Matthew 25:13 (NKJV) “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

This verse mentions only the day and the hour as unknown. Does this mean that bigger time frames like season, year, century are not included? Does day and hour also include seasons and years?

If only the day and the hour is not known, then, is there an implicit indication in this text indicating there might be some way of knowing the season, year, century, etc?

What is the exact meaning of this verse?

4 Answers 4


The OP asked: "What is the exact meaning of this verse?" In the TR and BMT/GMT texts, Matt. 25:13 reads:

γρηγορειτε ουν οτι ουκ οιδατε την ημεραν ουδε την ωραν εν η ο υιος του ανθρωπου ερχεται

A better rendering from the Greek into English might be: "Be accordingly vigilant because no man knows the day or time when the son of man comes." Nevertheless, the phrase translated into English as "when the son of man comes" isn't seen in either extant manuscript P35 or the possibly earlier (depending on whose date you use) codices א A B, repeats the last line of Matt. 24:44, and is apocryphal.

Extant P35 shows ΓΡΗΓΟ...IΟΥΝΟΤΙΟΥΚΟ...ΔΑ...Η...ΗΜΕΡΑΝ...ΑΝ and was reconstructed to read ΓΡΗΓΟΡΕΙΤΕΟΥΝΟΤΙΟΥΚΟΙΔΑΤΕΤΗΝΗΜΕΡΑΝΟΥΔΕΤΗΝΩΡΑΝ in א A B, and which appears as γρηγορειτε ουν οτι ουκ οιδατε την ημεραν ουδε την ωραν in N-A27. And it's the Greek words την ημεραν ουδε την ωραν which appear in the KJV as "the day nor the hour" (emp. added).

"Day" (ημεραν) is a form of ημερα and can correctly refer to:

- daylight hours between sunrise and sunset;
- a space of twenty-four (24) hours;
- the day of the Second Coming, whenever that might occur, and
- a nonspecific period of time; i.e., the days of our lives.

"Hour" (ωραν) is implied in the use of ημεραν and is alternately and correctly rendered into English as, inter alia, instant and season (cp. your preferred lexica).

"What is the exact meaning of this verse?" It depends on how one wants to read it.

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    Hi Pat and welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! You clearly know your way around Greek and textual criticism; this is exactly the sort of expert answers we are looking for. If I had one complaint, it would be that I wish you'd given us your considered judgment about what the verse means. (This is exactly the opposite complaint I usually have about answers from new users, by the way. ;) Well done and I hope to see you around. Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 0:26
  • Jon: I usually don't express "judgment" as to what a Scripture passage, verse, or word means. Instead, I strive to help a Bible reader to better understand what they are reading, then let them draw their own conclusion as to meaning. (Sorry for the slow response. I meant to respond earlier, but forget.) Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 17:41

Well sorda.

Act 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

2Ti 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Jesus clearly told the disciples two things. They do not get to know the times greek chronos a general measurement of time or seasons greek kairos the set or appointed time. We do know that the church is in the last days of Earth according to Acts 2:17 and we know what this means for us because of 2 Timothy 3:1. So no we do not know the general time or specific time of the Lord's return and the establishment of the millennial Kingdom.

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luk 17:22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.

The Kingdom of God was first established in the hearts of men spiritually with resurrection of Christ and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Then later will be established on the earth as the millennial Kingdom.

Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

We know the Lord returns quickly but we know he measures his speed at a different rate than we do. He would say that it has only been two days since His ascension. Should he wait 12,000 more years it would only be 2 weeks for Him. If he waited 353,000 more years that would only be one year in God's time.

Also see this question on Christianity SE for references of groups which hold the idea that the Lord has already returned.


Jesus is quite clear that His return will be in the lifetimes of (some of) his audience:

Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.—Matthew 24:34 (ESV)

Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.—Mark 13:30 (ESV)

Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.—Luke 21:32 (ESV)

This would seem to specify the first century AD.

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    Amos, I think one issue that would need to be addressed there is whether He speaks in more than one sense of His coming, i.e. of the possibility of multiple comings. So without necessarily disagreeing with you regarding this text, I would want to see a bit of work showing that in this case, He is actually talking in the close context of something about to happen. Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 14:42
  • I agree with @Tim that there are other possible interpretations of these verses. Note that this is an example of the triple tradition of the parable of the fig tree. One plausible interpretation is that the tree represents the temple. If so, it might have next to nothing to do with Matthew 25:13, which is in the context of the parable of the virgins. Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 17:15
  • It could be interpreted as meaning that “these things takes place” just before “passing away”. Like what happened to Stephen who, just before getting stoned to death, said that he saw "heaven open and the Son of God standing at the right hand of God". Commented Mar 23 at 6:01

Luke 21:32 Jesus speaks giving a parallel of the end of the system of things. Mathew 24:3-14 In 70 CE the Jewish system came to a abrupt end when Cesrah Gallus led troops into Jerusalem and slaughtered the remaining Jews that failed to flee in 66CE when they saw the troop that came and retreated until 4 years later. This is what Jesus said that when you see the disgusting thing that causes desolation to flee.l to the mountains. It wasn't until 1914 when we saw a greater fulfillment of Jesus prophecy of the last days of this system of things or mankind rule before God's Kingdom is fully established. As Jesus said we must pray for God's Kingdom to come. God's kingdom is a government, a rulership with Subjects and rulership over them. During this time God's original purpose for mankind will be made known. Psalm 37:9,10 Revelation 21:3,4 Isaiah 9:6,7.

  • This Generation not passing away, Jesus obviously was not referring to the first century Christians, he had to be referring to a future Generation. During world war I it was obvious that it was a time that in the history of mankind we had not seen, all the wars for the first time were fought in the air rather on the ground. Unlike the pass every nation was at war. According to Mathew 24:3-14 The world got worse, 1929 the stock market crashed and that lead to many out of work and without food. That lead to increased of crime and violence. During this period we were dealing with a pandemic.
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    Commented Aug 6, 2020 at 7:33
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