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Not as a thief in the night

19-09-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

as a thief in the night

Yesterday I showed that “the day of the Lord” for Israel will dawn after the affliction, when the Messiah will appear on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem.
Also for the ecclesia, the body of Christ, will the day of the Lord begin at the appearing of Christ. Except, for her will it be at an earlier moment. Paul speaks in 1Thes.4 of the snatching away (‘in an instant being snatched away to meet the Lord…’). In chapter 5, Paul continues with reminding the Thessalonians that they are well aware of “the times and the eras” …

:1 Now concerning the times and the eras, brethren, you have no need to be written to, :2 for you yourselves are accurately aware that the day of the Lord is as a thief in the night — thus is it coming! 1Thes.5

In what way “as a thief in the night”? For whom?

:3 Now whenever they may be saying “Peace and security,” then extermination is standing by them unawares, even as a pang over the pregnant, and they may by no means escape. 1Thes.5

The day of the Lord will for these people come unexpectedly, as a thief in the night. During the time in which everything seems peaceful and without danger, sudden extermination will overtake them. However, for the believers in those days things will be totally different. To them will that day NOT come as a surprise, like a thief!

:4 Now you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day may be overtaking you as a thief … 1Thes.5

As “the day” will unexpectedly overtake the unbelievers, even so the believers will know precisely ‘what time it is’. When everyone says “peace and security” will that be for the believers the signal to start counting down. For they will know that a sudden extermination is approaching. That will be the oncoming wrath (1:10), that is to say, the cruel time in which the adversary aims to destroy Israel (Rev.12:13). While a sudden extermination will erupt in the Middle East, for the believers will begin “the day”. The believers will safely be snatched away to meet the Lord in the air (4:17). The essence of what Paul is bringing to the fore in 1Thes.5 is that the believers will not be overtaken by “the day” on account of being well informed concerning “the times and the eras”. The snatching away will happen within the context of “peace and security”, immediately preceding a sudden extermination”. What in 1Thes.5:2 is called “the day of the Lord” is in 5:4 named “the day” and in Phil.1:6 “the day of Jesus Christ” and a couple of verses later (:10) “the day of Christ”. In 1 Cor.1:8 is it called, “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Various names for the same day: the day in which the Lord, Christ or Christ Jesus will appear for us, His ecclesia. As the day of the Lord for Israel explicitly begins “after the affliction,” even so begins “the day” for the ecclesia explicitly before the affliction. ——————————— first published (in Dutch): 13 september 2011 translation: Peter Feddema