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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words
is used (a) literally, Matthew 6:19,20; 24:43; Luke 12:33,39; John 10:1,10; 12:6; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Peter 4:15; (b) metaphorically of "false teachers," John 10:8; (c) figuratively, (1) of the personal coming of Christ, in a warning to a local church, with most of its members possessed of mere outward profession and defiled by the world, Revelation 3:3; in retributive intervention to overthrow the foes of God, Revelation 16:15; (2) of the Day of the Lord, in Divine judgment upon the world, 2 Peter 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2,4; in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 , according to the order in the original "the word 'night' is not to be read with 'the day of the Lord,' but with 'thief,' i.e., there is no reference to the time of the coming, only to the manner of it. To avoid ambiguity the phrase may be paraphrased, 'so comes as a thief in the night comes.' The use of the present tense instead of the future emphasizes the certainty of the coming ... The unexpectedness of the coming of the thief, and the unpreparedness of those to whom he comes, are the essential elements in the figure; cp. the entirely different figure used in Matthew 25:1-13 ." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hoggand Vine, pp. 153,154.]
is frequently rendered "thieves" in the AV, e.g., Matthew 21:13 . See ROBBER.
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Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Thief, Thieves'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ved/t/thief-thieves.html. 1940.