The Return of Jesus – Vignette from The Millennium Chronicles 

Chapter 4 of Reclaiming the Rapture : The Return of Jesus – Vignette from The Millennium Chronicles 

This vignette finds Therion (the Beast), Oracle (the False Prophet), and the chief commander of the armies of the nations (forces of Antichrist) rejoicing over their supposed victory over the remnant of Israel (represented as Ben, Kristiana and others). But victory is snatched from them by the triumphant return of Jesus.

We have located them!” Oracle said to Therion, gleefully surveying the smoke rising from the rubble of toppled buildings and burning houses throughout 

the City of Jerusalem. “They are all assembled in the valley of Jehoshaphat and are almost standing on top of each other. They are hemmed in by slopes in front and in back and they have no place to go. The land has closed them in; they are trapped!” 

“Exterminate the vermin,” Therion commanded coldly, looking out contentedly over the valley. “Everything is going according to our plan. Two-thirds of the Hebrews in this land have died and now only this small remnant survives and soon they will be no more! 

“Oracle,” he said callously, “kill them slowly so that Adonai hears every one of their screams. We shall give meaning to that valley. The valley of Jehoshaphat, also known as Arema-ge-don; henceforth, it shall be known as the place of Adonai’s judgment, that is, the place where we judged him and found him wanting!” 

Kristiana took hold of Ben’s hand. He could feel her shaking with fear. He too felt the fearful anticipation overwhelm him. He realized his unexpected companion was bringing him comfort on his journey. 

The chief commander of the armies of the nations noted his orders received from Oracle. His face was slowly recovering from the foul sores which had originated near the place where the virus containing the Mark of Therion first began changing his DNA. 

The mingling of his DNA with Therion’s had given him strength greater than a horse, perhaps even more than two or three horses. He felt the vigor and power inside of him which he loved. He had overcome the frailties of his natural-born body, and now he understood that the seething power of Lucifer was his to the core. The soldiers of these armies were not like in previous wars; these were hybrids because they had taken the mark of Therion, which placed his seed into them, in the name of evolution and progress. Having mingled themselves with him they were now recast in his image. They had gained greater intelligence than the weak humans. He eyed both Therion and Oracle, thinking of how perhaps someday, he might take their place. All in its proper time, he thought. He finally responded to the command Oracle had given him, “Yes sir, with pleasure!” 

“Today is the day we wipe the Hebrews off the map once and for all!” Therion said confidently with the armies of the entire planet standing behind him ready to attack Jerusalem. There were millions and millions that stood with him that could also fight against Yeshua’s returning army if need be. Additionally, Therion commanded the two hundred million horsemen that came out of the Abyss. 

The solar flare which had scorched part of the earth some time ago had made most of the conventional, high-tech weapons of the day inoperable, therefore they had converted every conceivable instrument into some kind of weapon; plowshares had been beaten into swords, and pruning hooks into spears and horses now served as their transportation! 

With all the might of the world and the kingdom of Lucifer gathered with him at his disposal, Therion was eager to desecrate and destroy what he believed was the last remnant of the Hebrews so that he and his forces could set their eye upon Jerusalem. Lucifer was incensed against the Hebrews because their existence was a direct threat to his kingdom. Once it was no more, Adonai would never be able to establish his kingdom on the earth. 

“You are beaten, Yeshua!” Therion boasted, gazing beyond the veil toward the upper City of Jerusalem, raising his hands and then flicking them back as if daring Adonai to respond. “Our struggle, our ‘holy war’ with you ends here and ends today! Our siege against your beloved lower City of Jerusalem has prevailed and it has fallen into our hands. Our soldiers, who took my mark containing my father’s image, 

have ravished the women of this city! We have taken half of the residents of this city hostage and are leading them into exile where they shall take my mark or lose their heads. Your people, your elect, your heritage is now mine! You have failed to protect them. You failed to keep your word! Can’t you hear the nations mocking you, saying ‘where is their King?’” he said again, shaking his hands toward Adonai. “Look, all of the nations of the earth are assembled against your chosen City and we have defiled her! This City shall become a trash heap and the bodies of your elect shall be its refuse!” 

“You have accomplished nothing by pouring out your life-force to save these people. My father was right to revolt against your foolish idea of the mighty serving the weak. You surrendered yourself for the world and now the whole world is following me! They realize that my father is worthy of reverence because he is strong and now they revere me! Can you not hear them saying, ‘who is like Therion’ and ‘who is able to make war with him?’ You should have accepted my father’s offer of all the kingdoms of the world when you had the chance. Look, he has given me his power, his throne, and great authority. I have all authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation and all who dwell on the earth worship me. Even your beloved elect, the Hebrews, are in my hand and I am overcoming them completely and shattering their power. I am doing as I please and there is none who can withstand me. 

