Theft: A Clear Sign of the Times

Theft: A Clear Sign of the Times

Robert Wurtz II


By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths.


For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.


But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.


And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts (Revelation 9:18-21).


I must admit that the entire list of unrepentant sins mentioned in these verses has always seemed “ordinary” to me: idolatry, murder, sorcery (taking spell binding drugs), and fornication (sexual immorality)— except thefts. Normalized theft seemed “way out there” (so to speak). That is, until the last ten years. 


Is Stealing Now Relative? 


There is a view among many people in society that if you steal from a person or a business that can afford the loss, then it’s not really stealing. In other words, if you take a bag of chips from a poor mom and pop convenience store owner, it’s wrong; but if you steal from Walmart (Asda) or some wealthy person, then it’s not wrong. I’ve heard from reliable sources that the first Walmart Hypermart to open in our area closed many years ago because it could never turn a profit due to theft. 


I recall one summer in the mid-1980s shopping at an inner-city convenience store. A man walked in where I was shopping (the automotive section) wearing a large heavy trench coat. I’ll never forget the nonchalant way in which he filled up all of his pockets with motor oil, trinkets, and other valuables. All the while humming in a baritone voice, “I ain’t got no money (…)” He might as well have been mumbling the words to his favorite song — it came out so matter-of-fact. He walked out with probably $50-$100 worth of stuff. 




Right and Wrong


When I attended secular schools in the 70s and 80s “right and wrong” was very much defined. I recall in 6th grade a teacher telling us that if we take something from someone without their consent, even if they owe us money, it is STEALING. I never forgot that. Yet this is not the prevailing view today.


Turn in the news or open a newspaper. What do you see? People wait for an opportunity or an excuse to break into stores and loot (a sterilized ‘hip’ word for stealing). Society and government rarely hold the people accountable. So there is no penalty for stealing. Thieves steal your Amazon deliveries right off your porch steps. Even I have security cameras around my home to keep watch. What about identity theft or people using devices that steal your credit card information from gas pumps? 


I recall in the 1990s having a wallet stolen and the thief maxed out my debit card within two hours! He purchased $250 worth of stuff at one convenience store. Who buys $250 at a convenience store without suspicion? Well over a thousand dollars worth of stuff total. In our state, that’s a class D felony. What happened? The thief was caught and released without any charges. In the 1800s men were hung for stealing horses in this nation. That’s how far we have slipped.


Nevertheless, this is where society is today. Whether it be sheer laziness, the thrill, and the rush of stealing itself, or any other plethora of reasons, stealing is becoming a tolerated, accepted, and in some cases promoted behavior. But God sees it differently. He has placed theft in the list of sins that He expects to be repented of—based on the severe judgments being leveled on the perpetrators. The result? Yet they repented not.




Thou Shalt Not Steal


At the end of the day, theft is a sin against God Himself. He will repay whether society does or not. Have another look at the list of sins in Revelation 9:18-21. Look familiar? You’re right. At least five are direct violations of the Ten Commandments. God gave Israel these commandments to distinguish it from pagan nations. Yet God’s attitude towards stealing is the same today as it was at the beginning of creation. Revelation 9:21 demonstrates this. Humankind, fallen as they are, are sinning against God no matter who they are stealing from or what excuse they are using to do it. “They owe me” or “society owes me” will not pass muster with God. Besides, He is always the first and primary offended party in any sin. 


While we focus on the abominable sin of sexual immorality, the acceptability of the murder of babies, legalization of recreational drugs, gross materialism, and others; theft is nearly as acceptable as fornication and taking drugs. Yet this was not true fifty years ago and ought to sober our minds to the signs of the times that we are living. There has never been a time in history (in the absence of war) when stealing was an acceptable practice. Can you think of one? At least not until the 21st century. 


I always found certain verses about the last days hard to believe. Not because I didn’t believe God’s word, but because the behavior seemed impossible at the time. Verses that spoke of Children rising up against their parents. I thought, NOT in our family. My dad ruled with an iron fist (so to speak). So it seemed hard to believe. Not today. Kids routinely curse and even hit their parents when they are angry. Revelation 9:21 was another of those verses that seemed hard to believe. Theft, normalized? It didn’t seem possible. Yet, here we are again. The sad thing is that after receiving judgments the likes of which the world has never seen or rarely seen.


And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts (Revelation 9:18-21).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: