Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 17
ACTS CHAPTER 1: 6-11
Now in our last lesson we studied about the Kingdom that was referred to in Acts 1:6. We will spend some more time on this very important subject and how it relates to the disciples before they began their ministry in the Book of Acts.
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, `Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?'” This was a valid question as the resurrected Lord had been talking to them about this future Kingdom for the past forty days.
“To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs (of His Resurrection), being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:”
Many times I’ve said that the Kingdom is the Kingdom is the Kingdom. It’s one and the same. So these eleven men are hung up on the Kingdom and there is a good reason. Go back to Matthew Chapter 19, and I trust you will be able to see as I did many years ago that this is something that cannot take place in Heaven. It is something that has never taken place before, so it’s still future. But Jesus speaks of it in His earthly ministry.
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, `Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?'”
Now Peter wasn’t talking about his salvation, he knew he already had that. But rather what are we going to get as a reward? And that was a valid question. Paul deals with rewards in I Corinthians Chapter 3. Jesus was straight forward with His answer:
“And Jesus said unto them, `Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me (His twelve disciples, excluding Judas), in the regeneration (when things are put back like they were originally) when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory (He has set up His Kingdom), ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging (ruling) the twelve tribes of Israel.'”
Isn’t that plain language? Now when I look at something like this, I have to remind myself that these twelve men were just as human as you and I. And when He told them that this was in their future, they didn’t just let it go in one ear and out the other. It stuck! And they haven’t forgotten it. What do you suppose is on their mind over here on the Mount of Olive in Acts. That very same thing. So they want to know if He is ready to put them in their respective places of authority over the twelve tribes. Are we ready to take up our thrones? I can see that so vividly. And in verse 7 does He say, “Look fellows, whoever gave you the idea of an earthly Kingdom? Is that what Jesus said? No. He doesn’t refute their idea of a coming Kingdom. The only thing He said was:
“And he said unto them, `It is not for you know the times or the season, which the Father hath put in his own power.'”
The fact that it’s coming. Yes. But when? It’s not for you to know. You remember they asked him during His earthly ministry and He told them only the Father knows the time, not even the angels know. God the Son didn’t know. But only the Father. I have an explanation for that, but I won’t explain it now. But there was a reason Jesus could say that without lying. But nevertheless, God knows the exact hour, day, and year that these prophetic things are going to happen. And, yes, The King is coming one day. He’s going to set up that Kingdom in Jerusalem, and God knows the hour. But He tells the eleven that it’s not for them to know. Why? Let’s go back in Scripture and see the reason that Jesus could, in fairness, even though I’m sure He knew from His God-side, tell the disciples it’s not for them to know. Turn to Genesis Chapter 21. God is still dealing with Abraham in this passage. Come down to verse 33:
“And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.”
The Hebrew is “El Olam.” This is another one of the names of Deity. And “Olam” in regular usage could either mean from “everlasting to everlasting” or `hide’ or `hideth.’ And we have looked at some of these before. For example in Psalms, “Why hideth thou thyself from us.” So what does the name really imply? God is eternal, He’s timeless, but He is also the God of time. And since He is the God of time He can hide in time things He wants to keep hidden and reveal them when He gets ready to reveal them. That’s why I maintain the only way you can understand Scripture is to get a concept of the progressive revelation. He doesn’t tells us everything here in the Book of Genesis, but reveals things as we come up through time. Turn to Deuteronomy Chapter 29. I think Moses, the writer here, puts it so clearly by inspiration. And there are several more verses in Scripture telling us the same thing. When you get to Paul’s letters, the word he uses to tell us it had been kept secret is `mystery,’ which comes from the Greek word `musterion.’
“The secret things (God’s secret things) belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed (no longer a secret, but must be believed) belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
As you come through Scripture you find that, even as the prophets wrote, they had no way of understanding what they wrote, because God hadn’t revealed it in such a way that they could. Now to Psalms Chapter 2 since we are talking about things that God kept secret. We’ll review this chapter again, where the question’s asked:
Why do the heathen (or non-Jew) rage and the people (Israel) imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth (the Gentile) set themselves, and the rulers (Israel) take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,”
That’s exactly what happened at His Crucifixion. The Jewish leaders demanded it but they didn’t want to carry it out, so they went and had Rome do the dirty work. Well, it had to be that way. We know Israel stoned their own people for religious infractions. They could have stoned Jesus. But that wasn’t the death He had to die. I teach that when Jesus came in His earthly ministry He made Israel a valid offer to be their King and to set up the Kingdom.
And the question always comes up, “What if Israel would have embraced Him as their King and He would have set up the Kingdom before He was crucified?” Well, I don’t have any trouble answering that at all, because the Scripture tells me, “With God all things are possible.” So had Israel accepted The King and Kingdom, God would have brought about the Crucifixion one way or another because it had to happen. He had to die that sacrificial death. There was no escaping that. But of course He knew when He made that valid offer that Israel wouldn’t accept it, but you see Israel didn’t know that. Israel still acted on their own free will. And that’s the way mankind does today, and like nations do today. Israel responded to the offer by rejecting it, and by rejecting it brought about that which had to happen for our Salvation, and that was the Crucifixion. Here we have it so plainly that Jew and Gentile together had to be part and parcel together of His Crucifixion. Now let’s move on to verse 3:
“Let us break their (The Godhead) bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh (at man’s foolishness); the LORD shall have them in derision.”
