In Matthew chapter 24 and Mark chapter 13 Jesus’ disciples asked Him what SIGNS would precede His Second Coming to establish His kingdom on earth. He gave them many signs and in Mark 13:32 He said, “But of the day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, NOR  THE SON, but only the Father” (NKJV). This verse has been used by those who deny the Deity of Christ as proof that He cannot be God, since (as you say) “God is all-knowing.” God is indeed “omniscient” as we see in 1st John 3:20, “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and KNOWS ALL THINGS.”

The Lord’s words in Mark 13:32 must have baffled His disciples, for they were convinced that He did “know all things.” They stated this belief in His omniscience when speaking to Him in John 16:30, “Now we are sure that YOU KNOW ALL THINGS, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” Others had also come to the same conclusion. For example, in John 1:47-49 we read, “Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!’ Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do You know me?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ Nathanael answered and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God!” Later, in John 4:1-26, we see the Lord Jesus talking to a woman of Samaria and He revealed her past life of sin to her (see verses 16-18). In verses 28-29 we read that she went and told the men of that city, “Come, see a Man who told me all things I had ever done: is not He the Christ?” (DARBY version) These people had their eyes opened to see that Jesus was no mere man; He was indeed, as Peter later confessed Him, “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). The Gospel of John focuses on this truth, for in the very first chapter we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Words could not be clearer; Jesus is the Word, WHO IS GOD. He is the “only begotten of the Father,” which means He is “the Son of God,” one of the three Persons who make up the holy Trinity.

Now that we’ve established that Jesus is God and part of the Triune God, how do we reconcile this with His words in Mark 13:32? I admit it is a difficult verse, for on the surface it SEEMS to contradict that He is the “all-knowing God.” The answer is most humbling, for we read in Philippians 2:5-7, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, BUT EMPTIED HIMSELF, taking the form of bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (NASB). When the Son of God became a Man, we read that He “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant.” Though He was ever “God manifest in the flesh” (see 1st Timothy 3:16) while here on earth, He willingly “emptied Himself and became a servant.” What did He empty Himself of? Some would say He “emptied Himself of His Divine attributes, including His omniscience.” But that would contradict what we already saw in the examples listed above. I believe He emptied Himself of “His outward glory and His rights to manifest Himself as God unless the Father gave Him permission to do so.” He was the Perfect Servant who was here to do whatever the Father commanded Him to do. So, in the verse we are examining today He, as a Man in perfect submission to the Father, was not told the exact time of His return. In John 15:15 Jesus said this about a SERVANT, “a servant does not know what his master is doing” and in our verse Jesus was speaking as a Servant (which is the focus of Mark’s gospel).  (366.5)  (DO)