The Book of Acts has always been a problem to those who insist that the "One New Man" of Eph. 2:15
and the "Dispensation of Grace" of Eph. 3:2 began there in. ( Such as
those who hold the Acts 2, 9 and 13 "positions"). The problem is caused by two, things
(1 ) They do not understand what is going on in the Book of Acts.
(2. ) They cannot reconcile the Doctrine and practice of the Book of Acts with Present Truth especially that which is found in the Prison Epistles of Paul. There is a world of difference between the two and so over the years
many "so-called Dispensationalists" have devised a theory that the book of Acts is a
"transitional book" meaning to them that one program and dispensation was phased
out and a new program and dispensation ushered in. They teach and write in their
books that during the book of Acts a transition took place from "Law to Grace", from "Israel to the Church",
and from "signs, and wonders to their phasing out. This is the "pat" explanation
that most "so-called dispensationalists" give when confronted with the
embarrassing doctrine and practice of the book of Acts wherein they insist their Church and the Dispensation of Grace began.
But, "What saith the Scriptures?" Is the Book of Acts a transitional s
Book? Did a change in programs and dispensations really take place in the book of Acts? Did
a new program and dispensation begin during the Acts period? I am convinced by
the Scriptures that nothing new began during the Acts period. The Book of Acts
IS NOT a transitional book at all and a change in dispensations and programs DID
NOT take place during the Acts period. I realize that this runs contrary to "the
books", "the Bible classes", and that which is taught in most so-called "Grace
churches" around :this country, but the more one reads and studies the Word of
God, especially Paul's prison epistles, the more you find yourself outside of
the "religious camp".
Many today in the
"religious system" insist that their Church and their doctrine began
during the Acts period. But this belief presents problems to many denominations
when confronted with the doctrine of baptism, tongues, signs and wonders which
are all to be found in the book of Acts and those Epistles written during that
time. Many attempt to "explain away" these doctrines by claiming falsely that
Acts is a TRANSITIONAL book, that PROGRESSIVE REVELATION is the theme, as newer
truths are revealed towards the end of the book. Thus, they can claim that
tongues are not for today because Acts is transitional, and one cannot get their
Doctrine from Acts. This is merely an attempt to not deal with the book itself
and the doctrine found within. One of the many problems with this view, is
that it is preposterous to teach that what Paul taught and practiced during the
Acts period was different then what he wrote during the same period. Namely, the
books of 1 and 2 Corinthian, Galations, 1 and 2 Thessolonians, Hebrews and
Romans all of which were written during the Acts period.
This article will show
you why Acts IS NOT a transitional book, that what was said at the beginning is
what is taught at the end. There is NO change in HOPE, INHERITANCE, FAMILY , or
SPHERE OF BLESSING. All doctrine in the book of Acts is based on the the Kingdom
of God found in the O.T. scriptures of Moses and the Prophets centering around
the finished work of Christ. What needs to be honestly answered by the true
student of the Word, is what was that Kingdom in the O.T.? Was it or a heavenly
Sphere or was it the continuation of the earthly Kingdom of which Christ would
sit on the throne of his father David, ruling the nations with Israel a Kingdom
of priests and a channel of blessing to the other nations. We only ask the
reader to do three things.
(1.) Forget what the religious leaders say about the subject of this article, no
matter how fundamental or dispensational they claim to be.
(2.) Compare every verse with your Bible and be willing to believe the verses
mean what they say and say what they mean.
(3.) Don't try to
explain away things that are obviously true just because they are contrary to
what you believe.
It is our contention that the book of Acts is not a transitional book for
the following reasons...
1. Every- man who wrote an epistle during the Acts period always referred
to that time period as the "Last Days" or "The Time of The End".
THE APOSTLE PETER
In Acts 2 when the Spirit was poured out upon the 12 Apostles Peter said in Acts
2:16-17 "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel And it shall come
to pass in THE LAST DAYS, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all
flesh... " and years later In 1 Pet.4:7 he also said but "THE END OF ALL THINGS
IS AT HAND: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
THE APOSTLE JOHN -
In 1 Jn.2:18 he said little children "IT IS THE LAST TIME" and as ye have heard
that anti-christ shall come, even now are there many-anti-christ's
whereby we know IT IS THE LAST TIME".
