1 THESS. v. 2. “The
day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
IF Scripture did not warrant this figure, in which the second
coming of the Lord is compared to the act of a felon
breaking into a house at night to plunder, we should not
have ventured on it. The comparison is suggested by our
Lord Himself, “Watch therefore, for ye know not what
hour your Lord doth come. If the good man of the house
had known in what hour the thief would come, he would
I. The day of the Lord. By this expression must be
meant a day in some unique sense His day; for all days
are, in reality, days of the Lord of time.
1. By “the day of the Lord” is meant that day on
which He will take the first place in the thoughts of His
2. It is the day on which He will bring the vast moral
account between Himself and His responsible creatures to
II. “As a thief in the night.” What are the ideas
suggested by this comparison?
1. It is suggestive of fear. The old prophets spoke of
the coming day of universal doom as “the great and terrible
day of the Lord,” and we cannot but echo their language.
But if we will, the Judge may be our Friend and Saviour.
It is during the years of time that men decide how they
will meet the judgment.
2. It is suggestive of suddenness. There is the contrast
which it will present to many of God’s judgments in this
present life. They approach with measured steps. Neither
war nor famine nor pestilence come, generally, like a thief
in the night. Are we looking out for this sudden advent?
A Christian’s first practical anxiety should be expressed
in His Master’s words, “Lest coming suddenly He find
3. It is suggestive of that which cannot be prevented by
our own efforts. We cannot prevent the coming of Christ
in the clouds of heaven. We can but prepare to meet
Him, by judging ourselves in self-examination. We may
erect each one in his own heart a tribunal, and bid our acts,
words, our lives, all our life pass before it; and then we may
hear, if we will, the echoes of the voice of Christ, in mercy,
or in condemnation, as that voice will sound to us here-
after from the judgment throne, we may prepare for that
day by setting apart some fixed time for making a busi-
ness-like preparation for death. Death, like judgment,
comes as a thief. Death is the antechamber of the judg-
ment hall of Christ. To prepare for death is a man’s true
and most serious business during his life. “Ye are not in
darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.
God grant it may be so with us.
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.