Wow, what a membership drive coup this is. To threaten people that unless they join their sect they will be slaughtered by Jesus when the end of the world comes is quite a good strategy to bring in members.
And of course the necessary part of such a strategy is to convince everyone that this end of the world scenario is coming soon - very soon - perhaps in the coming weeks.
The false 'end of the world' teaching
In fact, sectarian teachers have been threatening us with this end of the world scenario for at least 17 centuries now. And the end of the world still hasn't come. Just consider the many sectarian teachers (including popes) who have wrongly predicted the end of the world to come during their lifetimes:
Hilary of Poitiers: 365 AD (the date the end of the world was predicted)
Saint Martin of Tours: 375 to 400 AD
Sextus Julius Africanus: 500 AD
Gerard of Poehlde: 1147 AD
John of Toledo: 1179 AD
Joachim of Fiore: 1205 AD
Pope Innocent III: 1284 AD
Melchior Hoffman: 1533 AD
Benjamin Keach (Baptist): 1689 AD
William Whitson: 1736 AD
The Shakers (Ann Lee): 1792 AD
Charles Wesley (Methodist): 1794 AD
Margaret McDonald: 1830 AD
Joseph Smith (Mormon): 1832 and 1891 AD
William Miller (Millerites): 1843 and 1844 AD
Ellen White (Seven Day Adventists): 1850, 1856 and "early 1900s" AD
Mother Shipton: 1881 AD
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses): 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994 and others more recent.
Yes, all of these predictions were wrong. Should we now believe their next prediction that the end of the world is coming? And what about those people Jesus is speaking to here? They didn't see the end of the world in their lifetime. So how could Jesus' teaching have applied to them?
The fact is, this teaching that Jesus is speaking of the end of the world is a misinterpretation. It is a misunderstanding of the meaning of Jesus' parable as well.
The symbolism of this parable
Jesus is speaking of the time of death of the physical body. The "house" symbolizes the physical body and the possessions of the house represent the things of the physical world - which include wealth, possessions, honor, reputation, fame, accomplishments, family and so on.
The "owner of the house" represents the spirit-person who dwells within the body. This is our identity, as each of us is spiritual by nature - not these physical bodies. Just as the owner of the house is not the house, each of us is not our physical body.
And the "thief" Jesus is discussing represents the death of the physical body. When the physical body dies, everything in the physical world is taken from us. We lose our name, our reputation, our wealth, our family, everything. Everything is lost in one moment.
This is because each of us - the spirit-person who occupies this temporary body - leaves the physical body at the time of death. We leave it behind, and it begins to decompose.
And the reason why the owner of the house does not know when the thief will come is because the thief represents the time of death - and none of us knows in advance when we will die. It comes as a surprise - even for someone who is condemned to death from a disease or by punishment.
The moment of death is never completely known until it happens. The moment of death arrives when the spirit-person leaves the physical body.
This fact has been proven scientifically by studies of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have died clinically and were revived later and describe leaving their physical body and looking down at it. Many accurately describe what was going on around their body even though their physical body's eyes were closed and their face covered.
How could they have described the events taking place around their dead body if they hadn't left the physical body? In fact, there are so many of these cases - now counting into the millions - that it is an understood medical fact that we leave the physical body at the time of death. There can be no other rational and scientific alternative explanation.
"the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him"
And why is Jesus speaking in the third person as he says this? If it were he and he only, why doesn't he say, "I will come at an hour when you do not expect me"?
Wouldn't this be logical? How many people speak of themselves - especially if it is themselves only - in the third person?
This would be akin to a person named Bob saying to someone at the table:
"Can you please pass Bob the peas?" Certainly, he would never say this. Rather, he would say, "Can you please pass me the peas?"
But now if the person is describing a role, rather than himself specifically, this is understandable. Consider, for example, a sergeant announcing to a squadron of troops:
"When you wake up in the morning, the sergeant will be in the barracks with you."
So does this mean that this sergeant person - who is saying this - will be there with each of the men? Certainly, if he is the sergeant of a particular company, he may be there with those troops in their barracks. But if the sergeant is not the sergeant of that particular troop - as 'sergeant' is a role occupied by many - then the particular sergeant who said this statement would not be there - another sergeant will be there in their barracks.
In other words, Jesus is indicating that the "Son of Man" is a role, not simply himself only.
This is confirmed by the fact that David referred to himself as the "son of man" (Psalm 80:17) and so did Job (Job 25:5-6) - and Daniel (Daniel 8:16-18) was called the "son of man" - and God called Ezekiel the "son of man" at least 60 times in the Book of Ezekiel.
So what is a "Son of Man"?
The fact is, this is a mistranslation. The phrase, "son of man" has virtually no meaning. Every male is a son of a man. Therefore, it is a ridiculous notion that such a significant role would be translated to "son of man." Only those who don't understand what the role is all about could utilize such an empty phrase. The Greek phrase translated to "son of man" is:
υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπουThe word υἱὸς can only mean "son" when speaking of a parent-child relationship, which, according to the lexicon, is "restricted." Otherwise, the word means, according to the lexicon, "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower."
This would make this word - depending on its context - a follower or servant.
