I preached a few weeks ago on Acts 1:8 and how God’s program for the church is to reverse the rejection of sinners by God and reclaim what He has disinherited. Here is a question I received:
You mentioned in your sermon about how the Jesus told the apostles once he was raised from the dead to go into Judea and Samaria (Northern & Southern kingdom) to reclaim those who were lost. You also mentioned Babel ( or Babylon). Would you please explain this passage that I think was recorded by Luke.
This is a good question. I will try to summarize my sermon.
If we look at the history of mankind and their rejection of God, we see that God forsakes or disinherits mankind when they reject Him. The first rejection was in Eden. There, because of their sin, God threw Adam and Eve out of His presence – He exiled them. They did not heed their mandate to fill and subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28), but instead disobeyed God. They rejected God, so He rejected them, and the whole creation was affected by sin.
Then, at Babel (Genesis 11), the whole of mankind rejected God. Rather than fill and subdue the earth (commanded again in Genesis 9:1), they came together in one place and sought their own glory. So God sent them away and scattered them over the earth. He exiled and disinherited mankind as a whole (see Deuteronomy 32:8).
Then God calls Abraham (Genesis 12). Out of all the world, Abraham and his offspring are God’s inheritance (see Deuteronomy 32:8-9), and He is theirs. The chosen offspring become the nation of Israel. Then, Israel splits into the northern kingdom (Israel) and the southern kingdom (Judah). Israel becomes an idolatrous nation, and they reject God, so He disinherits them and sends them into exile (2 Kings 17:7-23). Then Judah does the same, so God disinherits them and exiles them (2 Kings 17:19-20 and 24:1-3).
So we have all of mankind rejecting God in our federal head Adam, then all individual men together at Babel, then Israel, then Judah. God’s plan is to undo this Himself, in reverse order. With the completed work of Chrst (life, death, resurrection, ascension, sending of the Spirit) God has begun to do so. This is done through His church, starting in Judea (undoing the rejection of the southern kingdom), in Samaria (undoing the rejection of the northern kingdom), and then to the end of the earth (undoing the rejection at Babel). This is the command given by Jesus in Acts 1:8.
Then, when Jesus – the federal head of the church – returns in glory and completes His work (final judgment and salvation) He will undo the rejection of Adam and restore the church and the world to God’s very presence. At that point, those who have rejected him will be disinherited finally and forever, and those who have not will inherit Him forever even as He inherits us forever.
Here is the pattern:
The important thing to remember is that we are in stage B1 right now. We, the church, are called to restore individuals to God in the power of the Spirit.