No man knows the day?
The mainstream cultural interpretation of Matthew 24:36 is a false doctrine which does have very serious consequences. I will explain what I mean about the serious consequences after I briefly summarize some of the reasons for why the mainstream cultural interpretation is wrong.
1) Matthew 24:36
As you can see from this link the word knows in Matthew 24:36 in the original Greek is past tense, and means to see, perceive. Therefore, the precise translation is "no man has seen the day". It is not "no man will know the day".
Furthermore, this word translated as knows in verse 36 is quite different from the word know just three verses prior in verse 33 of Matthew 24. This other word that is also translated as know is to learn, take in knowledge, to understand, etc. This is the word for know we would expect to be in verse 36 if the mainstream cultural interpretation were correct. The following is a link to the word for know in verse 33.
2) Matthew 24 regards the Second Coming anyhow. Not the Rapture. This includes the verses in Mathew 24 regarding those that are taken away. Those that are taken away are taken away in judgment to destruction at the Second Coming. The parallel verses in Luke make this clear. They are taken to where the corpses are and the vultures gather.
Here is an article written by well known prophecy scholar Thomas Ice that supports this view regarding those that are taken away in Matthew 24.
3) In Revelation 1:1 we are told God gave Jesus the revelation of things that soon must take place. Are we to believe that now that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, and has been given the revelation of things to come that he still does not know when the Rapture is? It's worth realizing that Jesus did say things that didn't apply to all time. For instance, he told the disciples to only preach to the Jews in Israel.
4) Archangel Michael gave Daniel a 'precise' number of days until the end. Daniel was told that this knowledge would be sealed until the times of the end (Dan 12:9). Therefore, this knowledge is unsealed in the times of the end. It makes perfect sense that Jesus would not want his servants living in the year 1000 AD to know he wasn't returning until 2020. It would obviously, in general, produce complacency. This is a fact and it is human nature. I have done this with my employees as well. I would not tell them when I would be showing up, so that they are always expecting me and working their best. However, if one wants their employee to be working their best for the last 15 minutes before the boss arrives telling them when you are coming is effective in producing this work ethic in these last 15 minutes. This is of course why we are being given the warning signs now, and why the knowledge is unsealed now. In order to light a fire under us, or in us. The Kingdom and our eternity's rewards and position in the Kingdom depend on our work and fruit we produce.
5) Matthew 24 concerns the Second Coming, and not the Rapture, which is a few years before the Second Coming. (The post Tribulation Rapture doctrine is another false doctrine from the Adversary - Satan - that has very serious consequences for those that believe it.) It is basic prophecy knowledge, from Daniel and Revelation, that the Second Coming is 'precisely' 1,260 days from the Abomination that Causes Desolation event on the Temple Mount. This flatly contradicts the mainstream false doctrine regarding Matthew 24:36 and no one knowing the day of the Second Coming (which is what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24, and not the rapture). For this reason alone it so obviously clear among anyone with a little prophecy knowledge that the mainstream interpretation of Matthew 24:36 is wrong and absurd. After the Abomination That Causes Desolation event many people will know that the Second Coming is precisely 1,260 days after.
6) God's prophetic clock is Israel. The restoration of Israel in the 20th century is the biggest sign of all that the End Times are extremely soon. (Understanding why this is the case is why it is important to understand prophecy and have knowledge.) In Matthew 24 Jesus said the generation around at the time of the fig tree putting forth its leaves in the spring would not pass away before the Second Coming. In scripture the fig tree represents Israel. In Psalm 90:10 a generation is 70 years plus about 10. It has been 70 years since Israel was reborn in the spring of 1948. The extra maybe years in a lifespan in Psalm 90:10 account for the coming 7 year Tribulation period before the Second Coming. In other words, the Second Coming is most certainly within 7 years of modern Israel's 70th birthday.
7) Revelation 3:3 and 1 Thessalonians 5:4 also flatly and clearly contradict the mainstream false doctrine on Matthew 24:36.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Revelation 3:3
Therefore, if we are 'watching' we will know at what hour he is coming. This is very simple and straightforward. The same applies to 1 Thessalonians 5:4.
7) We are repeatedly commanded to "watch" for his return (so that when we see it coming we will be working diligently producing fruit for the Kingdom and not be caring about the worldly life). It is a command. Yet, what is the Christian that has blindly accepted the false doctrine regarding Matthew 24:36 watching?? Watching doesn't mean go to church, read the Bible, and be nice to people. It doesn't refer to working in the church, or evangelism. It means exactly what Jesus said it does in Matthew 24. It means to be watching for the signs of his return. Can the average Christian name a single sign?
8) Genesis 1:14 tells us that the lights in the sky are 'primarily' for signs. David uses 7 different verbs in Psalm 19 to describe how the stars reveal to us knowledge. God told Job He created the constellations such as Orion and Pleiades. Can the average Christian name one single sign in the sky? The Star of Bethlehem was a sign heralding the First Coming, and it was a sign in the sky that the 'wise men' (Jews in Babylon) recognized because they were 'watching' for the sign due to the timing in Daniel 9. The rest of the Jews in Jerusalem were shocked to learn the sign had occurred, because they were not watching. Likewise today, the minority wise watchers (there are many of us) have recognized the sign in the sky heralding the Second Coming, the Revelation 12 Rapture Sign on 9/23/17, among countless other signs, and the rest of the Church is asleep to this fact.
9) 1 Thessalonians 5:4 "But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief."
