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But Concerning That Day, No One Knows, Not Even the Son

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2023 9:00 am

But Concerning That Day, No One Knows, Not Even the Son

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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April 26, 2023 9:00 am

When it comes to end-time prophecy, some Christians spend a ton of time trying to map out the last days. Others want to focus on the here and now. So which approach is correct?

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Today on Summit Life, Pastor JD Greer talks about the end times.

All of Jesus's examples that he uses make basically the same point. You are to live in a state of readiness with every part of your life like he might return today because it might be today. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor and Author JD Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. You know, end times prophecy is a controversial subject in many Christian circles. There are many who view it as an absolutely essential doctrine, spending tons of time on charts and graphs trying to map out the last days. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who think all of that is a waste of time and they try to focus on the here and now exclusively.

So which approach is correct? Pastor JD helps us understand yet another challenging statement today as he continues our teaching called the Difficult Sayings of Jesus. Today's message is titled, But Concerning That Day, No One Knows, Not Even the Sun. Pretty self-explanatory title, right?

So let's dive right in. Here's Pastor JD. These are the statements that we've been looking at that put the real Jesus front and center for us. As I've explained to you, nobody that ever met Jesus in the Gospels really had an ambivalent reaction toward him.

You either loved him intensely or you hated him extremely. You either fell at his feet in worship or you called out for his crucifixion. And I told you that the irony today is that many people are bored with Jesus. They find him somewhat irrelevant, kind of sentimental, the precious moments Jesus that I like to call him. But that just shows you they've never really listened to him or taken what he says seriously.

Nobody in the Gospels, not one person was ever bored with Jesus. Many thought he was a fraud. They thought he was phony. They wanted him killed. They wanted him removed.

That all happened. But nobody who ever met Jesus was bored with him. People who take Jesus seriously today end up being kind of divisive people. That's not just because they're jerks, although I told you sometimes they are jerks and not excusing that, but sometimes it's just how extreme Jesus's demands are in our lives.

You cannot take him seriously and not devote your entire life to him. And so that makes people around people who take Jesus seriously very uncomfortable, and that's why it causes a lot of problems. These difficult sayings that we're looking at are what bring Jesus face to face with us, the real Jesus. And so our next saying that we are going to be looking at comes from the Gospel of Mark chapter 13. So if you have a Bible at all of our campuses, I would invite you to take it out now.

Open it to Mark chapter 13. We're going to begin around verse 32. Verse 32 gives you the context in Mark chapter 13. Jesus is prophesying about the end of the world. We're not going to take time to read it all, but he's going to tell us that at the end of the world there's going to be all these ominous things that happen.

The sun's darkened, the moon's turned to blood, not the s-o-n, but the s-o-n returns with clouds and great glory. And then in the middle of this prophecy about the end of the time when he comes back, he says this, verse 32. But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows. Not even the angels in heaven, not even the son, but only the father.

And you're like, he doesn't know when he's coming back? Is he the son of God? How could the son of God not know something, especially something important like his own schedule for returning? And it's made a lot of people say, well, maybe this isn't really God. Maybe Jesus isn't really God. Maybe that's something we just kind of made up about him because how could God not know something?

Well, first, great question. You have to realize that this is not the only time that Jesus is described like this with intellectual limitations. Luke 2 52, for example, says that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature. How does Jesus increase in wisdom, right? How does he all knowing God get wiser? What was it that he didn't know that he then learned?

Hebrews says that he had to learn obedience, which means he had to be trained to do certain things like eat his vegetables just because mom and dad said so. It appears that Jesus had to learn some things on earth just like you and I learned them. You see, most of us have this misconception of Jesus at three years old as like this toddler savant who's hanging out in the nursery lecturing the other three-year-olds about the Christological implications of Leviticus 13 and prophesying about the end of the world.

That's not true. When Jesus was three years old, he was thinking three-year-old thoughts. That kid took my goldfish. That's my toy.

When do we have another fruit snack? That's what Jesus was thinking about in the nursery. You say, well, wait a minute, though, if he's God, though, how could that be? All right, since you asked, let's do a little theology lesson, a little quick theology lesson.

You ready? From the very beginning, Christians have believed that the incarnate Jesus incarnate means in the flesh in in carnal like carnivore in the flesh Jesus was both fully God and fully man. That means he was 100% man and 100% God. He didn't know wouldn't 50% man and 50% God with God parts and human parts.

It was 100% of each one. The Council of Chalcedon, one of the early church councils for you history geeks said it like this. Okay, and I'm going to read it in English, not Latin. Jesus was perfect in Godhead, which means 100%, and also perfect 100% in manhood. He was truly or fully God or and truly man. One person acknowledged in two natures, in confusedly, which is kind of a confusing word, unchangeably, indivisibly, with liberty and just, no, I'm kidding, inseparably, the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved.

