Chris Katulka: The Acts 1:6 Controversy
The apostles asked Jesus a crucial question moments before He ascended to heaven: “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” All the conditions felt right for Jesus to fulfill His apostles’ wish. So why did He not restore the Kingdom at that time? And why has their question been considered foolish?
This week Chris Katulka shares an in-depth look at his Israel My Glory article “The Acts 1:6 Controversy.” Though famous reformer John Calvin shamed the apostles for their question, the context reveals that their inquiry made more sense than Calvin thought. Chris explains why they actually asked the right question at the right time in the right place. But as we look at this crucial verse, we’ll get a closer look at why the Messiah must return to Earth before the Kingdom of God does.
→ You can read Chris’ article, “The Acts 1:6 Controversy” by clicking HERE.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover and with me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. As we begin, I'd like to encourage you to visit our website, foiradio.org, to keep up on all things related to this program. There, you can listen to all of our broadcasts, over five years worth of content with links to our featured products highlighted in the show. Or you can support our ministry when you go there by clicking on the donate button to help us continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, visit foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Today on our program, we're going to be looking at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory. Israel My Glory is our award winning Christian magazine that we produce here at The Friends of Israel. It's read by Christians all around the world, it's a magazine that wants to tap into what it means to love and support Israel and the Jewish people from a Christian perspective. And looking at the world and what's going on through a biblical worldview. So, first of all, what we're going to be talking about today comes right from our most recent issue, which is called, Jesus is coming again, but when? It's a look at why the King must come before the Kingdom, I'm going to actually be highlighting an article that I wrote in this recent issue. So I'm excited about what's coming up and there's actually going to be some information on how you, if you're not a subscriber to Israel My Glory yet, can get your one year free subscription to Israel My Glory.
Steve Conover: But first in the news, the United States embassy in Jerusalem has made news again, not because of international politics, rather because a first temple period Jewish town from the time of King Hezekiah was discovered in Arnona, the same area as the US embassy. Archeologists believe this ancient town served as an administrative center outside of Jerusalem after they found more than 120 stamps seal impressions on jar handles written in ancient Hebrew script. The Hebrew script translates as belonging to the King. These jars were probably used to collect taxes and the discovery was found during the construction of a new neighborhood.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, this is interesting, Steve, because the US embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem nearly two years ago because the Trump administration actually took at face value the truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It's been the capital of Israel since the days of King David. Well now, even in the same area the embassy was built, Israel found remains of a Jewish city from 2700 years ago. Only giving more evidence that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the US embassy belongs there. I hope those countries who refuse to move their embassies will quit pandering and embrace the truth.
So today on our program, it's all about our latest issue of Israel My Glory, which is called Jesus is coming again, but when? As Christians, this is one of the most important hopes that we have, that our King, Jesus, will visibly return to earth and establish his Kingdom. And through this amazing prophetic event, we'll begin this process of making all things new. Jesus will do that. It's a day that, personally, I can't wait for, especially now, especially with everything that's happening in the world. So I wrote an article in this issue of Israel My Glory. So if it already should be in your home, if you're a subscriber, but if you're not a subscriber, I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org. And there you can sign up to get a one year free subscription to our award winning magazine. That's one year, that's six issues, it's a bimonthly magazine, we've been producing this magazine since 1942. And so I really hope that it will be a blessing to you. You can get your one year free subscription by going to foiradio.org.
My article was titled, the Acts 1:6 Controversy. I've been getting a lot of a response online from this particular article. And thank you to all of those who have sent me your remarks and your questions. And I really appreciate it. I'm really glad it was able to minister to a lot of people, but it was called the Acts 1:6 Controversy, and that's exactly what it is. There's a lot of debates surrounding this verse in Acts 1:6, it actually has a lot to say when it comes to what Jesus is saying when it comes to his return. And what it means for the King to come before the Kingdom. The book of Acts actually opens after 40 days of the disciples hearing and learning about the Kingdom of God from the King Himself, the resurrected Lord, Jesus. Personally, that's a class that I would give anything to attend. The Messiah of Israel, teaching His disciples about the long awaited anticipated Kingdom of the Jewish people who were waiting for what the prophets had promised them.
