“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:32-37
We learn from these verses, that the exact time of our Lord Jesus Christ’s second advent is purposely withheld from His church. The event is certain. The precise day and hour are not revealed. “Of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven.”
There is deep wisdom and mercy in this intentional silence. We have reason to thank God that the thing has been hidden from us. Uncertainty about the date of the Lord’s return is calculated to keep believers in an attitude of constant expectation, and to preserve them from despondency.
What a dreary prospect the early church would have had before it, if it had known for certain that Christ would not return to earth for at least fifteen hundred years! The hearts of men like Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Augustine, might well have sunk within them, if they had been aware of the centuries of darkness through which the world would pass, before their Master came back to take the kingdom. What a quickening motive, on the other hand, true Christians have perpetually had, for a close walk with God! They have never known, in any age, that their Master might not come suddenly to take account of his servants. This very uncertainty has supplied them with a reason for living always ready to meet Him.