And you're like, well, of course, he didn't know that. In other words, here's what that says, that he was fully God did not take away from him being fully man, and that he was fully man did not take away from him being fully God. You see, in order for Jesus to save us, he had to fully be both. If he had not been fully man, he would not have been able to die in our place as a substitute for our sin. Had he not been fully God, he would not have been able to overcome the temptations and the powers of sin to go into the grave and overcome death and give eternal life to all who call upon his name. So he was fully both.

And because he was both, during his life, we see occasional flashes of either nature coming out. For example, because he was the son of man, he could become hungry. But because he was the son of God, he could multiply loaves and fishes and feed 5,000. Because he was the son of man, he could get thirsty. But because he was the son of God, he could turn water into wine. Because he was the son of man, he grew weary. Because he was the son of God, he could raise the dead. As the son of man, he counted his birthdays. But as the son of God, he said, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Because he was the son of man, he did not know the day or the hour of his return.

But because he was the son of God, he assures us in that same passage that he will return with the clouds in power and great glory. You see, while Jesus was on earth, he, listen to this, voluntarily emptied himself of some of his access to his divine powers. That in Greek, they call that, here's your nerd word, kenosis.

Kenosis means literally empty. He emptied himself of access to some of his divine powers. He didn't cease to be God. He just meant that he did not play the God card all throughout his life and access all the divine powers that he actually had. That's what's going on here in this statement that he doesn't know the day or the hour.

He's not playing on his omniscience. But see, the apostles didn't record that verse because it fit their theory about who they wanted Jesus to be. They wrote this down because he actually said it. And even if it messed with some of their theories and created some problems for their doctrines, they wrote it in there. So the reason that he didn't know was not because he ceased to be God or he wasn't God or they made up the fact that he was God.

The reason he didn't know is because as the Savior who was fully God and fully man, he sometimes limited himself to some of his divine powers. Okay? All right. I'm done with that one. You guys ready to go home?

All right. What Jesus says next is really difficult, too. So let's keep reading.

Verse 33. Be on guard, I tell you, and keep awake, for you do not know when the time of his return will come. See, it's like a man who goes on a journey, and when he leaves home, he puts his servants in charge, each with his work assignment, and then he commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Because, you know, when he gets home, he might open the garage door, if the burglars come, he wants to make sure the doorkeeper keeps them away. Therefore, you should 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. Be ready, because I could return, he says, at any moment.

Now, here's why that's difficult. Did Jesus actually think that the end of the world was close? It sure sounds like it, doesn't it? It sounds like he thinks it's close, but that was 2,000 years ago, and still he has not yet returned. So there are many who have concluded that Jesus was wrong here. Well, Jesus was just a product of his time. Everybody in those days believed the end of the world was close, or Jesus got swept up in that line of thinking, but he was wrong. In fact, they'll point out that Jesus, in the same passage, if you go a couple verses up ahead there, verse 30, Jesus says, Truly I say to you, listen to this, this generation, 40 years, will not pass away until all these things take place. Well, that generation did pass away, did it not? And the end did not come.

So clearly they say, Jesus was wrong. C.S. Lewis fought this, but brace yourself, C.S. Lewis was wrong.

Yes, those words actually just came out of my mouth. C.S. Lewis was wrong. I feel weird saying it.

It's important for me, for you to know that sometimes I think C.S. Lewis was wrong. You're like, I feel like the end of the world's happening right now. All right, was Jesus wrong when he said that?

Here's why I don't think so. You see, the bigger context of what Jesus is talking about in verse 30, when he says this generation will not pass away, the bigger context is the destruction of the Jewish temple. If you go back all the way to verse 2, you'll see that's what he's talking about. All right, so to him, to Jesus, that destruction of the temple would be a milestone in the commencement of the last days. The temple would be destroyed, the Messiah would be killed, and then God would, verse 27, begin to gather in the Gentiles from the four corners of the world. All that took place by 70 A.D. That's when the temple was destroyed. So by 70 A.D., in that generation, the temple was destroyed, the Messiah was killed, and God had already began to gather in the Gentiles from the four corners of the world into his kingdom.

So that's why I don't think he was wrong about that. But it's also clear that not all of it has been completed yet. For example, you see verse 26, he has not yet come with the clouds and power and great glory. He's risen with power and glory so that it's begun, but he hasn't yet come with power and glory.

So here's the question. Is there another reason, even if Jesus didn't come in that generation, is there another reason why he might have told them to be ready like it could happen at any minute? The answer is yes, because Jesus wants us to live in a constant state of readiness as if he could return tonight. This is Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. And before we return to today's teaching, we want to share with you about a new tool that we've created to help you take your study of the Bible to the next level. It's called the Gospel Flipbook. It's a unique and interactive way to engage with the four gospels found in the New Testament. This new resource has a ton of helpful features, like a 40-day reading plan that takes you through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, key passages and themes from each book, memory verses to remember and prayer ideas as you go along. And it's available exclusively to our Summit Life listeners when you support the ministry with your gift today. So whether you're a seasoned believer or just starting out on your faith journey, the Gospel Flipbook is a valuable tool for you to really know the four gospels in greater detail.

