The Greatest Surprise

Without Any Warning

There are many things that happen in life without any real warning. Many natural disasters have an almost sudden onset, such as earthquakes and tornadoes. With these events, the difference between life as normal and total devastation can be measured in minutes. In other cases, man can cause great harm and calamity through sudden events, such as a terrorist bombing or a sneak attack as a prelude to war.

History is full of such events, with some in our recent history. When all the bloodshed, loss of property, and hardship is finally accounted for, what remains (besides grief) is a great sense of shock brought on by total surprise.

Even With Warning

Ironically, this surprise can even exist in cases where there is ample warning. Other natural disasters such as hurricanes come with hours of warning. Despite this, there are still many who are caught off-guard by the event, perhaps not taking its power seriously. In other cases, the phrase “it is only a matter of time” can go unheeded, until the time has finally come.

There are many surprises and great shocks that come in our lives, but the greatest possible surprise man will ever experience is yet to come. This will come on the Day of Judgment, when “every knee will bow” (Phil. 2:10, NASU), and “they will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Pet. 4:5). This Day is described with the figure of a thief in the night (Mat. 25; 1 Thes. 5:2), or as the labor pains of a “woman with child” (1 Thes. 5:3).

The Big Question

The big question is, why? Why will anyone be surprised at the coming of Christ? Has not the Bible warned of such a day for literally thousands of years? Have Christians not brought the warning call of “tomorrow may be too late” for years?

The sad reality is that most people have heard something in regard to God, even if it is perverted by man. Many people have heard warnings concerning time of Judgment, and may believe it is coming. The difference is that most people believe that they will be able to face such a calamity on their own, just like those who stare down a hurricane. The greatest surprise will then not be simply that Judgment has come, but that they are unprepared for it. And it will be a shock that will haunt them for all eternity.

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