This series of studies includes the Introduction and Part I through Part VIII.
Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V - Part VI - Part VII - Part VIII



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.”


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 Galatians.

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 Adam’s sin.

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 taught.

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 arch-enemy—Satan.

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 28:30-31).

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 come.

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.

Tom L. Ballinger


Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V - Part VI - Part VII - Part VIII