Now in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus uses the word `perplexity,’ and that’s the same meaning as derision. In other words, there’s such confusion over their political, social and economy problems that they don’t know which way to turn. Now that is why, between the Crucifixion and Peter’s offer of the Kingdom in the Book of Acts, there was again that time period in-between when that derision could have taken place. And the nations of the then-known world could have come to the same perplexity where we are today, and the end-thing could have been brought about. Since Israel was rejecting their Messiah, everything was pushed out into the future including the derision. We are seeing this today in our own time. I don’t think that there is a person living that watches the news that has any intelligence (even though they know nothing of the Scriptures), that hasn’t come to the conclusion that the world is in a horrible dilemma.
We have missionary friends who have been working in Rwanda and all of that is beyond our comprehension. Pray for them because they are believers in the midst of that. They told us of one congregation that had been massacred. So we know the world is in derision. Now verse 5. And here comes the order in outline form, if you please, of the Old Testament prophetic program. Here it is:
” Then shall he (God) speak unto them (the nations of the world) in his (not love, mercy and grace, but rather in) wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” God is going to pour out all of the wrath and vexation that He can possibly place during what we know is the Tribulation. And that is described graphically in the Book of Revelation. Then immediately following the Tribulation in verse 5, what is the next event?
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” And then look at what The King will accomplish.
“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, thou art my Son (this is God the Father speaking to God the Son), this day have I begotten thee.” And remember the begotten is the Resurrection. Now verses 8-12:
“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Now that’s speaking of His reign and rule here on the earth. And now verse 9 backs up a little bit to the Tribulation.
“Thou shalt break them (the nations of the world) with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” This will culminate at Armageddon.
“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”
“Kiss the Son (some people will say that the Son isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament. But you can see He is) lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled by a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
I would like to refer to the timeline again, all the way from Adam at 4004 B.C. Then about 2500 B.C. we had Noah’s flood. And then at about 2000 B.C. we have the call of Abraham. So that means the first 2000 years of human history take place in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. And from Abraham all the way to the Cross is another 2000 years. And in those 2000 years God was only dealing with the Nation of Israel (Jew only with few exceptions). There were the exceptions of Nineveh, Rahab, Ruth, the Syrian General Naaman, the Canaanite women and the Roman centurion; and that was about all the Gentiles He dealt with in that 2000 year period of time.
And Psalms 2 says that after they have rejected Him, Jew and Gentile in consort, they put Him to death. And then Psalms 110 tells us, “THE LORD said unto my Lord, `Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.'” And this is His ascension. But so far as Psalms 2 is concerned, immediately after the Crucifixion and rejection there would come that undetermined period of time where there would be a derision of the nation, and then would come the 7 years of Tribulation which is in the Book of Daniel. And then The King would return and set up His Kingdom. Now that is Psalms 2 in outline. And that is all the Old Testament knows. Now, what’s missing? The Age of Grace – the Church. It isn’t in here. Why? Because it’s a secret, held in the mind of God, and it will be a secret until God reveals it to the Apostle Paul. And that is why I’m constantly telling people don’t look for the Rapture or the Church in the Four Gospels, or the Old Testament. Remember He’s only dealing here with the Nation of Israel. As Christ ascended, Israel kept on rejecting the offer of The King and the Kingdom that Peter presents to them. So God moved all this out into the future. And He put in an undetermined period of time that no one know when it’s going to end. And then the seven years will come in, Christ will return, and then The King will set up His Kingdom and all of these promises will be fulfilled. I can’t put it any simpler than that.
Understand, as we go through the early part of Acts, Peter and the other eleven are going to operate only on what God has revealed. And that is the Old Testament program. Peter doesn’t know anything about the Gospel of Grace that Christ is going to reveal to Paul at a later date. Peter has no concept of God turning to the Gentiles for the next 1900 + years. None of them do. And it wasn’t their fault. God didn’t expect them to, because He’s been holding it a secret, and is giving Israel every opportunity to yet repent of what they had done to their Messiah. As we move on through the early chapters of Acts, you will see it if you look at it with open eyes.
Peter was only talking to the Jew, not the Gentiles as so many believe. In fact, I’ll be showing you that 7 or 8 years after the Cross when Peter goes up to the house of Cornelius and he takes six Jews with him and they see the evidence of Gentiles being saved in Acts Chapter 10 verse 45, the Scripture says they were `astonished.‘ Why? Because this had never happened before. And people can’t get that through their head, they think that somehow Gentiles have been saved if not at the time of John the Baptist, at least from Pentecost. But they weren’t, it’s all Jewish. And for a Gentile to be saved, it was an astonishment. Let me show you one more passage. In Chapter 10 Peter goes to the house of Cornelius, but in Chapter 11 verse 2 look what happens. We will be coming to this and study it in more detail in the weeks ahead. Now get the setting. Peter and these six Jews had come back to Jerusalem from Cornelius’ house.
“And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision (Jewish believers) contended with him (they put him on the spot). Saying, `Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.'” Would they have said that if Gentiles had been saved all along? Why of course not.