In James 5:3 he said your Gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them
shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye
have heaped treasure together for "THE LAST DAYS"
In Jude. 17-18 he said but , beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken
before of the Apostles or our Lord Jesus Christ how that they told you there
should be mockers in "THE LAST TIME", who should walk after their own ungodly
THE APOSTLE PAUL
In Heb. 1:1-2 he said God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in
time past unto the fathers by the prophets hath IN THESE LAST DAYS spoken unto
us by His Son.
As you can see every man who wrote an epistle during the Acts period called that
period of time the LAST DAYS. They didn't
refer to the Acts period as the fi rst days of a new dispensation, but the
last days of an old dispensation. They didn't call the Acts period
the beginning of a new thing, but the end of all things. They didn't refer to
Acts as a revelation of something new, but the consummation of something old.
(2.) SECONDLY, CONSIDER THIS FACT:
Every man who wrote an epistle during the Acts period expected the Second Coming
of Christ to take place either in their lifetime or the lifetime of their
In James 5:8-9 He said be ye also patient stablish your hearts for "THE COMING
OF THE LORD DRAWETH NIGH", grudge not one against another brethren, lest ye be
comdemned: behold THE JUDGE STANDETH BEFORE THE DOOR.
In 1Pet 1: 13 he said wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and
hope to the end for the Grace that is to brought unto you at THE REVELATION OF
In 1 John 2:28 he said and now, little children, abide in him that when He
shall appear, we may have
In Rom. 16:20 he said "And the God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your feet
SHORTL Y. In 1 Thess. 3:13 he said "to the end he (The Lord) may stablish your
hearts unblamable in Holiness before God, even Our Father, AT THE COMING OF OUR
LORD JESUS CHRIST WITH ALL HIS SAINTS. In 1Cor. l:7 -8 he said "even as
the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift
WAITING FOR THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST."
The Apostles who wrote the epistles in the Acts period were not looking for a 2
000 year dispensation Grace . They all called the Acts period "The Last Days"
and "The End Time" They all said the time was short. They all expected the soon
return of Christ as He promised he would at the end of the Last Days (Matt.
24:29-31, Acts 1:10-11. They all encouraged their readers to look for His Coming
to take place shortly.
The Acts period was not a transition period to the Apostles who wrote the Acts
epistles. To them the Acts period was the LAST DAYS and the END OF ALL THINGS
and they all looked for the soon return of the Lord.
(3.) THIRDLY, CONSIDER THIS FACT
The first half and the last half of then Book of Acts are identical. If a.
transition took place during the book of Acts, then surely the end of the book
of Acts should be different from the beginning. But the end is identical with
the beginning which means no transition or change took place during the Acts
Please read and compare
the following subjects and verses.
In this comparison the letter A will refer to the first half of Acts meaning
chapters 1-14. The letter B will refer to the last half of Acts meaning chapters
(l.) The Kingdom of God was preached throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 1:3,
B. - Acts 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 28:31
(2.) All doctrine was based upon Moses and the prophets throughout
the Acts period.
A. - Acts 2:14-36, 3:19-24, 7:2-60, 13:15-42
B. - Acts 26:22-23, 28:23, 17-:1-2
(3.) Feast days were observed throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts
B. - Acts
(4.) Water Baptism was practiced throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 2:41, 8:12, 8:38, 9:18,10:48
B. - Acts 16:15, 16:33, 18:8, 19:5
(5:) The sick were healed throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 3:7, 5:15, 8:7.
B. - Acts 19:11-12, 28:8
(6.) The Dead were raised throughout the Acts period
A - Acts 9 :37-40
B - Acts 20:9-11
(7.) Israel's Hope was preached throughout the Acts period, ( Israel's
Hope was the Hope of Resurrection that Christ gave to Israel in Matt:24:29-31,
Jn.5:25-29, Jn. 11:25-26) .
