"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." - Matthew 24:36-44 In the previous article, As a Thief in the Night, But to Whom?, the Day of the Lord was shown to only come like a thief to those in darkness, but for those watching, its timing should be known once it comes. As was said in that article, the Scriptures that say, "no one knows the day or the hour" seem to contradict this conclusion, but Scripture cannot be contradictory—it can only be misunderstood. This is then why verses pertaining to the thief are often forced to the idea that no one can know the time even though the thief only surprises those who are sleeping on watch. Concerning the "thief in the night" and the "day no one knows" there is one common point. The overriding command in all of these Scriptures is that the believer is to be watching. Not watching for something that is impossible to see, but watching because once it approaches it will be seen. Otherwise there is not much point to watching if it must remain a total surprise. The problem is that "no one knows the day or hour" is taken to mean a reality that endures until the end. But the use of the verb "knows" is in the present tense of the audience 2,000 years ago and surely Christ being the Son of God knows the timing—though consistency in the popular application of the passage would require that he is still unaware! The only consistent explanation is that this passage found in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 and is part of a figure of speech. The first aspect of this figure of speech is that it is a reference to the coming marriage of a groom and bride. For the Church, the Rapture is prior to when the Day of Lord comes. For Israel it begins at the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. Therefore, this figure matches the wedding parallel found in the Jewish custom of the day and the reality of the returning groom. But the "day no one knows" is also a reference to the day known as the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). No one could know this day until two witnesses observed the New Moon. Therefore, it was known as "the day no one knows the day or hour". However, there are two problems with applying this verse to the Rapture of the Church. In the verses preceding this, Christ is referring to his coming at the end of the Tribulation with no mention of the Rapture event. This goes along with the fact that Paul later first broke the mystery of the Rapture once the new dispensation of the Church was understood. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. --1 Corinthians 15:51-52 But even though Paul uses the term "the last Trumpet" referring to the Feast of Trumpets (remember this was written well before the Revelation given to John), in Matthew 24 Christ is speaking of events closing the Day of the Lord. Therefore, the reference may be the same holiday, but for different years. For when Christ speaks of the days of Noah it cannot be a reference to the Rapture, though it does sound like it. Not only is the Rapture not in the context, but it does not make sense with more information as shown in the Gospel of Luke. Here the distinction is clearer. "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all." "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left." And they answered and said to Him, "Where, Lord?" So He said to them, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together." --Luke 17:26-37 Here in an earlier discourse Luke brings the parallel to proper light. Not only are the days of Noah mentioned, but also the days of Lot. The point is that those who are removed are destroyed and does not speak of those taken at the Rapture. This is made clear when the people ask Jesus where they are taken. He says, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together." Therefore, those taken are dead and food for the birds of prey. Here then, those who remain alive on the earth are like Noah and Lot. The judgment comes with only a few survivors remaining. This then proves that the Second Coming is in view when Christ says that "no on knows the day or hour" in Matthew 24:36.1 This then is what is presented in Signs of the End as to why we should be able to see the coming Day of the Lord. For it is plain that the time of the Second Coming will not be a mystery to the student of the Bible. In Daniel and Revelation there are the clear day counts from the time of the Abomination of Desolation until the Second Coming. Properly understanding these events will make it possible to know the time. Therefore, the common understanding of "no one knows the day" cannot be correct since this passage refers to the Second Coming. Instead it is a figure of speech that points to the significance of the Feast of Trumpets. Therefore, what has been used to conceal and forbid in looking for the coming of Christ is actually a very big clue as to what time the Lord will return. It is true that no one has known when Christ will specifically return, but as the verb "knows" is in the present tense, ultimately it will not remain unknown. This is why we are told to watch. Therefore, this understanding makes sense of Revelation 3:3 where by watching the believer is able to see and determine the hour the Lord returns. Only this understanding makes sense of the Scripture passages that have so far been fumbled in popular Christianity. Though it is true that people did not know the time 2,000 years ago, there still remains the aspect of watching through the lens of Scripture that will help us see the day approaching. This then is what has been discovered in Signs of the End and also with many other Christian researches leading up to this time. The conclusion is that signs have begun to come to pass and show that we are at the end of the age—not that we are in the Tribulation, but that we are on the verge of it. For once the Church is removed via the Rapture, then the time of Jacob’s Trouble (the Tribulation or Daniel’s Seventieth Week) can begin. But we have seen the birth pains of world war and other disasters as spoken of by Christ. Israel has also returned to their homeland, which was a prerequisite for the Tribulation. And as has also been shown, all of these things are on a very clear schedule. But yet there are different opinions as to when the time will come from this point forward. Many are looking for 2008 to 2015 to be the time of the Tribulation while Signs of the End looks to 2010 to 2017. Of course these are still theories waiting further confirmation. As time unfolds, a clearer understanding will be determined of those items seen in relation to the signs as found in Scripture. But in any regard, the window of time is closing as the generation that saw Israel reborn has come to sixty years. Add in seven more years for the Tribulation and the time for a generation is quickly drawing to a close, if the time is to be seventy years. Hopefully, whoever reads this avoids the coming Tribulation by believing in Jesus Christ and his work of salvation. It is only through Christ’s sacrifice that a person can bridge the barrier between God and the human race that was created by sin. No human work is a worthy substitution. We can only decide to accept the gift and place our trust in it. For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. --John 3:16-17 Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead nearly 2,000 years ago to do just that. He is coming back very soon and the ultimate question is where have we placed our faith? Is it in ourselves or some other created thing? Or is it in the Creator and his plan of salvation? Now is the time to decide, for time is indeed running out of the hourglass. 1 An Interpretation of Matthew 24—25 by Thomas Ice.
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