“So when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” -Acts 1:6-8
You have undoubtedly asked the Lord when He will restore and establish righteousness on the earth and, at the same time, dispel the entire culture’s depraved paganism now overflowing this world like a flood. The disciples are no different than us. They have spent time with a risen Christ, who has personally, with many proofs, broken the bonds of death and displayed to them a world-overcoming power.
They have languished and suffered under the forceful dictates of powerful Roman oppressors from their birth. They have felt the terrible persecution at every turn, just as today many Syrian and Iraqi Christian martyrs, Nigerian and Egyptian persecuted believers, and Christ followers in most every country in the world, including here, suffer at the hands of pernicious and persistent enemies of their Savior. Now they see Jesus’ promised but future victory over their physical predicament. So, they rightly ask Him now, as you do, “How long, O Lord? How long?”
His answer to them acknowledges their ignorance of God’s calendar. No one knows but their Heavenly Father. Other than spring, summer, winter, and fall, the “times and seasons” in Jesus’ answer refer to an introduction of at least a two-millennium age in which they and all who follow are to testify to the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world. A diverse universal church encompassing every nation, race, and language of humanity will be built by the Lord Jesus and His servants. He here gives a task to them and to each and every follower of the Lamb, including you and me: “You will be my witnesses” throughout the entire world, beginning at home and spreading abroad to encompass the whole.
Not until that task is completed by God’s determining omniscience will a new heaven and earth be permanently established. The kingdom of Jesus will then be fulfilled physically and spiritually – a kingdom in which you will one day live, rightly called “Home!”
Jesus answered this question and punctuated His answer with His ascension. A few days after, He sent His Holy Spirit, as promised, with more signs and wonders. They not only received His calling, command, and instruction, but they were courageously willing to, consequently, sacrifice their lives!
Just as the Creator set the sun and the moon to rule our days and nights and also our year of four seasons, so Jesus’ answer and tasking defines this long season from His ascension to His return. Peter writes, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” You and I find ourselves most probably near the end of this season of God’s calendar. Take to heart Jesus’ words then, “Behold, I am coming quickly!” Make these words dwell in your mind and set the activity and attitude of your remaining days.
God’s Word may have been written over centuries and completed nearly two millennia ago, but it is still as fresh, relevant, and powerful as when it was first written. It is as though Jesus is speaking these same things to you as to His first century disciples. This is exactly the nature of His Word. It lives because He lives!
‘’Bring near Thy great salvation, Thou Lamb for sinners slain; fill up the roll of Thine elect, then take Thy power and reign. Appear, Desire of Nations, Thy exiles long for home. Show in the heavens Thy promised sign; Thou Prince and Savior, come.
(Fourth verse of Henry Alford’s hymn, “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand,” 1867)
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