The stillness of night settled across the house, and the glow of the midnight moon shone through the bedroom curtains creating barely distinguishable silhouettes of nightstands and dressers. Through the closed window, a muffled dog “bark” could be heard, the type of bark that dogs make when they are trying to convince others that they are seeing something. The incessant barking roused the wife, who nudged her husband and spoke the gentle request, “Hey can you make the dog stop barking?” before rolling back over and putting the pillow over her head. The hushed “bark” finally ceased and the two resumed their prior postures, drifting slowly back into the lull of the dark night.
“CRASH!!!” The sudden sound of shattering glass echoed off the walls and the wooden floors, as both husband and wife jolted upright in the bed.
Ignoring his alert posture, the wife leaned over and grabbed her husband’s arm, whispering loudly, “Did you hear that?”
For the next few seconds both of them sat like statues, upright, quietly listening for any further noises. Soon the rattle of the handle on the back door could be heard, then, the familiar squeaking of its hinges as the door opened. Footsteps could be heard as heavy shoes crunched the broken fragments of glass inside the house.
The burglar had come. Unexpected. Unannounced. Uninhibited. The thief was there. Neither spouse had ordered “thief service.” This was not something that was on the calendar. This was something that was unpredictable.
When we begin 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul uses this analogy to describe the way in which Christ will return. It will not be with RSVP cards months before. It will not be announced via Super-bowl commercial or mass-emailing. His return will be sudden, unpredictable, and unforeseen. We know He is coming; we just don’t know when it will be. But we can be assured, it will be surprising.
This theology of the unpredictability of Christ’s return should help us be able to discerningly filter claims by certain religious charlatans that herald a “special word from the Lord” about when Christ will return. Generation after generation has dealt with these deceivers (often many of them even self-deceivers) who declare that they have special knowledge of when Christ is coming. It usually comes in the form of a specific date, or in a general timeframe, or even in a non-specific “I think it’s going to be soon.” While many of these are well-meaning, they are also unscriptural. God does not need to give specific revelation for something that He has already declared as unknowable. Knowing what God has said here in 1 Thessalonians 5 through the apostle Paul, we should guard our hearts and lovingly encourage those who may be deceived by the false-teaching of end-times predictions.
Food For Thought: Read Mark 13:32. Does this verse say there are things that God knows that mankind will never know? Why then do you think that people try so hard to predict the end times?