The Final Season

Because the timing of the end is known only to God, the disciple of Jesus must be prepared every moment for his sudden arrival. Moreover, Jesus did not command his followers to know the timing of his return and the “end of the age,” nor did he provide them with keys and “signs” by which they can decipher the time of his “arrival” or ‘parousia.’ Instead, he exhorted them to be prepared every day since his return will come just “like a thief in the night.” Only his Father possesses this knowledge.

Between his ascension and return, many deceivers will come and “deceive many,” false prophets that show “signs and wonders” intended to fool even the very “elect,” charlatans who propagate false information about the future, including erroneous ideas about the timing of the end and the “signs” that will signal its proximity.


  • (Matthew 24:23-27) – “Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is the Christ, or Here; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand. If, therefore, they say to you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning flashes from the east, and is seen even to the west; so, also, shall be the coming of the Son of man.

Since Jesus gave his warning on the Mount of Olives, the world has heard of many “wars and rumors of wars,” and experienced earthquakes, famines, and many other catastrophes, both natural and manmade. As Jesus declared, such things will and must come to pass, but the “END IS NOT YET.”

At most, catastrophic events of this sort are harbingers of the eventual destruction of the existing world order, evidence that it will end sooner or later. However, they are not “signs” by which anyone can calculate that day’s timing or nearness.

The stress in Christ’s warning is on what his disciples will “hear” from deceivers, the rumors and claims that they will propagate to raise false expectations among the gullible and ignorant about the imminence of the end.


What Jesus did say about the timing of that final day is crystal clear - “No one, not the angels of heaven or the Son knows the day or the hour of the coming of the Son of Man, EXCEPT THE FATHER ALONE.”

Only God knows the timing of his return. Nonetheless, ever since Jesus gave this warning, false teachers and prophets have worked tirelessly to find and create loopholes in his words so they can claim to know the “signs and seasons” and thus, apparently, to possess the knowledge necessary to calculate the end.

Jesus repeated this warning while on the Mount of Olives. For example, the lesson he drew from his comparison with the “days of Noah” was that the men of that day “knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall be the coming of the Son of man… Watch, therefore, for you know not on what day your Lord is coming.”

If the homeowner knew when the “thief” would strike, he would be prepared to catch him in the act.


No one knows the “day or hour” of his “coming,” and nowhere in the scriptural record does Jesus state that we can ascertain its general “season” by observing “signs.” Later, he reiterated this warning when the disciples asked about the timing of the kingdom’s restoration:

  • (Acts 1:6-8) – “They, therefore, when they came together, asked him, saying, Lord, do you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said to them: IT IS NOT FOR YOU TO KNOW TIMES AND SEASONS, which the Father has set within his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

Instead of providing chronological specifics and “signs,” he commanded his followers to wait until they received the Spirit. Afterward, they were to preach the gospel from Jerusalem to the “uttermost parts of the earth.”

Moreover, in his ‘Olivet Discourse,’ he pointed to the completion of that gospel mission as the defining event that will trigger the “end” and the “coming of the Son of Man on the clouds.”

The point of his repeated warning is that disciples must ALWAYS be prepared for his sudden arrival precisely BECAUSE they do not and cannot know its timing.  Its appearance will be unexpected, and on that day, it will be too late for the prepared, and any knowledge of “signs” and chronologies will become superfluous. In the meantime, his followers must take the good news about the kingdom of God to all nations.

And because his disciples cannot decipher the timing of the end, for them, that day is always imminent. The church has been living in the “last days” since the day Jesus departed for heaven.

What is certain is that Jesus will return in “power and glory,” and he and bring the present age to an end. On that day, he will vindicate the righteous and gather them to himself. However, like weeds collected into bundles by the farmer for disposal, the unrighteous will be gathered to be “burned,” and the Son of Man will send them into “outer darkness.”

Thus, the future “arrival” of Jesus will prove pivotal for both the “elect” and the lost. What determines one’s fate on that day is how he or she responds to Jesus in the present. What is critical is not possessing insider knowledge about end-time chronologies, but instead, exercising faith in Christ and following him “wherever he goes.”



The Living Word

The Suffering Servant