He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;Acts 1:7(NASB)
The Old Testament scriptures promised the nation of Israel a literal, earthly kingdom, the boundaries of which would far exceed those which had been secured in the golden days of David and Solomon.
Jesus Himself had promised His chosen apostles that when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne in the kingdom of God, they too would be seated on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.. while prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel and Zechariah linked this promised, earthly kingdom of peace and prosperity with a supernatural outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is not surprising therefore that the disciples expected Christ's kingdom rule on earth to be set up in the very near future..
They knew the prophecies that related to the kingdom and thought the day had arrived when the earth would be filled with the glory of God.. the lion would lie down with the lamb - and the Temple described in Ezekiel would be erected. It was not surprising that after Christ's glorious resurrection, when He spoke for 40 days of things pertaining to the promised kingdom.. that the disciples expected Him to set it up in the very near future.
It is not surprising that when Jesus told them that the outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit would take place within a few days of His ascension into heaven.. that the disciples eagerly asked Him the question: Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?'
But Christ replied, It is not for you to know times or epochs, which the Father has fixed by His own authority. The kingdom would certainly be set up as foretold in Scripture, for God's Word cannot be broken.. but it would be set up at God's appointed time and in His preordained way. The Lord Himself has fixed an exact time.. by His own will and authority as indicated in the Bible - but in His sovereignty God has chosen not to tell us the exact details.
Some like to suggest that the apostles had a false understanding about the kingdom.. implying that Christ's reply was a form of rebuke - but this is not what the plain reading of Scripture reveals. Some falsely claim that God has finished with Israel because they rejected their Messiah.. and use this verse to suggest that the promised, earthly kingdom is no longer for Israel, but has somehow been transferred to the Church - again, this is a totally false inference and a destructive twisting of Biblical truth.
To use this verse in support of the various false claims against Israel or faulty concepts of Christ's promised earthly kingdom, is to distort the Word of God, to discredit the character of God, to render God's promises as illegitimate and to deny the whole counsel of God.
It was not for the disciples to know the exact times or circumstances of Christ coming kingdom, as is shown in the Word of God. But we have an assurance that His promises are sure, His Word is true and that the Father has fixed them by His own authority and will fulfil them in His time and His way.
Let us trust God to fulfil all His plans and purposes as relates to both Israel's earthly inheritance and the Church's heavenly inheritance - but let us not go beyond what is revealed to us in Scripture or seek to distort the Word of God in order to satisfy our own human curiosity or our own presumptuous pride.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many promises and prophecies that You have graciously given to us in Your Word. Thank You for giving us such great understanding of the times in which we live and the blessed hope that is set before us. Keep us from attempting to look into the finer details of Your plans and purposes which have not been disclosed to us but which are fixed by Your own sovereign authority - and prevent us from distorting the truth of the glorious gospel of God in order to satisfy any fleshly curiosity. Help us to study the whole council of God so that we do not get hoodwinked by any extra-biblical teachings or unbiblical 'interpretation' of Your Word. This we ask in Jesus name. AMEN.
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