Q. Re: Matt. 24:36. Why did Jesus not know the time of return ? Was it because He had divested Himself of aspects of His deity in order to ‘take flesh’ and be able to die for us, or was there another reason? I have heard pastors say that He still does not know, but surely that would make Him less than God. He must know all that the Father knows, now that He is back with Him. Also was His comment to do with the rapture or second coming? I also have always believed the rapture to be number determined, but an omniscient God, who ‘sees the end from the beginning’ must surely know when that number will be completed.
A. God has always known the day of the rapture but for reasons of His own has not revealed it to mankind. I believe when Jesus became a man He voluntarily set aside His godly powers and functioned only as a man. When Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not the angels nor even the Son” in Matt: 24:36 I believe He meant that as a man He didn’t know the details of His 2nd Coming. But in Rev. 1:1 John wrote that the book was “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him (Jesus) to show His servants what must soon take place.” This tells us when Jesus had completed His mission and taken up His Godly powers again the future became clear to him and He understood it in detail.
In Matt. 24:36 Jesus was speaking about the time of the 2nd Coming. We know this because beginning in Matt. 24:15 the chapter becomes more specific and runs chronologically to the end. First is the Abomination of Desolation (v.15) then the Great Tribulation begins (v.21), then it ends (v.29) then the time of 2nd Coming arrives (v.30). This is the day Jesus had in view in Matt. 24:36.
He would have had no reason to speak of the rapture in Matt. 24 because He was explaining the time of the end to Israel, and Israel was never promised a rapture.