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Acts 1:6–11 ESV
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:6–7 ESV
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
Jesus was teaching the disciples both about the Spirit () and about the kingdom (), and the disciples would have every reason to understand these two themes as inseparably linked. The sourcebook for much of Jesus’s postresurrection teaching was the OT Bible (, ), including what he taught them about their impending mission as his witnesses () and presumably about their reception of the Spirit ().
The prophets had regularly linked God’s pouring out his Spirit with the time of Israel’s restoration, and so any talk about the Spirit’s outpouring was de facto eschatological in character. Indeed, in their contexts, the primary Spirit texts alluded to in all of Luke’s programmatic statements concern Israel’s restoration. For example, the program for Jesus’s mission in the Gospel appears in ,
18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
which quotes ; this passage refers explicitly to the comforting good news, which in context is the good news that God is restoring his people (, ; ; ; , ; , ; ; ; ; ).
Luke indicates that Jesus’s pre-ascension teaching to his disciples during this period reflected significant attention to the Scriptures (); Luke presumably offers us samples of the content of Jesus’s midrash in apostolic sermons that expound Scripture (esp. in ; ; ) but even more explicitly in biblical allusions in his final instructions to the disciples. The primary allusion in (power “from on high,” ἐξ ὕψους) is probably to lxx (the Spirit “from on high,” ἀφʼ ὑψηλοῦ), which refers to Israel’s restoration (; cf. ).
15 until fthe Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
and gthe wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
17 hAnd the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust1 forever.
18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
Luke’s parallel text in his second volume, , might also evoke (given its use of ἐπέρχομαι with πνεῦμα) and alludes to Isaiah’s passage about the Spirit’s empowering Israel as God’s witnesses in the end time (; , ; on which see in more detail below).
Indeed, the coming of the Spirit in Isaiah is often associated with Israel’s restoration (; ; ; cf. ; the new exodus material in ). This is also the case with (quoted in ), which appears in the context of Israel’s eschatological restoration (; ).
Thus the disciples ask what seems, from their solely future eschatological perspective, the obvious question: When will Jesus restore the kingdom to Israel?
Like the Baptist, the disciples did not understand that the king would come twice, hence bringing the kingdom in two stages ( with ). The disciples’ lack of understanding (suggested again in ) provides a suitable transition from their character as learners in the Gospel to their mission in Acts.
The important idea for the disciples is to let God be God, and know for certain He has a plan, as is reiterated by the angels in . First and foremost, though, they must wait on God for His power.
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The ot and Jewish tradition sometimes spoke of the Spirit’s giving people physical strength (, ; ; perhaps ), and occasionally the Spirit is even called “the spirit of power.”
Power had other associations with the Spirit; for example, God sometimes gave prophets his Spirit as his power to boldly stand against false prophets ().
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God
and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. 1 Th 1:5.
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Ti 1:7.
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
in addition to here, , ;
17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country.
In Reference to John, and in the birth and ministry of Jesus, and ultimately:
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Ac 10:38.

Luke regularly associates power… with miraculous healing

Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. .
And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. Lk 6:19.
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” Lk 8:46.
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, Lk 9:1.
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Ac 6:8.
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Although this power is not a permanent possession of Jesus’s agents but only of Jesus’s name, which they rightly carry:
But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?
And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Ac 4:7.
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The language attributed to Jesus in this verse stems from what scholars often call “Second Isaiah”
All the nations gather together,
and the peoples assemble.
Who among them can declare this,
and show us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
and let them hear and say, It is true.
10  “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11  I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
12  I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.
13  Also henceforth I am he;
there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?” .
And again in Isaiah 44:
Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
There is no Rock; I know not any.”
All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Is 44:8–9.
The disciples would understand this eschatological Isaiah allusion as relevant to their question about Israel’s restoration () and recognize its relevance as well to the nations () and ends of the earth ().
In Isaiah, God promised to bring his dispersed people back from among the nations in a new exodus:
43 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
.
16  Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
17  who brings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18  “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19  Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Is 43:16–19.
This includes people from east, west, north and south:
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth, .
God’s saved people, however, would be his own witnesses in that day (; ). This would be the time when God would equip his people with his Spirit to speak for him in order to bring justice to the earth (; ; ; ; ).
10  “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me. Is 43:10.
This would be the time when God would equip his people with his Spirit to speak for him in order to bring justice to the earth
42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations. Is 42:1.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants. Is 44:3.
16  Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit. .
21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.” Is 59:21.
61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Is 61:1.
Jesus summons his followers to be witnesses to “the ends of the earth” (), again echoing the range of Isaiah’s testimony to God’s saving glory (, ; ; ; ).
The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come. Is 41:5.
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners, Is 41:9.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth, Is 43:6.
22  “Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other. Is 45:22.
10  The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God. Is 52:10.
(Luke deliberately weaves an allusion to into his new exodus quotation in , adding to both and Luke’s Markan source.) Remember if you will, John the Baptist's testimony in John:
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” . This is a quote from , which is just breathtaking...
40 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Is 40:1–5.
Mark's retelling of this event is just awesome:
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Mk 1:9–11.
Mark’s note that the heavens were “split apart” is significant. The Greek lemma is schizo . Mark’s choice of the term in connection with the water baptism of Jesus has drawn the attention of scholars because of the use of schizo in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament used by Jesus and the apostles. Not coincidentally, schizo is the verb used in to describe the miraculous parting of the sea. 12 Think back to our discussion of the exodus event. 13 The deliverance from Egypt was a victory over hostile gods. In Moses asked the rhetorical question, “Who is like Yahweh among the gods?” The answer was obvious: no one. The exodus event was a release from exile. Yahweh brought his people out of Egypt to reconstitute them as a nation and re-establish his Edenic kingdom rule on earth.
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