Friday, June 12, 2015

Jesus' Omniscience, and Mark 13:32

Scriptural Evidence FOR Jesus' Omniscience

First of all, let us start on the right foot,
by examining the Scriptural evidence for the Omniscience of Jesus:

"Now we know that You know all things,
and have no need for anyone to question You;
by this we believe that You came from God."

(John 16:30)

"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things 

under His own power,..." (John 13:3)

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that 
should come upon him,..." (John 18:4)

Collectively, John's Gospel makes clear that Jesus knew all things,
because all things had been placed in His own power and control.

The disciples here are under the belief that Jesus is Omniscient.

Its hard to believe that Jesus would at the very end of His 3 - 5 year ministry
have left all the Apostles under such a belief, if it were a mistaken one,
or a misunderstanding.  Jesus would have straightened them out.

Even in Acts when Jesus ascends to heaven, the Disciples ask Jesus
about the restoration of Israel. If they had thought at that time
that Jesus didn't know the time, they wouldn't have asked Him.
Jesus responds "Its not for YOU to know..." (Acts 1:7)
He doesn't say "I don't know..."

Jesus here in His last speech just before His ascension,
has the perfect opportunity to straighten them out,
and the chance to deny His own omniscience,
if it were a misconception needing correction.

He could have said "I don't know this, and so I don't know 'everything'."
Instead He tells them the information is being withheld,
because they are not meant to receive it.

Joseph Benson's  Bible Commentary (1857)
seems to be the first English publication to openly
deny the omniscience of Jesus:
"It is said in Luke 2:52, that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. He increased in wisdom, and consequently in his human nature he was not omniscient. may be said, that though as God he might know all things, yet he might be ignorant of some things as man. And of this particular the Messiah might be ignorant, because it was no part of his office or commission to reveal it. It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power, as our Saviour said, Acts 1:7, when a like question was proposed to him.  ..."   
 - (Benson's Commentary on Mark 13:32)
Rather than appealing to the Greek original here, which could have cleared up
the question simply, Benson has relied upon the KJV / AV English translation,
which has incorporated some imprecise translation with a bit of shakey interpreting from previous translators.

We have already dealt with  both Luke 2:52 and Acts 1:7 above,
and now all that is left really on this is a careful analysis of Mark 13:32.
 The Synoptic passage originating in Mark (13:32) has been mistranslated.
We have written about it before.
Matthew (24:36), copying Mark is not independent,
and translators following the KJV and prior translators have let us down here.

He doesn't have to be 'always omniscient'.

This scripture, if it applies to knowledge per se, (as opposed to wisdom)
is said of Jesus' childhood, not His ministry as Messiah.

For that we need to refer to what is said concerning THAT time:
"Now we know that You know all things,
and have no need for anyone to question You;
by this we believe that You came from God."
(John 16:30)
Note please that this is also an UNCONDITIONAL flat statement,
unqualified and incredibly misleading if the Apostles have gotten it wrong
at the Last Supper and Garden of Gethsemane.

If both scriptures are true, and we have no reason to doubt their plain meaning,
then Jesus increased in wisdom as a growing child and teen,
and was omniscient as a complete and perfect Messiah.

The only scriptures which appear to be contrary (in the English translation only)
are those of Mark 13:32 and its derivatives (copied and modified) by Matthew and Luke.

We turn to Mark first, and find:
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man,
no, not the angels which are in heaven,
neither the Son, but the Father.
(KJV/KJV 2000)

Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης καὶ τῆς ὥρας οὐδεὶς οἶδεν
οὐδὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι οἱ ἐν οὐρανῷ
οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ
(Greek text, no significant variants)

'εἰ' means "if" and 'μὴ' means "not".

Its really that simple, and the sentence is actually a coordinated pair of clauses.

Its a Conditional Sentence, that states outcomes which are dependent
upon conditions.

Its not a flat unconditional statement of fact,
but its a hypothetical, contingent Conditional Sentence,
which cannot be simplified into unconditional flat statements.

Its not conveying an unconditional truth,
but a conditional and hypothetical set of possibilities,
which may have various outcomes.

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