No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:32)Now, consider this: Jesus knew some remarkable things. He understood the Scriptures more fully than anyone before or since. He opened other peoples' minds to understand the Scriptures. He could trace all the references and all the nuances of Moses and the Psalms and the prophets. If the information about the day or the hour was hidden somewhere in the prophets, he would have known it. And if he didn't know it, then it is not there in the Scriptures, and no amount of searching them will truly discover what is not there. All the searching supposes that an answer is there, carefully concealed. But I think the answer is not concealed there at all: it's simply not there.
And for those who take literally, as I do, that Jesus is the Word of God made incarnate -- then everything that God has spoken to us, everything that God has revealed to us, everything that God has made known of his mind, is made known to us in Christ and through Christ. If the Father had revealed it, Christ would have known it. And if Christ didn't know it, it was because the Father hasn't revealed it. Again, no amount of searching or pondering will truly discover something that is not there. Again, I do not think it is a matter of being brilliant enough or godly enough or diligent enough or finding the right clue. I think the answer is simply not given, and the information needed to find the answer has not been made known. The answer is not there. That is why not even the Word of God knows the day or the hour.
When Jesus told us that the day and hour are unknown, he told us the point of this: that we should watch, and not grow lazy or careless. (Why would it be an issue with growing lazy or careless, except that the time would be longer than we would expect?) While the people naming doomsday dates are an embarrassment -- constantly exposing Christians to ridicule as the doomsday predictions fail time and again, and leading people astray, and weakening peoples' faith who actually believed their predictions -- while all these things are true against them, they do at least remind us to watch. And so as the next doomsday prediction rolls around, I'd encourage us all to do more than shake our heads at the failure of this prediction, or the next one -- I'd encourage us to go back to Jesus' words, and be ready because we do not know the day or the hour -- and to watch.