Jesus intentionally leads the disciple atop the Mount of Olives in Acts 1, just before He ascends to sit at the right hand of the father. And it's there that His disciples ask Him a profound question. And this question has been a topic of debate within the church for centuries. And depending on how you interpret this question, that the disciples ask, it can actually influence the way that you read the rest of the New Testament. The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” John Calvin, the famous 16th century pastor and reformer, commented on the disciples question from Acts 1:6. And he wrote this, there are as many errors in this question as words, they ask Him as concerning a kingdom, but they dream of an earthly kingdom. They declared thereby how bad scholars they were under so good a master. John Calvin was certain that the disciples question was a sign of how little they gleaned from walking with Jesus for 40 days.
The French reformer was appalled that the Jewish disciples would ever even consider the restoration of an earthly kingdom as the Old Testament prophets had promised, even modern scholars take umbrage with this question. But was it really as offensive as Calvin made it out to be? When I read and interpret this question, that the disciples asked, I see it much differently than Calvin. I believe the disciples were actually asking the right question at the right time in the right place. So here, why do I believe it's the right question? We'll look at Israel's restoration was a hot topic in the first century, the Jewish people knew from what the prophets promised that God would liberate Israel from the oppressive empires that suffocated them. As the Romans occupied the land of Israel, Jewish people had a hope, they had a dream that was connected to God's word that God would send the Messiah and that the Messiah would deliver them from their enemies.
The Jewish hope for restoring Israel's physical earthly kingdom dates back to its original demise 700 years prior to the two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, when they were taken captive by Gentile kingdoms, like Syria and Babylon. As the original Israelite kingdom crumbled under God's judgment, the prophet Amos promised that God would one day raise up, repair and rebuild Israel. And He says this in Amos 9:11, on that day, I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down and repair its damages. I will raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old. Look, even Amos who's writing 700 years before Jesus even appears on the scene, sees that Israel will one day be rebuilt as it was in the days of old. The Jewish people were waiting for God to rebuild Israel as it was in the past. Fast forward to the beginning of Acts, and now the disciples ask a question that practically comes right from the mouth of Amos himself.
Lord, will you at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel? Israel's Messiah was expected to restore Israel's fortunes. And in the Gospel account of Jesus's life in ministry, there was no deviation from this plan. I actually think this is where a lot of scholars go wrong, they think Jesus deviates from the plan that the prophets had promised to restore Israel's future. Jesus came to spiritually and physically revive the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus mourns Israel's rejection saying this, if you had only known even you, especially in this, your day, the things that make for your peace, but now they are hidden from your eyes. The phrase that Jesus uses, the things that make for your peace is a loaded phrase. Jesus implies it, Israel's disobedience impeded the ultimate peace that comes with the restoration of the kingdom. Jesus didn't alter the meaning of the kingdom in the Gospels, He came to be the anticipated King of the kingdom. And this is why the disciples asked the right question at the right time.
And that's the next thing, not only did they ask the right question, they had every reason to ask that question, but they asked it at the right time. The disciples question led Calvin to believe that they were bad scholars. Do you remember he said that? I read it earlier. They were bad scholars with a good master. Well, I'm confident he was judging their question off of Jesus's response. When Jesus says, it's not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the father has put in His own authority. Calvin probably interpreted Jesus's response as a hard, no, yet Jesus doesn't even give a hard yes or no answer. Instead, His response leaves the disciples with the same feeling they had before, with a sense of anticipation. Jesus answers them, not a hard yes or a hard no, but yes, I will restore the kingdom to Israel, but no, not right now. So did the disciples jump the gun? Did they ask the question too early? No, the timing of their question was perfect. First, remember who was walking with the disciples for 40 days? It was the resurrected Messiah.
Jesus rose from the dead after three days of being in the tomb, His resurrection validated all the claims that were made about Him being the Messiah, all of His words, all of the miracles that He did, the resurrection validates all that. When the glorified Messiah of Israel is in your midst from a Jewish point of view in the first century, it's only natural to ask, Lord, will you now at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel? Also, we can't overlook the discussion that took place for 40 days between Jesus and the disciples, the conversation wasn't about the best falafel in Jerusalem. It was extremely focused on the things pertaining to the kingdom of God from Acts 1:3, but the controversial question from Acts 1:6 wasn't some random inquiry the disciples asked to make themselves look smarter than from the others. It was a question that arose after 40 days of learning about the kingdom of God from the resurrected King.
