The Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
–1 Thessalonians 5:2
Whenever we address the subject of Bible prophecy, some people are skeptical. They think Bible prophecy has absolutely no relevance to their everyday life. Most people feel like they are too busy trying to keep their jobs, pay the bills, or keep their children in line to be worried about the mark of the beast in Revelation 16. Other people say, “Well, if the world is going to end anyway, if God has already fixed on His calendar when Christ is going to return, why should I bother about that? I will just sit and wait until the end.”
But we need to understand how important warnings are. In Dallas, we know to listen for tornado sirens during storms. Those sirens warn us that danger is approaching and we need to make the appropriate preparations. Those who ignore those warnings do so at their own peril. It is the same way with the second coming of Jesus. The Bible says there are signs that are going to precede His coming. We need to be aware of them so that we can prepare for His return. Those who aren’t prepared face very real danger.
Another reason to study prophecy is the significance of prophecy in the Bible. In Bible study, we have something we call the law of proportion. This says you can tell how important a subject is to God by how much space in the Bible is devoted to that subject. If it is an important subject, then it gets a lot of space. If it is not an important subject, then not much space is devoted to it. When we come to the subject of prophecy, how often does the Bible speak about it? An overwhelming 25 percent of the Bible is given to predictive prophecy. In the Old Testament, there are over 1,800 references to the second coming of Christ. And of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are more than 300 references to Jesus’s return. That is one out of every 30 verses. And 23 of the 27 books of the New Testament feature the return of Jesus as a prominent theme. For every prophecy in the Bible about the first coming of Jesus, there are eight about the second coming of Jesus. It is the primary theme of Scripture.
Paul spends a great deal of 1 Thessalonians talking about the Rapture of the church. And following the Rapture will be the time of Tribulation, known as the day of the Lord. Paul said, “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober” (5:1-6). God wants us to be alert to what is happening in the world today.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Who Do We Forgive?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.