Who can make war against me? I have destroyed the weak and the mighty alike and soon even your people, the Hebrews, shall be no more! I defy you, O Ancient One! Your authority is broken and you are a liar! Now the world shall know the truth about you and all who are with you. You are weak and cowardly. Your sacrifice has amounted to nothing and is completely undone. The name of Adonai is a rubble heap and any who would run to it will be destroyed! Yeshua does not keep his promises; your word is a sham, bogus, phony!” Therion raged. “All who trust in you are put to shame.” 

“You have allowed your people to be hemmed in on every side. They are now trapped like birds in a cage with my forces ready to decimate them. We shall do what the ancient king of Egypt was not able to do!” He turned to Oracle, “This is our moment of great victory. Send in the hybrids to tear them limb from limb and let their blood splatter on every side.” 

Caleb decided to address the alarmed faces in front of him which had courageously crowded into the valley over the past hour: “My people, inhabitants of Jerusalem, surely our Yeshuáh is coming; behold, his reward is with him and his work before him. We will trust, and will not be afraid for Yeshua is our strength and our song, and will be our Yeshuáh.” 

Hoshanna! Barukh haba beshem Adonai!” they again chanted with their voices swelling with expectation and desire. “Please save us! Come Yeshua! Come, O great King, you are our only hope. We trust in no one else, only in you. We are waiting for you and we will be glad and rejoice in you, Yeshuatenu!” 

Just then the wind picked up, laced with a freshness none of them had smelled in years. They all heard the words like a whisper on the wind, like they had heard in the shelter: “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Your sons shall make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you. Don’t you know? I am the eternal King, the Creator. I do not grow tired or weary; and my understanding cannot be fathomed.” Caleb watched as a blue butterfly drifted past him again. He looked over at his father who saw it too, who looked back at him and smiled. “Can a woman forget her nursing child,” Yeshua said, overwhelmed that the Hebrews had finally called upon him, “and not have compassion?” “Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget them,” he said leaning over, blowing the words gently through the veil to his people. “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Your walls are continually before me. Your sons shall make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you. Don’t you know? I am the eternal King, the Creator of the ends of the earth. I do not grow tired or weary; and my understanding cannot be fathomed.” 

Yeshua was wearing many golden crowns; his face was like the sun. He was holding a sickle in his hand as the one who would administer justice and wage war with righteousness, his head and hair were white as wool or even snow, his eyes were like flames of fire, and his feet were like red-hot glowing metal. His perfect justice was like a breastplate on his chest and his ability to rescue and save his people was like a helmet on his head; his zeal to avenge his people was like a garment which covered him. 

“I am proclaiming the year of Adonai’s favor, and the day of vengeance to comfort all who mourn in Jerusalem!” Yeshua thundered powerfully from upper Jerusalem to the earth so that the sky and the earth quaked. 

Therion, Oracle, and Lucifer looked up to the sky after hearing the peals of thunder and considered what they might mean. 

“I will have compassion on my people, the Hebrews,” Yeshua proclaimed passionately as the sound of their cries and petitions mixed with the words “Hoshanna! Barukh haba beshem Adonai” rose up to his throne like incense. Those were words that he had been waiting to hear from the leadership of the Hebrews. He had vowed to them: “you will not see my face again until you say, ‘blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai,’” and now after two-thousand years they were earnestly seeking him. Finally, they saw with great clarity their need for the one who had come to his own, yet his own had not received him. 

“I will give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of Adonai, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations of many generations. Look my people, you will be fully satisfied. I will never again make you an object of mockery among the nations. 

“I am displeased that there is no justice,” Yeshua said as fiery- lightning surged from his sides. “I am appalled that there is no one to intervene.” 

“Great King, you are a refuge to your people, a stronghold to the Hebrews,” someone shouted out, answering the audacious claims of Therion to those around him. 

“I am the one who has gathered them and the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will judge them for harming my people, for scattering my inheritance among the nations, and for dividing up my land. They cast lots to decide which of my people would be their slaves and abused the little ones for their pleasures. I will bring them back again from all the places to which they were sold, and I will pay the nations back for all they have done. I will strike Therion from the house of the wicked, by laying his neck bare.” 