10) In Luke 12:40 Jesus says, "You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”. The "ready' in the verse is referring to the watching in the preceding verses. In the following verse Peter asked Jesus if the parable applied to them, his disciples. "Peter said, 'Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?'” Luke 12:41. Jesus answered Peter's question with the following that made it clear that there is a distinction between two groups of servant (believers). Between those that are watching and those that aren't. "But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful." Luke 12:45-46. For those with the eyes to see this is implying that some will therefore know the day and hour. It is the same as Revelation 3:3.
11) How did it come to pass that the majority of the Church would be asleep at the time of the Second Coming? The root reason is spiritual, and it was prophesied that this would be the case. It was by design.
First, most Christians and churches are reading the Bible for what it can do for themselves, and their relationships, rather than learning about God's redemptive plan for humanity, or the Kingdom, or knowledge, or prophecy. Yet, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10), and one third of the Bible is prophecy. When was the last time you heard a pastor teach something about prophecy? Or about the sin in the world today for that matter. This explains why, in general, the average Christian's (especially among Millennials) evangelism consists of expressing how happy they are. It also explains why their evangelism is largely ineffectual. The average Christian has little knowledge because the Bible for them is largely about them and how their life is going. The disciples knew Jesus was the Messiah through the fulfillment of prophecy, and the example of Phillip revealing the prophecies of Christ to the eunuch demonstrates this evangelism. ” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". Revelation 19:10.
This reading the Bible for what it can do for them and their relationships also explains the growth in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement, and prosperity gospel movement. Focus is on the self, and one's "spiritual evolution" with the Holy Spirit, and not knowledge. Personally coming from a New Age Eastern religion background in my early 20s I see the parallels between this Christianity and the New Age, and it informs me that this New Age Christianity that seeks spiritual experience and spiritual evolution is false in the same way that the narcissistic New Age is false. They are spiritual deception from the Adversary. The New Age has invaded the Church without it realizing it. (Here's a video link of a lecture by John MacArthur regarding the deception of speaking in tongues in case you're interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVSLc0cqlZM ) A serious word translation study of 1 Corinthians and Acts reveals that the gifts of tongues and prophecy were for signs in the early years prior to the completed canon of the Bible (Here is an excellent academic lecture regarding tongues and the history of the charismatic movement from a professor of Church history if you're interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nykeKmT29R8 ) Yet, how strange it is that someone that believes someone could be speaking (prophesying) for God today, cannot at the same time believe the Lord would be providing prophetic signs of the times and His soon coming? The reason is spiritual deception, and the false doctrine of Matthew 24:36 is used as an excuse to not seek knowledge regarding prophecy of the End Times. Yet for example, there is only one book that Jesus said we would be blessed for reading, and keeping in mind the prophetic understanding. The Book of Revelation.
12) The harvest model and the three harvest types in ancient Israel are embedded in the appointed feast times in Leviticus 23. The three seasonal harvests are prophetic types (foreshadows) for the three distinct harvests of souls. These harvests demonstrates to us the season in the calendar in which we can anticipate each of these three harvests of souls.
The harvest model for each harvest demonstrates the order of the harvests of souls. In the harvest model there is the firstfruits, the main harvest, and the gleanings. The firstfruits symbolizes Christ and the body of Christ at the Resurrection Rapture. The main harvest of souls symbolizes the Tribulation saints. The gleanings, that are for the poor and not for the owner of the harvest, would seem to symbolize to either those that do not overcome with Jesus, or those believers that remain alive at the Second Coming into the Millennium.
The three annual harvests, the barley, wheat, and grape harvests, also allude to the three harvests of souls. Their respective timing in the calendar year inform us at what time of year we can expect the particular harvest of souls. For example, the barley harvest represents those that are taken up in the Rapture. Barley is harvested in the spring and so this is how we can know the Rapture will be in the spring. We know the barley harvest represents the Rapture because harvesting barley required a light process called winnowing that involved wind, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The wheat harvest required a more aggressive process and required an apparatus called a 'tribulum'. The wheat harvest represents the Tribulation Saints. The wheat harvest is also a much larger harvest than the barley harvest, and this is evidence that the majority of saints will come out of the Tribulation. This also tells us that the majority of believers today will not make the Rapture. This comports with how we are told in Ruth 3:14 through Boaz and Ruth at the threshing floor that the Rapture will be hidden and not recognized by the world. The grape harvest symbolizes the Great Winepress of the Wrath of God.
13) The parable of the 10 Virgins informs us that we need to be 'watching' for the bridegroom's return otherwise we are in danger of not having the required oil when he returns. The 5 virgins that are shut out from the wedding represent those believers that are not watching and will be left behind at the time of the Rapture. All 10 bridesmaids were sleeping, and therefore all bridesmaids were not watching. What is conspicuously missing from the parable of the 10 bridesmaids is the bride. She is of course watching for her bridegroom to return. The bride represents those believers that are watching. The bridesmaids that go into the wedding banquet were not watching, but did have oil. In other words they were sacrificing and living their lives for Christ, even though they were unaware of his timing.
This brings me to why I am writing this. The Rapture is a reward, not salvation. Many people that believe in Christ will be left behind. In order that they are refined in the fire of the Tribulation. Those that were not refined in the fire prior to the Tribulation. The signs are a wake up call! Blessed is the one that has died to this world without believing Jesus is returning soon. Most people, myself included, require the certain knowledge that time is short in order for them to be on fire, and be truly dead to the world and be born again. It's human nature. Most people require fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
Many Christian's lives today are barely indistinguishable from the average worldly unbeliever. The average Christian is living a worldly life, and has not died the self, and died like a kernel of wheat in the ground, in order to produce fruit for the Kingdom. The average Christian today is the lukewarm Christian Jesus lamented in his letter to the Church of Laodicea. Only those in the Church of Philadelphia will be kept "from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world". Revelation 3:10.