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Mark 13:32 of the Young's Literal Translation bible says'

And concerning that day and the hour no one hath known -- not even the messengers who are in the heaven, not even the Son -- except the Father.

Why did Jesus Christ not know?

Rev. 1:1 Young's Literal Translation says, A revelation of Jesus Christ, that God gave to him, to shew to his servants what things it behoveth to come to pass quickly; and he did signify it, having sent through his messenger to his servant John.

Why did the Father of Jesus Christ have to give Jesus Christ a revelation if Jesus Christ know all things?

  • The question "Why did the Father of Jesus Christ have to give Jesus Christ a revelation if Jesus Christ know all things?" is not put correctly. In science of logic such a question will be enlisted in the fallacy of "complex question", for you imply there truthfulness of information, that is not at all self-evident. Correct way would be: "Did Father have to give Jesus Christ a revelation? But if yes, then how can we say that Jesus Christ knew all things, for revelation implies an ignorance of that what is revealed". – Levan Gigineishvili May 14 at 13:26
  • Notice that it does not say son of God, but merely son. If taken to mean son of man, then the expression in question is both a Hebraism meaning man(kind), as well as a Messianic title, prevalent in the (apocalyptic) books of Daniel and Enoch. If the former, that would certainly make sense, since the entire phrase would then translate as men and angels, symbolizing the two aspects of creation, namely the earth below, and the heavens above. See also Matthew 24:36-39. – Lucian May 15 at 1:25
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Christ knew.

The Son was obedient to the Father's will. Always.

"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30, KJV)

But, even though in the form of man, Jesus had power and authority over all things(1), He did not use it to avert the Father's will. He put Himself under the authority of His Father.

"19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel." (John 5:19-20, KJV)

"53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matt. 26;53, KJV)

Jesus emptied Himself and came in the form of man, a humble servant to the Father's will, even unto death (Phil. 2:6-9).

Considering all of that, there is something about "that day and hour" that needs to be considered.

"36 `And concerning that day and the hour no one hath known -- not even the messengers of the heavens -- except my Father only;" (Matt. 24:36, YLT)

The Jews had a saying - no one knows the day or the hour, only the Father in heaven - and it was associated with one day of the year; the Feast of Trumpets, or Yom Teruah.

The Feast of Trumpets was a day of remembrance, a memorial celebration for the fall of Jericho, a besieged city which YHVH conquered and gave into the hands of the Isrealite on their entry into the promised land (Josh. 6). The victory was memorialized by the commandment in Lev. 23:24-25 for the feast day - on the first day of the seventh month, or the first of Tishrei. (Psa. 81:3-4)

The problem with that is that no one knew when the first day of the month would be as they had to wait for the council (the sanhedrin) to declare it. As the council sent out two or three witnesses on the 29th day of each month to watch for the new moon, they waited for the report of the witnesses before they would know which day to declare as the first day of the month. (2)

So, the Feast of Trumpets on the first of Tishrei had to be planned in advance so they could be ready to begin the celebration memorial whenever the council declared it. For this reason, the Feast of Trumpets was sometimes a two-day event. And, for this reason, a saying grew in Israel - no man knows the day or the hour. (3)

Christ was using a well-known Hebrew idiom that the disciples would immediately associate with the day of the destruction of the temple - Yom Teruah.

Christ knew, but he was speaking in code to His disciples to let them know. And, as they were well familiar with this language, they understood the timing, even as they could not yet know which year this would occur.

For more on this idiom, see my post "The Signs of the Feasts - Part II: Christ Told His Disciples When He Would Return" at ShreddingTheVeil.

Notes: 1) Matt. 8:23-27; 11:12-14; 14:18-30 - authority over creation; Matt. 20:30-34 - the authority to heal; Matt. 8:28-34 - authority over evil spirits; Matt. 17:27; Luke 5:4-6 - authority over all living creatures; Luke 2:10 - the authority to forgive sins; Luke 7:11-15; John 11:1-44 - the power and authority over death

2) Sanctifying the first day of the month - Chabad

3) No Man Knows the Day or the Hour at Hatikva

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  • Does Jesus know or not? – Alex Balilo May 13 at 9:39
  • The answer is now both at the top of the post, and the 2nd para. from the bottom, as before.. Yes, Christ knew. – Gina May 13 at 13:08
  • That's like saying Jesus is being disingenuous. He plainly admitted he didn't know, and you say he did. Equivocation creates inconsistencies. – Alex Balilo May 13 at 13:58
  • You are thinking in English. Christ was a Galilean of Judea, and He used idioms and metaphors that the Jews plainly understood. Did a Roman centurion know the meaning of this idiom? Highly unlikely. Just as many students who read English translations also do not know, & are not aware of the background of the Jewish customs and sayings. Christ was not disingenuous. We are short on knowledge. – Gina May 13 at 17:27
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    I agree with Alex in this case - this answer appears to be confused and flies in the face of plain Scriptural statements. – Dottard May 13 at 21:13
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Jesus did not know precisely because he accepted the limitations of humanity during His incarnation. We are told in Phil 2:5-11

Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That is, during His early ministry, Jesus did not use His divine power but only used that which is available to any other human. Thus, He was able to say that His disciple and followers would do even greater things than Jesus did. John 1:50, 14:12.

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  • @ThomasPearne—So, then, you know the day and hour of his coming, right? – Der Übermensch May 13 at 14:13
  • Philippians 2:8 doesn't make sense if Jesus is God because no one seizes equality with himself. – Alex Balilo May 13 at 14:37
  • This is not a plausible reason, to me. More plausible is that the Holy Spirit, who searches the deep things of God, is not permitted to discover the exact intentions of the Father and, therefore, does not communicate such to the Son, within Deity. There can be no dichotomy within Jesus Christ such that one part of him - humanity - is not aware of another part of himself. That is not plausible. He is One Person. – Nigel J May 13 at 16:36
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    @NigelJ I tried panning for gold. I searched dilligently bu did not find any. Why does God need to search the deep things of God if He is God? – user33125 May 13 at 18:10
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    @NigelJ You are the one who misapplied it. Paul never called the Holy Spirit a distinct person from God. :) – user33125 May 13 at 18:26
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This same verse exists in Matthew 24:36 as well. Out of the 59 Bible translations in English found online (https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Matthew%2024:36) 17 of them do not have ‘nor the son’ in this specific verse. Also, Matthew 23:36 is translated in The Interlinear Bible Hebrew-Greek-English as follows:

The heavens and the earth will pass away, the but words of Me in no way may pass away, about But - day that and the hour no one knows, neither the angels of the heavens, except My Father only.

The Bible in my national language, Amharic, which is translated in 1879 from the Greek text also doesn’t have ‘nor the Son.’ So, the above facts indicate there is an issue in translating this verse from the original language into the later translations of other languages including in English (like a difference in the translation of Ruth 3:16 as one example) and this has to be dealt seriously instead of trying to write human thoughts into the Holy Bible.

The emphasis of this verse is not on Jesus’ lack of knowledge, but rather on the fact that no one knows. It is God the Father’s secret (pleas also note that Jesus Christ Himself is the secret/mystery of God according to John 6:46; Colossians 2:2) to be revealed when He wills. No one can predict by Scripture or science the exact day of Jesus’ return. Jesus is teaching that preparation, not calculation.

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You've practically already answered your question with the Rev 1 inclusion. This removes any equivocal reasoning based on whether Jesus 'humanity' was ignorant and his 'deity' wasn't... something the bible is silent on. Here's the ascended Jesus, still waiting on God and Father for his lead. Apparently the holy spirit is ignorant too in this matter.

John 12:49 Shows Jesus to be the same before and after his transformation/ascension. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

So why did Jesus 'confess ignorance'? Because he wasn't privileged to know. The Rev passage also expresses that Jesus is distinct from God here which adds weight to Jesus simply not needing to know God's affairs. It wasn't his role. Throughout Jesus life we hear him say he can do nothing, say nothing etc, except the Father provides - clearly that arrangement has continued.

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Jesus Christ knew the time of His second coming, even when He said those words in Mark 13:32.

First of all it is to be said that knowledge of the future is just one aspect of the fullness of divine knowledge, for God knows not only the future, but also everything that is in present, was in the past, and also what is in the depth of human hearts, and what is in the depth of Himself.

The greatest of those mentioned knowledges is of course the last one, that God knows Himself. Now, this greatest of all knowledges fully belongs to the Son, for He knows the Father just as the Father knows Him (Matthew 11:27; John 10:15). Now, if this greatest knowledge fully belongs to the Son, to the effect that He knows everything what is in the Father just like the Father knows it, and if all that is Father's fully belongs also to the Son, knowledge included, (John 17:10), then such a trifle as knowledge of the future events, among them of also of the Second Coming, is of course impossible to be unknown to the Son. You do not say to Roger Federer, after seeing him winning 20 grand slams, that he may not know how to correctly count points, or how to toss ball during service, and here I speak about an incomparably and other-dimensionally greater impossibility.

