[Gary] The idea of a thief in your house is terrifying.
The Bible says that the Day of the Lord will come "as a thief in the night." The Day of the Lord is described as destruction, famine, plagues and unbelievable natural disasters on a global scale culminating in the return of Jesus Christ.
How could you be surprised by these events?
On Beyond Today, we're going to show you how to prepare so that you are not caught unawares by the coming "Thief in the Night."
[Announcer] Join our host, Gary Petty and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Gary] It is a frightening experience to have a thief break into your house in the middle of the night. The sanctity of your home is violated. You fear for the lives of your children.
Now, how would you prepare if you knew that a thief was planning to break into your house say, next Tuesday? Would you get a security system? Talk with the police? Make sure your family isn't home on that night?
One thing is for sure; you wouldn't sit around and do nothing!
Jesus told His disciples about the days before His second coming. He described a time when nations will crumble under the devastation of war. Disease epidemics will overwhelm medical facilities. Lack of food will cause starvation in countries throughout the world. Moral norms and civility will cease to exist as human beings are driven by the compulsion to survive.
Then Jesus made this amazing statement, "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:43-44).
How can you follow Jesus' instructions to "be ready" so that you aren't caught off guard by the coming terrible time? Is it a matter of hoarding food or constructing maybe, a concrete bunker? Should you arm your family with automatic weapons like some doomsday prepper? Maybe burying gold in the backyard can prepare you for the Day of the Lord?
On Beyond Today, we're going to explore how you can do what Jesus said and be ready for the horrifying events of the Day of the Lord so that it doesn't catch you as a thief in the night.
So first, let's look at what the Bible means by the Day of the Lord. The biblical Day of the Lord denotes a time when God directly intervenes in human history against evil. In the fullest sense, the term applies to the time when God violently judges a rebellious humanity before the second coming of Jesus Christ. A time when Jesus, the Son of God who once came to this earth as a human baby, slays thousands of soldiers who fight against Him.
Many people have - and I realize some of you - have a difficult time thinking of God as judging or punishing people.
Let's look at it this way. Think about all the evil that is in our world - hatred, war, prejudice, crime, mass killings, governments that torture and starve their own citizens. The 18th century English statesman, Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." This truism is even more profound when applied to God. You see, the only thing necessary for evil to destroy humanity is for God to do nothing.
The Creator of humanity will only allow evil to flourish for a limited time before He intervenes. There is coming a time in the future when God will intercede in human history to stop the horrors of evil. Humanity, unfortunately, will resist their Creator and it will be a time of desolation like no other time in human history.
Will this time come upon you as a shadowy, unknown thief in the night?
A helpful way to understand the future Day of the Lord is to first understand a previous Day of the Lord. Now that Day of the Lord is explained in the mysterious Old Testament book of prophecy, simply known by the name of the author - the book of Joel.
Judah was a wealthy and powerful nation blessed by God, but they had become morally complacent. Their heartfelt worship of God slid into empty ritual. Dishonesty and violence was commonplace. They traded the sanctity of their marriages for sexual perversions. The people of Judah took great pride in being believers in the true God, but their abundance led them to lifestyles that were really no different than their neighbors who didn't even know God.
When Joel wrote this book they had suffered a devastating locust plague. Now Joel describes how the crops were eaten down to nubs. Fig trees, apple trees, even palm trees were void of fruit or leaves. The entire country was an apocalyptic scene of devastation reminiscent of the 1930s Dust Bowl here in the United States.
Let's get an idea of what Joel described. How do we do that?
Well there was a locust plague - a locust swarm across the entire Middle East back in 1915. John Whiting graphically described the plague in National Geographic . Hordes of insects darkened the sky. The ground looked like an undulating carpet. Trees were stripped of leaves, even their bark until they stood out like white skeletons. An Arab baby left in the field was literally eaten alive. The stench was unbearable and of course, the effects on the region's economy was catastrophic.
This more modern event helps us see that ancient Judah, at the time of Joel, was a bleak wasteland. This locust plague, a Day of the Lord, according to Joel, wasn't God's final dealings with the people of Judah. It was just a warning. A warning of a more terrible judgment if they didn't repent. The prophet then told them, "For the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand;...A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations" (Joel 2:1-2).
Here Joel isn't writing about locusts. He is warning the Jews of something even more terrible. The people of Judah did not respond to Joel's message or heed the warning of the locust plague. Eventually, God allowed the Babylonians to invade their land, destroy the temple, lay waste to Jerusalem and take the Jews into captivity. Even though they were warned; they weren't ready for their Day of the Lord. It came upon them as a thief in the night.
