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When Jesus said

"No one knows the day or the hour" (Matt 24:36, Mark 13:32)

to His disciples what was the context? Did Jesus mean He wouldn't know until that very day and hour (like the rest of us), or in His current, yet to be glorified state?

He was given all authority in heaven and on earth by the Father after He had risen from the dead, wouldn't that indicate Him knowing the day and the hour by that point? Is it possible for us to know the day or the hour? Are there hints in the scriptures that give us more information as to the time of His second coming? Apparently "No one knows the day or the hour" is a well known Jewish idiom, pointing to Yom Teruah, that would be an example that Jesus might be telling the disciples in veiled language that they should look to the day of trumpets for His return. I'd like to learn more about this subject.

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The Jews have several names for the Feast of Trumpets, or Yom Teruah which God established in Lev. 23:23-25. It is literally a day of remembrance of blowing, or a day of blowing the trumpet. Today, they call it Rosh HaShana for the beginning of the Jewish civil new year, but that is not according to the scriptures. Ex. 12:2 set the beginning of the year as the month of Nisan.

It is also called Yom Hadin, Day of Judgment; as well as Yom Hazikaron, Day of Remembrance. By Rabbinic tradition, they also call it Yom Harat Olam, for the day the world was conceived. The only scriptural name that God gave it was Yom Teruah. The other names may have originated during the Babylonian captivity from the influence of the pagan belief in one day of judgment when all the “gods” gathered to determine the fates of every individual. (1) It began to be called Rosh Hashana after the temple was destroyed, some time about the second century AD.

As Yom Teruah falls on the first day of the seventh month (Tishrei), the feast or holy day had to wait for the High Court (Sanhedrin) to declare it. The Court waited for the report of at least two witnesses to the crescent light, or new moon / new light (2). As a result, the people could not truly know ahead of time which day would be the first day, so they had to prepare and wait for the official declaration. Sometimes, the Court would declare it a little late in the day, and the feast would be extended an extra day to the 2nd day of Tishrei. (3)

But, a saying for this feast became popular with the Jews as “no man knows the day or the hour.” (4) When the disciples heard Jesus use this Hebraic phrase in His Olivet Discourse for the day the temple would be torn down, they would have recognized it as referring to Yom Teruah, or the Feast of Trumpets.

Jesus certainly knew what He was saying to them, and His disciples certainly knew to watch for the first of Tishrei. Jesus did not tell them which first day of Tishrei, which year, or how many years to His second appearance in that generation. But, the Holy Spirit let them know, as both Peter and Paul repeatedly told them in their letters that the day was near and at hand (Rom. 13:11-12; Phil. 4:5; 2 Thess. 2:2; 1 Pet. 4:7).

There were many blasts of the trump on Yom Teruah, but the “last trump” was know as the Tekiah Gedolah, and was a long sustained blast of the shofar.

”In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:52, KJV)

It is not an accident that Paul used the phrase the “last trump.” Jesus’ disciples would have also associated that phrase with the Feast of Trumpets on the 1st of Tishrei.

The parable of the wedding feast in Matt. 22:1-14 ties the destruction of Jerusalem to the wedding feast.

”7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.” (Matt. 22:7-8, KJV)

Judgment occurred at the wedding feast (Matt. 22:11-13). Jesus told His disciples that when He came in His glory, judgment would occur as He would take out all the souls from Hades, and separate them (Matt. 25:31-46). According to tradition, the bridegroom came for His bride in the night – like a thief – with trumpets blowing through the streets. (5) That is why the bride and her bridesmaids (the ten virgins) waited with lamps lighted. They had to have purchased the fuel for the lamps ahead of time as they did not know which night would be THE night.

This also ties having to be prepared before the 1st of Tishrei since they did not know which day would be declared to be the first day of the month.

