Waldron: How Can Jesus Not Know the Day and Hour of His Second Coming?

“Matthew 24:36 reads as follows:

‘But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.’

By way of a brief or preliminary exposition of this passage, I want to say two things.

First, when Christ refers to “that day and hour”, he is referring to the day and hour or time of His second coming: The entire context puts this beyond doubt. Jesus has been speaking of His second coming in the preceding context 24:27, 30, 31). He goes on to speak of this event in the immediately succeeding context (24:37). He uses this exact language to speak of His second coming in the following context (24:42, 44, 50).

Second, Christ asserts here that knowledge of the time of His second coming is hidden from every intelligent creature. Of the time of His coming, Christ says, “no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Now this statement is from one viewpoint quite perplexing. It raises the question, If Christ is God and, therefore, omniscient or all-knowing, how can there be anything he does not know?

The solution to this question is suggested by The 1689 Baptist Confession. In Chapter 8, paragraph 2, it echoes the historic, orthodox doctrine of the person of Christ. There the Confession states that the Son of God possessed a “whole, perfect, and distinct” human nature. Thus, the Bible speaks of Him as a man physically or bodily. He was hungry, thirsty, and grew tired. The Scripture also speaks of him as a man spiritually or mentally. He grew and matured intellectually (Luke 2:40, 52; Heb.5:8).

Therefore, when we come to Matt. 24:36 there should be nothing surprising to us in Christ’s assertion that there were some things He did not know. If we are not stumbled when we hear the Son of God say, “I thirst,” there is no reason why we should be stumbled when we hear Him say that there is something He does not know. If we are not stumbled when the Scripture says that he grew in wisdom, then there is no reason for us to be stumbled when the Scripture declares that not even the Son knows the time of

His second coming. Jesus is speaking here as a man. He is not declaring to us the contents of the divine mind, but of His human intellect. Christ here asserts that neither He, nor any other man, nor even the angels of heaven knew the time of His second coming.

Think about the implications of that statement. Jesus’ statement implies that God had not revealed the date of the end of the world to any of the men or angels by which God communicated to men in the Old Testament. It also implies that He had not revealed it to the Son by which He brought that revelation to conclusion in the New Testament.

All of God’s special revelation is brought to us either by the angels and men through whom God spoke in the Old Testament or through His Son and the other men through whom He spoke in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Jesus is, thus, plainly teaching that the time of His coming is not a part of the revelation God chose to give men in the Word of God. Therefore, no amount of scholarship or genius, not even a whole life-time of study dedicated to the study of typology, numerology, or prophecy will ever find in Scripture some secret, figurative, mysterious revelation of the time-period of Christ’s return. It has not been put in the Scriptures and no amount of searching will find it there.”

-Sam Waldron, The End Times Made Simple, 173-174.

Waldron: The Ethical Tension in the Life of the Christian

“So many Christians are taught to seek experiences which will deliver them from the tension of living in the period of the overlapping of the ages. They want in this age a higher life, or a deeper life, or a victorious life, or a second blessing, or a baptism of the Spirit that would in effect take them out of the contradiction, sorrow, and trial of this age.

The only way however, for a true Christian to escape the battle with sin and the experience of sorrow in this age is to depart this age. He must either die and go to heaven or enter at Christ’s return into the age to come.

The teaching that promises the cessation of conflict and trial in this life is no friend to the Christian. This biblical structure warns us that in this age there is no blessing not followed by trial, no joy not followed by sorrow, and no final victory over remaining sin.

Christians must beware of the mountain-top syndrome. There is no remaining always on the mountain top in this age. We must always rejoice with trembling. When Christians stop seeking an experience that the Bible never promises them in this life, they will be prepared properly to enjoy the blessings God gives them in this life and not look for something in these blessings that they will never find. They will also be prepared to face the reality of the Christian life squarely, fight the good fight of faith, finish their course, and run in such a way as to win.

This framework also explains much about the future of the church. We must not look for a golden age before Christ’s return. This is a denial of the character of this age. But we must not be “pessimillenialists” either and see nothing but apostasy for the visible church. This is also a denial of the overlapping of the ages.

The church is enlivened by the powerful realities of the age to come that have already broken into the world with the first advent of Christ. Those who tell people that they should not “polish brass” on the sinking ship of the church are tragically mistaken. Those who teach that this dispensation of the church (like every
other dispensation) must surely end in failure and apostasy are wrong. They weaken the hands of true Christians in their God-ordained labor to build the church of Christ.

Both the gloomy pessimists and the starry-eyed optimists have imbalanced views of the future prospects of the church. The biblical viewpoint understands the overlapping of the ages and balaces these contrasting viewpoints in a realistic optimism.”

-Sam Waldron, The End Times Made Simple, 51-52.