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As a Thief in the Night

05 Jan
Thief in the Night

from Google Images

Peter describes the coming of the Day of the Lord as “a thief in the night” (2Peter 3:10)! However, the context of the sudden coming of that day would be in the light of the fact that Peter mentioned that he was merely reminding his readers of what he had already told them in his first epistle (2Peter 3:1). In other words, the Day of the Lord, which would come as a thief, would occur in Peter’s reader’s generation (1Peter 1:9-13), and they were living in what is known as the last days (1Peter 1:5), and those days would be complete “in a little while” (1Peter 1:6), because Jesus was at that time ready to judge the living and the dead (1Peter 4:5, 17), since the end of all things was at hand (1Peter 4:7), and the Kingdom of God was about to be revealed (1Peter 5:1).[1]

Notice, as well, that the source of Peter’s understanding of the last days was that which was spoken by the prophets of the Old Testament, and what they preached at the commandment of the Lord (2Peter 3:2). In other words, Peter based his understanding of those days in which he lived upon what Jesus told him earlier, namely, that all things must be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18; cf. 1Peter 4:7). The fact was that it was easier for ‘heaven and earth’ to pass than for the word of God to fail (Luke 16:17), and the end would come with war (Luke 21:20-22; cf. Daniel 9:26). So, Peter knew and preached several things, basing them upon the prophets of the Old Testament and how Jesus explained what the prophets said (cf. Isaiah 30:12-13; Matthew 24:43).

The Apostle Paul, of whose writings Peter was aware (cf. 2Peter 3:15), also spoke only of those things spoken of in the Law and the Prophets. Paul had his own scoffers who denied what he said (Acts 24:1-9). Nevertheless, when he defended himself before the Roman governor, he told him that the scoffers (Jewish authorities then present) couldn’t prove their claims about him, and the things he taught concerning the resurrection and the judgment of the living and the dead were according to the Law and the Prophets (Acts 24:12-15, 25). So, Paul preached the same things as Peter, namely, that everything was based upon what was foretold in the Law and the Prophets, that end was near (Romans 13:11; cf. 1Timothy 4:1), that it would come by war (1Thessalonians 5:3; cf. Joshua 22:22) and that event would come as a thief in the night (1Thessalonians 5:2).

Peter also drew from the book of Revelation, where the Lord said, not only that the Day of the Lord was near (Revelation 1:1, 3), but that the whole mystery of God would be finished shortly (Revelation 10:7; 22:6, 10, 12); cf. 1Peter 4:7).[2] However, one may ask how could that be, since the Revelation mentions the Lord reigning for 1000 years (Revelation 20:4). It is a time when Satan was bound (Revelation 20:2; cf. Matthew 12:29), but he’ll be loosed for a short while, after the 1000 years are complete (Revelation 20:3). The resurrection also occurs after this 1000 year period (Revelation 20:6), and at which time Satan will be slain (Revelation 20:7-10).

We need to keep in mind, however, that when Satan was “bound” he was cast to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9), which according to Jesus occurred during his earthly ministry (Luke 10:18). Knowing this the book of Revelation tells us that, when Satan realized he was cast to the earth, he knew that he had only a short period of time left (Revelation 12:12). Therefore, however we define the 1000 year period, it cannot be a very long time. Moreover, it began with the Lord’s ministry, because it incorporated the time in which Satan was bound to the earth (Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:7-9), and it culminated in a war that involved the gentile nations coming against the Jews (Revelation 20:8-9), which, in as much as I am able to tell, ended cir. 70 AD.

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[1] Peter says “the glory which was about to be revealed.” However, comparing the Gospel narratives with one another tells us that the glory of Christ was the Kingdom of Christ (Matthew 20:21; Mark 10:37).

[2] The Book of Revelation was written very early rather than late in the first century AD, as most folks believe. The error is seen in their poor understanding of the reign of Domitian, whom history hardly concludes persecuted Christians. Clement of Alexandria, who lived in the latter part of the 2nd century and into the 3rd AD, and from whom this idea of a late writing is derived, could hardly have pointed to Domitian as the tyrant, but rather Nero or even Agrippa of Acts 12. Moreover, Clement, claimed that the whole of the New Testament was written between the reigns of Tiberius and Nero; see Clement of Alexandria, Stromata book 7, chapter 17.

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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in Eschatology, Prophecy

 

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