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Sunday: The Restoration of Israel — 19 Comments

  1. Restoration of Israel - Restoration of God's Kingdom
    Most of the world is looking for the restoration of Israel while God is working on establishing a world kingdom that is out of this world.
    My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders
    While the political move is posed toward moving the capital of Israel to Jerusalem, God is working to move the capital of the universe to this world.
    Christ has preached more than two thousand years ago the kingdom of God is at hand. This kingdom will encompass the entire earth.

  2. I think by then for the disciples, they were true to conceive the earthly kingdom as they knew of the mission of the Messiah. After being taught and became acquainted with the truth of the Gospel they changed their mind. This is the same to us, we don't regard the Kingdom of God as a true entity that may exist but for real, God is going to establish his Kingdom to those who believe in him.

  3. Jesus' answer(s) to the disciple's question(s) can teach us much about what is important to share/teach and what is not. The disciple's were not ready for the full answer, but needed to obtain a broader understanding of the will of the Lord(Eph 5:17) in order to fully grasp the truth. The answer would come in time, as they would grow in grace and in a knowledge of Jesus Christ, understanding the true nature and purpose of His first advent, which would help define their mission to continue in His stead as gospel heralds to "the uttermost part of the earth", understanding that "Israel" is just another term for any who believe the gospel and receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. This name was given to Jacob when he arrived at this understanding, and cast his helpless soul into the hands of his Redeemer, confessing and repenting of his sin, believing and relying upon the promises of God whom he had met in Bethel years earlier.

    Only as we have a right conception of God's character, government and purposes, will we be able to be His witnesses and stand faithful through the last great test that will try every soul.

  4. God will open our hearts to understand and give us the power to believe when we realized that the deliverance that God desires to give us it is victory over every sin, and once we overcome sin thru the power of the Holy Spirit; he can fulfill the promise of establishing his kingdoms. May the Lord give us power to allowing him to work in us.
    Esther Moran

  5. I love the radical style of the book of Acts. The only historical book of the early church - written by a Gentile.
    Not only did the Jews fail to see the 2 comings of Jesus, as sacrifice first then as conquering King; but they also failed to see the full scope of their mission - to lift up their God and draw all peoples to Him.
    The book of Acts is a warning for the church to not make the same mistake.

  6. For three and a half years Jesus has been communicating to his disciples of a new Kingdom to come and yet they misunderstood. It is not easy to convey to someone about a World with no corruption, confusion or oppression when that is all one knows. It wasn’t until after the death and the outpouring of the Holy Sprit that they were able to go forward in faith, hope and assurance for those who believes. So it is with us as we experience or witness nothing but turmoil daily that the Holy Spirit must be poured out on each one of us to be sealed with this assurance and hope of the new Kingdom to come.

  7. Today's lesson, as well as many comments above, raise the issue of misunderstanding the nature, character and purposes of God.

    One of the ways in which those at Jesus 1st coming misunderstood His nature, character and purpose was that they "had hoped that [H]e was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). They, including His closest disciples, were expecting that Jesus would use His power to conquer Roman rule in battle. Consequently, they were unprepared for a Messiah who would instead demonstrate self-sacrificing love.

    Could we be at risk of making, in essence, this same mistake in regard to Jesus 2nd coming? What is it that we are expecting that Jesus will do to those who are against His Kingdom when He returns?

    • You mean what will Jesus do to those who are seeking to destroy His faithful people while causing all others to "drink" the wine of Babylon? The ones the Bible says Christ will "rule with a rod of iron", which the stone of Daniel 2 will grind into dust that will be blown away like chaff, never to be seen again? The ones to whom Jesus will say;"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"(Matt 25:41)?

      Good question, I suppose.

      Yet to me, the greater mistake concerning the return of Jesus is to think Jesus will excuse those who claim to be the "remnant" while harboring sin. Many think they cannot overcome until Jesus comes and...makes them overcome, somehow(?).

      The wicked will be dealt with as warned(as in the flood), and any who are harboring sin when probation ends will be found among them. One sin lost Paradise, and one sin will bar the soul from entering into it ever again. Jesus is coming to gather those who have repented and believed the gospel, which is "the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes". These He will take to be with Him where He is, with the Father. Blessed Hope!

      • When I taught the Sabbath school lesson a couple weeks ago, "Babylon is falling", I tried to encouraged them NOT to make the same mistakes about the 2nd coming of Jesus that the disciples made regarding the 1st coming of Jesus.

        There's a lot of symbolism in Revelation, about Babylon, the three unclean spirits (and who those represent), and the events of the 2nd coming of Jesus, so much so that if you concentrate all your efforts, studies and understanding on these prophecies, then you MAY be disappointed or miss the point entirely. I told them "Know the prophecies", but don't look too much into how the prophecies will be fulfilled. Nowadays, many of us get so caught up in trying to figure out Who the three unclean spirits are to the letter (especially the lamb breast); but what if the lamb breast isn't who we expected it to be. For example, many people in our church feel like this lamb breast will be a person in authority like the President (nowadays, every new American president is called the Anti-Christ), but what if he is not that person we expected.

