Christ - Is He not omniscient, all knowing?
Howard Coles, Coleford, England
In Mark 13. 32 it mentions that the Lord Jesus did not know the hour or day of His second coming – does this mean He is not omniscient, all knowing?
John begins his Gospel, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’, John 1. 1-3. This shows, as do many other scriptures, that the Lord Jesus was – and is God. He is and always has been omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. These three ‘O’s go together i.e. one could not be ‘all powerful’ without being ‘present everywhere’ and ‘possessed of all knowledge’. However, Mark 13. 32 does state that He did not know the hour of His second coming and therefore this seems to contradict the truth that He is God, for God is all knowing.
One understanding of this seeming contradiction is that each of our four Gospels has its own approach to portraying the Lord Jesus. So it is interesting to note that in Matthew 24 v. 36 (i.e. the equivalent passage), it says ‘But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only’. The statement ‘neither the son’ is not included in the Received and Majority Greek Texts (supported by the majority of manuscripts). Matthew, who presents the Lord Jesus as the King and therefore knew all the things relating to His kingdom, He therefore is not included in Matthew’s account of the list of those ‘not knowing’.
In Mark’s Gospel the emphasis is on the Lord Jesus as the Perfect Servant and I suggest therefore that although the Lord did and does know the hour of His return, in Mark’s account it is most fitting that as Jehovah’s Perfect Servant He did not know it in the sense that He was not here to communicate it. It is submitted therefore that this was not among the things, which as the Perfect Servant, the Lord Jesus had received to communicate.
Clearly in John’s gospel the Lord Jesus makes this vividly obvious as He defines the limitation of those things He was here to speak of and therefore although He was knowledgeable of all the other things, He only ever spoke to men the things He was given commandment to speak, see John 8. 28; 12. 49; 17. 8.
Certainly the verse in Mark 13 cannot mean that the Lord Jesus was not omniscient. We firmly hold to the Lord never ceasing to be truly God as well as having taken in humiliation perfect manhood. To understand fully how these two could be combined perfectly in His being is impossible for us to understand fully. It will always remain a mystery. Our minds are finite - but we can by faith accept it as true for ‘no man knoweth the Son, but the Father’, Matt. 11. 27.