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Matthew 24:36-41 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: About That Day and Hour

Matthew 24:36-41 – About That Day and Hour

|| Mark 13:32, 33

MT24:36 “But, about that day and hour[1] no one knows[2] neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son[3] but only the Father. {MK13:33 Keep looking and remain awake[4] for you do not know when the appointed time is.[5]} MT24:37 For even as the days of Noah[6] so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.[7] [Daniel 7:13, 22] MT24:38 For as in those days before the Cataclysm[8] [Genesis 7:17 LXX] they were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the Ark.[9] [Genesis 7:13] MT24:39 And they knew not until the Cataclysm came and swept them away, so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.[10] MT24:40 Then two will be in the field,[11] one will be taken along[12] and the other left behind.[13] MT24:41 Two women will be grinding in the mill,[14] one will be taken along and one will be left behind.

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[1] That day and hour: An appointed time for what? Is it not the Arrival or parousia of Christ? It would seem so. The following context compares and contrasts the Parousia or Arrival with the Master’s return to judge his Household. The fact that the Nazarene uses “day and hour” would argue that he does not have some generational period in mind, but something which occurs in a single day.

[2] No one knows: The ignorance is absolute with the exception of the Father. This point is repeated to the disciples at Acts 1:7, ‘It is not yours to know times or appointed times which the Father put within His own authority.’ If the disciples’ original question inferred a “day and hour” then they asked a question Jesus could not answer. The Nazarene does answer within his own limitations and according to what is already written in the Prophets. With Luke 21:8 in mind how could some Bible student or evangelical prophet claim to know more than Christ, by having worked out some time chronology, which Jesus would have known had it really existed?

[3] Nor the Son: The Son’s ignorance here indicates his inferiority contrasted with his Father, God.

[4] Remain awake: There is a tension here between ignorance and expectation. Perhaps the expectation or hope is heightened by the ignorance. All the Saints hope the Parousia will occur in their lifetimes but they cannot go about predicting this would actually take place (Luke 21:8; Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Revelation 16:15).

[5] You do not know when the appointed time is: No professed disciple of Jesus Christ can claim to know “The Appointed Time is near!” as the Nazarene warns of it in Luke 21:8. It would be the height of arrogance and presumptuousness to assert one knew more than Christ! (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) No doubt because of human egocentricity, and a degree of self-importance, various persons have always assumed Christ must return because they are alive!

[6] Days of Noah: Is the point here to calculate some length to the “generation” before the Return of Christ, or is it merely to warn about the attitudes of persons before the Flood? At Luke 17:26-31, in discussing ‘the revealing of the Son of Man,’ the emphasis is on “that day” not a generational period preceding the Return of Christ.

[7] The Arrival of the Son of Humankind: This is the Nazarene’s second of three uses of the word PAROUSIA which means the arrival or visit of a royal or important person. Thayer’s, page 490 (Strong’s #3952): “… the advent, i.e. the future, visible, return from heaven of Jesus, the Messiah.” It can be translated “presence” but synonyms such as “came, coming, arrive, arrived, arrival” are used most often in Matthew ch 24, 25; Mark ch 13; Luke ch 21. “Parousia became the official term for a visit of a person of high rank… of Christ, and nearly always of his Messianic Advent in glory.” (Bauer, Ardnt, and Gingrich A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, page 635)

[8] Cataclysm: This is exactly the Greek word normally translated “flood.” The Greek means to “wash (down) much” or a big deluge. The Nazarene points to those contemporaries of Noah who were preoccupied with everyday matters without any concern for Noah’s prediction of a Flood. Jesus clearly believes in the Flood account otherwise it would be absurd to use it as a parallel to his own Arrival. Interestingly, the Greek word CATACLYSM is used in Daniel 9:26 (LXX) in the context of Jerusalem’s foretold destruction or desolation.

[9] The day Noah entered the Ark: The “day” of the Flood parallels the parousia of Christ, that is that “day and hour” when the Master arrives or returns for his judgment on his own Household. Note the next phrase specifically likens the day of the flood to the Return of Christ. Luke 17:29 adds, ‘on the day Lot left Sodom.’

[10] The Arrival of the Son of Humankind: This is the last of three uses of PAROUSIA where it is compared to the day of the Flood, not that whole generational period before.

[11] In the field: In Luke 17:27-31 this is “on that day” of the “revealing of the Son of Man.” In these cases, approved persons in the field and at the mill are engaged in normal labors. This would have been a fine opportunity for the Nazarene to mention how these persons were zealously involved in some missionary activity, but he does not. This is a “day” and a limited period of time for workers, are in the field or at the mill only during the working “day” of twelve hours (Matthew 20:6).

[12] Taken along: In Greek this is PARALAUBANETAI and may be compared to the related word used at John 14:3, PARALEMPSOMAI, where Jesus seems to refer to the gathering of his Chosen. This word in John 14:3 is the same word at Luke 17:34. DDNT, Vol 3, page 747ff: “LAMBANO, originally grasp, seize [compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and HARPAGESOMETHA]… PARALAMBANO means to draw someone to oneself… Forms of the word (ANALAMBANO) are used of the ascension of Christ in Acts 1:11… ANALEMPSIS, lifting up high, being taken up in Luke 9:51 is generally interpreted of Christ’s ascension. PARALAMBANO to take someone with oneself, to choose out from a large number (John 14:3; Matthew 24:40).” The use of these words is so similar in thought to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to imply being “taken along” in the Rapture.

