Matthew Chapter 24
Before we proceed on to Verse 45 in our Matthew study we should first like to present a bit more insight in regards to the “watches” mentioned in Luke 12:38, which we hope might aid some to a better appreciation of what is being referred to. We should also like to take another look at the time similarity between the 120 years of Noah prior to the flood, and the passing away of “the world that then existed” (2 Pet 3:6), and the 120 years leading up to the passing away of the present “heavens and earth” (2 Pet 3:7).
Some of this may be a little repetitive of what we had previously presented.
Beginning with Luke 12 a closer examination of the context should help to explain what the Lord was referring to as the “watches”, note closely Verse 39
“But know this, that if the master of the house had known WHAT HOUR the thief would come he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.”
Compare this with Matt 24:43 marginal reading included,
“But know this that if the master of the house had known WHAT WATCH in the night the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.”
According to Jewish reckoning the first watch would be from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, the second watch from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM, and the third watch from 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM, however in this particular instance the Lord was not referring to literal watches in the night, but rather was referring to interim between his first advent and his second as watches in the night in which at some time unbeknownst to the Adversary he would return.
These watches consisted of one thousand year periods or days if you prefer, “A thousand years are as a watch in the night” (Psa 90:4) “A day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet 3:8) the seven one thousand year periods or days of the seventh and final day of the creative week in which God rested from His works.
“The parable does not state in which watch the Master may be expected. That question was left open; the faithfulness of the servants would be tested in proportion to his delay. Many would find it easy to keep awake and alert during the first watch, not so many during the second watch and still fewer during the third.” (R 3355, par.3)
Had Satan “the master of the house” known the exact return date of our Lord he would have taken preventative measures. Thus the Lord said that his return date must be secret, he might return in the second watch (or the sixth 1000 year day) or possibly the third watch (the seventh 1000 year day).
“The essence of this lesson is summed up in the 40th verse, "Be ye also ready; for in an hour ye think not the Son of man cometh." No one will be aware of the hour of the Son of man's coming; it is not a matter that is left in such a form as to be speculated upon in advance. His knock will be the first intimation of his presence. And so it has been fulfilled: none of us knew in advance when the Lord's coming would take place; it was after it had occurred that we heard the knock-- his voice through the prophets of the Old Testament, declaring to us that we are already in the harvest time and in the days of the presence of the Son of man.” (R3355, par.8)
As we now know his return was at the juncture of the second and third watches, “at the end of the ages” the end of the Gospel Age and the beginning of the Millennial age, thus the end(s) of the ages (compare Heb 9:26 with 1 Cor 10:11).
This same lesson in regards to these “watches” as representative of the 1000 year periods or days of the seventh creative day are picture in Luke 13:31,32 where in reply to the warnings of the Pharisees that King Herod sought to kill him our Lord said unto them, “Go tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today (the fifth 1000 year day), and tomorrow (the sixth 1000 year day), and the third day (the seventh 1000 year day) I (or we, the body of Christ) shall be perfected (resurrected).’
Likewise consider the following, “Jesus answered and said unto them, destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) “The temple he spoke of was his body” “Know you not that you are the temple of God…” (John 2:21; 1 Cor 3:16)
The destruction of the temple of God which is the Church began in A.D. 33 with the destruction of the “Chief Corner Stone” and has progressed ever since during the remainder of the fifth day (or second watch), all of the sixth day (the third watch), and now in the beginning of the seventh day, very early in the morning.
And lastly consider the following remarks of our Lord when speaking to his disciples shortly before his death, “A little while (1000 years) and you will not see me; and again a little while (another 1000 years), and you will see me, because I go to the Father.”
The two “little whiles” here picture the 2000 years of the Gospel Age, at the end of which the Church would be gathered to the Lord.
In our next post we will take another look at the time similarity between the 120 years of Noah and those which may see the end of our age.
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