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 1:7
Why not? Why shouldn’t they have known? As Jesus’ disciples they were the closest to Him and were the ones that needed to teach and share the good news about God. Even today, as people share the message of Jesus, why shouldn’t they know the times or seasons that God has planned? The Bible is so full of prophecies after all, there is so much that God reveals in His word to us, so why is it here that we cannot know?
It is important to look at the context.
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. 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 1:6-8
In verse 6 the disciples are essentially still asking Jesus if He is now going to lead Israel to victory over the Romans. Jesus response however is pointing to the bigger issue, it isn’t about conquering the Romans, but the salvation of the world. In order to achieve that salvation, we as human beings need to be involved. God won’t force us into making any decisions, but His word does need to be shared to the end of the earth before Jesus’ return.
Think about it.
If we knew the exact date and time of Jesus’ return to this world, would we need to be witnesses to the ends of the earth as described in Acts 1:8? Jesus is coming back at this date and time regardless. So if we knew, it would foster inaction and complacency in many of us. Of course there would be some who do exactly what Jesus instructs here, but would we all? Would you? Would I? If I knew I was saved and Jesus was coming back in 2 weeks, would I rush to the Australian wilderness to share the good news with those that might not have heard? Or would I sit back and watch it all unfold from the comfort of my lounge? We’ve been told to watch after all in the parable of the bridegroom in Matthew 25:1-13. It’s a tough question. Shouldn’t I just make sure I’ve got plenty of oil for my lamp and then just sit back? It’s a question that is easier to deal with though when we know that the word of God must go to the ends of the earth, but it is not for us to know the exact date and time of Jesus’ return.
We have a task to do and that’s that, it doesn’t matter when Jesus is coming back as long as we do the tasks He has given us to do.