"But regarding that day or hour – no one knows, not even the angels from the spiritual realm – nor the Servant of God, but only the Creator alone. Be careful – be on guard – because you do not know when the designated time will arrive. It is like a man who travels away on a journey who leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, assigning to each his particular task, and instructs the guard to keep watch at the door. Therefore, be vigilant because you don’t know when the master of the house will return – whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows or in the morning – in the event that he comes suddenly and finds you asleep. What I say to you I say to everyone – keep watch!" (Mark 13:32-36)
What is Jesus referring to here?We can tell from this that Jesus is not predicting the end of the world - the so-called 'end-of-times' - with this statement. It is clear from this part of the statement that Jesus doesn't know when what he is referring to will happen. If Jesus were predicting the end of the world, then certainly he would know at least when it would happen.
That is the very concept of prediction: Knowing when it will happen.
But as Jesus clearly states here, this "designated time" is quite obviously a certainty. But he is also referring to something that will take place for each of us at a particular time.
These statements can only point to the fact that Jesus is referring to the time of death. Jesus is referring to the point when each of us will leave our body. At that time, our lives will be judged according to the growth we have accomplished during this lifetime. This is often referred to as judgment day.
Why should we keep watch?Jesus wants his followers to be careful and be on guard, just as a man might have a guard keep watch when he is away. That is because the time of death will sneak up on each of us. No one knows when our body will die and we will have to leave it behind.
One might compare this to a car breaking down. We might drive our car for many years, but at some point it will break down when we least expect it:
We'll be driving along and suddenly it sputters and stops running. At that point, we will have to get out and walk, or otherwise travel without the car. The car will have to be left behind - or towed away.
Now if we aren't prepared for the car to someday break down, we might get stuck in the middle of nowhere. But if we are prepared for the car to someday break down, things will be a lot easier. If, for example, we carry a cell phone whenever we drive, we can call a taxi or tow truck when the car breaks down.
Being prepared for the time of death is very similar. Just as a car's owner might carry a cell phone to contact someone to give him a ride or tow the car away, we need to be connected with someone who will guide us through the process of death.
Who should guide us?Jesus clarifies that the only person who knows when our time will come is the Creator - "only the Creator alone." This is evidence that the Supreme Being is in charge, and has control. Yes, we may have a certain reign of freedom during this physical lifetime. And what happens in our lifetime is typically a consequence of decisions we've made during this or a previous lifetime.
But the Creator knows at the end of the day, our time of death and what will happen to us. The Creator also loves each of us and wants the best for each of us. He will certainly allow us whatever desires we maintain at the end of our life, but He will also protect us should we have a change of heart and seek His protection.
For this reason, if we are taking shelter of the Supreme Being at the time of death, He will protect us. He will guide us - through the Holy Spirit. He will escort us through our journey as our spiritual self leaves the physical body and goes to our next destination.
This is why Jesus is requesting that his followers 'keep watch' for the time of death. Because Jesus wants us to return to the arms of the Supreme Being. If we are thinking about the Supreme Being at the time of death, we will be taken towards him at the time of death.
This is why Jesus also said:
"For where your treasure is, your heart will also be." (Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:31)And from the Gospel of Mary:
"... for the mind goes to where its treasure lies." (Gospel of Mary 19)In other words, if we are putting our trust and faith in the Supreme Being, this is where our heart and mind will be drawn to when we leave this physical body at the time of death.
For this reason, it is advisable for a person to pray to the Supreme Being and praise God's Names as we approach the time of death. Doing this will focus our attention and our mind upon the Supreme Being. This will draw us towards God and allow Him to guide us through the passageway at the time of death.