(This article is an excerpt of my book, The Coming Kingdom of God.)
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.Matthew 24:36
The above Scripture answers a question and generates a question. First, does Jesus know the hour He will return? Second, why does only the Father know the hour? What must be considered with both questions is their context.
Context will show that Jesus Christ is Almighty God and knows everything, including when He will return. We’ll answer the questions in reverse order.
Why Does Only The Father Know The Hour?
It is a foundational doctrine of the Christian church that the eternal Word, the second Person of the Trinity, became flesh. He became the Christ.
It is also foundational that Christ emptied Himself of the arbitrary use of divine attributes. For the purposes of our redemption, they were available to Him only as the Father made them available through the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:16-21; John 5:19). In this state, there were many things He did not know and could not do.
This is why He said things like, “the Son can do nothing of Himself” (John 5:19), and “I can of Myself do nothing” (John 5:30), and “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).
These statements were true during His earthly ministry. However, none of them were true before, and none of them are true after, His earthly ministry.
They are contextual truths with an expiration date.
During Jesus’s earthly ministry, He did not know the day or hour of His return. I believe that changed the moment He shed the limitations of flesh and rose from the dead and resumed His place among the Godhead. Today He knows all things—as we’d expect of God.
Let’s look at some proof.
Does Jesus Know Everything? Yes
Speaking of Christ after His resurrection, Colossians 2:3 says, “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
It is not “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” except when He returns to earth. The risen Christ lacks nothing, including knowledge: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” (Colossians 2:9).
All still means all.
How can Jesus have all wisdom and knowledge and not know when He will return?
Does Jesus Know The Hour He Will Return? Yes
Logic compels us to follow an argument to its inevitable conclusion. If Jesus doesn’t know when He’s returning, He necessarily doesn’t know a lot of other things, too. This provides the basis to redefine Jesus as a little less than God, which is the foundational doctrine of not a few false religions.
For instance, Jesus told us we should know the signs of the times. What about Him? If we are expected to know the generational season of His return, shouldn’t He? If He doesn’t know the time of His own second coming, this means He’s looking at signs with no more understanding of them than us.
I find it impossible to believe Jesus is looking at signs and scratching His head in bewilderment with the angels trying to figure out how close we are to the end.
Can You Not See the Signs of the Times?
Jesus once scolded a group of opponents because they did not understand the signs of the times:
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Him, asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He answered and said to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’
And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ “Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”Matthew 16:1-3
Jesus challenged these hypocrites when He was in His humbled state as a man and totally dependent upon the Father and Holy Spirit. Are we to believe the risen, glorified Christ does not know or understand the signs of the times and when they consummate?
Knowing and Understanding the Signs of the Times
Who is the antichrist and when does he appear?
It is the appearance of the antichrist and the proclamation of his seven-year treaty with Israel that starts the seven-year countdown to the end of the age. I don’t know whether the antichrist is alive. You don’t know either. But are we to believe Jesus also doesn’t know?
What is God doing in the world today?
What about all the worldwide divine orchestrations of culture and government and technology and politics and military alliances that are required to prepare the world for the tribulation? Is Jesus ignorant of what’s going on in the world?
When will God judge the world?
We know that God judges nations cataclysmically only after they are thoroughly examined and their sins reach the tipping point of judgment. God promised Abraham the land of Canaan, but said its fulfillment was four hundred years away because “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16).
He would give the land to Abraham only after the present occupants forfeited it through long disobedience. Jesus knew exactly when the Amorites would cross His line of mercy. Are we to believe Jesus doesn’t know when this world will cross His line of mercy?
Jesus Judges The World
Conceptually, how is this even possible? Are we to believe God the Father must inform God the Son that the Son’s own line has been crossed?
“But it’s God the Father’s line and not the Son’s,” someone may offer.
First, let’s remember that the Godhead is one. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are totally and absolutely one. One in unity and equal in every way. Ultimately, it is the Godhead’s line that is crossed, even if functionally the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit perform different roles.
Second, let’s remember that the Godhead has designated Jesus as the Executioner of their wrath. Ironically, this is one of the most ignored doctrines of the Christian church. Especially among those who teach a false version of grace that presents Jesus as Savior and not Judge.
Yet it was Jesus who said, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the son just as they honor the Father” (John 5:22-23).
Jesus Will Return When He Decides To Return
Every parable and story Jesus taught regarding the end of the age shows Him as the judge and not the Father. How can it be true that the Godhead has chosen Jesus as the judge of the earth, and the judge doesn’t know when He’s coming back to judge?
Yes, Jesus emptied Himself of divine attributes of power and omniscience to serve among us as a man totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit. But He is risen from the grave and now sits at the right hand of the Father in power and glory.
There is nothing He doesn’t know.
Including the day and hour of His second coming, “which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15).
Did you catch that key phrase?
“In His own time.”
Jesus will return when the prophetic environment is sufficiently prepared, and He in His wisdom determines it is the right time to come back.
(This article is an excerpt of my book, The Coming Kingdom of God.)
- We Know Exactly When Jesus Will Return In Power And Glory
- We Can Know The General Time Of The Lord’s Sudden Return
- Can Jesus Return Before The Gospel Is Preached To The Whole World?
- Will We Rule With Christ?
- Yes! You Should Know The Times And Seasons
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