        I told them instead of focusing specifically on the events of the 2nd coming of Jesus, we should focus on 1) our personal relationship with Jesus, and 2) being willing to be Led by the Holy Spirit to finish the Mission that Jesus gave all of His disciples, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." If we will do these 2 things, we will be ready for Jesus' 2nd coming.

      • So, is the message that we, like the first century Christian's of Acts, are being empowered by the Holy Spirit to present to the world the message that God loves you and died to provide salvation for you - but if you choose to not accept this gift, if you harbor one sin, then you will be "dealt with" by God who will rule you with a rod of iron and grind you into dust?

        In other words, this message essentially says: 'God died to save you - but if you choose not to accept that, then He will kill you! Is this the freedom of choice that God's Kingdom is based upon? Is this how God's ways are higher than our ways? (Isa 55:8-9)?

        Or have we misunderstood something?

        • I always feel vulnerable stepping into discussions such as this. But I will add just a few thoughts to the conversation and I guess I will have to live with the consequences.

          The ultimate question we have here is what is the consequence for those who reject or neglect salvation. Seventh-day Adventists have a fairly literal translation of scripture, however, we do allow for some figures of speech. I think most of us accept that there is an end to the sin problem, but we stop short of literally interpreting the Bible where it says the "smoke of their torment ascends forever." Various pictures have been painted of end-of-evil scenarios. Some picture the saints sitting on the side of the lake of fire while they watch sinners being bundled into it and consumed. Others picture sinners meekly admitting that they got it wrong and no longer wish to exist. The end-of-evil scenario that you interpret out of the Bible depends largely on our own background and experience. My personal preference is to be prescriptively minimalist. There will be an end to the era of sin. God will be acknowledged as fair in his judgment. The contamination of sin will be cleansed from existence. Restoration and renewal will take place.

          We do well to recognize that others will hold a spectrum of views on the final solution depending on how they interpret the Bible verses that describe the end-of-evil. Importantly, we must decide where biblical description ends and supposition begins.

        • Phil, your manner of expressing the 2 choices every soul must choose between is a little exaggerated don't you think? The warning to the wicked is fair isn't it? Did God(through Noah) tell the world to "get on the boat or I will personally drown you!"?

          No. The invitation was to avail themselves of the provision for being saved from the inevitable. The alternative was obvious wasn't it? No need to describe the results of a foolish choice. So our message today does not need to emphasize the "wages of sin", but merely to witness faithfully the entire Word of God as given by His Spirit to the world. Jesus said that IF He is "lifted up", that He would draw all men(who accept in faith) to Him. Never did Jesus teach how to make effective threats. So why do you want to make it appear that this is anyone's message? It's just not true, though many have made it theirs. Sad when this happens, and most unfortunate, when the invitation to life, if rejected, has an obvious result that God has graciously pointed out so none will miss it.

          We tell our little ones not to touch the hot oven so they won't get hurt. I've never heard of any parent that says "if you touch the hot stove, I will burn you!".

          If we give the message Jesus gave, how can we go wrong? Didn't He mention at times the results of folly?(Matt 25:41) Perhaps there are some who need this warning to reconsider their ways? God, in whom there is no unrighteousness, has placed within His word solemn warnings for the unwary. Can we be faithful to that word if we sugar-coat the warnings of God?

        • Let me add this verse for your consideration Phil; Prov 8:35, 36.
          See also Prov 1:20-33.

          What do you see in this?

        • Your question is a fair one because the understanding of many believers doesn't go much beyond that. (But keep in mind what Maurice said.)

          I think we need to teach more clearly that God is both the Author and Upholder of all life in the universe. (See Hebrews 1:3 and Acts 17:28) The corollary to that understanding is that when God grants the wish of rebels to be independent of Him, they cease to exist. That is the natural, inevitable result of separation from God.

          At the same time, that understanding should not cause us to re-interpret biblical texts that point to God's active intervention to destroy evil. For instance, the rebels at Noah's time did not "naturally" cease to exist. They were drowned in the world-wide flood supernaturally caused by God.

          The Flood is used as a type of the final destruction of the wicked by fire directly caused by God to cleanse this earth both of the wicked and the results of sin in the natural world. (Matt 24:39, Luke 17:27, 2 Peter 3:3-7, 10, 11) When we put these texts together, it seems clear to me that Christ and the apostles understood that the earth would be cleansed by literal fire which would destroy both the results of sin and sinners themselves.

