Matthew 24:20 NASB

20 Moreover, pray that [p]when you flee, it will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath

.Christ had been specific in most his predictions about events that would unfold later like:

The donkey he will ride into Jerusalem(Matthew 21:1-3)

About were he would have his last supper(Matthew 26:17-19)

But when it comes to his predictions concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the flight of Jews Christ is not specific.Christ makes mention of whether it will be on a winter or on the Sabbath,but without giving a specific time.

Did Christ not know the specific season and day when this will take place?

  • Or he didn't want to reveal such details at that time.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 30, 2021 at 14:14

5 Answers 5


Jesus, as a man, was not God (though God "possessed" him--see Prov. 8:22 and John 14:10-11). God is all-knowing, immortal, and cannot be tempted with evil (see James 1:13). But Jesus was both tempted (see Matthew 4 & Luke 4) and died. Numbers 23:19 tells us that God is not a man--yet Jesus was a man. Therefore, as man, Jesus cannot have been God. As man, just like us, Jesus could not have known the future. And Jesus told us as much.

"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." (Mark 13:32)

Did God know when the event predicted regarding Jerusalem would take place? Certainly. Yet, in this request of Jesus, he both acknowledged his own humanity, and gave example to us that we, who do not know the future as God does, should pray for God to direct in the events foretold. Furthermore, it tells us that God cares about both the sacredness of the Sabbath and about the comfort of His disciples as they should flee from the city.


Note: I'm taking a preterist (already happened) interpretation of Matthew 24, while many hold to a bifurcated view (preterist re the destruction of the Temple, futurist about a second coming and judgment, i.e., second coming and judgment are yet to happen).

No, Jesus didn't know the specific time. This is similar to Matthew 24:36.

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Jesus does not know exactly when (day or hour) the tribulation or parousia (second coming) will be. However, he knows these things will happen within a generation.

"Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened." (Matthew 24:34)

So there is a general time frame (approx. 40 years), but not a specific date.

If you want an historical correlate to the time this happened, it was around A.D. 70 with the siege of Jerusalem (tribulation) and deaths of 100,000s of Jews, enslavement of many more, the destruction of the Temple (the centre of Jewish religious life that house the presence of God), and the toppling of the established Jewish religious order (all these = judgment, i.e., second coming of Jesus).


Questions like this are actually quite easy - yet are almost impossible for some only because some traditional doctrine blocks the ‘view’. Jesus was on earth as a ‘man’. But - many doctrines then ‘add in’ his divinity, and part of some traditional interpretations of the then conclude that therefore Jesus was ‘all knowing’.

So when you ask Q’s like - ‘How did Jesus know he was God?’ - ‘How Old was He when he ‘knew’ this?’ - the only way the doctrines allow you to answer these is by saying He was ‘all knowing’ - and even then' the answers are, at best, awkward.

At the onset, let me state categorically that Jesus was at all time fully God - but was on earth as a man. His knowledge came from the word (Torah). So, for example, when He was being tempted, He used this (Torah/the word) to overcome the temptation. All his knowledge came from Torah, from the Word. He read the Word, and used the Word. He was the word! So the word contained what He needed. This view will provoke some, nevertheless is provided for consideration, and you can reflect on it and come to your own conclusion.

And the fact of the matter is the Torah does not anywhere allude to the time, nor season of this ‘fleeing’ - so He wouldn’t have known. The Torah says only God knows' and Jesus takes this and uses this..

This section in Matthew 24 is part of a prophecy Jesus ‘knew’ from the Old Testament (Torah), example Daniel 9.(and elsewhere.) And all biblical prophecy is ‘Pattern, not prediction. And can have past, present and future fulfilment. This particular prophecy already had past fulfilment, would also soon have fulfilment (70AD), and also future (yet to happen.). The fulfilment in 70AD would help provide more ‘pattern’ as to the time and season of future fulfilment, but this hadn’t occurred yet.

  • "All his knowledge came from Torah" How do you know this? Mar 30, 2021 at 18:10
  • @Anthony Burg “How do you know this?”. Well, difficult to ‘prove’ exegetically, hence the caution in my response. But consider this - If we learn our identity through the word, who ‘we’ are - then why not Jesus? Or was Torah (the word) not complete? Jesus answered every issue, and approached everything with the word, using the word - not just the temptation - everything! Everything he did, every single thing was prophecied in Torah. And so was He!
    – Dave
    Mar 30, 2021 at 20:18
  • Certainly valid points. But Jesus was constantly praying. The idea God wasn't guiding him in certain situations beyond what was written in the Torah seems hard to believe to me. Mar 30, 2021 at 21:07
  • 1
    @Anthony Burg Oh' I’m sure that Jesus was guided by the Holy Spirit. No doubts. And, He would have received ‘words of knowledge’, [supernatural guidance] about present situations, example what/how to respond to the Pharisees, but even these would ‘point’ [back] to the Word. But for wisdom, and prophecies as in Matthew 24, these would all have been referencing Torah. The only ‘new revelations’ that couldn’t be referenced back to Torah were called Mysteries - these would have come via new revelation.
    – Dave
    Mar 30, 2021 at 21:38

Jesus said in Matthew 26:

40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Did Jesus not know that Peter would fall into temptation?

Jesus said Matthew 24:20

Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.

Did Jesus know that their flight will be in winter or not?

Asking his disciples to pray for a certain item does not imply Jesus' ignorance on that item.


The answer to this question involves investigating a number of parables not explicitly stated in your question.

20 Moreover, pray that [p]when you flee, it will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath

But when it comes to his predictions concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the flight of Jews Christ is not specific.Christ makes mention of whether it will be on a winter or on the Sabbath,but without giving a specific time.

If one reads the Maccabees, you'll find that "Your flight not be in winter" is a reference to Hanukkah, for which Maccabees is the basis. He is not necessarily stating that it will happen on Hanukkah. It's essentially a trigger to remember the details of the Maccabean revolt. Jesus spoke many things in parables, and often responded to a question in a parable - i.e., he would provide you a way to find the answer without stating it explicitly. Jewish reasoning is circular, not linear - i.e., what happened once will happen again. Perhaps not exactly, but it will be pretty close.

Consider that the destruction of the first and second temple occurred on the same day (9th of Av) - and how what happens once will happen again. Maccabean revolt lasted 7 years. There was also an abomination of desolation. Perhaps this 7 year period (tribulation) will also repeat on the same day and in a similar manner.

Did Christ not know the specific season and day when this will take place?

Matthew 24:36 says: But of that day and hour know no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Since Christ is on earth is fully man, he is not going to know the day or the hour but he does expect us to have a very good idea of when. God's calendar that he gave us are appointments (the 7 feasts) that he expects us to know. Knowing what the feasts are and what they represent are key. The 7 feasts require us to observe the moon to know when it starts. At the end of days, the sun and moon will be darkened as stated in Matthew 13:24, Matthew 24:29, Joel 2:10, Joel 3:15, and Revelation 6:12. Henceforth, no one will be able to determine when the feasts (appointments) will start. Jesus the man won't know exactly, but the creator - Jesus as God - will.

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