Those who believe in the transition period in the later half of Acts make much of Paul acting one way in doing his Kingdom work as he goes out and preaches to the nations, and yet writing in a far different way when he writes his epistles. Yet this puts Paul in the very questionable light of having said one thing and done another. Did he really talk dispensation of grace in his writings, and act kingdom in his actions? If so, why didn’t his actions match up with his words? We have little respect for one whose precept seems to be, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Is this really what Paul was doing in the later Acts period?

This desire the mid-Acts dispensationalists have to retain all the books of Paul for themselves has caused them to ignore obvious kingdom conditions in the books of Paul written during the history of the book of Acts. These are too numerous to list them all, but we will give some samples here.

First of all, we see the working of miracles going on throughout the Acts period. This was a characteristic of God’s kingdom work, yet is not at all a part of His work in His dispensation today, when all his works are done in secret. Yet miracles are clearly a part of Paul’s Acts period letters.

Galatians 3:5. Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—

Paul testifies that there were those who were working miracles among the Galatians. Not only so, but these same miracles workers were also supplying the Spirit to them. This fits right in with Acts 8, when “through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given” (verse 18.) Yet today we receive the Holy Spirit when we believe, and no man dispenses Him to us.

I Corinthians 1:7. so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Paul here acknowledges that the Corinthians have all the gifts when he tells them that they come short in none of them. Yet we would have to admit that we do come short of them today, as we do not have anything like the powerful gifts we read about the believers having in Acts.

I Corinthians 11:4. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

Here, Paul is teaching about head coverings, but in passing he mentions the fact that men both prayed and prophesied at that time in Corinth. Now we might speak equally nonchalantly about praying, since this is something we all do and have done many times. Yet could any of us speak so of prophesying? Prophesying, as we know, is speaking God’s words by direct inspiration. Paul seems to assume this is something that happens with great regularity among the Corinthians. Yet this is not at all the case today.

I Corinthians 12:8. for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9. to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10. to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Here Paul lists some of the gifts the Corinthians did not come behind in, as he said in I Corinthians 1:7. These were miraculous demonstrations of God’s kingdom power, and were common among the believers Paul wrote to in the Acts period. Yet these gifts are no longer in evidence today, and the Spirit does not distribute them to believers as He did back then.

I Corinthians 12:28. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

Here, Paul lists the God-appointed positions that then existed in the ecclesia. We do have some of these things today, like teachers, helpers, and administrators. Yet can any of these actually say that they have been appointed to these positions by God? What Paul is talking about here is foreign to God’s work today, but it was actively going on in the later Acts period during which Paul was writing.

I Corinthians 14:1. Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Paul actually told the Corinthians to desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy! Yet today we know that no matter how much one would desire such a gift, it is just not given to him. God is not distributing such gifts today, as He did to the Corinthians. This book was written during a dispensation that is past!

I Corinthians 14:24. But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

The result of some of them having the gift of prophecy is that they could reveal the secrets of the heart of an unbeliever or uninformed person who came in among them. This would prove to such a person that God was truly among them. Imagine if we could do such a thing today, and prove to people that God is truly among us! Yet we cannot, for God does not give us the gift of prophecy. This verse again clearly demonstrates that it was not written to our dispensation today.

In the kingdom conditions of the Acts period, Israel was at center stage, and God was working with them primarily, with only a few Gentiles being grafted in among them. The prominence of Israel is seen in the Acts period books of Paul. First of all, we see that the ones written to were under the law, something that was true of no Gentile.

Galatians 3:13a. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.

Obviously, no one could be redeemed from a curse unless he was under that curse to begin with. It was the Israelites who were under the curse of breaking God’s law. The Gentiles were never under the law to begin with, as Paul makes clear in Romans 2:14, saying, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves.” If Gentiles have not the law, then they cannot be under the curse of it. Galatians 3:13 here must be speaking, then, to the Israelites.

Galatians 3:23. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.

Again, no one could be guarded by a law he did not have. Clearly Paul’s audience here is Israelites.

Galatians 4:4. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5. to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Paul characterizes himself and his readers as those who are “under the law.” This identifies Paul’s readers as Israelites.

Galatians 4:26. but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

That the people being written to are Israelites is obvious from the fact that their hope is in Jerusalem. She is described as being their “mother.” Yet the new Jerusalem is identified with Israel, having “the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” written on its gates, and “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” written on its foundations. (See Revelation 21) If the people to whom Paul was writing are children of the new Jerusalem, they must have been Israelites.

Galatians 6:16. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

The ones to whom Paul was writing, who were walking by faith rather than relying on the works of the law, are described as “the Israel of God.” Again, this points to the fact that this book was written primarily, if not completely, to Israelites who believed in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah.

I Corinthians 10:1. Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2. all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

The fathers of the people Paul is writing to were with Moses in the wilderness. This makes sense if they were Israelites. However, if they were not, this makes no sense, as the Israelite fathers are not the fathers of the Gentile nations. As a Gentile, I am as related to the Egyptians who were drowned in the sea as I am the Israelites who passed through it. So again the Corinthians must have largely been Jews who believed.

