for you do not know when the master of the house will come,
in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows,
or in the morning--
Jesus' words here are mainly to Jewish and Gentile believers during the tribulation. Jesus has given them what they need to know to be able to roughly predict when He will return. Starting from the moment the Antichrist arranges a treaty between Israel and its enemies, they have seven years. When the Antichrist defiles the Jewish temple,
three and a half (Daniel 9:27).
Throughout those years, life on earth will get very hard. In addition to the catastrophic impact of God's wrath on the world, the Antichrist will persecute Christ-followers. They will not be able to buy or sell on the open market (Revelation 13:16–18). Countless believers will be killed for their faith (Revelation 13:7; 17:6).
The time periods match the way the Romans divide the night watches. "Evening" is 6 pm to 9 pm. "Midnight" is 9 pm to midnight. "When the rooster crows" is midnight to 3 am.
Dawn is 3 am to 6 am.
Neither Matthew nor Luke record Jesus being so specific.
This verse does not mean believers will lose their salvation if they are not paying attention and actively anticipating Jesus' return. Once we are saved, our salvation is assured for eternity (Ephesians 1:13–14). And salvation is never earned or kept by works (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Mark 13:32–37 continues Jesus talking about the end times by relating the fact that not even He knows when He will return: only God does. This does not mean that Jesus is not God. It merely means that in His incarnate form, the Son has ''emptied himself'' (Philippians 2:7) of God's omniscience and omnipotence. Like a weightlifter who only uses a portion of his strength at times, God incarnate can limit expressing His omnipotence. This is a message for us that we should not believe those who claim to know when Jesus is returning. This warning is also found in Luke 21:34–36 while Matthew gives this warning along with the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents in Matthew 24:42–25:30. 'That leaves only one option for those who want to be ready: His followers must "stay awake" all the time. Of course, Jesus is not speaking literally, suggesting one should avoid actual sleep. Instead, He is telling them to live in a state of awareness. Believers should never lapse into the false notion that what happens in this life, from day to day, is all that will ever happen (2 Peter 3:3–7; James 4:13–14). Wakeful believers remember that this life is temporary, and the next life is eternal.
The next life can begin without warning.'
“James” is actually the result of a translation of the Jewish name Ya’akov and the Greek name lakobos. If you have ever heard the book of James referred to as the ‘book of Jacob’ that is why. James was not widely accepted until the 1600s when King James sponsored the translation called the “Authorized Version.” In Exodus 3:15, we read, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors-The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you.”
Jacob, or James, was a powerful voice in the early church, as well as the younger brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:9, Mark 6:3). He was an apostle of the church of Jerusalem. Many scholars believe that James did not become a believer until after Jesus died and rose again. Like Jesus, he was also killed for his faith around 60 A.D. according to Jewish historian, Josephus.
The book of James is a New Testament book that falls between Hebrews and 1 Peter. It is thought to be written between 45 and 47 AD and broken into three main themes that we will discuss in the next section. The intended audience of this book is thought to be targeted toward Jewish Christians. This is based on James’ comment, “I am writing to all the twelve tribes of Israel who have been sown as seeds among the nations.” His goal was reaching those who had converted from Judaism and were scattered throughout the Roman Empire to help them keep their newfound faith and strengthen it.
There are three main themes in James: Wealth, Wisdom, and Trials. James uses Jewish traditions to draw out the wisdom they are used to hearing and applies it to practical Christian living. During this time, people were threated daily for this faith. He used this book as encouragement that the trials they would face would not be a waste and that spiritual maturity is born through perseverance. He takes the known Ten Commandments and frames it for the new life through Jesus as summarized in James 2:8. It says, “You must love and value your neighbor.” Finally, he shares a beautiful message of balance among all socioeconomic statuses. To the poor, he shared that they have been blessed with privilege and love. To the rich, he reminded them that no amount of deed or wealth could buy what they were freely given.
He dispels unfair acceptance within the church while he is at it.
What Can We Learn from James Today?As you will see from the verses below, the teaching of James is as relevant today as it was then. Charges of wisdom have no expiration and are not just a passing trend. We can read this book quickly for a spiritual recharge and reminder to remain close to God in righteousness and as a result, treat others well from that place. As we read today, we will be reminded to think of God’s great gift of mercy over our lives and how we can share that with others to point them to Him. We will learn the ways of pure and fruitful communication, proper handling of wisdom, conflict resolution, and even the simple key to victory over spiritual warfare.
