Saturday, February 22, 2020

Acts Study, Session 3

In lieu of a live study since I am traveling, we discuss the absolute necessity of learning to view the book of Acts as a transitional book.

Teaching Notes
After years of teaching ministry, I have come to believe that we are simply interpreting the book of Acts incorrectly. I am not alone in that assumption. Many before me have come to this conclusion as well. So, I am not out on a limb by myself here. Those who embrace this view are often called Mid-Acts and Hyper Dispensationalists. These terms are oftentimes used in derision. However, make no mistake; they are dispensationalists who have just concluded, after comparing Scripture with Scripture that many of the things that we have been taught in regards to Progressive Dispensationalism are simply incorrect and current assumptions need to be questioned. Why? We are taking the things that belong to the Nation of Israel and misapplying them to the Gentile Church. In my opinion, it is just soft Replacement Theology. The result has led to constant attempts to overcome seemingly glaring contradictions that exist between the message of the twelve and that of Paul. This need not be. The contradictions disappear once the preset filter is removed. Rule number one in Biblical interpretation is that the Bible must be rightly divided in order for it to make sense and never contradict.

First, it must be understood that God’s initial plan was to reach the Gentiles through the nation of Israel after their restoration which prophetically should have happened with the first advent of Christ. Isaiah 42:1 says, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” He also said in Isaiah 49:6, “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” And also in Isaiah 60:1-3, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Also in Zechariah 8:23, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” Of course, there are many more verses that show this, but in the end, the nation rejected their Messiah and his Kingdom offer, and the result was the postponement of said Kingdom, and the mystery of the Church being revealed to the Apostle Paul (Romans 11:25; 16:25; 1Co 2:7; 15:51; Eph 3:3; 3:4; 3:9; 5:32; 6:19; Col 1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3).

Therefore, the book must be viewed as a transition from Peter to Paul, the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Gospel of Grace, and from Jerusalem to Antioch. The first examples that I offer are from the book itself. Compare the first part of the book in regards to Peter to the last part of the book in regards to Paul.

In Acts 2:37 we see after Peter finished his first sermon to the Jewish people about how they had killed their Messiah, it says that the people were “pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter’s response was simply, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Is that what we would tell someone today? That they need to repent and be baptized to be saved? No. Only those who have incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures in this regard would teach the necessity of baptism to be saved, i.e., baptismal regeneration. Later in the book, Paul was asked almost the same question by the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30 when he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul’s response we simply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." My friends, that answer is totally different than the one that Peter gave. There is no way around it. Peter’s required the work of baptism while Paul’s did not. Something happened. A transition was taking place.

Also, compare Acts 2:45 with Acts 11:29. In the first part of the book, we see the Jerusalem church selling everything that they had and “parting them to all men, as every man had need.” Why did they do this? They were expecting the Lord to return and establish his Kingdom! Also, the Lord had previously told them in Matthew 19:21, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” They wanted to be obedient. We don’t tell or expect people to do this today! By the time we teach the eleventh chapter of the book, the Church at Antioch was making collections to send “relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea.” Why? - The Church in Jerusalem was expecting something that did not happen. Why? - National rejection of their Messiah and Kingdom offer. Also, compare Acts 12:11 with Acts 26:32 where Peter was supernaturally freed from prison by angels and yet Paul was imprisoned and headed for an appeal to Caesar.

A transition was taking place. Peter was losing prominence and Paul was being raised. The Gospel of the Kingdom (repent and be baptized) was being replaced with the Gospel of Grace (believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved).

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Acts Study, Session 2

Today, we continue looking at the book of Acts by reviewing some fundamentals of interpretation and defining Acts 2 Dispensationalism versus Mid-Acts Dispensationalism.

Teaching Notes
Now, with all of that being said, I believe that the apostles were dispensational in the way that they viewed the Scriptures and should we be. To them it was simple. The Messiah had come, and as per the Old Testament prophecies, he was going to restore the kingdom, and fulfill the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants just as God had promised. No, they did not see the cross. This is evidenced both by their increased questioning as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom and Peter's rebuke of Christ for even suggesting his purpose for returning to Jerusalem. 

However, eventually, the cross did come and they were demoralized, but after the resurrection, and some obvious clarification laid out by Christ during the forty days before his ascension in Acts 1:9, they were re-energized because the purpose of the cross had apparently been made clear. 

Moving forward, their focus stayed the same in that they were still looking for the restoration of the promised kingdom (Act_1:6). This is evidenced by the fact that their message never changed. It still remained as it was in the Gospels; repent and be baptized (Act_2:37-38).