“Lucifer, his son Therion, and Oracle do not grasp my thoughts,” Yeshua declared, “nor do they understand my counsel; for I am gathering them like sheaves to the threshing floor because the time has come for the Hebrews to take possession of the kingdom. I have made Jerusalem a trap and now I shall go and spring the trap!” Yeshua said in a mighty and thunderous voice, even as Therion was boasting in his apparently unstoppable victory. “Look, I am making Jerusalem an unstable cup toward all of its surrounding armies as they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. I am making Jerusalem a heavy weight; so everyone who burdens themselves with it will be crushed, even though all of the nations of the earth have gathered themselves against it. I am about to strike every horse with panic and every rider with insanity. I will keep my eyes on the house of Judah, but I will blind every horse of the invading armies.” 

“Swing your sickle, and gather the harvest,” an Angel said in a loud voice coming out of the temple of Adonai, “for the hour has come to gather it, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 

“Bring down your warriors, Yeshua!” the prophet Joel suddenly called out. “Rush forth with the sickle, for the harvest is ripe! Go, stomp the grapes, for the winepress is full! The vats overflow. Indeed, their wickedness is great! Crowds, great crowds are in the valley of threshing, the valley of Jehoshaphat, Armageddon!” 

“Michael,” Yeshua said, “when you hear the trumpet blast, you will go out and gather my elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another.” 

“The rest of you,” Yeshua commanded the mighty Angels following him among the vast army, “Go and gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles for burning, but bring the wheat into my barn.” 

Gabriel smiled, understanding exactly what Yeshua referred to. In fact, he had longed for this day when they would finally be authorized to go in every direction to first gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness. He peered through the veil to the earth noting the location of several of Lucifer’s army of Watchers as well as the rulers of the earth and all who had taken the mark and those that were attempting to destroy the Hebrews. Their vast numbers, he considered, were of no consequence, for they were like a drop in a bucket, and were reckoned as dust on.

the scales before Yeshua, the mighty! All the nations were as nothing before him, they were reckoned by him as nothing and chaos. 

“The end of the age has come for the world to be harvested in judgment!” Yeshua proclaimed and then stood up from his Father’s throne and walked over  to his majestic pure-white war-horse. An astoundingly sharp, two-edged sword could be seen coming out of his mouth. It was something like an intensified particle-wave beam of light. 

“Go forth, great King, with your great army!” Enoch, the seventh from Adam, encouraged him. “Execute judgment on all; convict all who are wicked for all of the wickedness they have committed and of all the harsh things which the wicked have spoken against you.” 

“Nations far and wide, get ready for war!” Gabriel taunted. “Call out your best warriors! Let all your fighting men advance for the attack!” The cry for help of the Hebrews was the key to establishing Yeshua’s kingdom and he would not rest until he had vanquished all their enemies and established Jerusalem as a praise throughout the earth and the Hebrews as the head of nations and no longer the tail. 

“The day of my vengeance has finally come,” Yeshua bellowed, “The day to bring in the acceptable year of Adonai. Now, my glory shall be revealed, and all the Adamites will see it at once.” 

“Oh great King,” Isaiah exclaimed, “rend the heavens and go down and may the mountains quake at your presence! Repay your enemies according to their action: anger to your enemies, retribution to your foes; to the coastlands render their due!” Isaiah was eager to see Yeshua defend the Hebrews; every one of her allies had forsaken her. “Go with strength, and may your arm rule for you.” 

Ben and Kristiana watched in amazement as an Angel threw the contents of his bowl across the sky. 

“It is done!” someone in a loud voice shouted from the throne in the temple. 

“The kingdoms of this world,” others resonated in loud voices, “have become the kingdoms of Adonai and of Yeshua, and Adonai shall reign forever and ever! The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. Now is the time that the dead should be judged and that you should reward your servants the prophets, the saints, and those who fear your name, unimportant and important and for you to destroy those who have destroyed the earth.” 

Suddenly the temple of Adonai began opening, exposing the ark of his covenant. Lightning and thundering booms emanated out of the place. 

All eyes were on Yeshua. 

“I am coming quickly,” he said with a voice like the sound of many waters. He was silent for a moment and then ferociously roared out like a raging lion, shaking the throne itself. “I have heard you, my beloved, and I am coming!” 

The armies of Yeshua began taking their positions on their side of the veil ready for battle. 

