31. What does the Bible mean when it states that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night?




It means that the day of the Lord will come all of a sudden for those who walk in darkness, that is, for the children of this age, and they will not escape. I have said, ‘For those who walk in darkness,’ because that day will not overtake the children of light (that is, the children of God) as a thief in the night. For the children of light watch and pray, and are waiting for that day with patience because they know that Jesus spoke about it, even though Jesus said that of that day and hour no one knows, but His Father only (Matthew 24:36).

However, Jesus made known to us the things that will happen before that day, so the believers, unlike the unbelievers, know the things which will take place before that day. That’s why Jesus said: “Now, when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28 – NKJV) and again: “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31 – NKJV).

It is evident that if some believers cease watching and praying, that day will overtake them too as a thief because they also will be found walking in darkness, that is, sleeping. That’s why Paul said to us: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10).

Let us watch and be sober, therefore; let us not walk in drunkenness and in revelry, nor in lewdness and lust; and let our hearts not be weighed down with the cares of this life lest that day come on us unexpectedly, as a thief in the night.

We know that the Lord will come, and His coming is near. The fact that we don’t know the date of Jesus’ return does not worry us, rather it prompts us to watch and pray in order to be found ready by our Master when He comes back from heaven.