Like a Thief in the Night - The Warrior's Journey®

Like a Thief in the Night

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18) 

Paul’s discussion on the Lord Jesus’ coming continues into chapter 5, verses 1-4. There he describes this event as coming upon the world like a thief in the night. The “loud command” of the Lord, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet blast of God will only be heard by those who are ready for His coming. The rest of the world will sleep through it and find, too late, that its house (this world) has been broken into and all those hated Christians are gone. Perhaps the world’s initial reaction will be, “Good!  We’re glad to be rid of them.” Some, of course will be deeply troubled that they’ve been left behind – because they neglected to heed Christ’s invitation to salvation. But for all those who remain on the earth, destruction will follow (1 Thessalonians 5:3).   

What follows Christ’s coming as a thief is described as “a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then” (Daniel 12:1). But those whose names are written in the Book of life will be saved from that hour. “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 3:10). This is a period of great tribulation in which God will pour out His wrath upon the world that rejected His Son. This judgment is embodied in the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls of God’s wrath (Revelation 6-16).   

This seven-year period of judgment will be followed by the Lord’s physical and visible return to earth to judge the beast, the false prophet, and Satan – then set up His kingdom on earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 19:11-20:7). After Christ’s blissfully blessed reign of 1,000 years, Satan will be released to deceive those rebellious to Christ’s rule. Their overthrow and Satan’s final judgment will follow. After this comes the Great White Throne Judgment in which all those not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:11-15). Then a New Heaven and New Earth will replace the old. There, where no sin, curse, or death will ever come the righteous will dwell eternally with God (Revelation 21-22).   

Friend, it is critical that you be ready for the Lord’s coming as a thief in the night. Receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Trust in His blood to cleanse you. Trust in His resurrection power to transform you and empower you to serve Him. Then, He will take you to be with Him forever and you’ll enjoy the coming New Heaven and Earth. 

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and life. Cleanse me of my sins, transform my sinful heart, and help me to henceforth live for You. Amen. 

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