The scene turned white. “Ben and Kristiana,” Antipas startled Ben, who had been immersed in the scene, “to understand the removal of the veil, you must first know why the veil was created. So long as it was between the two domains, there could never be complete and open communication between Adonai and the Adamites. It happened just after the degeneration of the earth, which took place after the assassination.” 

Yeshua sat on his horse behind the veil ready to advance; behind him were millions and millions of riders plus horses and chariots of fire. 

“After six millennia,” John said to Isaiah, who was on his horse next to him, “Yeshua is finally revealing himself to the world with his mighty Angels in blazing flames of fire, which will inflict vengeance on those who do not know Adonai and on those who have not obeyed his good news. They will needlessly suffer the punishment of eternal destruction by virtue of exposure to his presence and from the glory of his might.” 

“The world has no idea of what is coming!” Isaiah confirmed. “He is coming in fire with his chariots like a tornado, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire!” 

Yeshua opened his mouth and a beam of light pierced through the veil creating a shock-wave blasting the inhabitants on the other side. A deafening boom immediately thundered throughout the world. 

Therion and Oracle were knocked to the ground from the blast. They lay flat on their backs and turned pale with fear as they witnessed the laser-like shaft of light, brighter than the midday sun, 

piercing through a point in the dark, ash-filled sky. They covered their ears to guard them from the horrific, ear-piercing roar that was created as the sky began rolling up like a scroll from the point where the particle-beam sword from Yeshua’s mouth struck it. 

The veil which had cloaked the other domain from the earth was dissolving, like a dark filter becoming transparent. Therion, Oracle, and their army watched as dark, thick clouds began rolling out and flames of fire and raging bolts of lightning blazed brilliantly through the clouds, lighting the world. They then saw Yeshua step into the domain of the Adamites. The veil which had so long separated the domain of Adonai and that of the Adamites, was gone and finally all could see Yeshua. 

He stood there for several moments surveying the earth, which had suffered incredible destruction during the time of the Hebrews’ trouble and had become practically uninhabitable. All the seas and rivers had turned to blood and everything in the seas had died: all the fish, the coral, the whales, dolphins, starfish, shellfish, even the plankton were dead. 

Therion, Oracle, and all the kings of the earth, and their armies which had declared war against Yeshua by gathering to destroy the Hebrews watched as smoke poured out of Yeshua’s nostrils and a consuming fire from his mouth. Their hearts skipped a beat as they fixed their eyes on the champion towering over them and the armies of heaven coming behind him. Everyone on the entire planet saw his brighter-than-the-sun radiance and the powerful beams of light coming out from his hands, and the sharp sword protruding out of his mouth. They all lamented at seeing the sign of Yeshua coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 

When the people of Egypt, just south of Jerusalem looked up, their hearts failed seeing Yeshua leading his army on a swift cloud over their heads. 

In a flash like lightning, Yeshua circled the earth in an east-west direction. The earth began to groan violently as Yeshua and his army passed overhead. Like a great furnace his fiery-lightning presence began to set the mountains and hills ablaze. The continents quaked and waves of the oceans surged violently upward as Yeshua’s army passed over, and they were exposed to his power. The degenerate planet reacted violently being finally exposed to   the brilliance and blazing power of the King because the veil had been removed. 

Hills collapsed and fire broke out burning to the deepest part of the Abyss, consuming the earth and its produce and igniting the foundations of the mountains. 

Ben and Kristiana watched in awe as the removal of the veil left the earth exposed to the glorious fire of Yeshua so that even the dirt was melting with fervent heat, and the earth and everything on it began to burn. The heavens declared his righteousness so that all the nations would see his glory. 

“It appears in the Chronicles,” Ben said to Kristiana, “that only the cloud surrounding Yeshua shielded the earth and the inhabitants from the full impact of his consuming fire and lightning.” 

“I think you are right,” Kristiana answered. “Do you suppose,” she asked while witnessing the flash floods on the earth’s surface, “he was displeased with the rivers or was his anger directed against the watercourses or against the sea when he came back with his chariots of deliverance?” 

“I don’t know,” Ben admitted. “But clearly pestilence went before him and disease followed behind him.” They both watched as all over the earth people were wailing and lamenting as fear flooded over them. 

“For so long,” Kristiana realized, “they had foolishly said in their hearts that there was no King, no Creator. Now, for the first time since the Fall, the Adamites could see directly into the other realm beyond the veil and they realized that death would soon be upon them.” The Chronicles focused on Yeshua again, who, with a nod gave the command to Gabriel and the other commanders of his army; each knew their mission: to gather all the things that offend out of Yeshua’s kingdom. “Who among us can live with the consuming fire?” Therion’s chief commander asked. “Who among us can live with everlasting flames?” 

