6 “So when they came together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 Jesus replied, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority.'”
I hope that you are enjoying this series and that it answers questions or maybe just settled queries for you. I do not want to belabor the point too much longer, but I have heard too many people in the Lord’s churches talk about how the church has replaced Israel – that the final act of rebellion by rejecting Jesus to the cross set their fate and now the church has replaced Israel. This is sad to hear; it truly is because it calls into question all the promises that God made to us.
If God can renege on Israel, then maybe He can renege on the promises made to us. This is scary. The salvation we have was designed by, imagined, paid for, and secured for eternity by God. We do nothing except accept it. We cannot save ourselves, and we cannot keep ourselves saved; it is all God, ALL GOD!!
In our passage today, a short one recorded in Acts by Doctor Luke, we find the 11 remaining Apostles and others who are there asking a question about the Kingdom of Israel. They wondered if Jesus was about to restore the Kingdom of Israel. If you look at the other Gospels, Matthews tells us that Jesus gave the group their marching orders, Matthew 28:18-20,
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
Mark 16:14-18, “Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.'”
These are all parts of the same conversation that Jesus had on the Mount of Olives with His Apostles before He left. We see Luke 24:50-52,
“And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.”
The Holy Spirit does not lead Luke to give us details about the conversation until he begins writing in what we know to be the book of Acts. In this book, right off the top, Luke records the final conversation between Jesus and these men. There was noted excitement here; some feared, yes, and there were some doubts and unbelief, as was recounted in Mark’s version. But here these men were, and before them stood Jesus the risen Savior. One who could feed more than 5,000 with a few loaves and fish, One who could heal all manner of diseases, and One whom they had seen raise the dead. One whom they had seen crucified, and here He stood before them.
If anyone could overthrow the Romans, it was Him, and so, the natural question was, ‘Hey, Lord, are we going to destroy the Romans and take our nation back?’ You and I would have asked the same question. Here is the question from Luke’s account, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus could have said NO, this is not going to happen; there is no more Israel. But He did not; rather, He told them that only the Father knows when this will happen.
The inference here is that the Kingdom of Israel will be restored at a pre-determined time that only God the Father knows. There will be a new Kingdom of Israel, and these men were not asking about the New Jerusalem described to us in Revelation; they were asking about the present one that they lived in. Jesus knew that. He led these men to believe that God the Father had a set time in place when He would restore the physical Kingdom of Israel. Well, you and I can see the physical Kingdom of Israel in its growing form right before our very eyes. There is no Temple yet, but Daniel tells us that it will come; Daniel 9:27,
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven,’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
There will be a Temple for the Man of Sin to defile and where the Jews will perform sacrifices for the first half of the Tribulation period in a false peace that is negotiated by a man whom they will accept as the Messiah. This false messiah will turn on them and defile their Temple. But the Temple will be there to be defiled. If the Temple is there, run by Jews and where the sacrifices are being performed, then the Jews have control of the Temple Mount or some degree of agreement with their Muslim counterparts. As we can see, there is no such ‘peace’ right now. But it is coming. This is the precursor to Revelation 19, when Jesus comes to take His place in Jerusalem on the throne of his father, David.
Jesus assured them that the Kingdom of Israel would be restored but in God’s timing. In the time in between, the Lord’s churches are to tell the world what Jesus did to pay for their sins on Calvary. Let us be about the Father’s business.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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