5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.
This baptism with the Holy Spirit was not, of course, the baptism of Jews and Gentiles into one body. The baptism into one body was to be effected by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), but this is associated with “the mystery,” which was then as yet unknown.
The baptism here referred to was to be a baptism with, or in, the Spirit for miraculous power.
With regard to this subject too we find additional light in the parallel passage at the close of Luke’s gospel, where we find the Lord saying, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with POWER FROM ON HIGH” (Luke 24:49, and cf. Acts 1:8).
Aside from other miraculous powers which this baptism was to bestow, it was also to empower them to live as worthy representatives of the King. The Apostle Paul exhorts us today to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) but the very fact that he exhorts indicates that today this filling is a provision of grace to be appropriated by faith. This was not so with the Pentecostal believers. They were filled with the Spirit because they were baptized with the Spirit, not in response to prayer or faith, but in fulfillment of a promise. The Holy Spirit was to come and baptize His own at the very time, and at the very place and for the very purpose predicted. The prophetic clock had not yet stopped ticking. — Stam, pages 30-31.
not many days (v.5) — It happened 10 days later.
The apostles wanted to know if the coming of the Holy Spirit (prophesied in Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33) signaled the promised restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.
When they … were come together (v.6) — probably a different occasion than in verses 4 and 5, but following soon after.
times (v.7) — usually periods of considerable duration
seasons (v.7) — shorter, defined periods
The apostles knew, and correctly so, that the earthly kingdom would someday (still, today, in the future) be restored to Israel. They didn’t ask if, they asked when.
The Lord did not rebuke them for asking the question or correct any mistake they made. He simply told them they weren’t to know the timing. His answer confirms the rightness of their thinking. If there was to be no restoration of the kingdom, there couldn’t be times and seasons.
In connection with the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, the establishment of the theocratic kingdom on earth, as promised by God’s holy prophets, times and seasons are expressly stated, and the declaration was made that at the time of the end, preceding the coming of the kingdom, the wise should understand (Daniel 12:10). But the Lord does not here, as He did in His Olivet discourse, direct their attention to Daniel. “For you it is not to know the times or the seasons.” — Gaebelein, page 18.
It is sometimes said that the apostles in asking this question, betrayed carnality and ignorance of the true nature of the kingdom which our Lord was to establish, but this charge is most unjust.
Had not God in solemn covenant promised David: And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever? (Psalms 89:35-36).
Do we not read in Jeremiah 23:5-6, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely … ?
Had not John the Baptist’s father, filled with the Holy Spirit, said: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life? (Luke 1:68-75).
And had not our Lord Himself led them to expect the establishment of a physical kingdom on earth?
Had He not said: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit THE EARTH? (Matthew 5:5).
Had He not taught them to pray: Thy kingdom come. They will be done IN EARTH, as it is in heaven? (Matthew 6:10).
Had He not distinctly promised them: Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel? (Matthew 19:28).
Had not our Lord just spent forty days with them, speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God? (Luke 24:45).
And had He not already, at the beginning of this period opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures? (Luke 24:45).
Why should these men be charged with ignorance when we are told that they understood the Scriptures? Why should they be charged with carnality for taking God at His Word and believing the statements of their Lord and Master? — Stam, pages 33-35.