“The great day of Yeshua’s wrath has come, and who is able to endure it?” many around the world struggled to say being short of breath and barely able to vocalize their words as fear gripped them tenaciously. All who were able traveled as fast as they could to their underground bunkers and even entire cities they had built for themselves in the caves and among the rocks in the mountains. They shut the reinforced nuclear-blast doors of their secret underground command posts around the world. 

They imagined that, under the cover of the mountains and rocks, they could hide themselves from the face of the one who sat on the throne and from the wrath of Yeshua. 

“At last,” Isaiah said to John as they rode their horses among Yeshua’s army, “their lofty looks are humbled. Their haughtiness is bowed down, and the King alone shall be exalted this day. Everything proud and lofty, all of the high towers of the Adamites, every fortified wall, and every ship shall be brought to ruin today.” 

“They wanted to be gods,” John responded, “by taking the mark of Therion and transforming their DNA and they wanted to lift themselves up to the highest place. But all they can do now is go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the great King and the glory of his majesty, now that he has arisen to shake the earth mightily.” 

In just a few moments they circled the earth and arrived back where they started; they flew east to west over Teman-Jordan, the area of Bozrah, where the other Hebrews who had heeded Yeshua’s warning had fled when they saw the destructive abomination set up by Oracle, and were being protected from the awful time of trouble. Yeshua’s eyes were fixed on rescuing those who had recently called upon Him in the Lower Jerusalem. 

Panel Discussion Decoding the End Times!

The Decoding the End Times Bible prophecy conference will include exciting talks by Bill Salus, Douglas Krieger, Rob Skiba, Brian Godawa, Gonz Shimura, Doug Hamp, and Canary Cry Radio. Topics will include the image of the beast, Nephilim, a graphic look at the second coming and Armageddon, the genetics of the mark of the beast, signs of the last days, and more! In this panel discussion the speakers share what they are going to be speaking about at the conference!
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Seeing the Suffering the Servant – (Excerpt from The Millennium Chronicles)

The men were all staring at the floor coming to grips with the implications of the evidence.

Many minutes passed.

“There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,” one of the men finally said breaking the silence. “There was nothing to attract us to him. He was even despised and rejected just as we are.”

“A man of sorrows,” Caleb’s mother added.

“Very familiar with suffering,” another interjected, “and just like we are, like one from whom people hide their faces.”

“Yes it’s true; we despised him,” Reu’el pined.

“And we did not value him,”[i] another said. Then there was silence for several minutes.

Caleb looked around and could see tears beginning to well up in the eyes of all the men as the truth began to set in.

“All these centuries,” Reu’el continued choking up a bit, “we turned our backs on him and looked the other way.”[ii] No one said a word as the gravity of the realization that the one they had rejected was the only one that could save them now fully sank in.

“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried!” they all mouthed the painful words that began bringing them healing and restoration. “It was our sorrowsthat weighed him down.”

“We wandered away like sheep!” yet another Knesset member admitted candidly. “We have left Adonai’s ways to follow our own. Yet Adonai laid on him all of our rebellion and treason.”[iii]

“We…we thought,” one of the elders stuttered over his words, “thought his troubles were a punishment from Adonai for his own evil!” He said while choking on his words, dumbstruck how Yeshua had been oppressed and treated harshly. “Like a lamb led to the slaughter he didn’t say anything as they led him away to his death.”[iv]

“True. But actually he was crushed for our evil,” Caleb’s father acknowledged. “He was beaten that we might have peace.”

“He was whipped,” Sha’ul said overcome with grief when he finally realized that Yeshua had given up his life-force for his and his people’s wrongdoing, suffering for their violations though he had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone, yet died like a criminal and was put in a rich man’s grave,[v] “– and yet we are healed!” They all looked around the room understanding the conclusion they had come to. They were overcome in a wave of emotion. Hot tears rolled down the cheeks of the men. The women too were crying as they also meditated on their stance toward their gentle deliverer.

“It is like a veil has been lifted from our eyes,” Reu’el said, “and now we can see that it was Adonai’s good plan to crush Yeshua and fill him with grief. Yet when Yeshua saw all that was accomplished by his anguish, he was satisfied, because of the joy set before him.”[vi] The gravity of having rejected the Promised One, the seed of the woman, overwhelmed them; for the first time the leadership of the Hebrews had acknowledged their offense of rejecting the one sent to deliver them.

