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Favorite 19 Thief In The Night

May 11, 2017

Synopsis of June 05, 2014…… The Thief in the Night

2 Peter 3:10 – “But that Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night . . .”
1 Thessalonians 5:1 – “For you know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

Historical Pattern
The phrase, thief in the night, is yet another Hebrew idiom! This idiom refers to a practice mentioned in Leviticus 6:8-13 which states that the priest in charge must wear linen clothing and must keep the fires of the altar burning: “The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, . . . The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.”

The priests assigned to constantly watch over the altar fire and over the Menorah were never to fall asleep during their night of service. In order to insure that the priest(s) stayed awake, the High Priest would walk around the Temple looking for the priest(s). If a priest was found sleeping during a surprise visit, the High Priest would take hot coals from the altar fire, place some of the hot coals in a fire pan and take them over to the sleeping priest. He would then gently place the pan and hot coals under the sleeping priest’s clothing.

The priest’s linen clothing would soon be ignited in flames – clothing in those days did not have flame retardant chemicals imbedded into the cloth as do modern clothes. The guilty priest would have no choice but to leave his burning clothes and run burnt, naked, and ashamed back home. Quite a lesson not to fall asleep on the job or to be un-alert! It was this practice of surprise visits that according to Jewish tradition got the High Priest nicknamed “The Thief In The Night”!

Modern and Future Patterns
As individuals and as a church body, today’s people are not to fall asleep:
In Matthew 24:42-44, Yeshau says: “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

The word translated keep awake is an active verb meaning: to keep watching, to be keeping alert, to stay on the alert, and to stay awake. It expects active and concentrated behavior, to be continuously seeking. This is repeated in the phrase “Therefore . . . must be ready” which means: to be especially prepared, ready. Twice in one paragraph Yeshua commands us to be on the alert and ready, to know when the time is near, for he – our High Priest – may come upon us unexpectedly, exactly has did the High Priest in earlier times.

Mark 13:33-36 puts it this way: “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. . .  Therefore, be on the alert – for you do not know when the master of the house is coming . . . What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!” Three times in one paragraph Yeshua commands us to be on the alert and ready, to know when the time is near.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 –“ But you are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.”
Paul clearly says that the Christians who live like children of the day and of the light will not be surprised by this surprise visit. The living Church will know when Yeshua will come, even if she knows neither the day nor the hour! Only those who are the members of the dead Church will be surprised. Yeshua confirms this in his letter to the sleeping Church in Sardis: “I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” (Revelation 3:3). We are to pray that we will escape the consequences of falling asleep and be worthy to stand before Yeshua (Luke 21:36).

The Tribulation Thief
Revelation 16:15 – “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed are all who are watching for me and who keep their robes, not having to go about naked and exposed to shame.”
Falling asleep is equivalent to wearing linen clothing and having hot coals placed upon those clothes. And this is what Yeshua means to emphasize in the time of Great Tribulation when he warns that he will come like the “Thief In The Night”, burning up any clothing and causing sleeping individuals to walk naked and ashamed.

Conclusions
Revelation 3:3 – “Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.”. . . ”
The phrase “Thief In The Night” was a known Hebrew idiom during the first coming of Yeshua – it was a title applied to the High Priest. The consequence of falling asleep on the job always applied to the slothful, sleeping, and unprepared individual, not to an individual who was watching, waiting, obedient and prepared. The consequences for being asleep were, still are, and will be – severe. That asleep individual is left burnt, naked, and ashamed. The alert individual, however, is found worthy to stand before Yeshua, clothed in righteousness.

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One Comment
  1. I did not know that about the hot coals pants on fire!

    I’m awake!!

    Dave!

    PS: Can’t be long now, brother. September 23rd looks amazing, but I’m all for imminence as well!

    ––– Aldrich Design 17 Keane St., Lincoln, RI 02865 USA 401-651-2939 http://www.aldrichdesign.com >

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