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According to the Bible, “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10, NKJV; see also 1 Thessalonians 5:2). But does this mean that He will come in secret and take the saved while leaving the wicked behind? No, it does not. This same text, which says Jesus will come as a thief in the night, also says the heavens will pass away with a great noise. That will not be kept a secret!
So, what does it mean for Jesus to appear “as a thief in the night”? “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief,” says the apostle Paul. You are all sons of the sun and sons of the light. We are not of the night or of the dark. As a result, let us not sleep as others do, but rather watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6, NKJV). Those who are not watching and waiting for Jesus will be surprised by His arrival. It will strike them as a thief in the night. His people, however, who are not of the night or of darkness, will be looking for Him.
The Lord's "Day" arrives as a thief in the night
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Both 2 Peter 3:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:2 refer to the “day” of the Lord coming as a thief, rather than the “night” of the Lord coming as a thief. The verse's meaning is completely altered as a result of this. In fact, the sentence's subject is "day," and the phrase modifying the subject is "of the Lord." Christians are to keep an eye out and be prepared for the Lord's "day," which will come unexpectedly, but once it arrives, it will not be hidden. When Jesus returns, it will be very clear!
Are you going to be raptured or left behind?
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But doesn't Matthew 24:37-42 state that when Jesus returns, some people will be taken away while others will be left behind? Let's wait and see what Matthew says. “However, just as Noah's days were, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. For just as they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage in the days before the flood, until the day Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field: one will be taken and the other will be left. At the mill, two women will be grinding: one will be taken and the other will be left.
According to Matthew, when Jesus returns, it will be as it was during Noah's time—some people will be saved (left) and others will be destroyed (taken). Looking at Matthew's wording more closely, those who are "taken" when Jesus returns are those who are lost, taken away, and destroyed by the brightness of His coming (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
Consider this: imagine a flood has swept through your town. Those who escaped were left behind by the flood waters, while those who died were carried away by the water. Furthermore, in the parallel passage of Luke 17:37, Jesus' 12 apostles ask, "Where Lord?" in reference to those who are taken. “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather,” Jesus responds. As a result, Jesus explains once more that those who are taken will be destroyed, as symbolized by the gathering of vultures seeking to consume the dead. As a result, we can conclude that the Bible does not support the concept of a secret rapture for the saved.
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