A gentle wind suddenly blew a fragrance more delightful than roses into the room. “Yet even now,” they heard a faint, breathy whisper say, “Turn back to me with your whole heart. Turn back to me your King for I am gracious and compassionate, slow to become angry, overflowing in kindness.”[vii] Adonai was infusing them with the desire to seek his face with all of their hearts, to discover his great power so that they would petition him as they looked to him, the one whom they had pierced.

Caleb looked around the room. Everyone was weeping bitterly just like they would mourn at the death of an only child! Each person was lamenting alone in profound sorrow, terribly broken and agonizing over the centuries of rejecting their Promised One[viii] – the very one who loved them more than any other. Their hearts were broken with contrition[ix] as they desperately called out to the one they had despised. Their hearts were vexed realizing all the misery that might have been avoided if they had embraced him sooner. They realized that Adonai had consequently given Yeshua the honors of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death, had been counted among those who were doers of wickedness and had born the wrongdoing of many and interceded for wrongdoers.[x] Their tears continued to flow for a very long time as they realized that the one that they had rejected was the one who was still waiting for them to welcome him back.



[i] Isa 53:3

[ii] Isa 53:2, 3

[iii] Isa 53:4-6

[iv] Isa 53:7-9

[v] Isa 53:8, 9

[vi] Heb 12:2

[vii] Joel 2:13

[viii] Zech 12:10, 12

[ix] Isa 66:2

[x] Isa 53:10-12

Does “The Thief in the Night” Phrase Refer to the Rapture or the Second Coming?

The Second Coming is Like a Thief in the Night

As a boy I remember an evening when our church showed the movie “A Thief in the Night.” I remember the opening scene of the woman running to the bathroom looking for her husband, only to discover the electric razor running and abandoned in the sink – her husband obviously raptured all the while the radio explained the disappearance of perhaps millions of people around the world.

The basis of the movie was derived from 1 Thessalonians 5 where “the Day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.” (1Thess 5:2 NKJV) The opening scene made a lasting impression on me and millions of more Americans that the rapture will come unexpectedly and without warning, just like a thief in the night!

It is commonly argued that “the thief in the night” must refer to the rapture and cannot refer to the second coming because that would be obvious as people would simply need to read their Bible; Dr. Dwight J. Pentecost, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, writes in his book Things to Come

If the Day of the Lord did not begin until the second advent, since that event is preceded by signs, the Day of the Lord could not come as a “thief in the night,” unexpected, and unheralded, as it is said it will come in 1 Thessalonians  5:2. The only way this could break unexpectedly upon the world is to have it begin immediately after the rapture of the church.[1]

The supposed problem is resolved in the rest of the 1 Thessalonians 5 passage. Unfortunately, many people stop reading at verse two and do not continue to see to whom Jesus will come as a thief; He is coming ‘as a thief’ to those not expecting him, that is, to those in darkness! The language is clear that “they” – the ones in darkness, are the ones to whom sudden destruction will come and “you,” the brethren, are sons of light, not darkness. The day of the Lord will not be as a thief to the brethren meaning it could not refer to the rapture itself but rather to the day Jesus comes back.

For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them…and they shall not escape. (1Thess 5:3 NKJV) But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. (1Thess 5:3-4 NKJV) You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. (1Thess 5:5 NKJV)

Jesus’ own usage of the concept of him coming as a thief is in relation to the unprepared homeowner who does not know the time that the thief would come and let his house be broken into for “if the homeowner had known at what time the thief were coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into.” (Luke 12:39; see also Matt 24:43) The timing of a thief is a complete surprise to people who are in darkness, who are sleeping and not paying attention.

The people who are not paying attention are the non-believers which Jesus exemplifies in his exhortation to the church of Sardis, the dead church, whose names are ready to be blotted out of the book of life. (Rev 3:5) Because they were considered dead and were therefore not counted as sons of light, Jesus’ coming would be to them as a thief because they were not alert. He admonished them that they must repent for if they do not and were “not alert, I will come like a thief, and you won’t know the time when I will come to you. (Rev 3:3 ISV) Again, we see that his coming will be as a thief and it will be at a time that they do not expect and when he comes, sudden destruction will come upon them. (1Thes 5:3) We must consider that the phrase “thief in the night” appears not to apply to the event known as the rapture, but applies to the actual second coming of Jesus, that is, the day that he returns.

