Does Jesus Know When He Will Return? Unlocking The Divine Mystery

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Published by Shannon Jacobs

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The second coming of Jesus Christ is approaching. Jesus even guaranteed His followers through His own words that He would return. John 14:2–3 reads:

In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Despite this assured promise, Jesus said to the Apostles in Matthew 24:36 that He, too, had no knowledge of the specific day and hour of His return; only the Father knew. However, we believe that, as the Son of God, Jesus regained complete heavenly understanding after His resurrection (Acts 1:7; Matthew 28:18).

Where In The Bible Does Jesus Say He Will Return?

Although we can surmise that Jesus knew about His return (John 14:1–3), the exact day of His arrival was not revealed in the Bible[1] or to any of his disciples. Still, the passage of Matthew 24:45–47 reminds us that the devoted servant is someone with patience and wisdom who waits for the Master to return and works for him when He does.

Hence, we must stay vigilant, mindful, and ready until the Lord’s return. As Luke 21:34–36 reads:

Be careful not to spend your time feasting, drinking, or worrying about worldly things. If you do, that day might come to you suddenly, like a trap for all people on earth. So be ready all the time. Pray that you will be strong enough to escape all these things that will happen and that you will be able to stand before the Son of Man.

Moreover, Jesus showed His full surrender to the Father’s will (John 8:28; 14:31) by not acting freely without the permission of the Father. This indicates that Jesus behaves and speaks only according to what was instructed, under the guidance of the Father.

Does Jesus Know When He Will Return?

The fundamental concept of the Incarnation holds the answer to interpreting Jesus’ lack of wisdom on His return. He said to his disciples, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (Acts 1:7).

When the very Son of God was born into the world, He retained His whole divinity while at the same time acquiring human characteristics. Although Jesus possessed all of these divine attributes, He lived a normal life as a human being, which was an aspect of the kenosis, or “self-emptying,” mentioned in Philippians 2:6–8.

When Jesus came into our world and had His earthly ministry, He gave up everything that He had in heaven. Instead of remaining in His divine seat, He “made himself nothing.” On top of that, He gave up His divine privileges (Philippians 2:7) the moment He became a man. He opted to conceal his power by taking on the role of a humble servant.

close-up photo of numbers on a clock

Why Does Only The Father Know The Hour?

Only God the Father knows the exact day and time of His Son’s return. Jesus’ humanity fundamentally prevents him from knowing about such things. Yes, Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1–14), but He was also fully human. This is known as Christ’s Hypostatic Union. As mentioned in Colossians 2:9, “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.”

He willingly limited the use of some heavenly traits when he was born into this world as a human being (Philippians 2:6–8). In fact, He does not reveal His divine qualities unless they are aligned with God’s will (John 4:34; 6:38).

On various occasions, He displayed His omniscience (John 2:25; 3:13), yet He freely limited His divine knowledge to only the things that God desired Him to know throughout His days on earth (John 15:15). This was the situation concerning Jesus’ lack of knowledge on the day and hour of His return.

This indicates that He lived in total surrender to the Lord as a role model and sacrifice for humanity. Passages from the New Testament like John 5:30, 8:28–29, 12:49, and 14:31, as well as Matthew 26:39 and 42, show Jesus’ obedience to the Father along with their unity in the Godhead.

How Do We Know Jesus Came Back?

Jesus might return tomorrow, the following month, next year, or in 100 years. However, nobody knows the exact hour when he will come back. As Mark 13:32 states, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

The Word of God assured us that the Second Coming of Christ would not arrive quietly. Jesus gave multiple signals and indicators that would mark His return. Hence, if we paid close attention to His teachings and words, they would be able to tell the moment of His return.

According to Acts 1:9–11: “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.'”

illustration of jesus contemplating his return

Conclusion

Though Christ was fully God in the flesh, he willingly renounced his divine traits. For the sake of humanity’s salvation, Jesus humbled himself under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the instruction of His Heavenly Father (Luke 4:16–21; John 5:19).

During His time here on earth, there were certain things Jesus didn’t know and couldn’t do. He even stated, “The Son can do nothing of Himself” (John 5:19), and “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

Throughout His earthly mission, these words reflected His humble submission and relationship with the Father. Now, ascended and glorified, Jesus reigns with a fullness of knowledge and power in unity with the Father.

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