How to Understand “I Come as a Thief” in Revelation 16:15

How the Lord Will Come

Speaking of how the Lord will come in the last days, most brothers and sisters will go by the Bible verse: “[T]hey shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30), and believe that the Lord will definitely come in the clouds in His resurrected spiritual body with glory. But there are still some people who are perplexed about this statement, because Revelation prophesied, “Behold, I come as a thief” (Revelation 16:15). “If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you” (Revelation 3:3). The Lord said plainly that He would come as a thief. So to speak, He would come at a time unknown to people. If the Lord came in the clouds, wouldn’t everyone see Him? If so, how would the prophecy of the Lord coming as a thief be fulfilled? This is a mystery to many people. Now, let us have a fellowship on these problems.

Jesus-knocking-at-the-door
Jesus-knocking-at-the-door

How Will the Prophecy of the Lord Coming as a Thief Be Fulfilled?

How Will the Prophecy of the Lord’s Coming in the Clouds Be Fulfilled?

The Lord Jesus said, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:12–13). “He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Also, 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth.

We can see from these prophecies that when the Lord comes in the last days, He will express many truths and tell us everything we did not understand before, and He will do the work of judgment that starts with the house of God. This is because although our sin of breaking the laws is forgiven, our satanic dispositions such as arrogance, self-conceit, crookedness, deceit, selfishness, and despicableness are still deeply rooted in us and they control us to sin involuntarily. For example, we want to have final say in everything in our life. When something is disagreeable to us, we will lose our temper. We can even lie and cheat in order to protect our personal interests. When we encounter a disaster, we blame and even betray God. This shows that we are not free from the bondage of sin yet. But we can’t get rid of the bondage of sin ourselves, and only God can save us from it. God is faithful. Since God wants to save us, He will do it completely. Therefore, when the Lord comes, He will come secretly in the flesh, and speak practically, and do a stage of work of removing sins based on the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption so that our sinful nature can be cleansed and we can become people who obey, worship, and are compatible with God. During God’s secret work of incarnation, wise virgins will recognize the voice of God and return to the throne of God. This will fulfill the Bible prophecies: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). They accept God’s work of judgment and are thus cleansed and changed in their corrupt disposition. However, those foolish virgins don’t listen to God’s voice, don’t investigate God’s work, and they even judge and condemn God’s work of judgment in the last days. They are the ones who reject Christ and will be exposed and eliminated in God’s work. This is how the wheat and tares, the sheep and goat are separated, as spoken of in the Lord Jesus’ prophecy. When those who accept God’s work of judgment are made overcomers, God’s hidden work of incarnation will come to an end, and afterward God will openly appear with clouds to all peoples, sending disasters and starting rewarding good and punishing evil. When those who condemn and resist God see the One whom they resist is the returned Lord Jesus, they will weep and gnash their teeth and beat upon their breasts. This will fulfill the prophecies of the Lord’s coming publicly in the clouds: “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” (Matthew 24:30). “Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him” (Revelation 1:7).

How to Welcome the Lord’s Second Coming

From: Grow in Christ

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