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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Fall Edition 1996

When Does Christ Restore The Kingdom To Israel?

"Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6) Such was the last question the disciples were ever privileged to ask their earthbound Master, Saviour, Friend.
   
    Notice the concern for Israel and the kingdom, but be careful here! What pops into we moderns' minds, may not necessarily have been the thing that was uppermost in theirs. We like to assume that the disciples are here querying Jesus about his coming "millennial reign" and the attendant political and/or military set-up that will be the glory of earthly Jerusalem for another thousand years. We are premillennialists, of course, and, because of our biases, naturally we would think that—I mean, where else can you find Jesus saying anything at all about such things?
   
    But we needn't be so hasty in granting a faulty preconception. Wisdom lies against the fact that the disciples were envisioning the same "kingdom restored to Israel" that our Darbyite dispensational  premillennial programming dictates that we imagine.
   
     Consider the evidence: In the context of Acts chapter one, Jesus had only momentarily spoken to his disciples of the "things that pertain to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3)  Now we have no record of what Jesus said about the specifics of the kingdom here, but we can safely assume that it would not have been inconsistent with what he taught at large about the kingdom elsewhere. It is not likely that Jesus would have contradicted, in Acts chapter one, what had had consistently taught about the kingdom elsewhere, particularly the parables of Matthew chapter thirteen, where we have recorded what Jesus did teach explicitly about his messianic kingdom.
   
    Now nowhere in Matthew chapter thirteen does Jesus intimate that a thousand year "earthly millennial reign" is to be inserted between his second coming and the universal, eschatological judgment. We know how dispensationalists interpret (rather distort)  the kingdom parables of Matthew thirteen, friends, but I have never found the answer to my question: where does the New Testament teach us that Christ's messianic kingdom has ever been postponed? If you have the answer, please let me know.
   
    So what does Acts 1:6 really mean?
   
    It means this. The disciples are simply asking Jesus this: "Master, will the rest of our countrymen accept you as the promised Messiah of all Israel now, as we have? Surely now that you have manifested your glory by rising from the dead the rest of our nation will gladly accept you and be saved, too, won't they? God will surely cause that to happen now, won't he?" (our paraphrase of Acts 1:6).
   
   Jesus cautioned his disciples against trying to be predestinarian (Acts 1:7). Then He gave them this good advice: "I am telling you that you will never know until you witness to them first. Starting in Jerusalem tell everyone the facts that you now know and believe about me" (our paraphrase of Acts 1:8).
   
    Thus it is that Christ received by faith through the infusion of the Holy Spirit--Christ in a pure and perfect heart--is Israel's promised messianic kingdom restored (Luke 1:68-75; Acts 2:38-39; 3:19-21). Such a glorious prospect is what one classic holiness writer of a by-gone day called, "The Inheritance Restored."  
   
    The kingdom--true holiness of heart and life, inwrought by redemption through His Blood--was restored to Israel on the day of Pentecost.   Friends, whether present-day lost-in-sin racial Jews will hear this truth, or whether they forbear, the Christian church's witness to the present realization of Christ's promised messianic kingdom in the article of a full and free redemption from sin still goes on (Acts
28:30-31).
   
    Nobody that I know of is teaching that racial Jews are now excluded from God's kingdom of salvation!  Many of them are just too full of carnal pride and self-righteousness, however, to humble themselves enough to enter it.
   
    They are not the only ones with those issues, either.
   
    Now what about you? And what about me?

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