Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Revelation 1:1 reads:

The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.

So this is the image I get: Sometime before an angel sent by Jesus gave John the revelation, Jesus was given the revelation from God. I first wonder when Jesus was given the revelation: before his birth (assuming the validity of the Trinity doctrine), during his life, after his death but before his resurrection, after his resurrection but before his ascension, after his ascension. Then I obviously wonder how Jesus, being God fully, would not know the nature of the things spelled out in Revelation.

So, how do classic Trinitarians answer this question? Why does it appear that Jesus at some time did not know what God knew concerning the little details of the last days?

share|improve this question
Hmm, interesting. Until now, I have never interpreted the verse in that way... –  Byzantine Sep 30 '13 at 2:46
Is 'classic Trinitarian' meant to mean anything other than 'Trinitarian'? –  DJClayworth Sep 30 '13 at 14:43
Is it certain that "God gave [the revelation to] him to show his servants" means that God revealed it to Jesus, as opposed to giving him the role of revealing it to others? In Rev 20:4 judgement is given to those who sit on the thrones; they are not being judged, but they are judges. –  James T Sep 30 '13 at 15:05
Maybe this falls under the "mysterious paradox" category of questions that can't be answered or understood...kinda like "How can Jesus be fully God and fully man?" or "Did Jesus know that he created the universe right after his birth?" –  Charles Alsobrook Sep 30 '13 at 16:17
@DJClayworth In my ignorance, I didn't want to include any sect of Christianity that calls themselves Christian but they define it differently, such that the majority of Trinity believers would call it not trinity. I was trying to be through. –  fredsbend Sep 30 '13 at 18:19

2 Answers 2

One of the key things about the Trinity is that God is three persons of one essence. They have the same action, will, and power. They are all equals and eternal but the key is that they are not the same person. They interact with each other and with humanity in different ways. It's difficult to understand, even for systematic theologians (which I am not). It is something that we all accept by faith and trust in the teachers that have come before us.

There are a lot of ways this could have played out. Trinitarians are still very diverse in their beliefs on the exact nature of God and how He operates. Discussing when Jesus knew and what he knew could last a lifetime. However, given that the Revelation was written sometime between AD 70 and AD 90 (well after Jesus' ascension around AD 30), the generally accepted answer is that Jesus was with God in Heaven and thus was fully divine at the time he told John about the future.

It's not a question I've ever heard before, and it's a good one. The short version of the answer is that it gets glossed over in favor of talking about the actual revelation and not the details of how the message got to John.

share|improve this answer
See that is what the question is. If Jesus was fully divine at the time he received the revelation then we have a paradox. Jesus is fully divine and fully God, yet the Father held information that Jesus did not. Then the Father gave the information to Jesus, which He in turn gave to John through an angel. There is no doubt in my mind that Revelation as a whole supports the trinity, however, this one verse seems to confuse the doctrine we were all taught in Sunday school. All this to say, thanks for answering but I feel like the problem still exists. –  fredsbend Sep 30 '13 at 18:28
Explaining the Trinity is a lot like explaining time travel. Any analogy I could use is flawed. But at the heart of the doctrine is that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three separate people that all are God. Being three separate people, they don't necessarily have to know the same things at the same exact time. But that doesn't stop them from all being God. Why that is an excellent question for a systematic theologian. The best I an do as an aspiring seminary student and part time Sunday school teacher is say that it's about faith. –  crownjewel82 Sep 30 '13 at 18:52

I'm afraid that I don't really see something which needs answering here. If we take this as Christ is given that gift eternally (just as he is eternally begotten), then the question answers itself.

share|improve this answer
This is more like a comment. I think you can give me more than that if you are going to make an answer. –  fredsbend Sep 30 '13 at 5:41
But that's the point. Your question is, "if we assume that trinity is false, then we reach this conclusion, what do you have to say?" The answer is, "if you assume the trinity, then the answer presents itself." –  Ignatius Theophorus Sep 30 '13 at 14:11
@IgnatiusTheophorus Jesus says pretty clearly that he doesn't know the day nor hour of his return while he's on earth. That begs for the resolution of the paradox when John gives the revelation. There's a question here, and I'm not sure how an answer indicating there is no question is appropriate. At best that should be a comment and a close vote. –  wax eagle Sep 30 '13 at 14:58
What wax eagle said. –  fredsbend Sep 30 '13 at 18:22

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.