“The believer who is poor still has reasons to boast, for he has been placed on high. But those who are rich should boast in how God has brought them low and humbled them, for all their earthly glory will one day fade away like a wildflower in the meadow.”
James 1:19 - “My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose.”
James 2:13 - “...and remember that judgment is merciless for the one who judges others without mercy. So by showing mercy you take dominion over judgment!”
James 2:14 - “My dear brothers and sisters, what good is it if someone claims to have faith but demonstrates no good works to prove it? How could this kind of faith save anyone?”
James 3:5 - “And so the tongue is a small part of the body yet it carries great power! Just think of how a small flame can set a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire!”
James 3:13 - “If you consider yourself to be wise and one who understands the ways of God, advertise it with a beautiful, fruitful, life guided by wisdom’s gentleness. Never brag or boast about what you’ve done and you’ll prove that you are truly wise.”
James 4:1-2 - “What is the case of your conflicts and quarrels with each other? Doesn’t the battle begin inside of you as you fight to have your own way and fulfill your own desires? You jealously want what others have so you begin to see yourself as better than others. You scheme with envy and harm others to selfishly obtain what you crave.”
James 4:7 - “So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn away from you.”
James 5:9 - “Since each of you are part of God’s family, never complain or grumble about each other so that judgment will not come on you.”
James 5:16 - “Confess and acknowledge how you have offended one another and then pray for one another to be instantly healed, for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a Godly believer!”
Matthew 26:34, Luke 22:34, and John 13:38 all record Jesus telling Peter, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Mark words it differently, which has led to some confusion. Mark 14:30 says, “And Jesus said to him, ‘Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times’” (emphasis added). Then, when the first servant girl questioned Peter about his relationship to Jesus, “he denied it, saying, ‘I neither know nor understand what you mean.’ And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed” (Mark 14:68). Later, after Peter’s third denial, “immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept” (verse 72). Did the rooster crow once or twice, and what is the significance of that crowing?
Since we know that all Scripture is God-breathed and therefore accurate (2 Timothy 3:16), we can rest assured that there are always explanations for seeming inconsistencies. In biblical days, roosters were common within the towns and cities. The first crowing often occurred around midnight. The second crowing could be expected before daybreak. Jesus’ prediction about Peter’s denials meant that Peter would have opportunities all night long to repeat the validating claim he made when he told Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). However, despite three opportunities, the overconfident Peter denied His Lord every time. When daylight came, Jesus’ mock trial was over, and Peter lost his opportunities to defend Jesus as he had claimed he would do (Mark 14:29).
Jesus did not say that Peter would deny Him before any rooster’s crow. So the report of a first crowing does not negate the validity of Jesus’ words. In those days, when someone made the comment “before the rooster crows,” it would have been commonly understood to mean the crowing at daybreak. But morning was not the only time roosters crowed. As anyone who has lived on a farm can attest, roosters crow whenever they feel like it. A rooster can crow when he senses danger, when another rooster threatens his flock, or simply because he got his days and nights mixed up. So it is perfectly understandable that Jesus would have been precise in prophesying to Peter that a rooster would actually crow twice during the time Peter was denying Him.
The first crowing would not have been noticed by Peter at that moment, since people were used to hearing roosters at random times. It is similar to how people living near train tracks get used to hearing the noise of trains and stop noticing the sound. But when the morning rooster crowed,
Peter was struck with the accuracy of Jesus’ words.
It is also noteworthy that Mark was a close associate of Peter’s (1 Peter 5:13) and would have obtained many details for his Gospel from Peter himself. After the fact, Peter would have considered the first crowing more significant than he did at the time. Jesus’ prophetic words must have played over and over in his head as he then recalled the first crowing and then the second. It seems likely that, in his retelling of that night to Mark, Peter would have made mention of both crowings. Mark does not in any way contradict the other accounts, which only mention the second crowing.
The second crowing was the most important one, since it marked
the end of Peter’s testing.