Sadly, their message was ultimately rejected by the nation of Israel and God raised up the Apostle Paul to start what would become the church age in Acts 9. Yes, initially, Paul did preach the same Kingdom Gospel that the apostles preached, however, at some point between his departure and return to Jerusalem fourteen years later (Gal_2:1), the mystery of the church had been revealed to him and he was now preaching a different gospel: the Gospel of Grace. 

No doubt, Peter and the others, realized that something was changing, e.g., Cornelius (Acts 10:1), but did not fully understand it until the Counsel in Jerusalem (Acts 15) when Paul returned and explained it more thoroughly. It was at that point that Paul's gospel was confirmed by the twelve (Gal_2:2) and they parted: the twelve still remained with the Jews in Jerusalem still looking for the kingdom and preaching the Kingdom Gospel and Paul went to the Gentiles preaching the Grace Gospel. Again, they are not the same. The first is still under the Law and the other is under the new dispensation of grace.   

Unchanged Timeline
It must be understood also that the timeline never changed for the apostles. As per Daniel's prophecy and many others in the Old Testament, their expectation and hope was that Israel would eventually repent nationally, the Tribulation (Daniel's Seventieth Week) (Dan_9:24; Mat_24:15) would commence, and would culminate with the Christ's Second Coming, the establishment of the kingdom, and them sitting on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel just as they were promised (Mat_19:28). This is reflected in all of their writings without exception. This apparently remained a hope until the eventual destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the death of John, the last apostle. One would do well to remember this when they are reading anything between Hebrews and Revelation in the  New Testament. They were always addressing the believing Jews and preparing them for the tribulation that they fully expected would come. 

Paul, on the other hand, had turned to the Gentils and the establishment of the church: the Body of Christ. As such, the apostles were teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom that required repentance and baptism, while Paul was teaching the Gospel of Grace that required only belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. As stated earlier, failure to see this transition is the reason for so much confusion in the church today, e.g., baptismal regeneration, amillennialism, postmillennialism, Preterism, Replacement Theology, much of the Pentecostal movement, the loss of salvation, etc. In my opinion, it is only through the lens of the dispensational view that this can be seen clearly.

Unfortunately, it is clear from the writings of Paul that most, if not all, of the churches that he had founded or mentored eventually turned away from the Gospel of Grace that he preached and placed themselves back under the Law or Gospel of the Kingdom (Gal_1:6) and have quite frankly done so ever since, e.g., finding the church in the Gospels and the other writings of the apostles.

Sadly, with that in mind, and the fact that the kingdom never came, in their ignorance, following the writings of Augustine, specifically, his work, The City of God, early 5th century, they began to spiritualize and allegorize the texts to make it say what they wanted it to say. As a result, the church became Israel, we are now living in the kingdom, the pope is Christ's vicar on earth, and Rome is the Holy City, i.e., amillennialism. 

Unfortunately, the Protestant Reformation did little to change this theology other than to reject the authority of the pope and gravitate from amillennialism to postmillennialism. Neither interpreted the Bible literally and both led to preterism. Dispensationalism was not lost but purposefully left.

It would not be until Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney on the edge of the Second Great Awakening that progressive revelation was revisited, wrongly so, as they waited for the kingdom that would apparently begin in America as a result of Joel 2 and Acts 2 being fulfilled. Yes, America was going to be that great "city on a hill" spoke of in Mat_5:14 that they were waiting for. Unfortunately, the reality of the Civil War shattered any thoughts of that happening anytime soon.

Full Circle
Dispensationalism did not come full circle again until a fellow by the name of John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren in Great Britain began what would come to be called The Dispensational Era. Darby's teaching was popularized in the United States by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield via the Scofield Study Bible and the subsequent rise of fundamentalism between 1857 to around 1956 which sadly came to an end with the advent of Evangelicalism which is another topic for another day. 

