“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” ~Rev 16:15
Usually, when we introduce ourselves using some familiar characters, we tend to use people that are famous and distinguished. For example, we may claim to be as wise as Solomon, or as courageous as Daniel in the lion’s den. We would not find many calling themselves a thief, especially someone who holds high status in society. This is because being called a thief is shameful, sinful and lowly. They work in the middle of the night to steal and cannot be seen by others in the open. A thief is loathsome; therefore no one would dare to claim to be a thief, even a thief would never introduce himself to be a thief. The Lord however describes Himself to be a thief, not only once but on many occasions, in various passages. The writer once heard of a believer, who lamented that out of so many available characters and expressions, why did the Lord have to use a thief to describe Himself; for this has caused him to feel embarrassed every time he reads the passage. Now, let us put aside these negative associations with a thief and do a study on why the Lord chooses a thief to describe Himself. After this study, we will soon come to agreement that a ‘thief’ is the most appropriate word to describe His coming.
In the bible, when the Lord talks about His coming as a thief, it refers to His Second Coming in glory.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” ~Mat 24:42-44
A thief breaks into the house at an hour when the owner least expects it, similarly, the Lord will come at the hour when the world least expects it. When the Lord uses a thief to describe His coming, He is only using some characteristics of a thief and not actually saying that He is an actual thief. Just as a thief lies in wait until the owner of the house is fast asleep and totally unprepared before he strikes; the coming of the Lord will be as such, when people are eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, totally unaware of what is going on around them – the Lord comes! As a thief loots the house bringing great loss to the owner, similarly, the Lord shall come upon those who are not alert and unprepared, for they too will suffer immense losses and damages. And their losses will be to suffer eternal condemnation of their souls. All who have not received the Lord as their personal saviour before Christ’s Second Coming, they will have to face God’s judgement of the Great White Throne and their destiny will be eternal condemnation in hell.