Today’s reading: Matthew 24:23-44
Most of the substance of today’s reading is included in yesterday’s discussion of the Olivet discourse. It is immediately after this discourse the Jesus utters his famous admonition, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven or the Son, but the Father only.”
With hindsight some of the meaning of this passage is easily accessible to us. We know from history that the early Christians used what Jesus had taught them in the Olivet discourse to know to escape Jerusalem when it was under siege by the Romans. So we can see now that Jesus is conveying an important message about how to interpret his teaching. The signs predicted in the Olivet discourse will come and will come often. However, the coming of the signs doesn’t necessarily mean that that particular time will be the end times – for the entire world. It will be AN end times for the people involved but not the general end times. Conversely, eventually, one time when the signs come will be the general end times.
What people have difficulty with in this passage is Jesus’ statement that Son doesn’t know the day or hour of the end times. Many different solutions are proposed. Some argue that Jesus is speaking in hyperbole – exaggerating to make the point that no human person will be given a definitive revelation from God as to when the last days will come. Some speculate that Jesus is able to bi-furcate his human and divine knowledge when He will it thus keeping the information from himself. Another explanation is that the day and the hour of the end times is not part of the revelation that the Father sent the Son to convey so Jesus actually doesn’t know this information for the period of time while he is incarnate. Whatever is the correct answer the important thing to take away is that no man will ever have this information here on earth. The surest sign of a false prophet is a person that claims to know it. If someone tries to convince you of this, no matter how well thought out their theory sounds, walk away.
Tomorrow: Matthew 24:45 – 25:13