The bottom line is that Dispensationalism is not some new contrived invention as some would suggest. We are merely returning to a literal interpretation of Scripture, and if we consistently interpret is literally, it results in a dispensational interpretation. These and other studies that I have done such as, More Than One Church, More Than One Gospel, and Back to Antioch, have all made me take a fresh look at the Book of Acts. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Another Gospel

After having studied Replacement Theology, Covenant Theology, Acts 2 Dispensationalism (the Body of Christ was born in Acts 2), and Mid-Acts Dispensationalism (the Body fo Christ was not born in Acts 2 but with the revelation of the mystery as given to Paul). What now? How does it apply to my faith and walk with God? For starters, I can now classify books that we read, the churches that I attend, the people I listen to, etc. Now that I know that there is a difference, it is easy to spot which of the above they subscribe to. They are either teaching the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of the Kingdom, or a mixture of both. There is no doubt that both the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of Grace are true gospels, but they are different in that the first is exclusively for the Nation of Israel while the second is exclusively for the Body of Christ. According to the Apostle of Paul, mixing them is no gospel at all. He warned the Galatians in Galatians 1:6-7, I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. You see, you can mix Grace with Law and not lose much, but if you mix Law with Grace, you lose everything. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Acts Introduction and Background

Today is our first study together before we continue into the Book of Acts. I thought that it would be a good idea to just rehearse the road that I have traveled to this study with you.

Teaching Notes 
About a year ago, I did a study called, Fundamentals of Bible Interpretation. I changed me forever. The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:19-20 that we have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. Notice, that last part of these verses where it says, no prophecy of scripture is subject to private interpretation.

Many today struggle, especially in a culture that denies absolute truth; that the Bible says what it means and means what it says, period. Not a very popular idea for sure. However, when it comes to biblical interpretation, we can both be wrong, but we can't both be right. I suggest to you today that the main reason for incorrect Bible interpretation, other than just sheer ignorance and a desire to twist the scriptures to mean something they do not, is inconsistency and a failure to adhere to the fundamentals of biblical interpretation.

Right Division
The Bible must be rightly divided in order for it to make sense and never contradict. Paul told young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. The very fact that Paul said this presupposes that there are divisions in the Bible and they must be properly recognized or, at best, they will not make any sense, or at worst, there will appear to be contradictions in the text.

One example of many comes to mind: the Law of the Kingdom as given by our Lord in Matthew 5. It was obviously not part of the Mosaic Law, but a future kingdom that Christ came to offer exclusively to the nation of Israel. Remember that the first words out of both John the Baptist and our Lord's mouths were, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. 

This is the message that they and the apostles proclaimed throughout their earthly ministries. Sadly, in the end, that kingdom was rejected by the Jewish nation, therefore postponed, and the church that was the hidden mystery was born as revealed through the Apostle Paul. Therein lies the confusion which leads to all kinds of wild interpretations, various heretical doctrines, and the cause of untold denominations.

No Law for Us
You and I are not under the Law of Moses, never have been, never will be. Neither was the rejected and postponed Kingdom ever offered to the church. At this point at least, we have no part of the Kingdom they spoke of. We are not in it and we are not building it, and yet, how many times do we hear things like, "we are a kingdom church, we are building the kingdom, we are enlarging the kingdom, we are bringing in the kingdom, we are doing kingdom work", etc. Why? - A failure to understand that the Kingdom was not offered to the church. As a matter of fact, little, if anything, that was spoken in the gospels in their entirety has anything to do with you and me today.

Results of Bad Doctrine
Think about the things that are taught today in regards to losing one's salvation, the need to stay faithful until the end, baptism as a requirement for salvation (baptismal regeneration), works to be saved, the church is now Israel (replacement theology), amillennialism, and postmillennialism. Where do these teachings come from? The Gospels! Again, the Gospels were about a Jewish Messiah that came to a Jewish people to proclaim that a Jewish Kingdom was at hand! See the problem? No, I have not always understood these things so clearly, and many around me may disagree. However, I believe that a failure to understand leads only to misinterpretation and contradiction.

Distinctiveness of Paul
Another thing in regards to interpreting the Bible to remember is the distinctiveness of Paul's revelation about the hidden mystery or the Church. As such, his thirteen epistles, Romans through Philemon, are of supreme importance during this dispensation of the Church or grace. 

We must understand that Jesus and his apostles ministered to the House of Israel with a message of an offered kingdom if the nation would collectively repent. It was not contingent upon individual repentance, but national. There were at least five thousand Jews, maybe eight thousand, depending how you interpret the response to Peter's second sermon, that we know of that repented in the book of Acts (Act 2:41; Act 4:4), but the nation itself never did repent, and thus, rejected their Messiah and his kingdom offer. Therefore, the kingdom was postponed, not be offered again until the Tribulation Period or what is called Daniel's Seventieth Week (Dan 9:27). As such, God raised up the Apostle Paul with a new message to take to the Gentiles.

