I Come As A Thief
A man cannot be a podiatrist and trim your toe corns without passing an examination to prove that he is competent to provide this service. But, any fool can become a legislator, and a lot of fools do become one. Consequently our laws, as a rule, are the products of unskilled labor. In trying to draft a statute, it isn't too difficult to word it so that anybody who is trying in good faith can understand it. The big problem is to word it so that somebody who is trying in bad faith, to misunderstand it, can't do so.
We have a somewhat similar problem with the Bible. Somehow, no matter how clearly the Bible states something, it is always possible for some little sect to pick some verse out of context, and manage to completely misinterpret it and then make it a principal doctrine and off they go. We are going to learn about one of these doctrines.
Today, some of our major churches don't really believe in the return of Yahshua. They don't require their ordained ministers to claim that they believe they believe Yahshua is actually returning. Even those who do believe it, can get some surprising differences of doctrine about this subject. As to what the return of Yahshua will be like, there is a good deal about this subject in the Bible and it seems to me to be pretty clear. I want you to learn what some of the churches have done with this information.
Confusion has arisen because in Revelation 16:15 Yahshua says, "Behold, I come as a thief." When a thief, or burglar, breaks into your house and steals something, ordinarily we don't catch him in the act, he gets away without us seeing him. Because of this short passage, some churches teach Yahshua is coming back but nobody will know He is here.
From the word, "Behold I come as a thief," there is the obvious inference that Yahshua's coming will not be observed in sufficient time. This is very different from saying that He is going to come and go, and nobody will know He has been here. If somebody tells you that a thief can stand right in front of you and you can look right through him because he is invisible, you wouldn't be fooled by that a minute. Yet, this is what some of these sects teach, as to the return of Yahshua.
Some of these sects teach there will be, not only a second coming of Yahshua, but even a third. They teach He is really coming the first time just to collect His church, His elect, to resurrect some of the dead and translating some of the living. Then Yahshua and His church are going to flee from the world and leave Satan in triumphant possession of the earth for three and a half years.
You might get this out of some fiction story, but you can't get this out of the Bible, not if you honestly read it. These sects know that Yahshua is coming back; He is going to collect those who are worthy, the elect. He is also going to judge the whole world. These are supposed to be two separate and distinct times.
One group even says that Yahshua has already been here and gotten His elect. When they say this, they are confessing they themselves are not of the elect because they are still around. They also can't point to any sudden and mysterious disappearance of some of their church congregation either. Apparently nobody in the group made it.
What does the Bible really say on this subject? When we find this simile, of stealthily coming as a thief used by Yahshua, He always uses it in such a way as to make it perfectly clear that if you don't notice it in time, it is your own fault for not being on the alert looking for Him.
Matthew 24:42‑44 warns us,
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour Yahshua doth come. But know this, that if the good men of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to broken into. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."
Is there anything in these Bible verses from which you could get the inference that His coming is going to be invisible? Nothing that I can see. It is very plain, if you are on the alert, you will observe His coming, if you aren't alert, it is your own fault. The same emphasis upon the need to be watchful is found in the other verses where the thief idea is used.
We come across this coming as a thief idea, in the course of the messages to the seven churches.
"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write, Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before Yahweh...If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
There is always perfect consistency. The only reason we wouldn't see the thief is, that we don't know when to expect him and we aren't watching.
Revelation 16:5 is the first verse I mentioned, the Judeo/Christian churches usually only quoting, "Behold I come as a thief." Let's quote more than this one verse.
"Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
Then we come to II Peter 3:10, it states,
"But the day of Yahshua will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
It doesn't sound quiet to me!
1 Thessalonians 5:1‑6 continues,
"But of the times and seasons brethren, ye have no need that I write to you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of Yahshua 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 the day overtake you as a thief...Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."
There is a sentence in there that ought to be required reading for all of our government officials.
"For when they say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them."
No one has ever trusted the communists in anything, not once, without being betrayed. Why should we? It is the same old Jewish, satanic organization that has been trying to destroy Israel for centuries.
There has been plenty of warning in the Bible that, if we aren't ready, if we aren't watching, we may not observe the coming of Yahshua until it is too late. What does the Bible indicate that His return will be like?
There are few prophecies in the Bible, all relating to ancient times, where a date was set. It would say, within so many years such a thing would happen. This is very rare; it is not the normal procedure in Bible prophecy. Normally the Bible will give a sign that we are approaching the date when a certain prophecy will be fulfilled, and it tells us to look for a certain sign. When we see this sign, we know what is about to happen.
This is the rule concerning prophecies that deal with our own time. We are told of events which will happen that will be indications the big event is near, and if we watch, we will see the event happen. If we are watching, the prophesied event is not going to catch us unawares.
