Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

What We Can and Cannot Know

What we can know, we must do. Acts 1.6-8

The Beginning of the Ongoing: Acts 1 (3)

Pray Psalm 132.1-5.
LORD, remember David
And all his afflictions;
How he swore to the LORD,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the LORD,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Sing Psalm 132.1-5.
(Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
Remember, Lord, we pray, in David’s favor, the hardships he endured, the oath he swore,
the vow he made to Jacob’s mighty Savior: “I shall not enter through my palace door;
I shall not sleep, nor slumber my eyes favor, until I make a dwelling for the Lord!”

Read Acts 1.1-8, meditate on verses 6-8.

Preparation

1. What were the disciples seeking from Jesus?

2. How did Jesus answer their question?

Meditation
See that word, “restore” (v. 6)? The answer to the disciples’ question, while not given here, is the story of the book of Acts: “No!” and “Yes!”

One of the great themes of Scripture is that of restoration, of God returning His people to Himself, so that they can enjoy all the benefits of the blessed life of His Presence and glory (cf. Ps. 126). It makes sense that the disciples would ask about the Kingdom, since Jesus had been plying them with instruction on the subject for forty days. They were primed. They were ready.

But, no, they weren’t.

The disciples asked about the Old Testament kingdom of David, and no, that was not coming. The Kingdom of David’s greater Son was coming, but they weren’t quite ready. They had to wait. And then power would come. The unseen world of infinite spiritual power was about to be fused with the temporal world of men and things, and all heaven would break loose on earth, spreading from Jerusalem to the farthest parts through the experience of restoration borne witness to in the words and deeds of those first believers.

“It is not for you to know.” Let’s say that again, shall we? “It is not for you to know.” The specific details of the when of the Kingdom’s coming are not within the scope of our calling. However, what we should be seeking is abundantly clear (the Kingdom and restoration to the Lord), as well as how we should seek it (be witnesses).

Jesus filled His apostles with a vision of the Kingdom and promises of God. They were eager for it, but they still lacked the most important component – the Spirit of God. We can neither enter, know, experience, nor seek the Kingdom apart from the Spirit of God. He is the power for God’s new Kingdom to replace our old ways of sin and death with His new ways of light and life.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The disciples wanted to know the future (Acts 1.6).
They wanted to know when things were going to come out right for them.
“Lord, when exactly will all this happen?

Well, the Lord told them that they will never know the answer to that question; but that shouldn’t prevent them from living obedient, victorious, and busy lives right now. In the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells us the very same thing. The future? Not for us to know. But regardless, be witnesses.

We might not know the future, but there are many things that God is happy for us to know:
“I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Ex. 6.7).

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19.25-27).

“…we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Jn. 6.69).

“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3.17, 19).

“…I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1.12).

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 Jn. 2.3).

“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5.19, 20).

Do we really need to know the future when we know so many other things to be true?
And truly, the things we are allowed to know are enough.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” (Jn. 15. 16)

Reflect
1. Why is it important that we know what we can and cannot know?

2. As far as our lives here on earth, what can we know?

3. What should we be doing with the things we can know?

Christ forbiddeth us to apply those things unto ourselves, which God doth challenge as proper to himself alone. Of this sort is the foreknowledge of those things which God hath taken to himself to govern and direct, according to his own pleasure, far contrary to our opinion, and otherwise than we could invent. John Calvin (1506-1564) Commentary on Acts 1.7

Pray Psalm 132.8-12
Pray that God would move among His people with renewed power to help us in seeking and advancing His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Sing Psalm 132.8-12
(Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
Arise, O Lord, come to Your resting place; Your holy Presence meet with us in might.
Clothe us with righteousness in Jesus’ grace, and we will shout to Your divine delight!
For David’s sake, turn not away Your face, but look upon us in Your holy light.

Remember, Lord, the oath You swore to David; do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor, and He shall keep My cov’nant evermore,
and walk within My testimonies ever, thus He shall ever rule as Israel’s Lord.”

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to our summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by clicking here. For more about what Jesus is doing at the right hand of God, order a free copy of our book, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? (click here).

We’re happy to provide a free companion study to our study of the book of Acts. The Ongoing Work of Christ considers the book of Acts thematically. It is suitable for personal or group use, and you may have a free PDF copy of The Ongoing Work of Christ by requesting it from us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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