36 “But as for that day and hour no one knows it—not even the angels in heaven—except the Father alone. 37 For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. 38 For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39 And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 “Therefore stay alert because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
The Sages taught in a baraita: The verse states: “For the Lord shall judge His people and atone for His servants, when He sees that their power is gone and there is none shut up or left” (Deuteronomy 32:36). From the phrase “their power is gone” it is derived that the son of David will not come until informers will proliferate. Alternatively, the Messiah will not come until the number of students of Torah diminishes. Alternatively, the Messiah will not come until the peruta will cease from the purse. Alternatively, the Messiah will not come until they despair from the redemption, as it is stated: “And there is none shut up or left,” as though there were no supporter or helper for the Jewish people. This is as in that practice of Rabbi Zeira, who, when he would find Sages who were engaging in discussions about the coming of the Messiah, said to them: Please, I ask of you, do not delay his coming by calculating the end of days. As we learn in a baraita: There are three matters that come only by means of diversion of attention from those matters, and these are they: The Messiah, a lost item, and a scorpion.