So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking Him, “Lord, has the time come for You to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:6-8
I have had a number of you query why there have been no Gems since I sent out 1344 last Monday. I simply figured giving you the links to 8 full Gems to read plus a number of segments would take a bit of time and so didn’t want to rush you.
Bible Gem 940 – The Kingdom of God is near, now. (Luke 10:9. 11)
In the context of the Gems, I have already given you enough biblical perspective on the Kingdom of God to work out what is going on here. But I am also aware that I had talked about the Kingdom of God in a scattered, unconnected way and so put them all together for you. I hadn’t realised there were so many of them. But if you managed to read all of the gemz I recommended to you, you will be well placed to connect the dots with what is happening here. Did you notice that with the references I gave you from Luke related to kingdom, there were a few uses of “kingdom’ in a general sense or conceptual use but most were references to the Kingdom of God. That is highly significant. That contrasts between what the disciples were referring to. The disciples are asking about the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. “When are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” But all the references in Luke are regarding the Kingdom of God. Just stop and think about that for a moment. The disciples are asking when Jesus will reestablish the Kingdom of Israel and restore it. Why do they want Him to do that? Because that is their expectation of the Messiah when He comes. He will restore to Israel her glory days under the kingship of David and Solomon when the Kingdom of Israel was at its peak. They were expecting the Messiah to usher in the golden age of the Kingdom of Israel once again. But that was not why the Messiah had come. God’s purpose for the Coming Messiah was something else entirely and they missed it. I suspect you and I might have missed it too.
The immediate desire of the Jews at this time was the overthrow of Roman oppression over them. There are many readings in the Prophets which talk of the Messiah setting the captives and the oppressed free. Hence, their natural supposition was that this was the moment for release from the bondage and the oppression of the Roman army. Remember that among the Twelve were those who were Zealots and this was high on their agenda. We all come to God with our own agenda and these disciples were no different. They were totally oblivious to the fact that Old Testament Scriptures pointed to two different Messiahs. There was Messiah the Reigning King and there was Messiah the Suffering Servant as I have told you numbers of times before. How many times had Jesus told them that He was going to die and be resurrected again? That was not the Messiah they were looking for and so they missed the point. They were longing for and expecting the King who would come and reign over them.
Among the 61 verses I gave you with references to king and kingdom found in Luke’s Gospel not one is focused on the expectation of the disciples. That is not on God’s agenda. That is why Jesus summarily dismisses their request. Yet there are hints to what is actually in God’s plan. Look again at the way the various versions handle the disciples’ question.
- (AMP) Lord, is this the time when You will reestablish the kingdom and restore it to Israel?
- (BBE) Lord, will you at this time give back the kingdom to Israel?
- (CEV) Lord, are you now going to give Israel its own king again?
- (ESV) Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?
- (GW) Lord, is this the time when you’re going to restore the kingdom to Israel?
- (LITV) Lord, do You restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?
- (MSG) Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?
- (NASB) Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
- (NLT) Lord, has the time come for You to free Israel and restore our kingdom?
- (YLT) Lord, dost thou at this time restore the reign to Israel?
This verse is a classic because it indicates their focus is not in accord with God’s intention. No, this is not the time for the Kingdom of Israel to be reestablished. He will not be reestablishing, restoring, giving back the Kingdom to Israel. I love the translation of the CEV, NLT and YLT. “Lord, are you now going to give Israel its own king again?” Remember there were times when the disciples and entourage following them wanted to take Jesus and make Him King but He slipped away from them. It was “not His time” as John tells us over and over again. “Has the time come for you to free Israel?” (NLT). No, that time hasn’t come either but it will soon. “Will you at this time restore the REIGN to Israel?” How do all these perspectives fit together. Not only was it a matter of the kind of Kingdom they were looking for but it was also a matter of timing. This Messianic ministry was to be disclosed in God’s time, not man’s, and certainly not in satan’s timing. Luke makes much of the timing of what happened at the Triumphal Entry. Something magnificent occurred. Read again what I had to say in Bible Gem 1146 – The Perfect Timing of Our Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious God (Luke 19:28-42) Something big was happening; on a far grander scale than ever the disciples could imagine.
What is a Kingdom really but the outworking of the rule and reign of the One who is King? Oh yes, we humans think in terms of territory that is ruled over. But essentially the Kingdom is present when the King is reigning over His subjects. Or put another way, when the subjects subject themselves to the King’s rulership. That is when the Kingdom is truly present. Ponder that one for a while. I would like to extend this thought over the next few Gems to emphasise the point. Hang on to your hat. Put away your crown.
To express it simply, the Kingdom is where the King is.Anon
The Kingdom was near because the King was near. And yet, though near, the Kingdom was not a place or location to enter.Ian Vail
Just as an earthly kingdom is the territory where the King reigns, so too is the Kingdom of God.Ian Vail
When I am not taking the place of the king, the Kingdom has its best chance of breaking through. (Put away your crown.)
We like to sing “as we worship build your throne” little realising the Kingdom has to be established in us first and the King needs to come and sit on the throne.