A. - Acts 4:1-2, Acts 13:32-37
B - Acts 28:20, 26:6-8
(8.) Everyone went to the Jew first throughout the Acts period
A - Acts 1:8, 3:26, 11:19, 13:46
B - Acts 17:1-2, 18:4, 18:19, 19:8, 28:17
(9.) Speaking in Tongues was practiced throughout the Acts period
A - Acts 2:4
B - I Cor. 14:18 ( I Corinthians was written in Acts 19, compare I
Cor.16:8 - Acts 19:1-10)
(10.) Israel's salvation was the chief motive of everyone's preaching throughout
the Acts period.
A. - Acts 3:25-26; Acts 2 :22-36
B. - Rom. l0:1, 11:12-15 (Romans was Paul's last Acts epistle written late
in the Acts period.)
(11.) Devils and unclean spirits were cast-out throughout the Acts period.
A - Acts 8:7
B - Acts 16:16-18, 19:12
(12.) Offerings were
taken up for Israel throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 11:29
B. - 1 Cor.16:1-5 (written in Acts 19) Rom.15:26 (Written late Acts.)
(13:) The Holy Ghost was received by the laying on of hands throughout the Acts
A. - Acts 8:17, 9:17
B. - Acts 19:6
(14.) Men were commanded to repent throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 2:38
B. - Acts 26:20, 17:30, 20:21
(15.) God gave men visions throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 9:12, 10: 17
B. - Acts 16:9-10, 18:17
(16.) Men were commanded to do works of righteousness throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 10:35
B. - Acts 26:20
(17.) Instant judgement was dispensed throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 5:1-11
B. - 1 Cor. 5:1-5, 1 Cor. 11:30 (written in Acts 19)
(18.) The Second Coming of Christ was looked for throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 1:11
B. - 1 Thess.1:10 (Acts 17) 1 Cor. 1: 6-8 (Acts 18-19 ),
Rom.16:20 (late Acts)
(19.).Jesus was preached as Israel's Messiah throughout the Acts period
A. - Acts 2:36-37, 8:5, 9:19-22
B. - Acts 17:3, 28:23
(20.) The Law was
observed throughout the Acts period
A. - Matt.
5:18-19, Matt. 23:1-3 (These verses are addressed to the 12 Apostles and were
obeyed throughout Acts).
B. - Acts 21:20, Acts 21:24
(21.) Angels ministered unto believers throughout the Acts period.
A. - Acts 5:19, 8:26, 12:7-9
B. - Acts 27:23
Here are 21 major doctrines and practices that REMAINED THE SAME THROUGHOUT
THE ACTS PERIOD. They were believed and practiced at the end of the Acts
period with the same zeal as they were in the beginning of the Acts period.
Also, please consider this fact. . . In the last half of the Book of Acts you
will find Jewish doctrines and practices not even found in the first half.
(1.) In Acts 16:1-3 Paul circumcised a man
(2.) In Acts 21:22-24 Paul shaved his head-and took a Jewish vow.
(3.) In Acts 21:26 Paul offered a sacrifice for purification.
(4.) In Acts 28:3-6 Paul was unharmed by the bite of a deadly serpent
Also, please consider the Jewish doctrines and practices found in the VERY
LAST CHAPTER OF ACTS.
In Acts 28:17 Paul
still goes to the Jew first.
In Acts 28:8-9 Paul
still heals the sick` and diseases.
In Acts 28x3,-6 Paul
is unharmed by the bite of a venomous beast (Mk.16:18
In Acts 28:20 Paul is
still preaching Israel's Hope.
In Acts 28:23 Paul is
still preaching the Kingdom of God.
In Acts 28:23 Paul
still bases his preaching upon Moses and the prophets.
In Acts 28:23 Paul
still declares that Jesus is Israel's Messiah.
