Sunday Bible Study
September 16, 2018
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Kingdom of Israel. The apostles are understanding this phrase as a restoration of religious teaching at the temple and their release from Roman rule.
Lord. It is more than a title but also has the Biblical meaning of Savior. (Yahweh)
Times or seasons. Times are long stretches. Since Christ’s Ascension, we live in the End Times until the Last Day. Some groups speak of the ages. Some argue that the New Testament doesn’t concern us because Jesus was teaching to a different age. Some speak of “millenia” and are concerned about the pre or post millenium return of Jesus. The New Testament (and Old) are for all times. The majority of the Christian church around the world holds to a solid Scriptural “amilenialism”. Seasons are shorter stretches of time, for example, the summer season or the winter season. All of these times are seasons are known only to our Father.
You will receive power. The apostles will receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit will give them a specific power - they are witnesses to proclaim Christ. The apostles will fill the world with their preaching and writing. Their witness is not just for their time but for the church in all times and places until the coming of Jesus.
You shall be witnesses to Me. In the sense that the apostles were witnesses to Christ no one else can be. They were eyewitnesses to all Jesus to all the great things Jesus said and did that cannot be repeated. They received the gift of inspiration (John 14:26; 15:26-27) to witness about Jesus, not themselves. No one else has received this gift since the apostles. However, the apostle Peter tells us that we have something better than their eyewitness, we have the Holy Scriptures which are inspired and inerrant (2Peter 1:19-21). So the apostles confirmed the miracles with their eyewitness and recorded that confirmed eyewitness for all in this end time. And now you have the inspired and inerrant eyewitness recorded which gives all baptized and believing people to be witnesses of all that Jesus said and did. The witness continues. You have received this power (Holy Spirit) who gives faith through this witness (Holy Scripture).
Jesus Ascends to Heaven
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
He was taken up Jesus bodily rises until hidden by a cloud. This is as much as a miracle as Jesus’ conception (by Holy Spirit) birth (of the virgin Mary) crucified, suffered, and died (under Pontius Pilate) descended (into hell) rose from the dead (on the third day) ascended (into heaven) seated (at the right hand of God). He didn’t keep going up and up. He bodily entered heaven (unseen creation).
While they looked...two men stood by them in white apparel Angels confirm this mighty act of Jesus even while it is occuring. Luke also records two angels appearing in Luke 24:4 to confirm the resurrection of Jesus. Great artists depict angels as men, both beautiful and strong. This is Biblical.
This same Jesus...will also come in like manner. Jesus will return bodily from heaven on the last day too. We speak of Jesus coming to us bodily in three ways. He came the first time at His birth (Christmas). He will come on the Last Day in the same manner He ascended into heaven. Third, He comes to us bodily in the mean of grace, most specifically in Holy Communion. The culmination of Luke Gospel is that Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus. He explained the Scriptures (preach and teach) but their eyes were opened and they knew Him in the breaking of the bread (Holy Communion).
The Upper Room Church Service
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
Unlike the saints, Jesus is both in heaven and on earth, even in His resurrected body. Heaven is where Jesus is. Jesus continues to serve on earth by means of His Word. Jesus is bodily with us. He is Immanuel - God with us. Let us pray…..