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Christian Biblical Studies
Scripture references are to the King James (Authorised) Version
Q. In Mark 13:32, with reference to the prophesied Time of Trouble, Jesus says ‘of that day and that hour, knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father’ (comp. Matt. 24:36). How could Jesus be ignorant on such details?
A. It seems strange that the Son beloved by his Father was kept in ignorance on any aspect of the Father’s plans, but we must assume there was good reason for this. No doubt all things were subsequently revealed to Jesus upon his resurrection for, as second only to the Almighty, and appointed by God as his chief agent in implementing heaven’s plan, Jesus would have had to be privy to all knowledge required to perform his future exalted office. The Father has vested all authority in the Son (Matt. 28:18): ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.’ See also John 17:1, 2 [‘power over all flesh’]).
The wider lesson to be drawn from Mark 13: 32 is not so much what it tells us about Jesus at that point in time, but what it says about the servants of God throughout the Gospel Age. While in the flesh the Lord’s people are limited in their capacity to understand matters which transcend the time in which they live and act. This explains why even well-intentioned predictions of future events invariably fail, especially those linked to specific dates.
Of course, it goes without saying that Jesus was different. He was perfect, and while in the flesh was filled with the holy spirit and understood heavenly things inaccessible to anyone else. Nonetheless, for reasons best known to his Father, Jesus was kept in the dark on certain aspects of his Father’s plans, including, for example, the extent to which he would have to suffer at Calvary. Perhaps his knowing such things in advance would have undermined the value of the test of his faith, for ‘though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered’ (Heb. 5:8; italics added).
In his Inscrutability, Jehovah reserved the right to withhold information – even from his only-begotten Son. Contrary to traditional and widespread perceptions, Jesus was not, is not, and never will be God. The disciples to whom Jesus addressed his remarks did not believe that he was God – such a concept would have been alien to their Jewish theology, in which Jehovah was unitary and supreme. Jesus’ confession that he was ignorant on this prophetic matter of Mark 13:32 underscores this point. That he depended on God for his knowledge and direction argues generally against the doctrine of the Trinity.