“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
(Matthew 24:36-44 ESV)
When the disciples asked Jesus when He would return He first explained to them the many signs which would portend His return as well as how we should live until He does. In today’s passage Jesus finally gets around to answering their question. And His answer: no one knows, not even the angels of heaven.
Once the signs begin some people – those who know their Bibles – will know that the general time frame of Jesus’ return is upon them. But they still won’t know the exact day or hour. Nonbelievers will notice the same signs and will likely explain them away, perhaps as being due to global warming or some other scientific phenomena. Just like today, these people will look for answers anywhere but in God’s word.
Interestingly Jesus tells us that even He, the Son, does not know when He will return.
Many skeptics point to this statement by Jesus as alleged proof the He was not God. But really there is no reason for this conclusion. When Jesus came from heaven to earth He clothed Himself in humanity and set aside His deity [Philippians 2:6; John 4:34, 5:30, 6:38]. As such He was subjected to the same limitations as human beings including needing to sleep and to eat. But that doesn’t mean He wasn’t God. He was God the whole time. But He was God in a human body with all its limitations, one of which, apparently, was that in His human form did not know when He would return.
If Jesus doesn’t even know when He will be summoned by God the Father to return to earth then how foolish is it for any man or woman to claim to know when He will return. Nevertheless, there have been countless fools who have predicted a date for Jesus’ return only to be proven wrong. Our command from God is not to figure out when Jesus is coming back but to be ready when He does.
But just as it was in the days of Noah so it will be when Jesus returns. Life will go on as normal for most people. They will even make long-term plans (e.g. marrying) even though time is short. They will be unaware of what is coming just like those who didn’t believe the flood was going to happen until it did. But by then it was too late.
Noah heralded the flood [2 Peter 2:5]. But no one listened. So they perished both physically and spiritually. The abomination of desolation, the dimming of the sun, moon, and stars, the false christs, and the persecution of Christians will herald Jesus’ second arrival on this earth. Sadly, people still aren’t paying attention.
When these things happen people will not understand that time is short and Jesus will return very, very soon. They will, therefore, miss out on the final opportunities to repent and be saved. Because once Jesus does return it will be too late.
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