“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matt. 24:36-44
“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch; 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 be on the watch. Watch therefore — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning — 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.” Mark 13:32-37
“But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:34-36
The Messiah had already told the disciples that their generation would live to see the destruction of the city and the temple. This would come to fulfillment within 40 years.
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place. Matt. 24:34
The statement that no one could know the hour is hyperbole, i.e. an exaggerated statement. It is true that no one knew the exact day or hour of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Only the Father knew it. The implication is the hour or day is not important, being ready is.
A person could figure out generally, when this was going to happen. The dates of both the execution of Messiah (Daniel 9) and the 40 years of trial which followed (Matthew 24:34), can be ascertained from careful study. The Lord, however, told believers to be looking for the signs. They would be the ultimate determination of when to leave the city before an advancing army.
Messiah’s focus is largely upon being ready. The coming of the Son of Man would be sudden and unexpected. However, life in Judea and Jerusalem would appear ordinary. People would be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; apparently unaware of any imminent danger. Like in the days of Noah, many would be swept away!
There would be no impending sense of doom. Believers would also be living normal lives as well, but they are charged with looking for the signs that He had told them about.
It took a whole year from the time Vespasian started taking the smaller towns and villages before his son Titus showed up at the gates of Jerusalem to finish the job. The last time the city gates where open was the night the Idomeans came in. After that no one was allowed in or out. Josephus War Book 4 Chapter 4 Section 7
All those who were found trying to leave the city were crucified. Josephus War Book 5 Chapter 6 Section 5
The Lord warns believers of what will happen if the signs are not heeded. Two men will be in the field or two women will be grinding, don’t be the one taken! Some may not be looking for the thief in the night, don’t be robbed! Believers are not to be “weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness,” don’t be physically unable to watch. Clearly, don’t be caught up in things of this earth and miss your escape.
The entire city of Jerusalem fell into sedition. Factions inside were killing each other, eating each other. When the Roman soldiers finally broke through the walls, they found heaps of dead bodies. One of the reasons they burned the city was that they were disgusted by what they found inside. It would have taken quite a lot to disgust Roman Legions.
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