Matthew 24: 36 51

“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.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Understanding And Applying the Text

Our Lord tells us no one knew the day and hour when the temple would be destroyed. The angels did not know. The Son did not know. Only the Father knew. The human mind is curious. We want to know more than God authorizes us to know. Christ knew the disciples were pushing for victory now! But Christ wanted His disciples to walk in faith. While they are uncertain about the time, they would wait. And all but John died before seeing the prophecy fulfilled.

Christ said He did not know when the temple was to be destroyed. Many find that troubling. They try to resolve it by one of several heresies. The first is the Arian heresy. That heresy states Christ was not God. That would explain why he did not know. Only God knew.

Another heresy is Jesus knew but did not want to say. That makes Christ a liar. He said He did not know something He knew. That means He was not sinless. In that case, He could not atone for His own sins let alone ours.

Another answer is, there is more than one God. That heresy makes God a liar. He said he is one “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) There is one God (Malachi 2:10,15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Titus 2:5)

Some resolve this problem by appealing to the two natures of Christ. The Divine nature knew but the human nature did not know. Many orthodox thinkers have appealed to the two natures as the answer. For example, R. C. Sproul and John Calvin both appealed to this argument. Both of these men are smarter than me. But they got this one wrong.

That argument creates another problem. It creates a Christology problem. Christ is one person with two natures. The two natures cannot be separated, nor mixed. Christ was not half God and half man. He was totally God and totally man. To say the divine side did not communicate the time to the human side divides Christ in half. It separates the two natures of Christ.

It also makes Christ a liar. If the divine nature knew, He knew. The human side did not know but the divine side did. So Christ knew. Since we cannot separate the two natures, Christ knew and said He did not. He lied. He sinned. Being a sinner He could not atone for our sins.

The answer is easy. All you need to ask is. “What does the text say?” Christ said He did not know. So He did not know. Christ said only the Father knew. Only the Father knew. While not stated, if only the Father knew, the Holy Spirit did not know. Only the Father knew.

So the plain reading of the text is one person in the Godhead knew. One person may know something that is unknown by other persons. How can that be? How can there be three distinct persons yet one being? You are asking me to explain the Trinity. Sorry, I can’t do that. All I can only read the text.

Christ then goes on to state. The end of Jerusalem will be unexpected. Everyone will be going about their lives as normal. There will be weddings. There will be feasts. No one will know until that day. Like at the time of Noah no one knew until the rains came.

Josephus tells us that is what happened.

“… as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army, which, at the very first, occasioned so great a straitness among them, that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly.

Josephus Flavius: Complete Works and Historical Background Josephus, Flavius Book 5 Chapter 9 Paragraph 3.

This entire chapter refers to the destruction of Jerusalem.

There is not the faintest hint that there was an undercurrent of meaning in His words, and that when He said ‘Jerusalem,’ and ‘this generation,’ and ‘ye,’ He meant ‘ the world,’ and ‘ distant ages,’ and ‘disciples yet unborn.’

The Parousia 3rd Edition: A General Inquiry Into the Doctrine of our Lord’s Second Coming Russell, James; Clarke, David; Stevens, Ed. Part 1 Chapter 10 section 2g

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