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A Thief in the Night


   Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you, Revelation 3:3.
   The word “thief” is the translation of the Greek
kleptes which comes from the root word klepto meaning “to filch or steal.” From this comes the word “kleptomaniac” meaning one who has an irresistible urge to steal.
   To better understand what is really meant one must examine this Scripture in context.

In Context
   Revelation 3:1
   Let’s find out how Rev. 3:3 is used in context, beginning at Revelation 3:1:
   And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write, “These things says He Who has the seven Spirits of Yahweh and the seven stars: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.’”
   Let’s see, “You have a name that you are alive...” What could Yahshua mean by that? Well, the city’s name, Sardis, is of uncertain derivation, and is transliterated from the Greek word sardeis.
SarDeis, s-a-r-d-e-i-s, and is commonly translated as either "that which remains," or "Prince of Joy." In the Hebrew phrase, “Sar Shalom,” translated Prince of Peace, we see that "Sar" means "prince," which is a royal title, usually someone who is the son of a king. We see the word used in English as in a Russian Czar, a Roman Caesar and a German Kaiser. In the United States, we even have a “Drug Czar,” who directs national drug control policies.
   The second syllable in the word Sardis is pronounced in Greek, deis, of which its transliterated spelling is d-e-i-s, which may be the root of our English word, deity, as in another Greek word, “theos, or the Spanish phrase, vaya con dios.” So, putting the two words together, Sardeis may mean “Prince of the Almighty” or Prince of a deity, of which there were many! The phrase, "you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead," may be explained in the second verse.
   Revelation 3:2
   Let us look at the first two verses of Revelation 3:
And to the angel of the assembly in SarDeis write, “These things says He Who has the seven Spirits of Yahweh and the seven stars: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. [Dead? Listen to this next verse] Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before Yahweh,’” Revelation 3:1-2.
   Even the name of the city, Sardeis, implies that the people there are double-minded, taking on truth by living a lie. The Greek word for perfect is pleroo, the same word Scripture uses for the last word in Matthew 5:17:
   Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
   A better translation of this verse, based upon how pleroo is used in Revelation 3:2, might well be read:
   I did not come to destroy but to PERFECT – the Law and the Prophets.
   Concordantly, fulfill means to make replete; literally, to cram a net, level up a hollow; or figuratively, to furnish, imbue, influence, satisfy, execute an office, finish a task, and to verify or accomplish a prophecy. Think about it! Yahshua came to VERIFY the Law and the Prophets! So, what is Yahshua saying to the Assembly at SarDeis? He is saying, “I have not found your works satisfactory, fulfilling, finished or verifiable before Yahweh.”

Become Perfect
   As written in Daniel 5:27, regarding Belshazzar, son of King Nebuchadnezzar, upon seeing the hand of Yahweh writing,
   You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.
   Consider the condition of our nation’s houses of worship. Yes, even our own assembly, as we certainly cannot claim to be perfect. Because of our adherence to Scripture and not the doctrine of mankind, I pray that we are seen by Yahweh as closer to being His servants than those who claim His Law to be dead. We must keep Yahweh’s Sabbaths and High Sabbaths, and we must call upon His name. Can it be said that the worship demonstrated in the world today is “perfect before Yahweh”? I don’t think so. In fact, it is likely that most worship will be viewed by Yahweh as blasphemy, as He, Himself, declares in Proverbs 28:9:
   He who turns away his ear from hearing the law [meaning to obey the law!], even his prayer is an abomination.
   In Isaiah 1:15-17, Yahweh speaks:
When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. [Whose blood? The blood of Yahshua, for all have sinned, necessitating His sacrifice for us.] Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
   Continuing in Isaiah 1:18-19, He says:
   "Come now, and let us reason together," says Yahweh. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool ... If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land, but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword"; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.

