In these studies, we have noted the various groups, or factions of
believers, during the Acts period. To some extent, each group brought
into their new found faith some carry-over ideas from their previous
“religion;” whether they were from the sect of the Pharisees, or
synagogue attending Jews or Gentiles. It should be kept in mind that it
is never easy to “unlearn that which we had previously been taught,” or
that “which we always believed.” New Testament believers were no
different, in that respect, than when we began to come to the knowledge
of the Truth. After having embraced the Truth of the Mystery, most of us
experienced the wrenching away from things that we unwittingly tried to
hold on to. That is to say, those traditional doctrines we were brought
up to believe to be true. We shed those false, traditional doctrines
slowly, just as dead leaves on trees do not fall off the branches all at
once. They are shed gradually; many dead leaves cling tenaciously to the
branches until the new growth of Spring causes them to lose their grip
and fall worthlessly to the ground.
Those who will persevere in Truth will finally come to the point that
the dead leaves of traditional teaching have fallen to the ground
worthlessly, and a new growth blooms. Then, we are amazed that the new
understanding far surpasses that which fell to the ground.
All of that was said to say this; those who came out of the pre-Acts
period into the Pentecostal dispensation carried with them dead leaves.
Not all of the leaves fell off upon them believing the Gospel which was
heralded by the Twelve or the Apostle Paul. There were carry-over ideas
which were not in complete harmony with Pentecostal Truth; whether it be
for the “Born Again Ones” or for the “Justified Ones.”
NEW TESTAMENT WRITINGS
All of the New Testament writings were written during the Acts of the
Apostles. Paul’s post-Acts epistles are not New Testament truth. The
inspired writings which make up the New Testament are Matthew, Mark,
Luke, John, 1st, 2nd, 3rd John, 1st, 2nd Peter, James, Jude, Revelation,
Hebrews, Romans, 1st, 2nd Corinthians, 1st, 2nd Thessalonians, and
The New Testament writers believed that the “hope of Israel” was at
hand. The “hope of Israel” was more than just the restoration of
Israel’s Kingdom. It embodied such things as “the times of refreshing,”
and “the restitution of all things” (Acts 3:19-21). This speaks of the
lifting of the Adamic “curse,” and the re-creation of the present
heavens and earth (cf. Isaiah 65:17-25).
Paul elaborates on the removal of the universal curse in Romans 8:21-25:
“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice,
but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation
itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the
glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation
has been groaning [because of the curse] as in the pains of childbirth
right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have
the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our
adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope [the
removal of the curse] we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at
all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do
not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” NIV
The five verses, above spoke of an aspect of “Israel’s hope” which will
also be the hope of the world. There will be a reversal of a phenomenon
that had puzzled Old Testament Hebrews; “Why are some people born deaf,
dumb, and blind?” “Why are some people born crippled?” “Why do men die?”
“Why are there premature deaths?” They thought these things were the
result of the sins of the parents, or sins of the sinners.
The phenomenon was not revealed for perhaps 4,000 years, until Paul was
given the answer:
Romans 5:12; “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have
sinned:” All mankind, being in the loins of Adam, sinned “in Adam.”
Death and all of the disfigurements of the human race are the result of
Romans 5:14; “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over
them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression,
who is the figure of him that was to come.”
Romans 5:18; “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all
men to condemnation;”
Romans 5:19; “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,
Romans 5:21; “That as sin hath reigned unto death, …”
Allow me to digress (or change the subject) for a bit. A Jewish rabbi
wrote a best-selling book some years ago entitled, Why Bad Things Happen
To Good People. Our family was going through very difficult times, and a
well-meaning Christian gave us the book to read. To please him, I took
the book and read it. It was a “good” book. I’m sure it was an
encouragement to a world “of lost people.” However, the dear rabbi
missed the whole reason why people suffer, and bad things happen.
Have you ever questioned, “Why me Lord?” Or, “Lord what have I done to
deserve this?” Or, another question, “Lord, why are you punishing me?” I
know many who have asked these questions: Why are children born
handicapped? Why do fatal accidents happen to loved ones?
Why are there earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, tornados, floods,
volcanic eruptions, mud-slides, forest fires, droughts, famines, snow
storms, lightning strikes, hail storms, heat waves, avalanches,
buildings collapsing, train wrecks, wars, diseases, and all manner of
calamities? All of the above takes its’ toll on lives and property. Why?
