April 11, 2023

On Determining Dates and Times Known Only by the Lord (A Homily of St. Luke of Simferopol)

 On Dates and Times

Luke 12:32–40

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on November 13, 1947)

When Jesus Christ parted with the disciples on the Mount of Olives before the Ascension, they asked: “At this time, Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed in His own power” (Acts 1:6–7). And we are often curious, wanting to know, we are looking for a variety of indications from Holy Scripture, trying to determine dates and times.

The date of the Second Coming was appointed many times by Adventist sectarians, but, of course, their expectations did not come true. We must remember that the Day of the Lord will come suddenly, like a "thief in the night" (Pet. 3:10). The Second Coming of the Lord will be like lightning, suddenly flashing from one end of the sky to the other (see Matt. 24:27). We only need to know this and no longer be curious.

The Lord said in the Revelation of Saint John: Behold, “I am coming like a thief: blessed is he who watches and keeps his clothes, lest he go naked, and lest they see his shame” (Rev. 16:15) Blessed is he who keeps his heart pure, whose nakedness will not be seen by people who appear at the Last Judgment. He will not be put to shame before God and before them. Blessed is he who appears in the robe of righteousness, in the bright robe of the saints.

The coming of Christ will be completely unexpected for us. “For when they say, 'Peace and security,' then sudden destruction will come upon them, just as the pain of childbirth comes upon a woman with a child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that the day will find you like a thief. For all of you are sons of light and sons of the day; we are not sons of the night, nor of darkness. So, let us not sleep, like the rest, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night” (1 Thessalonians 5:3-7). We were baptized with Holy Baptism, we believed in Christ, we follow Him, we try to fulfill His commandments, because He is an unfading Light that illuminates all who love Him.

We are not with those who perish in sins, in uncleanness, never thinking about their souls. But we, being the sons of the day, will put on the armor of faith, which will save us from the fiery arrows of the evil one, we will be filled with fiery hope in God, whose love will save us. We have received countless gifts of grace, we will not be afraid to appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

The Holy Apostle Paul says: “The night has passed, the day has drawn near; let us put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). For us Christians who follow Christ, the night of sin has passed and the day of salvation has approached, which we must always be ready to meet as a person who has gathered on a long journey, being protected by faith, hope, and love. Remembering the words of Christ: “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning” (Luke 12:35), let us live in such a way that the lamps with which we go out to meet the Lord do not go out. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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