David Stern on Acts 1:6-9

The beginning of the book of Acts records a brief, yet incredibly important exchange between Jesus and his disciples, just before His ascension:

So when [the disciples] had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-9 (ESV)

David Stern succinctly points out that Jesus’ answer to his disciples question tells us more than what we may initially read:

“… there is a different point which many Christians need to learn from Yeshua’s answer, namely, that God will indeed restore self-rule to Israel. There is an ancient, widespread and pernicious Christian teaching that the Church is the “New” or “Spiritual” Israel, having replaced the Jews as God’s people. In this view — known variously as Replacement theology. Covenant theology. Kingdom Now theology, Dominionism, Reconstructionism and (in England) Restorationism — God’s promises to Israel were nullified when “the Jews” refused to accept Jesus (never mind that all the first believers were Jews). This false theology, impugning the character of God by suggesting that he will welch on his promises, has provided apparent justification for many antisemitic acts in the Church. It also lies behind most Christian protestations that the present-day regathering of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is without theological or biblical significance.

Yeshua’s answer to his disciples’ question as to whether he will now restore self-rule to Israel is, “You don’t need to know the dates or the times; the Father has kept these under his own authority.” From this we learn, contrary to the teaching of Replacement Theology, that the kingdom certainly will be restored to Israel. The only question is when, and that is not presently ours to know.” 1Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 216

References   [ + ]

1. Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 216

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