New Testament Beginnings
Another thing that many fail to see is that the New Testament does not start in Matthew, chapter 1, in spite of the fact that all of our Bibles have a page marked New Testament between Malachi and Matthew. As a matter of fact, it could not have started until after the crucifixion, and I would contend, the resurrection of Christ (Cf. Heb 9:16-17). In other words, there can be no testament without the death of the one making it, i.e., Jesus. Remember, that our Last Will and Testaments are not enforced until after we die.

That means that all of the Gospels are Old Testament. The New Testament could not have begun until at least Matthew 27:51 when Christ died. To rightly interpret the Bible is to understand this. Do not be tempted as so many, including me once, to pull the teachings in the Gospels into the Church! If you do, you will end up with confusion that we just discussed.

Church Doctrine
With that said, the epistles of Paul are of supreme importance to you and me today. They alone are where the Church gets its doctrine. Also, they shed tremendous light on the Old Testament by revealing things that we never would have or could have known without them.

Paul's Gospel was Different
This also means that the gospel that Paul received from God himself was different than the gospel which Jesus and the apostles taught in the Gospels and even well into the book of Acts. Now, before you become a bit unhinged, remember that the apostles had no clue that Jesus was going to be crucified; even when he told them directly because the Bible says that it was hidden from them (Luk 18:31-34). 

Bear in mind, this was right after he had commissioned them to go out and preach the kingdom of God (we call this the Gospel of the Kingdom) in Luk 9:1-2. The apostles were not preaching the Gospel of Grace that Paul preached. Paul's gospel was different in that it included the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It also required only belief as compared to the Kingdom Gospel that required repentance and baptism.

Exclusive Gospel
All throughout Paul's epistles, he says that this gospel was exclusively delivered to him (Cf. Gal 1:11-12;  Eph 3:2-4; Rom 2:16; Rom 16:25; Gal 1:15-17; and Gal 2:2). The bottom line is that the gospel that Paul preached was different from the gospel that the other apostles taught.

The conclusion is that when interpreting the Bible, we must remember that Paul's gospel is unique to the Church. Only Paul received the revelation of the mystery that had been hidden from ages and from generations but now is made manifest to his saints (Col 1:26).

Friday, February 7, 2020

New Bible Study Announcement

Starting this Sunday, February 9th, I am going to start a Sunday morning Bible Study live on my Directional Ministries Facebook page at 8:00 a.m. EST. I would love to have you with us.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Acts Transition, Part 10

You may also listen to the audio version of this study on SoundCloud.

Today we continue our study in Acts 2:37-41.

VERSE 37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? As a result of Peter's words, they are now convicted by the accusation that they had just killed the Son of God and asked what they needed to do now.

VERSE 38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Anyone who can read can clearly tell that Peter's response is clearly not one of grace. He did not say you must believe in the death, burial, and resurrection. Instead, he said you, every one of you, need to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. Remember the offer of the Kingdom required national acceptance.

That is very different than what Paul preached. Look at Acts 16:25-31 where it recounts the story in which Paul and Silas prayed and sang in the prison. After this, an earthquake occurred and the prison doors were opened and the keeper of the prison thought it best to kill himself since it was going to happen anyway with the escape of the prisoners. To which Paul shouted that they were all there and it wouldn't be necessary. Upon which the keeper asked him, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Note Paul's answer was nowhere near Peter's. Instead, it was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." It must be understood that while under the Gospel of the Kingdom which Peter preached, national repentance was required. However, under the Gospel of Grace which Paul preached, it was simply an individual's belief that was required. Unbelievable how this has confused so many today in the Body of Christ. WE ARE UNDER THE GOSPEL OF GRACE!

Side Note: Remission or Forgiveness? Now, some would argue that remission and forgiveness are two different things because their definitions are slightly different. Remission being "the cancellation of a debt” and forgiveness being “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake”. However, that is still up in the air for me. Worthy of further study for sure.

It is also worth pointing out here that Peter told them that they must repent and be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit. However, later when God commanded Peter to go to Cornelius, a gentile, he received the Holy Spirit simply by believing. Notice that it says in Acts 10:44, while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Did you see it? They received the Holy Spirit simply by believing! No repentance and no baptism. I am not sure that Peter totally grasped what was going on because he then felt the need to baptize him. This was obviously just a glimpse that God was giving to Peter that the Gentiles were also going to be saved, but not the same way.

VERSE 39: For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. At this point, many will immediately assume that this verse is referring to Gentiles. Not so fast, we are still in chapter 2. Peter had not been introduced to Cornelius yet. Nor had Paul was raised up yet. Those who "are afar off" could only have been understood by Peter and the others to be the Jews who were still scattered to the nations as a result of the "diaspora" which refers to Jews are were living outside of Jerusalem.