Now this may be ancient history, but what is really amazing about this small book of prophecy of Joel - it is filled with predictions of a still future Day of the Lord. A time when you don't want to be caught unawares.
Joel wrote, Proclaim this among the nations..."Beat you plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears..." For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The Lord also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem" (Joel 3:9-16).
The entire last chapter of Joel predicts a Day of the Lord when the Lord will reign from Jerusalem. You see, this is still a future event! This hasn't happened yet.
God, through His biblical prophets, gives us warning of a future time when He will judge the nations. The people of ancient Judah didn't heed the message in the destruction of the locust plagues. Because people aren't heeding God's warning today, someday the judgment of God will come upon the entire world like a thief in the night. Will this day be a time of terror and plunder for you?
Well, this is why it's so important that you get our free Bible study guide, The Book of Revelation Unveiled . You don't want to be caught unawares.
With the right keys to understanding Revelation, you'll unlock the mysteries of this book. You'll understand the seven seals and the seven trumpets, and you'll see how Satan wages an all-out war against God's people. Like everything we offer on Beyond Today , this study is absolutely free. Call: 1-888-886-8632, or read it online at BeyondToday.tv .
There is no more controversial segment of the entire Bible than the last book - Revelation. This book is filled with vivid images of heavenly signs, and beasts, and hailstorms, horsemen spreading war and disease, seas turning to blood, heavenly trumpets blasting, human beings crying out for death and then the return of Jesus Christ to establish God's Kingdom on this earth.
In Revelation 1:10 the apostle John wrote, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day…" You know, most Christians believe that John was referring to Sunday. In traditional Christianity, Sunday is known as the Lord's Day. Well there's a problem - this is not what the Bible means by the Lord's Day. John isn't writing about Sunday as a day of worship. In fact, there isn't one instance in the Old or New Testaments where the Lord's Day or Day of the Lord refers to Sunday. John is writing about the future Day of the Lord predicted by Joel, many other Old Testament prophets, Jesus and New Testament writers like Paul and Peter.
In John's vision, humanity is deceived by the power of Satan, and degenerates into a period of violence and destruction like no other time in history. God finally intervenes with a series of judgments, each announced by a heavenly trumpet blast heard around the globe.
Now here's what Revelation reveals about the seven trumpets that herald the Day of the Lord - the time of God's judgment on evil, a time that will catch many people like a thief in the night.
Well the First Trumpet (Revelation 8:6-7): this heavenly trumpet blast announces hail and fire which destroys a third of all trees and green grass. And still, the vast majority of humanity doesn't respond and turn to God in humility or obedience.
The Second Trumpet sounds (Revelation 8:8-9) and one third of the seas become blood, one third of sea creatures die, and one third of ships are destroyed. Imagine watching this unfold on TV or the internet! Would you be surprised? Would you wonder why these events are happening?
When the Third Trumpet sounds (Revelation 8:10-11) a third of fresh water turns bitter. What if you had no fresh water? I mean, water is something most of us take for granted. How long could you survive without water?
Then the Fourth Trumpet (Revelation 8:12): the atmosphere decays so that one third of light is filtered out. You live in a state of semi-darkness. Food won't grow. Every moment of the day and night is filled with anxiety.
The Fifth Trumpet (Revelation 8:13; Revelation 9:1-12) announces a terrible world war. This is one of our greatest fears, I mean not just bombs raining down from the sky or bullets filling the air, but nuclear and chemical weapons that leave us no place to hide.
The Sixth Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21) and the war expands with the involvement of Asian powers from the East.
Then sounds the most frightening of all the trumpet judgments of God. The Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 16:2-21) announces sores, mass death of sea creatures, fresh water turned to blood, the sun scorches the earth, there is a great earthquake and hail. And armies gather to bring about the final great battle that brings all of humanity to the very brink of extinction.
Will these events come upon you like a thief in the night? Will you be spiritually prepared?
Well there is some good news here. The good news is that these seven trumpets culminate in the return of Jesus Christ to stop humanity from self destruction. He establishes a new one world government that creates peace and prosperity. He brings healing for the environment. And thankfully, over time, war, crime, poverty and starvation will just become words children read about in history books.
