By Gene Lawley
…That the day of the Lord
so comes as a
thief in the
writes to the
just a few words
after he has
how the Lord
will come and
believers in the
air and so will
they be together
verses in I
4:16 to 5:4.
Given the timelessness of
Word of God, the
words of this
would apply to
Do we—those of
that the Day of
the Lord will
come as a thief
in the night”?
and us, in verse
one of Chapter
5, that they are
fully aware of
the “times and
Jesus and other
will be coming
upon the world
Those with whom I mingle
and read about
do not seem to
exhibit very openly those two
of the “times
and seasons” and a perfect expectation that
Jesus is coming
“as a thief in
Luke reports of Jesus’ portrayal
of the coming of
the Son of Man:
“And as it was
in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of
Man, they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage,
until the day that Noah entered the ark…likewise as it was also in the days of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they
on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them
generally thought that “they” in this passage are those of the world, not
believers, and clearly Jesus meant tose left in the city, then, and in the
world, when the Son of Man comes to take His righteous ones out of the way of judgment. However, we
are told to
watch and be
ready for His
coming. (The historical accounts of Noah and Lot are, respectively, found
in Genesis 6-8 and Genesis 19.)
Paul, however, mentions “times and seasons” in the context of the
coming of the Son of God, as the circumstances and events happening at
He names one specific event that he identifies with the coming of
the Son of God. Look at verses
2-3 of I
again: “For you
yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the
night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon
them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not
We know that a pivotal event in end-times prophecy is the
“confirmation of a covenant among many”, described in Daniel 9:27, and that it
has to do with Israel, according to its context.
event sets up
the seven-year period of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), and the Church, the
body of Christ, will not be in the world during that time.
Paul actually picks up on that idea in I Thessalonians 5:4 where he declares, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day
should overtake you as a thief.” What seems to be profoundly missing in
the lives of many believers is that expectancy of the nearness of the coming
of the Lord. Have we become so
engaged with the
world that we
will be taken by surprise? Do you
are not engaged
in the social and economic activities described in Luke 17?
just a fact of life in this world. The
challenge is not
to be engulfed
We are not done with the I Thessalonians 5:1-4 passage, however.
Some have seemingly taken a dart and thrown it at a calendar, and where
it hits, they declare it as the day of the Lord.
believers, as well, laugh and mock at the “date-setter”, breathing a sigh of
relief that he was wrong then push the idea out of their minds once again.
Paul writes in verse 1, “But concerning the times and the seasons,
brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.”
that “times” in prophetic writing means “years”, and our calendar and
climates tell us that “seasons” are generally three months each, but here he
seems to be making a point of our knowing and understanding the events
and circumstances that are occurring in those years and months and
But the day of the Lord will be on a day and an hour which only the
Father knows, thus coming like a thief at night, without announcement.
The tell-tale event, Paul says, however, is the issue of peace.
only place that is anticipated is in and for Israel.
called on to
the peace of Israel, and world leaders have kicked that can down
the road repeatedly. In
installing radioactive rods in Iran’s nuclear plant and the Jewish Feast of
was at hand. President
called a meeting
for peace agreement discussions between Israel and the Palestinians.
a call for immediate discussions, without delay.
appeal, or really, demand seemed to portray an unspoken issue that underscored
the prevailing circumstances.
thought at the
time that it was
quite interesting that it was U. S. President Obama, not the United
Nations leadership, who called for the meeting!]
After some days of discussion, President Obama directed the two
sides to work out their differences during the coming year and have an
agreement ready by September, 2010.
there still was
no agreement, and the parties were admonished to have an agreement put together by September, 2011.
not happen then,
Neither did it occur this past September, 2012.
mentioned, having, early on, met with strong resistance by Israel against the
demands of the Palestinians.
Are the “times
and seasons” of
events and circumstances coming together for that to happen? The focus of the
world is on the Middle East and Israel, with Jerusalem at the heart of
Has Jerusalem become a stone too heavy for the nations (Zechariah
Will that foreshadowing event be fulfilled at this time?
the day of the
Lord will be
Paul indicates that the trigger that culminates this age of grace
is that cry of “peace and safety”, and suddenly, everything turns upside down
in this world. For three years
has pointed to
the month of September for its culmination, which is also the month in
which the Feast of Trumpets is on the calendar. One must remember the
“day or the hour” issue and the differences in time zones around the world,
as well as the actual changing of time within a time zone.
a change in the setting on your watch is made when you pass over a time zone
division line, but the actual movement oif time has not stopped during the
width of that time zone. Thus,
it seems clear
that only God,
who is eternal
and outside of time restrictions, can know the actual moment when the Rapture will take place.
calendar at sunset of the prior day so that “today” on non-Jewish calendars is on a Monday, for example, it will actually begin on
the evening of the prior day in Jerusalem.
when the three
sets of trumpet blasts to announce the Feast of Trumpets will be sounded,
ending with “the last trump”, as it pictures the coming event of the
Rapture in some future opening of this annual festival.
One clear wrinkle in the timing is that a day date starts on the
The Feast of Trumpets is a clear picture of the departure of the
Church, the Rapture. Paul writes of it this way:
no one judge you
in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Colossians
2:16-17). The Old
reality that was
to come and fulfill the portrayal.