Click on header to return to print index


A Study in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5

Like A Thief

We continue our study in the Not Destined for Wrath series as we look through scriptures that contain "like a thief."

Pre-tribbers insist when scripture describes passages of "like a thief" or "a thief in the night," they refer to Jesus' "secret coming" at the pre-trib rapture. The Following are verses that refer to "the thief."

In Matthew 24, Jesus was telling His disciples to watch for the signs of His coming. And He told them His coming is after the tribulation. Jesus gives further instruction of His coming:

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day the 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."

                                                                                                                   Matthew 24:42-44 NIV

He said if the house owner would have known what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been prepared! He told his disciples to keep watch because they don't know what time of the day He will come. 

In the book of Revelation, Jesus had this warning for the church in Sardis:

"Wake up. Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."


Revelation 3:2-3 NIV

Jesus warned them about their deeds. He told them to "wake up" and strengthen what remains, obey what they heard and received and repent or He will come upon them "like a thief," and they will not know what time He comes to them.
In Peter's second letter, he describes the day of the Lord:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of the God and speed its coming. 


2 Peter 3:10-14 NIV


Peter said the day of the Lord will come like a thief. And at that day, the Heavens will disappear and the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth will be laid bare. This is another indication "like a thief" is after the tribulation. 


As we look further in Revelation John describes the bowls of wrath. At the sixth bowl:


The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and it's water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for battle on that great day of God Almighty.

"Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is the man who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and shamefully exposed."

Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne saying, "It is done."


Revelation 16:12-16 NIV

The angel pours out the sixth bowl which dries up the Euphrates River in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east. Spirits of demons who perform miraculous signs come out of Satan, the Anti-christ and his false prophet in order to gather them (the kings) for battle on that great day of God Almighty. They gather them for the battle at Armageddon, which comes after the tribulation. Notice, Jesus says He will come "like a thief," during the time which is clearly after the tribulation!

As we end this section, these references of "a thief" occur after the tribulation and not before!