Matthew 24:36

ESV "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
NIV "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
NASB But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
CSB "Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son —except the Father alone.
NLT However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
KJV But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
NKJV “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

What does Matthew 24:36 mean?

Jesus has been giving a lengthy answer to two questions (Matthew 24:3). These revolve around the events which will happen during the "end times," just prior to Christ's second coming (Matthew 24:29–35). Jesus had given some details about those occurrences, though He was not overly specific.

Here, Jesus says He would not say anything more specific about the timing of His return (Revelation 19:11–15). He refuses to suggest a date on the calendar or time of day on the clock. He says simply that nobody knows. "Nobody" includes the angels in heaven, whom Jesus has just said will dramatically participate in His return.

Also mysteriously excluded from knowing the day and hour of His return is the Son, Himself—the very One who is to return! While some point to this verse as evidence that Christ was not divine, it is consistent with His role within the trinity and His ministry on earth. As one both fully human and fully God, Jesus was able to grow both physically and intellectually after His birth (Luke 2:52). At the same time, He was always morally perfect (Hebrews 4:15), and knew all things as the Son of God (John 16:30).

For whatever reason, and in whatever way, only God the Father knows the exact timing of Christ's second coming. Jesus shows that the Son will wait on the Father to send Him. Expressions like this, taken in context with all other Scripture, capture some of the mystery of Jesus. Paul describes how Jesus obediently chose this submissive role in Philippians 2:6–7: "though he was in the form of God, [He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."

The clearer message of this comment is that pinning down the moment of Christ's return is a hopeless pursuit. It cannot be known. Any teacher, religious group, or sect who attempts to assign a date to the return of Christ is speaking falsehood. Period. No human being can know more about the timing of Christ's return than this: when these dramatic signs are occurring (Matthew 24:15, 29–30), everyone will know the end has come. Until then, nothing in God's revealed plan for future history stands in the way. Jesus is near, standing at the gates (Matthew 24:33). He could arrive at any moment. Even if His return is many years away, each of us is an instant away from the end of our earthly life.
What is the Gospel?
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