Romans 1:16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Here we see that the gospel was prioritized to the Jew first during the Acts period. Yet in our day, this is not true. The gospel has no priority, and it is authorized to go out to all nations equally, as is declared in Acts 28:28. “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”

Romans 2:17. Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God,

The ones to whom Paul wrote the book of Romans called themselves Jews. This would make no sense unless they were in reality Jews. Otherwise, they would fall into the category of those listed in Revelation 3:9, “those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie.” I do not believe the Gentiles of Rome were lying and saying they were Jews. These men really were Jews to whom Paul was writing.

Romans 3:1. What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2. Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.

The Word here tells us that the Jews had much advantage in every way over those who were not Jews, even towards the end of the Acts period when Romans was written. The chief advantage was that the oracles of God had been committed to them. Yet Romans is the last book of Paul written during the Acts period. If this is the case, then Romans and every book written before it must have been committed to the Jews. If any book was not committed to them, but rather was committed to Gentiles, then this chief advantage would no longer have been true. So that means all Paul’s Acts period letters, including Galatians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Corinthians, and Roman were all to Jews.

Romans 4:1. What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?

Abraham is called the “father according to the flesh” of those to whom Paul was writing Romans. This could only be true of those who were descended by literal descent from the man Abraham, which included all the Israelites.

Romans 4:12. and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

Again, Abraham is called their father.

Romans 4:16. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

And again he is called their father. There can be no mistake about it. Those to whom Romans was written were descended from the man Abraham.

In Romans 7:1, Paul speaks to those who “know the law.”

Romans 7:1. Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

The word “know” here is the Greek word ginosko, and has to do with getting to know a thing by experiencing it. These people did not just know this intellectually, but had lived under the law as law-keeping Israelites. Again, this would not be true of Gentiles, for they did not have the law, as we have already seen.

It is to the Israelites that the blessings of God belong in the Acts period, as Paul makes clear in Romans 9:4-5.

Romans 9:4. who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5. of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Paul calls Isaac “our father” in Romans 9:10, again showing that the people he is speaking to are Jews like himself.

Romans 9:10. And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac

Another difference in the books of Paul written during the Acts period are the powers that accompanied the proclaiming of the gospel, as we can see from the following verses.

I Thessalonians 1:5. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

Paul boasts that he did not proclaim the gospel only with words, but that he also did it in power. Yet if one tried to lay such a demand upon the gospel proclaimers today, he would find that they cannot fulfill it. When we proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ, we do so without the aid of miraculous signs to prove the truth of what we were saying. Yet Paul had such signs, and is quite proud of the fact that he used them when proclaiming the gospel to the Thessalonians. And Paul makes the same boast to the Corinthians.

I Corinthians 2:4. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5. that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Paul is again proud that his speech and proclaiming were not just with persuasive words of human wisdom, but that he demonstrated the Spirit, even power, when he was speaking. That way, their faith was not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God as it was demonstrated to them. Yet no one who believes can say this today. Our faith is in the word of God as it comes to us in the pages of the Bible, but it is not in any powerful work that we have seen, for such things were not demonstrated to us when we believed.

II Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

This further describes how Paul’s message among them was proclaimed. He showed forth the signs of an apostle. These included “signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” Yet no one who proclaims the gospel today can do such things, however faithful they might be and however helpful such powers might prove. God is just not working today as He was then. The later Acts period was a different work of God than what He is doing today.

Paul also makes it clear in his Acts period letters that he has the powers of an apostle, powers that no man on earth has today.

I Thessalonians 2:6. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.

Paul has the right to make demands upon the people to whom he is ministering the gospel. He has this right because he is an apostle, and he has the power to back it up as well. Paul did not always use this power, but he makes it clear that he has it.

I Thessalonians 2:13. For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

Paul has the right to speak the word of God directly by inspiration, as would any apostle. Here he praises the Thessalonians for receiving the word they heard from Paul and his companions as the word of God. Yet no man today has the right to demand that anyone else look at his words as the words of God, for no one does have such Divine inspiration. Only the words of Scripture have the right to make such a demand.

I Corinthians 2:16. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

In this verse, Paul even claims to have Christ’s mind, so that he was able to think the thoughts of Christ! This can be nothing short of Divine inspiration, for otherwise no man could rightfully claim to have Christ’s mind.

In his books written during the Acts period, Paul clearly claims to have the right to punish believers if he sees fit, as we can clearly see from the next verse.

I Corinthians 4:19. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. 20. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. 21. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

Paul has his detractors in Corinth, and they are working against him. Paul does not want to come with a rod to punish these people and those who follow them, but he will if he has to. Paul has that power as the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet no man has such a right today.

Romans 1:11. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—

Here we see that Paul has the power to impart spiritual gifts upon believers, even as the apostles did in Acts 8 in Samaria, as we discussed earlier. Again, no man has such power today, and it would be wrong to even claim it

I Corinthians 9:16. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!