The common mis-understanding of the future delayed second appearance of the Lord (Heb. 9:28,that Paul said would be in that same generation in which He was crucified) stems from false teaching that there is a separation of the subject matter in Matt. chap. 24 at verse 34. The institutional churches have taught that Jesus changed the subject from the destruction of the temple to the “end of the world” at verse 35 because they do not recognize that the words “heaven and earth” were also a popular saying of the Jews. They called the temple in Jerusalem “heaven and earth” as that is where God met with man. (6) God used the phrase “heaven and earth” for the old Mosaic covenant as it was a promise between God and man.

”I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day,…" (Deu. 4:26, KJV) and,

”Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” (Deu. 31:26, KJV)

So, when Jesus said in Matt. 24:35 that, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” He contrasted His words of the new covenant against Moses words of the old covenant. It was not referring the end of the physical cosmos. The subject matter was still of the prophesy of the destruction of that old temple in Jerusalem which happened in AD 70.

If we are using one scripture in such a way that contradicts another of God’s scriptures, then we are misunderstanding His word.

”And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” (Gen. 8:21, KJV)

When Jesus said that the gospel would be preached through “all the world” (Matt. 24:14) and “then end would come” it was the same “all the world” of Luke 2:1, which was the inhabited earth (oikoumene) of the old Roman empire. (7)

Jesus tied it to the tribulation of Dan. 12:1. The prophesy of the “end of the days” of Dan. 12:13 when Daniel would stand in his lot was the end of the days of Daniel’s prophesy of the 490 years in Dan. 9:24. The “end of days” never was about the end of all time, but only about the end of the Mosaic covenant, and the end of the temple sacrifices in Jerusalem.

Jesus knew when, and He knew what He was saying to His disciples. The Father determined when to send the bridegroom for His bride (Rev. 19:7) as He prepared for the battle to destroy that great whore Jerusalem (Rev. 19:2).

Recommended:

The Signs of The Feasts – Part II: Jesus Told His Disciples… ShreddingTheVeil

The Signs of The Feasts – Part III: The Thief in the Night - ShreddingTheVeil

Testing The Spirits – Part II: The End - ShreddingTheVeil

Testing The Spirits – Part III: Daniel’s Lot - ShreddingTheVeil

Frequent Mistakes – Part IV: Where Was All the World - ShreddingTheVeil

The Whore of Babylon - ShreddingTheVeil

The Signs of Revelation – Part I: The Time of His Coming - ShreddingTheVeil

Notes:

  1. Rosh Hashana - here

  2. New Moon – here

  3. When Holidays Began – here

  4. No man knows the day… - JewishRoots

  5. Wedding customs - here

  6. When Heaven and Earth Passed Away - here

  7. Oikoumene – Strongs’ Gr. 3625 - Biblehub

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    I once read on BH, but I can't find it now, that a Jewish saying was "only the father knows". This was the standard reply any man would give when asked when his wedding was going to be. It meant that father-in-law was incharge of organising the wedding and the future son-in--law was submitting to his timing. Submitting but not necessarily ignorant. i.e. Jesus was quoting a popular saying for a purpose.
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 27, 2023 at 14:36
  • I don't believe Jesus said anything without purpose.
    – Gina
    Jul 27, 2023 at 14:38
  • @C.Stroud - Thank you!
    – Gina
    Jul 27, 2023 at 15:11
  • Interesting. So have the prophecies in the book of Revelation already been fulfilled then? Maybe I misunderstood, but the reference you used from Luke 2:1 seems to indicate fulfillment via the language Jesus was using. It sounds similar to what a Preterist friend of mine believes. Thank you for the resources, I appreciate it.
    – Yahuchanan
    Jul 28, 2023 at 17:45
  • Yes, Revelation was about the destruction of Jerusalem, and the full establishment of God's everlasting kingdom at the fall of that earthly temple.
    – Gina
    Jul 29, 2023 at 1:59
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What is the Context? Several questions are asked on this post. First, the Context? This is the most appropriate place to start hermeneutically! The CONTEXT is the Olivet Discourse which is divided into two sections, with transition verses between them:

END OF JERUSALEM 24:3-34...transition v.35-36...END OF WORLD v. 24:37-25:46

All those things that some casual readers think are "signs of the end of the world" are located in the first section, and only refer to the End of the Temple and Mosaic Era. A study of Jewish vernacular and imagery bear this out.

