Kenneth O. Gangel has noted that the answer Christ is giving here has not been “heeded very well for almost two thousand years:”1 Despite the warning of Christ some have persisted in trying, at a feverish rate, to discern the Second Coming of Christ to set up a millennial kingdom. Besides this, and realizing there is a kingdom of Heaven, then it is hard to imagine a notion of “kingdom” pertaining to a particular location or within a fixed boundary.
In 1st Century times, no doubt, “kingdom” referred to something akin to a Roman imperial system. One where its boundaries fixed, for the time, and protected to establish peace, e.g. Pax Romana. Christ’s very threat to this notion was what ultimately caused Roman intervention and eventual crucifixion of the Messiah.
The Disciple have more reason to be concerned since the Old Testament Scriptures associates the coming of the Spirit with the coming of a kingdom (See Isaiah 32;15-20; Ezekiel 39:28-29; Joel 2:28:31). This belief system is what prompted them, along with their desire to be a part of the kingdom themselves.
Christ’s reply to the disciples was different than the reply to the mother of Zebedee’s sons. In vss. 7-9 we find His reply:
Acts 1:7-9 NIV, “He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. (8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (9) After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Jesus instructs them that they do not need to know the specifics times or dates because the Father has set them in His sovereignty. The Holy Spirit, or helper, will come upon them and they will be witnesses “to the ends of the earth”. The kingdom of God then is not a geographical location, as much as Eden is a place pinpointed in Iraqi topography. The Kingdom is the authoritative power and empowering by Immanuel—God with us.