1. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, His disciples asked a question...
a. "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" - Ac 1:6
b. To which they were told it was not for them to know the times or seasons - Ac 1:7
2. Many commentaries suggest the disciples were mistaken regarding the kingdom...
a. That they were still looking for an earthly, political kingdom
b. That they still failed to appreciate the spiritual nature of the kingdom
[Yet Jesus did not correct them about the nature of the kingdom, only their concern about the timing. In fact, there are reasons to believe they were not mistaken about the nature of the kingdom...]
I. THE DISCIPLES' EDUCATION
A. DURING JESUS' MINISTRY...
1. They were given privileged instruction about the kingdom
a. They were given to know the mystery of the kingdom - Mk 4:10-11
b. The parables about the kingdom were privately explained to them - Mk 4:30-34
2. They heard Jesus speak openly about the nature of the kingdom
a. When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about the coming of the kingdom - Lk 17:20
b. How it would not come with observation, but would be "within you" - Lk 17:21
3. Jesus also told Pilate about the nature of the kingdom
a. That His kingdom was not of this world - Jn 18:36
b. That He was indeed a King - Jn 18:37
B. AFTER JESUS' RESURRECTION...
1. Jesus spoke of things concerning the kingdom of God for 40 days - Ac 1:3
3. He opened the apostles' understanding to comprehend the Scriptures - Lk 24:44-45
[It seems unlikely that with such opportunities to learn from the Master Teacher, the disciples were still mistaken about the nature of the kingdom. I prefer to think they properly understood about...]
II. THE RESTORED KINGDOM
A. PROMISED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT...
1. God promised David to establish his kingdom and throne forever - 2Sa 7:12-16
2. A promise reviewed in Psalms 89
3. Yet despite the divided kingdom, the captivity, etc., continued to be promised
c. Even after the restoration of Israel - Zech 6:12-13
B. ANNOUNCED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT...
1. By the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary - Lk 1:31-33
2. By Zacharias after the birth of John - Lk 1:68-70
3. By Peter in the first gospel sermon - Ac 2:30-36
4. By Jesus to the church in Philadelphia - Re 3:7
C. FURTHER OBSERVATIONS...
1. As announced by both Isaiah and Gabriel, Jesus would:
2. As proclaimed by Jesus and His apostles, His reign includes the Gentiles
a. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18
3. As explained by James, the Lord's half-brother...
4. The timing of its restoration began when Jesus...
b. To sit at God's right hand, over all principality, power, might, dominion - Ep 1:20-22
1. So the kingdom proclaimed by Jesus is a restored kingdom...
b. The fulfillment of promises made to David and Israel
b. In which a descendant of David now reigns over Israel
2. But the restored kingdom is even better; the reign of the Son of David is...
a. Not just over the house of Israel, but includes Gentiles as well!
b. Not limited to the land of Israel, but in heaven and on earth!
c. Not physical (ruling over bodies), but spiritual (reigning in the hearts)!
There were certainly things the disciples still had to learn about the kingdom (e.g., that Gentiles would not have to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses, cf. Ac 10,11,15); things about which the Holy Spirit would later guide them (Jn 16:12-13).
But instead of assuming the disciples were still confused about the nature of the kingdom, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether we might be the ones confused about the nature of the kingdom...
1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up [to heaven,] after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over [a period of] forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4 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; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;