The, truth of the matter is that the end of the Book of Acts is far more Jewish
than the first half. There are more Jewish doctrines and practice's observed in
the last half than the first half, and there are just as many signs and wonders
found in the end as in the beginning.
The -Acts epistles of
Paul and the Book of Acts are not separate entities bearing no relationship to
one another, but rather they are interwoven together and harmonize with one
another. As a matter of fact they are so interwoven that what you
find in one you will find in the other.Every doctrine and practice that is
listed earlier in this article that was believed and practiced in the Book of
Acts ARE FOUND IN PAUL'S ACTS EPISTLES.
(1.) The Kingdom of God
- 1 Cor. 15:50, 1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Thess. 2:12, 2 Thess.1:5, Heb.12:28.
(2.) All doctrine in the Acts epistles are based upon Moses and the prophets
- The. Gospel Rom:.16:25-26, 1 Cor.15:3-4. The Resurrection - 1 Cor 15:54.
Righteousness - Rom. 3:21-22. The Blessings - Gal. 3:14, Rom. 11:17, Rom 15:27.
The New Covenant - 2 Cor 3:6. The People - Rom. 4:11-12, Gal. 3:7, 4:28. The
Passover - 1 Cor. 11:23. The Inheritance - 2 Thess. 1:5. Justification - Rom.
4:1-8, Tongues - 1 Cor. 14:21 Etc. .Etc... Every doctrine in the Acts
epistles can be found in the Old Testament Scriptures.
(3.) The Acts epistles did not condemn those who observed the Sabbath or feast
days during the Acts period - Rom. 14:5-6.
(4.) All the gifts of
the Spirit practiced in the book of Acts, such as, Healing, tongues, miracles
are found in the Acts epistles of Paul - 1 Cor. 12:1-11 (The Corinthians had
more gifts, signs and wonders than anyone during the Acts period.)
(5.) The Acts epistles
DID NOT forbid the practice of water baptism during the Acts period.
Contrary to the
opinion of many over zealous dispensationalists 1 Cor 1:17 did not forbid Paul
and the "Acts Body" from practicing water baptism for THE SAME MAN WHO PENNED
THOSE WORDS UNDER THE INSPIRATION OF GOD ALSO PRACTICED WATER BAPTISM THROUGHOUT
THE ACTS PERIOD.
When Paul said, "For
Christ sent me not to baptize" that does not mean that Christ commanded Paul not
to baptize anyone because he did throughout his Acts ministry. (He even baptized
some of the Corinthians that he wrote these words to) What Paul is saying in
effect in1 Cor.1:17 is that the first and foremost thing Christ sent him to do
in the Acts period was to preach the Gospel. Water Baptism was secondary BUT NOT
FORBIDDEN FOR PAUL BAPTIZED THOSE THAT BELIEVED THE GOSPEL - Acts 16:15,
16:33, l8:8, 19:5
The only conclusion that you can come to after comparing the first half and last
half of 'Acts is that the BOOK OF ACTS IS NOT A TRANSITIONAL BOOK AT ALL. That
theory is false and is easily proven to be false by simply comparing the
end with the beginning. The Book of Acts is the same throughout with no changes
no interruptions and no so-called "Transitions"
(4.) THE FOURTH FACT FOR YOU TO CONSIDER ARE THE EPISTLES WRITTEN DURING THE
I have in my possession a book written by a man who holds the Acts 13
position. This man is widely known and highly esteemed in the so-called
"Grace Movement '' In his book he makes A couple of statements that
most Acts 2, 9 and Acts 13 believers agree upon. He says in effect that in the
Book of Acts there is such a close connection between Paul and the 12
Apostle's that a person might conclude that he was extending the ministry
of the 12 Apostles. But he goes on to say that the Epistles of Paul
written during the latter half of the Acts period reveal the change and
the new dispensations on which God had begun in the Acts period. This of
course is an attempt (vain) to divorce Paul's Acts epistles from the
Book of Acts as if Paul taught and practiced things in his Acts epistles
that are contrary to what he taught and did in the Book of Acts
of course preposterous and I agree with what Charles Welch said
about those who attempt to do this. He said
"to assert that Paul
in one set of his Acts could teach one thing: and in the epistles written during
the same period and to the same churches, another, is inaccurate, and
therefore unacceptable to lovers of truth"
It's not my
manner to quote the works of other men, but Mr. Welch has written such a
convincing article showing how INTERWOVEN Paul' s Acts epistles and the Book of
Acts are that I decided to include it with this article. This was taken from his
book "From Pentecost to Prison."
