Mark 13:32 speaks exclusively of the timing of the rapture of the church. I have written extensively on this subject and the truth that the rapture is clearly revealed at the end of the Olivet Discourse in all three synoptic gospels where it is presented.
When it comes to our study of Mark 13:32, we must first realize that there is no other possible connection to any other event known in the Word of God in which these and the other passages can be taken and applied other than the rapture of the church.
With this in mind, we will go on with our survey with this truth that our Lord was speaking of the rapture of His bride in Mark 13:32.
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” – Mark 13:32.
Why? Why doesn’t the Son know “of that day and that hour” (“divinely set time,” which is the prophetic translation of “hour”)? Why indeed! What is the explanation? Can we know?
I imagine in my mind’s eye Bible teachers and students down through the centuries, after reading this verse, having very similar thoughts. Why did Jesus say this? What does Christ mean? How am I supposed to understand this, and how am I to teach this to others?
Because I am a simple man, and I believe that the Word of God is simplistic in nature – that is, that any man or woman of God can understand what the Creator is revealing to His people – I have every reason to suppose that the interpretation of this much-debated verse is rather rudimentary, logical, and rational.
Let us begin by looking at the popular, traditional interpretation of Mark 13:32.
The Popular, Traditional Interpretation
Here is what the popular, traditional interpretation essentially says:
Jesus, in His humanity, when He said these Words, did not know when the rapture would take place. But now that He is in His glorified body and is in heaven, He knows exactly when the rapture will take place.
Does this really make sense to you? Wasn’t Christ – God in the flesh – fully God and fully man when He walked the earth at His First Coming?
Sure, He had to grow and learn as any human being would, but by the time He began His ministry, He displayed to the world what only the Creator of the world could do and know.
Unfortunately, in my assessment, the popular, traditional interpretation falls woefully short. It is as if the instinctive reaction is to save the Messiah from His own Words. Why would Jesus need saving from His own declaration? I submit that this is how the traditional interpretation was conceived: in a sense of seeming desperation.
Fatal Flaws in the Popular, Traditional Interpretation
There are several fatal flaws that I see within the popular, traditional interpretation.
Why Did Jesus Not Have This Information on Earth, but Does Now in Heaven?
If you were to ask why to those who hold to the view that Jesus did not have this information when He said these words but does now in His glorified body in heaven, they would invariably say it was because He was limited in – or by – His humanity. On this, we will have plenty to consider below.
But if this was not the case, for the adherents of this theory, then we are really only left with one other possibility when it comes to the conjecture that Christ did not have this information at His First Coming but does now after His ascension into heaven.
Honestly, this one is a little challenging to write because it is very difficult to even contemplate that this could ever be true.
There is really only one other logical reason why Yeshua would not have had this information on earth but obtained it later in heaven, and that is because the Father didn’t trust Him with this knowledge. There, I said it, and I don’t want to ever think about it again!
So, with that said, let us get back to the popular understanding that our Lord was somehow limited in – or by – His humanity.
Either Jesus Was Fully God, or He Was Not
Again, the major premise behind the popular, traditional interpretation is that Christ was somehow limited in – or by – His humanity at His First Coming. Does this make Scriptural sense, and is it logically sound?
The idea that, somehow, Christ’s divinity was limited by his humanity is never even hinted at in Scripture, let alone clearly stated and set forth. Truly, there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that the divinity of the Son of God was limited at all in His earthly ministry by His humanity.
I did acknowledge, in The Trinity: Examining the Triune God, that Christ seemed, at times, to rely more on His humanity than His divinity – possibly during His temptation, for example, though even this is highly suspect – but this never, ever means that He was less than fully the Son of God at any time, let alone limited by His humanity. At no time – even if Jesus relied more on His humanity on certain occasions, which, again, is supposition on our part – would the Son of God forfeit or set aside His divinity, as in His incarnation, His divinity is inseparable from His humanity.
There is no doubt that He behaved humanly in many regards and even asked questions – even though He surely knew the answers – as any other human being would. He even asked Adam where he was in the Garden of Eden, but He knew where Adam was.
It is certain that Jesus experienced life as we all do, including becoming self-aware. The Scriptures declare to us that Yeshua “grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40); knew who His Father was by the age of 12 (Luke 2:49); and informs us that He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
But by the time He began His ministry, Jesus exhibited nothing but divinity in His Works and Words as He always did those things the Father wanted Him to. These works included:
- Miracles of creation and providence.
- Defying and controlling natural laws.
- Healing everyone who came to Him with infirmities and possessed by demons.
- Having authority over the Satanic realm.
- Knowing the beginning from the end through past knowledge and future prophecy.
- Knowing the thoughts and hearts of all men.
- Raising the dead, including Himself in conjunction with the Father and Holy Spirit.
In essence, there was not anything in the ministry of Jesus that hinted that Christ was limited in any way because of His humanity when it came to His perfect divinity. He emphatically displayed all the power and works that would be expected from the Son of God.
In fact, within His divinity, before His death, burial, and resurrection, He even aspired to reveal much more to His disciples, but they could not endure what He desired to tell them at that time.
