Coming Kingdom Restoration: God’s Witness and the Restoration of the Land
by Daniel Lim
This is a two-part series talking about God’s heart for Israel. Read part 1 here >>
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” (Acts 1:6–7)
The restoration from exile had been imperfect at best when Jesus began His ministry.¹ Dominion, division, compromise, and an absence of the divine presence characterized the landscape. God had promised to restore Israel spiritually (her covenant relationship to God) as well as politically (her national relationship to the land). Through Christ’s ministry, death, and resurrection, the spiritual restoration had been given, but the political dimension was still lacking. The disciples raise this concern and are met with what appears to be a dismissal, yet the goal is not lost, and the Father’s authority is an abundant assurance. The restoration of Israel is fully in the Father’s care—it is not unimportant or irrelevant. The disciples are rather called to enter into active engagement with its establishment, albeit in seemingly contradictory terms.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
In Jesus’ communication to His disciples, He stressed the conjunction “but” to denote a statement that will help clarify the disciples’ question of how and when. Jesus said definitively that the disciples would receive the Holy Spirit, who would then empower them to be effective witnesses beginning in Jerusalem. This movement of the gospel of the kingdom will cover all Judea and Samaria, the traditional homeland for the twelve tribes, then continue to move toward the end of the earth. In casual observation, Jesus’ answer did not directly address the heart of disciples’ concerns, but a deeper look at Jesus’ statement will reveal His intention to provide the disciples with the full trajectory of how and when the kingdom will be restored to Israel. The restoration of the kingdom happens fundamentally through the gospel of the kingdom which spreads by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is prophesying the restoration of the kingdom to Israel at a time when the gospel of the kingdom reaches the end of the earth. The worldwide witness of the gospel must precede the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. Such fulfillment demands the ingathering of the Gentiles into the kingdom of God (Matthew 8:10–11; Acts 15:14–16; Romans 11:1–28).
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:12–14)
Jesus prophesied the restoration of the kingdom to Israel preceded by the fullness of the ingathering of the nations into His kingdom. The apostle John wrote,
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9–10)
Jesus exhorted the disciples to pay attention to the works of the Holy Spirit empowering the movement of the gospel. Through the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the tangible works of the gospel, we can discern times and seasons in part. Throughout redemptive history, the Holy Spirit would leave progress markers that would point toward the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.
Historically, since AD 136² when the Roman emperor Hadrian forbade Jews from entering Jerusalem and renamed Judea as Palestina, the descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel have not dwelt in an independent self-governing nation until 1948. It is unlikely the return of the Jews to their historic homeland in 1948 is the final fulfillment of Acts 1:6, as the biblical restoration of the kingdom to Israel involves Israel’s salvation and lordship in Christ as well as their dwelling in their historic homeland. Restoration of the kingdom to Israel will finally involve Jesus Christ ruling and reigning from His throne in Jerusalem as the psalmist once proclaimed:
The Lord is great in Zion,
And He is high above all the peoples.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name—
He is holy.
The King’s strength also loves justice;
You have established equity;
You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His footstool—
He is holy. (Psalm 99:2–5)
And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
“After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up;
So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
Says the Lord who does all these things.” (Acts 15:15–17)
The Scripture is abundantly clear that the restoration of the reign of the Davidic King in Jerusalem is directly linked to the nations seeking the Lord and worshiping Him. The destiny of Israel is linked to the nations, and the destiny of the nations is found in the Jewish Messiah and the early Jewish church that was launched at the feast of Pentecost, days after Jesus’ ascension. This truth eluded me for many years even in the midst of my quest to see the gospel reach every nation. Until fifteen years ago, the modern state of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Jewish people did not really have any distinctive theological significance to me except as historical-cultural background for biblical interpretation and understanding of the continuity of God’s covenant.
Over the last fifteen years, the Lord has been very gracious to unfold to me a greater understanding of His heart for Israel through my time in the Scripture, the anointed teaching of various teachers such as Dr. Walter Kaiser Jr., Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. Daniel Juster, Mike Bickle, Asher Intrater, Eitan Shishkoff, Malcolm Hedding, and my fellowship with key leaders of Messianic Jewish congregations. The constant and consistent corporate intercession for Jerusalem and God’s salvation plan for Israel have also deepened my love and focus on God’s redemptive plan for Israel and the nations. The issue of restoration of the kingdom to Israel has and will remain the center issue relating to covenant and controversy until Christ returns. However, the Holy Spirit is preparing a global Church that understands His heart and His ways as recorded in the ninth to eleventh chapters of the Epistle to the Romans.
Scripture indeed emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit as an important indicator for the timing of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. The acceleration of the gospel revolution in all nations ultimately leads to all Israel being saved. Jesus has always been zealous for the sons of Israel. While Jesus often prioritized the sons of Israel during His earthly ministry, He was amazed by the great faith He found among the Gentiles.
When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Matthew 8:10)
But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:24, 28)
It was apparent some of Jesus’ most rewarding encounters with believers were with Gentiles who had great faith in Him. However, Jesus’ intention to establish the Church’s Jewish foundation remains clear throughout His ministry focus and His leadership choices. In Luke 16 Jesus prayed all night to appoint the twelve apostles to sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. All of them were of Jewish descent. The early church who gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem after His crucifixion, death, and resurrection were Jewish men and women. Many of them were Galilean, out-of-state visitors in Jerusalem. It was obvious Jesus was laboring for the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. It began with Israel, then to all nations, and finally to Israel again. Indeed, the kingdom will be restored to Israel as promised.
Have you taken time to marvel at God’s plan to restore the kingdom to Israel through the ingathering of the Gentiles?
At IHOPKC, we have a special prayer focus on Tuesdays for the nation of Israel and God’s purposes for the Jewish people. Join our Global Prayer Room livestream Tuesdays 6–8am, 10am–12pm, and 4–6pm CT to intercede for God’s plan. You can access the free stream at ihopkc.org or download the IHOPKC app in the App Store or Google Play.
¹Piotrowski, Nicholas G. 2018. “‘Discern the Word and Understand the Vision’: Ongoing Exile in Second Temple Judaism and Its Relevance for Biblical Theology.” Criswell Theological Review 16 (1): 21–42.
²Emperor Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem and renamed it Aelia Capitolina. Cf.
- Senior Leader, IHOPKC
- Facilitator, Onething Global Leadership Summit
Daniel Lim served as the Chief Executive Officer of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (2008-2020). He was trained at a Baptist seminary (MA in World Missions) and served as a Baptist pastor in Southeast Asia. With a passion for the gospel of the kingdom of God and the glory of Jesus Christ, Daniel teaches at conferences, churches, universities, and seminaries throughout the nations.
Daniel is the author of Bible 360°: Total Engagement with the Word of God. Daniel is married with two children. One of his children went home to be with the Lord in 2008 during a crisis relief effort.