As further evidence of this, we turn to Rev 16:14 where Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet open their mouths and something like frogs come out to go to deceive the whole world to bring them together for the battle of the great day of God at the place called Armageddon. The timing therefore is toward the end of the time of Jacob’s trouble (the second half of the seven year period filled with intense suffering never experienced before on earth). The nations are getting ready for their final attack against Jerusalem for the battle known as Armageddon (explained in chapter …) It is here in the text, sandwiched between verses 14 and 16, that Jesus strongly admonished the armies of the world by saying he was coming as a thief.

They are demonic spirits that perform signs. They go to the kings of the whole earth and gather them for the war of the great Day of God Almighty. “See, I am coming like a thief. How blessed is the person who remains alert and keeps his clothes on! He won’t have to go naked and let others see his shame.” The spirits gathered the kings to the place that is called Armageddon in Hebrew. (Rev 16:14-16 ISV)

It is no accident that Jesus’ admonition is placed there – He has graciously warned the rebels one last time of what will happen at his return and anyone who does not have a garment of Yeshuáh on at that point will be in a world of hurt and will suffer exposed to his glory forever because he will have to go naked and others see his shame.” (See Appendix: Garment of Yeshua) The fact that Jesus directs the exhortation to those gathering together for the day of battle demonstrates that the Day of the Lord coming as a thief in the night can only be a reference to the second coming of Jesus which is the very day that he returns to planet earth in a blaze of glory and flames of fire. The basic thesis of the movie “A Thief in the Night” has incorrectly applied the phrase to the rapture. The day coming like a thief is coming to those who are not anticipating the Lord’s return. Coming like a thief means it is sudden and is a big surprise!

All the nations of the world will be in utter shock and dumbfounded by Jesus coming because they arrogantly and boastfully gather themselves together against Jerusalem in order to lay it waste. The following verses demonstrate how all of the nations will be coming against Jerusalem in order to (successfully) destroy it and hence when Jesus comes back, they will be sorely surprised.

  • I will make Jerusalem a heavy weight; so everyone who burdens themselves with it will be crushed, even though all of the nations of the earth gather themselves against it. (Zech 12:3 ISV)
  • Let the nations be awakened and come to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; because I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, because the harvest is ripe. Come and go down, because the winepress is full. The wine vats are overflowing, because their evil is great! (Joel 3:12-13 ISV)
  • Now many nations have gathered against you, saying, ‘Let her be defiled,’ and ‘Let’s look down on Zion.’ (Mic 4:11 ISV)

They fully anticipate that they will be victorious in their battle efforts just as Pharaoh imagined he would be when he mustered his army against Israel by the Red Sea. Imagine the incredible surprise he felt as the walls of water came crashing over him. So too will the nations of the earth be utterly shocked when the heavens roll back and there stands Jesus. Habakkuk records that at Jesus’ return, “He stood up and shook the land; with his stare he startled the nations.” (Hab 3:6 ISV) The nations are startled because they were not expecting him, which only serves to prove that His second coming is like a thief in the night.

The book of Zephaniah also records how the day of God’s wrath will bring a sudden end to the nations which will come as a terrible surprise.

in the Day of the Lord’s wrath; but the entire land will be consumed by the fire of his jealousy, for he will bring the inhabitants of the land to a sudden end…the Day of the Lord’s wrath [which] surprises you (Zeph 1:18; 2:2 ISV)

The Thief in the Night in 2 Peter

The element of the surprise is confirmed in 2 Peter, perhaps the most significant passage concerning the day of the Lord. Because the heavens pass away in the passage, Dr Pentecost and others argue that the Day of the Lord must include the millennium because they understand the heavens to pass away afterward. However, our study of 2Peter 3:10 will prove that the heavens pass away the day that Jesus returns.

First of all, we need to consider the context of the chapter: Peter is discussing the return of Jesus and answering the mockery of the skeptics who ridicule “What happened to the Messiah’s promise to return? Ever since our ancestors died, everything continues as it did from the beginning of creation.” (2Pet 3:4 ISV) Peter then reminds his readers that the mockers have “deliberately ignore the fact that long ago the heavens existed and the earth was formed by God’s word out of water and with water, by which the world at that time was deluged with water and destroyed.” (2Pet 3:5-6 ISV) The judgment of God is absolutely certain, Peter concludes because just as the world was destroyed by water, a future judgment will destroy it by fire. “Now by that same word, the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire and are being kept for the day when ungodly people will be judged and destroyed.” (2Pet 3:7 ISV) Concerning Jesus’ apparent tardiness, Peter says that in the Lord’s economy a day is like a thousand years and vice versa. His delay is due to his patience and desire that all should come to repentance. However, just like the unsuspecting people in Noah’s day who, according to Jesus “were unaware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away – that’s how it will be when the Son of Man comes.” (Matt 24:39 ISV)

Peter obviously took his cues from Jesus and so he tells his readers that just as people were caught off guard on the very day the flood waters came and swept them away, so too the very day Jesus returns, will be as surprise, it will come like a thief.

