Only the Father Knows
when Jesus will Return
Jesus stated clearly and
emphatically that no one knows the day and hour when
He will return except His heavenly Father. "But of
that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels
of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone"
(Matthew 24:36). The return of Jesus Christ is near,
even at the door, like a thief in the night. He may
come through the door any moment. But let's make it
very clear, "No one knows that day or hour."
History is littered with
individuals who think they know more than Jesus.
Yesterday was no exception, and there will be more
who will come out of the closet before Christ
returns. God the Father did not leave the door ajar
for some arrogant Bible student with a calculator or
computer or some Bible code through whom to reveal
the date of Jesus' return. He emphatically said: No
one knows the day or the hour when I shall return.
Only the Father knows and He has chosen not to
reveal the day or hour.
Jesus Christ will return
to gather His elect and judge the world. Because we
do not know when that time will be, therefore we
must be ready.
Date fixing is eliminated
with Jesus' statement. "That day and hour no one
knows." "The hour remains unknown until it arrives;
and then the cleavage is sudden, absolute, and
irreversible," notes D. A. Carson.
Moreover, "no one"
clearly states the impossibility of any human or
angel discovering by whatever means when the day and
hour of His return. Date fixing is absolutely
impossible. No one in the whole human race will ever
know ahead of time when Jesus is coming. It is
completely out of the realm of human knowledge.
Jesus stated "not even
the angels of heaven" know the date or time of
Jesus' return. The time of Jesus' coming is not even
discussed in heaven. "But of that day or hour no one
knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,
but the Father alone" (Mark 13:32
The most surprising
thought in Jesus' statement that "the Son" does not
even know the timing of His return.
Then who is in the know?
"The Father alone" knows when Jesus will return. The
precise time no one knows but the Father only. In
the Greek text the adjective "only" is made
emphatic. The emphasis of the text is "but only the
Father knows" or "it is only the Father who knows"
or "but the Father knows, and He alone" (Newman and
Stine, A Handbook on The Gospel of Matthew,
statement of Jesus makes it explicitly clear that no
human being on this earth will ever know the time of
Jesus' appearance until every eye shall behold Him.
A. T. Robertson notes: "It is clear that Jesus has
in mind the time of His second coming. He had
plainly stated in verse 34 that those events
(destruction of Jerusalem) would take place in that
generation. He now as pointedly states that no one
but the Father knows the day or the hour when these
things (the second coming and the end of the world)
will come to pass." He adds, "Most people are either
indifferent about the second coming or have fanciful
schemes or programs about it. Few are really eager
and expectant and leave to God the time and the
plans." "It is useless to set the day and the
hour for Christ's coming. It is folly to neglect it"
(Word Pictures in the New Testament, pp.
Why do arrogant
individuals think they are privy to such intimate
knowledge of God the Father? Why is it that they
think they are more righteous than Jesus? Why should
they ever think they are more intimate with the
heavenly Father than the one and only unique of a
kind Son of God?
This verse reveals the
self-limitation of the real Incarnation of the
Eternal Word. As a fully human individual, Jesus
learned things as other human beings learn them, yet
Jesus was fully God, and as God, He had infinite
knowledge. In the passage before us He speaks in
terms of his human nature. John Broadus wrote: "This
statement of our Lord as to Himself can be explained
only by referring to the ignorance of His human
mind. . . . Indeed, a finite mind could not contain
all knowledge. If there was to real Incarnation of
the Eternal Word, then the body He took must be a
real body, and the mind a real mind. How His divine
nature could be omniscient, and His human mind
limited in knowledge, both being united in one
person, is part of the mystery of the Incarnation,
which we need not expect to solve (cf. Philippians
2:7). But to be limited in knowledge, does not
necessarily involve erroneous information or
conceptions. The human nature of the Incarnate Deity
was infallibly preserved from sin, and so, we may
believe, from error of judgment" (Matthew, p.