It is difficult to imagine that these trumpet blasts and judgments from God will catch most of humanity by surprise. How could people - people with Bibles - miss these warnings? Yet, Jesus said that for those who aren't ready, this time will come as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:43-44). Of course, then again, if you believe that God would never judge or punish someone, then believe me these actions will come as a surprise.
In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul tells Christians about how to prepare for the Day of the Lord. He wrote, "For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night...And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief, You are all sons of light and sons of the day" (1 Thessalonians 5:2-5).
Preparing for the Day of the Lord isn't about building a bomb shelter or stockpiling guns and ammunition. The Day of the Lord won't happen as a violent intruder to those who are children of light - those who are spiritually prepared.
Now, Paul gives three ways here, this passage, to be spiritually prepared. Write these down:
One: Be spiritually awake!
Paul says to us: "Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night" (1 Thessalonians 5:6-7).
You must get control of the busyness of life, the intrusive obsession with social technologies, the mindless entertainment, and the discouragement of living in a failing society. Spend more time in prayer. Spend more time in this book - in the Bible. And spend more time in meaningful relationships with fellow "Day of the Lord preppers."
Paul said that "those who get drunk are drunk in the night." It is time for Christians to stop being seduced by money, cars and clothing. God is warning people to turn from the lifestyles of sexual permissiveness, substance abuse and greed. These lifestyles cause the very spiritual stupor that will let us forget that the thief is coming.
You also have to reject the counterfeit Christianity that encourages people to accept Jesus but ignores His teachings!
Second point: Live by faith!
Notice how the apostle Paul phrases it: "But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love..." (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
You must trust in God to bless you when dishonesty seems like the only way to be successful and you decide to be honest. You must trust God to help you do what is right even when everyone else around you is doing wrong. You must trust in God to supply you a way of escape when the thief of the Day of the Lord breaks down your front door.
And then. Number three: Turn to God!
Those who turn to God no longer have an appointment with the wrath of the Day of the Lord.
Paul wrote, "...and as helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9).
And salvation is more than physical escape. God is offering you the opportunity to escape this hopelessness of the human condition and receive eternal life as a child in His family.
Pick up your Bible and study Paul's instructions in 1 Thessalonians 5. You can be prepared and escape the coming wrath of God.
And, by the way, this is why you need to request your free copy of our helpful study guide: The Book of Revelation Unveiled . This study guide will aid you in answering so many of the questions you have about the book of Revelation.
And when you order The Book of Revelation Unveiled we'll also send you a free subscription to The Good News . This special magazine will help you sort through the confusion of world events, give you insight into the practical teachings of the Bible and help you prepare for the future.
Now to order your free copy of The Book of Revelation Unveiled and receive a free subscription to The Good News , call - remember this number: 1-888-886-8632. That's right, you've got to pick up the phone and call: 1-888-886-8632. Now if you live outside of North America, you can write to the address on your screen [Beyond Today, PO BOX 541027, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45254, USA]. You can also read The Good News online at BeyondToday.tv . There you will find many Beyond Today video programs, articles and booklets about end time prophecies. You can easily search through this wealth of information.
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Well I'd like to welcome fellow Beyond Today hosts, Darris McNeely and Steve Myers. We've been talking about the Day of the Lord and how the apostle Paul warned that for many, surprisingly, this time will come as a thief in the night. Now God gives us all these prophetic warnings, yet, it is amazing to think that people will be caught unawares by this. Why?
[Steve] Maybe part of it comes back to the fact that things in the book of Revelation are hard to understand at times. So what is reality and what's just a metaphor? And so often people try to say, well that's just a story. It's just, not what really is going to happen. But, boy this theme comes back over, and over, and over again throughout the Bible and so it is reality. And so, you've got to be ready for that and God says, be ready!
[Gary] You know I've actually had people ask me, can I be ready for this time by physically saving up food? Can I, whatever... build a bunker or something? We look at what this is - the Day of the Lord, there's no way to physically prepare for this is there?
[Darris] No, there really isn't. We've been living in survivalist times for the last 50 or more years. I can remember going into my junior high school locker room - it was a civil defense fallout shelter - as I was getting ready for the physical education class. You had water, food, blankets all stored up there. It was a survivalist mode. Those are gone. And yet, people still have these ideas that you can prepare for this, but in the reality is even if you think that you can, and would try to, you would be setting yourself up for being a prey for those people who are without and have not prepared for that. So there is a problem even there and trying to prepare for all of this. But, the scale that is described in Revelation and Joel is something that you cannot physically be prepared for.
