Scripture Text – Matthew 24:3-14
The Star and the Sun
The deliverances of Enoch and Lot were sudden and quick. This illustrates the “thief aspect” of the Lord’s coming before the judgment falls upon the rest of the world. When the judgment falls and the Lord comes in His glorious appearing, “every eye” shall see Him. The Lord’s coming is represented as the rising of the Morning Star (Malachi 4). It is also spoken of as “lightning” which shines from one end of heaven to the other. The morning star appears at the darkest part of the night. It rises above the horizon suddenly just before the blackest part of the night. It is seen and greeted only by a few who are watching for it. The rest of the world is asleep. Only astronomers and heaven-gazers see the morning star. The sun, on the contrary, floods the whole world with light and awakens all nature. To the Church the coming of Christ is like the rising of the morning star. He speaks in Revelation to the faithful ones in Thyatira as follows:
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.” – Revelation 2:26-28.
Jesus Christ is the Morning Star of the believer. When He appears He will take His bride (the Church) home while the world is fast asleep. Then will follow the darkest brief period of tribulation between the appearing of the morning star and the sunrise. After this dark tribulation period the Sun of Righteousness will appear. This was promised through Malachi to Israel. After that terrible tribulation, when the Jews have endured the fires of their greatest testing and have acknowledged their Messiah, He will suddenly come to His temple in the glory of His second coming. Like the sun He will flood the world with the light of His glory, purify the earth with judgment, and bring in the glorious millennial reign. Israel shall be gathered safely in the land of Palestine and the nations shall be at peace, while the Church will reign with Christ over the earth. His coming will be “star rise then sunrise.” Between these two will be the day of judgment of our Lord.
The Thief is Near
How near this great day is we do not know, but we know that it is very near. One thing is certain: we are nearer that day now than we have ever been. Soon the Lord shall come as a thief in the night. There are many suggestions in this figure of the thief. It is for this reason that the coming of the Lord for His Church before the Tribulation is called in the Scripture a coming “as a thief.” For the true believer, however, Christ’s coming will not be like that of a thief. This applies only to those who know Him not. Paul in writing to the Thessalonian Christians, says:
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. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. – 1 Thessalonians 5:4–6.
Christians, are you watching for that day? Are you ready? Do not let that day “overtake you as a thief” and find you unprepared to meet Him. Many Christians are “waiting” for Him but they are not “watching.” They believe He is coming but they are not concerned about it. A man may wait and still not be ready. To be ready one must watch. A man in a railroad station may be waiting for the train and fall fast asleep, but the man who is watching for the train will be wide awake. O Christian, if you knew how near that day really was, how it would stir you to action! How you would cease to live for this old world, and set your affections on things above. I am sure that many of you would catch a vision of the need for getting the Gospel out in the few days we have left. You would do your utmost to get this word of loving warning out. Christian, awake. He is at the very door!
To Be Continued