No One Knows The second section is highlighted with the declaration,But of that Day and Hour, no one knows.... The Greek is emphatic: peri de, "but concerning that..." There is definitely a change in topics! And to underscore His point, Jesus reiterated several illustrations, emphasizing the same message. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know.... This repetition precluded any "hint" concerning His return. The first section of this Discourse listed many signs, but the second part gives "no signs, none at all."

Impossible to Know It is impossible to know the time of Christ's return. Some have said that we may not know "the day or hour" but we can know the season because of the "signs of the end-times". However Jesus expanded his message in Acts 1:7 when He said: It is not for you to know the times or seasons the Father has set in His own authority. (Here again, the signs some have appealed to, only deal with the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Judea.)

Be Ready The admonition of Jesus still stands: Be Ready! And later in the N.T. the Apostle taught that if we are vigilant and diligent (concerning our holiness and conduct) that day will not take us unawares. It will not be like the arrival of a "thief" but rather, the glorious reuniting of a Lover for His expecting bride!

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    Comment about your tag wiki suggestions: not all tags need to have a description, if the word is easy to understand. The tag wikis should be more about how to use the tag specifically on this site. And please avoid any statements that could be disputed theologically. Just to explain why some of your suggestions were rejected.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 28, 2023 at 0:29
  • Interesting, but I think we can argue that His statements do not have to be true for all time, otherwise what's the point of giving us the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation, or apocalyptic prophecy in general? We're given pinpoint timing on specific events, and they happened, down to the very day. I'm going to go out on a limb and say there will indeed be a day coming, maybe sooner then we all think, where we can know the day of His Parousia, at the very least, but not the hour itself. And that scripture tells us how to know.
    – Yahuchanan
    Jul 28, 2023 at 17:31
  • @Yahuchanan-Going out on a scriptural limb is dangerous. We must stick to the words of Jesus who said,No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mtt. 24:36) It is important to submit to the teachings of Jesus, and not man-made ideas. The Scripture told us, No signs, not even "times and seasons." (Acts 1:7) Peace.
    – ray grant
    Jul 31, 2023 at 22:38
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This is an interesting passage; Jesus is clear in Matt 24:36 that no one knows the hour. However, in other places, Jesus appears to know as he mentions a number of signs.

Matt 24:36

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Matt 24:29-31

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matt 25:31

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

Matt 24:44

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Again, in Mark;
Mark 13:32

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Mark 13

Signs of the End of the Age 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
. . .
18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, [implies again that he does not know]
. . .
24 "But in those days, following that distress, " 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' 26 "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
. . .
29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. [implies going to happy shortly – albeit this is a passage for more discussion]
. . .
33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. [could imply that we do not know but Jesus does]

Revelation 3:11

I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

1 Peter 4:7

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Luke 9:27

But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” [Jesus again implies that the end is very shortly – another passage for debate]

Matt 28:18

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

added

Matt 24:3 …………………….What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”

Matt 24:27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matt 24:34 - Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

genea = generation NOT race/nation is can clearly been seen by numerous passages, a few; Matt 11:16, 12:39, 12:41-42, 12:43-45, 16:4 – Luke 7:31, 9:41 – Mark 9:19, 8:38 – Acts 2:40 – Phil 2:14-16 – Heb 3:9-11

Clearly relates to the generation Jesus was speaking to.

Conclusion
At one point Jesus is clear that no one but God (the Father) knows the last hour, yet implies has knowledge and makes predictions. Jesus also implies that he is coming soon, even some of those with him will still be alive (arguably wrong predictions). It's arguable that he does know as he has been given all authority, but may not be absolute. However, Jesus never says an exact date to the Hour. Based on all, in my opinion, he did not know but clearly knew signs and that he will come again near the end times.

