Times Appointed Part 1
20th August 2009, mgh,hej
This Article: (4 Pages)
2) It was not for the Apostles to Know the Times of the Return
The Apostles were expecting that Yeshua (Jesus) would right then and there in 31AD begin the kingdom, however, he was leaving for a long time.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, “Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
And he said unto them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power. But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”. (Acts 1:6-8)
This does not say no-one is to know when the kingdom will come, rather that the apostles would not know its beginning. Note the specific question they ask is “will you at this time”, or in other words, “is it now?” Yeshua says the disciples are to be witnesses unto the end of the earth. In other words they will die before the kingdom. They will not see the time, it is therefore not for them to know the time of the return.
However, they preached about another time and season, which some of them did live to see. It is recorded in three gospel records, Matthew, Mark and Luke and it is repeated twice in Matthew.
This Generation to AD70
The disciples were told about a 'time and season', which they did preach as coming soon: that of the end of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem.
Behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you (Jerusalem) may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth,..
Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kill the prophets, and stones them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together,..and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:34-39)
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Matthew 24:34-36)
The Jewish ruling class, (the “heavens”) and the people (the “earth”) were totally removed by 70AD, with the last stand at Masada in 73AD. The disciples were told that though they would not know the exact day or hour, they could know for certain it was within their generation.
Peter, who knew he was not to be alive to see the kingdom, writes “the end of all things is at hand” (1Peter 4:7). As he wrote between 60 and 65AD, it is likely he meant the end of Jewish rule. Peter wrote,
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1Peter 4:17)
Peter could see that the generation was soon to be finished and the “house of God” was to be judged as Yeshua had told him,
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)
After the time of tribulation Peter and his generation experienced, the political “sun” in Jerusalem was extinguished and the religious “moon” was darkened with the end of the temple worship. It is this day when the sun would be darkened that is called “the day of the Lord” by Peter,
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens (Jewish rulers) shall pass away with a great noise (tumult), and the elements (the laws) shall melt with fervent heat, the earth (people) also and the works that are therein shall be burned up . (2Peter 3:10)
The end of Jerusalem in 70 AD was God's judgement and “the day of the Lord”. The leadership “passed away” with a great noise of war and all the people and their works were literally “burned up” in the fire. There will be another day when the non-Jewish ruling class or “heavens” shall pass away, but it was to first affect the 'house of God', the temple at Jerusalem (see Matthew 12:4, Hebrews 10:21), and the Jewish “heavens”.
Paul's letter to the Thessalonians shows the knowledge that “the day of the Lord” was coming in their day was well understood,
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them ..and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1Thess. 5:1-4).
From Yeshua's words at Olivet, this 'sudden destruction' is on Judea, and this 'day of the Lord' is one of judgement not redemption. True believers escape but are not removed. In the lead up to the destruction of Jerusalem the Jews gained a victory in 66AD and in the confusion of the year of four Emperors at the death of Nero they achieved peace and safety, briefly. Paul describes the events in Judea of 66-73AD.
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)
This may be one of the most misunderstood passages of the Bible. Paul is notorious for long sentences of connected thoughts, and this is part of a complex wide ranging thought which lasts 2 chapters, and includes what seems opposite advice:
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Cor. 5:11-13)
Over all of history the servants of God have known the signs of the times: their times. They have seen the direction of events toward the Kingdom of God on earth replacing the kingdoms, republics and democracies of humans.
An article prompted by National DNA day April 25 celebrating the understanding of DNA.
As I was thinking to write this article, having just read Psalm 46 as I do each year on that day, on January 25th a Bible was found untouched after a tornado hit Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
We have been given many time periods to prophetic events in the Bible. Many people think it too hard, and do not make an effort to understand them. However, if they were not to be understood, why were they given? And the Bible says the wise shall understand (Daniel 12:10).