Bible Study Guides – “No Man Knoweth the Day nor the Hour”

May 28 – June 3, 2000

MEMORY VERSE: “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44

STUDY HELP: Last Day Events, 32–39.

INTRODUCTION: “The times and the seasons God has put in His own power, and why has not God given us this knowledge?—Because we would not make a right use of it. A condition of things would result from this knowledge among our people that would greatly retard the work of God in preparing a people to stand in the great day that is to come.…We are not to be engrossed with speculations in regard to the times and the seasons which God has not revealed. Jesus has told His disciples to ‘watch,’ but not for definite time. His followers are to be in the position of those who are listening for the orders of their Captain; they are to watch, wait, pray, and work, as they approach the time for the coming of the Lord; but no one will be able to predict just when that time will come; for ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man.’ You will not be able to say that He will come in one, two, or five years, neither are you to put off His coming by stating that it may not be for ten or twenty years.” Review and Herald, March 22, 1892. We are not to know the definite time either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ.

“But of That Day and That Hour Knoweth No Man”

1 Who alone knows the time of Christ’s coming? Matthew 24:36.

NOTE: “The Lord, who knows all, will make known the very things that are for the best interests of His children; and if He sees fit to veil the events of the future, it is only because He loves us, and would work out our highest good. Should He permit us to see the future mapped out before us, some of us would be distracted by anticipating coming sorrows, and others would be self-confident and daring, and the very good that our heavenly Father intended to bring about by His all-wise providences, would be thwarted and frustrated.” Signs of the Times, August 19, 1889.

2 Because we do not know the time of Christ’s coming, what counsel does Christ give us? Matthew 24:42–44.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 371.

“‘Shall He Find Faith on the Earth?”

3 How does the Bible describe conditions in the religious world in the last days? 2 Timothy 3:1–5.

NOTE: “Men will be living a godless life, professing to be Christians, but by their acts contradicting their profession. They will be heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Is not this idolatry? and is not the guilt of God’s professed people as much greater than was that of ancient Israel, as the light which we enjoy is greater than theirs?” Signs of the Times, May 26, 1881.

4 In what sad words did Christ describe the decline in faith among Christians? Luke 18:8.

NOTE: “Spiritual darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people. There are in many churches skepticism and infidelity in the interpretation of the Scriptures. Many, very many, are questioning the verity and truth of the Scriptures. Human reasoning and the imaginings of the human heart are undermining the inspiration of the Word of God, and that which should be received as granted, is surrounded with a cloud of mysticism. Nothing stands out in clear and distinct lines, upon rock bottom. This is one of the marked signs of the last days.” Selected Messages vol. 1, 15. (See also page 17.)

“Peace and Safety”

5 What popular picture of conditions before Christ’s coming will deceive mankind? 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 321.

6 Against what other error did Christ warn us? Matthew 24:26, 27.

NOTE: In the 19th century a Chilean Jesuit, Manuel de Lacunza y Dias, posed as a converted Jew, “Rabbi Juan Josafat ben-Ezra,” to write a book called The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty. This book proclaimed for the first time the theory that Christ would return in secret to snatch His church away from the earth before the final great tribulation should begin. His book was translated into English by Edward Irving, an early practitioner of glossolalia (falsely called “speaking in tongues”.) The secret rapture theory was taken up by John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren and popularized by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield in the “Scofield Bible.” This theory that Christ will return in secret is now widely believed by Evangelical Christians. (See also Desire of Ages, 739.)

“Behold the Bridegroom Cometh!”

7 How did Christ illustrate the state of the church in the period just before His return? Matthew 25:1–5.

NOTE: “The two classes of watchers [in the parable of the ten virgins] represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the Word of God.…The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the parable, all ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s Second Coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,’ many are unready.…. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.” God’s Amazing Grace, 214.

8 In what words does Christ point out the spiritual need of the church? Revelation 3:15–19.

NOTE: “Here is represented a people who pride themselves in their possession of spiritual knowledge and advantages. But they have not responded to the unmerited blessings that God has bestowed upon them. They have been full of rebellion, ingratitude, and forgetfulness of God; and still He has dealt with them as a loving, forgiving father deals with an ungrateful, wayward son. They have resisted His grace, abused His privileges, slighted His opportunities, and have been satisfied to sink down in contentment, in lamentable ingratitude, hollow formalism, and hypocritical insincerity. With pharisaic pride they have vaunted themselves till it has been said of them, ‘Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing’ (verse 17). Has not the Lord Jesus sent message after message of rebuke, of warning, of entreaty, to these self-satisfied ones? Have not His counsels been despised and rejected? Have not His delegated messengers been treated with scorn, and their words been received as idle tales? Christ sees that which man does not see. He sees the sins which, if not repented of, will exhaust the patience of a long-suffering God.” Faith and Works, 83.

“A Faithful and Wise Servant”

9 How does Jesus contrast the activities of the faithful servant and the evil servant? Luke 12:41–48.

NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 634, 635.

10 What blessing awaits the faithful servants? Luke 12:35–38. (See Revelation 19:9.)

NOTE: “A sacred responsibility rests upon every one who has a connection with the cause of God. He is called upon to do his work with fidelity, to sanctify himself to the service of God that others also may be sanctified. When the case of every soul is decided in the judgment, some will meet their record with joy, and others with hopeless grief. The faithful will be invited in to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and Christ will gird Himself, and come forth to serve them.” Review and Herald, March 7, 1893. (See also Early Writings, 19.)

“The Patience of the Saints”

11 What illustration does James give to show the correct attitude of those who await Christ’s coming? James 5:7, 8.

NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 731, 732.

12 What promise may we rely on? Hebrews 10:35–37.

NOTE: “We are homeward bound. He who loved us so much as to die for us hath builded for us a city. The New Jerusalem is our place of rest. There will be no sadness in the city of God. No wail of sorrow, no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections will evermore be heard. Soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for the wedding garment. Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King. Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer’s glory in the kingdom of God. It will not be long till we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 287.