Day and Hour (Matthew 24:36)

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only”

THE DAY AND THE HOUR – Jesus told His disciples that no one knows the exact day and hour when this final destruction of Jerusalem would happen. 

This was the topic of the preceding section of the Olivet Discourse (vs. 1-35).  Jesus had given the disciples the time period (season) of that first century generation to explain when these events would occur.  But, He did not give them the exact moment because only His Father in heaven knew that while He lived on earth.  [Note: Jesus as 100% God, along with His Father and the Holy Spirit, make up the Triune Godhead, and there is nothing that He does not know.  However, as 100% Human, He did not utilize some of His Divine attributes while living on the earth.  He confined Himself to the limitations of His human body.  (Colossians 1:15-20; John 1:1-5, 1:14; Hebrews 1:1-4, 1:8-10). 

  • It is also very important to remember that Jesus promised that after He left to go back to the Father that He would send the Holy Spirit – and He would teach them of “the things that were to come” (John 16:13)

Let us look at the parallel verse to Matt. 24:36 –> (Read) Mark 13:32 and 34:

  • The word “it” in verse 34 is referring to what? –> the time of the “coming/return” –> the “day and hour” of Matt. 24:36.  Here in Mark 13:34 we are told the man went away to a far country but instructs his servants to be on the alert and watch for his return. 

Now, let’s turn to the more expanded parallel in Luke 19:12-15, 27: notice that it said the man had gone to receive a kingdom, then to return after he had received that kingdom to judge and kill all of those who had rejected him and did not want him to rule over them (and notice he “continues” to reign and it does not say he ever left again).

  • Dispensationalists and Futurists want to claim that God presented the kingdom to the Jews, however, the Jews unbelief caused the kingdom to be delayed to sometime in the future when Jesus would try again.  The belief is that God then invented/instituted the church age.  This parable is just one place clearly stating that the kingdom was to be, and was, setup/received regardless if the Jews wanted it or not.
  • Luke 19 also disproves the A-Mill and Post-Mill views as well, as Jesus said in verse 12 that the man was going away to receive the kingdom, and “not” coming back to the earth again to get the kingdom and then leave again (A-Mill and Post-Mill view), but notice it says that he already received the kingdom when he went away and he was bringing the kingdom back with him.
  • John chapters 14 through 17 state that it was during His generation He was to depart (no one would argue) –> Acts chapter 1:9-11 is the Lord leaving to go and receive the kingdom of Acts 2:30-34 (also see Dan. 7:13-14) à when was He coming back à during His same generation to judge them warned in Acts 2:40 by Peter (Also see Luke 11:29-32 speaking of warning to His generation, and Matt. 23:31-36 clearly promising coming judgment on His generation)
  • Notice again in Luke 19 how Jesus spoke about the nobleman who went away to receive a kingdom (v. 12) and then to return to kill all of those who did not want him to rule over them (vs. 15, 27).  This would have been absolutely stinging and fully understood by His OC Hebrew audience.  As they were well aware that when both Herod and Agrippa each went away to Rome to receive right to rule over their kingdoms, the Jews both times sent a delegation to Rome saying to Caesar that they did not want Herod nor Agrippa to rule over them.  Upon Herod’s return from receiving his kingdom he did the very thing Jesus was threatening here à Herod killed his enemies.

Were there warning signs for Jesus’ disciples to watch for to know when the “day and hour” was about to be?  There certainly were warning signs à even leading up to as close for them that it was “at the doors.” (Mark 13:29).  The signs were numerous which Jesus had just listed in all of the previous verses in Matthew 24:5-35, with the last sign/warning à “Jerusalem surrounded by armies” (Luke 21:20).  This final judgment by God on the Old Covenant system was completed “for all to see” in AD 70 when the Roman armies finished completely destroying Jerusalem and burning the temple, and they did not leave one stone upon another – exactly as Jesus had predicted in Matt. 24:1-2.

[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 10 Study on 2 Peter 3 vs. 1-13”]