Sharing the Word: Final Instructions
It was some forty days after the resurrection of Jesus that he and his disciples, now declared apostles, were on the Mount of Olives. “And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6 NASB)? The kingdom of God was near in the Person of Messiah, but the Cross must come first if man was to have relationship with God. Thus the question posed to Christ was understandable. These men knew from the Hebrew Scriptures that Messiah must suffer as a guilt offering for the sins of the people in order for the nation to be restored and cleansed to its former position as God’s messenger of the one true God. The Cross was now history, Christ having died, been buried and resurrected the third day all according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:4). All that had transpired but what now? Was not the kingdom therefore the next event on God’s calendar for Israel? It was and still is, however Jesus’ answer to the question posed by the apostles reveals that which was never addressed and known to the writers of the Old Testament. “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8 NASB). These Jewish apostles were to take the gospel throughout the world. No longer was the mode of spreading the message of the true God and the redemptive work of Christ on the Cross for the sins of mankind limited to that of nations coming to Israel, but rather, the gospel was to go out from the land throughout the entire earth. Furthermore, such a commission required divine power that had not been previously manifested in the Old Testament. John the Baptist when asked if he was the Christ replied … “John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16 NASB). Jesus repeated a portion of John’s words and ten days later after His ascension, the Holy Spirit came to indwell every believer. “And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5 NASB). Note carefully Jesus’ words. He quoted only a portion of John’s prophecy, for a mystery, a secret never revealed before in Scripture was to occur — the Church would be born on the day of Pentecost. The kingdom being restored to Israel would be delayed for an undetermined period of time as the Body of Christ, the Church, is formed until Jesus’ words are fulfilled and the Church is raptured … “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” John 14:1-3 NASB). Then at Christ’s Second Advent, He comes with the “fire” of which John spoke. He cleanses and restores Israel and establishes His kingdom on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.