Why did Jesus Not Know About His Return?



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  • Why did Jesus Not Know About His Return?

    Having joined a discussion with a Muslim about the deity of Jesus, the question arose, “If Jesus is God, then why did He not know the time of His return?” This question comes as reference to Matthew 24:35-37 where Jesus was quoted saying, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah."

    If Jesus is God in flesh, then shouldn't He know what the day and hour of his return would be? After all, God knows all things. Therefore, if Jesus doesn't know all things, then He cannot be God. This objection is most often raised by Muslims loyal to the writings of the Qur'an. Also the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was the first natural son whom Jehovah brought forth and that He is Michael, the archangel, in human form but not equal to God. The contention is also echoed by the Christadelphians who hold to Biblical Unitarianism which denies the Trinity as one.

    The Canon of Scripture reveals Jesus was both God and man. He had two natures. He was divine and human at the same time. This is known as the hypostatic union; that is, the coming-together of two natures in one person. As we read in Colossians 2:9, it says, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” Jesus was both God and man at the same time. Also Philippians 2:6a “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.” And Romans 9:5 “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise!”

    As a man in a clay vessel, Jesus was as every other creature born among humankind, contained by the limitations of being wrought from the earth through woman. We have this understanding from passages such as Luke 2:52 that states “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.” Therefore, at this point in His ministry He could say He did not know neither the day nor hour of His return. It is not a denial of His being as part of the God head, but a confirmation of Him being limited by the constraints of his humanity.

    Jesus was man as a vessel, his human side (cognitive aspects) did not have complete understanding or eternal perception, but the Spirit contained (deity) knew full well all things. It is as the same with those in Christ, where we are gravely limited and our understanding as looking through a dark glass. “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.

    Jesus continually exhibited profound insight as revealed in Scripture. For example, when he said “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” in Luke 21:32 which was one of many examples revealing his ability to comprehend the seasons and times with in-depth spiritual awareness. Jesus charges his audience to look upon the ruin of the Jewish nation as near. Yet this race and family of Abraham shall not be rooted out; it shall survive as a nation, and be found as prophesied, when the Son of man shall be revealed.

    Jesus claiming no one could “know the day nor hour” except the Father, preceded his crucifixion and resurrection, where truly only his Father alone knew at that time. It wasn't until after Jesus' resurrected state of corporal transition that complete omniscience was fully attributed to Jesus. When he was glorified in His resurrection, he no longer had the restraints of the earthy mind, but was fully released to comprehend all things.

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