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    Two Different Topics In studying the Olivet Discourse, one must be aware of the transition from the SIGNS of the Destruction of Jerusalem (The End of Mosaic Judaism), and the NO SIGNS of the second section of this Discourse (End of the World). Confusion is cleared up when we take Jesus at His word that all the events of verses 3-32 are to have happened in the First century. The transition occurs in verses 34-36. And the second section goes from verse 36b- 25:46. There is change of verbage : Days/day, signs/no sign, tribulation/normal occupations. Only the Father knows the Day and hour.
    – ray grant
    Jul 26, 2023 at 23:08
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    Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. I also recommend going through the Help Center's sections on both asking and answering questions.
    – agarza
    Jul 27, 2023 at 3:22
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    @agarza thank you very much for your kind assistance / edit, I will.
    – maryhope
    Jul 29, 2023 at 20:10
  • @raygrant - yes Jesus mentioned the temple, but the conversation was also about the end times - Olivet Discourse is a theory IMO week - an attempt to explain the error of the end times / generation
    – maryhope
    Aug 3, 2023 at 12:48
  • Your first Bible quote needs to be checked. The expression "nor the Son" does not occur in Matthew 24:36, but in Mark 13:32 only. If you have found a version that does (strangely) have this for Matthew, please indicate the version you are using.
    – Biblasia
    Aug 4, 2023 at 15:24
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He knows the Father just as the Father knows Him in the exclusive way designated by the word “nobody” (Matthew 11:27). This “nobody” includes all intelligent creatures, men, angels and fallen angels.

Now, this full mutual knowledge of the Father and the Son precludes any possibility that the Son does not know the hour oh His own second parousia and the end of the times.

Moreover, Christ knows future not as a prophet, who is granted this knowledge from God, but as God, in a sovereign way, predicting His own death and resurrection (Matthew 17:23-23), predicting Peter’s betrayal (John 23:36-38), demise of Solomon’s temple (Matthew 24:2) - he does not need revelation for as the Logos of the Father He is the very Source of revelation alongside with the Father, the prophets, as servants, being inspired, He, as the Lord, being the Inspirer. Therefore, it is utterly preposterous nay blasphemous to say that the Incarnate Logos does not know when His own second parousia will happen.

Others, angels, prophets, saints in principle can know the future events, but not by themselves, sovereignly, but by grace bestowed upon them by Christ the Lord.

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  • Well, I think Mark 13:32 says otherwise, in regards to the Son not knowing the day or the hour, at least at the time He was teaching His disciples. I don't recall a verse in scripture that says Jesus knows everything the Father knows, though maybe I'm incorrect? Scripture does say that everything Jesus speaks comes from the Father, which is different. Moses called Him "The Prophet". This also gets into Jesus being "begotten" on that day vs the idea that He's eternal. I personally don't see a contradiction, but some people do. He came down from the heavens and was born and became a man.
    – Yahuchanan
    Jul 28, 2023 at 17:20
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    @Yahuchanan The Matthew 11:27 implicitly indicates the mutual full-knowledge of the Father and the Son, more: the Son is the Principle through whom the Father can be known, the Father being ontologically unable to transmit knowledge about Himself without His Logos, and to say that Eternal Logos who was with Father before the world/time began does not know anything what the Father knows is preposterous. See John 10:15, which in a traditional interpretation, means the equality of reciprocal knowledge of the Father and the Son. Since this is established Mark 13:32 must be viewed in this light. Jul 28, 2023 at 20:07
  • It seems that Yeshua is the manifestation of Yahweh, yet fully man. I'm not sure if the Father was somehow limited or not, it's the first time I've heard this mentioned. It is interesting, the Father needing His Logos, I've never thought of it that way before. Theologians tend to think Yeshua was limiting Himself while in the flesh, which is a possibility, but I cannot answer whether or not it is true. Must is a strong word, but John 10:15 is an interesting argument, as is the Son being the physical representation of the Father, when we see Jesus, we see and hear the Father.
    – Yahuchanan
    Aug 11, 2023 at 18:27
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    @Yahuchanan The Lord Jesus Christ is, since 2023 years ago, the incarnate Person of the eternal Logos/Son of God with and through whom God-the Father created the universe, and so Logos/Son is uncreated and, as such, also God, co-Creator with the God-the Father. The Father not only does not but ontologically cannot create wothout the Son and vice versa. This is not Their limitation! That Father cannot not be Father is not His limitation, but His very reality, like the fact that sun-disc cannot enlighten without emitting rays is not a limitation of the sun-disc. Aug 12, 2023 at 4:03
  • Hello, A friend of mine has an interesting theory based off of YHWH coming down from heaven to see what was going on in Babel. Why would He have to go see what the people were doing for Himself? Anyway, my friend has a theory that God limits Himself (His foreknowledge maybe?) so He can experience this great drama right along side us, so to speak, in real time. Or was it Jesus who came down to see the people building the tower of Babel? I have to be honest, I cannot conceive with my human understanding, how Elohiym are co-Eternal co-Creators, co-Omniscient, i.e., yet are "Echad" (unity oneness)
    – Yahuchanan
    Aug 24, 2023 at 18:42
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There are two related verses being asked about, with a hermeneutic answer sought regarding them. A difficulty is that the actual verses do not provide the answer sought. There is nothing in either of them that even hints at whether Jesus now knows the day and the hour.