Paul does not have a choice about proclaiming the gospel in the Acts period. He is under necessity to do this. If he does not, he knows he will be punished. This is true of no one today. We can proclaim the gospel or not proclaim it as we see fit.

I Thessalonians 2:12. that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

During the Acts period, the people who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ were not just called into the great company of believers, as is true today. Instead, they were called into the kingdom of God, which was then present on earth in its early stages.

I Thessalonians 4:9. But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

The prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ, that those who would believe on Him through the word of His apostles might be one, was being worked out among them through love, for they were being taught by God to love one another. This is still true as far as the teaching of the Word is concerned, but often love falls far short of being able to unify us, for even true believers today differ greatly on how we are to live as believers, and what really is Biblical truth. No one could say today that there is no need to remind believers about brotherly love since God has taught them so well about this. This was only true in the Acts period.

I Thessalonians 5:5. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.

Believers in the Acts period were living in the daytime, when light was coming directly from God in heaven. Yet in our day, we live in the night, when heaven has fallen silent, and when no man can work the miraculous works that they did in the Acts period, as the Lord Himself said would happen in John 9:4.

4. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

I Corinthians 3:16. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17. If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

Can anyone honestly say that they know of anyone whom God has destroyed because he defiled his own body? Certainly I know of no one. We know that many believers defile themselves, and yet God does nothing about it. Certainly, He does not destroy them. Yet in the kingdom of God, He might well do this, and he did do it in the Acts period.

I Corinthians 11:30. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

As we can see here, God was working miraculously in punishment, even in the later Acts period. Certain sins would meet with Divine punishment, like not discerning the Lord’s body, as some of the Corinthians were doing here. Yet in our day, God punishes no one for his sin, believer or not. Instead, God deals graciously with us, as Ephesians 4:32 makes clear.

32. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Yet in the Acts period, even the believers themselves were given the authority to punish each other, as is clear again from the example of the Corinthians.

I Corinthians 5:5. deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Moreover, the book of Corinthians was written at a time when God was doing a short work. Their every expectation was that God would complete this work, and then bring in His full kingdom, when everything would be made new. What actually happened was that God suspended His kingdom, and brought in instead the dispensation of grace, when again everything was made new and different from the way things were in the Acts period.

I Corinthians 7:29. But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30. those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31. and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he told them the time is short, and the form of this world is passing away. If that was true then, it cannot be that things have not yet changed since then, for it has been nearly two thousand years since Paul wrote these things, which is not a short time by any definition. Therefore, if the time was short and the form of the world was passing away, then the dispensation of grace must not yet have come in, and God must not have yet begun His work today.

I Corinthians 16:8. But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.

Even in his Acts period letters, Paul continues to mark time according to the feasts that God gave to the nation of Israel, things that were never passed on to Gentiles today.

II Corinthians 11:22. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

In the Acts period, Paul still considers it a privilege and a thing to his advantage to be an Israelite, one of the seed of Abraham. Yet in Philippians 3:5-8, Paul considers his membership in the nation of Israel as part of the tribe of Benjamin to be “rubbish.” Clearly, something has drastically changed in his outlook on being an Israelite!

Philippians 3:4. though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5. circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6. concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ

There are few passages that illustrate more clearly the difference between the Acts period and today than Romans 13:1-7, and therefore there are few passages that have been so appallingly and shamefully mistreated.

Romans 13:1. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

This passage is speaking of the “governing authorities,” as the New King James has it, or the “higher powers,” as the King James has it. The ideas both of “governing” and of “higher” are in the Greek. In the Acts period, God’s government was present upon earth, and so His government rulers were also present. These rulers were appointed by God, and could not be resisted without resisting God. No good person needed to be afraid of these rulers, but only those who did evil. Conscience itself told them they must obey these leaders. Taxes must be paid to them, for these taxes were also ordained by God. Yet this entire passage is thrown into foolishness if we try to bring it into the present day and try to apply it to any rulers that currently exist. This passage is talking about apostles like Paul and the twelve. To apply it to anyone else is utter futility. Yet this is what is continually done! In order to do this, men have purposefully blinded themselves to what the passage is actually saying, sometimes to the point where they cannot even see what it actually says anymore. How sad to wash your own mind against the truth! Far better it is to see that Romans was written squarely in the Acts period, and that this passage is talking about the apostles.

So we have examined passage after passage that demonstrates the fact that the Acts period was not the same as the dispensation of grace we live in today. Many things were true then that are not true now, and many conditions existed that are not the same as they are today. To these could be added multiple passages that I believe stand out in a clearer light when they are interpreted with an understanding of the character of the Acts period, yet which I do not believe are clearly different to the point where one could bring them forward as “evidence.” Yet I believe that the only way we are going to ever understand the truth about the books of Paul or any other books that were written during the Acts period is to realize that the latter half of that book is not a “transition period,” but is still squarely within God’s kingdom program that was then in full force among His people of Israel.

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