All the pieces were in place for the timing of this question. The long awaited Messiah was present to answer their concern about the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, that they had been discussing for 40 days. I don't even just believe that it was the right question to ask or that it was a question that they, I think it goes even beyond that, I believe the place that they were standing was the right place to ask that question. But before we get to that, since we're discussing this topic on the second coming and the kingdom of God, we wanted to let you know about a resource that personally I believe will be a terrific aid in your study of Jesus's return. Sometimes this topic can be confusing in scripture when it comes to delineating between the rapture and the second coming. Is it one event or is it two different events? Well, in the DVD series, 1 Coming or 2?, the late Dr. Reynold Showers and Jimmy D Young investigate the Bible's teaching on the coming of Christ.
And in this five program series, you will see that the biblical passages regarding the rapture and the second coming of Jesus involved too many differences to refer to the same event and why these differences are incredibly important.
Steve Conover: Chris, it's interesting that not many pastors or teachers speak much about the rapture anymore, it's a topic that seems to be avoided perhaps, because of the confusion between the rapture and the second coming. My take away from this video is that it will give you the tools necessary to defend the rapture of the church and have a better understanding of the second coming of Christ. I enjoyed it, I think you will too, and you can purchase your own copy of, 1 Coming or 2?, on DVD. Visit us at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. We'll have the link on our homepage, or you can call our listener line at (888) 343-6940 and someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Again, that's (888) 343 6940 to order in Canada call (888) 664-2584. Again, in Canada, that's (888) 664-2584.
Chris Katulka: We're continuing our discussion on our most recent issue of Israel My Glory, which is all about the second coming of Jesus. Jesus' return, when will it happen and why the King must come before the kingdom is established. I think it's such an important topic for you to know, I want to encourage you to go to foiradio.org, because there you can sign up to get a one year free subscription if you're not already a subscriber. So we've been talking about the controversial question the disciples asked Jesus. Is now the time that you're going to restore the kingdom to Israel? From Acts 1:6. It's controversial because some Christian theologians from the past, and even today have a hard time believing that God desires to restore the nation of Israel. Well, in the previous segment, we saw how the disciples question was a good question to ask, not a stupid one as John Calvin said about the Apostles. And we also saw how the question was asked at the right time. Well, what about the location? The place where they were standing was also an indication that Jesus might restore the kingdom to Israel.
The end of Luke's Gospel and the beginning of the book of Acts, they overlap for a brief moment in Bethany, which is a town on top of the Mount of Olives, where the disciples ask their question. In fact, Luke's Gospel insinuates that Jesus led the disciples up there when Luke writes this and when He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and He blessed them, now it came to pass. While He blessed them that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven, that's Luke 25:50-51. Well, Jesus purposefully led the disciples to the Mount of Olives, and it's here that they ask, Lord, will you, at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? So far, it's been the right question, the right time, now the right place. Why didn't the disciples ask this question 10 days earlier? Why now on the top of the Mount of Olives? Well, maybe the disciples aren't as foolish as Calvin and other theologians would make them out to be.
The prophet Zachariah ends his prophecy, in the Old Testament now, let's go back to the Old Testament. Zachariah, the prophet ends his prophecy promising that God would deliver, save and restore Israel. And all of this will happen when, it says this in Zachariah 14:3-4, when the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle and in that day, His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. So when the question was proposed to Jesus, is now the time you're going to restore the kingdom to Israel? I'm sure the disciples were fully aware of their location. They were standing on the bullseye of Zachariah's restoration prophecy. Jesus' feet were standing on Mount of Olives. Of course, it's a fitting for the disciples to ask, Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? Right question, right time, right place.
But we're still waiting with anticipation. Jesus didn't dash the disciples' hopes when he responded to them, instead He gave them a task to accomplish before He does restore Israel. They were called to bring the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. After Jesus gave them their instructions, He ascended into heaven. As the disciples stared into the sky in bewilderment two angels appeared and explained, “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.” What's going on here is those angels promise the disciples that Jesus isn't done, He's coming back to this very mountain. His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives as Zachariah 14 promised. That there's a day coming in the future when He will restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus's response to the disciples' question, “Lord, will you, at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel?”, leaves us today with the same anticipation that Jewish people had at the end of the Old Testament.
