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of October 1997
Next up-date: 1st November 1997 (God willing).
Let us look carefully at these words instead of rushing in as so many are prone to do. Jesus is discussing the time of His second coming with His disciples, and seems to be plainly telling them that they will not know when this is going to be. (Yet in the next verse He tells us to "watch and pray". What for?) Neither will the angels know according to the next phrase. But look at the statement after that! This appears to be saying that Jesus Himself does not know that time!!
He is the Son of God. He is the "image of God", the "express" or exact image in "glory" and in "person", we are told. Hebrews 1:3. He is as like His Father as if they were twins and yet He does not know the future?
Something wrong here!
And what should we do when something doesn't fit? That's right. Check with the Spirit in another place in the Bible.
How about Matthew 24:36-37? There we get the same picture with the addition of the word "only" in connection with God the Father. But here the story is coupled with the story of Noah and the end of his world. Did he know anything? He knew the Flood was coming and worked for 120 years to prepare for it. He knew the door was shut after him and that he and his family were now safe in the arms of God. Genesis 7:16. But he didn't know when the rain was going to fall. So he didn't "know".
In another place Jesus tells us that His "evil servants" at the time of the second coming will be so busy persecuting the faithful ones that they will not be aware of the "signs of the times" either. Matthew 24:46-50. The split in the church at that time is described in the terms of two groups of bridesmaids waiting for the groom to come with his bride. (This tells us that the second coming is not only a "judgment" day but also a "wedding" day!)
He went on to tell us to "watch therefore" and expect Him every day. Matthew 25:13. Then in Luke 12:36 after mentioning the "wedding" and the fact that He will "knock" for admittance, He tells us that many will be so drunk that they will not appreciate what is happening. Verse 45-46. So it seems that it is not His fault that we will not know the "day or the hour". We will all be too busy, either persecuting or being persecuted!
So what are we left with? Some other meaning to the statement.
Let's compare 1 Corinthians 2:2 with our thought. There we are told that Paul "determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified". Paul obviously knew many other things, but he determined not to make known any thing except Jesus and His sacrifice. His whole emphasis was to be on the "good news" of the gift of God. He did mention many other things in this letter and in others that he wrote, but his aim was always to lift up Jesus.
So with our verse. It is not fitting that men, or angels, or even Jesus Himself should make known the time of His second coming. That is a privilege reserved for the Father only. He will do it. Our verse therefore reads:-
We may know the day and the hour of Jesus coming before it occurs, but it will only be when the Father announces it to the world. Just as He announced to the world at the baptism of Jesus that He was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased, Matthew 3:17, and again on the Mount of transfiguration, Matthew 17:5, so one day in the future, He will announce to those who are listening the great news that it is all over and Christ is coming.
Not by any man,
not by an angel,
not even by Christ (or someone pretending to be Him)
will we be told of the end of the conflict and the return of Christ.
But we will be told by the voice of the Father speaking from heaven.
"There came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, 'It is done'." Revelation 16:17.
"The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel". Joel 3:15-16.
"See that you refuse not Him that speaks [today]. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaks from heaven. Whose voice then [at Mount Sinai] shook the earth: but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more [only once more] I shake not the earth only, but also heaven'. And this word, 'Yet once more', signifies[or tells us of] the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace [to hold fast], whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear". Hebrews 12:25-28.
"I am the LORD. I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass. It shall be no more prolonged, for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word, and will perform it, says the LORD God". Ezekiel 12:25.
In the meantime, we can know that Jesus will come in space from the east. (Because of the rotation of the earth all bodies approaching it appear to come from the east.) Ezekiel 43:2.
We can know that when He does come it will be in September/October because that was foretold in the temple services of old. The end of the harvest ingathering, and the living in God-made dwellings, is a picture of that time. Leviticus 23:33-44.
We can know that it will be "at midnight" because Jesus told us that the bridesmaids are awakened by the call to them at that time that the "bridegroom" is coming. Matthew 25:6. But where we should look for midnight we cannot tell.
The only thing we don't know about it, and cannot know, is the year. So we must "watch and pray" so that we will be aware of the time when our Father tells us of it.
The "day and the hour".
This will never be revealed to one man or a group of men to pass on to others. God the Father will announce the impending arrival of His Son publicly to all who are listening, just before it happens.
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