VERSE 40: And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. The "untoward generation" refers to those Jews who still did not believe.

VERSE 41: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. As a result of Peter's message, only three thousand received it and were added to the assembly that was continuing to grow there in Jerusalem. This is not to be confused with the Body of Christ that would later develop under the teaching of Paul.

Bear in mind, this was an offer of national salvation to Israel, not individual, and it was being rejected. Three thousand was not enough! That number alone shows that many still did not believe. Later on in Acts 4:4, we are told that their number had risen to five thousand. Historically, I have no idea how many Jews were present, but I have heard as many as 250,000.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Acts Transition, Part 9

You may listen to the audio version of this study on SoundCloud.

Today we pick up our study through the book of Acts in Acts 2:22 where it says, Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Make no mistake here. Peter is still addressing Jews (v.14). The language clearly indicates that he is still addressing the descendants of Jacob whether they be from the Northern Kingdom of Israel or the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Of course, Rome ruled at the time, but they knew to what tribe they belonged.

Hear these words literally means "listen to me". He is making the point that Jesus was approved by God because of the miracles that he had done in their midst. Paul also pointed out that the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom in 1Co 1:22. Peter clearly forcing them to a decision as to who the one they had just killed truly was.

VERSE 23: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: God had already determined Christ's crucifixion. It was not optional to the narrative. God, in His foreknowledge, knew that they would crucify him. After all, they had to in order for a legitimate offer of the Kingdom could be made. Far too many in the church today do no understand this fact. Instead, they will say that once the Jews crucified their Messiah, God immediately turned to the Gentiles. Friend, that simply is not the case. Christ had to die before a legitimate offer of the Kingdom could be made. Read Hebrews 9:15-17 slowly. And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Jesus had to die first to forgive the sins that Israel had committed under the first testament in order for the second to be offered! And no, it was not offered to Gentiles. We, the Body of Christ, do not live under a covenant.

We need to understand just how bad this confusion is today. Think of the number of churches and ministries that have words like Covenant, Testament, New Jerusalem, Kingdom, Bride of Christ, etc. in their names. These are all misunderstandings of Scripture. All of those words have to do with Israel. We are NOT Israel, folks!

VERSE 24: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. In other words, you can't blame Pilate or Rome, you killed him is what Peter is saying. It is interesting that only the Jews are accused of killing Jesus and never the Body of Christ.

VERSES 25-28: For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Peter now shows from the Old Testament that their actions were fulfilled prophecy. He is quoting from Psalm 16:8-11 to show that Christ had to die and be resurrected. This was a fact that even the Apostles had overlooked (Luk 18:31-34).

Note: The word Hell is also a subject of debate because it is a transliteration from Psa 16:10 where it means grave or the world of the dead.

VERSES 29-31: Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. He continues to prove that David was not writing about himself in the previous verses. His point is that David saw Messiah being raised up to sit upon his throne. Of course, to be raised up, he must first have died. Understand something, Christ could not have assumed the throne without first having been crucified. I know, it is a lot of reprogramming, because we have always heard it taught incorrectly. I have done it myself!

VERSE 32: This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. His point is that this very one who David spoke of has resurrected from the dead as many witnesses have already testified.

VERSE 33: Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. In other words, Jesus is no longer in the grave but sitting at the right hand of God. And the promise of the Father is the Holy Spirit that some of them said was the result of drunkenness, but instead was a fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29.

VERSES 34-35: For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Peter refers to another Psalm, Psalm 110:1 to show that the prophecies were not about David, but Christ.

VERSE 36: Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (cf. Acts 3:25). Here is the point of the sermon: the one you crucified is both Lord and Christ (Master and Messiah). Of course, his point was made because in the very next verse they asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Acts Transition, Part 8

You may listen to the audio version of this study on SoundCloud.

Today we pick back up in our study through the book of Acts 2:15-16 where it says, For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; Peter first addresses the mockers and assures them that what they had just witnessed was a true move of God and not the result of drunkenness.

On another note, I believe this verse is truly the source of much erroneous teaching in the church today. Why? - Far too many doubt that poor old Peter knew what he was talking about. Their bone of contention is the latter part of the verse when he said, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." To me, that is just as wrong as those who say that he also got ahead of himself in choosing Matthias. No, Peter knew exactly what he was saying and his language was emphatic. If we start correcting Apostles, where is that going to leave us?

