“When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou 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 hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The disciples wanted to know the timing of the restoration of Israel. To them, since the Lord Jesus Christ was physically raised from the dead, it was a perfect time to reign as King. Their question reveals that they saw no reason why this could not be accomplished immediately. Jesus told them not be concerned about the restoration of Israel, for it was not for them to know the timing of this event. Jesus’ answer indicates that it was for some time in the future after they were dead. Instead they were to concern themselves with preaching the Gospel throughout the entire earth.
The above text offers us some insight into what events must occur before the Second Coming of Christ and restore Israel in the light of God’s glory:-
a… The Out pouring of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus would not return until the Holy Spirit was poured out. The day of Pentecost was not only the birth of the Church but also the countdown to the last days, “16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:16-21). The beginning of the Church Age meant that Israel had been set aside for its duration, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off … For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:22,25). The “times of the Gentiles” is not the same as the “Church Age”, but they do run side by side until Christ return to set up His Millennial Reign.
b… The Gospel has to be preached throughout the earth before Jesus returns.
The saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ must reach even the most isolated of people on earth. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).
c… A regathering of the scattered people.
The disciples had heard Jesus say, but did not fully understand before Pentecost, that Israel would be destroyed and a remnant of the people would be dispersed to all nation of the world, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24). The fact that the Jews were dispersed is confirmed by James 1:1, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting”. Therefore, before a restoration there must needs be a breaking-up. The regathering of the Jews in 1948 set Israel’s prophet clock in motion again.
d… The Church Age must come to an end.
The apostles Paul makes this point very clear in Romans 11:15, “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” For the Lord to turn back to the Jews in this fashion the Church cannot be upon the earth. Therefore the Rapture must come before the Lord Jesus Christ reigns for a thousand years in Jerusalem.
e… The times of the Gentiles must be brought to a close.
This will happen immediately Jesus’ feet rest again upon Israeli soil. He will reign as King of Israel and over every nation on earth, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful … And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it” (Revelation 17:14, 21:24). Israel will be the leading nation and Jerusalem the capital of the world. This will fulfil God’s promises to Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice … And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:18, 26:4) and to Israel, “And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:12).