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Verse 32

Mark 13:32. But of that day and hour knoweth no man See note on Matthew 24:36. Neither the Son, but the Father It must be observed here, that “the words ουδε ο υιος , neither the Son, have been omitted in some copies of Mark, as they are inserted in some copies of Matthew: but there is no sufficient authority for the omission in Mark, any more than for the insertion in Matthew. Erasmus, and some of the moderns, are of opinion, that the words were omitted in the text of Matthew, lest they should afford a handle to the Arians, for proving the Son to be inferior to the Father: but it was to little purpose to erase them out of Matthew, and to leave them standing in Mark. On the contrary, St. Ambrose, and some of the ancients, assert that they were inserted in the text of Mark by the Arians: but there is as little foundation or pretence for this assertion, as there is for the other. It is much more probable that they were omitted in some copies of Mark by some indiscreet orthodox, who thought them to bear too hard upon our Saviour’s dignity: for all the most ancient copies and translations extant retain them: the most ancient fathers quote them, and comment upon them. Admit the words, therefore, as the genuine words of Mark, we must, and we may, without any prejudice to our Saviour’s divinity. For Christ may be considered in two respects, in his human and divine nature; and what is said with regard only to the former, doth not at all affect the latter. As he was the great teacher and revealer of his Father’s will, he might know more than the angels, and yet he might not know all things. It is said in Luke 2:52, that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. He increased in wisdom, and consequently in his human nature he was not omniscient. In his human nature, he was the son of David; in his divine nature, he was the Lord of David. In his human nature, he was upon earth; in his divine nature, he was in heaven, John 3:13, even while upon earth. In like manner it may be said, that though as God he might know all things, yet he might be ignorant of some things as man. And of this particular the Messiah might be ignorant, because it was no part of his office or commission to reveal it. It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power, as our Saviour said, Acts 1:7, when a like question was proposed to him. It might be proper for the disciples, and for the Jews too, by their means, to know the signs and circumstances of our Saviour’s coming, and the destruction of Jerusalem; but upon many accounts it might be unfit for them both to know the precise time.” Bishop Newton. But Dr. Macknight thinks the proper translation of the passage affords a better solution of the difficulty. “The word οιδεν here,” says he, “seems to have the force of the Hebrew conjugation hiphil, which, in verbs denoting action, makes that action, whatever it is, pass to another. Wherefore, ειδεω , which properly signifies, I know, used in the sense of the conjugation hiphil, signifies, I make another to know, I declare. The word has this meaning without dispute, 1 Corinthians 2:2, I determined ( ειδεναι ) to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified; that is, I determined to make known, to preach nothing among you, but Jesus Christ. So likewise in the text, But of that day and that hour none maketh you to know, none hath power to make you know it; (just as the phrase, Matthew 20:23, is not mine to give, signifies, is not in my power to give;) no, not the angels, neither the Son, but the Father. Neither man nor angel, nor even the Son himself, can reveal the day and hour of the destruction of Jerusalem to you; because the Father hath determined that it should not be revealed. The divine wisdom saw fit to conceal from the apostles, and the other disciples of Jesus, the precise period of the destruction of Jerusalem, in order that they might be laid under a necessity of watching continually. And this vigilance was especially proper at that time, because the success of the gospel depended, in a great measure, upon the activity and exemplary lives of those who first professed and published it.” Most commentators, however, prefer the former interpretation. As God, who by his Son revealed to the apostles and first disciples of Jesus the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish state, and marked a variety of particulars which were to precede or accompany it, yet did not acquaint them with the day and hour when it should actually take place; so while he has warned us of the certainty of death and a future judgment, and discovered to us many circumstances which will attend, precede, or follow these solemn, and, to us, infinitely interesting events, he has seen fit to conceal from us the exact time when they shall happen, that we may be always expecting and preparing for them. And therefore the subsequent exhortation as much concerns every one of us, as it could possibly concern those to whom it was first given.

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