To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.Acts 1:3(NASB)
Jesus was the promised Messiah Who was to break in pieces the kingdoms of this world and set up His millennium reign upon the earth, with God's chosen people.. Israel, as the head of the nations and not the tail. Jesus had come to set up His earthly kingdom - but first He was to suffer and die for the sin of the whole world.
Jesus is the still the kingly Lion of Judah, but his kingdom rule on earth has been postponed for a time - and we call that season 'The Church Age'. For before the establishment of His earthly reign in Jerusalem, Jesus must also become the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.
Before Christ could set up His earthly rule, Jesus was to become a suffering Servant. He was destined to live a perfect life in fulfilment of the Law. It was predetermined that He would die a sacrificial death, so that whoever believes on Him, (both Jew or Gentile), would not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus suffered on the cross but He rose again the third day in glorious fulfilment of many Old Testament prophesies.. for we read that: after His suffering, Jesus presented Himself to His disciples with many convincing proofs that He was alive, appearing over a span of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
Christ's resurrection from the dead is the foundation upon which the Christian faith rests, for it authenticates His divinity.. proving Him to be the mighty Son of God, with the holy nature of God Himself. His resurrection proves His power to forgive sins.. for if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then our faith is worthless and we would still be in our sins. It reveals His power over death, hell and the enemies of God.. for Christ rose from the dead and will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him. Jesus triumphed over thrones and authorities.. making them a public spectacle and gaining victory over satanic principalities, powers and the rulers of darkness in heavenly places.
And so during those forty days of post-resurrection teaching, the Lord spoke about the kingdom of God - a promised, earthly kingdom which would now need to be postponed, until after the end of the Church age. But there is a glorious day, (which is yet future), when Israel will call upon the name of the Lord and the Stone which the builders rejected will smash the power of Satan's earthly kingdoms into pieces.. and the earth will be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.
In those blissful post-cross appearances of Christ.. the joyful disciples and eager apostles expected the Kingdom of God to be set up immediately. Throughout His earthly ministry Christ had been teaching of the coming kingdom of God, and so with excited anticipation His disciples asked Jesus.. Lord, is it at this time You are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?
But the earthly kingdom promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, where Christ is reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords in this world, had to be postponed, for the duration of the Church age. Christ's literal kingdom on earth was to be set aside - for a season.
Today Israel's King is absent from His people, Israel. Today Christ rules in the hearts of all who have trusted Him as Saviour, for the Church (which is the Body of Christ) was a mystery hidden from the foundation of the world. But it was soon to be made manifest to those joyful disciples and eager apostles, in Christ's post resurrection days.
It was Paul to whom were given the mysteries of this church age.. where from Pentecost until the rapture of the Church.. Christ would rule and reign over the hearts and lives of all who trusted Him as Saviour. The present condition of the Church will last for a season.. but the day is coming when the Kingdom of God will become a literal reality - with Israel as the head of the nations and not the tail. But until that day, it is not for us.. (nor was it for those joyful disciples and eager apostles) to know the time or the seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But as members of Christ's Body, we are to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving Christ to be my Saviour and thank You for Your mighty plans and purposes, which You are in the process of bringing to completion. Help me to live by faith and not by sight, for I believe that all You have purposed and planned will come to fruition.. in Your time and Your way.. and to Your praise and glory, AMEN.