Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

the elements shall melt with fervent heat, accidental photograph, 9/12/2023

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the 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.
2 Peter 3:10

We've already come across the phrase thief in the night in Matthew1 and in the first epistle to the Thessalonians2. Clearly it is an important metaphor, originally from the mouth of Jesus for the coming of the kingdom of God, latterly voiced by Paul and Peter to mean the second coming of Jesus Christ, which to early Christians seems to have amounted to the same thing. One wonders though if Jesus would have thought of himself in that way. He seems rather more humble to me, more focused on God the father, rather than God-the-anything-else. Still, outlooks and beliefs are ever-evolving.

I like the metaphor for its contradictory nature. Likening something huge and wonderful to something small and devious, comparing magnificence with mundanity, everlasting glory with a temporary criminal act. It stretches the mind in marvellous ways. We are at the same time magnificent and insignificant, complex beings and far from obvious.

What happens when the proverbial thief arrives? If we are awake, aware, we will not be taken by surprise. The thief only robs the unwary. Stay alert—stay sober!—and we can anticipate what what might occur. We can be prepared.

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.3

1 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Matthew 24:42-44
2 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
3 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8