We recently received the following excellent and important question about Acts 1:6. We have removed all private, personal information, but wanted to share this good question and our response.
Dear Brethren and all persons concerned:
My name is R. M……..and with the aid of your web-site and your fine articles; I have become a preterist (….and happier than ever). I want to take this moment, again, to thank you and all those involved for all the good work and for all the good articles; they have answered most….. if not all my questions.
There is one question that I need your help and assist with…I read this comment at a Christian web-site and it states: "If Jesus Christ spent 40 days teaching the apostles about the Kingdom of God, they must have learned every tiny facet of it. Therefore, the question in ACTS 1:6 couldn’t have been a stupid one, as many "scholars" contend. In fact, the question, "Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel" was, in every respect, a valid one.
I feel that all prophesy has been fullfilled but I am curious as to why a/the disciple would ask this question [ about the kingdom of Israel] ? I understand you are quite busy but please give me a little quidance about this statement, please.
A friend in Christ>>
Don K. Preston responds:
Hey, R.M. …your question is a very good one, and one that a lot of good students struggle with. Please allow me to offer a few comments.
1.) One of the most common assumptions among both amillennial and postmillennial writers is that the disciples still had a mistaken, i.e. nationalistic concept of the kingdom in Acts 1, and so, they were asking about the re-establishment of that kind of kingdom. According to those who believe the disciples were still confused, it is then claimed that Jesus (tacitly perhaps) corrected the disciples. This is patently false, it seems to me. There is not one word of "correction" in the Lord’s response! All he tells them is, "It is not for you to know the times and the season." He addresses a time issue, not a "nature" issue! To assume that his response is a rebuffing of their question is misguided.
2.) In actuality, Jesus’ answer directly shows that the establishment of the kingdom was truly at hand! I recently posted an article on my website, demonstrating the imminence of the kingdom as expressed in Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit. In short, the disciples asked about the establishment of the kingdom. Jesus told them to go into the city and wait for the out-pouring of the Spirit. Yet, the out-pouring of the Spirit, in the O. T. was for the establishment of the kingdom (Isaiah 32; Joel 2; Ezekiel 37, etc.). Therefore, Jesus’ promise of the Spirit is proof that the kingdom was truly at hand. No postponement, no failure, no delay. My article can be read here: http://www.eschatology.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=571&Itemid=61
3.) Our premillennial friends insist that the disciples still had the concept of a national restoration, and that Jesus did not rebuke them, therefore, that is the kind of kingdom Jesus was to establish. However, this is false, because if you will remember, in Luke 24:24f, Jesus’ disciples did fail to understand the scriptures! They thought Jesus was to establish the kind of kingdom that the Jews offered him in John 6, but that Jesus rejected: "We thought it was he who was to redeem Israel"! What was Jesus’ response to the disciples who believed– like my premillennial friends today– that Jesus’ death had foiled their kingdom hopes? Jesus called them ignorant of the scriptures! Jesus said it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to enter his kingdom. Since Jesus’ death was part of God’s kingdom plan, there is simply no way that Jesus death could have postponed those kingdom plans! Everything was right on time, just as planned!
Read Luke 24:24f. To me, one of the great tragedies of the day is the modern millennial view that Jesus’ death postponed the kingdom– as Jesus’ disciples believed. And yet, as just noted, Jesus said that this belief was a failure to understand the scriptures! In my book Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, I demonstrate that Jesus’ passion– which was for the purpose of putting away of sin and for the making of the atonement foretold by Daniel 9– belonged to the Seventy Week countdown. But, here is the deal.
Seventy weeks were determined to make the atonement and put away sin.
Jesus’ passion was for the making of the atonement and the putting away of sin (in the book I prove that the parousia would consummate and perfect what was begun at the Cross).
But, Jesus’ passion was after the 69th Week (Daniel 9:26).
Therefore, Jesus’ passion was in the 70th Week!
This proves that there was not postponement, no delay.
The disciples in Luke 24– and modern millennialists are now– the ones that did not understand that Jesus’ death was part of the crucial prophetic countdown.
4.) I would suggest also that since Luke 24 tells us, three times! (v. 27, 32, 45)— that Jesus opened the eyes of the disciples to understand the scriptures, coupled with the fact that they spent 40 days with him, being instructed out of those divinely explained scriptures, that the disciples did not fail to understand! They got it!
So, the disciples were not confused, nor mistaken. They were divinely instructed, supernaturally enlightened, and taught about the proper nature of the kingdom, and they now realized that it was at hand. Jesus confirmed that by telling them to go into Jerusalem to wait for the Spirit!
I have produced a 52 lesson series entitled Acts and the Restoration of Israel. In this exciting study, I show how Luke’s work is focused on the proper understanding of the fulfillment of God’s promises to restore Israel. This is one of the most exciting and rewarding studies that I have ever done. I think it will help you to better understand the disciple’s question also. That work is available in MP3, and can be ordered from the website.
Thanks so much for your good question. I hope that this helps just a bit.
For His Truth, and in His Grace,
Don K. Preston
Don K. Preston