Yet the question as to whether Jesus' words here are "timeless", can be answered in one sense from the verses, but that still will not answer whether he now knows the day and the hour. This answer is sticking to the only hermeneutic point possible from examination of the context of the two verses in question.

The sentence uttered by Jesus immediately before the verse in question categorically states that:

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Matthew 24:35 A.V. - ditto in Mark 13:31.

This means that Jesus' words are timeless.

What does that mean with regard to the next sentence he uttered, the verse in question? The answer is simple. If everything in our material universe passed away - ceased to exist - Jesus' words would remain, and remain truthful. His words about knowing the day and the hour of his sudden, unexpected return to Earth (vs. 26-27) will be realised by all Earth's inhabitants to be true at the time they are fulfilled, before heaven and earth pass away. But one reason why humans will never get to know the day and the hour before they happen is that many would think they could put off following Christ till just before then, when they would make a sudden "confession" and express faith in Christ, expecting that would then save them from the wrath of the returning Christ.

But will the now resurrected, glorified Christ get to know the day and hour beforehand, or does he even now know it? The verses in question do not tell us. A fresh question on this could be posted in the Christianity site, scoped to particular answerers (e.g. to those who do believe that Christ is going to suddenly return to Earth) and allowing for related Bible verses to be woven into answers, which is rarely possible on the Hermeneutics site that usually requires sticking to the verse/s asked about. It's not for learning more about a subject, but for learning more about a verse (or two). So, this is as far as a hermeneutic answer can go (as far as I know), with the two verses in question.

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Words like this that describe Jesus not knowing the things which, as true God, he should know, are exmamples of Jesus State of Humiliation (or exinanition)

In Jesus' state of exinanition Jesus gives up the full and frequent use (but not the possession) of his divine attributes, so that he can suffer and save the world from its sin.

  • Negatively (negatively = what Jesus gives up), He emptied Himself of the ἴσα εἶναι θεῷ ('being equal with God'). Cf. these passages for examples: Jn 17:5; Mt 8:20; 2 Cor 8:9; Ps 110:1; Eph 1:20; Lk 22:42,54; Mk 11:13; Mt 24:36; Jn 11:34; Is 7:15; Lk 2:52; Mt 21:19. In catechism class we learn that Jesus has "omni's". Jesus is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient. We don't seem to have problems with him laying aside his omnipotence very much. Nobody loses sleep over the fact that Jesus walked to Jerusalem instead of instantly moving from one place to another (as he does after he rises from the dead). This was an example of his exinanition. Just as Jesus sets aside the use of his omnipotence, so also does he set aside the use of his omniscience. In this passage he boldly claims that he doesn't know what we confess him to not just know, but also do in the Apostles Creed: to return on Judgment Day and judge. As another example of this consider the account of the faith of the centurion. When the Centurion tells Jesus to not enter his house, since he's convinced Jesus can heal his servant anywhere, Jesus is shocked and amazed “ἐθαύμασεν” (Μαθθαῖον 8·10 THGNT-T); “ἐθαύμασεν” (Λουκᾶν 7·9 THGNT-T). And in the words which follow right after, we hear why he is shocked and amazed: He has not found such a faith like the Centurion had. “παρ’ οὐδενὶ τοσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον.” (Μαθθαῖον 8·10 THGNT-T).

