Tom: We are in our Understanding the Scriptures segment and currently we’re in Acts 1. Dave, I think we got to verse seven last time, so let me read verse seven: “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Dave, a question about verse seven.
Tom: “It is not for you to know the times or seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Now, is this a contradiction of Jesus telling us about the signs of His coming? You know, we just talked about Matthew 24 in our earlier segment.
Dave: No, it’s not saying, “It’s not for you to know the signs of the last days,” but…. See, it goes back, we have to go back to verse six, I’m sorry, I know we want to press on, but, “They asked, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” So, that’s what it is referring to, specifically. We dealt with that in our last program. That He’s held in the heavens until the time for the restitution of all things. That’s Acts 3. So, that’s what He’s referring to. “It’s not for you to know when the kingdom will be restored to Israel, but your job is to preach the gospel.”
Now that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t recognize the signs Jesus gave in Matthew 24 and elsewhere, of the last days—the nearness, but the restoration of the kingdom, let’s just, let that be in the future—which it will be. And, “…You are going to receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you, to be witnesses….” And, of course, again, Tom, and I don’t want to come up with too narrow an application, but we could say—everything that is stated in the Bible is not for every Christian down through history, and Jesus, unquestionably, is talking to His disciples here. So, “It’s not for you to know the times or the seasons.” They’re not really going to be alive at that time, but “…you’re going to receive power, and the Holy Spirit is going to come upon you, and you are going to be witnesses.”
Now, we can apply that to ourselves. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Christ. On the other hand, the disciples—and I’m sure we’ve talked about this in the past—probably several times. You get as old as I am, Tom, you repeat yourself. And I can’t even remember what I said where. I’ve spoken in so many places in the last two weeks down in South America, that I don’t know what I said where, or where I am right now. We just got back yesterday.
But anyway, the apostles were a special kind of witness. Remember? In 1 Corinthians:4:9-10, Paul says, “We are appointed unto death. We’ve got to die.” Now, you and I, Tom, I hope we won’t die. I hope we will be taken to heaven.
Tom: In the Rapture.
Dave: In the Rapture. Right. But the apostles had to die. They died as special witnesses. They died not just as martyrs out of loyalty and love for Christ. They died testifying to facts. “He DID rise from the dead. We saw him…we know it. He did walk on water; He did heal the sick; He did raise the dead; He did open the eyes of the blind; He did feed 5000 with five loaves and fishes and so forth. You can kill me, but I cannot deny what I know is the truth.” And we know that no one is fool enough to die for what he knows is a lie. Okay? So, we know that what the New Testament says, it really actually happened. This witness is true. So, I think that’s what he’s referring to in a special way to these disciples.
Now, we can make a secondary application to ourselves. Furthermore, the disciples…they had a special problem about the kingdom. You remember? We kind of joke, Tom, sometimes, when we say, “They had such low self-esteem they were always arguing about who’s going to be the greatest; who’s going to sit on the right hand and on the left hand and they’re expecting that Christ is going establish the kingdom right now, which He didn’t. He came as the Lamb, to die, to bear the sins of the world. He will return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to execute judgment upon those who have rejected Him.
So, I think that’s probably the primary application and these men were going to receive a special power from God and you remember in Chapter 3 when the rabbis arrest the disciples? They recognize these men have been with Christ. Wow! There is something about them. They speak with the same power that Christ spoke with. So, I would make that the primary application. “You’re going to be witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.” Now, that would apply to Christians today who are in those parts, in a general way, and we need to be His witnesses as well.
Tom: Verse 9, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so-come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Dave: Powerful passage, Tom. Muhammad claimed that he had leaped to heaven from Temple Mount, you know, on his magical horse. No witnesses. Nobody saw it. But there were witnesses here. At least eleven disciples as we know.
Tom: Dave, no witnesses for the assumption of Mary.
Tom: Which is a dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church.
Dave: Right, right. Very important. You would think that there would have been witnesses. The Bible is based on witnesses. “And you’re going to be witnesses…” and they were witnesses right to the end. The language of Scripture of course, is very precise. “This same Jesus,…” Now, the two men…two angels, I would say…I don’t know who these other men would be who had an authority greater than the apostles, or who knew more about what was going on than the apostles, so they couldn’t have been men, but often the Bible refers to angels as men because they come in the appearance of men. But it says, “This same Jesus,…” okay? Not a reincarnation, but “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13 tells us that.
So, it will be the same Jesus who was taken into heaven. He is going to come back to the Mount of Olives and we read of that in Zechariah 14, “When His feet touch the Mount of Olives, He brings all the saints from heaven with Him.” So, obviously, He took them up there. So, the Rapture precedes the second coming. There’s the judgment seat of Christ, there’s a wedding in heaven, and so forth.
He will so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven. So, this is a powerful promise to them. Jesus had said, “I’m going to go away; I’m going to prepare a place for you. If I go away, I will come again and receive you unto myself.” So the Bible…it’s interwoven with truth and it all hangs together. It never contradicts itself.
Tom: Right. Dave, that’s a great encouragement. It’s why we encourage people to read the Word of God. Talk about growing and understanding. Growing in their relationship with Jesus. Growing in their love for the Lord. That’s the only way. And, as you see God’s Word, you recognize it for what it is.
Tom: God’s Word.
Dave: Tom, I get excited out of my skin, almost, when I read the Bible. It is so fantastic! This is God’s Word beyond a shadow of a doubt. No human being could put it together. But you have to know it from Genesis to Revelation, because it is all interwoven. The same themes…you can follow them from Genesis to Revelation without contradiction, from many different authors, who most of them didn’t know one another. They came from different times in history and cultures. The only thing they had in common—they claimed to be inspired of the one true God. One of the great evidences—and you often hear the critics say, “Oh, well, you know, the Bible, I mean that just reflects the thinking of its day and the culture of its day.” No, on the contrary, it does not reflect the think or the culture of its day, and that’s one of the great proofs that it wasn’t written by these men, but they were, indeed, as they claimed, inspired of the living God.
Tom: Mm-hmm. And it’s our encouragement, Dave…you know, as you mentioned earlier in the program that you were apologizing for seeming to be critical, but I know your heart. And my heart in this is we want people to get into God’s Word, not those translations that are actually drawing us away from the Word of God, or not these events that are taking place that are not centered on the Bible, but on programs of men.