[Steve] If you read through those seals, read through those plagues at the end, there is no survival. There is no bunker that is going to save you. There is no compound. There is no number of assault weapons that is going to save you from that sort of thing. So it cannot be a physical type of thing that is going to save you. It's got to be something else.
[Gary] Well it is the Day of the Lord. You can't hide from God! People think they can hide from God. So this means we get back to what Paul was talking about here where he said that we have to be spiritually awake, living by faith and turning to God. How can we do this in our lives?
[Darris] By being awake - that very first point that you brought out there and awaking to the reality that the Bible is true. That it does describe our present age and that it also describes the reality of the spiritual dimension that one day will intrude upon this physical world in this very event - the Day of the Lord, that is God's time of judgment. And it will begin to bring about the justice, the judgment and the restoration of all things that the Bible talks about as we pass through this period of trial in preparation for what lies beyond.
[Steve] Yeah, if you are going to wake up, you better know God. James 4:8 talks about the fact that, draw near to God and He'll draw near to you. And so you better know God. You better know what His Word says. And so, most people don't know their Bible. They don't understand who the true God is. They don't have a relationship with God and so, you've got to start at square one and develop a relationship with God so you can be ready, so you can be watching, so you can be prepared in order for that time that is supposed to come.
[Darris] And I think it also comes down to living with the reality that there is no thought, nothing hidden from God, and in that day those thoughts, those actions, all will be revealed. And living with that reality in our mind, and living a pure, as pure a life as we can and getting to the reality that, yeah, God does know us. We can't hide from Him.
[Steve] And that's ultimately what God is after. If you read through that section of Revelation that talks about those bowls or those vials that are poured out. It's interesting, and I think it's the fourth and the fifth one, where it says after all these terrible things, people still don't repent. And God is looking for that. He wants all men to come to life and to repent, and He says He wants them to repent! And that's the ultimate goal and yet people don't do that. So they don't, they don't order their lives so that they are right with God.
[Gary] Which brings us to where we really are now in that, this can be a message of hope. I mean we read through all these things and it seems bleak and terrible. But this can be a message of hope for those who repent now, that turn to God now. In fact, what I read here from a few minutes ago, what Paul wrote. He said that, "[We are] as a helmet [to take on] the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9).
So this is a message of hope. This is a message of salvation.
[Darris} It's the only message of hope that is true and lasting, and in a sense, you look around the world today and you see people looking for hope but not able to find it. The scenario that Christ paints out that there is hope beyond the time of the thief in the night, the Day of the Lord and that's the only sure hope in which we can place ourselves.
[Gary] Because the Day of the Lord isn't the end for humanity.
[Steve] No, not at all. The hope is the return of Christ. And so we look forward to His return and that is really going to establish the fact that our only hope is in God and His establishing His government and what the future holds for eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
[Gary] So if you turn to Jesus Christ, you can do what He said. You can be ready. This doesn't have to come as a thief in the night to you. You can turn to God now, have God in your life now, and you can escape the coming wrath of God.
Now, remember what we're making available on today's program. Our study guide, The Book of Revelation Unveiled , and our magazine, The Good News . Both are yours free of charge. God has a purpose and plan for those who trust in Him. Get your life straightened out. Become a spiritual prepper. Read The Good News and The Book of Revelation Unveiled - both are absolutely free. All you have to do is pick up the telephone right now and call: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv .
A thief comes to plunder and steal. This horrific event of the coming Day of the Lord doesn't have to catch you unawares. Jesus Christ is returning to stop the madness. And you can have a part to play in His coming by allowing God to rule in your life right now by following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I'll be back right after this:
"You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for generations to come."
The Sabbath is a key to the Kingdom of God. The New Testament book of Hebrews says, "There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God."
Jesus and His followers kept the Sabbath and they still do today. God commands us to pause and reflect on His way of life. Take a break from the fast paced action of this world. Experience a rejuvenation of the mind and grow closer to Him. Join us as we explore the Sabbath and show how it is a key to the Kingdom of God.
The United Church of God is hosting free Kingdom of God Bible Seminars held around the world. Go to KOGSeminars.org to find one near you. Kingdom of God Bible Seminars - giving the message of hope for tomorrow - beginning today!
[Gary] And we're adding new seminar locations each week, so please check for times and places near you.
Thanks for joining us. Don't forget our free offers and be sure to tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again next week for another edition of Beyond Today , and join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come." Thanks for watching.
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