Thursday, June 20, 2013

Acts Can Be Confusing

I get many questions about the book of Acts, and it is no marvel; it can be a confusing book because it is a transitional book.  It is not used to build doctrine like Romans, Hebrews and others.  The purpose of the book of Acts is to convey the actions and activities of God the Holy Ghost and his ministry in the earth through the apostles; first through the 12 apostles to Israel, and then through the one unique and distinct apostle Paul to us (primarily gentiles) in the body of Christ in this dispensation of grace.

Because of that, there are some confusing passages, especially for us because Acts is a Jewish letter written to and about the nation of Israel, not to and about us.  Therefore the focus and intent of Acts is to speak to the Jewish people.  That is why we see Paul circumcising Timothy.

Acts 16:3
Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

Also Paul was baptized and baptized a few Jews [early in his ministry].

Acts 9:18
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he [Saul/Paul] received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 19:3-5
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

That was their program; and it can be confusing to us.  As a transitional book from law to grace it is a bridge from God’s prophetic program with Israel to his mystery program with us today in the dispensation of grace.  Not only was Israel set aside, cast aside, fallen…

Romans 11:11
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

…but they also had a diminishing.

Romans 11:12-14
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?  For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

Paul’s ministry was a provoking ministry to the nation of Israel. 

God teaches Israel in Acts using a cycling of information; as he also does in Revelation and Genesis.  He gives information and then builds upon it; he will restate it and give commentary.  In Genesis 1 we see the creation of everything; then in Genesis 2 God gives the details.

Revelation 7 talks about the kingdom being established.

Revelation 7:14-17
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Then we see it again in Revelation 21, but with more detail.  So there is cycling, a rehashing of events that gives more and more information and understanding.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!

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