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Friday, January 22, 2016

Was Jesus Ignorant?

Is there anything substantive to be made of the so-called ignorance of Jesus concerning the time of his second coming? This is a stumbling block, seemingly, for saints and scholars alike. It is the taunt of Muslims and other Unitarians who believe they have dealt a deadly blow to the deity claims of Jesus. How can it be, they wonder, that the one whom the scriptures reveal and Christians proclaim as God incarnate does not know the time of his return?


The fact that such taunts and mockery come from non-believers is bad enough, but even worse when these come from believers. The mere mention of this so-called ignorance of Jesus is gleeful for some and is disheartening for others. Yet, this is not exactly of cosmic proportions nor does this have any bearing on the salvation and destiny of the believer. There are two simple questions to query before examining a response to this question.


two questions
First, does anyone who professes to believe in Jesus while simultaneously believing that this so-called ignorance of Jesus actually think this invalidates all claims of deity? After all, God is all-knowing, right? If this shakes one’s understanding and claims concerning the deity of Jesus then the real (or greater) problem is one’s own lack of knowledge of those things which they profess to know about Jesus. Second, would the above question similarly ascribe ignorance to the all-knowing God, even worse still question the deity of God, who (seemingly) did not know where Adam and Eve were hiding when he called out for them in the garden? This very early glimpse into the mind of God in the written revelation of the word of God is telling about how he regards man; the creation of his hands.


This glimpse on the mind of God runs counter to the tendency and frantic quest of some disciples who look for and listen for answers while they hide behind questions which they mistakenly hold on to as actual knowledge instead of what it is; _ ignorance.  What is telling about Adam and Eve hiding from God in the garden is the lovingkindness of God towards those who hide from God, but for whom He searches and waits patiently for them to realize and acknowledge the Lord who is God and for them to come to him through Jesus.


the will of the Father
The preliminary response to the so-called ignorance of Jesus is to understand what Jesus stated numerous times as to what was his priority, namely, that he came to do the will of the Father. Jesus knew from where he had come (past), why he was here (present) and where he was going. (future) Jesus came from the Father, to do the will of the Father and to return to the Father. This same priority was be the consuming passion of the disciples who seemed too eager to occupy their minds with the knowledge of the time of the second coming of Jesus. However they, like Jesus, were to occupy themselves with doing the will of the Father.


the good pleasure of the Father
Why did Jesus not know the time of his second coming? The apostle Paul revealed to the saints in Christ that it was the Father who chose us in accordance with his good pleasure since before the foundation of the world. Some of the specifics which Paul enumerates in Ephesians 1 is that the Father purposed that, 1) He would redeem a people for his own possession, that 2) the chosen would be purchased by the blood of his Son who fulfilled the will of the Father, and that 3) the Holy Spirit would seal, that is, affirm the redeemed who have believed in the Son. These three points of knowledge were known by the Father because it was in accordance with his good pleasure.


Nothing of what the Father purposed before or since the foundation of the world, according to Paul in Ephesians 1 and the entirety of the scriptures in general, (John 4:34; 5:38) ever included anything as to the time of the first coming of his Son much less anything about the second coming of his Son.


These same three things were known by the Son because these were in accordance with the purpose of the Father. These were made known to the preexistent Son, as he was with the Father before the foundation of the world. These three things would ultimately be fulfilled by the Son in the world. However, any questions or matters concerning the time of his second coming were not a part of what the Father purposed before the foundation of the world. Hence, it was not something which Jesus (much less the disciples) needed to know and which in no way impeded his mission to fulfill the will of the Father.

conclusion
Jesus was not ignorant in any sense and especially not in the sense which some have taken that to mean that, therefore Jesus must not and can not possibly be God; the word that became flesh. This is not a stumbling block. Jesus knew the purpose of the Father was for Jesus to come into the world and to make known the Father and the will of the Father. This purpose was fulfilled by Jesus.

These are the things Jesus knew which he asserted boldly and confidently. He knew from where he had come (past), why he was here (present) and where he was going; (future) back to the Father. What Jesus did not know concerning the time of his second coming was revealed neither before nor since the foundation of the world because it was not made known by the Father. It was not a part of the message of Jesus concerning the will of the Father. Jesus was not ignorant. Do you know from where you have come, why you are here and where you are going? It is the knowledge of these things, the truth which, Jesus said, will make you free.

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