In the last installment, we discussed what should be at the forefront of your mind as a Christian. Jesus will return to establish a literal kingdom on this earth where He will rule with justice. This MUST be at the forefront of your mind!!! Faith in this fact should drive your words and deeds. In this installment we will discuss the Jesus’ response to the apostles’ question.
“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.” (Acts 1:7)
What can we learn from this statement? First, we can see that God did not intend for us to know everything. Keep in mind, Jesus already gave them signs of His return before His crucifixion (Matt. 24: 3, 32-33). Jesus previously told them that no one knows the exact time except the Father (Matt. 24: 36). Despite this fact, we should be able to identify the signs that prove His coming is near.
Let me reiterate, there are some things we are not meant to know which are reserved for the Father to know. Even Jesus and the angels do not know the exact time (Mark 13:32). The knowledge of end time prophecy is in the Father’s power to disseminate at His discretion. Read Rev. 1:1 which shows the Father gave the revelation of end time prophecy to Jesus to share with His servants. We must recognize that we do not have all the details, but we are given enough not to be afraid of what is to come. If we acknowledge the preeminence of the Father, then we know we can trust our loving Father to disseminate the information we need to navigate in the end times.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
There are plenty of verses that prove that the followers of Jesus Christ will suffer persecution and experience tribulations, but we must keep our minds on the end result of these things. Jesus says, “He that endureth to the end shall be save.” (Matt. 10:22) We should not worry about every unexplained detail of prophetic events. Remember these things are reserved for the Father. Every parent knows when a child is not ready for certain information because of their level of maturity. Likewise, God the Father knows what we are able to handle. We must be thankful for the details He has shared with us thus far.
Witnesses unto Jesus
Let’s look at the second half of Jesus’ respond to His disciples.
“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 Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
After Jesus reminded them of what He told them before His resurrection, He redirected them to their immediate mission. The disciples of Jesus are to be witnesses of Jesus around the world. Martys, the Greek word translated into witnesses, was used 34 times in the New Testament. The word martyr originated from this word, but they technically do not have the same meaning. Martys simply means a witness whereas a martyr is someone who is murdered because of his/her testimony. The same word is used to describe the lying witnesses who testified against Jesus in Matt. 26:65. A witness is a person who gives a report about some matter; usually in a legal setting. Essentially, Jesus was telling His disciples that they are responsible for reporting what He said and did. They were also given power through the Holy Spirit to support their work of reporting all that Jesus said and did. Remember the Holy Spirit is even there to bring things back to our remembrance (John 14:26).
Remember, Jesus healed the sick, casted out devils, and foretold of the coming of the kingdom of God. The power to know the specific time when Jesus will return is reserved for the Father, but the disciples are given the power to be bold reporters of the message of Jesus Christ. Christians should be praying for the power to boldly preach that Jesus will return to establish a kingdom on this earth and that men must repent (change) to enter that kingdom!!!
Faithful and True Witness
Did you know that the same Greek word translated into witness is used to describe Jesus in the book of Revelation?
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14)
Do you recognize that Jesus does not expect us to do anything that He hasn’t already done? Read Heb. 12:1-2 and I John 2:6. These verses show us that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, which means He accomplished all that He asks us to do. Keep in mind that Hebrews 11 discusses a bunch of examples of the faithfulness of the saints. This is why verse 1 says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (martys), but Jesus Christ is the faithful and true witness who has completed all that He expects of us. And John tells us that we should walk as He walks.
Please get this point. Jesus is a witness unto God the Father. Read John 17:6-8; John 8:28-29; John 14:22-24; and John 15:10. Jesus spoke and did what the Father commanded Him to do. This is why He is the faithful and true witness!!! To be a disciple of Jesus, you must speak and do what He commands of you. To do anything to the contrary is to be an unfaithful witness!!!
The Message of Jesus
In order to be a witness unto Jesus Christ, you must know what Jesus said and did. This should go without saying, but many gloss over many of the “hard” sayings of Jesus. This requires each Christian to have a steady diet of the words of Jesus (Matt. 4:4). We must make a conscious effort to systematically study and understand the words of Jesus Christ. It is impossible to report the teachings of Jesus without regularly studying them. Even an adherent of a secular teacher regularly studies his master’s teachings. We must learn to be more diligent than the students of Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Confucious, and Sigmund Freud (and many others), who study and promote the teachings of their teachers without end.
Remember as discussed in Part 1 of this series, Jesus spent most of His time teaching about the kingdom of God. Secondly, He taught about character and behavior. It is up to you to study these things thoroughly. Jesus’ conversations about character and behavior are consistent with His message of repentance and acknowledging that God’s kingdom is coming.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15)
Lastly, read I Tim. 4 thoroughly with a focus on verses 11-13. This is Paul’s admonition to Timothy on how to conduct himself in the “latter days.” LIVE YOUR LIFE AS A TRUE BELIEVER!!!
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