Lesson I.A.1: The Reaffirmation of the Promise Part 3
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
The teaching Jesus gave during that period is not recorded, but we are told that He used that time to speak “of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” I have found that several theories have been advanced on this subject, and since I have not studied this in depth, I will briefly describe them, but there may be other theories besides these.
1. Many Gnostic and New Age teachers would like to think that after His resurrection, Jesus used the forty days to teach His followers strange and obscure doctrines that must be “rediscovered” with new revelations today. But Luke reminds us that Jesus simply taught them the same material that He had taught them in His earthly ministry: “The things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
2. “Speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God,” implies giving them extensive instructions concerning the nature of his spiritual kingdom; which, before his resurrection, they did not rightly understand.
3. Strictly speaking, He taught them concerning the kingdom of the Messiah, the Gospel dispensation, the doctrines of the Gospel they were to preach, the ordinances of the Gospel they were to administer; concerning the church of God, the nature, order, and officials of it, and the laws and rules by which it should be governed; concerning the kingdom of grace, what it consists of, and where it is found; and concerning the kingdom of glory, his own grace, and of the right to enter into it, and his own justifying righteousness. Before this, they might have had very little knowledge of some of these things; and perhaps, He wanted to tell them about these things before, but until now they were not able to bear it; and since He will no longer be with them in person, he must instruct them now.
4. Above all, Christ taught them about the corruption of mankind; of the tyranny of sin, whose bond-slaves we are; of the curse and guiltiness of eternal death, of which we all are subject, and also of the means to obtain salvation; of the remission of sins; of the denying of the flesh; of spiritual righteousness; of hope of eternal life, and of similar things. And if we are going to be rightly instructed in Christianity, we must apply ourselves to the study of these things.
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
And, being assembled together with them,
Following Christ’s crucifixion, His apostles dispersed and hid from the Roman soldiers, because they thought they might be crucified also. Here Paul refers to that last meeting just prior to His ascension to the Father, where He had assembled His apostles on His authority and told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. At that time, He ate with them, which was a final proof that it was Him and not His spirit. After that, He took them to the Mount of Olives where they watched as He left them.
commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem,
The occasion the apostle refers to is probably when Jesus met them in Galilee while they were fishing. There He commanded them to meet him in Jerusalem, or perhaps He accompanied them on the way there, and He spent his last days on earth there as man. Our Lord has nothing else for the disciples to do other than to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. He knows that they really can do nothing effective for the Kingdom of God until the Spirit comes: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; NKJV). The power which would be given them by the descent of the Holy Ghost was the power of speaking with tongues, of working miracles, and of preaching the gospel with the blessing and aid of the Holy Ghost. This was accomplished in the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (See Acts 2:1-4).
It was necessary, according to the prophecies of Micah (See 4:2) and Isaiah (See 2:3), that the gospel would have its beginning in Jerusalem. But that may not appear to be such a good idea considering the history of Jerusalem and the current political climate in that city; and besides Jerusalem is where the blood of Christ had been shed, and where His greatest enemies lived, and where the disciples would have had no inclination to have gone, much less to stay and wait. But that is how it had to be, partly for the glorifying of Christ by the outpouring of his Spirit on the apostles in the place where He had suffered the most horrible death; and partly because the Gospel, the word of the Lord, was to go out of Jerusalem, according to the prophecies in Isaiah and Micah. The Gospel church was established there and a very large number of souls were converted, and added to it: consequently, Christ told them to go there, and wait for the promise of the Father.
Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV) “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound
from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Micah 4:2 (KJV) “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” The Gentiles were to be admitted into covenant with God, and the apostles were to preach the Gospel, beginning at Jerusalem.
Isaiah 2:3 (KJV) “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” The gospel is a law, a law of faith; it is the word of the Lord; it went forth from Zion, where the temple was built, and from Jerusalem. Christ himself began in Galilee. But, when he commissioned his apostles to preach the gospel to all nations, he told them to begin in Jerusalem, Lu. 24:47.
but wait for the promise of the Father,
Here we have another one of the many “Trinity in Miniature” examples; Jesus tells of the “Promise of the Father,” which is the coming of the Holy Spirit. The "promise of the Father" which they were to wait for, is the promise of the Holy Spirit, which He had told them about on the night of His betrayal, and which they now learn, is to be fulfilled when the Spirit is poured out upon them. God, speaking through the prophet Joel had promised it would happen during the last days (See Joel 2:28), and it was the subject of our Lord's speech to the apostles on the last night of his earthly life. (See John 14:16, 17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-14).
Joel 2.28 (NKJV) “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.” Verse 28 reveals that the promised outpouring of the Spirit is to be universal: Sons and daughters will prophesy, old men will dream dreams, young men will see visions.
John 14.16, 17 (NKJV) “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” Christ would pray to the Father, and they would receive a Helper. “Another” (Gr allos, another of the same kind), indicates that the Comforter would be of the same quality and character as Christ. The Comforter would be God. “Forever”—Christ would go away (14:2), but the Helper would remain forever. The “Helper” is the Holy Spirit (16:13). This Spirit would have a twofold ministry. He would dwell with them (be in their midst), and He would be in them (dwell within).
John 14:26 (NKJV) “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” Christ had spoken these things while He was with the disciples, but the Holy Ghost would teach them all things.
John 15:26 (NKJV) “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” The witness of God’s Spirit will cooperate with that of the disciples to give powerful testimony to the mission and purpose of Christ.
John 16:7-14 (NKJV) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Jesus had spoken to them about the Holy Spirit on several occasions, some of which are mentioned above. If you have not already done so, I recommend you read John 14:16, 17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-14; and also read the associated notes.