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Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Matthew 24:42-51 – Stay Awake!

|| Mark 13:34-37; Luke 21:34-36

MT24:42 “So, continue to remain awake[1] because none of you has any idea[2] on what kind of day[3] your Master is arriving.[4] {LK21:34 But, pay attention to yourselves[5] that somehow your hearts become heavy[6] because of overeating, drunkenness, and anxieties[7] LK21:35 and suddenly that Day rise as a snare![8] For that Day will come upon everyone who lives on the surface of the whole earth.[9] LK21:36 Keep awake and all the time begging [God] so you might be strong enough to escape[10] everything about to occur and to stand before the Son of Humankind.[11]} MT24:43 But, know this that if the household had known[12] in what watch the thief arrived[13] he would have stayed awake and his house would not be ransacked. MT24:44 You also prove yourselves ready[14] because in an hour you are not expecting[15] the Son of Humankind is coming.[16] {MK13:34 It is like a man[17] leaving his own House and giving authority to his people, to each one his own duties,[18] commanding the doorkeeper to stay awake. MK13:35 So, you stay awake, for when the Master of the House is coming you do not know. Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn.[19] MK13:36 Or, the Master of the House, having arrived suddenly,[20] might find you sleeping.[21] MK13:37 But, what I say to you, I say to all:[22] Stay awake!} MT24:45 Really, who is the faithful and discreet slave[23] whom his Master appointed over the Master’s own domestics[24] to give them food at an appointed time?[25] MT24:46 Happy is that slave, when his Master arrives,[26] finds him doing so. MT24:47 I tell you this truth: the Master will appoint him[27] over all his belongings. MT24:48 But, if ever that bad slave[28] says in his heart: ‘My Master is taking his time!’[29] MT24:49 and he should start beating his fellow slaves[30] and eat and drink[31] with the drunkards MT24:50 the Master will arrive[32] in that day he is not expecting and in an hour[33] he is not knowing MT24:51 and the Master will cut him asunder[34] and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!”

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[1] Continue to remain awake: Or, watch therefore [KJV], keep awake [NEB], be watching [BAS], be on the alert [WEY].

[2] Has any idea: Or, ye know not [KJV], you do not know [NEB]. Compare Matthew 24:6 and Acts 1:7.

[3] What kind of day: Or, what hour [KJV], on what day [ASV], what sort of [KIT], on what day [BAS], in what hour [DAR]. It is possible the phrase means what time of the day as well. Compare Mark 13:35.

[4] Your Master is arriving: Or, doth come [KJV], your Lord will come [BAS], is coming [KIT]. The Greek is ERKHETAI [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2064], used both of persons arriving and of those returning, and may, according to context be rendered “returning.” The word is a virtual synonym for PAROUSIA used elsewhere in Matthew 24 but never in Mark 13 and Luke 21.

[5] Pay attention to yourselves: Now the Nazarene concludes with directions to remain awake and alert. In Mark and Luke the teachings end here but in Matthew chapter 25 a series of parables are given outlining two groups: the faithful and unfaithful or the righteous and unrighteous.

[6] Heavy: Or, weighed down. RSV, NIV KJV: overcharged with surfeiting; LB: living in careless ease; PME: clouded with dissipation; TEV: occupied with; JB: coarsened; NEB: minds be dulled.

[7] Anxieties: If we parallel this phrase with the attitude before the Flood, ‘eating and drinking and marrying and building and selling,’ then the Nazarene is warning about taking on that characteristic of those “who took no note.” These anxieties, or being overly concerned about life and livelihood, could involve marriage, commerce and construction (Luke 17:28). The Nazarene has not changed his attitude about being distracted by daily pursuits as he taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34). What is the difference here with those who were working in the fields or mill and yet who were “taken along”? It is a matter of the heart’s focus and expectation. The man in the field and the woman at the mill have not lost their hope in the Parousia and judging from the parable of the sheep and goats, both are kind and good human beings who have never neglected even the humblest person (Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).

[8] Suddenly that Day rise as a snare: “That day” is no generational period as if one had a warning lasting more than 40, 80, or more years. The parousia comes suddenly and at a time not expected even by the Chosen Ones (Matthew 24:42, 44).

[9] On the surface of the whole earth: Does it not appear to be a global event?

[10] Escape: Compare the JPS Tanakh at Daniel 12:1 and the word “escape.” The Aramaic of Daniel 12:1 may be rendered “escape” or “rescued” (delivered). Compare the idea of “rescue” with the “snatching” or Rapture at 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and the call “Come out!” at Revelation 18:4.

[11] Stand before the Son of Humankind: Compare 1 John 2:28 and 4:17 with 2 Corinthians 5:10. Those professing “Jesus is Lord!” will rise in the parousia-Judgment and receive their award or payment for what they did in their Christian lives, good or vile (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:10). They will then, before the Judgment of Christ, be “outspoken” or “ashamed.” (1 John 2:28; 4:17)

[12] If the household had known: The realm of the professing Christians (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15).