          It also seems to me that false teachings and schisms in the church have most often resulted from taking one aspect of truth and making it the only truth, thus negating other truths. Thus the teaching that God is seeking vengeance misrepresents the character of God. The teaching that God will not destroy sinners also misrepresents God - leading to universalism at the extreme end and questionable reinterpretation of clear biblical texts on the closer end. (If some texts in the Bible that seem to be meant literally need to be neutralized, who decides where to stop this practice and believe what the Bible actually says.)

          As noted above, I believe we need to teach more clearly that God is both Creator and Upholder of all life - that every plant that grows, every heart that beats is doing so as the direct result of God's upholding power. From this the understanding of the self-destructive nature of sin will grow quite naturally.

  8. Why did both John the Baptist, and Jesus go about preaching "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand?"

    The expression “kingdom of God” can mean both the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory.

    There was a kingdom established during Christ's first coming.

    " The kingdom of grace was instituted immediately after the fall of man. . . . Yet it was not actually established until the death of Christ. ...when the Saviour yielded up His life, and with His expiring breath cried out, "It is finished," then the fulfillment of the plan of redemption was assured. The promise of salvation made to the sinful pair in Eden was ratified. The kingdom of grace, which had before existed by the promise of God, was then established. " AG p.19

    Christ's answer to the question, "when will the kingdom of God come" in Luke 17, was speaking about the kingdom of grace.

    Luke 17:20"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
    17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

    In other words, the principles of God's kingdom are to grow in our hearts and minds as we abide with Christ, and become more and more like Him. Many of Christ's parables concerning the "Kingdom" were illustrating the growth of His kingdom on the hearts of people.

    The kingdom of grace has as it's throne -- "the throne of mercy" which we find in the book of Hebrews.

    The kingdom of glory, is the future glorious kingdom, when those who have already become citizens of the kingdom, by abiding in Christ, during their earthly lives, will live with Christ forever in that glorious kingdom.

  9. "The problem with first-century Jewish Messianic expectation"

    Actually our problem is we really do not know exactly what the first century Jewish Messianic expectation was. Probably it varied by sect, from the Dead Sea scrolls we get some ideas of a sectarian view. What the Sadducees believed we can not be sure and what the Pharisees believed probably varied by school. We know latter Rabbinic writing clearly saw a messiah that would die, in fact they saw the messiah that brings earthly salvation from their enemies as the one who dies. They did not find the pictures of the messiah in the prophets contradictory they saw them as being two different messiahs (Messiah son of Joseph and Messiah son of David) or some saw it as two phases of the same messiah. What the first century Jews believed was likely far from monolithic and likely not so simplistic and one sided as some people like to make it out. They probably did not have a full understanding but neither do we.

  10. I am so thankful for this lesson. I never knew that the prophecies about Jesus teach both His suffering and His ruling earth. They do not contradict, but rather the suffering precedes His coming in glory to rule. Wow! God’s plans and timing are perfect. May I Share in His suffering so that I may share in His glory!

  11. "And with his brethren." These had lost much because of their unbelief. They had been among the number who doubted when Jesus appeared in Galilee; but they now firmly believed that Jesus was the Son of God, the promised Messiah. Their faith was established. {GH, March 1, 1904 par. 14}
    Notice particularly the sixth and seventh verses. "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power." It was not necessary for them to see farther into the future than the revelations of Christ enabled them to see. They were to proclaim the gospel message. But neither they nor those to whom they ministered would receive any benefit from dwelling on speculative theories. {GH, March 1, 1904 par. 15}

    It is of interest to note that Jesus did not tell them that "ye know not the Scriptures not the power of God," or "o ye fools and slow of heart to believer all that the prophets have spoken," etc, but indicated that this "kingdom" is an event yet future. Clearly too, it was not the event of the Second Coming, for he had addressed this with them in Matt. 24 in a previous discussion. The truth of the Kingdom to Israel was taught by Christ, the World's Greatest Teacher, for 40 days, and the Disciples' question was not one of ignorance, but of their knowledge on the subject. They wanted to know when this kingdom will be realized, being fully knowledgeable about the Second Coming, yet knowing that they are not one and the same.

    And "in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom." All the apostles knew that this kingdom would be set up, not AFTER, but DURING the reign of our present-day world governments. May God help us to realize that "all that the prophets have spoken" must be fulfilled, for not one jot or one tittle shall pass till all be fulfilled.

  12. With regard to the discourse for Sunday, which posit that "there are two kinds of Messianic prophecies in the Old testament", and "that the problem with first-century Jewish Messianic expectation was one sided", I find those arguments are erroneous, and cannot be substantiated by the biblical authors.
    As such, I await for the son of God to come, since from my assessment He have not touch down on the earth as yet.
    As such, I find that the disciples ask vital question for they know what they have been taught, so for Jesus to hit them with a sweeping response it questionable, because God speaking through the prophets underscored what the Mashiach/Messiah would do. So Jesus not fulfilling that and attempting to brush aside the disciples question with a statement that it is not their time to know the season God has fixed by His own authority" is really interesting a statement.


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