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I received the following question:

There seems to have been a number of false apostles, prophets, and teachers who flourished during the Acts period. I cite just a few passages: Acts 13:6; II Cor. 11:13, 26; Gal 1:8, 2:4; I John 2:19, 4:1. When we consider that Ananias and Sapphira met their death for misrepresenting their giving, how is it that these false brethren were allowed to operate openly, either opposing or misrepresenting God’s truth?

The Acts period was a strange period in Biblical history. It was the beginning stages of the kingdom of God, yet the full kingdom was not yet here. It was the night period of the kingdom, and the day, while at hand, had not yet come (Romans 13:12). It was the kingdom in part, and the complete kingdom had not yet come (I Corinthians 13:9-10). Those who believed in Jesus Christ became a part of the kingdom of God from that moment on. As such, they received the blessings of the kingdom that were then available to all believers, like perfect health and healing. However, they were also brought under the responsibilities of the kingdom, and were expected to obey its laws and its representatives. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

This question pertains to the Acts dispensation. During the Acts period, Mr. Sellers taught that when a God-commissioned man speaking a God-inspired message, that message being confirmed by signs following, then the person or persons for whom the message was intended, had one clean-cut, clear-cut opportunity to believe. We know from such passages as Gal. 3:1 and Heb. 6:4-6 that if anyone, having been so enlightened, failed to believe, the message would not be repeated a second time. Paul himself, in II Cor. 2:15-16, states that they were either a savour of life or a savour of death.

Now, what does Paul mean in Rom. 11:23 when he speaks of those who, “if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.”?

To which Israelites is he referring? In verse 20, he says that “because of unbelief they were broken off.” Are these Jews who have already heard the gospel and have not believed, or could it be those who have not yet heard? This portion in Romans sounds almost like they are being given a second opportunity to believe. What is your understanding of this?

I shall be looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your help.

I have recently started on a study of the book of Romans in my Precepts studies, so will be getting to this issue eventually. But I would think Romans 11 itself will provide us with the explanation of the conundrum. First of all, notice Romans 11:13-14. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I am not clear on the distinction between Romans 8:2 and II Corinthians 4:5-12.

In Romans 8:2, Paul references himself: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” This seems to be the only usage of this exact phrase in Scripture.

In the II Corinthians passage, he was contrasting himself (and other apostles) with the believers of the Acts period: “So then death worketh in us, but life in you.”

Are there two distinctly different concepts being set forth here?

Thank you!

A very good question! The experience of the apostles was very different from that of the common believer of the Acts period. Paul, who healed so many others, was not able to heal himself, as we see regarding his thorn in the flesh in II Corinthians 12:7. Though he was set free from the law of sin and death, as Romans 8:2 declares and as was demonstrated when God raised him from the dead after stoning (and II Corinthians 11 would seem to indicate that he was raised from the dead more times than that), yet death still worked in him in that he suffered from illnesses that he could heal in others but could not heal in himself. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following questions:

Question #1. What was the gospel preached to Jews in the land during the Acts period? That the man Jesus was their promised Messiah, and belief in him would bring forgiveness of sins and eternal life?

I understand your explanation for gospel, about it being good news because it is right, and that it is spoken in view of a need.

I also understand that the Jews and “Greeks” outside the land were promised forgiveness for their sins of not following the law (they were unable to outside the land).

But I just don’t have a handle on the simple question: What is the gospel? Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question from a reader:

I know that I have heard Mr. Sellers say many times that there were “no secret believers in the Acts period”.

I also have heard him say and write that “In the Acts period every believing Israelite became a mediator in some manner.” (SB017) What I am wondering is where specifically are these ideas coming from? Is it Mark 16:17-18, “and these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover“? Were the “signs that follow them” what made them manifest to everyone else? Did they walk around with some icon of a cross or a star of David floating around above their heads? I know that is a ridiculous thing to say, of course they didn’t have that, but what was it? What if they weren’t actively performing the miraculous feats listed in Mark 16? Suppose they were just walking down the main street, would all passersby know that they were identified with the Lord Jesus Christ simply by observing them? I think I’m misunderstanding something here, although I don’t doubt or deny the claim that “there were no secret believers in the Acts period.” Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

In God’s present Dispensation of Grace are there, or have there been, any “commissions” or “commissioned ones?” Are there, or have there been any “Apostles” in the Dispensation of Grace?

