If Jesus Is God, Why Didn’t He Know When He Was To Return?


Many Christians acknowledge that Jesus is God, but wrestle with the question if Jesus was God, why didn’t He know when He is going to return?

If Jesus really was God in the flesh and all-knowing, 1 John 3:20, then surely, He would have known when He was going to return!

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

It shouldn’t surprise us that the angels in heaven don’t know when Christ was to return because they are not all-knowing. They are created beings, Colossians 1:16, but not all-knowing.

Remember these created beings didn’t even understand the Gospel, 1 Peter 1:3-12, never mind knowing the date when Christ will return.

Many people make the mistake of forgetting that Jesus was also human. Throughout His life, we see glimpses of both natures.

Because He was human, He got thirsty, John 19:28, but because He was God’s Son, He could turn water into wine, John 2:1-13.

Because He was human, He got hungry, Mark 11:12, but because He was God’s Son, He could feed 5,000 hungry people, Mark 6:30-44.

Because He was human, He became weary, John 4:6, but because He was God’s Son, He was raised from the dead, Matthew 28:1-15.

Jesus was fully God but also fully man, John 1:1-3 / John 1:14. When He came to earth as man, He voluntarily chose to restrict some of His divine attributes, Philippians 2:6-8.

Paul tells us that Jesus ‘emptied Himself and He humbled Himself.’ He emptied Himself so that He could serve, ‘He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.’

When the Bible says, ‘that he emptied himself’, it doesn’t mean He became less than God, when He was on earth, it means He became more than God. He was God, but now He was also a man. He didn’t get rid of deity, He emptied deity into humanity.

He could never stop being God because God is His nature. But do you know what He did? He relinquished His glory, He concealed it in human flesh.

Every now and then we got a glimpse of it. He was up on a mountain one time, with three disciples and He was transfigured and they saw his glory, Mark 9:2-3. Paul saw it on the Damascus road, Acts 9:3, and John saw it in his vision, Revelation 1:12-16.

And someday we’re going to see the bright brilliant glory of Jesus. But when He was on earth as a man, He concealed that glory.

In other words, Jesus didn’t manifest His divine attributes unless the Father told Him to do so, John 4:34 / John 5:30 / John 6:38. He displayed His all-knowingness on many occasions, John 2:25 / John 3:13, but He voluntarily restricted that all-knowingness to only those things which God wanted Him to know during Jesus’ earthly life as a man, John 15:15.

This is the reason why Jesus said, only the Father knew about the date and time when Jesus would return, Matthew 24:36 / Mark 13:32.

We must also remember that He voluntarily ‘humbled Himself’, Philippians 2:8, in other words, Jesus lived a life which was in complete submission to the Father, so set us the supreme example of what sacrifice is all about.

When we read of Jesus doing things that only God can do, and knowing things that only God can know, it’s because, at those moments, the Father was telling Him what to say, and showing Him what to do.

He submitted to the Father but still remained One with the Father, Matthew 26:39 / Matthew 26:42 / John 5:30 / John 6:38 / John 8:28-29 / John 10:30 / John 12:49 / John 14:28 / John 14:31.


Jesus was indeed God in the flesh but He voluntarily chose to restrict some of His divine attributes, Philippians 2:6-8, which include His all-knowingness, while He was a man.

When He declared that only the Father knew the time of His coming to His disciples, Matthew 24:36 / Mark 13:32, He didn’t know when that time was because the Father hadn’t revealed that to Him.

However, after He was resurrected, He resumed His full divine status, which includes His all-knowingness, Matthew 28:18 / Acts 1:7.

Jesus didn’t know at the time He spoke to His apostles when He was going to return, but now He has been exalted in heaven, Philippians 2:9-11, He will certainly know, He knows when He will return.

‘We wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.’ Titus 2:13