The answer is simple—because of ONE MAN’S SIN.
So, we shouldn’t blame God. The blame lies on one man, Adam.
It is mind-boggling to think what havoc was caused by one man’s
disobedience. But, part of Israel’s hope and that of mankind is that all
of the consequences of Adam’s sin will be reversed. When all things are
restored to the pristine pre-flood condition, the earth will again be
Paradise. Death will not reign! But, instead, life and all of its
abundance will reign! (John 10:10).
No prophecy has to be fulfilled for the restitution of all things to
take place. None of the “End Time” preachers of Prophecy even mention
this monumental event. It’s as if none of the Holy Prophets spoke about
it. It’s as if Peter never mentioned it. It’s as if Paul never wrote
about it. Quite frankly, we know of very few dispensational teachers, or
believers, who even acknowledge it as having a significant part in their
understanding of the Bible. When asked about it, I’ve seen them answer
with a shrug, “Oh, that will happen at the 2nd Coming of Christ.” No,
this extraordinary phenomenon occurs when Titus 2:13 becomes a reality:
“Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our
great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;” NAS
All the Lord has to do is speak from heaven, and a dynamic power will be
exerted by the energy of His Voice that He will make all things new. The
Lord Jesus Christ speaks from heaven, and the nations melt into
submission (Psalm 46:6). When He utters His voice, wars shall cease
(Psalm 46:9). This is long before His rule for a millennium. This is
part of His glory which will be made manifest.
The New Testament writers believed that the Kingdom of God was at hand
because they continued to proclaim that which the Lord Jesus taught
(Hebrews 2:3). The Apostle Paul, also, heralded; “The night is far
spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of
darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12).
However, Paul went beyond what the Twelve taught. He was given an
abundance of revelation (truth on a higher plane). The additional
revelations given to Paul were not only hard for the “Born Again Ones”
to understand, but in the main, they rejected the revelations Paul
There is evidence in Acts 20:28-31 that many of his dear ones of Ephesus
would be drawn away from doctrines he preached.
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in
(Born Again Ones) among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own
selves (Justified Ones) shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to
draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).
Even then, as it is today, the fountainhead of all disputations,
strivings, contentions, and jealousies among believers is the
When the “Acts of the Apostles” ended, the Apostle Paul found himself a
prisoner in his own hired house in Rome; however, he was able to receive
all that came to him. He continued to preach the Kingdom of God and
teaching those things which concerned the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts
For the most part, Christians were taught Christ by eye-witness accounts
of the Apostles, by the revelations of Paul and from the Old Testament.
Sometime after the Acts period closed, suddenly, there broke upon the
scene a radical departure from the Acts period Truth. The coming Kingdom
was postponed, and a new dispensation was ushered in. Israel was now
numbered among the nations with no privileges or priorities. If Paul’s
ministry had been hard to comprehend during the Acts economy, what must
have believers thought when they were informed that all of the promises
were set aside, and that an unprophesied administration was underway?
And, that’s not all; Paul was even writing and saying that to him,
alone, was given the revelation of the Mystery which had previously been
hidden for ages and generations.
Without going into the details of the Mystery, we should point out that
Paul informed the new calling that they had another set of apostles,
excluding the Twelve. If saints wanted to know what God was now doing,
they would have to come to grips with the testimony of the Lord’s
prisoner. Failure to believe the Apostle Paul was to sit in darkness.
Only Paul had the key to what happened after Acts closed. He, alone, had
the key to what happened to the gifts of the Spirit. He alone had the
key to why the Hope of Israel was postponed. Without his knowledge,
believers were plunged into perplexity and confusion.
Even after the Mystery was made known, the believers who were only
regenerated, and who had not moved onto perfection, continued in the
doctrine of the Apostles of the Circumcision as though nothing had
happened. They continued in their own way, waiting for the Kingdom to
When the Kingdom didn’t come after a number of years, Christianity wound
up in the hands of Gentile clerics. They rejected Paul’s latest report
from God, assuming for “the church” all of the promises God made to
Israel and claiming them for themselves. They relegated the curses to
Israel. The Gentile clerics started building “The Church.”
What is seen in Christendom, today, is the development of a Christianity
without the vaguest idea of God’s purpose and plan for today.