  • Positively, (Positively = what Jesus did) He assumed the μορφή δούλου,("form of a slave") in obedience and suffering. cf. He 12:2; Philippians 2:1-11.

Jesus' state of exinanition (or humiliation) is different than his state of exaltation.. Jesus in his state of exaltation makes full and frequent use of his Divine Attributes how much and whenever he wants and wills.

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  • That's interesting and I think the Father might limit Himself in a similar way, to experience the drama of sin right along with us. Why does He need to go down to Sodom to see what's going on? He does the same thing when the people start building the tower of Babel. Surely the Creator of the heavens and earth doesn't need to come down to earth to see what's going on for Himself, yet that's what He does. There are of course paradoxical passages of scripture that one could use to argue against this view, but it's still fascinating to think about.
    – Yahuchanan
    Aug 11, 2023 at 18:07
  • I'm pretty sure the historical Christian teaching is that Jesus never stopped being omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient. Those all refer to his limitations (he has none in his divinity), not whether he utilised them. The language of "setting aside" or "laying aside" is unhelpful IMO as it's not clear whether it means Jesus became limited in those ways, or just that he, for a time, did not choose to act in a way that showed his omni-s.
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 22, 2023 at 13:04
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As a Man, Jesus did not know the day nor the hour, just as none of his disciples did. Mark 13:32 explicitly indicates that Jesus was even excluding himself from this knowledge.

But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. (Mark 13:32, KJV)

However, the context of Jesus' statement must be carefully considered. Looking at in within chapter 24 of Matthew's account, we see plainly that the context of this "day and hour" is linked to the Flood of Noah's time. We may also note that Jesus makes no explicit mention of his "second advent" within this context; therefore, we must be careful about jumping to the same conclusion that many have, without actual Biblical support.

Here is that critical portion of Matthew 24.

36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 234:36-44, KJV)

Jesus' words in verse 36 do not finish his thoughts on the matter. He continues in the next verse comparing what he has just said to the time of Noah. In verse 38, he references the "day" that Noah entered the ark, followed by a reference in verse 39 to the Flood taking the unrighteous away.

Jesus indicates that the (unrighteous) antediluvians did not know until the Flood came. What did they not know? And, more importantly, WHO was it that did not know?

Noah knew. God had told him. Noah had been told to enter the ark (see Genesis 7:1), and God had shut him, and his family, inside (see Genesis 7:16). God told him that the rains would come seven days later. Noah was not among those who were ignorant--because God had informed him.

And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (Genesis 7:1, KJV)

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. (Genesis 7:4, KJV)

The events surrounding the Flood give us the context we need to understand Jesus' words in Matthew 24.

Who was ignorant?

All those who had not believed the message Noah had preached to them from God--Noah himself was not ignorant.

What were they ignorant of?

They did not know that when Noah had entered the ark and the door had been shut by God, that their destiny was already determined and could no longer be changed. They continued marrying, eating, drinking, and living as normal during those seven days after their probation had closed, not realizing at all that it had closed. They were ignorant of the door of their probation having been permanently shut.

When did they know?

When the Flood came, and took them all away--that is when they knew. And that is when they tried to force open that door, to no avail. They were lost. It was too late, then, to find salvation.

My Conclusions

No one now living on earth knows when probation will close. And none of us will know this: neither for ourselves, nor for others. However, the time of Christ's coming, like the announcement of the Messiah's coming at the baptism in the Jordan, will be again announced; and as before, only the righteous will understand it. This, however, will not come until after the cases of all have been decided; i.e. probation has closed. We do not know how far in advance this announcement may come, but it will be not long at all before Jesus returns, perhaps only a few days.

