“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Matthew 24:36
[Mark 13:32 But of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father.]
Now why it was that, though He knew, He did not tell His disciples plainly at that time, no one may be curious where He has been silent; for ‘Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor?’ but why, though He knew, He said, ‘no, not the Son knows,’ this I think none of the faithful is ignorant, viz. that He made this as those other declarations as man by reason of the flesh. For this as before is not the Word’s deficiency, but of that human nature whose property it is to be ignorant. And this again will be well seen by honestly examining into the occasion, when and to whom the Saviour spoke thus. Not then when the heaven was made by Him, nor when He was with the Father Himself, the Word ‘disposing all things,’ nor before He became man did He say it, but when ‘the Word became flesh.’ On this account it is reasonable to ascribe to His manhood everything which, after He became man, He speaks humanly. For it is proper to the Word to know what was made, nor be ignorant either of the beginning or of the end of these (for the works are His), and He knows how many things He wrought, and the limit of their consistence. And knowing of each the beginning and the end, He knows surely the general and common end of all. Certainly when He says in the Gospel concerning Himself in His human character, ‘Father, the hour is come, glorify Thy Son,’ it is plain that He knows also the hour of the end of all things, as the Word, though as man He is ignorant of it, for ignorance is proper to man, and especially ignorance of these things. Moreover this is proper to the Saviour’s love of man; for since He was made man, He is not ashamed, because of the flesh which is ignorant, to say ‘I know not,’ that He may shew that knowing as God, He is but ignorant according to the flesh. And therefore He said not, ‘no, not the Son of God knows,’ lest the Godhead should seem ignorant, but simply, ‘no, not the Son,’ that the ignorance might be the Son’s as born from among men.
- Pope St Athanasius of Alexandria, Against the Arians, Ch 28:43