I know that in this administration there is one and only one mediator between God and man, and that is the man Christ Jesus. Therefore, the question could become: Is a commissioned one, that is, an Apostle, also a mediator?

I understand that an Apostle is one who is commissioned by God to perform a specific service; and in order to do so that one must be “equipped” by God. That is, this one must partake of God’s body, His substance, His essence to the extent required to perform the service. So, to restate the last question, is an Apostle, or commissioned one, also a mediator?

Of course an apostle is also a mediator. He could not be anything else. Today, the Living Word and the written Word are the only Mediators. Yes, the written Word is an apostle, Acts 28:28. As long as an apostle is acting in God’s place and is acting towards other people, he is acting as a mediator. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Apostolos is used in both Acts period books as well as later, including Eph.4 where apostles and prophets are mentioned with pastors and teachers. Many post Acts letters by Paul use it as part of his credentials. He was an apostle to the nations. (We) thought that apostles are called by God, that there are not any prophets or apostles in the Acts period sense today. Is the definition changed by context as to what an apostle can do today? Some denominations differ with us, i.e. Pentecostals. With the Word in final form, isn’t it the Word that can be used instead of an apostle commissioned by God who is given God’s message?

You ask a very good question. We know that the book of Acts is the record of the “Acts” of the apostles, and so we believe this book records the fact that they not only spoke words they were commissioned to speak, but also performed acts they were commissioned to act, so that both their words and their actions were Divinely inspired. This then raises the question of why there would have been anyone apostled after the dispensation changed? In our day, the Word itself is apostled, as you say, and It is our apostle to lead us to Christ. We do not believe that we have apostles today either whose words or whose actions are inspired. Why, then, are apostles mentioned in post Acts 28:28 books? Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I need help, please, understanding the gospel of salvation in the Acts period.

Were different gospels of salvation preached during the Acts period?

It’s my understanding that the 2 gospels (of the circumcision, of the uncircumcision) in Galatians 2 were actually gospels offered TO the two different groups, not 2 different gospels as Mid-Acts teaches.

It is also my understanding that the gospel of the kingdom is not a gospel of salvation at all, but just an announcement that the long-awaited kingdom is near.

Is everyone in the Acts period saved by grace through faith?

Clearly I am confused, and I appreciate your help.

I will be happy to help you out with your questions regarding the gospel. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I am developing a Timeline for an eventual Acts 28 presentation based on your article “Dispensationalism Part 4,” and I need to know where Paul’s epistles fall within the book of Acts.

In his Word of Truth article entitled “Dating the Epistles of Paul,” Mr. Milton Hammond states the following:

1. 1 Thess Acts 18:5-7 53AD

2. 2 Thess Acts 18:11 54AD

3. Galatians Acts 19:8 56AD

4. 1 Cor Acts 19:10 57AD

5. 2 Cor Acts 20:1-2 58AD

6. Rom Acts 20:3 58AD

Do you agree with this? If not, would you mind just replying with a list of your own chart? Read the rest of this entry »

Who is writing what to whom − when, where, and why?

“what”JAMES

“who” – Written by the apostle James, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). The name in Greek was Iakobos (Jacobus/Jacob), but was translated as “James” in the KJV and other early English translations. This James was identified as “the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19).

“to whom” – To the leaders (ekklesias – out-positioned) of “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.”

“when” – During The Great Scattering described in Acts 8-12 (A.D. 40s).

“where” – Written from Jerusalem.

“why” – The purpose of James was to address the leaders (ekklesias) of those who were scattered during The Great Scattering, the second period of Acts, following The Great Unity. It was written to deal with issues that the believers were facing, such as personal trials of faith, the conflict between rich and poor, and the hypocrisy of those who said they had faith and yet did not act upon it. Read the rest of this entry »