The Parable of the Watchful Porter

Mark 13: 32-37

Later in the afternoon on Wednesday the thirteenth of Nisan

The one main point of this first parable is to be continually ready for the Rapture.

During the night the captain of the Temple made his rounds. On his approach the guards had to rise and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found sleeping when on duty was beaten, or his clothes set on fire. But there would have been little inclination to sleep within the Temple even if they were tired. True, the chief of each of the twenty-four divisions and the heads of families reclined on couches where it was lawful to sit down, and the older priests might lie on the floor wrapped in their priestly clothes while the younger men kept watch. But then the preparations for the morning burnt offering required each man to be up very early.

The priest whose duty it was to oversee the preparations might knock at the door at any moment and demand entrance. He came suddenly and unexpectedly, no one knew when. The rabbis used almost the same words as the Bible, which describes the unexpected coming of the Master. The rabbis said, “Sometimes he came at the cock-crowing, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. But whatever time he knocked, they had to be ready to open the door and let him in.1343

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (also see Matthew 24:36). Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. The Rapture is imminent for each generation and lends urgency to Yeshua’s imploring us to be on the alert until the Rapture. It’s like a man going away on a far journey: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the porter to keep watch (Mark 13:32-34).

Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back - whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. At the beginning of the Olivet Discourse Christ addressed only four apostles (Mark 13:3), but by this time the others wandered back, and now He addressed them all. What I say to you, I say to everyone: “Keep Watch” (Mark 13:35-37)! In this way the Lord shows His concern not only for the talmidim, but also for the whole messianic community – all believers for whom He was about to die.

We are like those who live in the shadow of eternity. Our readiness should not be fearful or hysterical. But it does mean that day by day our work, our ministry, must be completed. It does not mean that we should live like it doesn’t matter when the Rapture comes. It gives us the great task in life of making every day suitable for Jesus to see, and being at any moment ready to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever (First Thessalonians 4:17b). Then all life becomes a preparation to meet King Messiah.1344


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