We can and should know the times and seasons when the Lord restores the kingdom to Israel. This is because the kingdom is restored to Israel when the Lord returns, and God expects the church to know the times and seasons of the second coming of the Lord.
Besides, God delights in sharing knowledge of the future with the church. In fact, knowing the plans and timing of the Lord is foundational to our prophetic mission of warning the world of the wrath to come.
But if this so, how are we to interpret the following Scripture?
Therefore when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.Acts 16:8
This question was asked during the forty-day period of intermittent appearances of Jesus to His disciples immediately after His resurrection. They had not asked a bad question. It was a question Jews had asked in prayer since at least 586 B.C., when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and its temple.
Why Jesus Told The Disciples, “It Is Not For You To Know Times And Seasons”
If we are to know the times and seasons, why did Jesus rebuff the apostles for their inquiry? The proper answer begins by establishing the proper context.
We begin by noting this was not the first time the disciples asked this question. They first asked prior to the Lord’s death:
And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age.”Matthew 24:3
The major difference in their inquiries was in their scope. One was looking at the little, local picture; the other, the big, global picture.
When Will Israel Be Restored?
Jesus chided the disciples for their post-resurrection question because they asked exclusively about the immediate fate of natural Israel, and not its ultimate restoration in the coming kingdom of God.
Recall that when they asked Him the same question in Matthew 24:3, He eagerly provided comprehensive details of signs that would identify times and seasons in which Israel would be restored.
This time, however, their question was on the level of, “When are you going to get rid of these Romans and give us back our political independence?”
And this was after, “To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
We know their question this time was about their immediate political and military situation because Jesus and the apostles had already had numerous pre- and post-resurrection conversations about the kingdom of God and the end of the age.
So, what more were the apostles seeking with their question?
It was this.
“Lord, what about these Romans?”
Like I said, this was not a bad question. It’s similar to our own questions. We know all will be taken care of at the end of the age. “But, Lord, what about this cancer?” “What about this terrible marriage?” “What about this awful trial I’m going through?” “What about this injustice?” “What about…?”
The answer to these questions is usually, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.”
But we know had they further inquired about the plan of God as it relates to the end of the age and the coming of the kingdom, He would have answered differently.
For that is exactly what He had been doing with them for the past forty days: “Speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
God Expects Us To Know The Times And Seasons
One of the urgent warnings of the Lord’s “signs of the times” teachings is that we should know the times and seasons.
In fact, in the great signs of the times chapters of Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21, and other places, we are scolded and placed in the category of compromised and spiritually asleep if we don’t recognize the times and seasons of His coming, which, of course, is also when the kingdom is finally and permanently restored to Israel.
The main purpose of the gospels and the rest of the Bible providing so many signs is so we would understand history and world events, and we’d know which generation will see the coming of the Lord.
Jesus said His coming will be a sudden calamity to the world, but should be an expected arrival to the saints. Here is a passage of Scripture that clearly proves this point. As you read, notice how the Holy Spirit speaks of the saints versus how He speaks of the world:
But concerning the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Here we see that the “times and seasons” are something the saints are to recognize. The Day should not overtake us as a thief. What Day is this?
It’s the great tribulation period that culminates into the visible coming of the Lord, and Israel being exalted above all nations.
And what of those who are surprised by the Day? They are identified as “they,” “them,” and “others,” who “shall not escape.”
Knowing Times And Seasons
There are times and seasons of events that God keeps to Himself, and some that He shares with us:
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.Deuteronomy 29:29
He has not chosen to reveal to us exactly when our personal Roman bondage will end, so to speak. But He has filled the Bible with signs that reveal the general times and seasons when the final bondage ultimately ends and Israel takes her exalted place in God’s new kingdom.
Download my free book to learn more about these signs: Why I Believe Jesus Is Coming Back Soon: How I Interpret the Signs of the Times.
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