By Ken Blue
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6.
Jesus spent 3 ½ teaching His disciples about the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the things that would transpire before its establishment on earth. He explained secrets to them about the Kingdom of Heaven, which were hidden from other. (Matt.13). During those 3 ½ years, not one sermon was preached by any follower of Christ about His death, burial, and resurrection.
When we follow the references, and the reaction of His followers, it is clear that no one expected His death, and resurrection. His death dashed all their hopes of the Kingdom. However, after repeated appearances, and many infallible proofs, His followers found a new born faith and hope that the Kingdom would be reestablished in Israel. Thus the queston.
That new hope tells us volumes. Their question in Acts 1:6 should be an open revelation to the reader. I ask these pastors for their insight on the passage. Below are their responses.
Pastor Al Hughes: THE QUESTION OF RESTORING THE KINGDOM (Acts 1:6-8).
I. After being tutored by “the King” for 40 days on the subject of the Kingdom, the disciples logically expected that NOW would be the time for the Kingdom to be restored.
A. The Jews LOST the kingdom back in Jeremiah 22:28-30 (approx. 606 BC).
B. The disciples were not wrong to ask this question since Daniel prophesied of this (2:44; 7:18, 27). Jesus was to sit on the throne of David (Luke 1:32). Jesus also told them to expect the Kingdom (Mt. 19:28).
II. “Hold the phone…” (v. 7). Jesus did not deny that the Kingdom would be restored. He simply did not disclose the timing of when the kingdom would be restored.
A. The reason he did not tell them WHEN the kingdom would be restored was because up to Acts 7 it could have come anytime the nation accepted it.
B. Jesus was waiting on how the Jews would respond to the OFFER of the Kingdom. It is only after the Jewish Sanhedrin rejected Stephen’s message that God postpones the Kingdom.
III. In the meantime⎯THE COMMISSION OF THE DISCIPLES. Notice the progression:
A. Jerusalem (Orthodox religious Jews)
B. Judaea (common Jews)
C. Samaria (half-breed Jews)
D. Uttermost part of the earth (Gentiles)
Missionary Mitch Muller: I think the 12 had just cause to expect Jesus to establish His kingdom immediately. There was nothing (in their minds) that should hinder its establishment.
They certainly had scripture to back their beliefs. Psalms 89:35-36 (vs. 29): Jeremiah 23:5,6
In addition to many other statements in scripture (hundreds of references to a literal kingdom) the 12 had just finished 40 days of lessons from the Lord. Luke 24 says that he has opened their “understanding that they might understand the scriptures” . The Lord had expounded to them “the things concerning himself” and this includes His reign from Jerusalem on the throne of David (Matthew 19).
In Luke 1 starting in verse 67 Zacharias begins to prophesy and ties the promises to David as fulfillment in the birth of Christ. Zacharias understood clearly that that involved deliverance, national restoration and a political kingdom. In verse 73 he says the oath which he sware to our father Abraham. He mentions dwelling in their land in peace from their enemies, obviously subdued by the promised King.
This question by the 12 in Acts 1:6 is not a foreign idea to them as Jews and neither was it a question of ignorance on their part. Without the personal teaching of the Lord they were still well versed enough in the scriptures to understand that at a future time the Throne of David would be established. Ezekiel spends several chapters on the subject; Jeremiah speaks much of the Kingdom. Daniel and many Psalms detail the kingdom.
The question is actually a very logical question on their part. They had received their commission, they had heard the Lord speak of future reign from Jerusalem and they had a clear understanding that they would play a role in the kingdom.
To charge the 12 with faulty understanding only reveals the agenda of denying a literal interpretation of prophetic events and is an underhanded attempt at bolstering the false doctrines of A -millennialism and post -millennialism. If the 12 were ignorant and foolish in this question then we are to assume that the Bible speaks nothing to a literal earthly rule of the Messiah. But, and if it is a question of logic and anticipation based upon all the information they had received not only in the last 3 years but the last 40 days, then we have only to conclude that the scriptures do indeed teach a literal, political and earthy rule of Jesus from Jerusalem with the 12 Apostles in authority.
Pastor William Bailey: Acts 1:6 always seemed to be the natural question for any Jew -especially the apostles since He often discoursed on the 2 coming kingdoms -Matthew 24; Luke 17; John 3 – not sure ur thoughts on Christ’s standing in acts 7:56 but dr psr does credit to the passage – hypothetical so not worth being dogmatic but I take his meaning and agree yet as a hypothetical case don’t get wound up over it . Afraid I’m not much help may God bless u – looking for that world where our faith will become sight!
Pastor John Cook: As far as your question on Acts 1:6, I think that the disciples, like most Jews, were expecting the Lord to set up His Kingdom when He came. They seem to think that now that the cross and the resurrection was behind them it was time for Jesus to do what He had come to do. I think that they were hoping that He would set it up even though he had told them that He must leave in order for the Holy Ghost to come.
They seem to have the same problem with the Kingdom that they had with the resurrection until it actually had been proven to them by our Lord’s appearance.
We are very much like them in that the promises that the Lord makes we want Him to do it now not later. They wanted the kingdom to be set up and thought that they Lord would do so now that all was paid for.
The Disciples had every reason to expect that the Kingdom of Heaven might, and could now be established on earth. They had preached it for 3 ½ years, and He had spent 40 days in His post resurrection teaching about the Kingdom. The King was now alive! So, what could cause its delay? He did not tell them that it would not be accepted by Israel. He left them with the answer that it was not for them to know. Had He told them the Kingdom would not be accepted, it would have ended and confused their hope and zeal. Thus they continue to offer it. God worked with them, but the Jews were adamant, and would not accept their message. It was at the death of Steven that God began to “cut Israel off.”
Therefore, the question in Acts 1:6 suggest that they knew nothing about the church, which is His body and was keep a “mystery” from before the foundation of the world. They were not confused, deceived, ignorant, nor misinformed. They were doing exactly what the “Great Commission” commanded them to do.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.