Moreover, Broadus wisely
concludes: "This saying ought to repress all curious
inquiry as to the precise time of His second coming,
to prevent reliance on any arithmetical
calculations, and also to foster confidence in Him.
The disciples greatly wished to know the precise
time; in every age many have been eagerly seeking to
determine, and some fancying they have ascertained
it, only to be disappointed; but He expressly warned
against this from the outset, and impliedly bade us
to reconcile to an ignorance shared by the high
angels, and by the Son Himself. . . . And if the
God-man, the Mediator, left this and many other
things, to the Father alone, how cheerfully should
we His followers rest in ignorance that cannot be
removed trusting in all things to our heavenly
Father's wisdom and goodness, striving to obey His
clearly revealed will, and leaning on His grace for
WE ARE TO PRAY AND
WATCH FOR HIS COMING
We are commanded to watch
continually for the coming of Christ.
In the context of Matthew
24:36 Jesus spoke of a series of events that will
precede His return, but the precise moment of that
great event has not been revealed to anyone. The
Father alone knows the time and in His infinite
wisdom He has chosen not to reveal it.
The angels stand in a
very close relationship with God the Father and will
be associated with Christ's return, but they too do
not know the hour of His coming (Matt. 13:41;
What the angels do know
is this: Jesus said to them, "It is not for you to
know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by
His own authority . . . And after He had said these
things, He was lifted up while they were looking on,
and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as
they were gazing intently into the sky while He was
going, behold, two men in white clothing stood
beside them. They also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do
you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has
been taken up from you into heaven, will come in
just the same way as you have watched Him go into
heaven'" (Acts 1:9-11.
T. R. Glover wrote: "No
day is named, that every day may be hallowed by the
sense of the possibility of its being the day of His
Advent. It helps to hallow each day of life, to
realize that before its close we may be in the
presence of Christ's glory."
Jesus will Come
Unexpectedly (Matt 24:37-44)
Jesus illustrated this
with the illustration of Noah's flood. "For the
coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days
of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they
were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in
marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
and they did not understand until the flood came and
took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of
Man be" (Matthew 24:37-39).
Noah was busy building
his ark and warning the people of the coming flood
(Gen. 5:32-7:5). Men will not be thinking
about His coming when it arrives. They will be
preoccupied with their own pursuits of life as in
the time of Noah. They refused to heed the warnings
of God. Only those who are prepared will escape the
sudden and unexpected destruction. It will be with
suddenness that Jesus will appear.
What will be the
condition of the world when He returns? Jesus and
His disciples writing in the New Testament make it
very clear there will be total depravity, exceeding
wickedness and even apostasy in the church when He
comes back. It will be an evil day. Jesus will be
despised and hated by the vast majority of people
all over the world. It will be like in the days of
Are you ready for
will be separated by the unexpected coming of Jesus
Furthermore, Jesus said:
"Then there will be two men in the field; one will
be taken and one will be left. Two women will be
grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will
be left" (Matthew 24:40-41).
From this illustration it
is evident there will not be a second chance. Every
opportunity to be saved is gone forever. One is
taken, and the other is left behind. I take these
words of Jesus to mean the believer will be taken
with Christ at His return. Those individuals who
have an intimate personal relationship with Jesus
Christ will be separated by the unexpected coming of
What will you do with
Jesus Christ? What is your personal relationship
The coming of the Lord
Jesus will be clearly manifest. There will be no
need of prophets to announce the fact that He has
come, or invite men to come and see Him. Every eye
will behold Him. And then it is too late to believe
on Christ as your savior.
The Bible does not teach
annihilation or universalism. It does state clearly
that mankind has a simple choice. What will you do
with Jesus Christ? Your eternal destiny depends upon
that personal decision. Not everyone will be saved.
You must believe on Jesus Christ or be eternally
lost, and separated from a holy God in hell. Are you
BE READY FOR JESUS'
"Therefore be on the
alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is
coming" (Matthew 24:42). Be constantly on the alert.
