The Scriptorium

Not for Us to Know

But we look forward to it, anyway. Matthew 24.36-44

Matthew 24: Signs of His Coming (5)

Pray Psalm 24.9, 10.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

Sing Psalm 24.9, 10.
(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
O Who is this King, Who approaches our gate?
His might is before us, His glory is great!
This King is the Lord of all glory above,
Who comes to indwell us in mercy and love!

Read Matthew 24.1-44; Meditate on verses 36-44.

1. Concerning His coming, what did Jesus tell us to do?

2. What will the world be like when He returns?


It makes no sense to speculate on the specific details of the times and seasons leading up to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has told us that “no one knows” (v. 36) and that “it is not for you to know” (Acts 1.7) the precise conditions prior to His return.

The world will look pretty much like it did in the days of Noah (vv. 37-39): people going about their business, doing their thing, and not paying much attention to God or His will. But as Noah prepared for the coming judgment of God, so also must we. Suddenly, without warning, Jesus will burst through the clouds and the sound of a trumpet will cause every eye to look up and see Him.

We’ll want to make sure we’re ready for that day, even though we can’t really know when it is.

At that time, some people will be taken away from the earth suddenly (vv. 40, 41). These are those who believe in Jesus and “are alive and remain” as He returns (1 Thess. 4.17). As we have seen, (vv. 30, 31; cf. Rev. 19), all the army of Jesus will join in His victorious return.

Our duty is to “watch” (vv. 42-44). But what are we supposed to watch? Not the signs of the times, apparently. Instead, we must watch ourselves, mainly, to make sure we are being good stewards of our time and opportunities, seeking the Kingdom and righteousness of the Lord always. We will “be ready” to join Him in the air when He returns by keeping busy preparing for His Kingdom day by day.

1. What’s involved in keeping watch on ourselves?

2. The world doesn’t worry about the return of Jesus. But for a different reason, nor should we. How should we look at this event?

3. How can believers help one another to be ready for the Lord’s return?

You do not know when he will come. But you know assuredly that he will come. If you do not continue to watch, you will not be ready on that day.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 77.2-3

I want to be ready at every moment for Your return, O Lord. Help me today as I…

Pray Psalm 24.1-8.
The Lord is coming soon. Our calling is to prepare well and be ready. Seek His help and Presence for the day ahead.

Sing Psalm 24.1-8.
Psalm 24.1-8 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
The earth is the Lord’s, as is all it contains;
the world and its peoples He daily sustains.
He founded it fast on the seas long ago,
and bid gentle rivers throughout it to flow.

Oh, who may ascend to the Lord’s holy place?
And who may appear to His glorious face?
All they who are clean in their hearts and their hands
and true in their souls with the Savior shall stand.

A blessing all they from the Lord shall receive
who seek Him and on His salvation believe.
For these are His people, the children of grace,
who earnestly, eagerly seek for His face.

O lift up your heads, all you gates of the soul,
for the Savior would enter and render you whole!
The Lord strong and mighty in battle draws nigh;
He rules in His glory above us on high.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore