Be Alert: No One Knows the Day or Hour

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Jesus told His disciples to be alert and ready for no man knows neither the day nor the hour of His return.  This was the theme of the epistles of Paul, John, and Peter.  Over the millennium, countless numbers have predicted times of Christ’s return and they are all batting a big, fat zero.  We are told to be looking for His return at any moment. There is nothing in Bible prophecy that forbids His coming today and there are no special events which must first come to pass that precede His Second Advent.  Each of the Apostles expected Jesus to return in their lifetime and so it is today. The only difference is that it is closer today than it was then.  No one can predict His second coming despite what many false prophets and soothsayers have said.  Apparently they haven’t read the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13 and Luke 21.

No One Knows the Hour

Even though no one knows when Christ is going to return, we are told be to alert and stay awake.  The parable of the Ten Virgins is a great example of this.  In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus was telling believers that they must stay alert because the Son of Man comes at an hour when no man expects it:

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour

Notice that some of the virgins became drowsy and fell asleep.  When the Bridegroom (Christ typified) came at midnight, no one was expecting Him.  The oil is representative of the Holy Spirit.  So those who had their lamps full of oil where believers who had the Holy Spirit.  The virgins who had no oil may have been those who have been exposed to the gospel but chose not to respond and thus they had no oil (no Holy Spirit) when the Bridegroom (Christ) came.  When they took off to buy some oil, Jesus came and they were not ready.  This is a warning to those who have heard the gospel preached but have not responded.  Any delay may be eternally regretted and perhaps is the reason that Paul and many others wrote that today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2).  Tomorrow could be too late.  If anyone dies without Christ, they will have their lamps dry of oil and the door shut in their face when He returns and they will forever be eternally separated from God.  This is exactly why Jesus warned, Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matt 25:13).

Be Alert No One Knows The Hour
Just as Jesus said that it will come at an hour or day that we know not, so also his coming will be as a thief in the night, when no one is expecting Him.

Like a Thief in the Night

Just as Jesus said that it will come at an hour or day that we know not, so also his coming will be as a thief in the night, when no one is expecting Him.  That is how He will return.  In Matthew 24:42-44 He declares, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”  Don’t be watching the world news and expecting some prophecy to be fulfilled.  The time is at hand. He stands at the door (Rev 3:20). A thief comes when no one is not only watching but no one is expecting.  This is why Jesus gives us another stern warning as He says, “you also must be ready” because His return is “at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

Jesus described the days prior to His return as it was in the days of Noah, saying, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matt 24:36-39). Just as in the days of Noah, no one was expecting a sweeping, deadly flood to come.  There had never been rain nor had there ever been a flood.  Noah was building an Ark in the middle of a desert basically and so that is the last thing that anyone expected.  God was patient though, using Noah to preach to them about repentance for 120 years!  Talk about evangelism.  Noah must have been laughed to scorn yet only Noah and his immediate family was spared.  The flood took them all away and that is “how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”  They knew nothing about any flood coming, but when they finally realized that they were all going to die it was too late.  Even as they pounded on the doors of the Ark, time for them had run out.  That is why evangelism is so important. The Great Commission is about warning people to believe in Jesus Christ before His return, otherwise they will be separated from God for all eternity – with no second chance.

Be Alert – Be On Guard

Mark 13:33-37 gives us another analogy of Christ’s return:  Be on guard! Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

Again, Jesus is saying, “You do not know when that time will come” (Mark 13:33). What greater a warning could Jesus give than, “Be on guard! Be alert!” ?  Jesus said it is like a “man going away”, which is symbolic of His ascent into heaven after Calvary.  He left His house and left His servants in charge and “each with their assigned task.”  This closely resembles the work that the church (His servants) has to do. I believe that part of this assignment that is given is the Great Commission.  Jesus has told us to go into all the world because “he comes suddenly” so we must tell others while there is yet time.  He better not “find you sleeping.”  I love Jesus’ closing in this parable because He is not only telling us, but He says, “I say to everyone: ‘Watch!” (Mark 13:37).  If we are watching for His return, we will be ready for His return.  He specifically says it could come “in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows (just before dawn), or at dawn” (Mark 13:36).  His point is that we are to keep alert, be watching, be ready, be on guard, and keep doing our “assigned task.”