Hope, the difference is we know who the Messiah is now, His name is Jesus. The promised kingdom, Jesus spent 40 days teaching the disciples about is one that is yet to come when He returns at His second coming just as He promised.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: During the recent election campaign, here in Israel, various candidates battled for the office of prime minister. One candidate in particular, a rabbi running on an ultra orthodox party ticket placed an ad in the newspaper stating, God would judge those who do not give their votes to our political party. A few days later, he ran another stating, if you vote for our party, you will earn a place in the Garden of Eden, it'll be your passport to paradise. These claims upset me and the Lord gave me the courage to go to the party's headquarters, to discuss them. As soon as people there saw I was not wearing a hat or a beard, they became suspicious and asked, "Who are you? What do you want here?" I replied, "Your newspaper ad states you have the power to send people to paradise if you vote for your party. As far as I know, God is the only one who has this authority. Has He given you power to act on His behalf?" They thought I was crazy and called over one of their so called fighters to set me straight. He asked why I was attacking them.
I responded, "I have not come here to attack you, I would like to know why you are using God's name in your advertising. The 10 commandments state, you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless, who takes His name in vain, Exodus 20:7." They asked what political party I represented, "I do not represent any party, but as a believer in God, according to the scriptures, I consider your statements blasphemous. I know what the Lord expects of us as His chosen people and I could not rest until I came here and told you. If I had not come, I would have been guilty before God. He has instructed us to go to all nations and preach the Gospel of the Lord. The man then asked, "Do you know the Talmud?' I answered, "I try my best to keep the law of the Lord, but I do not follow your false beliefs." He then asked, "Do you know about the 613 oral laws?" I replied, "It is impossible to keep the 10 commandments, so how do you expect a person to keep 613 laws?"
By now he was frustrated and said, "Let us go down to the bottom line, what is your faith?" "I believe in the Lord, not according to your false traditions, but according to the scriptures, you are trying to draw others into your trap and it is my duty before God to try and stop you. I did not come here to threaten you as your rabbi has done by telling people if they do not vote for your party, God will judge them." He then changed the subject and asked what I thought about the coming of the Messiah. I opened my Bible, I read Isaiah 53 and asked, "Do you think we should be looking for the Messiah to come or to return?" 'What do you think?" He asked in return. I replied, "I do not have to think, I know because it is written here in the Bible, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Messiah has already once come and one day soon He will come again."
Before I left, I gave my testimony about how I came to believe in the Lord, Jesus as my savior and Israel's Messiah. I pray I will have further opportunities to speak with him and that they will see the danger of taking the Lord's name in vain.
Steve Conover: I'd like to thank you all for being with us today. As we close, Chris, give us some insight into what you'll be teaching on next week.
Chris Katulka: Yeah. So this week we did Acts 1:6. We talked about the fact that there is, the disciples ask, “is now the time that you're going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Well, next week we're actually going to do a three, we're going to start a three week study on Romans 9:11. Does Israel today still matter to God? So I hope our listeners tune in. I think it's going to be a great series.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka, today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
1 Coming or 2 DVD
How can we know if the Rapture and the Second Coming are the same event? Fortunately the Bible has plenty of evidence to give you a clear answer to understand these end-times events.
Through 1 Coming or 2, a five-program DVD series with Renald Showers and Jimmy DeYoung, you’ll gain confidence as you learn to understand the Rapture and Jesus’ Second Coming as Scripture teaches them.
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Apples of Gold: Only God Can Send a Person to Paradise
During an election campaign in Israel, various candidates battled for the office of prime minister. One candidate in particular — a rabbi running on an ultra-Orthodox party ticket — placed an ad in the newspaper stating that God would judge those who did not give their votes to his political party. This bothered Zvi, and the Lord gave him the courage to go to the party’s headquarters to have a discussion about it. Listen to this week’s edition of Apples of Gold to find out what happened next!
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
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Hard-hitting, accurate, up-to-date analysis of Israel and the Middle East. Thought-provoking examination of God’s Word. Answers about the end-times. The truth behind today’s headlines. Immediate access to the latest books and resources. People who want to be informed—and have a heart for God’s Chosen People—rely on Israel My Glory.
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The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.