Because of the prominence of the story of Peter and the rooster, recorded in all four Gospels, the rooster, or cock, has at times been used as a Christian symbol. Some churches even place a rooster atop their steeples. Used as a symbol, the rooster represents the weakness of man and the grace of Christ in forgiving sinners. Peter three times denied his Lord and Savior, but he was forgiven, restored, and sent out to live for the glory of God (John 21:15–19). The rooster reminds us that Christ extends hope to sinners everywhere.
The rooster, used as a Christian symbol, can also represent watchfulness. Before His arrest, Jesus prayed in the garden and asked His disciples to do the same. But He found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, “Are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Mark 14:37–38). Later that night, Peter did indeed fall into temptation, and the rooster’s crow served as his spiritual wake-up call. The rooster can still be a reminder today that we must watch and pray and live as children of light: “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
The rooster could also be seen as proclaiming the start of a new day.
In Christ, all things become new
(2 Corinthians 5:17).
A new day of forgiveness and grace has dawned, and believers, saved by grace,
proclaim the good news to a world in need of light.
Jesus is never impressed with our fleshly bravado such as Peter expressed in Matthew 26:35. Jesus knows our hearts better than we do (Matthew 9:4; Luke 9:47). But, even though He knows the ways we will fail Him, our Lord does not stop loving us or using us to further His message. Those rooster crowings must have haunted Peter for many years and may have helped him stay humble, watchful, and committed to his calling.
What is the early and latter rain in James 5:7?
There is a rainy season in Israel. The rains begin in October and gradually become heavier throughout winter until they diminish around March/April. The first rain of the season is called the Yoreh, or early rain. This rain softens the soil and signals the time for farmers to plough their land. Rain continues to fall throughout the winter months. This rain is essential for the farmers to grow their precious crops. The last rains are in spring, and are called the Malkosh. These latter rains of the rainy season ripen the crops. The summer months are dry.
James 5:7 says “Be patient, therefore, beloved until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.” The early and latter rains symbolize spiritual blessings from above which help nourish and soften our hearts so that we may grow in Christ. Spiritual blessings include the gift of the Holy Spirit and the truth of scriptures. The early rains began when our Lord and the apostles went out to preach the gospel to the world. Theses truths were like blessed rain pouring down upon the dry land (parched without God’s truth). We are now in the days of the latter rains (a time of a great increase of knowledge respecting the Bible and Bible prophecies). God is waiting for the “the precious crop (the wheat)” or for the church to be complete.
When Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan and came into the land of Canaan, they came into a well-watered, well-favored land. In Goshen of Egypt they had been forced to irrigate their farms and gardens. "But," said the Lord, "the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven" (Deut. 11:11).
There were two seasons of the year in which the rain fell abundantly. In the latter part of October and early November (the Hebrew month of Heshwan) came the early rains.
The second downpour came in the spring in the latter part of March and the first part of April (the Hebrew month of Nisan). The October-November rains were called the early rain, and the March-April rains were called the latter rain.
REPRESENTS WORK OF HOLY SPIRIT
In the East the former rain falls at the sowing-time. It is necessary in order that the seed may germinate. Under the influence of the fertilizing showers, the tender shoot springs up. The latter rain, falling near the close of the season, ripens the grain, and prepares it for the sickle. The Lord employs these operations of nature to represent the work of the Holy Spirit. As the dew and the rain are given first to cause the seed to germinate, and then to ripen the harvest, so the Holy Spirit is given to carry forward, from one stage to another, the process of spiritual growth. The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God's grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character.
Canaan was the land of the Hittites, the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, and the Hivites. This was the land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex. 3:8). It was "a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and promegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey" (Deut. 8:8). God gave His people the land and blessed them in it, but it was on conditions of obedience:
"Thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. . . . Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day" (verses 6, 11). With the passing of time, when the people forgot God, the "early" and "latter" rains were delayed or did not fall. The people came to recognize this as due to their sins. Thus when the rain did not fall they would declare periods of fasting, which sometimes continued for several weeks until the rains came.
TWO GREAT VISITATIONS
The two periodic seasons of rain in the land of Canaan symbolized the two great visitations of the Holy Spirit—one at the beginning of the gospel dispensation, and the other at its close.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the former rain. This was given at Jerusalem. The stage was perfectly set. It was the Feast of Pentecost, and "devout men, out of every nation under heaven" were there. The visitors from some eighteen different nations were astonished at what they saw, what they heard, and what they experienced under the Spirit's power. Peter stood up and told the people this was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy that God would in the last days "pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 2:17).