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” – John 16:12.
And when it came to the works that Messiah did, John said:
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” – John 21:25.
Messiah Yeshua, though fully human, was truly and fully God in the flesh, divinely knowing all things – except this one prophetic detail – and having absolute divine power and glory!
The Interpretation Necessarily Demands Adding to the Word of God
While Messiah knows that He is coming as a thief in the night and that many, including some in the church, will be caught unaware when He does, nowhere does the Scripture declare that Christ knows the exact time the Father will send Him to resurrect and rapture His bride.
There is not one hint in the Bible that confirms the popular, traditional interpretation that Christ now knows the timing of the rapture but did not know, because of His humanity, when He spoke the Words found in Mark 13:32 at His First Coming.
Because this is the case – that there is no Scriptural support for this interpretation – the interpretation necessarily demands adding to the Word of God in order to make this claim, something that is strictly forbidden in Scripture.
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” – Proverbs 30:5-6.
Is there a better interpretation? One that actually takes Messiah Yeshua’s Words at face value and makes sense? I believe there is!
The Greek Word for “Knoweth” is a Perfect Indicative Action
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” – Mark 13:32 (emphasis mine)
The Greek word translated “knoweth” is 1492 οἶδα “eidó” or “oiden” and, according to the Text Analysis, is a “perfect indicative action,” which is an action that has taken place in the past and is certain in the present. It is the same idea as when we say, “Christ died for our sins,” an effect of the past that is present in our lives now. And we know that Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), an action that was produced in the mind of God before He ever created.
This idea is truly remarkable because, as I have suggested, this statement by Christ that the Son does not know the exact day or the hour (divinely appointed time) was obviously an action agreement between the three members of the triune Godhead in eternity past and has its certainty in our present.
“For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” – Psalm 119:89.
One might object that there is no future aspect to this word, but I would ask, “Why would there need to be?” This truth was manifested in the past and is confirmed in the present.
The prophetical and logical reason that this word is not presented in a future tense is simply because some day, hopefully, very soon, we all – the Son, all the angels, and all men and women – will know the exact day and hour (divinely set time, or period in time) when the Father will have sent His Son for His bride in the rapture because the event will have taken place! This is the reason the word – and the entire statement, for that matter – cannot be presented in an applicable future tense because, at some time in the future, when the rapture will have occurred, the statement will have become obsolete and irrelevant.
Just as one day the rapture will be completed, so, too, on that very day – because “Christ died for our sins” – will our salvation be completed:
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [complete, accomplish] it until the day of Jesus Christ” – Philippians 1:6.
There is absolutely nothing that I see within the text that suggests anything other than what Christ said, and the grammar He used is perfect, as we should always expect.
We must continually take the Lord at His Word and believe and trust in that Word; for questioning and not trusting the Word of God is the original sin of Satan and fallen man. Let us not play mental and grammatical gymnastics on something as crystal clear as Christ’s teaching here.
And let’s be honest: Yeshua would have never included Himself in this statement had He known that He would have this information so soon after He said it. This would only cause anxiety and confusion among His children by saying such a thing that would only be true for a very short time.
Our God is not the author of confusion.
I and My Father are One
Here is an apparent paradox we should address.
“I and my Father are one” – John 10:30.
One could ask, “How is it that if the Father and the Son are one, that Jesus doesn’t know the exact timing of the rapture?”
To this, I would reply, “Great question! Did you know that Yeshua also said that His Father was greater?!?”
“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” – John 14:28.
Why is this? Why does the Son say that His Father is greater than He is, yet He also says that He and His Father are one?
It all comes down to roles within the triune Godhead.
We see this very theme in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian Christians.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” – Ephesians 1:17-23. (emphasis mine)
The Alpha and Omega
Jesus said of Himself at the beginning of Revelation:
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” – Revelation 1:8.
Jesus also referred to His Father as His God in Revelation:
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” – Revelation 3:12.
Jesus, again, said of Himself at the end of Revelation:
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” – Revelation 22:13.
Paul said of Messiah Yeshua:
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” – Colossians 1:15-17.
How is it that Christ Jesus is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last… the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every [creation]” and that “all things were created by Him and for Him,” and yet He calls His Father, “My God”? Is the Father more God, and the Son less God? No!
Again, it is all about the different roles, functions, and responsibilities found within the triune Godhead!
Different Roles for the Father and Son in Heaven
As we noted in The Trinity: Examining the Triune God – and we will quote this portion from the article below as we conclude our survey – Yeshua said to His disciples that future prophecy is strictly in the Father’s hands.
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” – Acts 1:7. (emphasis mine)
Well, if the Father has put future prophecy of the last days in His own hands, what is the Son’s role as He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven?
He is our High Priest and He “ever liveth to make intercession for [us]!”
“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” – Hebrews 7:24-25.
Elsewhere, it is stated again that He is “at the right hand of God… making intercession for us!”
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” – Romans 8:34.
He is also advocating for us on our behalf!
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” – 1 John 2:1.
And He is our mediator between God and man!