Warning ― Warning
   Alright. In the words of an old, popular song, “But that’s not what I came to talk to you about.” I came to talk about the warning issued by Yahshua in Revelation 3:3:
   Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
   What is it we are to watch for? Paul answers that, but we'll get to that in a bit. There are 3 parts to this verse that we want to focus on: 1) “Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard”; 2) “Hold fast and repent”; and 3) “Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”

Part 1 — Remember, therefore, how you have received and heard.
   The word “therefore” is the Greek word
oun, which means “certainly.” So, a more accurate translation of Revelation 3:3 might be,
   Remember, certainly [or “Remember with certainty”], how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. If you will not watch, I will CERTAINLY come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
   Additionally, in the phrase, “Remember, with certainty, HOW you have received and heard,” another word is implied in the word “how.” It is the word, “much.” So, Yahshua may be saying to us,
   Remember, with certainty, how MUCH you have received and heard.
   OR, as the word “hear” implies, OBEYED ... with certainty.
   But, in spite of this speculation, what does Yahshua mean by saying, “Remember, with certainty, HOW you have received and heard”? The literal answer would, of course, be that we received “by word of mouth,” since only few people had copies of the written Word of Yahweh. In a spiritual sense, though, we might easily believe that those who are "called out" HEARD “by the Spirit of Yahweh.” Additionally, the concept of "remembering" in the Hebrew culture carries with it the idea, "to speak and act in behalf of." So, another translation may be, “Speak and act in behalf of how you have received and OBEYED.”
   So, how did we receive and how did we hear? By the Word we received, and by the Spirit we heard. Is it not remarkable that these fit perfectly with the Feast of Weeks, for on the day that became the Feast of Weeks was the day Moses went up on Mt. Sinai to receive the Word, the Law of Yahweh, written in His hand. And on the Feast of Weeks, called Pentecost in the New Testament, the disciples of Yahshua received the Holy Spirit, by Which they performed miracles granted by Yahweh Almighty! Incredible. By the Word we received, and by the Spirit we heard - and obeyed.
   Certainly, hearing the Word of Yahweh is a gift from above.
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.' But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it,” Matthew 13:10-17.
   Praise Yahweh for that which He has blessed us!

Part 2 ― Hold fast and repent.
   The second issue we want to examine is the phrase: Hold fast and repent.
   “Hold fast” is the Greek word,
tereo, which means to watch; to guard from loss or injury – properly, by keeping the eye upon.
   “Repent” is the Greek word,
metanoeo, which means to think differently afterwards, i.e., reconsider. Morally, it means to feel compunction.
"Now, therefore," says Yahweh, "turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to Yahweh your Elohim, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him – a grain offering and a drink offering for Yahweh your Elohim? Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to Yahweh, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, "Spare Your people, O Yahweh, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their Elohim?'" (Joel 2:12-17).
   When other nations (whom we might call “heathens”) view the loose debauchery, corruption, decadence and depravity present within so-called civilized nations such as ours, do they not recoil in amazement and judge us to be a nation without a mighty one? Have they not characterized us as having had a President who was Satan? Even people in our own nation have pointed to him as connected to the dark side. Whether this is all reality or not, it still fulfills the words of Isaiah, in that nations are saying these things. Is there anyone who would not testify to the sinfulness and lawlessness of our nation and this world? ... I didn’t think so.
   We must watch and guard the truth given to us in the Word of Yahweh and by His Spirit. We must pray that Yahweh would reach out to those who are seeking Truth. And, we must continue to present the Truth to the world by being ambassadors of Yahshua the Messiah.
   Now the last section of Yahshua’s warning in Revelation 3:3:

Part 3 ― Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
   If you will not watch (and guard My truth, which is the Word of Yahweh granted to you by His Spirit), I CERTAINLY will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
For this we say to you by the word of the Master, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Master will, by no means, precede those who are asleep [those who are dead]. For the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of Yahweh. And the dead in the Messiah will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air. And thus [meaning therefore, afterwards, or following this] we shall always be with the Master. Therefore, comfort one another with these words, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.
   The emphasis here is on the finality and completeness of this process, that we will always be with the Messiah, not that we will be caught up in the air, as if we are issued a harp, forever drifting among the clouds. No, Yahshua told us the meek shall inherit the EARTH, and that the Kingdom of Yahweh, the New Jerusalem, is coming down to the earth.
   These and other verses have been used by ancient theologians and today's Dispensationalists to concoct the false doctrine of the “pre-tribulation rapture,” a perversion of the Truth of Yahweh. Also, the word "sleep" does not refer to people who are lackadaisical in attending church. It refers to those who are dead and in their graves. The “trumpet of Yahweh” points in many ways to the Day of Trumpets, and the time when Yahshua will return. The rationale for this is the fact that Yahshua fulfills Yahweh’s Plan of Salvation at the Times Appointed for these events. The “Appointed Times” are the Feasts of Yahweh. His Son, Yahshua, fulfilled the memorial day of Passover, the two High Sabbaths of Unleavened Bread, the Wave Sheaf offering of Firstfruit, ascending and descending from Heaven and Pentecost. He will fulfill Trumpets, Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day, a time beyond time - that is, Eternity.

