In this study we are going to be looking at additional scriptures that use the Hebrew Idiom “a thief in the night,” or allude to it. In general as an idiom it means being caught unaware, but as a remez statement it may hint at some deeper meaning uncovered from other scriptures, or by linking different scriptures together.
We learned in a previous lesson that it is used for the action of the bridegroom when he goes to fetch his wife. He goes as a “thief in the night,” and the bride does not know when to expect him. Therefore in that case, “thief in the night.” is an idiom indicating that the bride must be ready at all times because the bridegroom will come at an unexpected time. It can have a positive connotation or a negative connotation depending on whether one is watchful or not. A bride aware and waiting to be taken by her groom as the thief in the night is a positive understanding. Someone asleep and being caught totally unaware is the negative aspect of the idiom. As a remez statement the hint is about the Bridegroom coming as a thief in the night, therefore it hints at a wedding.
The following scripture speaks of the idiom in the sense of being caught unaware and this ministry believes that it also hints (remez) as to when that will be. Let’s take a look:
Rev 3:3 "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
This scripture should serve as a warning to the church to be watchful and awake, understanding the times and the season of the Lord’s return, because if those in the body of Christ are not watchful, the Lord will return and catch them unaware, just like a thief in the night. They will not know what hour that will take place because they do not understand the season of His return.
The Feast of Trumpets or Rosh HaShanah is also known as the feast that no one knows the hour. Because the feast is for two days, one cannot know the exact day or the hour. For an indepth study of Rosh HaShanah see Rosh HaShanah, Feast of Trumpets Because this appointed time is known as the feast that no one knows the hour, this ministry believes that this is a hint (remez) at the possibility that Yeshua will rapture His Bride on one of these two feast days. The Bride of Christ is to be watchful and waiting, observing the Lord’s feast days, understanding what they mean; and expecting Yeshua to fulfill the feast in the same manner that He fulfilled the spring feasts at His first coming.
At the same time this scripture is a warning to those that have not been watchful, and because they are asleep they will be caught unware and unprepared, just like a thief in the night. I believe however that the Church is waking up. More and more congregations are becoming aware of their Jewish roots and many congregations are now celebrating the feasts of the Lord.
Without getting into too much detail about the Lord’s second coming, I do want to point out in this study that there are two parts to His second coming. First there will be His appearing in the Heavens when He calls His Bride to Himself. This is known as the “rapture of the Bride.” Then after the seven year tribulation, the Lord will return to this earth with His Bride to judge the nations. When He comes to the earth to judge the nations, He will indeed come as a “thief in the night.” Unfortunately, most of the inhabitants of this earth will be caught totally unaware.
Peter is describing that day and he uses the idiom, “thief in the night,” in the negative sense in the following scripture. It is obvious from the content of Peter’s message that he is speaking about the end of days, when the Lord returns to judge the nations.
2Peter 3:10 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
When this day comes...it will be too late to repent.
From here we move to last chapter of the New Testament, the book of Revelation. John, I am sure records the words of our Lord with great understanding for he was from a priestly line. But for us 2,000 years removed from our Jewish roots find the following words bewildering.
Rev 16:15, "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame"
There is a hint (remez) in these words of Jesus that point to a deeper hidden meaning. The Lord’s parables, riddles, and remez statements are never hidden to those that have eyes to see and ears to hear. They are only hidden to those that are not His, or are yet to be His. To fully understand the meaning of this scripture, one must first understand the officiating of the Temple guards. There were twenty four stations or courses around the Temple guarding the Temple gates and courts. At night each station had ten Levi guards; making a total 240 guards plus 30 priests every night. During the day the guards were relieved; but not during the night. Therefore, some of the guards would fall asleep on duty.
The Captain of the Temple would make his rounds every night. As the Captain approached the guards, they were to arise and salute the Captain. If any one of the guards was found sleeping the Captain would beat him and set his clothes on fire with his torch. On these rare occasions, the guard would shed his clothes ablaze and run into the night naked and ashamed. To be caught asleep by the Temple Captain was known as the Captain coming as “a thief in the night.” Once again we see the idiom as a reference to being caught unaware or asleep.
With this understanding and background of “a thief in the night,” and the stations of the guards, let me attempt to paraphrase the scripture in Revelation that we have been discussing as I understand the idiom and remez to be.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
LISTEN UP ...I am going to be coming to you as a thief in the night...many will be caught unaware. Blessed are those that watch for my day and are not found by me sleeping. They will instead keep their garments and not be caught like the guards in the temple who fell asleep and the captain set their clothes on fire and in shame they ran into the night naked. However there will be those that will not be so blessed for I will come as a thief in the night for them, I will find them asleep, naked and ashamed.
The Bridegroom will be coming like “a thief in the night,” may the Bride be awake and waiting!
May the study of God’s Word from a Jewish perspective draw you closer to your Hebrew Lord.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.
In His Service,