There are a variety of viewpoints that are often raised regarding the following passage from Acts chapter 1 related to “the restoration of Israel”:
 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.
When the disciples asked Jesus when the kingdom would be restored to Israel, what did Jesus mean with his answer? Some claim that the lesson here is that the disciples were still ignorantly expecting some kind of geopolitical millitary victory over Rome. Others claim that Christ was referring to the modern nation state of Israel turning en masse in repentence.
It actually doesn’t take gymnastics to see that the kingdom being restored to Israel via the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the remnant of Israel is what was going on here. This kind of restoration was always the promise of the prophets of old; that the new covenant and the restoration of Israel would be brought about through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It was also made clear that this restoration of the kingdom to Israel and the indwelling of the Spirit of God would also bring about the restoration of the nations and the whole world. The disciples had read Ezekiel 36 and 37.
 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
I happen to believe that Christ wasn’t skipping over the question and that he really was saying, “Wait”. The disciples were to wait in Jerusalem until the outpouring of the Spirit. It was that fulfillment of OT prophecy of God dwelling with his people that would begin the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.
Getting the meaning of the restoration of Israel wrong often begins by simply ignoring the two previous verses of Acts 1:4-5:
“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
This is why the apostles asked their question to Christ about the restoration. Of Israel. They considered the outpouring of the Spirit as synonymous with the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. Clearly the outpouring of the Spirit is in question.
What’s the next word? “So”… it’s connecting the two sections. In verse 5 they were together with Jesus and they were told to wait….the next time they were together with Jesus again they asked again about the same topic.
“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
They had to wait because they didn’t know the time. Jesus was reiterating that they needed to wait because the exact time was not going to be revealed to them.
This is all building to Chapter 2:1-4 when what they were asking about comes to pass:
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Then Peter makes clear that this outpouring of the Spirit was what was prophesied in Joel which was to occur in the last days:
“But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”
It all fits together perfectly this way.
An oft underemphasized thread in scripture is how God uses the unfaithfulness of his own people and his scattering of them throughout the nations in judgement to bring about the obedience of all nations.
He divided Israel into two, sent them off in to exile around the world. Having dealt with their sin and having made a mockery of death, he then poured out his spirit on his people and scattered them far and wide on a mission to re-unify what was torn asunder and in so doing bring about the salvation of all nations. The restoration of the kingdom to Israel would mean the restoration of the world.