We read of a post- Resurrection conversation between Jesus and his disciples in Acts 1:6-8 ( NIV):

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”.He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”.

< Clearly, the disciples are speaking of an earthly kingdom which they want Jesus to restore. Perhaps, the Resurrection rekindled their hope eventhough they had deserted the Lord on his crucifixion. But we do not see Jesus reprimanding them for their lack of understanding . He however, hints that the Father has set the times and dates by his own authority, which will remain hidden from them. My question is : Which is the event referred to by Jesus in Acts 1:7 ?

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Whereas the disciples asked the resurrected Christ when the kingdom would be restored to Israel (now, or later), in the very next verse Jesus said they were asking about something that only the Father held in his power to decide. The Son is not the Father, nor had the Son yet returned to heaven to be beside the Father. That happened a few minutes later, after he had instructed them to remain in Jerusalem to await the power of the Holy Spirit, then they would have a job to do.

Jesus did not give a direct answer to their question, because their question was limited due to lack of understanding. Jesus knew that, and also that it would be the work of the yet-to-come Holy Spirit to enlighten them and explode the concept of the Kingdom into the magnitude needed to get their commissioned global work done.

The start of expanding their understanding began minutes later when they saw Jesus ascend bodily up into the sky, until clouds hid him from their view. Then two angelic ones gave them some vital information. Next stage was the reception of the Holy Spirit, and then clarity came.

That is why Jesus did not reprimand them for their lack of understanding. He knew understanding would begin minutes later, continuing days later with the Holy Spirit reminding them of things Jesus had said earlier, and teaching them. Jesus had said that before his death, to them directly, in John 14:16-17 & 26; 15:26-27; 16:13-14.

Now it may become clear that Jesus was not speaking about "an event" in Acts 1:7, for he knew of a series of events that must fist happen before the disciples could begin to properly understand what the Kingdom of God was really all about. Jesus spoke about timing. The disciples were not entitled to know the Father's timing, but they experienced a few minutes later the start of a series of events that would teach them, and expand their thinking. They would move on from a restricted idea about the nation of Israel having the former earthly kingdom 'restored'. Jesus was not restricted to being King of an earthly kingdom centered on the tiny little nation of Israel! Dear me, no! Christ is King over all Creation! (Revelation 3:14 & 17:14 & 19:13-16) But full understanding had to come over time, as the Holy Spirit reminded them of Jesus' teaching, and the significance of the resurrection and his ascension to heaven dawned.

By the time the apostle John wrote that Revelation, clarity had come, even though they still had not been given any exact date, time, or season. They had been informed what to expect, and the final glorious outworking of the Kingdom of God, with Christ its King.


The Apostles were greatly ignorant of what the kingdom of God meant until he had ascended and sent the Holy Spirit:

Luke 17 KJV

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

They were looking at it from a fleshly mind imagining a physical kingdom but it came invisibly.

Therefore when Jesus again faces their carnal views at the time just a few days when all their questions of importance would be answered by the Spirit, there was no need to talk about it much. In just a few days his Kingdom, which required his ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit to equip them would be fully inaugurated. They would finally be empowered to perform their role in that kingdom, not as physical Lords but as witnesses of all that he said and did along with a new understanding of all that it meant. He need not rebuke them now. Asking them to focus on the spiritual and then receive the knowledge they needed from the Spirit was rebuke enough. A rebuke is to encourage a change of mind and their minds would be changed more than they could currently imagine.

When they asked Jesus ‘at this time’ (singular) it is not that clear if they were speaking generally about the ‘current now’ that they hoped for a physical kingdom, or the time Jesus was promising in a few days so that they should wait in Jerusalem. As regards to his answer about the times and seasons (plural), Jesus may have been referring to could be inclusive of all future developments of the new era. The initial empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the whole timing of their ministry and suffering, the more distant developments of the struggle between the church, antichrist and the world, the eventual conversion of the Jewish state and even the second coming of Christ along with the general resurrection and opening of the books of judgment. All future developments may all be included in these seasons and times that they need not know. What they needed was not speculative knowledge or prophetic definite dates, they needed the Spirit in order to preach the gospel and follow Christ to their cross in joyful hope of their own resurrection and as a witness of glad tidings to the whole world.


There are two parts to Jesus's response:

It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

Here Jesus is deliberately avoiding answering the question. Had he given the true answer (e.g. "in a couple of thousand years") everyone would have been very disappointed and disheartened. That would have been cruel to them, and would likely have been the end of the Church.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Instead, he gives them hope, promising something great that will occur in the near future.

In the very next chapter (2), while they are assembled to celebrate the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot, Pentecost) they received the gift of God's holy spirit, and the ability to speak foreign languages so that they could evangelize throughout the rest of the world:

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


Many of Jesus' disciples expected a physical kingdom as the outward manifestation of God's rule. There was good reason for them to think so.

  • From the beginning of his ministry Jesus proclaimed, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 4:17b)

  • Luke reported: "He went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God." (8:1)

  • Jesus taught them to pray: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

  • Those healed by Jesus referred to him as "Son of David" (Matthew 9:27, 12:23. 15:22, etc.) confirming his role as the Jewish messiah who would restore David's kingdom.

  • In the synoptic gospels, Jesus did not speak of the crucifixion until well into his ministry - just prior to the story of the Mount of Transfiguration in the case of Matthew 16. The idea of Jesus' death came as a complete shock to Peter, the chief disciple, so much so that he declareed "nothing like this must happen to you." (16:22)

Like nearly all Jews, Jesus' disciples understood the Messiah to fulfill of the prophecies of the "son of David." Not since the Babylonian exile had a Davidic king ruled over God's people. Although the text tells us that Jesus did predict his death and resurrection, it is not clear how many of the disciples were told this, or how many times the idea was repeated to them. Indeed, even his closest disciples seemed to understand these predictions only with the benefit of hindsight. (John 2:22, Luke 24:6)

After the resurrection, when Jesus met two disciples on the road to Emmaus, they exhibited shock and disillusionment because of their Messiah's death. They then spoke to the risen Jesus (whom they do not recognize), telling him of:

The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel. (Luke 24:19-21)

Conclusion: Jesus' disciples expected him to "redeem Israel" as the Messiah, the Son of David. Although Jesus predicted the crucifixion to his inner circle, even they seem to have been caught unawares and remembered his predictions only after the fact. Having expected the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom in Jesus' lifetime, they naturally asked him, soon after the resurrection: "are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"


It's very possible, even likely, that the "dates and times" is a phrase that, in Hebrew/Aramaic would be "dates and seasons", having its first mention in Gen 1:14.

Having heard this popular phrase quite often, Jesus's followers would have immediately recognized what he meant, and in fact, one could argue that Jesus was making a (correct) inference about what they were asking (as an uncanny reader of others' intentions)... Throughout the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures, this would refer to God's appointed times - "moedim" - in which Messianic resonance and indeed predictions would be based upon these "dates and times".

It was no coincidence that Acts 2 happened during the day of Pentacost, which was the mo'ed in which God gifted His people with the Torah. After Jesus's resurrection, Pentacost would be the very next appointed time.

So Jesus was hinting at Acts 2 here, but also saying that the appointed time in which the earthly kingdom in the order of David, is yet to come...

Personally, I get the sense that Jesus was making sure His disciples were not getting ahead of themselves with the Biblically appointed times. They were wanting to know when the Feast of Trumpets (the probable appointed time that symbolizes the fulfillment Jesus's earthly dominion) would happen, and Jesus was saying that Pentacost (unification through the Holy Spirit) comes first.

So to answer the question, Jesus is referring to the Messianic fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), which is His second coming judgment and rulership.

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