AND KNEW NOT
Matthew 24:32 ¶ Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
In order to see the situation presented to us in this passage, let us ask four questions. 1) What did they not know? 2) Why did they not know? 3) What did they come to know? 4) What do they now continually know?
1) What did they not know? They did not know that their present era was coming to a sudden end! We see this in verses thirty-two through thirty-five of out text. For our Lord reminds them that they could very well predict when the next season was about to come upon them by simply taking notice of the fig tree. In Romans 1:20 the apostle informs us that even the invisible things of the Person of God may be clearly seen by the things which are made. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Therefore we know that this generation was blind to the things of God, for the Holy Spirit, who searches all things, was to cease striving with them. Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Yet the Lord does inform them that with the knowledge of “these things” they could know that the changing of their present situation was “near, even at the doors.” He instructs us that the knowing of the exact day is not ours. But then he clearly informs exactly when that hour shall come! For in verse forty-four he reveals that the hour would be “such an hour as ye think not.” Therefore it is the precise hour when no one is concerned with the Lord, or thinking of impending peril!
2) Why did they not know? The answer to this question is revealed in verses thirty-six through thirty-nine of our text. They are all caught up with the spirit of social fellowship, and with the personal satisfying of their lusts. All mankind shall be only concerned with things which of themselves are lawful, i.e. eating and drinking, and marriages, but be devoted to them in an unlawful manner! It shall be idolatry on a world wide scale. For this idolatry shall involve the love of everything by everyone. Whereas that fellowship of true believers shall be almost wholly abandoned. 1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
But putting out of our minds the day of the Lord’s intervention with the world’s idolatries only hastens it arrival! Amos 6:3 Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; 6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
And the ‘enemy’ shall be found to be improperly relating with inordinate affections to the members of one’s own family! Matthew 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. We are far more apt to be more sincerely devoted to Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day, or even Valentine’s Day than we are to the Lord’s Day! And God forbid if a ‘family reunion’ is held on the Lord’s day! For we would abandon the Lord’s worship in a flash to be sure we were with our earthly families! For even those who usually are in regular attendance to the local church will, without hesitation, spend the day at the family picnic, playing horse shoes, volley ball or bad mitten without the slightest consideration of anything being wrong. And then we will be back up in the choir singing, “O How I Love Jesus” the following Sunday!
The very first issue of Abraham’s faith was to get away from his earthly family! Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And the believer is said to walk in the steps of his faith. Romans 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
True believers are IN this world, but not OF this world! They are involved with this life and its relations, but not placing anything, or anyone ahead of the worship of the Lord God! They are to hold the world with a loose grip. 1 Corinthians 7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. 28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. 29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
But yet true believers will have many true spiritual relationships within the family of Christ. They will come to have many brothers, sisters, and mothers in Christ. And being properly involved in the spiritual family of Christ, they shall also assure themselves eternal life. Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
3) What did they come to know? But how do we come to understand that they finally learned anything in the midst of this “eat, drink, and be merry” situation? We see this by the word, “until.” For in verse thirty-nine we read, “And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away;” That is, they continued not to know only “until” the actual judgment occurred. For as long as God’s longsuffering and mercy is extended to these, there will never be a learning of sinful traits! Isaiah 26:10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Time after time when the Lord God removed one of his plagues against Egypt, Pharaoh hardened his heart against God! Exodus 8:12 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. 13 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. Like the rich man only in hell did he lift up his eyes, but it was too late! All who will not learn by gospel instruction will certainly learn by divine judgment.
When Elijah was sent forth to anoint a different king and even a different prophet to drastically change matters in Israel, he prayed for Israel to come to know two things before the fire fell from heaven. He prayed that they should come to know who God was, and that he was acting by the Lord’s command as His servant. 1Kings 18:36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
4) And what do they now continue to know? Be assured that there is not an ignorant soul in hell. They know who it was that put them there and remember those who preached and witnessed the truth of the gospel to them. That gnawing ‘worm’ of memory will never die! Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Isaiah 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Present unbelief brings on abiding wrath! John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
But what can we do to avoid such wrath? Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
May God have mercy!
Pastor Gene Breed
May 14, 2020