"Behold, the heavens, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee" (1 Kings 8:27)
"Strive diligently to present thyself approved to God, a workman that has not to be ashamed, cutting in a straight line the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
"Every scripture [is] divinely inspired, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, fully fitted to every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
A Table of the Levitical Offerings - E. Davies
Two Sets of Epistles - Dee Lee McCroskey
The Church, How and Why It Changed During the Book of Acts Many teachers speak of "the Church" as if that designation embodies a certain set of practices, and a specific sphere of blessing (in the heavenlies), and that this "Church" has remained without change from Pentecost to the present day. We must not confuse the earthly kingdom with the present day "gathering" which was revealed after the offer of the prophesied earthly kingdom was withdrawn. Many wrongly view the Acts "Church" as "The Pattern Church" for our day. In this paper we seek to study three phases that God's "Gathering" experienced, two in the Acts and one following the close of Acts, and what these three phases mean for the present day "ekklesia." - R.L.B.
How Many "Churches" existed during the Book of Acts? Are we asking the wrong question when we say a new "church" began at Acts 9, or Acts 13, or after Acts 28. See why this misunderstanding may have led to ideas that contradict certain passages of scripture. - R.L.B.
The Miracles, Signs and Wonders of the Great Commission
A Brief History of the Dispensational Movement This article traces the dispensational position of the church as understood by "Brethren" writer John Nelson Darby and by subsequent believers who have continued to research dispensationalism. It includes discussion as to when the present-day church begin, and when the present dispensation begin. Was it Acts 2? Acts 9? Acts 13? Acts 28:28? Or after Acts 28:28? Was there more than one 'church?' Of which 'church' are we members today? And, when God makes dispensational changes, (such as occurred during the historical Acts record), does this necessarily mean He is starting a new church? - R.L.B.
Who replaced Judas Iscariot as the Twelfth Apostle, Matthias or Paul? Much wrong doctrine seems to derive from what should be a simple matter of belief in the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the inspiration of scripture by the Divine Inspirer Himself. - R.L.B.
What really is the Gospel for the
One Page Outline of the Acts - R.L.B.
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The following study, "Acts, A Brief Outline," presents a number of important features of truth found in the book of Acts. If this brief outline sparks your interest, be sure to read the above more complete article on Acts, with Scripture references.
Acts, A Brief Outline
Here, in brief, is the dispensational position of Acts as it relates to God's chosen people Israel, and as it relates to believers today:
1. The book begins with the statement that Acts is a continuing record of the kingdom ministry of the Lord Jesus to the nation Israel.
2. The missing apostle (Judas Iscariot) is replaced by Matthias, thus restoring the 12 apostles, all of whom must be in place so the offer of the millennial kingdom can be made to the 12 tribes of the Jewish Nation.
3. The Lord Jesus ascends into heaven and the Holy Spirit descends upon believers, thus forming them into a special body of Christians known as the called-out-ones, a word we often translate "church."
4. On the day of Pentecost the first signs of the great and terrible "day of the Lord" prophesied by Joel are proclaimed. The word of God is preached to Jews only.
5. The message of Peter (Acts 3) promises the immediate return of the Lord and the restoration to Israel of the physical kingdom on earth as part of the "New Covenant" promised to Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 31. This restoration is conditional on Israel's repentance and belief in their Messiah.
6. Corporate Israel at Jerusalem begins to firmly resist the gospel of the kingdom. Therefore, in Acts 10 God begins to harden part of Israel by opening the door of salvation to the hated Gentiles. The salvation of Gentiles (while Israel remains in unbelief) is a "mystery" that would provoke His "chosen people" to jealousy. This inclusion of Gentiles in God's plan would either result in Israel's conversion, or in their hardening and blindness. Throughout the entire book of Acts the central theme of God's message is the hoped for salvation of His people Israel, since Hebrew prophesy identifies Israel as God's missionary people who will, in turn, lead Gentiles to the Lord.
7. Saul of Tarsus (Paul) becomes God's apostle to the Gentiles. Paul is not one of the twelve apostles. However, throughout the book of Acts, even though Paul is specifically the apostle of the Gentiles he always goes to the Jews of the dispersion first. But each time the Jews reject Paul's message, he walks away from the Jews and goes to the Gentiles. Gentiles are now being saved because of Israel's unbelief, (a mystery), not through their faithfulness, (as in prophecy). God is slowly breaking off the natural (Jewish) branches and grafting wild (Gentile) branches into the blessings of the New Covenant promised in prophecy to Israel and Judah. Throughout the Acts we see the miracles and signs of the "Great Commission." The book of Hebrews calls these signs and wonders "the works of power of the age to come" (Heb. 6:5). This "age to come" is the millennium. Therefore, these miracles and signs pertain to the promised earthly [millennial] kingdom, indicating that during the book of Acts God is still primarily calling Israel to repentance.
8. As Israel's unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit nears finality, Israel's favored covenant status is about to temporarily be put on hold. God has already introduced the mystery of Israel's blindness. Now additional features of this "mystery" will be added. None of the features of truth of this "mystery" can be found in prophecy. God had kept them secret from the beginning of time, and He is about to replace Israel's prophesied earthly millennial kingdom sphere of blessing with the heavenly blessings of the "mystery."
9. Even though God, in His mercy, provoked Israel to jealousy by including Gentiles in the blessings of the New Covenant, Israel unhappily chose to reject their Messiah, even though He was Divinely authenticated by means of the miracles, signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit, and by Christ's resurrection from the dead. This rejection had begun at Jerusalem, and had continued with the Jews of the dispersion scattered throughout the world. Finally, at Rome, all Israel had decisively rejected the ministry of the Holy Spirit and had committed the "unpardonable sin." Therefore, they(temporarily) ceased to be God's missionary vehicle for the salvation of the Gentile world. With an air of finality, at Acts 28:25-29 Paul quotes the pronouncement of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 6:9-10) to the Jewish leaders at Rome, thus casting final blindness upon the corporate nation Israel, and ending their preferred covenant position that had required Paul to minister "to the Jew first."
10. With the blinding of Israel, all mention of the outward physical signs of the earthly kingdom necessarily ceased (miraculous powers, tongues, healing, immunity to poison, etc.). These kingdom gifts ceased because they all had to do with validating to Israel the ministers and the blessings of the earthly kingdom which are now placed in abeyance. (Compare 1 Cor. 12:28 with Eph. 4:11 and note the absence of the miraculous sign gifts that pertain to the Nation that requires a sign).
11. After the book of Acts ends, with corporate Israel temporarily out of the picture, the prophetic program of God is placed on hold and all aspects of the "mystery" previously hidden in God are fully and completely revealed. Like the "New Covenant" the basis of this new revelation rests in the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus. However, this new revelation goes far beyond the terms of the New Covenant in that it includes a new exalted sphere of blessing for all believers, whether Gentile or Jew, without any national distinctions or covenantal preferences whatsoever. This new message for believers is described as "every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ" (Eph. 1:3).
[Click here for the more detailed version of the above brief outline]
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