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Acts 6: The Consummation of the Kingdom

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We have observed that the risen Lord Jesus corrected the assumptions behind his apostles' question, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). (1) He gently squelched their curiosity about the timing of God's kingdom agenda, as such "inside information" was not theirs to know (1:7; see Matt. 24:36; 25:13; Mark 13:32; 1 Thess. 5:1-2). He also expanded their mental horizons, showing them that the kingdom would loom larger than Israel and Israel's political status. Through the apostles' Spirit-empowered witness, the light of God's comprehensive salvation would radiate out to the Gentiles at the end of the earth (Acts 1:8, echoing Isa. 49:6-7; see Acts 13:46-47).

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1 [ Back ] See Dennis E. Johnson, "The Power of the Kingdom," in Modern Reformation (January/February 2011), 4.
2 [ Back ] Daniel 7:13-14: "Behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given a dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him."
3 [ Back ] Although this parable and that of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 share a similar main plot, there are significant variations between them. A "mina" (Greek mna, represented by "pounds" in older English versions) was a modest amount equivalent to 100 drachmas, roughly three or four months' wages for a day laborer. A talent was worth 60 mnas. In Matthew three servants are entrusted with different amounts, whereas in Luke each of ten servants receives the same amount. Also, Luke includes the subplot of the rebellious subjects. Probably Jesus told and then retold this story in two forms as he approached Jerusalem (Luke) and after his triumphal entry (Matthew).
4 [ Back ] In Acts 1:6, the Greek verb apokathistano, "restore," is used, and in 3:21 its cognate noun apokatastasis, "restoration," appears. In Luke's two books, members of this word family appear only in these two passages and in Luke 6:10, describing Jesus' healing of a man whose withered hand "was restored."
5 [ Back ] Concepts such as bodily resurrection and last judgment were unpalatable both to Stoicism (with its cyclical view of history) and to Epicureanism (which imagined the gods as blissfully indifferent to human behavior). For further information see Dennis E. Johnson, The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption (Philipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1997), 194-201.

Dennis E. Johnson is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California, Escondido, and author of The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption (P&R 1997).

Issue: "The Great Assurance" Nov./Dec. 2011 Vol. 20 No. 6 Page number(s): 4-6, 25

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