Acts 1:7

Saturday, 2 October 2021

And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. Acts 1:7

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The question pressed upon Christ Jesus by the apostles has been submitted, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The answer He will give to that question is telling. Of all of the answers He could have given, the answer is direct in one way, but indirect in another. It is direct enough that the reader should not make particular errors concerning it, but it is indirect enough to allow for the future to remain completely open to the timing of the event to occur.

Luke records, “And He said to them.” It is the word of the Lord to His disciples concerning their pressing question. As such, it is an answer sufficient to fully express to them what they need to know, which is, “It is not for you to know.”

If the restoration of the kingdom, of which they had asked about, was not ever going to come, then He would have said something like, “You have misunderstood Scripture. There will be no kingdom restored to Israel.” Or, He may have said, “The kingdom that you are anticipating is now to be fulfilled spiritually by the church.” He didn’t hint at any such notion.

The reason for this is obvious. He had already told them, just a short time before, that Israel had a long difficult road ahead of her –

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Luke 21:20-24

The disciples failed to understand what would occur in the days ahead concerning their people and their nation. This is what Luke will detail in the chapters and verses ahead. The lack of a direct answer concerning this matter clearly indicates that a kingdom will be restored to Israel, but that the event would not come “at this time” as they had anticipated. In this, Replacement Theology fails.

With this understood, Jesus continues with His answer. It was not for the disciples (meaning any that follow after them as well) to know “times or seasons.” Jesus carefully leaves off definite articles, stating the words in an indefinite manner. The Greek words are –

chronos – this expresses time in sequence (think of a chronometer or the idea of chronology). It is a succession of moments that occur as the stream of time. In reference to God, it is that time that has been allocated by Him for events (such as a person’s life, or the time of Israel’s punishment) to occur.

kairos – it is a word coming from kara, or “head,” that speaks of things “coming to a head.” As such, it is a designated time, a favorable moment, a particular time, and so on. For example, in the harvest cycle, there is a time for the harvest to come. Thus, it is a season in which that occurs.

Jesus tells the apostles that such things are not for them to know. Paul uses the same words, with the articles, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1 –

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.”

Paul had just described the rapture at the end of 1 Thessalonians 4. He then went on to detail the Day of the Lord, of which the coming of “the man of sin” would also be revealed (as he details in 2 Thessalonians 2). It is these events that Paul specifically refers to as “the times and the seasons,” noting that they would come as a “thief in the night.” As such, it means that no one will know when they will occur and that believers are always to be ready for them.

As Jesus said this, and as Paul repeats it concerning both the rapture and the Day of the Lord, anyone who claims that he knows the timing of these events is to be ignored. Predictive Rapture Theology fails.

Rather, these “times and seasons” are those “which the Father has put in His own authority.” Of the words te idia, or “the His own,” Vincent’s Word Studies states –

“Stronger than the simple possessive pronoun. The adjective means private, personal. Often used adverbially in the phrase κατ’ ἰδίαν, apart, privately.”

In other words, God has a timeline that is set, and we are not privy to it – either in the chronological sense or in the event occurrence sense. They personally belong to Him. Jesus has spoken this. As such, it is thus an inviolable truth. Paul has repeated it concerning the rapture, the Day of the Lord, and the revealing of the antichrist. As such, we are to leave those matters to God and not attempt to interfere in them or “outsmart” Him.

Life application: Core doctrinal truths are confirmed or are revealed in this one verse. Israel as a nation is not through as far as God’s redemptive purposes are concerned. That is clearly and unambiguously stated elsewhere, but it is confirmed by Jesus’ response. As such, the church has not replaced Israel. This is clearly seen later, such as in Paul’s words of Romans 9-11.

Further, the Lord has purposefully told His disciples (and thus us who follow in succession to them in church history) that the events of life and of redemptive history belong to God the Father. As such, we are to leave those things in God’s hands and accept His will concerning them.

What is implied now, but which will be stated explicitly in the coming verse, is that there is a job to be done and we are to get out and do it. Therefore, let us do it to the glory of the Lord who has so commissioned us.

Lord God, help us to be careful as we anxiously await the events to come that have been revealed in Your word. Christ Jesus has told us that the timing of those events belongs to You alone. Therefore, may we accept this truth and not get misled by those who claim to have secret insights into what You have kept private. Instead, may we be about Your business, working to bring others the good news of Your gospel. Amen.