Clarifying The Timing Of The 2nd Coming

Q. Clarify for me what day Jesus was talking about when He made the statement about no man knowing the day or hour. That verse, Matt. 24:36, is often used in reference to the rapture, but no where in that entire chapter is the rapture ever mentioned. In fact, I’m not sure that the disciples, at that time, clearly understood the doctrine of the ‘church’, much less the removal of the church. And, putting the rapture there is at odds with the actual question that the disciples asked.

Since the subject of the chapter is events of the tribulation and of Jesus’ return, then it could be that Jesus meant the day of His actual appearing, however, with the time clues given in Daniel, it seems that calculating that day would be easy rather than unknowable. So, what is the day or hour that Jesus is speaking of?

A. First, let’s clarify that Matt. 24:36 really says that no man knows about that day or hour. The presence of the word “about” means the the Lord was speaking about the details of the 2nd coming, not necessarily the timing. Later, in Revelation 19-20 these details were made clear.

But there are 4 other verses, Matt 24:42, 44, 50 and Matt 25:13 that clearly say the people of Earth will not know the exact time of His return. These verses all refer to the 2nd Coming. One explanation for this is that there’ll be a pause of indeterminate length between the day the Great Tribulation ends, which everyone can calculate, and the day of the Lord’s actual appearance. This is the view taken by the writers of the Left Behind series.

Others see these verses as hints that the Lord will return on Rosh haShanah. It’s sometimes called the feast where no man knows the day or hour because through out most of history the Jewish New Year’s timing was determined by the confirming reports of two witnesses who had actually observed the Crescent Moon. Rosh haShanah could not officially begin until this sighting was made and confirmed. There fore no one could know the day or hour in advance.

Which ever view you take, it’s clear from the chronology and the context that the Lord was not talking about the Rapture of the Church in Matt. 24-25.

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