Why No Man Knows the Hour

God, the Creator of mankind, knows human nature fully well.  He knows that if we knew when Christ would return, we would behave differently and then expect to “get right with God” just prior to His return.  This knowledge of this date would breed lazy, slothful believers who would tend to be lazy servants.  This would also delay those who are not yet saved to wait until that day to finally come to faith in Christ.  I believe it is best that we don’t know the date of Jesus’ return.  If God thought it would help, He surely would have told us but I believe it is in our best interest that we do not know.  Besides, the secret things belong to God and we have no business trying to guess when that day will be (Duet 29:29).

We should always be ready for we don’t know the time of the Second Advent and we can not afford to delay our getting ready.  In fact, there is a crown for those who love His appearing, which means that they actually long for it.  In Paul’s last epistle (letter), he knew that his death was near and knowing his demise was imminent, he wrote Timothy about a crown that is given to those who are longing for Christ’s return.  Second Timothy 4: 8 says, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  This crown is not for those who will be fearful at His return.  This crown will not be given to those who will be ashamed at His return since all their works will be burned up as hay and stubble at the Bema Seat of Christ.  The Bema Seat of Christ is the judgment for believers who will receive their rewards (or lack of them) at Christ’s return.  A Bema Seat is like the seat where rewards for those who were in the Greek athletic games received their rewards for their victories.  This special crown is intended for those who “long for his appearing” and are one of 5 crowns that will be given out at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ, even though believers will cast their crowns at Jesus’ feet when they see Him (Rev. 4:10).

Be Alert – Be Ready – Be Watching

The conclusion is that we do not know the exact hour or day that He will return. It seems likely that it will be at a time that no one is expecting or watching.  We must remain alert and always be ready.  We should be doing our “assigned tasks” and not slumber.  The virgins fell fast asleep and had no oil when Jesus came.  Just like in the days of Noah, no one was expecting a wrathful God to drown all the unrepentant and unregenerate ones in a great flood – symbolic of the judgment of God.  We must be warning others, just like Noah, that a great flood of the wrath of God’s judgment is coming, so that those who today do not believe will be ready, alert, watching, and waiting for Jesus’ Second Advent. Jesus says in Revelation 22:20, “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”  And all of God’s people said, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

You might also be interested in reading this related article:

Biblical Signs of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff Telling February 4, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Nicely done Jack. Concise and right on. There is a reason this topic has generated so much interest…the signs of the times! Thanks for another great article, and congratulations on the radio interviews! Keep spreading the Word!

Blessings, Jeff


Jack February 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Jeff, thank you sir for such an uplifting comment. Truly I feel a sense of peace and joy when I know the certainty of our salvation and I feel that this topic gives me more of a sense of importance for evangelism. Also, thank you so much for the congrats but surely, what doors God opens I could not of my own, and what He does He is glorified by it, surely not me. Even so, I am grateful to God for this opportunity.

Again, thank you sir so much for your kinds words.


Pam Williams February 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Jack, congratulations too — I think this might be article #100 here at WCWTK. I so enjoy reading what you write. You do very well on this subject. One that makes me remember that the Bible says “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28). Thank you for being so faithful to do what God has called you to do my friend!


Jack February 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Thank you Pam….I love the one that you added….for some Great Day we will look up and be “caught up” with Him. Thanks for the congrats my good friend and God bless you for that.


Mike July 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Yeshua also said “But you are of the light not of the darkness”. A thief in the night! A brodegroom coming for the bride. A tump and a shout. The final trumpet. To the Greeks or gentiles this makes no sense. When asked to a rabbi they will say “Let me check my calendar!” To a rabbi this signifies the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Teruah. It is a Hebrew idiom. Like Turkey Day!

