It is my understanding that the answer to this particular question, (and other ones that are like it) for the most part lies in the way in which God deals with His creation and interacts with it. So then before I directly respond to the question, bear with me for a bit while I briefly and simply say a few things about my basic understanding of how God interacts with creation.

First of all we know that God, being God, is both omniscient and transcendent by nature. Therefore He knows everything by nature, and has infinite perception and awareness of all things, including having foreknowledge. Hence nothing takes Him by surprise, or is outside of, or is beyond, His realm of awareness, perception, and precognition.

But now though this is true, God also makes it quite clear that neither His Omni-science, or His infinite perception and awareness, or His foreknowledge, are an hindrance to Him having genuine ‘in time’ and authentic day-to-day interaction with His creation. In connection with this He also makes it clear that neither His omniscience, nor His fore-knowledge, nor any of His infinite attributes make it so that He is guilty of being insincere, ingenuous, artificial, or pretentious, in any matter or form, in any of His dealings and/or interactions with His creation.

Instead because He is God, (and also because He is fully personable and has designed to have personal, real dealings and interaction with His creation), God is able to be both omniscient, infinite, and foreknowing with respect to His creation, while at the same time He is able to be truly genuinely interactive in His dealings with creation, and with man, and to be so on as moment-by-moment basis. Therefore this means that God is able to genuinely and spontaneously interact with His creation, and with man, just as if He Himself with man becomes aware of certain things at the moment that they happen, and then needs to respond to them accordingly.

In fact God demonstrated the reality of all of this right from the beginning of creation, as is related in the first three chapters of Genesis. Moreover He also made it evident that He expected man to understand and appreciate this, and to respond to Him on the basis of this, and to also understand that He was going to continue to interact with His creation accordingly.

Since this is how God is able to interact with His creation, this, for example, is how God is able to declare that He has (or had, as the case may be) foreknowledge of some event taking place, and yet at the same time not be held responsible for the event. It is also how He is able to genuinely and sincerely respond to the event when it occurs, just as if He, (like man), only became aware of it when it actually did occur.

Now the basic point I am making is this: Even though God by nature is omniscient and has foreknowledge, (and He even makes certain determinations to do things in view of what He foreknows), He is able in the outworking of His plan and purpose to genuinely and honestly act as if He does not have such omniscience or such foreknowledge. And God does not pretend anything when He does this, nor is there anything false or fake about what He does. In other words, God does not ‘make-believe’ that He does not know, nor is He feigning anything. Instead He is completely genuine.

In connection with this it is important to realize that since God can do this, He can also take something that He knows and keep it perfectly secret within Himself for as long as He wants, (which is exactly what He did with “the mystery of Christ”). Moreover God can also ‘put something away in the back of His mind,’ so to speak, and in doing so not even have it to operate upon until such time when it becomes an issue upon which He either needs to operate, or wants to operate.

Now this particular feature of God’s capacity to genuinely interact ‘in time’ is something that the Lord Jesus Christ often exercised and operated upon in His earthly ministry. And I am persuaded that this is significant to understand, and it needs to be taken into account, when it comes to dealing with a number of questions that can be asked about the Lord Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry, and not just the one about whether He “knew” the mystery or not while on earth. But since this is the question in view, I will briefly set forth what my understanding is based upon what I have set forth.

With the Lord Jesus Christ being who He is, (that is, ‘the Word made flesh’), then my understanding is that this divine capacity and ability still belonged to Him by nature. But more than this it was actually designed to function in Him ‘to the nth degree,’ so to speak, as He went about His course of doing and fulfilling all that pertained to Him in connection with Him being “the Christ,” “the son of David according to the flesh.” Wherefore throughout the entirety of the Lord’s ministry as “the Christ,” (past, present, and what is still yet future), in being both David’s son and David’s Lord He operates upon this capacity to the greatest extent that either He, or God the Father, or the Holy Ghost have ever operated upon it. This is because the specific nature of the Lord’s ministry and function as “the Christ” demands that He do so.

Therefore this means that not only in connection with His knowledge of the outworking of His program with Israel, but also in connection with His knowledge of the outworking of His program with us today, the Lord Jesus Christ as “the Christ” acts and functions in full accordance with His unique capacity and ability to genuinely interact ‘in time.’

So then with the Lord operating on this capacity during His earthly ministry, He not only did so with respect to His knowledge of the outworking of the first two parts to the climactic stage in God’s program with Israel, but He also did so with respect to His knowledge of the outworking of God’s upcoming dispensation of gentile grace.

So in accordance with God’s unique ability to genuinely act and function ‘in time’ with His creation, (and in accordance with the way in which God handles and deals with His omniscient knowledge so that He is able to genuinely act in full accordance with His unique capacity), my answer to the question ‘did Jesus know the mystery during His earthly ministry’ is both “Yes” and “No.” In other words since during His earthly ministry the Lord did not need to, nor want to, nor was He expected to operate upon any aspects of “the mystery”. And in accordance with His unique capacity He genuinely lived, genuinely acted, and honestly functioned as being Israel’s “Christ” to the ‘nth degree’ with having His purpose and mission to do nothing more than fulfill what scripture called upon Him to be to Israel, which is to fulfill the Davidic covenant with His nation.

Once again my answer to the question is “Yes” and “No”; just as my answer is also “Yes” and “No” to a number of other similar type questions that involve the issue of God operating upon His unique capacity to genuinely and personally operate ‘in time’ with His creation, in spite of His natural omniscience, foreknowledge, or infinite perception of His creation.

Sincerely yours in our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us,

Keith Blades
Enjoy The Bible Ministries

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