There is a very difficult contradiction surrounding the events of the Second Coming that I believe many have overlooked:
“15 (“See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed,[a] not going about naked and exposed to shame.”) 16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.” Rev. 16:15-16 (NRSV)
Here’s the problem: when we read of the plagues that happen just before this “thief” statement (the entire ocean turning into blood, etc.), it’s very difficult to believe that the “thief” metaphor is being used accurately. I would think that if the entire ocean turned into blood and every living thing in it died that people would know that Christ was about to return soon. Even the other plagues in Revelation are so catastrophic that people should be easily able to know. Doesn’t that pose a difficult problem?
Do you remember “The Music Man”? Now, what did Professor Harold Hill do? He caused a ruckus. The town he visited ended up in tumult because he stirred it up. And, in every other circumstance, he would have taken their money and left them with few or no instruments, and a whole wad of cash in his pocket.
The contradiction happened. There was great tumult. And yet, a thief came in, although people were on their guard, and the thief made his entry.
I’m going to guess, in the world’s tumult, the world will be more concerned about food, death, illness, and other smaller things. And Our Lord will steal in while the world is busy trying to survive, or fight over which religion is right, or any of the countless other things people worry about long, long, long before they even consider God or religion. Only a few, like the Anvil Salesman in The Music Man, will see the thief coming in the door, while the village is going nuts.
The ocean turning to blood in revelation was harkening back to Moses turning the Nile River to blood in the Book of Exodus. All of the plagues in Revelation harken back to Old Testament plagues, especially those in Egypt. Egypt stood defiant.
Umm… here’s the thing. People have been trying to predict the end of time based off Revelation for nearly 2000 years. The point is that, even with all these signs of Jesus’s second coming, most people will just shrug them off as “another false alarm”. Yet Jesus WILL return someday, and regardless of how many signs and wonders are seen, people will be absolutely shocked when He returns.
From my understanding, I took it to mean that even though we were to see signs of Christ’s second coming like the plagues, that it still would not mean that we would know the exact instant.
A thief strikes in an instant, also in Scripture we are told that when Christ comes back, it will be as fast as lightning. (Sorry I don't have the time to find the exact Scripture but it might be in Matthew 25) Perhaps the seas would turn red 10 years before Christ actually comes, or 5 months, or 3 weeks?. There is no date on it, like, it does not say that Christ will come EXACTLY when the seas turn blood red. It just says that there will be signs and that people will see and recognize them. Consider them warnings when they do. God is fair and just!
Before Christ’s coming, the People of God knew they were to be looking for the messiah. They didn’t know exactly when but they knew the prophecies.
Exactly. This is why it’s important to remember Christ’s words that we will know neither the day nor the hour. And it would be folly for us to try to know something that Christ said we shall not know. Instead, OP, put more energy into keeping yourself always ready for the Lord and prepare for your own death, which you also cannot predict, and is more likely to precede the end-times.
Well of course Egypt stood defiant, but they knew what was happening. If the entire ocean turned into blood today and every living thing in it died people would know that the return of Christ was near. However, I think one poster may have said it best when they said that the instant of Christ’s return was like a thief. That interpretation may actually work and make sense of the apparent conflict.
I don’t think that people would shrug off the entire ocean turning blood red and every living thing in it dying They sure didn’t shrug off the gulf oil leak which caused some mayhem in the gulf of Mexico.
Well the beast is given power for 42 months and the two witnesses prophesy for 3.5 360-day years (1,260 days). That puts a time limit on it. And since this happens near the end of the plague cycle, it must happen near the end of the beast’s reign.
The Nile River turned to blood and every living thing in it died. Egypt did not acquiesce until the thief took away their first born sons.
I don’t think anyone on this thread realizes that there is actually a progression of worsening plagues in the Book of Revelation. The plagues started all the way back in Revelation 8 and were finished in Revelation 16. Revelation 8 is before the one thousand year reign while Revelation 16 is after the one thousand year reign.
*and a third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (Revelation 8:9)
The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a dead man, and every living thing died that was in the sea. (Revelation 16:3)*
One third of everything died in Revelation 8. Everything died in Revelation 16. All of the plagues in Revelation are like this. They start with seven seals, get worse with seven trumpets and culminate with seven bowls of wrath and between these is the one thousand year reign of God.
The point is that God has been warning man since the beginning of time that he will arrive in judgment. Some refuse to acknowledge it. Some are too blind to see it. Some have hearts so hardened that they are unable to care. The thief comes to steal from these and they will be taken by surprise. The one who is awake and sober however, is not afraid of the thief.
For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. But you are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4)
I think y’all reading it too literally if you ask me, and aren’t taking into consideration the other 72 books of the Bible. One book cannot be taken apart from the whole Bible and that is especially true of Revelation.
Eschatology is tough, for everyone (the trained theologian, or the whole range of bible readers and studiers. Its far too complex to simply dismiss thoughts of some as “to literal”, or not considering the entire canon…over thinking can pose its own problems.
The prophetic writing can have glimpses into the future while noting things that happened in the past. As the reference to the plagues in the OT as aptly noted by Tim.
But one important point with Jesus’ warning – people can have all the signs in the world and will not believe. Thus will not be prepared.
The same lesson echoed when the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers of the fate that awaited them. And was told, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’
Also we can draw a similar lesson from the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18) when Jesus asked, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
God is telling us: Be prepared for judgment because most won’t be.
You are right about the one thousand year reign. The binding of Satan for one thousand years is in Revelation 20. My apologies. I stand corrected. I was thinking of the one thousand, two hundred sixty days the woman spent in the desert in Revelation 13.
The point I am making stands however. Those who are complacent, rebellious, hard-hearted or self-centered will not recognize the signs no matter how dramatic. For these Jesus will come like a thief. Paul says that Christians are not supposed to be like that (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4), that we are “children of the light”, not of the darkness and we will not be surprised.
In the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13, Matthew 24, Luke 21) Jesus speaks about the signs by which his followers would have known that the destruction of Jerusalem was near. Only Christians were able to see the signs and they fled to the mountains and were saved. The rest were blinded by their own self-centeredness, greedy or just plain too busy with everyday life - they didn’t see the signs and 1.7 million Jews died.
I guess I don’t see the contradiction. The thief statement refers to the fact that you don’t know when it’s going to happen until it happens. The ocean turns to blood and the other catastrophes means that it is happening.
It helps to know that there is not contradiction in Scripture.