[13] In what watch the thief arrived: Christ’s sudden appearance as the Master of the House is thief-like (Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; 16:15). If a Christian prophet were able to calculate some time chronology and thus the “day and hour” of the Lord’s Arrival or parousia and it would no longer be like a thief in its suddenness.

[14] Prove yourselves ready: How does a Christian do this? Expectation is a matter of the heart and thus a matter of faith. Real faith will manifest itself in some speech and action. It is not manifest in being preoccupied with the daily matters like those persons before the Flood. Since the return of Christ is unknown it follows that Christians of all periods must be ready by a) regular prayer; b) faith; c) charity to fellows; d) avoidance of over-eating, drunkenness, and anxieties over livelihood.

[15] In an hour you are not expecting: Thus no Christian can work out some prophetic time-chronology to calculate this “coming” or Arrival (Luke 21:8; Acts 1:7).

[16] The Son of Humankind is coming: This is a phrase which parallels or stands as a synonym for ‘presence of the Son of Man.’ The Greek is ERKHETAI and equals PAROUSIA.

[17] Like a man: The parable illustrates the departure of the “man” Christ who charges his disciples to remain at work.

[18] To each one his own duties: These vary with the ‘talent’ or responsibility of each one as other parables teach: 5, 3, or 1. Paul outlines these varied “gifts” in 1 Corinthians ch 12; Romans ch 12 (Note Ephesians 4:16).

[19] Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn: If the parousia were a generational period then it would be absurd to pinpoint these moments in a day or night. The Return of Christ or Arrival of the Lord is within a moment occupied by the brief period of a day’s various watches.

[20] Having arrived suddenly: “Arrived” is a synonym for PAROUSIA or “presence” in the Gospels. “Come” can also be a synonym (Revelation 2:25; 3:3).

[21] Sleeping: Note 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 5:1, 2, 6-8.

[22] I say to all: The Nazarene not only speaks to the four disciples before him but “all” those who will become disciples in future generations (John 17:20).

[23] Who is the faithful and discreet slave: This is a rhetorical question the Nazarene raises for the second time in his ministry. It is best understood by comparing the earlier account in a more expanded version at Luke 12:40-42. Judging from the context of Luke ch 12 it may be limited to the Apostles but at the same time have some personal application to any individual Christian “slave.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

[24] Domestics: Or, household (KJV, LB, PME, RSV, JB); other servants (TEV, NIV); household staff (NEB). That is, the live in help. The Slave is charged with feeding the “domestics” or fellow Saints in the Household of God. In Luke 12:42 this is THERAPEIAS or “therapists.” The Apostles, as the Faithful Slave, were found literally caring for food distribution in Acts chapters 2 to 6. Matthew 24:46 says, ‘Happy that slave if his Lord finds him doing so when he arrives.’

[25] To give them food at an appointed time: This is often given a spiritual application without the context indicating this. The facts are, the Faithful Slave, the Apostles, are found caring for “food distribution” in Acts chs 2 to 6.

[26] Arrives: The Parousia of Christ or the Master’s “coming.”

[27] The Master will appoint him: make him ruler. The final appointment as king, judge, and priest (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4, 6).

[28] Bad slave: In the four parables concluding the Nazarene’s answer to his disciples’ question there are: 1) a faithful and bad slave; 2) five wise and five foolish virgins; 3) slaves with five, three, and one talent; and, 4) the sheep and goats. All deal with the “arrival” (presence) of a master, bridegroom, a nobleman (Luke 19:13-26), and, a judge.

[29] My Master is taking his time: Unfortunately the phrase “the delay of the parousia” has become a catch phrase among theological scholars when discussing what they perceive as Jesus’ failed prophecy regarding an imminent parousia.

[30] Beating his fellow slaves: Among the “oppressive wolves” who do not treat the flock with “tenderness.” (Acts 20:29-30)

[31] Eat and drink: Back to the parallel with Noah’s day.

[32] The Master will arrive: The parousia. The word group “arrive” in the context of the “coming” of Christ is used several times as a synonym for PAROUSIA (Matthew 10:23; 25:10, 31; Mark 8:38; 13:36; Luke 9:26; 12:38; 18:8; 22:18).

[33] In an hour: This is no generational period of time but the “hour” of the parousia within a certain “day.” The Nazarene uses the word “hour” over a half dozen times in the context of his parousia (Matthew 24:36, 44, 50; 25:13; Mark 13:32; Luke 12:39, 40, 46).

[34] The Master will cut him asunder: Or, to bisect; cut in two. A severe treatment similar to Luke 12:46 and Matthew 25:46.