Matthew chapter 24 tells of Yahshua and the disciples being near the temple in Jerusalem, the big temple that Herod built.
It was a magnificent structure. The disciples were commenting upon the magnificent building when Yahshua said,
"The time is coming when not one stone of this will be left standing upon another."
When the disciples got a chance to talk with Yahshua about it later, they asked Him about what He had said.
Matthew 24:3 records,
"And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of the coming and the end of the age."
The King James Bible says, end of the world, but in the Greek it says, end of the age. This planet is going to be around for a long time yet.
Then Yahshua went on to list seven signs. When we see these signs come to pass, we would know that Yahshua's return would soon come.
Matthew 24:5,11 tells us the first sign, false prophets and false Christ’s. Mark 13:6,21 & 22 and Luke 21:8 tells us the same thing. We are getting false prophets by the carload lots in the National Council of Churches these days; there have even been some false Christ’s. Some of you have heard of the Bahai sect. They say that their founder, who is coming back, the high ruler, is the messiah of all religions, including those religions, which don't have any messiah. Then there is the young Hindu boy, Jiddi Krishnamurti; they tried to tell us was the reincarnation of Yahshua. This has fooled nobody but the Theosophists.
Matthew 24:6‑7, Mark 13:7‑8, Luke 21:9‑10 give the second sign. There will be wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom. At this point Yahshua gave them an additional warning.
Don't be deceived by this, because there are going to be wars all the time. No ordinary war is the sign of a return of Yahshua; it has to be quite an extra‑ordinary one. Yahshua said these are just the beginning of trouble, but the end is not yet.
The fourth sign, there would be pestilence. Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:11.
The fifth sign, there would be earthquakes. Same verses as for the fourth sign.
The sixth sign is something we have neither heard nor seen for a long time. Yahshua said the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come. The Greek word translated as end, telos, means really and emphatically the very end.
In the time of Yahshua and the original apostles, they preached the gospel of the kingdom of Yahweh. Then, not long after Yahshua was crucified, the kingdom gospel was forgotten and junked. All that was preached after this time was the gospel of personal salvation.
It is only within our lifetime has there been any substantial amount of the preaching the gospel of the kingdom of Yahweh. Note that Yahshua didn't say the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to all nations to convert them. Quite to the contrary, this gospel was only to be preached as a witness. This was so nobody can ask why they weren't told about it. People will have been told and refused to accept the message.
The seventh sign, the last one. The abomination of desolate standing in the holy place. The holy place, if there was ever one that could be called this, would be the site of King Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. This site was under the control of the Jordanian Arabs, until the 1967 war when the Jews seized the old city of Jerusalem containing the holy places.
The Jews had been saying they were going to demolish the Mohammedan mosque, the Dome of the Rock, which stands on the site of Solomon's temple. They plan to rebuild a Jewish temple on the old site, saying they are going to rebuild Solomon's temple. There have been many shipments of high grade American marble stone, cut in Indiana and shipped over there, ready for use in the rebuilding of the temple.
So far the Jews haven't quite had the gall to start demolishing the Mosque of Omar, as this mosque is commonly called. If and when they start the demolition of this mosque, the Jews aren't going to be facing only a relatively small number of Arabs; they will be facing the whole Moslem world.
This is a very holy site to the Mohammedans, second only to Mecca. The entire Mohammedan world will declare a holy war immediately and this is about 450 million people, or more. The abomination that brings desolation is certainly the Jewish control of the holy place.
In Luke 21:25‑35 Yahshua goes into more detail.
"And there shall be signs in the sun (Jacob), and in the moon (Rachel), and in the stars (Tribes of Israel). And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh...So likewise ye, when you see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of Yahweh is nigh at hand...And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, so that day should come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.”?
How anybody can mistake the plain meaning of these signs, I don't know. The signs are there if we will watch for them. There are a lot of people who are going to find this time is suddenly here, before they are ready for it, simply because they have not been watching.
There is no doubt the Bible promise that Yahshua, upon His return, will gather His elect. The Judeo/Christian churches like to call this the rapture of the church. Some of the dead, those few who have been selected for this particular purpose, will be resurrected. Some of the living who have been selected, without experiencing death, will be given their immortal bodies just like the resurrected dead. It says we will be caught up into the air to meet Him as He returns.
With their curious ability to misinterpret the Bible, preachers have taken the seventy weeks period, 490 years as Daniel prophesied, and teach that the seventieth week doesn't come after the sixty‑ninth week. But, there is a gap of over nineteen centuries between the sixty‑ninth year and the seventieth year. The Judeo/Christians garble what Daniel prophesied, so it can't be recognized what was to happen in the seventieth week.
