Friday, September 6, 2013



From the Bible Understanding Newsletter:

Churches during Acts and afterwards
It would be rather silly to conclude that, because England existed prior to the Roman invasion (say AD20-40), the England today still adheres to the same religious, political and social structures of 2000 years ago.
Strangely enough, there are right dividers who think like this. They assume that because the churches to which Paul wrote existed in the Acts period, then all those churches were fully conversant with the dispensational truth for today.
By comparing the historical data of England pre Christ, with the England of today, we know of great changes. By comparing the dispensational differences within Paul's letters, we find great changes. The believers to whom Paul wrote during Acts were given one set of dispensational truths, but when he wrote to the same believers after Acts 28, new dispensational truths are seen.
This lesson we shall compare information given to the Ephesians and Laodiceans before Acts 28 and afterwards.


Things before Acts 28 and after. We, the Christian community, have been sideswiped with the concept that everything in the NT is about us. Thus when we read Acts and Paul's ministry to the churches during that time, we assume what he taught them dispensationally during Acts is the same after Acts. This is not so.

Paul spent over two years at Ephesus as recorded in Acts 19:1-20. It was there he found certain disciples who he re-baptized with water. These disciples were then empowered to speak with tongues and prophesy.
God did many works of power through Paul at Ephesus, 19:11-12 (see also Roms.15:16-19) and both the Jews and Greeks living in Asia heard the word of the Lord. His name was magnified among the Ephesians.

The Ephesians of the Acts period enjoyed supernatural gifts and had water baptism among them but those things belong to the earthly program. They are not part of Paul's post Acts ministry.

When Paul returned to Jerusalem via Miletus, he called the elders of Ephesus telling them he had kept back nothing profitable from them, which included all the counsel of God, Acts 20:17-27. All the counsel of God must be understood in the words of Paul recorded later in Acts when he said these words;
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.. Act 26:6-7
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: Act 26:22 

Paul preached to the Ephesians, during Acts, all the counsel of God and that counsel was none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come. Now let's look at another letter sent to the Ephesians during the Acts period.
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; Rev 2:1
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Rev 2:7 

This letter from the Lord himself, does not encourage the Ephesians of the Acts period with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, rather He promises access to the tree of life in the midst of paradise. Paradise is linked with the New Jerusalem which descends out of heaven, and the New Earth, see Rev.21:1-14, 22:1-5.

During Acts the Ephesians and Galatians looked to Paradise and the New Jerusalem, but after Acts Paul prayed they would know the hope of His (new) calling and the inheritance in the heavenly places, Eph.1:15-2:9.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians during the Acts period, he mentioned Paradise in 2Cor.12:1-7. Some words heard regarding the new heaven and Paradise were not permitted to be revealed, 12:4. However, Paul could and did write about Paradise, The New Jerusalem and the New Earth to the believers during Acts, see Gals.4:22-27 (and Hebrews 12:22). These were part of the whole counsel of God to the churches during the Acts period, but are absent from Paul's post Acts letters to them. The counsel of God changed at Acts 28.

It is false to assume that because the churches were established during Acts they knew the truth for today during Acts. It is equally confusing for us to read everything in the NT and assume it is about us today. God never changes as to character, but He certainly can change His revealed purposes. Therefore we must rightly divide the Word of Truth and test things differing if we seek our Lord's approval.

The church at Laodicea was established during Acts, and Paul included them in his letter to the Colossians after Acts, see Col.2:1. The Lord wrote to the Laodiceans during Acts thus;
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; Rev 3:14 

Here the Lord speaks of Himself as the faithful witness. He had already used that term earlier in Revelation;
John to the seven churches which are in Asia:..... And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Rev 1:4-6 

The Lord wrote to the Laodiceans during Acts as the faithful witness; the Prince of the Kings of the Earth. The Laodiceans of the Acts period were made kings and priests on the earth, see Rev.5:10. But after Acts 28 they were included in Paul's agonizing struggles to make known the mystery, the present set of conditions, see Col.2:23-2:2. During Acts the Lord was the Prince of the Kings of the earth, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but after Acts 28, He was revealed as the Head of the church which is His body which has nothing to do with the earth.

Rejoicing with you in the mystery of Ephesians and Colossians.


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