Feast Of Trumpets the 100th trumpet was blown and then a shout. No man knows when because it is when a new moon which looks like the smallest part of the edge is showing signifying the new year. No man knows the day or the hour since it took a witness, a rabbi and then he had to go get another rabbi and then they would shout back to the synagogue. You should hear what is read in the Hebrew synagogue after the shout. it will sound remarkably similar to what Jesus said. Also this explains why the apostles stopped working late September and were then admonished. You see Yeshua fulfilled 4 of the 7 Moeds exactly, thus they were expecting an immediate fulfilment of Trumpets, Atonement and then Tabernacles. Although I will most likely get squashed on what I am stating here, I can only challenge you find out the Hebrew meanings first. The New Testament is riddled with Hebrew idioms, sayings and Henrew layers that only Jews would have understood. Evil eye, evil arm means “Don’t be cheap!” Rain meant life, not water from the sky. YHVY Yod He Vav He means “Hand behold Nail behold.” You would have to know ancient Hebrew picture language to start understanding not only the words, but the definition of them. Zion is really Zayin which means to cut, divide, etc. Shalom may mean peace, but in the ancient Hebrew language it is more like “To control or destroy authority by bringing your enemies to you. Most likely under your feet! Peace or Shalom wasn’t like lounge chair peace, but more like “Lets bring your problems or enemies out in the open and I (God) will deal with them. Since learning the Hebrew idioms, Moeds (Lev 23), the New Testament has brought all new meanings and what was really said in Rabbinic terms. The Book of Matthew for instance when read and understood by a rabbi has a completly different take. Oh one more thing for you guys. So in Daniel 7:24 – 26 there is a 7 year period signified by an Israeli peace treaty with many nations, yet no one uses Feast of Trumpets as the starting point and Yom Kipper as the end point to find out what 7 year period has 2550 days on a Hebrew calendar. Yet with so many Hebrew scholars that I have dialogue with and I challenged them time and time again, they all agree when this period is. Isaac Newton put it at 2060. So after having gone over and over counting days and then studying the Hebrew calendar based on lunar and solar movements, I too have concluded that this period is upon us. I will not disclose out in the open when it is, but I know mathmatically now when it has to occur. Also keep in mind what we see from the Arab Spring has set up the Pslam 83 war which includes Is 17:1 – 4 and Is 19.

So when Yeshua said “No man knows the day or the hour, but you are of the light not of the darkness. (parapharased) He was saying if you are of the light you will know. It is a Hebrew transitional sentence. Like I am bringing you a bunch of money on a day where you put gifts under the tree or take me out to the ball game. People in India wouldn’t have a clue, only you!

God Bless


Mike July 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

When yeshua said “You will know the season”, when translated to Hebrew season is moed. Well you have 7 to choose from. Do your research. Please don’t argue without doing your homework. Yeshua was crucified on Feast of Passover, Died on Feast of Unleavened Bread, Rose again on Feast of First Fruits as well as many others. Exactly 50 days later on the Feast of Weeks (Pentacost) the Holy Spirit was received and the 1st church was born. That leaves Feast of Trumpets (The final trump, the day of the bridegroom, the final trump, the trump and a shout) and then Atonement which is a covering of sins of the nations (Yeshua had a 40 day fast on this day), then the Feast of Tabernacles which is the day that Yeshua steps on the Mt. of Olives and it splits from an earthqauke. See the Bible timeline has been revealed to us. Moed is “God’s appointed times” not mans. Thus we should use it as such.


MR. LOVELY VARGHESE August 24, 2012 at 5:10 am

Dear Mike,

Will you please tell me how to proceed to study the Hebrew meanings and the picture language?




Trevor November 20, 2012 at 6:22 am

Jack, I have something to be said. I’m scared. How will I know for sure that I will get to be with God? It just scares me that I could miss something. I want him to come! and I have repented, and I’m just a teenager who is down right unsure of a lot of things after reading a couple of your articles.

Help would be appreciated!!