Keep your eyes open. Keep wide awake! Be watchful or
be vigilant means to live a sanctified life,
consciously aware of the coming judgment day. The
just shall live by faith in Jesus Christ. The true
believer is looking forward to the coming of the
Bridegroom and King.
The picture is the coming
of our glorious, powerful King clothed with
authority and majesty.
"But be sure of this,
that if the head of the house had known at what time
of the night the thief was coming, he would have
been on the alert and would not have allowed his
house to be broken into. For this reason you also
must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an
hour when you do not think He will" (Matthew
24:43-44). The figure of the thief is chosen to
illustrate the one point of the unexpected stealthy
approach. The coming of Christ will catch men sunk
in spiritual slumber. But there is also the reward
of watchfulness. The faithful servant will
steadfastly continue to fulfill his call of God to
You do not know on what
day your Lord is coming. He compares Himself to a
burglar in the night. "For you yourselves know full
well that the day of the Lord will come just like a
thief in the night. While they are saying, 'Peace
and safety!' then destruction will come upon them
suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child,
and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not
in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a
thief" (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4). Jesus told the
church in Sardis: "So remember what you have
received and heard; and keep it, and repent.
Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a
thief, and you will not know at what hour I will
come to you" (Revelation 3:3). Later Jesus told John
on the island of Patmos: "Behold, I am coming
like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and
keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about
naked and men will not see his shame" (Revelation
The stress of the whole
passage in Matthew is you must be ready for Jesus'
coming, because He will come when you do not expect
Him. No one knows at what time or during what watch
the thief will come. Therefore keep on watching. Be
ready. No one can predict when He will come.
Jesus admonishes us, "Be
ready." "Be on the alert." You do not know when the
thief will come, but He is coming. Are you prepared
in mind and heart? Are you ready for His coming?
DATE SETTING IS A
MOCKERY OF GOD
Keep in mind the words of
the apostle Peter when he wrote: "you should
remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy
prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior
spoken by your apostles. Know this first of all,
that in the last days mockers will come with their
mocking, following after their own lusts, and
saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For
ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues
just as it was from the beginning of creation'" (2
Peter 3:2-4). The current false date setting by the
cults only throw more fuel on the fire of the
mockers of evangelical Christianity.
Yes, the Day of Judgment
will come. It is appointed by God who is a righteous
Why is the Lord patient
even with the arrogant who refuse to believe His
Word? "But do not let this one fact escape
your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is
like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one
day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some
count slowness, but is patient toward you, not
wishing for any to perish but for all to come to
repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a
thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a
roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense
heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this
way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy
conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the
coming of the day of God, because of which the
heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the
elements will melt with intense heat! But according
to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a
new earth, in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter
In the context of this
great passage in Matthew chapter twenty four,
"Everything predicted from verse six to verse
twenty-two was fulfilled to the letter in connection
with the Fall of Jerusalem within a generation,"
notes G. Campbell Morgan. Having accurately foretold
these events, the then told them what would be the
manner of His coming. "From beginning to end of the
prophecy He emphasized the fact that none knew, nor
could know, when, that coming would be, but the fact
of it was certain" (The Gospel According to
Matthew, p. 286).
It is like Jesus has been
saying, "Do not ask Me to tell you the date of My
coming. God the Father has not revealed it; not even
to Me." But I am coming back.
"Heaven and earth will
pass away, but My words will never pass away," are
steadfast words of Jesus. Yes, the world as we know
it will come to an end, but the Word will remain for
all eternity. He will judge every individual. The
apostle John wrote, "Then I saw a new heaven and a
new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth
passed away, and there is no longer any sea"
(Revelation 21:1). That day will come.
Are you ready for that
day? If you were to die today and stand before Him
face to face, and He would ask you "Why should I
allow you into My heaven? What would you say? What
do you think you would say? Your eternal destination
depends on that answer. "There is salvation in no
one else; for there is no other name under heaven
that has been given among men by which we must be
saved" (Acts 4:12).