Then they teach that upon the return of Yahshua, who will come first for the rapture of the church, then He will flee and let Satan take over, without opposition, for three and a half years, some teach for seven years. Only after this will Yahshua come back for the purpose of judgment on the wicked. How is this for convoluted thinking?
How the church could be taken away before this period of tribulation can't be explained, if we read the Bible. Read Mark 13:24‑27 & 35‑37, remember they are quoting Yahshua. "But in those days, after that tribulation..." This refers to the great tribulation, this period of war, and famine etc. that we would go through when the final break up of the age comes.
Yahshua said it would be so terrible, that if Yahweh had not shortened that period, that no flesh would remain on the earth.
"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. And all the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of heaven...Watch therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto I say unto all, Watch."
The whole order of this is going to be the catastrophic breakup of the age, terrible events, which don't come until we have first seen those seven signs that Yahshua prophesied. Then will come this terrible cataclysm and then, after that, there will be the return of Yahshua. After we have observed His return, then He is going to gather His elect, the real church.
In Matthew 24:37‑39 & 42, Yahshua gives another explanation of these events. "But as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be." This verse alone ought to correct the preacher's errors. Was there a secret flood, which floated the ark away, and nobody noticed? Then after the flood, was this the judgment? Obviously not at all.
Therefore, when we are told that it will be just as it was in the days of Noah, how can they come to this curiously foolish doctrine of the secret rapture?
"But as the days of Noah were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your master doth come."
The Bible makes it very clear; there will be no secret coming. The second coming will be accompanied by the most tremendous phenomena the world has ever seen. This will be too great for even the dullest to overlook, once it starts happening. The point is, when it occurs it is going to be too late to get into the real elect, we have something to do first. The return of Yahshua will be unexpected by those who have not believed and haven't been on the watch.
Matthew 25:1‑13 gives us a pretty clear illustration of just exactly what is going to happen, in one of Yahshua's parables.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in the vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, not so; lest there be not enough for you and us: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Master, Master, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
Those who reject Yahshua as their Savior and Redeemer, have no choice remaining to them but to face judgment of their sins, because they have refused to accept the only way out. Of those who do accept Him as their Savior and Redeemer, this is only the beginning; this is not the end of the matter.
Salvation means only continued life. Both the Hebrew words in the Old Testament and the Greek words in the New Testament that have been translated salvation, mean only safety. If you find somebody floundering around in deep water unable to swim, and you grab him by the collar and pull him to shore, you have given him salvation, and he has been given safety.
The word salvation is used in the Christian religion with a further connotation. When this meat and bones that we walk around in dies, our real personality will not also perish. Yahweh will give us continued life with a new body of suitable form, so then we will have a conscious existence. On what level will this be?
When we die, our body and soul (mind) goes into the grave not to rise until the return of Christ, but the Spirit of God which was installed in all His Children returns to Him. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesties 12:7)
Some nominal Christians are going to be very distinctly low man on the totem pole. They haven't fitted themselves for anything better than merely continued existence. Most of the churches don't try to teach you anymore than this. In those few who do try, we don't find much enthusiasm, on the part of most of the congregation, to learn what it is all about.
We have had experience, since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with a miserable botch of a government, conducted by incompetent bureaucrats who don't know what they are doing. You can be assured that the kingdom of Yahweh is not going to be anything like this. Those who are going to have any part in it, those who will sit on the throne with Yahshua and reign with Him, will only be those who have fitted themselves for it. There will be many perfectly good saved Christians, as these churches call them, in the kingdom of Yahweh. They will simply have to sweep the streets and empty the garbage because they aren't fitted to do anything better, they turned it down.
Those who wish the higher calling, to become part of the administrative staff of the kingdom of Yahweh, are the comparatively few who have studied for it. They know what it is all about and they will be fit to carry out their duties.
In Luke 13:23‑27 it is pretty clearly indicated again. In reading this particular passage from Lamsa's translation from the Aramaic, as it is particularly easy to understand.
"A man asked Jesus, Are there only a few who are to be saved? Jesus said to him, strive to enter in through the narrow door; for I say to you that many will seek to enter in and will not be able. From the hour when the master of the house rises up and locks the door, and you will begin to say, Our Master, our Master, open for us; and he will answer, saying, I say to you, I do not know you or where you come from. And you will begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in your presence, and you taught in our streets. And he will say to you, I do not know you or where you come from; depart from me, O you workers of iniquity."