To get your copy, simply call us at 866-335-5220 or visit us online at Now let's return to today's message here on Summit Life. In Matthew's account of Jesus's words here, he records that Jesus goes on after he says this to give a number of parables to kind of illustrate it. He says his return will be like a thief in the night. Here's the problem with a thief. They never schedule when they're coming, right? You can't be like, should I lock the door tonight, turn on the alarm?

I don't know, let me check my schedule. Yep, no thieves tonight, so we can leave the doors open, but tomorrow I got two, one at 2.30 and one at 3, so we better lock the door. Unfortunately, thieves don't work that way. They show up when you're least expecting them.

In fact, they want you to not expect them because then they come in and rob your house. And what Jesus says is that's how the return of the Son of Man will be. In that moment, you actually think it's least likely that is when he comes. Jesus then uses the example of Noah. Remember the Old Testament story of Noah? God told the world through Russell Crowe that he would send a flood, right? And then he waited. This is the part everybody forgets.

He waited 120 years before he sent it. What do you think that was like? I mean, for the first three or four months, people might have been scared.

Maybe this will actually happen. After two years, they're kind of like, oh, this is nothing. After 10 years, they've gotten really skeptical. After 30 years, nobody even remembers it. Do you remember what was happening 30 years ago?

In the beginning of the 1980s, Death Leopard and Van Halen were just getting popular. If some old crazy country preacher had been out saying that the end of the world was going to come, you wouldn't even remember it. After 120 years, nobody remembers anything. It was so far out of their minds. So Jesus said they partied, they got drunk, and then it came. And only the gladiator and Hermione Granger were saved. Jesus then tells a story of the master who gave three of his servants large sums of money to invest. Two of them, Jesus says, invested it and made a good return. One of them evidently thought the master wasn't going to return that quickly, so he buried his money. And Jesus said the moment that he didn't realize it, this master returns and says to the servant, where is the return of my money I gave you to invest? And when the servant had nothing to bring forward, he cast the servant into outer darkness.

All of Jesus's examples that he uses make basically the same point. You are to live in a state of readiness with every part of your life like he might return today, because it might be today. Since I beat up on C.S. Lewis a moment ago, let me take a minute to make up with him. This is for you, Clive Staples.

Here's a quote of his. Precisely because we cannot predict the moment. We must be ready at all times.

The soldier does not know at what time the enemy may attack or at what time an officer might inspect his post, so he must be awake at all times. Listen, it's not that we should always be running around in fear that the end might happen at any moment. We should instead, listen, be like an 80-year-old man who needs, on the one hand, not to be always thinking about his approaching death, but at 80, he should always be taking it into account. It would be criminally foolish not to have made his will and so on by the time you're 80 years old.

Listen to this. Now what death is to each person, the second coming is to the whole human race. In other words, you got somebody in here that's 80 years old?

By the way, C.S. Lewis never made it to 80. He died in his late 50s, so if you're in your late 50s, be prepared. What does it mean for him to say that we ought to live like we're 80 years old?

That's what he's saying. An 80-year-old person, they shouldn't walk around every day thinking, I'm probably going to die today, but it would be criminally foolish by that point in your life not to have made preparation for what's going to be left behind. Well, in the same way, he says the whole human race ought to live like it's 80 years old. Let me give you four things that would change in your life if you believe that his return was imminent. Four things that an 80-year-old person, metaphorically speaking, how they would view their lives.

Here is number one. Spiritual alertness. Spiritual alertness. How would you live differently if you knew Jesus were coming back tonight? The church that I grew up in talked about the return of Jesus a lot. I can almost say at this point they were a little obsessed. We had posters with dragons on them and timelines and politicians written over certain of the dragons. I think Jimmy Carter made a cameo in there somewhere that I remember.

Anybody else, by the way? You grew up in a church with the posters and the films and all that kind of... Okay. It was sort of something... We knew that there were three ways you could get a lot of people into church. One, talk about sex.

That still works. Number two, talk about the end times. And then if you really wanted to pack the church out, speculate on whether there would be sex in the end times, rapture sex or whatever. That was what would really bring them out.

But we talked about it all the time. The end times. We had our bumper stickers.

In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned. I started to feel bad for people who would go another year dismayed that Jesus had not come back yet. I'd be like, cheer up. It's not the end of the world.

