But - the Divine Alternative
Wade E Taylor
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power.” Acts 1:6-7
“But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
This passage of Scripture marks one of the major transitions in the Lord’s dealings with His disciples. The word “but” is the pivotal point that indicates this change. From this moment on, Jesus begins to reveal an entirely new phase of His ministry.
The Church, His body, is about to be birthed, and through a new covenant there will be provided the “enabling power” for the spiritual development and functioning of each potential member of this Church.
However, the disciples of Jesus were preoccupied with thoughts of setting up a literal earthly kingdom. They had asked, “Lord, will You at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6. If Jesus had given them any idea that such a Kingdom was at least two thousand years in the future, these disciples would have been devastated.
Rather, Jesus responded, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons... BUT.” Then He turned their focus from something they would “do” (rule), to something that they would “become” (qualified to rule).
Jesus told them that they would receive a special gift of “enabling power” so they could become an extension of His life and ministry on the earth, “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me…” (not do witnessing).
In other words, “I will empower and work within you, that the manifestation of your life among men will be like Mine. Therefore, you will BE a demonstration (witness) of what I would have been, just as if I were in the same circumstance or place as you.”
“You will receive a Baptism (immersion) in the Holy Spirit which will provide the enabling power for you to spiritually mature, so you can qualify to participate in the future manifestation of My Kingdom. This is My purpose at this time, rather than the present establishing of an external, visible Kingdom.”
Thus, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is given that we might BECOME (be) this witness. Its primary purpose is much more than an enabling to do witnessing.
This is restated in Acts 15:14, 16, 17, where these two steps are given. “…God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name.” And secondly, “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David... that the residue of men might seek after the Lord….”
Today, we are approaching the end of the first step - “the taking out of a people for His Name.” The second part answers the “when” of the disciple’s question. It will come in His time, otherwise Jesus could not have said to them, “It is not for you to know the times.”
Looking back, Jesus had referred to this “time of processing” when He called them to follow Him. He had said to Peter, who was a fisherman, “Come you after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” Mark 1:17. Peter heard the “fishing” rather than the process, “make you to become.”
Therefore, Peter was constantly concerned with the aspect of time, “When?” He was more interested in what his position would be in this Kingdom, than in his “being made ready” to function in it.
The Lord knew that when pressures came, Peter would utterly fail, for he had not yet endured any qualifying experiences, nor had he received the “enabling power” of the infilling of the Holy Spirit that would prepare him for these things.
Today, a message on “when” draws much attention. However, the Divine Alternative, “But,” still rings clearly.
There is yet to be those who are so completely identified with Jesus that they will be able to say as Jesus said to Philip: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” John 14:9. Jesus was saying that His life so thoroughly reflected the life of His Father, that His Father could be clearly identified in Him.
Likewise, we are to so completely reflect our being a “witness to Jesus,” that His life will be readily recognized in us. We should ask ourselves, “Does my life so completely reflect (mirror) Jesus that His life can be recognized through my life?”
Concerning Himself, Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit” John 12:24. The seed is to bring forth exactly after its own kind. This is a law of harvest, that the harvest will be as the seed, only greatly multiplied.
This power, the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit,” is far more than our being blessed or speaking in tongues, though it includes these, and more. The heart and purpose of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is that we receive the enabling power “to become” this witness.
“I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. But He who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; whose fan is in His hand, and He will cleanse His floor and gather His wheat into the storehouse; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11-12
To be “baptized in the Holy Spirit” is to give the Holy Spirit “throne rights,” or total control over our lives. “You shall receive power... and you shall be witnesses.” This gives the Holy Spirit the right to completely deliver and cleanse our lives, to make us conformable to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord will have a Spirit Baptized people who are like Him, and who have become qualified to rule with Him in the coming day of His Kingdom.
Only then will the answer to the question, “when?” find its full outworking.