So great was the Spirit's grace and power that Paul, near the close of his ministry, wrote to the Colossians and said, "the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister" (Col. 1:23).
"The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples with a fulness that reached every heart. The Infinite One revealed Himself in power to His church. . . . The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief. Thousands were converted in a day."— The Acts of the Apostles, p. 38.
WORDS MADE POWERFUL
Under the power of the Spirit the words of Peter and the other apostles became powerful instruments to convict the hearts of men for their wickedness in crucifying Jesus. This was the "early" rain, the "former" rain, and tremendous were the results of it; but the outpouring of the Spirit in the "latter" rain will be even greater. Millions embraced the faith of Jesus during the early outpouring, but multiple millions will be converted during the latter rain.
The Spirit was given in Pentecostal power in answer to prayer, together with confession of sin and dedication of life. The Spirit will be given in "latter rain" power in response to exactly the same conditions. There is nothing that we need so much as Pentecostal power in this hour. We talk of "finishing the work," and yet we are no more able to finish it than the early disciples were to begin the work without the Holy Spirit's power.
God will give the "latter rain" as He did the "former," but we must seek for it. "Do not rest satisfied that in the ordinary course of the season, rain will fall. Ask for it. The growth and perfection of the seed rests not with the husbandman. God alone can ripen the harvest. But man's co-operation is required. God's work for us demands the action of our mind, the exercise of our faith."--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 508.
Camp meetings, workers' meetings, general laymen's meetings, and assemblies of local church leaders provide an unexcelled opportunity to unitedly seek God for the outpuring of the "latter rain." It will be given. God has promised that, but meekness humility, and earnestness must characterize the supplicants.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Ps. 126:6).
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the "latter rain" brings to an end the long By drought since the cessation of power at about the close of the first century. True, as in Canaan, there were showers at different times and places between the "former" and "latter" rains. Notwithstanding the times in which we are living, God's people seem oblivious to their great need.
The message of God to the Laodiceans is designed to arouse them to their wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" condition. The Lord's advice largely goes unheeded: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see" (Rev. 3:17, 18).
When the people of God come to the place of persistent prayer, the place where Peter, James, John, and the rest of the apostolic company came after the ascension, the "latter rain" will fall and multitudes will be converted. Joel 2:23 promises both the former rain and the latter: "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month."
"The latter rain, ripening earth's harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the
early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection. . . .
"Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain." —Ibid., pp. 506, 507.
Let God's people abandon their indifference concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in final, last-day power. These are not times when Christians can risk carelessness. To relax our efforts in spiritual growth will prove fatal. To fail in faith and prayer in such a time as this is to fail of gaining heaven.
Christ warned: "Watch and pray." "Watch unto prayer."
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to thosewho love him.”
The truth is that even Christ had to suffer. Jesus Christ was born perfect and never sinned, but to be prepared for what God had sent him to do, he had to suffer.
Luke 24:26 says it was “necessary.” Hebrews 2:18 says that Christ “suffered” when he was tempted. Hebrews 5:8-9 says, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
If Christ suffered, why would we not, and for the same reason?
Peter said that
we are in the furnace of affliction to be purified
(1 Pt 1:7).
God is our good Father, and a good Father disciplines his children whom he loves (Pr 3:12). If you are not facing trial, you will. Accept it and walk through it faithfully, trusting God and let it do its good work in you.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of James 1:12
“Blessed is the one…”
Many Christian’s default mode is to see their trial as a curse. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Their curse has fallen on Christ, and he has paid the price of it on the cross. There is no more curse.
On the contrary; trial for the Christian, is a blessing from God with great purpose.
'…who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test,”
Trial itself will not offer us anything but misery and a deposit of hell (1 Pt 4:17) if we do not persevere under it. If we melt under trial, then we are like the dross that the trial is meant to cleanse from us. If we undergo fire, and there is nothing left, then there was nothing good to begin with.
But if we stand up under the trial and allow God to burn off what is not of him, we will be purified by it.
"...that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37). He said that the whole law is summed up in this one command, especially combined with loving your neighbor as yourself. Indeed, can any sin be committed without first breaking this Great Commandment?
Above all, love deeply, love covers the multitudes. For those who love the Lord, there is the promise of the “crown of life.”