There's always tomorrow, which actually wouldn't be true if your rapture prediction would have actually happened. When I was 14 years old, this happened frequently. But I remember one specific instance where I'd gotten in a lot of trouble at school. And I knew it was bad enough that when I got home, my parents were going to go Old Testament on me. And so I remember saying to Jesus, I apologized to him. I knew that he was patient and forgiving. And I'm like, could you just bring the rapture between now and when I get home?

Because I know I'm good with you. But I'm not really so with my parents. I was always obsessing about whether or not I'd gotten left anytime my parents weren't worthy. I have this recurring nightmare that the rapture happened and I stayed behind.

Anybody else? You know what I'm talking about? I had this one I remember very vividly at eight years old. At eight years old, the rapture happens and Jesus comes back. And we all start going up into heaven. And I don't know what theology I had as an eight-year-old. But in my dream, I got all the way up to the top of my house, and then Jesus just said, nope, not enough faith, and dropped me. And I was like, oh! And I got up, and seriously, I ran to my parents' bedroom, and I felt the bed. I'm like, oh, they're still here.

Even now. The other night, my wife and I are laying in bed talking about the second coming of Jesus. And she starts saying, you know, it's dark.

And she's like, oh, wouldn't it be awesome that one day you and I might just drift off to sleep together, and then we awake side by side as we're soaring through the clouds while she's talking to the slowly slip out of bed, silently laying on the ground perfectly still. She's like, you know what I mean, JD? JD?

JD? So when you believe this, it's great for practical jokes. But I know that it's really easy for us to make fun of all that now.

I realize that. But there is one thing, one thing that my church had, listen, one thing they had that I think we're missing, and that is the earnest expectation of his return. A lot of people think of this doctrine as superstitious, non-essential. I mean, really, this is kind of the uneducated, embarrassing uncle of Christian theology. You never hear a lot of, they just don't want to talk about it. That's why a lot of your most famous Bible teachers, you never hear them talk about this, because it's like the Cousin Eddie of Christian theology.

But listen to this. Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second coming of Christ. One out of every 13 verses in your New Testament talks about the second coming. Furthermore, almost every command in the New Testament at some point is tied to the second coming.

In other words, you should do this because this is about to happen. For example, 1 John, if you really understand that Jesus is coming back and you have that hope in you, then you will purify yourself just like he is pure. If you understand that the Lord is at hand, you'll become a gracious and forgiving person. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ's first coming, there are eight that look forward to his second.

We've got a whole holiday where we celebrate the first coming, but hardly anything ever gets said about his second. Charles Stevens, who was one of my first pastors, used to say this, how can we call this doctrine non-essential? It's in every chapter of the Bible.

Every command is tied to it. It keeps everything in the Christian life in balance. What if you knew Jesus was coming back today? Would it not make you ask a question with some urgency? Am I ready?

Am I living today in a way that I would be happy to see him tonight? You'd probably quit punting certain questions, and you'd probably quit punting certain assignments. At the church I grew up in, we used to end just about every service. You know how we end? We stand you up and say, you are sent.

We used to end every service there. We'd stand up and the pastor would say, Meranatha, which means in Greek, the Lord is coming. Then he would say, and it might be today.

Honestly, I think we could use a little bit more of that kind of thinking. It might be today. This might be your last chance to hear the gospel and respond. This might be your last chance to tell that friend, that neighbor, that grandparent, that child. It might be your last chance to tell them about Jesus. Don't waste a moment.

If Jesus was returning tomorrow, wouldn't it change our priorities? Life is so very short. Let's live it with purpose. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. To hear this message again or to share it with a friend or to catch up on previous messages, go to I wanted to take a second to talk a little bit more about our latest premium resource that I mentioned earlier called The Gospel Flipbook. We really wanted to create something that would help our listeners grow in their love for the gospel, which is why this new flipbook features a 40-day reading plan through the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, details about the authors of the books and to whom they were written, key truths gleaned from each gospel, and some reflection questions and memory verses to help you apply the book's message to your life. We'd love to get you a copy today, and when you give $35 or more, we'll send you a copy of The Gospel Flipbook as our way of saying thanks for your generous support. When a college student tunes in to stay rooted in the gospel on a secular campus or when someone hears the gospel for the very first time, their thanks belongs to you.

Your support is essential to our mission, and we are so grateful for every contribution. Give us a call today at 866-335-5220. That number again is 866-335-5220. Or you can give and request the book online at You also don't want to forget to follow Pastor JD on Facebook and Instagram for more updates and encouraging content. Before we close, let me remind you that if you aren't yet signed up for our email list, you'll want to do that today. It is the best way to stay up to date with Pastor JD's latest blog posts, and we'll also make sure that you never miss a new resource or series.

It's quick and easy to sign up at I'm Molly Vidovitch. Thank you for being with us today. And listen tomorrow when we'll conclude this powerful study of the difficult sayings of Jesus. Join us Thursday on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-26 10:34:52 / 2023-04-26 10:45:39 / 11

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