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Preceding

Matthew 10:11-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for the Sheep

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

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

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

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

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

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Additional reading

  1. You know neither the day nor the hour
  2. Only once and with consequences
  3. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  4. To be prepared and very well oiled

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #3 Matthew 7:21-23 The ones Jesus never knew

MT7:21 Not everyone saying to me, ‘Master, Master!’[1] will enter the Heavenly Realm but the one doing the will[2] of my heavenly Father. MT7:22 Many will say to me in The Day:[3] ‘Master, Master, did we not prophesy in your name?[4] And, in your name cast out demons?[5] And, in your name did many dynamic works?’[6] MT7:23 And then I shall confess to them: “I never knew you![7] Get away from me,[8] those working unlawfully!”[9]

[1] Master, Master: They are clearly Christians who recognize that “Jesus is Lord!” This address of the King is seen of the goats in Matthew 25:44.

[2] The one doing the will: It is not enough to confess, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3) The Nazarene will not accept such a double confession if the life and works are lawless and contradictory to the profession. Not words, but doing the will are vital (James 1:22) and this “doing” involves refraining from slander and caring for the needy (James 1:26-27).

[3] The Day: This likely refers to the parousia-Judgment upon the Return of the Lord (Matthew 12:36; 16:27; 24:46-51; 25:1-46; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 2:28; 4:17; Revelation 11:18). The word “day” is used often with regard to the Return of Christ in his foretold Parousia (1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 1:6, 10; 2 Peter 3:7, 12; Revelation 6:17). The evidence seems to suggest that both the righteous and unrighteous will have opportunity to express themselves, whether outspokenly or in shame (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 2:28).

[4] Did we not prophesy in your name: Unfortunately it was false prophecy (Luke 21:8). Various renderings: TCNT: was it not in your name that we taught; PHI: didn’t we preach in your name; TCNT: we did miracles. The word “prophet” literally means “to speak before” others and not necessarily foretell events by inspiration. Men who claim to be “the Anointed,” and speak by Christ’s authority, and point to a multitude of “works,” and preach “Christ is here!” and, “The Appointed Time is near!” may need to reexamine themselves before their Lord actually arrives.

[5] Cast out demons: Many are the evangelists and prophetic preachers who point to their exorcisms as signs authorized by Christ. Many of these point to Mark 16:17, ‘And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.’ (KJV; this is a highly questionable text which is omitted in many translations because it does not occur in older reliable mss). However, a comparison of modern texts all will agree this portion was not among the original words of the Nazarene. Paul states that such signs ‘will cease,’ and are, ‘childish.’ (1 Corinthians 13:9, 11) Paul further identifies ‘the Man of iniquity’… with inworking dynamic works of Satan’s lying signs and portents. (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10) The Nazarene himself warns that such “signs” are misleading and will be part of the claims of the pseudo-Anointed and false prophets (Matthew 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22).

[6] Dynamic works: This is DYNAMEIS in Greek and is usually translated “powerful works” or “miracles.” The term could include any “works” requiring a dynamic effort: international publishing, electronic and satellite communication, great real estate holdings, enormous growth, etc.

[7] I never knew you: That is, the Nazarene never had a real relationship with these claimants despite their loud protestations to the contrary. The Nazarene Saint need not give a defense before the Judgment of Christ for his works of love and charity will be known by his Lord (Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 9, 15).

Various renderings: TCNT: then I shall say to their faces; RHM: never have I acknowledged you; KNX: you were never friends of mine.

[8] Get away from me: A fearsome thing to hear! (Matthew 25:45, 46) Various renderings: TCNT: go from my presence; NEB: get out of my sight that traffic in wrong-doing; PHI: you have worked on the side of evil; BECK: you who are so busy doing wrong.

[9] Working unlawfully: There is no accusation that these had buried their talents but all the work and energy they expended were unlawful. They were “workers of lawlessness” but their work is misguided, or unlawful, and not what the Nazarene ordered. In Matthew it is “lawlessness” and in Luke it is “unrighteousness.” Compare Psalm 6:8 and Philippians 1:15 for two kinds of workers. To be a Friend of the Nazarene one must keep the 60 “commandments” found in the Gospels.

File:Exorcism Katrin Alvarez.jpg

Exorcism by Katrin Alvarez, was awarded with the Allan Edwards Award in the Painting on the Edge competition in Vancouver, Canada in 2007.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 7: Matthew 7:1-5 Judgment and neighbor love

Matthew 7:12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Summary on the Torah’s Fulfillment

Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction

Matthew 7:15-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #2 False prophets and fruitage

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Further reading

  1. Not What We Say, but What We Do
  2. Another perspective of Matthew 7:21-23
  3. Weirdness that Happens when writing about Exorcists
  4. Exorcisms and Demons
  5. God’s Desires Are Far More Simple than Our Attempts to Appease Him
  6. Empty Words Won’t Save You
  7. Astral Philippines III (Exorcisms)
  8. #168 – Victorian Spiritualism
  9. Really? I didn’t know that the priests are ruling the Hell… ;dd Please, send there your rapists also.

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