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”– 1 Timothy 2:5.
Messiah Yeshua’s role, in between His First Coming and His return to resurrect and rapture His bride, is to go “into heaven itself” and “to appear in the presence of God for us!”
“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” – Hebrews 9:24.
He is also preparing a place for us in His Father’s house!
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” – John 14:2.
As He works on our behalf in heaven, He awaits His Father’s call to fetch His beloved bride!
A Popular Maxim
Have you ever heard the saying regarding the rapture that goes something like this:
“It’s as if Jesus is standing in heaven, eagerly awaiting His Father’s command to go and fetch His bride!”
I have actually heard many Bible teachers – who hold that Jesus did not know when the rapture would occur in His humanity but does now that He has been resurrected and is in heaven – say this exact thing or something similar. Ironically, they fail to realize that by saying this, they are only confirming that Christ does not know exactly when His Father will send Him to fetch His bride!
As noted above, we would like to conclude our study with a portion from our article, The Trinity: Examining the Triune God, as we documented the following when it comes to the differing roles and attributes of each member of the Godhead, in particular to the rapture of the bride of Christ.
When it comes to our topic, we relayed the following:
Is There Something the Son Doesn’t Know?
There are two passages that seem to suggest that the Father and the Son aren’t on the same page, as it were, and we would do well to look into this.
Before Christ ascended into heaven, the disciples asked Him a question:
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” – Acts 1:6.
Jesus had a rather interesting response:
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” – Acts 1:7. (emphasis mine)
Jesus, concerning the rapture of the church, said:
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” – Mark 13:32. (emphasis mine)
This shouldn’t surprise us because we see specific roles delegated only to the Father in other passages. The most familiar was cited by Christ Himself as the Father is speaking to the Son (Luke 20:41-44).
“The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” – Psalm 110:1.
We also read of how the roles of the Father and the Son work together, and yet independently:
“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
“For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” – 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.
The Father and the Rapture
In regard to the rapture, we have to keep in mind that the Jewish-Galilean engagement and wedding is a truly beautiful picture and representation of the watching and waiting of the bride of Christ and the rapture of the church. So much so that it was alluded to the disciples by Yeshua Himself. It must be understood that the Jewish-Galilean wedding – though seemingly coming from the traditions of men – actually came from the predetermined council of the sovereign triune God in eternity past before creation.
In relation to the Jewish-Galilean wedding, only the father of the groom would know when he would send his son for his bride, when the son’s room that is built onto the father’s house for his bride was ready to receive her. This is exactly what will happen for the bride of Christ.
And because this event is reserved only for the father of the groom, it has been reserved exclusively for the Father of the triune Godhead. In both cases above – the times and the seasons of the latter days and the rapture of the church – we are told that they are entirely in the hands of the Father.
Jesus is preparing a place for us in the Father’s house, just as the groom would be preparing a place in his father’s house for his bride in the Jewish-Galilean wedding. The timing of fetching the bride of the Son is in the Father’s hands and is His responsibility.
Therefore, the Father will tell the Son, in heaven, “It is time. Go fetch your bride!” And Christ will come and receive us unto Himself, that where He is, we will be also.
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” – John 14:1-3. (emphasis mine)
What a future as the bride of Christ we have!!!
As we conclude and summarize our study topic, I believe that it is in our best interest not to offer up esoteric and nuanced explanations to what may seem to some to be problematic, but rather accept at face value our Lord’s Words. Jesus said what He said, and we should believe Him.
I have many wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord who currently hold to the popular, traditional view, and I do encourage them to reconsider their position and take our Lord at His Word.
When it comes to the rapture of the church – when the Father sends His Son to fetch His bride – as Yeshua said, this event is entirely in the Father’s hands. We are only speaking of one event, of which the exact timing is unknown to the Son, for this responsibility has been delegated to the Father.
There is one more logical reason why this is so, and that is the resurrection/rapture of the church will happen just before God pours out His wrath on a God-hating, Christ-rejecting world. When the Father deems the divinely set time ready and ripe for the wrath of God, and “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25) – two events that seem to divinely coincide – He will send His Son for His bride.
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” – Romans 5:9.
“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” – 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
We are not saved from Satan’s or man’s wrath, but we are saved from God’s wrath. This wrath, which is inaugurated with the resurrection/rapture of the bride of Christ, begins with the Son’s receiving of the scroll and His opening of the seven seals (Revelation 5:1-14, 6:1-17, 8:1). This scroll, which will begin the pouring out of the wrath of God, will be given directly to the Son – seen in heaven as the slain Lamb of God – from His loving Father.
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals… the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” – Revelation 5:1, 5-7.
When it comes to this subject of the resurrection/rapture of the bride of Christ and the wrath of God, we would do well to end our survey with the words we shall all be saying with creation when Messiah Jesus takes the scroll.
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” – Revelation 5:13.
Until the Lord calls us home – whether it be in death or at the rapture – may we all continue to be Answering the Call of The Great Commission, and giving an answer to every man and woman who so desperately needs Jesus and asks us, “Why Am I Here and What Is It All About?”
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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