But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mathew 24:36)
The verses of the gospels are generally quite familiar and easier to understand and relate to ourselves and our own lives than those of the Old Testament and some of the other New Testament books. But this passage from Matthew is confounding. What is it that no one knows the hour of? What are we apparently writing for? Is something going to happen? If so, is it something good or something frightening? If even the angels and the Son do not know, how are we poor humans expected to know? What can we know? Let us try to find out.
In the first thirty six verses, of which today’s verse is the last, a Sabbath is spoken of. These words are added to Mark in the instructions for flight and may indicate the Matthew’s church still observes the Sabbath, and that Jewish Christians are given a dispensation to flee even though it violates the Sabbath travel restrictions. More likely, the meaning is that in a Jewish context, flight by a whole community on the Sabbath would be both difficult and conspicuous, and therefore both more dangerous than on other days and antagonistic to their opponents.
So we are waiting for the coming of the Son of Man for judgment. Matthew speaks in metaphors about vigilance in waiting, giving us a sense that not knowing when the appointed time will come is a reason for vigilance. As were the disciples, we too are busy with our assigned missions in life and must go about these as we wait.
But vigilance is stressed over and over again in following verses, giving us the sense that we must be careful and watchful and ready at any time, never knowing when that time may be. That hour will not be known to us and is known only to God. Even the angels in heaven do not know of the time. It has been calculated and predicted my modern man, but with little success. It may never, in our lifetimes, by known. It may never, even in all eternity, be known by any other than God.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.
To study this passage in more depth, you might like to read: Clark’s Commentary on the Bible.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Thursday, May 31
In our prayers: Betty Jo Sullivan, Elizabeth and Mark, Mary Francis Harris, Sherry and Lynn, Angelina Rice, Claire, Patrick and Patricia Barry, Jordan Hill, Doris Clevenger, Charles Sigel, Joe Reno, Bob Davis, John Whatley, Nancy Zuckerman, Mack James, Charles Davis Sr., Lee Hotaling, Elaine and Sharon, Bill Carter, Betty Peavy Frick, Bob and Karen, Alison Rafferty, Joye Cantrell, Patty and Ted, Fred and Gail,, Mary Miller, Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Jerry Callahan, Norman Masters, Laura Bushnell, Edgar Maxwell, Elizabeth Adams, Gene Awtrey, John Conde, Clyde Ireland, Chuck Witten, Janice Ayoub
In memoriam: Robert Nelson DuRant, Bruce Patrick “Pat” Hart, Virginia Mann, Calvin Bruce McGee, Nelma Ruth Morris, Olin Lindow Hoover, Dr. John Homer Mathias Jr., Elmer Evelyn Stone Minnich, Linda Gonzalez Hallman, Ezra Lloyd, Margaret J. Scott, Blanche Phillips Sinclair, Chad Allen Smith, CMSAF Alfred Raymond “Jack” Rowe Sr. U.S.A.F. (Ret.)
Our prayers are with: The elderly and those who care for them, all who volunteer, the homeless, the unemployed, all victims of abuse, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our deputies and police officers, and all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily.
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