But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day [en he ἐν ἡ] the heavens will disappear with a roaring sound, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be exposed. (2Pet 3:10 ISV)

Peter is not telling his readers anything new; he is simply reiterating either what is in the Hebrew Scriptures (his Bible back then) or, in this case, what Jesus directly said: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. (Matt 25:13 NKJV)

Jesus ties then known day and hour specifically to when “Heaven and earth will pass away…” (Matt 24:35 NKJV) It is the day that the heavens and earth pass away will be completely unannounced and unheralded. The event will be a big surprise to everyone – even to the angels. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matt 24:36 NKJV)

The day in question is not referring to a pre-tribulation event (such as the rapture) but specifically to the day that Jesus returns which aligns perfectly Peter’s reference to the heavens and earth passing away on the Day of the Lord.  Peter then follows up his exposition of the Day of the Lord with a similar exhortation to watch or look because that is the day when (in which) the heavens will be set ablaze and the elements of the earth dissolved.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, think of the kind of holy and godly people you ought to be as you look forward to and hasten the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved and the elements will melt with fire. (2Pet 3:11, 12 ISV)

He closes his exhortation with the hope that we have that once Messiah comes he will set up a new era including a new heavens and new earth. “But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” (2Pet 3:13 ISV) His reference to righteousness dwelling in the new age appears to be a reference to Isaiah 11 where Messiah Jesus will rule over a new creation in which even the animals are at perfect harmony with mankind.

But with righteousness he will judge the needy, and decide with equity for earth’s poor. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and the wicked will be killed with the breath of his lips. Righteousness will be the sash around his loins, and faithfulness the belt around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb; the leopard will lie down with the young goat. The calf and the lion will graze together, and a little child will lead them. At that time, as to the root of Jesse, who will be standing as a banner for the peoples, the nations will rally to him, and his resting place is glorious. (Isa 11:4-6, 10 ISV)

Peter was looking forward to the new heavens and earth, specifically mentioned in Isaiah 65:17, as well as the general abundance of righteousness described in Isaiah 11 and other passages.  There will be an obvious need for new heavens because the (current) heavens and earth will pass away at Jesus coming, which Jesus, Peter, Isaiah (Isa 34:4) and others have said. The next question however, is what exactly does it mean that the heavens will pass away?

The Heavens Pass Away

According to Peter, the surprising and unexpected day Jesus comes back (“the Day of the Lord will come like a thief”) is when the heavens will pass away (“on that day [en he ἐν ἡ] the heavens will disappear with a roaring sound,”). It is also the day that the creation will begin to melt like wax and all of man’s works will be destroyed by fire (“the elements will be destroyed by fire”), and the earth and everything done on it will be exposed. (2Pet 3:10 ISV)

This verse clearly shows the unexpectedness of the day in which end-of-the-world events will take place! The heavens will pass away, the elements (stoixia στοιχεῖα), the base materials of the world,[2] will dissolve, and the works of men will be exposed to God.

where we discover that in (or on) the Day of the Lord, which comes like a thief, the heavens will pass away and the earth will be destroyed by fire.  We must not miss that it is on that very day (not a seven year period and not one thousand years) on that very day that the heavens will disappear.

But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day [en he ἐν ἡ] the heavens will disappear with a roaring sound, the elements will be destroyed by fire… (2Pet 3:10 ISV)

The evidence is overwhelming that the Day of the Lord is the day that Jesus comes back and is not referring to a pre-tribulational event, regardless of what we believe about the timing of the rapture itself. Another look at 2 Peter 3 will help us to understand the events of that day better.

 


[1] Dr. Dwight J. Pentecost, Things to Come, pp. 230.

[2] BDAG στοιχεῖον “basic components of something, elements of substances underlying the natural world, the basic elements fr. which everything in the world is made and of which it is composed”

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Douglas examines the Scriptural  clues of Satan’s final rebellion when the 1000 years have expired and he and the nations come up against the beloved city.  Further clues considered to unlock this strange passage:
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