Friday, October 7, 2011

Did Jesus Not Know? Part 1 of 2

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.

Here is a confession that has been sand in the eyes of many Christian apologists over the centuries. This verse has been tugged out from the Bible by cults and anti-Christian sects for so many years because it is commonly believed to be a death-knell to the claims of deity Jesus made. There is a common argument made by opponents of Christianity concerning this verse, regarding the truth about Jesus Christ’s Second Coming to this earth.

Jesus never claimed to be God, but the Son of God. In other words Jesus was only a created being—perhaps the greatest created being—but created nonetheless. This passage reveals that Jesus was not omniscient (He did not know everything) therefore He is different from Yahweh, the true God of the Bible and Christ’s Creator. This verse coupled with verses such as John 5:19 and 14:28 seem to cement the notion that Jesus was, after all, not God incarnate. Was Jesus Christ not God after all? Is the orthodox view of Christianity in jeopardy, having been built on a misunderstanding of Scripture? If you listen to the cults such as the Watchtower the answer is an affirmative YES! Perhaps before this misused verse is warped by anyone’s private interpretation (2nd Peter 1:20; 3:16) we should consider the context in which it was spoken.

Mark chapter 13 is an abridged version of Matthew chapters 24-25. This is an overview our Lord gives of the coming Tribulation period to His apostles; a collective of Jewish fishermen, tax-collectors, rebels and other common men. His was an entirely Jewish audience, which is something we shall touch upon again shortly. To gain better clarity of this verse it is necessary to quote at length from Matthew’s account of our Lord’s words.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For 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, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come,” Matthew 24:36-42.

Verse 36 begins with a like statement from our Lord, save for the fact that He does not include Himself as one of those who does not know the time of His return. This threadbare argument however cannot be used against the passage in Mark for two reasons. #1: Scripture does not contradict itself and #2: Jesus as the Son of God and the Word which existed eternally with the Father is not the Father. By using the phrase “but my Father only” Jesus ensured that we understood He meant God the Father alone knew.

Verses 37-39 describe a suddenness that was both expected and unexpected. Noah was a preacher of righteousness that warned the people of his time concerning things to come, 2nd Peter 2:5; Hebrews 11:7. Though the people had been warned they did not believe. God sent not only Noah but Enoch to preach to the people about impending wrath, Jude 1:14-15. Neither prophet was believed so man continued in wanton ignorance, without excuse when the terrible judgment of the Flood broke on them and destroyed all life. Their casual dismissal of Noah’s warning could be seen by the fact that their daily life went on as though nothing was amiss. The thought of rainfall and a deadly flood was abstract and inconsequential to them. So too Jesus warns that the days prior to His return shall be. Unbeliever and saint alike will be sleeping, Matthew 25:5. Peter warned that this mentality would characterize the last days, 2nd Peter 3:3-4. Much of professing Christendom has stopped looking for their Lord; today many deny the Scriptural teaching of the Rapture. Truly we are fast asleep.

Verses 40-41 define what it is Jesus is referring to in regards to the time His Father sends Him back. Two men will be in a field, working. One shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be making bread and one will suddenly be taken while the other is left behind. This language is reminiscent of how the writer of Hebrews describes Enoch’s departure from this earth: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”: for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God,” Hebrews 11:5. Enoch was a vivid example to us of the impending Rapture that precedes God’s judgment on this earth during the Tribulation. This helps to clarify what this passage is attempting to convey: Jesus is telling His apostles that some people will suddenly be taken away, while others are left behind on this earth.

Verse 42 is an injunction to watch and be ready, for believers will not know the time of Jesus Christ’s return to this earth for His own. The coming of Christ presently being spoken of is not His return in glory that is both visible and physical; it is His coming down to catch up (Rapture) His saints before the destruction of the Tribulation begins in earnest, similar to the days of Noah when that godly preacher and those with him were spared the judgment of the Flood by being sheltered in the ark. So too Jesus is assuring us that before judgment breaks Christians shall be “taken” because of our faith in Christ.

1 comment:

  1. As Acts says, it is not for us to know. If we'd focus on what he told us instead of what he told us wasn't our business, I wonder how much more we'd accomplish? Great post.

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