“The Third Dimension of the Apostolic Commission”
Read Part 1 HERE!
When the disciples asked Yeshua in Acts 1:7 if the kingdom would be established in Israel at that time, He did not say it would not happen. He said they could not know when. In that sense Yeshua affirmed the biblical plan for the kingdom of God in Israel. However, the restoration of the kingdom to Israel would happen at the end of the gospel period, not at the beginning.
The kingdom will be restored to Israel, when the king returns to Israel. This happens at the second coming, not the first. The finale of the great commission ends up with Yeshua’s return. “This Yeshua who was lifted up from you into heaven will certainly come in the same manner as you saw Him go up to heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Yeshua’s disciples had expected:
- Establish the kingdom to Israel
- Extend the kingdom to the nations
Yeshua changed this to:
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit
- Preach the gospel to all nations
- Establish the kingdom at the second coming
- To Israel
- To all nations
The kingdom of God includes both Israel and the nations. It is not Israel without the nations; nor is it the nations without Israel.
The kingdom of God is first spiritual and inward, then outward and governmental. Ultimately, Yeshua will return; His kingdom will be established on earth with peace and prosperity for all nations, with its capital in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2, Isaiah 9, Micah 4, Ezekiel 40-48, Matthew 23, Matthew 24, Luke 21, Revelation 20, etc.)
The kingdom came first spiritually to the disciples in Israel. Then it was to spread to all the nations. During that time Israel had to be exiled and dispersed among the nations. As the message of the kingdom spread to all nations, so was the international church (Ecclesia) established in all nations.
Now this multi-ethnic Ecclesia is coming to realize that the time for Yeshua’s return is near. He will come back to Israel (to the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem) to establish His kingdom on earth. The Ecclesia is now to pray for the kingdom to be restored to Israel, and thereby pray for the kingdom to be established in all the world.
The kingdom is restored to Israel in several stages:
- Regathering the people to the land
- Reestablishing the state and the capital
- Restoring the Messianic remnant
- Revival in Israel
- Return of Yeshua as king and messiah.
As every human being has three dimensions: spirit, soul and body; so too does the kingdom of God. We desire to see the fullness of the gospel message in all of its three dimensions: infilling of the Holy Spirit, witness to the nations for the salvation of souls, restoring the kingdom to Israel. The original apostolic commission cannot be fulfilled unless it includes the third element: restoring the kingdom to Israel.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, May 1, 2019, and reposted with permission.