1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 NIV (2) for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (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. (4) But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
In Matthew 13:11 Jesus told his disciples, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”
We are in the end times, and the events that are happening on almost a daily basis, are described in scripture. I have always had a desire to understand what is going on in the world in relation to scripture, but found the symbolism, and the things that I thought were symbolic in the bible confusing. My attempts to understand were met with frustration and just seemed to push me away. I truly believe that part of this confusion is the enemies attempt at keeping not only me, but the majority of the Christian body, blind and stupid.
I truly believe that my desire to learn has been fueled all along by the Holy Spirit, but having a desire to learn and learning are two different things. I have only recently began to gain some clarity.
I am not a theologian by any means, but with a sincere heart I read constantly, and I write those things that the Spirit speaks to my heart, about what I read. While reading I attempt to apply logical thought and intelligence to what I am reading; I do not think God expects anything less. Consider that when God says, "come let us reason together" He may well be asking you to do just that, apply thought to what you read, and then talk to Him about it.
If a lack of scriptural clarity is an issue that restricts one from understanding then looking at other versions of the bible that say it more clearly may be in order, so take a look at the Message.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 MSG (2) You know as well as I that the day of the Master's coming can't be posted on our calendars. He won't call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would.
One of the things that make this an important issue is the "pastor" that recently put up billboards declaring a specific date for the return of Jesus Christ, for the express purpose of gathering His saints.
Well, that day came and went, and we are all still here. Do I believe that the return of Christ to gather us to him is that imminent? Absolutely. That means that this pastor was “in the ballpark”, but we do not get to pick the day. If his flock had applied logic and intelligence to scripture I seriously doubt they would have followed through with this pastor's wishes.
It is fairly clear that Jesus return is going to sneak up on a lot of people, but his return does not have to sneak up on us, the believer.
1Th 5:4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
God has always been very upfront in the way he has dealt with man; he is not changing his tactics now.
I guess you noticed that the thief uses darkness to cover his movements. The problem here is that God is not a thief and is not sneaking up on anyone. When you read about what He is described as when he appears you will notice that it is filled visuals of light, lightning and color. There is vivid imagery of the King riding upon a magnificent stallion, displaying his authority and majesty, and every eye will see him.
Matthew 13:26 and Matthew 24:30, both speak of Him coming in the clouds and every eye will see him. Does that sound like someone sneaking up?
Matthew 24:30 RV 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 on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
If I have given adequate examples of God not sneaking up then how is it possible that there could be any sense of sneaking involved in end times events. Let's jump back to Jesus comments for an answer to the question.
Matthew 24:37-39 NIV As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (38) For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; (39) and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
So what we see is that life was continuing to go on just as it was the day before. Nothing made a difference to them. They paid no attention to the clues around them.
What was there that would have made a difference?
Without an in-depth look Noah seemed to be the only man that lived a righteous life, and we assume that he preached a message that to their ears sounded impossible. Up to that time the earth, scripture tells us, was watered by a dew, so the concept of rain was completely foreign to them. Maybe the scenario is as simple as the Bill Cosby comedy routine of years ago. In that routine people would come up to Noah and ask what he was doing. He of course responded with the instructions that God gave him, “building an ark.” “Why”, they would ask, “because God told me it was going to rain.” “Whats rain?” and so on. Simply put, they only had one option and that was to believe God, get on board, and escape the coming destruction. It just occurred to me that there was no great demand to change your ways as a stipulation for getting on the ark; observe what happened after the flood, for sin returned in full force through one of Noah's sons.
What do you know about the times the Noah was involved in?
Genesis 6:5 NIV The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
What was there that would have alerted them to some impending doom?
We make the assumption that Noah preached to them, and that may well have been, but that is not spelled out in scripture. What is clear is that Noah was an upright and blameless man. Why is that significant? Because he stood out like a sore thumb in the midst of evil and perversion.
Genesis 6:8-9 NIV But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (9) This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.
The fact that he built a boat in what may have been a waterless environment had to have drawn attention. 100 years of collecting, reshaping, pounding upon and nailing wood made no sense to them. When God began drawing the animals to the ark do you really believe that no one noticed, people asked questions. It is probable that Noah told them what he knew; impending doom is coming and your entrance into this boat will be your only chance of escape.
