“But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. … Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8
The apostle Paul, continuing his second missionary journey, spent several weeks in Thessalonica, establishing a congregation in that Roman city. In the short time he was with the new Christians, his letters to them at a later time indicate he instructed them intensely in “the doctrine of Christ.” Hebrews 6:1; 2 John 1:9. Including prophecies related to “the times and the seasons.” Regarding certain prophecies, in his second letter he asked: “Don’t you remember that when I was with you, I used to tell you these things?” 2 Thessalonians 2:5. In his letters, he reinforced that indoctrination given to the young church regarding future events, exhorting: “Do not treat prophecies with contempt.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20
In light of Paul’s procedure, it is reasonable to ask: How “perfectly” do Christians of today (the first half of the 21st century) understand “the times and the seasons,” or “dates,” of God and Christ in virtue of having received the same teaching given by the apostles in the 1st century? Teaching not corrupted by the fantastical human speculations of charismatic or Pentecostal pastors. How many are “not in darkness” to the degree that the coming “day of
the Lord” will not surprise them like a thief in the night?
How many teachers, writers, editors, preachers, and evangelists are biblically educating Christians of present times on these subjects as did Paul, Peter, and, by inference, the rest of the apostles of the 1st century? In the context of our times, which even some secular writers have categorized as “The Age of Feelings,” “Truth” losing out to “Sentiments,” the exhortation “Do not treat prophecies with contempt” acquires ever more relevance and importance. 1 Thessalonians 5:20
d) The true sense of “like a thief in the night” is also made clear by the parallel comparison which says: “…as labor pains on a pregnant woman.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3
“While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
Both clauses form part of the same text and line of instruction in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3. When the two verses are read without breaks, how is it possible to overlook the fact that the phrase “as labor
pains on a pregnant woman” conveys the real sense of “will come like a thief in the night?” Please read it carefully and prayerfully.
“…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” Many versions read “Peace and security.”
The clause “While people are saying…” is a copulative expression that links the adverbial phrase “like a thief in the night” previous to it with the additional comparison that follows, namely, “as labor pains on a pregnant woman.” It is thus that the additional comparison serves to graphically explain the true sense of “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
(1) How does a thief come in the night according to the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11? He comes “as labor pains on a pregnant woman.” And how do those pains often come? Well, maybe on the day not exactly planned for! Suddenly. When the pregnant woman may be feeling marvelously well. They come strongly, causing cries of pain perhaps in most cases
(2) Now then, as the “day of giving birth” brings “pains” to the pregnant woman, so does “the day of the Lord” coming “like a thief in the night” bring anguish and suffering to recalcitrant, impenitent human beings on planet Earth, including “destruction” that comes
“suddenly.” “Destruction,” not for those who know “perfectly” the timing and nature of “the day of the Lord,” but for those who, saying among themselves “Peace and safety,” are united in unyielding opposition to God and his faithful people.
Let it be clearly understood: The “destruction” does not come “suddenly” to those who know “perfectly” how “the day of the Lord” will come, for they will have already been “caught up… in the clouds,” together with “the dead in Christ” who have just been resurrected, before the “destruction” is suddenly unleashed. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. NOT “raptured” in the religious sense of secretly, silently taken away, but “caught up… in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18. “Caught up… in the air” to never again set foot on planet Earth, for the Millennium transpires before the “little time” of which “the day of the Lord” is the very last day of the material universe and time itself.
"Like a thief in the night.”
(3) In light of this striking and instructive comparison, we can categorically affirm that “like a thief in the night” does not have anything whatsoever to do with some “secret rapture,” or “silent rapture of supposedly holy souls.” Quite the contrary: “The day of the Lord” that comes “like a thief in the night” will be, once again emphasizing, a day of “pains,” a day of sudden
“destruction,” for impious people who foolishly trust in their own supposed powers and intelligence. By implication, it will be a day of sobbing and crying out, of anguish and lamentations, of shame and eternal defeat.
e) The repeated references in the prophetic message of Christ on the destruction of the Jewish temple, his “coming,” and the “end,” to the “hour,” “day,” “time,” and other terms having to do with time, fully corroborate the emphasis I am giving to the time factor in this study. Following are some of the texts. Key expressions are in bold type.
(1) Matthew 24:42. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
(2) Matthew 24:43. “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.”
(3) Matthew 24:44. “Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour
as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.
(4) Mark 13:32. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not
even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
(5) Mark 13:33. “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when
that time will come.”
(6) Mark 13:35-36. “Therefore, keep watch because you do not know
when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening,
or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.”
f) “PEACE and SAFETY.” What will people be saying previous to “the day of the Lord?” “War! Third World War coming! These are the worst days for the whole human race and planet Earth! Worse than the times of Sodom and Gomorra! Repent! Get prepared! Christ is coming in flaming fire!” Friend, nothing like that! Nothing farther from what will be the reality!
The day previous to “the day of the Lord,” “the great day of God Almighty,” (Revelation 16:14) will be so normal and ordinary for the unbelieving and purely secular people who occupy planet Earth on that day, so peaceful and free of major concerns, that, generally speaking, if they touch on conditions, it will be to speak of the “PEACE and SAFETY” they will be enjoying. “These are such good times. No conflicts to speak of. Great prosperity. Races and nations united. Universal tolerance, a global culture. All this, thanks to our wise and tolerant political leaders around the globe.”
These conditions implied by the prophecy, also by the prophecy on “all the nations deceived again by Satan and prepared for Armageddon by the three unclean spirits like frogs” (Revelation 16:12-16), prevail on the day previous to “the day of the Lord.” It is due to those very peaceful conditions that, for them, the next day begins with THE GREATEST SURPRISE HUMAN BEINGS, ANYWHERE OR
ANYTIME, EVER THOUGHT OF, HAD NIGHTMARES ABOUT, OR EXPERIENCED! It opens with “A LOUD COMMAND, WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL AND WITH THE TRuMPET CALL OF GOD.”
This is the “great day” of “the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16-17), “the great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14), “the day of the Lord that will come like a thief in the night,” “as labor pains on the pregnant woman, “and they will not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-2
Part 2 of "The Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the Night." "Look, I come like a thief." Revelation 16:15. Texts which prove that the Millennium precedes the coming of "the day of the Lord like a thief." Revelation 6:21; 11:3-13; 14:14-16; 16:12-16; 19:11-22.
CATEGORY Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment. 21st Century commentary.