That the Son divinely knows the future events is evident in so many passages, among them in Mark 8:31, and thus it is all but stupid to consider that He does not know His own Second Coming. For sure He knows it, as evidenced in Acts 1:7, when Jesus says that it is not for the disciples to know about His Second Coming, thus separating Himself from them, which, unless one wishes to twist the meaning of the text, means that He of course knows the time of His own Second Coming, for had He included Himself with the ignorants, He would have said not "It is not for you to know", but "it is not for us to know".

Having established that, we can safely proceed to answer the question, why does He say that it is not known to the Son? In what perspective is it possible to hold the rightness and truthfulness of this statement, if we have already plainly seen that Son knows everything what the Father knows? Only in the perspective of Jesus' humanity! For, indeed, Jesus is not only the Father's co-eternal Logos, but also He has created human intellectual soul, and since this created intellectual soul cannot know future due to the very fact of the createdness and limitedness of its nature (and Jesus' created intellectual soul had just the same nature as of all us!), so He says to His disciples that by His human nature He cannot know the future. But why does He say this to the disciples? I guess the reason is pedagogical, because, He wants them to know that it is futile and impossible for their human intellectual capabilities to penetrate the realms available only to God, but let them instead concentrate on what really matters for them: the following of His commandments, by which they can win the eternal salvation. For, even if - hypothetically - one succeeds in finding the date of the Second Coming, what use is there in loosing time in knowing that it will happen in hundred or in ten thousand years, when maximum just two digits of years separates all humans from the eternal bliss to come in His Kingdom, and this eternal Kingdom is conquerable only by fulfilment of its King's, Jesus Christ's commandments.

There is also one other explanation on a theological level: the Greek wording οὐδὲ ὁ Υἱὸς, εἰ μὴ ὁ Πατήρ more accurately would be worded as "neither the Son, if not the Father", that is to say, according to this wording one can read it thus: "neither the Son would have known, if not through the Father" or "if not the Father gave to Him this knowledge". Theologically it may be safely interpreted thus: Father is the only Source in the Godhead, thus the Son in His birth from the Father receives everything from the Father, the entirety of His essence, which essence is therefore the same both of the Father and the Son. Thus, Jesus' words could be interpreted in this theological sense also: "I would not have possessed any divine feature - goodness, power, knowledge etc. - unless the Father has given to Me through Him begetting Me in Eternity; but since it is in the nature of the Father to beget Me, and this nature of the Father is eternal and changeless, therefore I am co-eternal and co-essential with the Father and since He gives all of His essence to Me in giving Me the birth, so I also possess the entirety of His essence - of which only an aspect is the knowledge."

The both interpretations are possible, but for the sense of the historicity I would have opted for the first one.

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  • That's like saying Jesus is being disingenuous. He plainly admitted he didn't know, and you say he did. Equivocation creates inconsistencies. – Alex Balilo May 14 at 13:28
  • Not at all. He did say some things for a pedagogical purposes and an interpretation is necessary here, yet in this interpretation it is to be excluded that He is disingenuous, for nobody judges God in terms of human morality. When He says "they will not have a miracle but miracle of Jonas" (Matthew 12:39), He does not lie, even though He showed far more miracles than only His resurrection. But heed the arguments given above and throw away the ill-grounded doubt that Jesus did not know such a trifle as His own Second Coming, when He knew Father as Father knew him, i.e. absolutely and perfectly. – Levan Gigineishvili May 14 at 13:37
  • You are placing emphasis on irrelevant verses to alter the original meaning of the verses in question. That is fallacious reasoning. – Alex Balilo May 14 at 14:54
  • Sorry, unless you specify, your objections for me are Chinese, of which I have 0 knowledge. I want to help your difficulty, and that’s it. – Levan Gigineishvili May 14 at 15:20
  • and your down voting is nothing, for votes are nothing, but discussion is important, for truth is important. If you really search for truth, with a real curiosity, then you will necessarily come to the above conclusion. It is not only the Son, but also the Holy Spirit is the Vouchsafer of the knowledge of the future (John 16:13) to humans. And Father cannot in principle reveal anything to anyone but through His Logos/Son, so it is impossible that He reveals something to His Logos/Son, for the Latter is His co-Principle of revelation, not a receptor of revelation as some archangel or a prophet – Levan Gigineishvili May 14 at 17:21
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Background
First, knowing when a event will take place requires at a minimum knowledge of four things:

So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. (Revelation 9:15) [ESV]

Therefore, when Jesus "confesses ignorance" of the day and hour, that cannot be taken as ignorance of the year and month. At best (or worse depending on your theological perspective), the statement means Jesus knows the year and month but not the day and hour.