(5.) THE FIFTH FACT to
consider is that dispensations in the Bible do not begin and end slowly by
transitions, but suddenly and abruptly usually marked by a major event or
Most Acts 2,9,13 believers recognize and acknowledge the following
dispensations. Now, please note how each one begins and ends.
The Dispensation of, "INNOCENCE" ended when Adam was drove out of
the Garden in-Eden.- Gen.3
The Dispensation of "CONSCIENCE" when God destroyed the World
with a flood - Gen. 6
The Dispensation of :"HUMAN GOVERNMENT" ended when God confounded the tongues of
men at the Tower of Babel - Gen. 11
The Dispensation of "PROMISE" or the period "Without Law" (Rom.5:13) ended
when God gave the Law to Moses upon Mt. Sinai. - Exo.19
The- Dispensation of "The Law" ended when the Law was abolished and the
middle wall or partition removed, broken down with the destruction of Jerusalem
and the Temple in 68-69 A.D.
The Dispensation of Grace will end when Christ appears in Glory - far above all
Heavens - Col. 3:4
The Dispensation of Wrath will end with the Second Coming of Christ -
The Dispensation of the Kingdom will end with the Great White Throne Judgement.
- Rev. 20
All Dispensations end suddenly and abruptly by a major crisis or event. And so
it was with the Law and the Dispensation of Grace. There was no transition
from Law to Grace. The Dispensation of Grace and the One New man
began immediately after the Law was abolished and the middle wall of partition
broken down (Eph.2:15) And it was abolished and broken down when the Temple was
destroyed by Titus in 68-69 A.D.) For the Law, the Priesthood, The Sacrifices
were centered around the Temple in Jerusalem. The Book of Acts and the
Acts epistles were written during the time when the Law was still standing
(Acts21:20), sacrifices still offered (Acts21:26) and Israel was still God's
people (Rom. 11:1-5. Rom. 3:1) and had not yet become Lo-Ammi.
(6.) The Hope of the Acts Epistles is the Hope of Israel
which is the Resurrection that Christ promised Israel at His Second Coming
(Matt: 24:29-31) 1 Cor 15:.52-54, 1 Thess. 4:14-18, 1 T.
hess.1:10, Rom. 11:17.
(7.) The Acts epistles commanded believers to go to the Jew first.
(8.) Israel's salvation was Paul's heart's desire in his Acts
Epistles as in the Book of Acts -Rom.10:1, 11:12-15
(9.) Offerings were
commanded to be taken up for Israel in the Acts epistles of Paul - 1 Cor.
(10.) The Gifts of the Spirit were administered by the laying on of hands in the
Acts epistles of Pau1. - 1 Cor. 12:1-30
(11.) Special vision and revelations from God are found in the Acts epistles.-
1 Cor. 14:26, 1 Cor. 12:8, 2 Cor. 12:1
(12.) Instant judgement
and even death was executed upon believers in the Acts. -1 Cor. 5:1-5, 1 Cor.