I believe Jesus knows when this time will be, though while on earth with us as a Man, I believe he did not know. It may be, however, that even now, Jesus is not the one who sets the time for probation's close for those who are to be judged. This is the Father's role, as Judge, whereas Jesus pleads his blood, as Mediator, on behalf of his faithful followers--and does not need to know when each name will be brought forward by the Father.

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  • I agree with most of what you wrote except that last bit. Probation closes when the mark of the beast has run it's course and when the vial judgements begin. By that point the righteous will be sealed with the mark of Yahweh and the wicked will have been sealed with the mark of the Beast. The great tribulation begins the final testing of mankind and mercy is still possible, up until the mark of the Beast seals the fate of the wicked, then comes the wrath of Yahweh and His Word.
    – Yahuchanan
    Aug 11, 2023 at 18:01
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When Jesus said

"No one knows the day or the hour" (Matt 24:36, Mark 13:32)

It refers to nobody on earth should know the day or the hour. Anyone who insists to know the day or the hour is against God's will.

Does Jesus know the day or the hour? Think about this verse;

30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NIV)

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  • 1
    Hello Vince, Jesus says that not even the Son knows the day or the hour in Mark 13:32.
    – Yahuchanan
    Jul 28, 2023 at 17:06
  • 2
    @Yahuchanan - correct. But Jesus called Himself 'Son of Man', He never claimed Himself 'Son of God'. He said not even the Son knows, He did not say not even I know. John wrote in Revelation never mention the name 'Jesus', so it is still a mystery of Jesus in His glory. At the moment, the factual hint is when Jesus said "I and the Father are one". Jul 28, 2023 at 18:22
  • 2
    I think it's pretty obvious that He is the Son, just as many of the messianic Psalms attest. The discussion is about whether or not He knew, so I'm open to all possibilities. I feel like it's a riddle of sorts. "No one knows the day or the hour" is an idiom for Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), hence why I feel He's giving us a huge hint as to when we should be looking for His parousia. He and the Father are one, but they seem to be distinct as well. I don't like using the word "trinity" and prefer "Echad".
    – Yahuchanan
    Aug 11, 2023 at 18:19
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But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Mat 24:36-39)

The sun and moon going dark in Mat 24:29 could symbolically stand for the flame of life going out for people, whereafter Jesus, or one of his angels, comes down as a shining star and lights up the “darkness”(1 Thess 4:16). This all dead people will experience, and some will welcome it and some will not, because they have resisted him during their lifetime. (John 5:27-29)

“Truly I say to you, There are men who stand here, who will not taste death, until [it is time for them to] see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Mat 16:28 Lamsa Bible).

“Where there is a dead body the eagles will gather” (Mat 24:28). “Eagles” could stand for angels. Some angels are good and some are evil. The good ones are sent down by Jesus to gather his children from east and west (Mat 24:31) at their death. At some stage the limited number of wedding guest seats are filled and no more people are gathered (Luke 14:16-23). At this stage the salt is gone and the world starts deteriorating rapidly (Matt 5:13). People will then envy the dead and some people commit suicide to get away from the terrible state the world is in, but peace will not be found even in death. (Rev 9:6)

In conclusion, the verses following Mat 24:36 point at death, and the subsequent face to face encounter with God, as being the unsuspecting thing to be prepared for.

God to Moses: “you cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live.” (Ex 33:20)

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  • It makes me think of 2 Peter 1:20. The Bible has to define itself (apocalyptic language), i.e., any symbols or analogous language, otherwise we're all in chaos when it comes to apocalyptic prophecy (eschatological scripture). I think context defines when something is literal, symbolic, or analogous. Me personally, He'll return in the same manner He left, but in His second coming, He will not be alone. The host of heaven will be following behind Him.
    – Yahuchanan
    Jul 28, 2023 at 17:13

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