The word ἀνθρώπου is being translated to "man" but this is also a limited translation, as the word relates to "a human being, whether male or female" but also "generically, to include all human individuals" - which means the appropriate translation is "humanity."
And the word τοῦ means "of" or "for"
This means the most appropriate translation of the phrase υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου would be:
"servant of humanity"This context is confirmed, as Jesus specifically taught the need of those who represent the Supreme Being and teach to others to be the servant of others, as he told his students:
"Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant" (Matt. 20:26)
So what is a servant of humanity?
From the scriptures - from the ascriptions to David, Daniel, Job, and Ezekiel, and from Jesus' descriptions - we know that the "servant of humanity" is specifically the loving servant of the Supreme Being.
But we know that this particular loving servant of the Supreme Being has a special task. He is sent into the world by the Supreme Being to save others. This is why God said to Ezekiel:
“Son of man [servant of humanity], prophesy against gog and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:" (Ezekiel 39:1)Thus we find specifically that God is suggesting that Ezekiel represent Him, and carry His message to others. This means Ezekiel is serving others that message. Jesus also confirmed himself in the same role as God's messenger:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)Note that the Supreme Being has unlimited numbers of loving servants, who perform all types of service to the Supreme Being. Some provide personal service to God, while others provide other types of services.
But a "servant of humanity" provides a particular type of service to God - that of being God's messenger - which is ultimately a service to all of humanity.
Why? Because the Supreme Being is calling us back to Him. He is wanting us to return to our eternal loving service relationship with Him.
He wants us to be happy. Currently, those of us in the physical world living within these temporary physical bodies are empty and alone without our relationship with Him. No matter how many people surround us, we are lonely without our relationship with Him. This is why everyone searches for their "soul mate" in this lifetime. We are searching for a "soul mate" because we know innately that there is someone special for us. There is someone meant for us to love and give our lives to.
This is the Supreme Being.
God is our Soul Mate. He is the One we have been looking for to love and give our lives to.
But because we are chasing after our self-centered desires within the physical world we have forgotten our relationship with the Supreme Being. In fact, God has arranged for us to forget Him. This is because we wanted to get away from Him, so He simply accommodated our desire to leave Him, and forget Him.
But like the perfect loving person He is, He never gives up on us. He knows that we can only be happy when we return to Him. So He sends some of His loving servants to us to re-introduce us to Him and bring us back to Him.
Let's use an example. Let's say that we have a friend who is a friend of the President of the U.S. And say this friend wants to introduce us to the President. How does this happen?
The friend of the President might invite us to a dinner at the White House. If we decide to come, what will happen? When we are ready to go to the White House dinner, our friend will arrange for a limo to pick us up, and then he will be there at the White House entrance to welcome us so that he can escort us in to the White House and introduce us to the President right?
Such a friend would never just invite us to the White House and then leave us on our own to figure out how to get in. In that case, should we try to get in to the White House, the secret service people would probably arrest us?
But such a person - who invites us to the White House - could not act on his own and just invite people. They would need to make sure the President is okay with his inviting us. The President would likely have us vetted to make sure we were prepared to come to the White House - and we weren't some kind of a weirdo.
And it would be the President's authority that would allow our friend to order the limo and make the arrangements to get us in to the White House. Our friend's authority to get us in to the White House would ultimately be coming from the President, and only because our friend was a friend of the President. Right?
This is also the role of such a servant of humanity who invites others back home to their relationship with the Supreme Being. The servant of humanity works on behalf of the Supreme Being to carry God's message to others, and then advocates for his follower about God. And then becomes available at the time of the prepared follower's death to escort the person back home to the spiritual realm.
Of course, this is not a physical thing. While our minds want to interpret everything on the physical level, and the symbolism used here and used by Jesus is meant to help a person understand a spiritual concept with the physical mind - the point is that for those who follow God's representative - he will advocate for them and then be there to escort them back to the spiritual realm at their time of death. This advocacy element was confirmed by Jesus as he spoke to his followers:
"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—" (John 14:16)
Who is the "another advocate"?
This "another advocate" is described in the next verses, as the Holy Spirit, who will remain with Jesus' followers after he was to leave them physically. But then we find here and elsewhere that Jesus stated that he would return to them at the time of death, because of his role as servant of humanity.
Of course, no one is forced to follow God's representative. God gives complete freedom, because love requires freedom.
But for those who choose to follow God's representative, the servant of humanity will be there at the time of death for his followers - to escort his follower back to the spiritual realm where they are reunited with their relationship with the Supreme Being.
Yes - the spiritual realm is a personal place. It is a place of relationships. It is not as though someone is tossed into some void or blurry zone to float around. The spiritual realm is full of relationships. These relationships are all related to the Supreme Being - and each of us has a unique relationship with the Supreme Being.
And God's representative - empowered by the Supreme Being as Jesus was, and thus authorized by Him - will appear before those who follow him, at the time of death, to escort them back to their relationship with God.
This is why Jesus utilized the word ἔρχομαι (erchomai) - translated to "is coming." This word can mean "to come," but also means "to appear" and "make one's appearance" according to the lexicon.
Thus the more appropriate translation of Luke 12:40, as Jesus describes their coming time of death, would be:
"You also must be ready, because the Servant of humanity will appear at an hour when you do not expect him."