(13.) Angels ministered unto believers in the Acts
epistles. Heb. l:14, 1 Cor. 11:10
(14.) The Second Coming of Christ was looked for by believers in the Acts
epistles as well as the Book of Acts- 1 Thess. 1:10, 1 Cor. 1:6-8, 1 Cor. 11:26,
Far from being separate and distinct from the Book of Acts, the Acts
epistles are in complete harmony with the Book of Acts. They do not
contradict what Paul said and did in the Book of Acts, they COMPLIMENT what he
said and did. All of the signs, wonders, miracles found in the book of Acts are
found in the Acts epistles. All the doctrines relating to Israel, the New
Covenant, New Jerusalem, The 2nd coming of Christ found in the Book of Acts are
found in the Acts epistles. The Acts epistles do not contain the
revelation of a new program and dispensation instead they describe more
fully the former program and dispensation that God had instituted with Israel
years earlier (especially the Gentiles place in that program and
In conclusion, there are a couple of verses that are used by many so-called
dispensationalists to answer those that put them on the spot concerning the
signs and wonders in Paul's Acts epistles that they claim are written to them
today. To get around the embarrassing signs and wonders of the Acts epistles
they quote 1 Cor. 13:8-10 which says, "charity never faileth: but where there
are prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish
away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is
perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
In these verses:
(1.) Paul expected
something perfect to come.
(2.) When that which is
perfect came he expected tongues, prophecy, special knowledge to cease, fail,
and vanish away.
Instead of hashing
over all the different interpretations of these verses let's just simply examine
what Paul was looking forward to in the Acts period. When Paul wrote these words
in the Acts period, there were two things that he expected to come and both were
"perfect". He expected the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST to take place in his
lifetime, or that of his readers, and to enter into the KINGDOM OF GOD.
Please read the
following verses and see for yourself that he expected the eminent Coming of
When Christ came he
expected to enter into the Kingdom of God. Please read Acts 14:21-22 (Notice
what preceeds entering into the Kingdom of God in these verses.) Acts 19:8,
20:25, 28:23,31 (Paul preached the Kingdom of God throughout Acts period
according to these verses) 1 Cor. 6:9-11 (All Acts period believers had an
inheritance in the Kingdom) 1 Cor. 15:50 ( This verse points out the necessity
of Resurrection and transformation to get into the Kingdom) Gal. 5:21, 1 Thess.
2:12, 2 Thess. 1:5, Heb. 12:28.
These verses speak for
themselves and they answer the questions and settle the debate of 1 Cor.
13:8-10. In the Acts period Paul expected Christ, who is perfect to come, and
then to enter into the kingdom of God. And when Christ did come and establish
His Kingdom Paul expected the signs and wonders of the Acts period to cease. The
coming of that which is perfect is the Coming of Christ, who is perfect and when
He comes that which is in part will cease. Paul was not looking for a 2000 year
Dispensation of Mystery, nor was he looking for the creation of the One New Man
of Eph 2:15 when he wrote 1 Corinthians.
were still a mystery hid in God unknown to Paul or anyone else. Paul as well as
everyone else in the Acts period were looking for the soon return of Christ and
the establishment of the Kingdom og God here on earth which was the main
doctrine preached by Paul and the 12 apostles from Acts 1 to Acts 28.
So, 1 Cor. 13:8-10 does
not explain away the signs and wonders of Paul's Acts epistles. Paul as well as
all Acts period believers expected signs and wonders to accompany their
ministers up until the end (2 Cor. 1:8) when Christ was to come again to
establish the Kingdom of God here on earth and sit upon the throne of his father
David, Acts 2:30.
Now, we know that signs
and wonders have ceased, but not in fulfillment of 1 Cor. 13:8-9. They have
ceased because after the close of the Acts period God inaugurated the
Dispensation of the Mystery and created a NEW BODY, over which He made Christ
the Head (Col.1:18) called the One New Man (Eph 2:15). Tongues, prophecy, signs
and wonders have no place, no ministry, no edification, no part in this
dispensation and to this New Man, the Body Of Christ as they did to the Acts
Body in the former dispensation. But this is only a TEMPORARY cessation of the
signs and wonders, for when the Dispensation of the Mystery ends and the One New
Man is manifested with Christ FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS (Col. 3:1-4) God's program
for Israel will take up where it left off in the Acts period. The signs and
wonders will once again resume in full operation until Christ who is perfect
comes and establishes His Kingdom here on EARTH. The 1 Cor. 13:8-10 will come to
pass for then will tongues, prophecy etc.. all cease and vanish away FOREVER.