“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
It is common for anyone to identify with another famous person or character if the intention is to add significance to the person’s introduction. For a man of status, he will not think of associating himself with a thief, much less to be mentioned as one. To be called a thief carries with it the stigma of shame and dubious actions. A thief will always be despised and will not openly confess to be one.
The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of His coming many times and drew urgent attention and parallel to the example of a thief who would break into any household unexpectedly. The writer once heard a believer lamenting that out of so many characters and expressions, why did the Lord have to describe His coming to liken that of a thief? This caused him to feel embarrassed every time he read these passages. However, after this study, we will come to agree that the example of a “thief” is the most suitable word to describe His coming.
In the bible, when the Lord talks about His coming as a thief, He 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
When the Lord uses a thief to describe His coming, He is only using certain characteristics of a thief and does not actually mean that He is a thief.
A thief will never announce his coming ahead of time to any owner. He strikes at the most unexpected hour, suddenly and without notice. Surprises are the hallmark of his attack and at the least expected moment, the owners are caught without any preparation. It is the same with the coming of the Lord. When the people are eating, drinking, merry-making and being given in marriage, totally unconcerned over the warning issued by our Lord, He will come again as promised!
When a thief breaks into a house, big loss to the owner is expected. Similarly, when the Lord comes upon those unbelieving, they remain not alert, unprepared and they too will suffer immense loss and incalculable damage – the eternal condemnation of their souls. For those who have not yet received Jesus as their personal saviour before the Second Coming of Christ, they will face God’s judgement at the Great White Throne. Their destiny will be eternal condemnation in hell.