[13] Left behind: There will be those who do not participate in the Rapture who are “left behind” or abandoned to the events to occur on earth (Note Revelation 11:12). As we shall see all is not necessarily lost by this abandonment but it does rule out any thought of heaven.

[14] Two women will be grinding in the mill: If one is “taken along” (grabbed or seized or received home to Christ) and the other is “left” it is obvious that the woman “left” is left at the mill as her fellow worker is “taken along.” In Luke 17:37 this is where the disciples ask, “Where, Lord?” and he answers with the cryptic similar to Matthew 24:28. Why does Jesus not give an example of two good women praying at the church or otherwise in the service of God?

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Preceding

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

Read also: Separation of local judgment regarding 70 CE from the global ultimate-coming prophecies of the Second Coming and Final Judgment

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:3 – The Apostles’ Question

|| Mark 13:3, 4; Luke 21:7

MT24:3 But, while sitting on the Mount of Olives the disciples came to him in a private spot, asking: “Tell us, when will this occur?[1] {MK13:4 and the sign when all this will be fulfilled?[2]} And, what will be the sign[3] of your Arrival[4] [Daniel 7:22; 12:2] and the complete end[5] of the Age?”[6] [Daniel 9:26, 27] {LK21:7 “When will this all occur?”[7]}

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[1] When will this occur: These questions are a compound from all three of the Gospels. When only the Book of Matthew is relied upon some have drawn a different conclusion. We feel it more accurate to include elements from all three witnesses. Do these Jewish disciples of the Nazarene have in mind the Temple? Perhaps they assume the shocking prediction of the Temple’s destruction means the Return of the Messiah in his foretold royal Presence? Their question cannot come from a clear understanding when they did not comprehend much simpler matters regarding the Messiah. If one argues their question in Matthew 24:3 was inspired then it needs to be explained why Mark and Luke omit this part. Just before the ascension of Christ these same men asked: ‘Are you restoring the Kingdom of Israel now?’ (Acts 1:6) Godly men have asked the question “When?” for thousands of years (Psalm 90:13; Habakkuk 1:2).

[2] Fulfilled: In Mark’s Gospel the Greek word SYNTELEISTHAI is used which means “fulfilled” and is similar to Matthew’s SYNTELEIAS (with + end) which means “ending together” or “conclusion.” When we say this we understand that Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew and later translated it into Greek, thus the Nazarene or his disciples never uttered the actual Greek word SYNTELEIAS. It is likely Matthew translates the Hebrew (or, Aramaic) kalah; (see Strong’s #3617) which means “completion, completely destroyed.” The word chosen by Matthew for this Hebrew was SYNTELEIAS.

[3] Sign: This is the Greek SEMEION which occurs again at Matthew 24:30. Note it also occurs in the Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX) of the Second or Third Century BCE at Daniel 9:27 (SYNTELEIAS).

[4] Arrival: This is the Greek PAROUSIA and means “arrival” or a royal visit (See Thayer’s or Vine’s). Strong’s #3952, “advent, return, coming, presence.” It is only used in one of the Gospels, Matthew. Paul uses it with reference to the return of Christ at 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 9. Jesus had never been recorded using this word by Matthew as the Greek translator. It is believed the Nazarene spoke Hebrew (with certain Aramaic loan words) and so it is possible he used a word like athah; (Strong’s #857, #858, meaning “arrive”) from Daniel 7:13, 22. In the other two Gospels dealing with this subject “the end” of Jerusalem’s Temple, other synonyms are used instead of PAROUSIA: Mark 13:26 ERCHOMENON; Mark 13:35 ERCHETAI (= coming), and, Mark 13:36 ELTHON (= arrive). Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines PAROUSIA (Strong’s #3952) as “the coming, arrival, advent… the future, visible return from heaven of Jesus.” The Dictionary of New Testament Theology (DNTT), volume 2, page 898, explains: “Technically the noun is used for the arrival of a ruler or king… The idea of parousia now becomes bound up with the church’s expectations of Christ’s appearing.”

[5] Complete end: Here the Greek is a heightened form of TELOS (= end), SYNTELEIAS (= with + end). The disciples likely assumed that the destruction of the Temple meant the Return (Presence) or Arrival of Christ and therefore “the end of the world” as they knew it. The Greek translator of Matthew (likely Matthew himself) puts the word SYNTELEIAS in the disciples’ mouth. This is a word that only occurred once before in the Nazarene’s parable of wheat and tares at Matthew 13:40. However, note this word occurs in the Jewish Greek Bible (LXX) at Daniel 9:27 in the context of Jerusalem’s foretold ‘desolation.’ Compare also Hebrews 9:26 where SYNTELEIA is used with regard to the First Coming of Christ in the “last days” of the Jewish Age (Hebrews 1:1; Acts 2:17; Jude 18; 1 Corinthians 10:11). Judging from Jesus’ admission that he does not ‘know the day and hour’ (Matthew 24:36) there is no way the Nazarene could tell his disciples about the date of “the complete end” or SYNTELEIAS.

[6] Age: This is the Greek AIONOS which is corrupted into English by aeon or eon. Though in certain contexts the old English word “world” might be correctly understood, it is often misleading for it gives the idea the earth and all life on it is to end. However, the word “Age” conveys a certain period of time during which certain contemporaries live, such as the Age of the Dinosaurs or the Atomic Age. The King James translators did use AION (Strong’s #165 1074) as “ages” in Ephesians 2:7 and Colossians 1:26 so they were fully aware of its real meaning. The implication of “world” might be misleading.

[7] When will this all occur: Can anyone argue that the disciples did not have in mind the Temple and its destruction?

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Preceding

Matthew 13:47-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Dragnet

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

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