Monday, 28 November 2016


According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the expression, like a thief in the night means: "secretly or unexpectedly and without being seen." That sounds just about right to me as well. After all, why do thieves break into houses at night? Well, they're unlikely to be spotted at that time. People are asleep or not paying close attention. You might eventually end up hearing or even seeing the thief if he makes too much noise. But the idea is that he comes unexpectedly.
The Apostle Paul used the term in context to the Day of the Lord in 1 Thess 5:2. The thief in the night axiom is also linked to the pretribulational rapture and its imminent quality. It's the idea that Christ could come any time for His church. One of the champions of imminence was Gerald Stanton (Kept from the Hour). Non-pretribbers naturally disagree with Stanton's view that the rapture is imminent. They argue for "expectancy" rather than imminence. The idea of expectancy in the place of imminence has been promoted by posttribulationists such as George E. Ladd and Robert Gundry.
Doug Egsti's 36 page essay attempts responses to Stanton and other pretribulationists. He insists that some events need to occur before the rapture, although he doesn't get into the heart of the imminence verses. In one example, Egsti notes Arnold Fruchtenbaum's teaching that imminence is applicable only after 70 AD. Then he takes issue with the fact that Fruchtenbaum entertained the possibility that the seven churches of Revelation represented historical eras. How could the rapture then be imminent?

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