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICAL APPLICATINS
1. The precise day when
Jesus will return is wholly unrevealed, and known
only to God the Father.
2. All attempts to set
dates and times when Jesus will return are in vain.
How can sinful man in his arrogance think he knows
more than the Son of God?
3. There is a definite
day on which Christ will come to judge the world.
"Because He has fixed a day in which He will judge
the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has
appointed, having furnished proof to all men by
raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). But make it
very clear: You do not know that dare and I do not
either. Only the Father knows.
4. There is great
assurance for the believer, indeed, our blessed hope
in the coming of Christ. "For this reason I also
suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I
know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He
is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until
that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).
5. What are His faithful
servants to be doing until He returns? "This gospel
of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world
as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end
will come" (Matthew 24:14). I hear excuses from
people all the time about why they are not
personally involved in world missions. There can be
no excuse. Make yourself available to the Lord to do
in and through you what He chooses to do, and then
what how He will work in your life to fulfill His
6. Our great concern is
to be ready when Jesus comes. "Therefore be on
the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord
is coming" (Matthew 24:42).
7. Be ready to give an
account when Jesus returns.
The apostle Paul declares
vividly for us the next great event in history.
Listen carefully to his words. They give us hope,
encouragement and a stark warning. "But we do not
want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who
are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the
rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus
died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him
those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we
say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are
alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will
not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the
Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet
of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then
we who are alive and remain will be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in
the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1
Are you ready for
second coming of Jesus Christ?
Let me share you how you
can be right with God. God loves you and wants you
to experience His peace and life. He desires to have
a lasting intimate love relationship with you. The
Bible says, "For God so loved the world, that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John
God loves you so much
that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you.
Christ did this by paying the penalty of our sins
when He died on the cross and rose from the grave.
The Bible says, "For while we were still helpless,
at the right time Christ died for the ungodly . . .
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"
(Romans 5:6, 8).
But your know what? We
have a severe problem. We are separated from God
because we choose to disobey Him. The Bible says,
"For all have sinned and fall short Romans 3:23).
Nothing we can do will get us across the gulf that
separates us from God. Good works, church
membership, baptism are all short bridges to
nowhere. Our problem is serious. We are not capable
of saving ourselves. We are so sinful that we cannot
reach up to God. He is holy and we are depraved
sinners. You see, that is exactly why God sent His
Son to die in our place. "God made Jesus who knew no
sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians
5:21). "For the wages of sin is death, but the
free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
Lord" (Romans 6:23)
God is offering you the
free gift of salvation or eternal life. It is a gift
that was paid in full by Jesus Christ when He died
in your place on the cross. You can do nothing to
merit it or earn it. To try to pay for it is an
insult to the grace of God. "For by grace you have
been saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result
of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians
How are you saved? How do
you receive eternal life? The Bible is very clear
"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,
and believe in your heart that God raised Him from
the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a
person believes, resulting in righteousness, and
with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation"
It is not psyching
yourself up to some emotional experience. We are
saved by simple faith in Christ. We take God at His
own word when He says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and you shall be saved." You know everything
you need to know to be saved. Take God at His word
and trust Jesus Christ right now.
Will you turn from your
sins and unbelief and by faith receive Jesus Christ
into your heart and life? You can use the following
prayer if it comes from your heart. "Lord Jesus, I
am a sinner. I know that I cannot save myself. I now
believe that Christ died in my place on the cross in
order to forgive me of my sins. I know that Christ
rose from the dead and lives today. I confess my
sins to you, and I repent and put my faith in you to
save me. I want You to save me for all eternity.
Thank you for giving me eternal life. Amen."
Some individuals will
experience a great deal of emotion of joy or sense
of forgiveness or deep inner peace. The Bible says,
"Therefore having been justified by faith, we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"
(Romans 5:1). "There is therefore now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"
Are you ready for
24:36 Keep on Watching and Be Ready for Christ's
Series: Life of