Jesus' Prophecy of The Closing Work: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14


A Thief in the Night Bible Lesson

Listen to a Bible Message on the Thief in the Night. by John Quade
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(Notas En Español)

A Thief in the Night.

To most of the world the Second Coming of Jesus will be like a Thief in the NightAdditional Scripture Notes
Acts 1:9-11  Note the recurring words in this verse: beheld, sight, looked, gazing, seen.

Acts 1:11  Jesus went to heaven literally and visibly. The angels said He would return "in like manner as ye have seen him go" into heaven. How did Jesus go up? He went up visibly, with clouds.

Revelation 1:7  "Behold, He cometh with clouds." Isn't that just like Acts 1? Jesus went up to heaven with clouds, and here the Bible says He will return with clouds. The angels said "in like manner" and the book of Revelation agrees perfectly. How many will see Christ coming? Every eye, not only the righteous but the wicked as well. Why are the wicked wailing? Maybe they didn't think Jesus was real; or didn't think it mattered if they were ready or not, or didn't think He would come so soon. Then they realize they put it off until it was too late. They rejected God's offer of eternal life and now they see their great mistake. Look at it again in

Revelation 14:14-16  Again we have clouds, just as in Acts 1. Notice that when Jesus comes, it is to reap; He comes reaping a harvest; something is being gathered into barns. He comes to get His people.

I Thessalonians 4:16 This is "the word of the Lord."  It says "the Lord himself" will come with a shout, voice, a trump. This is so loud the dead are being awakened. It doesn't sound secret at all.

1 Thessalonians 4:17  "Then," when the shout, the voice, and the trump are all sounding, and the dead are rising, the living are caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds. Here the saints are gathered, caught up, at the time when Jesus is coming with clouds, at the time when everyone is hearing, everyone seeing. There is complete harmony with what we read in Acts and Revelation. According to what we read, Antichrist must come before the saints are gathered, before Jesus comes. Is that found anywhere else in the Bible?

II Thessalonians 2:1,2 Paul is discussing the second coming and the gathering, and he says that the day of Christ is not at hand in his (Paul's) day. There was confusion regarding the second coming and the gather­ing even then. Paul said no matter what communication the Thessalonian Christians received, the day of Christ was not at hand during their day. Why not? What was the reason?

II Thessalonians 2:3  The day of Christ's coming and the gathering of the saints was not to come until after there was a falling away and the man of sin was revealed, or made visible, that is until the man of sin would be seen. Paul warns the saints not to be deceived here; the man of sin would come first, then Christ would come and gather the saints. Jesus also warned that false ideas regarding His coming would come in.

Matthew 24:24-26 Be forewarned, Jesus said, If they say Jesus comes in the secret chambers, or in a secret way, don't believe it. Why not believe it? Because His coming is not going to be secret.

Matthew 24:27-28  It will be like lightning - we can see it, and thunder - we can hear it. Jesus also tells when the saints will be gath­ered.

Matthew 24:29-30  "Immediately after the tribulation of those days, ... and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." And (vs. 31) "He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." After the tribulation, Christ will appear, and then all the tribes will mourn, and then the angels will gather the saints. Notice there will be a great sound of a trum­pet, there will be angels, the wicked will be mourning, and all will see Jesus coming in the clouds with power and great glory. Is that secret? No. The saints will be gathered, but it will not be secretly! 

Gathering = 2nd coming

What happens to the wicked? Why are they weeping and wailing?

Matthew 13:29,30  Jesus told a parable. A man sowed good seed, but weeds appear. The servants want to uproot the weeds, but both must grow together till the harvest. The saints and the wicked grow together, both remain in the world until the harvest. What harvest?

Matthew 13:39  The harvest is the end of the world. In Revela­tion we saw Jesus reap the harvest. The saints and the wicked remain till the end, when the saints are gathered and caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds. What happens to the wicked at the harvest?

Matthew 13:30  The wicked are gathered into bundles to be burned.

Matthew 13:40-43  It is crystal clear that at the harvest the wicked are slain first, then the saints are gathered by angels to the clouds

Matthew 13:47-50 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea, and the net gathered of every kind. When it was full, they came to shore and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." The words of Jesus are so plain. The angels sever the wicked from among the just. The wicked are slain. That's why they are wail­ing; they know it's all over for them.

II Thessalonians 1:7  Here we see the coming of the Lord, and vengeance being taken with flaming fire. Let's review. Antichrist is re­vealed before the saints are gathered. The 2nd coming is visible and audible to ev­eryone. The wicked are mourning because they are not ready. The wicked are slain by the fiery brightness of the 2nd coming. The saints are gathered by the angels into the clouds at the 2nd  coming.

What does it mean that Christ is coming as a thief in the night?
Always, when a thief in the night is talked about, the Bible refers to the timing and not the manner of Jesus' coming.

Matthew 24:42-44  "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.... if the goodman of the house had know in what watch the thief would come ... in such an hour as ye think not the son of man cometh." These are references to the timing of the thief's coming. If a thief came to a house, he would come when not expected, and likewise the second coming will take men by sur­prise. That's why there will be mourning, but it won't be secret!

I Thessalonians 5:1-4  "Of the times and the seasons ... the day of the lord so cometh as a thief in the night.... But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."

The day, not Jesus, comes as a thief. This is about the timing and not the man­ner of His coming. The Bible says if the day surprises us we are in darkness. It's so clear, so simple, so plain when you just look at the texts for what they say. The day will come unexpectedly, the tribes of the earth will mourn, because they didn't expect Him and they are unprepared. The saints are caught up, but it will not be secret! What does it mean then that one will be taken and one left?

Matthew 24:36-39  Notice they knew not, but why not? because they couldn't know? They had 120 years, yet when the flood came, it came unexpectedly and it took them all away. Where did the flood take them to? to the bot­tom of the sea. The wicked were destroyed.

Matthew 24:40-42  What is Jesus telling us here? There will be two groups; the righteous will be saved and the wicked will be lost.

Luke 17:34-36  "There shall be two men in one bed; one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding together; one shall be taken and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; one shall be tak­en, and the other left." Again, we see two classes, one class lost and the other class saved. Jesus ex­plained this in

Luke 17:26-30  As it was in the days of Noah and Lot, "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." What did the flood do? It destroyed the ones that weren't saved. When the flood was over, who was left to tell about it? Only Noah and his family were alive. The rest were destroyed. In the same way, only Lot and part of his family were left alive when Sod­om was destroyed.

The evidence is over­whelm­ing:
Antichrist will be revealed before the saints are gath­ered.
The second coming will be visible and audible to everyone.
The wicked will mourn because they are not ready.
The wicked will be slain at the second com­ing.
The saints will be gathered in the clouds at the second coming.

Will God be with us during the tribulation? Jesus said He would be with us "even unto the end of the world."

Psalm 91:5  "He shall give his angels charge over thee ... They shall bear thee up in their hands." Here's why: "because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name."

Revelation 3:10,11  Jesus promises to protect and deliver those that keep His word.

Jesus is coming after the tribulation, but hold fast, and "Listen to what the Spirit says to the churches" in  Revelation 3:12 

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

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