A GREAT SURPRISE
“For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell (those that sit) on the face of all the earth.” Lk. 21.35
It is a deeply solemn thought that the coming of the Lord will be to many a great and sudden surprise. Such persons are here referred to as those who sit down at ease on earth, saying, “Peace and safety,” when sudden destruction may be at hand. These are they who mind earthly things, who love this present evil world, whose religion, if they have any, is one of form without vital power, profession without practice, shadow without substance, name without reality. Such persons sit like the apocalyptic harlot: “I sit a queen and shall see no sorrow.” Thus many a one, like the rich fool, is practically saying, “Soul, take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry!” The ungodly, the lawless, the licentious harden themselves in their rebellion. Because vengeance is not speedily executed, for God is long-suffering, their hearts are fully set on doing evil. A great and sudden surprise awaits all such. The coming of the Lord to them will be a snare from which there will be no escape. (Is. 24.17).
Of this great surprise we have already had many admonitory examples and forewarnings. Those who lived before the Flood did not believe the preaching of Noah. When the Flood came and took them all away, it was to them, a great surprise. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah would not believe that the Lord would destroy their cities. They went on in their wickedness, and thought themselves safe. When the Lord rained down upon them fire and brimstone, they were greatly surprised, and suddenly consumed. The people of Jerusalem treated the prophetic warnings of Christ with contempt, and the destruction of their city, as well as their own most terrible calamities and worldwide dispersion, were events of great surprise. ‘Even thus will it be when the Son of Man is revealed.” When the men of this world are asleep in sin, in carnal security, under cover of moral night, dreaming of peace and safety, the Lord will come as unexpectedly and as unwelcome as a thief in the night. It will indeed be a great surprise. Then will be sudden and eternal separations:
“One shall be taken, and another shall be left.” How believers are exhorted to guard against such a surprise as will then occur!
“Take heed to yourselves,” says our Lord to His disciples, “lest that day come upon you unawares.” The parable of the ten virgins shows that, owing to the tarrying of the Bridegroom, “they all