Jack Wellman November 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Hello Trevor. Let me say that for those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ to save them, there is no need to fear. If you have repented, and confessed your sins to God, then you can have no fear of God’s wrath upon you. We have a short link to show you just to be sure. Read this and you can know for certain, then find yourself a Bible-believing, Christ-elevating church and plug into the Body of Christ. Does this help?


samantha December 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Reading all the articles make me feel so much better! I used to be scared to die and scared of the end of time but now as I’ve been reading and getting more into learning about Jesus Christ I feel better! Ive let Jesus into my life. And am getting to know him a little better everytime I read something new. Thank you for you’re site ive learned so much that I never knew.

Also when I was reading about the angels and how we all are assigned an angel and Jesus second return I felt almost like I was over whelmed?


Vanessa June 30, 2013 at 12:14 am

I confess I still live in a place where I’m trying to get over my fear of death. I feel lost a lot of the time, even though I believe in God and want to go to heaven I find myself questioning a lot. This tends to worry me. If I was strong enough in the lord, wouldn’t I feel no need to question? I think that’s why I haven’t reconciled myself to wishing for his return with a whole heart yet because I’m worried that he will see past my words when I ask for forgiveness and such, and he will see my doubt and it will be like I’m only asking out of fear of going to hell rather then excitement of eternal life. Would you please pray for me? This is just something that’s been bothering me and this article was very relevant to that.


Jack Wellman June 30, 2013 at 6:43 am

Hello Vanessa. If you are doubting, this is not from God but from the Devil. Read Romans chapter 8 to see how secure we are in Christ and once we confess our sins, they are gone and we are cleansed (1 John 1:9) and then , He who knew no sin became sin for us so that God would now see us as having Jesus’ righteousness (2 Cor 4:21). Which is more dependable….human feelings or the Word of God?


rocky January 22, 2014 at 2:27 am

how do i get or know that i have holy spirit in me?..its worrying me alot


Jack Wellman January 22, 2014 at 8:29 am

Rocky, thank you for coming here and let me tell you that you have no need to worry. If you click on this link, this will tell you how you might be saved and any one that repents, confesses their sins, and trusts in Christ receives the Holy Spirit so please read this and let me know if this helps sir. I will pray for you too. Here is the link on how you can be sure you will be or are saved at:


Tormented September 10, 2015 at 10:49 am

I was born with autistic spectrum disorder, I had religion forced on me but I never understood God, I never felt God and I still don’t. I have faith when I am not having a rage “episode” but I deny Christ when my brain has rage. I pray daily, I also ask God to heal me in Jesus name, for over 40 years now. I am a hypocrite because I flip flop due to my uncontrollable brain. Is there a place for mentally unstable people in God’s army? I can’t witness because I can’t be around people, they bother me too much, I have a family I can barely support. I spoke with a pastor but he was confused by my intelligence co-mingled with stuttering and off color mutterings. I don’t fit in a neurotypical atmosphere. I have no friends. I have been tormented my entire life. Am I to be left behind because I was made so broken?


Jack Wellman September 10, 2015 at 11:57 am

Thank you for your comment. I am so sorry you are struggling so much. Studies have shown that when we serve others or volunteer, our mood changes. We take our eyes off of ourselves and onto others. Jesus suffered and He was totally innocent. Job did and he never did find out why. I would first talk to your pastor again about this. I would also suggest you find a good, Christian accountability partner in your church. Again, you need help. You can’t do this in your own strength or by yourself. At church, ask someone to lunch. Go to Sunday school and make friends. If you want friend, be a friend, so the Proverbs tell us.


dean July 28, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Those of us to day do not know the day or hour of Christ Jesus return.

But when that day and hour does come, only God’s elect will know 3/12 days ahead of time
That 3/12 days later Christ Jesus returns.

God has given in the book of Revelation the last Prophecy to happen that when this Prophecy happens Christ Jesus returns.
Only God’s elect at this time will know that day and hour of Christ Jesus return.


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