The Hope Part VI
Jesus Christ, THE Hope.
In Part V we read about many fantastic Old Testament believers. Some have called Hebrews chapter 11 the "Believers Hall of Fame". And yet they did not live to see the first coming of Jesus Christ and they died before seeing the city "whose builder and maker is God" and paradise restored on earth.
What enabled these men and women to stand and believe was due in large part to how strongly the knowledge of the hope lived in their hearts and minds. For believers after the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, those of us who are born again of God's holy spirit, we should not only be knowledgeable of all that the Old Testament believers knew, but of the details of the hope of Christ's return that pertain specifically to the born again believers.
In the Bible there are dispensations, or administrations. Man's history has the stone, bronze and iron ages. God has His dispensations (or administrations):
The fifth administration, which is referred to as the Great Mystery, or Age of Grace, was not known by man until it was revealed unto the apostle Paul sometime during the first century. Therefore, the Old Testament believers' perspective was that once Jesus Christ was born and had carried out his ministry, which included his death and resurrection, things would soon move into the re-establishing of Paradise, the new Jerusalem and city of God, and the new heaven and earth.
This is very apparent in Acts chapter one when Jesus Christ, in his resurrected body, had a conversation with his apostles just before his ascension.
The apostles were very unique in many ways. They lived in the Law, Christ, and Grace Administrations. As young men they were raised to look for the coming redeemer and they ended up becoming his apostles! They also believed that the son of God would re-establish the kingdom in Israel, with Jesus Christ as king, once he had been resurrected.
But the kingdom, with Jesus Christ as king, was to be a spiritual one, not a political kingdom.
On the day of the ascension, Jesus Christ was giving last minute instructions to his apostles, and they asked him a question:
Little known by the apostles, who were perhaps expecting an immediate restoration to the kingdom of Israel, Jesus Christ was preparing them for other things. In verse 3 we learn that during the 40 days between his resurrection and the ascension, he instructed them regarding the kingdom of God, not just Israel.
The apostles are being told to wait at Jerusalem where they will be baptized with holy spirit. That is exactly what happened in Acts 2:4, which began the church, or called out believers, that exists still today.
The baptism of holy spirit is a greater baptism than than of John the Baptist, which was water. Baptism is a cleansing, a spiritual wholeness where we identify with Jesus Christ. This was the focus for the apostles, not the kingdom of Israel. Something new was being added to their understanding, which would be later revealed in full to the apostle Paul.
The fifth administration in the list above, which had been hidden from all, the Grace Administration, was now beginning. Something more was being added to the great realities of Hope as had been understood. Not only was there the promises of eternal life, a new heaven and earth, blessings for our faithfulness here on earth, but something new and bigger was about to become center stage:
We will take a closer look at the hope as it pertains to those of us today, living in this administration of the Great Mystery.
It is understandable that the apostles were a bit surprised in Acts 1:9, having just witnessed the ascension of Jesus Christ. They had been through a lot! They spent a little over a year with the Son of God, watching the signs, miracles and wonders that he did. They saw their Lord crucified, then raised from the dead, and were with him while he was in his resurrected body. Now he just "up and leaves" (literally), while they were asking about restoring the kingdom to Israel.
However, God does not leave his people without hope!
Jesus Christ is coming back, and for those of us today who are born again there are many wonderful truths of this hope for us to learn and rejoice in!
Part V Part VII