Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. There are two accounts of the second coming in the New Testament. The first account says Jesus will come ‘as a thief in the night,’ and in the second account He will ‘come in the clouds of glory, and every eye shall see him.’ Now, which one (if any) can we believe?
A. Revelation 1:7 (“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him”) refers to the manner of Christ’s coming.  The statement that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (I Thess. 5:2; II Pet. 3:10) refers to the time of his coming.  He will arrive like a thief—at a time no one expects.  The context of I Thessalonians 5:2 shows this:  “But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

There is no contradiction between these two concepts:  Christ will arrive in a dramatic, obvious manner (Matt. 24:29-31), but the time of this coming is known only to God the Father (Matt. 24:36) and it will take many by surprise just like a thief in the night.
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