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?

  • 1
    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". May 14, 2020 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, 2020 at 1:25

7 Answers 7


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.


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

  • 1
    He plainly admitted he didn't know unequivocally.
    – user35499
    May 13, 2020 at 18:22
  • 2
    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, 2020 at 21:13
  • 1
    Judea was an occupied territory under Roman rule. The plain speaking was evident to the Jews. The English translations do not capture all of the knowledge of the Jewish feast days, and the metaphors from OT prophesy. It was very plain to His disciples. The confusion comes from modern day scholars who want to surface read an English translation without taking into account the first audience perspective of the 1st century AD. His disciples understood Him.
    – Gina
    May 14, 2020 at 0:16
  • 1
    I would also bring to mind Christ's stated purpose in His use of parables - Matt. 13:11-15. Paul's statement in 1 Cor. 2: 7-14. As prophesied, Christ came to the Jews, not to the gentiles. The Apostles were sent out to invite the gentiles in. But the word was given first to the Jews. So, must learn Jewish customs to understand a great of what He said to them.
    – Gina
    May 14, 2020 at 0:22
  • You'll have to lay out the logic that he did know in more detail because I can't see how anything you wrote leads to your conclusion. At the very least you should provide evidence that this phrase was by the time of Jesus already clearly associated with the feast of trumpets.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 24, 2022 at 21:36

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.)

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father. Matt 24:36

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.

A revelation of Jesus Christ, that God gave to him Rev 1:1

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.

Many need to invent ideas to solve this dilemma if Jesus is God according to tradition doctrine.

Apparently, Jesus is either confused and doesn't know whether to operate from his divine side or his human side making Jesus disingenuous in whatever he says. Jesus IS truth! (Phil 2 - giving up his Godness is a fallacious reasoning)

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life John 14:6

We either believe what he said or we don't. Many want to bend the rules of truth and have Jesus be disingenuous or deceptive.

Jesus did not know precisely because he accepted the limitations of humanity during His incarnation. Dottard

Jesus did not use His divine power but only used that which is available to any other human. Dottard

Making up things like 'incarnation' are essential to support a mysterious complicated two-natured Jesus. A confused Jesus who apparently had to be God to pay for all sin, but had to be a man to do it. 100's of years after Jesus began the church on his Apostles, another group of men who had no anointing to speak truth, invented another Jesus. An awesome weaponised political machine to destroy and confuse what God had begun in His son. Thankfully, the truth remains for those willing to read the Gospels and the Apostles and know for certain why Jesus didn't know, why the HS didn't know and why only the God of Jesus knows. Another fabricated, unbiblical idea -

The Word which was God but became flesh caused a minor "disruption" in knowing exactly how much time had elapsed between unique events. Rev. Lad

Really, such fanciful reasoning knows no limits in rationalising away the biblical truth and replacing it with myth and mystery. These are the tools of the devil - to confuse, to mystify God's plain word and to reinvent another Jesus who is not like us at all (Heb 2:17) but a hybrid God/man who sometimes gets mixed up which one he is.

We can tell the fancy ideas which are not from scripture by how much reading-in one has to do to justify them. Or simply to call on the church fathers to support that which the bible never mentions, let alone teaches.

Why did Jesus Christ not know?

Because, as we are repeatedly told, Jesus, as the last Adam is a man like us in every respect (Heb 2:17), born of Mary, died in the flesh and was raised in the spirit (1Pet 3:18) as the forerunner, the firstfruit, for all humanity. Then, after this glorious victory over death and sin and all evil, he is exalted to the side of God. Jesus' God made heir him to all things because he was not already.

there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 1 Cor 8:6

  • +1 Most obvious answer, and doesn't require any theological backflips. Jesus didn't know like He didn't know various other things in the Gospels. Aug 24, 2022 at 21:08

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.


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?
  • 1
    God's being lies outside of space, time, and matter, which are his creations, hence the (theo)logical difficulty.
    – Lucian
    May 15, 2020 at 1:17
  • +1 even though I am skeptical of this reading, it is one of the standard readings and shows its work.
    – Robert
    Aug 24, 2022 at 20:15

The most obvious interpretation is to take both of these verses literally. E.g. that Mark says only the Father knows.

Christ emptied himself (κενόω - in Phil 2.7) when he took on the flesh, and only did the Father's will. So whatever knowledge, if any, that Christ had of the date and hour was given up in order to fulfill the role of the suffering servant and role model that was completely dependent on the Father for all things. Christ said only what the Father told him to say, he knew only what the Father revealed to him, and he did whatever the Father told him to do, in order to be a role model for us and to be the perfect, obedient, sacrifice, that lays down his life in order to do the Father's will.

It is in this context of voluntary dependency that all of Christ's sayings must be interpreted -- there was no seeking of personal glory or knowledge during Christ's ministry.

But the view of Revelation is very different. That is a view of Christ glorified and put at the head of all things (Col 1.18), including the Kingdom (2 Peter 1.11). Therefore there is no contradiction between Jesus' humility in his earthly ministry and his glory and knowledge after his resurrection, indeed one led to the other.


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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