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Analogy: Two Times in Prison

By Chris McCann
December 20, 2019

If 'knowing' the day and hour means to experience God's judgment, than how could the Son referred to in Mark 13:32 be Jesus? Didn't He come to know (experience) the judgment of God at the foundation of the world? Mark 13: 32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Yes He did. I'm going to try and use a poor analogy to explain how it is that Jesus could die at the foundation of the world, thus experiencing (knowing) the judgment of God, and yet, in Mark 13:32, it still be said concerning that 'day and hour' that the Son did not know or experience it.

Let's say there's a man that commits a crime. It's a felony. He's guilty of it. He did it. The judge sentences him to ten years in prison. He serves all ten years and gets out. The law's penalty having been fully paid.

(This is like Christ laden with the sins of His people at the foundation of the world, since He bears their sins, He becomes sin for them. He is verily guilty as He stands in their place before an angry God. The law of God sentences Him to death. He pays the penalty by dying (the Lamb slain), and yet, because He is eternal God, He is able to overcome death and rise from the dead. Payment for the sins of His people has been made in full.)

But the same man is later arrested by the police for another crime. Only this time he's innocent. He didn't do it. But the same judge finds him guilty and sentences him again to ten years in prison. It's the identical sentence. He goes to the identical prison and stays there the full ten years. He serves the full penalty and then gets out.

This is like Jesus entering into the world, born of the virgin in 7 BC. Jesus begins to suffer and die on the cross, yet He is without sin. Pilate, the judge, washed his hands and concluded, "I find no fault in this man". Yet innocent, Jesus still suffers and dies. Although He is bearing no guilt of sin.

Now let's think about the man that went to prison. He went to the same judge, and received the same sentence. And he paid the same penalty. But, was it the same experience?

The first time the man suffered in prison for ten years. But he was guilty. He deserved it for his crime.

The second time the man suffered in prison for ten years. But he was innocent. He did nothing wrong. Certainly the second time of going to prison would have been even more grievous than the first. The fact that he committed no crime worthy to suffer in the way he did would have made things all the more difficult.

I think we can all see that the second set of circumstances would be vastly different than the first. Actually, the second time of suffering would be much more grievous wouldn't it? After all, the first time justice was being served; but the second time? Again, and again, the man might think to himself, I've done nothing wrong. Why am I here?

This is where the analogy breaks down. When this happens with our justice system we see wrongdoing, or injustice occurring. But that's not the case with the Lord Jesus suffering and dying a second time for the sins (concerning) His people. The Father sent the Son to demonstrate His atoning work from the foundation of the world. There was no wrong doing or injustice in God doing so. It was all done according to law, in the sense that Christ's entry into the world, and carrying out the task given Him was all prophesied and promised by God in His Word. Therefore those things must be fulfilled.

In Mark 13:32, when we read that no man, angels, neither the Son knoweth (have experienced) the day and hour (the judgment of God), we can understand in the sense that the Lord Jesus Christ had never suffered and died without bearing sin. Without being laden with the sins of His people, and thus being guilty. It was an entirely new experience for Him to suffer in this manner. There really was no need to suffer for the sake of satisfying the law's demands of death---because, again, that had already been accomplished at the foundation of the world.

In all likelihood, this is why Christ cried out to the Father in the garden that the cup (of wrath) might pass from Him. Not only was He suffering tremendously, but there was also the added weight of knowing that He was not suffering (as He had done previously) to pay for sins.

It's no wonder that Hebrews tells us of Christ learning obedience. This suffering in a tableau, perhaps, was the greatest act of obedience ever performed:

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Notice the emphasis placed on Jesus already being a Son (though He were a Son)---that is, though He previously suffered and died at the foundation of the world, from which He rose declared to be the Son of God---"YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE by the things which He suffered". The second time He suffered and died was an altogether different kind of experience for Christ. An experience which taught Him obedience more so than the first time.