"and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away"
Considering that God gave them plenty to understand, how is it that they knew nothing?
This is disturbing, for today we are surrounded by people that know nothing.
What do I mean? Sure the earth is filled with so-called intelligent people, and they would be insulted to be called anything less, but their wisdom and intelligence has nothing to do with God.
An example might be Islam's influence and it's dangers today.
I make posts about Islam's dangers in this country, only to be rebutted with "maybe they are just trying to enjoy freedom of worship, and want to be left alone." I wish that were true. Statistically only 14% of the Muslim's in America are fanatical. Meaning they desire a pure sharia law run country and are willing to make that happen. Take a look at countries run by sharia law and then ask yourself, do you want to live like that?
How many Muslims are there in America? That is not well documented, because the freedoms that we enjoy here do not exclude, nor count people based upon their beliefs, but estimates put them at over 400,000. That means with 14% of them taking a true Islamic position, there are at least 56,000 people spread across this nation that are willing to give their lives, at a moments notice, in an effort to establish sharia law and a global Islamic religious leadership, a Caliphate. It will only take one to ruin your day. On the plus side, if your a believer, you may instantly be with the Lord. Isn't that odd, that is kind of what they believe also. They have no assurance of salvation as you can have in Christ, but only understand that their acceptance in paradise is only guaranteed at the first drop of their own blood given in an act of Jihad. That might be one of the strong motivations they have for suicide bombings. That might be why Islamic mother's can send their young children off for training to be a human weapon of mass destruction.
Having recently read a brief interview in International Christian Concern's newsletter “Persecution”. The author, Jim King, is publishing an interview that he had with Anjem Choudary, a leader of a well documented radical Islamic group in the UK, refutes the idea that Islam is a peaceful religion. This radical leader, born and raised in the UK, declares that Islam is a religion of Jihad and terrorism. This is not just a fluke, or one mans opinion, Anjem Choudary, in his words, “simply adheres to the teachings of the Qur'an and Hadith.”
It is Islam's goal to bring about a global, religious, world order based upon sharia law. If you have been paying attention to world news they have been rapidly making that happen. Sharia law does not tolerate any religion outside of “there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger”. So what you find is persecution and beheadings in the name of Allah.
The last part of the verse I started with is very revealing, and my final point. Look at it with me, once again:
1 Thessalonians 5:4 NIV (2) for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (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. (4) But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
The important part here is that we, believers, are not in the darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. If Paul is conveying the heart of God here, and God does not lie, then what is the problem and where is it coming from.
Ignorance: Ignorance can be a choice, especially when someone says, “I will not listen to that!” Or ignorance is a lack of information. Sadly we may have had a lack of information, but even worse we were mislead. Think about what scripture says, “the god of this world has blinded them, so that they believe a lie.”
2Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, …..
1John 2:11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. ….
Revelation 13:14 Because of the signs it (the antichrist personified) was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. ….
Revelation 20:10 And the devil, who deceived them, …
This last one may not apply to you or I, especially since we are the church and not the Jews, but the message is scary in that God hardened their hearts for a reason. I honestly believe that God wants you to understand and believe.
John 12:40 NIV (Jesus speaking about the Jews in their understanding) "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them."
It has taken me the course of many days to edit this and pull my thoughts together. There are many reasons for that, some of which are attributable to learning disabilities, but time is a major factor for me because of my variable work schedule. Life continues to happen around me. Just last night I was invited to a bible study in which we looked at the first three chapters of Proverbs. This section of the scripture is similar to a prayer that I have spoken to God about. It has been especially important as I find myself not remembering things like I did when I was younger.
Proverbs 2:1-5 NIV My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, (2) turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding-- (3) indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, (4) and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, (5) then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
Seeking wisdom is a gift that the Holy Spirit has given to every believer. I cannot understand why we refuse to accept or open our gifts after we receive them.
If you are interested in understanding what is coming then find the book “The Islamic Antichrist” by Joel Richardson.
No matter how this makes you feel your greatest motive should become one of impassioned prayer for the persecuted church, Israel, and the health of this nation.