What is going to happen to many of the ministers in our churches today? They will say, Lord, didn't I teach the people of my church that the Old Testament was all a mistake and had to be discarded? Didn't I teach them your laws were wrong and were no longer in effect? Didn't I teach them to violate your laws? Didn't I teach them that at a church supper they should always have baked ham, one of the forbidden foods, deliberately violating your law, to show that now we are not under the law but under grace?
In Matthew 5:18, Yahshua made it very clear His opinion of the laws.
"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
Can't be any more clear than this!
What was called jot, the Hebrew letter yod, and the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, is just a tiny little curlicue made with a pen. What they called a tittle was only a little curlicue ornament on some of the larger letters. You have noticed where you have seen old English letters, they are used today in Germany, and how the letters have all sorts of little ornamental strokes added to them. Similarly, they would put little curlicues on some of these Hebrew letters, purely as ornaments, which weren't really any part of the letters. These curlicues could be left off without changing the meaning of the letters.
So Yahshua said, "...one yod or one little curlicue shall not pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Yahshua continues,
"Whosoever shall break one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach men to do so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
There are going to be a lot of people who are going to be standing outside, knocking on the door and not being let in. The warning is plain enough, but the truths of the Bible aren't taught anymore in the churches. What is taught is man‑made doctrine and the social gospel that won't offend the Jews. Remember the prophecy there would be a famine, not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the word of Yahweh. This is exactly what has come upon us.
Somebody once said, "The more it changes, the more it is the same." We have gone through these events before, several times in our history. There is no record of any exception to this rule, that an organized church sooner or later becomes a corrupted and apostate church. If there ever should have been an exception to this rule, it should have been in Jerusalem, for there they had the temple of Yahweh with the personal appearance of Yahweh manifested there, and yet what happened? They not only reached the point where the priests were not teaching the laws of Yahweh, the priests were leading them into idolatry. Read the Book of Ezekiel.
"Look what they have done in my house in Jerusalem: you find in it altars to pagan gods set up in the temple in Jerusalem."
Look what happened after that. In the very early days, the first century of the Christian era, there was a fairly sound church. From the early 300s on, as the Catholic Church developed, look what happened. What can you find of the old Babylonian paganism that is not part of the official doctrine of the Catholic Church today? The Catholic Church has been utterly corrupted.
Look at the Protestant churches! True, they don't recognize the pope as being successor to Yahweh, but they have a list of corruptions just about as impressive as the Catholic Church. It is that period of apostasy, which the Bible prophesied.
The ministers and priests are the people who are utterly unprepared for the return of Yahshua. If I am not mistaken, the Methodist church of today does not require a student of the ministry to swear he believes Yahshua will actually return, in order to be ordained a minister. He can be ordained without this belief. The same is true of some of the other major churches.
It is going to be rather rough going for a good many people when Yahshua returns, because the signs are all around us.
There remains nothing more to be fulfilled but the tremendous catastrophe that marks the close of this age. The Russian attack upon us that is set out in such detail in Ezekiel chapters 38‑39 and some of the book of Joel. This and the accompanying hardships, is all that has not yet been fulfilled.
Our politicians have forced all the Arab people, with their oil, to become our enemies. The Arabs would be down right stupid if they didn't simply cut off all flow of oil to the western world, the moment the Dome of the Rock is destroyed. A huge pipeline for the transportation of oil is already being built from the Iranian oil fields into Soviet Russia.
Before World War II, Europe didn't depend too much upon oil. All of her electric power plants, railroads and industrial plants, used coal. Europe has enormous reserves of coal. Then suddenly, following WW 2, somebody saw to it that all the coal‑burning furnaces were dismantled and oil‑burning furnaces installed in their place.
In Europe, if they shut down all non‑essential use of oil fuels, they might be able to continue operating at the maximum, ninety days, no more on the store of oil they have there.
You people are not in darkness. You know what to look for to make yourselves ready to survive, during this rough period. You should be ready to take your place in the kingdom of Yahweh, shortly thereafter. The average types of churchgoers are not going to be ready. Then they will wonder why nobody told them about this, but just try to get them to listen now.
If you notice a sudden exodus of Jews from an area, take it as a warning that they know something disastrous is going to happen. I have always thought that when we pray, "Master, come down and put the lid back on the garbage can, because the lid is off and it stinks." This prayer might not be answered because Yahweh would say, "Why don't you do it?" We are supposed to do a certain amount of these things for ourselves, then what is beyond our reach He will take care of.
There is nothing we can do to stop the disaster that is coming. When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, there were some of the people who were massacred by the Babylonian army, those who had it coming to them. The rest of the people, since they hadn't learned enough of a lesson, were taken into captivity in Babylon but Yahweh saw that they weren't hurt. (Taken, in part, from a study entitled “I Come As A Thief,” by Bertrand L. Comparet)