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):

  1. Original Paradise, Genesis 1:3 to Genesis 3:15
  2. Patriarchal, Genesis 3:16 to the giving of the Mosaic Law
  3. Law, Mosaic Law until the beginning of Jesus Christ's ministry
  4. Christ Administration, Jesus Christ's ministry until his ascension in Acts chapter 1
  5. Grace (or Great Mystery), from Christ's ascension until Christ's return
  6. Appearing, beginning with Christ's return for the born again believers, and ending with Paradise once more established on earth and the events of the book of Revelation completed
  7. Paradise, the new heaven and earth has been established!

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.

On the day of the ascension Jesus Christ was giving last minute instructions to his apostles, and they asked him a question:

Acts 1:3-9

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for [until] the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

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.

But ye shall receive [evidence into manifestation] power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

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 Churchof the Body that exists still today.

The baptism of holy spirit is a greater baptism than that 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 Grace Administration, which had been "hid in God", was about to begin with the giving of the new birth in Acts 2.   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:

Colossians 1:25-27

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation [or administration] of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

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!

Acts 1:9-11

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men [angels] stood by them in white apparel;

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

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