When Will He Come?
   In Matthew 36:44 NKJV, Yahshua says that,
   The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
   There is only one of Yahweh’s Appointed Times that fits this criterion, and that is the Day of Trumpets. Trumpets occurs on the first day of the month on the Scriptural Calendar, a day upon which Believers are to watch the western skies at the setting of the sun in order to determine whether or not it is a new month; in this case, the SEVENTH month of the year. The key to understanding the phrase, “The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect,” is, however, that no one can say, for sure, when the new moon will be seen. It appears on either the 29th or the 30th day of each lunar month. Furthermore, every seventh month of the scriptural year is determined by the sighting of the first new moon of the scriptural year, establishing the first month, called Abib, which no one knows beforehand. This means that neither can the actual month be known in which Yahshua returns.
   However, listen to the writings of Paul to the Thessalonians:
   But, concerning the times and the seasons [In other words, “concerning the Appointed Times and the Feast days of Yahweh”], brethren, you have no need that I should write to you [Why not? Because they already know about the Appointed Times, the Feasts of Yahweh!]. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of Yahweh so comes as a thief in the night [As Matthew 24:36 says, “But of that day and hour no one knows”]. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But [Now listen to this!] you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4.

Who is the Thief in the Night?
   Wow! Do you hear what Paul is saying? You are not in darkness if you know about the Appointed Times and the "seasons," the moedim, the Feast Days of Yahweh; and therefore, the day that the Messiah returns will not catch you by surprise! So, whom is Scripture talking about when it prophesies that the Day of Yahweh will come upon you as a thief in the night!? We must understand that this warning is ONLY for those who do NOT keep the Feast Days of Yahweh, who have no understanding about WATCHING the sky for the new moon! This is incredible! Honoring the Feast Days of Yahweh is INDEED a SALVATIONAL issue!
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch [Watch! Is he speaking of the new moon, here?] and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For Yahweh did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Master, Yahshua the Messiah, Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing, 1 Thessalonians 5:5-11.
There are those who rebel against the light; they do not know its ways nor abide in its paths. The murderer rises with the light; he kills the poor and needy; and in the night he is like a thief. The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, [after the sun goes down] saying, “No eye will see me”; and he disguises his face. In the dark they break into houses which they marked for themselves in the daytime; they do not know the light. For the morning is the same to them as the shadow of death; if someone recognizes them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death, Job 24:13-17.
   When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, and the wickedness of Samaria. For they have committed fraud [she'ker, an untruth, a lie]; a thief comes in; a band of robbers takes spoil outside. They do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness; now their own deeds have surrounded them; they are before My face, Hosea 7:1-2.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of Yahweh is coming, for it is at hand: a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations ... They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief. The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness. Yahweh gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the one who executes His word. For the day of Yahweh is great and very terrible; who can endure it? (Joel 2:1-2. 9-11).
   And, finally, let’s read from the book of Matthew where Yahshua is speaking:
   Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn this parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near - at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away; so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Master is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect, Matthew 24:29-44.
   Whom is Yahshua speaking to when He says, “The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”? He is speaking to those who reject the ways of Yahweh, His Law, His Sabbath and His Appointed Times.
   This is beautiful. In the last verse, Yahshua reveals when He is returning: at an hour you do not expect. He is speaking to you who have little understanding of the ways of Yahweh; who reject His Word, His Law, His Sabbaths, and His Feast Days ... He is speaking to you who reject His Love. So, I say to you, come to the Truth. Read the Scripture for what IT says, not what anyone tells you what it says.
   Not at all! Let Yahweh be true, and every man a liar. As it is written:
"So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge," Romans 3:4 NIV. Yes, let Yahweh be true and every man a liar. Do not believe me. Open the door to Yahshua.
   With Yahshua speaking,
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies, Revelation 3:18-22.

   Let us continue to watch for the New Moon, especially the New Moon of the 7th month, a day of vengeance, leading to a day of gathering of Israel, then to a day beginning the thousand-year reign of Messiah, then to a day after the final judgment, and then to a day that is not a day, but a time of eternity ― lest we be caught by surprise, as a thief who stealthily steals your treasures.

-Elder Elder John Fisher

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