Second, there are different ways in which an event may be "scheduled." The most common method is to mark a day on the calendar. An example of this is the Passover which is to be observed on a specific day of a specific month:

In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. (Exodus 12:18)

This command seems to be clear cut. On the 14th day of the first month the event is to take place. Yet one only has to consider how this is actually observed during the present time to recognize the difficulty of following the command:

Passover 2020 begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8, and ends Thursday evening, April 16. The first Passover seder is on the evening of April 8, and the second Passover seder takes place on the evening of April 9.1

Why do some eat the Passover Seder on one day and others on the following day? The answer is "day" of the month and "evening" (i.e hour) depend upon location. When evening of the proper day in Jerusalem arrives, it is neither the proper day nor the proper time for those in a different location. In this day of modern communication, it is possible for everyone across the globe to begin the Passover at exactly the same moment. But, would a Passover Seder in Los Angeles be a correct observance because it was observed on the basis it was the proper time in Jerusalem, despite the fact it was neither evening nor the 14th day of the month when eaten in Los Angeles?

Another factor is knowledge of how an event is scheduled. In the case of the Passover, it is to be observed annually in the same month and on the same day. As such future Passovers can be placed on the calendar:

Passover 2021 begins at sundown on March 27 and ends Sunday evening, April 4. The first Passover seder is on the evening of March 27, and the second Passover seder takes place on the evening of March 28.2

This is true for recurring events, but must this be true of those which are non-recurring? Another example from the Exodus points to an alternative means by which unique events may be scheduled:

The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:40-41)

Arguably, this event was scheduled using a predetermined interval, 430-years. After the required amount of time from the first event had been fulfilled, the second event took place. So if one had known in advance the exact day on which the first event took place and had knowledge of the required "waiting time" (430-years), one would have been able to know the correct date on which the second event would take place.

Omniscient but Not Knowing

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:32)

Setting aside the complexities of date-setting or the vagaries of human wisdom in understanding when future non-recurring events will take place, the passage in question raises two possible veins:

  • The lack of knowledge is evidence the Son is not God
  • The Word which was God but became flesh caused a minor "disruption" in knowing exactly how much time had elapsed between unique events.

Of course the first option is seized by all who believe "the Father" only is God. Clearly, they reason, the self-proclaimed ignorance of the Son can mean nothing less then a deficiency which is inconsistent with characteristics such as omniscience reserved for God. Of course, they fail to acknowledge or consider a similar deficiency may be present in "the Father:"

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 13 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Revelation 19)

If the Father doesn't know the Name of His Son should that disqualify Him as God? Or should we consider whether the apocalyptic nature of non-recurring events may result in "minor" details being known to one person of the Trinity and not the other? Or is there some particular nuance in the written text which allows for full understanding where the literal text seems to say otherwise? I raised this same question on this site and find it amusing to see everyone immediately look for reasons why the plain reading of the text cannot be taken as such. Because, of course, everyone knows the Father is all knowing and so the text must be approached with that fact in mind.

In the case of the Return of The Word Who Became Flesh there are two possibilities which preserve the otherwise obvious deity of the Son:

  • How His time in the tomb is counted - do those days continue to accrue toward the set amount of time before His return or does the Father have discretion in how He counts the days before the Son returns?
  • Rather than see this as a deficiency, can it be seen as a sign of superiority? That is to say, the Son alone has the authority to decide when He will return and where the Son's decision will be determined solely by affairs on the earth (i.e. the work of the Holy Spirit and man's response) the Father alone knows when the precise moment those events will be fulfilled. In other words, The Word Who Became Flesh is no longer "keeping track of time" as He used to and as the Father still does. Rather He has exercised His authority to use some other standard (i.e. saving people) rather than marking off days and hours?

I see no reason to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ which is clearly stated elsewhere when there plausible and practical considerations to account for what is only a partial lack of knowledge of the day and hour of His Return. Rather, I choose to look for that day when His Return will be the physical manifestation He is God.


  1. Passover 2020 Note: the specific day of April is not the 14th as the "calendar" used to schedule the Passover is not the secular calendar in use. The "proper" date on the Jewish calendar is converted so that it can be observed on the corresponding secular date.
  2. Passover 2021 Note: as there is no created means of determining the month (cf Genesis 1:14) even this simple date setting is subject to interpretation. For example, does a year always have 12 months or, as is the practice in Judaism of intercalating a 13th month appropriate?
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  • God's being lies outside of space, time, and matter, which are his creations, hence the (theo)logical difficulty. – Lucian May 15 at 1:17

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