Updated: Feb 3
“”But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”
This verse has been a problem for Christian theologians for some time. Stuck in the middle of what seems to be Jesus telling his disciples about his “second coming,” the problem has been such: If Jesus is divine, as God on earth, how can he not know when that coming will be? Rather than see the obvious answer to this problem, the scholarly have questioned if the Greek was mistranslated from something said in Aramaic, so the text meant to say, “but the Son, and the Father.”
In my breakdown of Mark 13:24-37 (Advent 1, Year B, 2017 Gospel lesson), the issue is death coming, and when a soul is called to judgment. The “second coming of Christ” occurred on Pentecost, the day after he Ascended. An Apostle is Christ reborn. Thus, death coming without Christ within one is what Jesus warned his disciples about. We all face death eventually, as mortals, so that day and hour is the unknown element of concern. However, this problem of not knowing when death will come is only a problem for those who do not heed Jesus’ advice and stay Awake! Watchful! Vigilant!
Let me make clear that death is not the only way to read, “But of that day and hour no one knows.” The ultimate purpose behind that is to state that no one knows when he or she will be thrust upon making the choice: Do I sacrifice self and totally serve God? Or, do I sacrifice God and totally serve self? Because no one knows when that time will come, when it comes then the choice made can become what marks one’s soul for eternal life or perpetual death. Thus, the primary focus of this verse falls on those of selfish desires. It is important to stay alert for when Christ calls, just as one who rejects that call must stay awake so death does not take hold.
Relative to the Son and the Father not knowing any of this, here are just a few reminders that will make this make more sense.
First, because the last segment can translate as “if not the Father,” to eliminate any doubt that God is kept in the dark about death, remember that God knows all and sees all. It is God who decides when death comes. There is no way God could show up at the time of one’s death and have some voice come over the heavenly intercom, saying, “Not yet, God.”
Second, it should be clear that Jesus knew when he was going to die AND he knew who, what, where, and why that event was going down. In addition, he knew that he would not stay dead AND he knew that he would go to the Father’s house to prepare rooms for his disciples. The message of Mark 13:24-37 says Jesus knew when he was going to return to transform his disciple into Apostles: Pentecost.
Third, if you have ever seen movies where angles (some looking like Nicolas Cage) stand by deathbeds waiting to escort souls to heaven, then you know that angels do know when mortal deaths will occur, beforehand. Everyone who has had a NDE (Near-Death Experience) and gone into the tunnel with the white light at the end and seen “people” waiting for them, then one must assume those “people” knew to await that soul’s arrival. Their readiness would make it seem they knew death was coming to someone on earth they had known before.
Last, in the lore that surrounds Nostradamus, he supposedly told his personal assistant, Jean Aymé de Chavigny, as he retired for the evening, “You will find me dead in the morning.” Of course, that turned out to be true; and Chavigny made sure everyone knew that. Further, when grave-robbers broke into Nostradamus’ crypt, looking for valuables during the lawlessness of the French Revolution, they found his corpse with a medallion around its neck that had the Roman numerals for that year – 1789 (or 1791, or 1793) – etched into it. Nostradamus died in 1566, so it seems he not only knew when he would die beforehand; he also knew when his body would be disturbed after death, 223 years later.
News of Orson Wells’ death in The Man Who Saw Tomorrow was greatly exaggerated.
In case you have not read the article about the whole interpretation of Mark 13:24-37, know that Nostradamus was a prophet, as an Apostle, filled with God’s Holy Spirit and the Mind of Christ. He wrote The Prophecies in the same manner that all Biblical prophets wrote – at the direction of God. Thus, The Prophecies are divinely prophetic of the future because God knows all and sees all. Divine prophets are told all the details about their deaths beforehand, so they don’t sweat over that. That makes them better able to serve God.
Now, all of these items of interest mean there is a problem with the translation, because the problem the Christians theologians see from “not the Son,” is really a problem with “no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father.” All of it is wrong (as I point out in the detailed analysis of each segment of this text).
Only those who do not love God deeply, so they are not married to God in their hearts, so they cannot have the offspring of that marriage: the Son; they are the ones who need to worry about when the day and the hour of God’s judgment will come. Everyone else is righteous and saintly, so they are in on how death is just a hiccup between a soul being trapped in a body of clay and dust and it being freed to eternal life in heaven.
When one’s eyes are opened to this not knowing when death will be as being applicable only to the sinners who reject God and Christ, then one can see this verse saying: “But of that day or hour no one knows, [because those are] not even the unspoken messengers [Apostles & Saints] of God in heaven, nor [have they made way for] the Son [in their lives], if not the Father.”
Notice the mistranslation of “ei mē ho Patēr,” where “if not the Father” is clear. The word “ei” implies “since,” which links “the Son” and “the Father” as “if one, then the other,” such that “if not one, then not the other.” In this regard, it is important to remember how the Jews of Mark’s and Jesus’ day laid claim on faith in Yahweh, but not so much a Christ (they still are waiting for the Messiah). This, “nor the Son, if not the Father” is directed at their not being true loves of the Father, because they reject the Son. So, it was the Jews of old who worried about judgment most of all, when Jesus spoke and Mark remembered.
Now, most everyone needs to worry.