VERSES 17-18: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy: Peter is now going to quote verbatim the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32. It must be clearly understood what Peter is doing in these verses because too many do not get it. He is, for the first time, legitimately offering the Kingdom to the nation of Israel. Some will argue otherwise and say that it had already been offered in the Gospels. No, not even possible because Hebrews 9:15-17 says, And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. These verses make it clear that the Kingdom could not have been offered until after the crucifixion, let alone rejected. This is a great misunderstanding in my opinion in the modern church. Yet, when you start questioning the assumptions, people start looking at you like you are a heretic! In any wise, the Kingdom offer was rejected, Israel blasphemed the Holy Spirit just as Christ mentioned in Matthew 12:32, and it was postponed.

VERSES 19-20: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: This is where many today will say that Peter should have stopped in his quotation of the passage, but he knew full well what he was doing, I dare say more so than any of us. His full expectation was that once Israel had accepted their Messiah, Daniel's 70th Week would commence (Tribulation), followed by the Second Coming, and the establishment of the Kingdom. I would argue that his epistles are saying the same thing as well. He preached and lived the Kingdom Gospel (see previous studies).

VERSE 21: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. We must remember that Peter, being a good dispensationalist, was thinking and speaking chronologically, i.e., first, the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, followed by signs, and wonders then and in the Tribulation, the Lord would return, and those who call upon the name of the Lord would be saved. The last part foreseeing salvation in the Millenium.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Acts Transition, Part 7

You may listen to the audio version of this study on SoundCloud.

We pick up our study through the book of Acts in Acts 2:5 today.

VERSE 5: And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Notice that this verse tells us that those who were present were only Jews. These Jews were men who had come out of every nation under heaven to Jerusalem for the mandatory feast days. These included Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks or Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles or Booths). At this point, we must remember that the Jews had been scattered to the nations as a result of the diaspora (the dispersion) after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 723 BC. There was also no doubt some expectations in regard to the messianic prophecies that were most likely fueled by possibly the wise men who had come earlier, Simion's statement in Luke 2:25, and maybe the study of the faithful in regards to Daniel's prophecies in Daniel 9:24-27. Jerusalem must have been abuzz.

VERSES 6-11: Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. Immediately what happened was noised abroad. The term has nothing to do with the modern sense of abroad. The sense here is that of a rumor.

Notice the multitude in v.6. This is referring to the Jews that were just mentioned in v.5. They were amazed and marveled because all of those filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in other tongues were Galileans, but each of them was hearing in their native tongues in which they were born. Remember, these Jews were from all over the known world who were in Jerusalem for the feasts. Notice that everyone present for this event were Jewish, either naturally born or proselytes (v. 10). In other words, this was not a Gentile event.

VERSES 12-13: And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. Notice that there are two responses to this event: those who doubted and those who mocked. On a side note, that is exactly what happens today in regards to how people respond to God. The word doubt more so implies that they were perplexed more than that of being skeptical. They simply did not know what was going on. On the other hand, the mockers out-of-hand rejected the event as being a work of God.

VERSES 14-15: But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. At this point, Peter, being the designated spokesman for the group, as appointed by Christ himself in Matthew 16:17-19, stands up to explain just what is going on. And notice, who he is addressing. He is addressing the Jews that had assembled in Jerusalem and had just witnessed this outpouring of the Holy Spirit. His first concern was to refute the mockers who had assumed that the event had occurred because of drunkenness.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Dispensationalism, Part 3

You may listen to the audio version of this study on SoundCloud.

The next essential belief to dispensationalism is that Israel and the church are distinct and cannot be identified as one with the other. All dispensationalists agree that the church is not a new Israel as those of the covenant persuasion insist. Dispensationalists may disagree as to some specifics, but none of them, unless seriously confused, embrace "replacement theology" or what is also called "supersessionism".

The greatest argument for this is the fact that the term "Israel" is used seventy-three times in the New Testament and it is always, without fail, referring to ethnic Jews. Some will contend that Paul's use of the term "Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16 is referring to the church. However, the context clearly dictates that he is not referring to the church, but instead to believing Jews that had rightly rejected the teaching of the Judaizers.

Those who believe that the church is the new Israel say that this exchange if you will, happened on the day of Pentecost. But strangely enough, even after Pentecost, there is always a distinction made between Israel and the church. In the book of Acts alone, the term "Israel" occurs twenty times and the church term church (ekklesia) occurs nineteen times. Yet, the two are always kept distinct This is just further proof that the church is not Israel and never will be. Those who confuse the two will forever be inconsistent in their view of Scripture and God's distinct plan for both.