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How did Jesus not know when He would return?

Weekly Q&A

How did Jesus not know when He would return?
Posted on October 5, 2021  - By Rufus Simon Varghese

If Jesus is God and God is sovereign, how come He did not know the day or the hour of His second coming? How can there be anything He does not know, since He is God?

Things to keep in mind

  1. Jesus — who is God — took on himself a human nature that is like us in every way, except without sin. He did it so that He would be a perfect representative of the human race — one who earns our righteousness by His life, earns our forgiveness by His perfect death, and our final victory over sin and death by His resurrection.
  2. His divine nature did not stop existing while He was on the earth. He forgave sins (Mark 2:1-12), received worship (Matthew 2:11, 14:33, 21:9), exhibited dominion over nature, sickness and demons. He fed the 5000 (John 6:1-15), walked on water (John 6:16-21), raised the dead more than once (Mark 5:21-43; John 11:1-45).
    In saying that He works on the Sabbath just like His Father, He claimed equality with the first Person of the Trinity (John 5:1-20). He also knew what was in the hearts of man (John 2:24,25), and where they were at a given time (John 1:48).
  3. As Jesus added human nature — conceived by the Holy Spirit — to His divinity, He accepted — or took on — all the amoral limitations that come along with humanity. He hungered, thirst, fell asleep, was weary at times, and grew in wisdom and stature. He learned the Scriptures from His childhood. The indwelling Holy Spirit guided Him in obedience throughout His entire earthly life.

The matter at hand

Up until His baptism and entry into public ministry, Jesus’ deity was perfectly masked by His humanity. At His baptism, He was anointed with the Holy Spirit, as promised and prophesied in Isaiah 11:1-2 and 61:1-2. 

As Jesus [took on] human nature, He accepted all the amoral limitations that come along with it

He lived His life as the Spirit-filled Messiah, fulfilling the Law and the righteousness that God desires. And in doing so, He chose to submit to the authority of the Spirit, exhibiting His divinity in a manner that wouldn’t obstruct the purpose for which He came to the earth (to be our perfect representative). 

For example, Jesus fed the multitude on two different occasions. But He didn’t turn the stones into bread at the behest of Satan because He knew that it went against the mission He came to fulfil. 

He had the power to summon 12 legions of angels to protect Him in the garden of Gethsemane, yet He chose to be arrested to fulfil the Scriptures. He was challenged by the Jews to come down from the cross, yet He stayed there, receiving the full wrath of God on our behalf. 

Thinking along the same lines, we can understand that Jesus not knowing the time or the hour of His second coming was deliberate. He obviously had the divine power and omniscience to know. But in His submission to the Holy Spirit, He chooses not to know it.


If Jesus used His divine powers without boundaries, He would never have been a perfect representative for us. His death would’ve had no saving effect. What we, therefore, see in the Gospels is Jesus living His earthly life perfectly with the resources available to Him as a human — the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and prayer. 

He didn’t use any divine attributes to make His life any easier for Himself. The same goes with Him choosing not to know the hour of His return. This deliberate non-use of His divine attributes made our redemption possible. He became our perfect Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).

In all this, Jesus sets the example for us in at least two ways:

  • He showed us how we can live a Spirit-filled life that honours God.
  • He showed us how we can submit to one another.

Rufus Simon Varghese

About Rufus Simon Varghese

Born and raised in Dubai, UAE, Rufus completed his Masters in Theology at Asian Christian Academy in Hosur, India. He has since been involved in personal outreach ministries and teaching youngsters Scripture. Currently based in Ernakulam, India, he is teaching at a Bible school as well as ministering to the Hindi-speaking immigrant working population in Kerala.



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