The Church Age: Part 9 of 16—Rightly Dividing The Word Of God

Acts 1:6-7

“Lord, will You at this time RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.”

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Jesus’ love for His people didn’t stop with His death.  After He rose from the dead, He continued reaching out to them.  In the opening scripture, they ask Him a very revealing question.

Revealing Question.

As you know, Jesus’ Father raised Him from the dead on the third day. During the next 40 days before He returned to Heaven, He was seen by many people.  At one point, He was seen more than 500 people at one time in His resurrected form.

As He stood on the Mount of Olives, just before ascending to His Father, BODILY mind you, the disciples asked Him the question in the verse above.  You can see what was still on their minds: The VISIBLE, or millennial, kingdom, which we discussed in part 8.

They were laser focused on the idea of Jesus setting up a physical kingdom here on earth.  They had no idea, not even an inkling, about what Jesus intended to establish here on this earth; the greatest institution ever built in the history of the world:  The Church.  That revelation was exclusively given to the Apostle Paul.

Exclusionary Thinking.

Amazingly, none of the disciples who actually walked, talked, ate, slept and lived with Jesus for three years, understood anything of God’s global vision; not at first anyway. It took a long time for them to even begin to wrap their heads around it.  Why?

Because Jewish people were quite exclusionary in their thinking.  They believed that the Messiah was only for Israel.  They didn’t understand that Jesus came to save THE WHOLE WORLD. In their minds, Gentiles were like dogs, so the concept of them getting saved was completely foreign to them.

At this point in time they were thinking, now that the worst was over, that Jesus would set up His visible earthly kingdom.  After all, He had just conquered death itself!  But He told them that  it was not appointed for them to know “The times and the seasons” which God had put under His Own authority.

Another Chance.

Before the cross while He traveled about, preaching, teaching, healing, and blessing, the Jewish people were witness to THE MOST AMAZING THINGS, Miracles such as the world has never seen, either before or since. Yet still they did not recognize their Messiah. He was rejected.  He made the above statement because Israel was to be given another chance–post resurrection–to recognize and accept Him.

Tongues of fire at Pentecost

Pentecost.

Fast forward now to the Day of Pentecost. That day, the Holy Spirit came in like a mighty rushing wind, filling the upper room where they were gathered. All 120 men and women, seated in the upper room, were supercharged, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and came out speaking tongues.  Peter, the one who denied Him three times,  preached the greatest and most powerful sermon of his entire life.  3,000 people were saved that day, ALL JEWISH!

In the early part of the book of Acts, Peter preached two sermons.  He, like Jesus, also reached out to his fellow Jews.  He never got angry with them or called them rebellious. Instead, he honored them by saying, “You men of Israel.”  Through him, God was giving them another chance to accept their Messiah!

He did, however, say to them, “You murdered the Prince of Life,” but softened his remark by adding, “I know that it was through ignorance that you did it, even as your rulers.”  In so saying, like Jesus before him, he also put them under the Trespass Offering, which covers sins of which you are unaware.

(For more on the Tresspass offering, you may follow the link below:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/the-five-offerings-of-leviticus-part-9-of-10-the-trespass-offering-asham-אָשָׁם/)

We Are All Guilty.
But…..lest anyone feel like pointing fingers at the Jews, remember this:  The Gentiles are complicit here, too.  It was at the hands of the Romans, after all, that the actual deed of crucifying Jesus was done.  NOT A SINGLE ONE OF US HAVE CAUSE TO BOAST.  We are ALL there. We are ALL responsible. We are ALL guilty.

After that revelation, he {Peter} said, as Jesus did, “Repent and be baptized and God will send THE TIMES OF RESTITUTION.”

What are the “Times of restitution?”  THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM, of course, when everything will be restored to Israel!  Then in the very next line he says, “And God will send Jesus Christ.”

What did he mean?  If they repented and accepted Jesus, He would have split the clouds at that very moment in time and returned BODILY.  More importantly, if their leadership, through Peter’s preaching, said “Baruchaba baShem Adonai:  Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord,” the second coming would have happened then and there!

Baruch haBa BaShem Adonai!
Jesus told them they would have to say those words in order for them to see His face again. Sadly, from that day to this, they are still in unbelief. They have yet to cry out those words to Him.

Then, in 1948, The Jewish people returned “Rose from the dead, “ as it were, returned to their land, and became a nation once again.  They remain largely in unbelief today, still under temporary blindness.

This momentous event was prophesied in the scriptures, centuries before.

Right now, even TODAY, if they were to say the above words, He would split the clouds and return!

Persecution Of The Church Begins.

Getting back to Peter, as you know, He preached on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved. Considering the total census in country at the time, it was a drop in the bucket; barely a remnant.

Immediately afterward, the Pharisees and Sadducees arrested Peter and dragged in front of their tribunal.  They demanded to know how the lame man got healed in Acts 3:11.

Again he doesn’t call them rebels but honors them as the elders and leaders of Israel.  Thus began the persecution of the Church.

Peter answered their question and said to them, “Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” (Acts 4:10).

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Even though he didn’t say it, the Jews aren’t the only ones who were complicit. We are all guilty.  What did the elders and leaders do?  They rejected Jesus AGAIN.  

Up to this point they have had a chance to accept their Messiah: a) during His earthly ministry, b) after His resurrection, and c) through Peter’s teaching. Three chances…..and three times they rejected Him.  So what did God do?

Join me for part 10 of Rightly Dividing The Word Of God where we will discuss how God shifted gears once again and TURNED BACK TO THE GENTILES:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/god-shifts-gears-part-10-of-16-rightly-dividing-the-word-of-god/

 

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