Notes and References
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Acts Chapter 1:1-11
Who was it written to? Written to all people.
When was it written? After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ approximately 63-64 AD. I will use AD and BC not the new politically correct terms which do not signify the fact that the year we now count is the Year of Our Lord - Anno Domini. To say after or before the Common Era - what is that? It is a step to take Jesus Christ out of history and our schools. But I digress.
Who was writing? The book was written by Luke who also wrote the gospel of Luke as confirmed in chapter 1 verse 1.
Luke is the "beloved physician"
Col 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Possibly Lucias related to Paul mentioned here:
Rom 16:21 Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
Act 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Nothing is known of the person Theophilus (Technically spelled in the Greek Theophilos and you Greek scholars out there should recognize the two parts Theo - God and Philos - friendly or brotherly love) whom the Gospel of Luke and Acts are written to. Was the name a proper person's name or a generic group of people called Friends of God which is the translation of the word? Now I have researched it, and most men disagree that it was a group, because of a title, 'Most Excellent', in the gospel which Luke ascribes to Theophilus. But are not Christians most excellent? Why would Luke write such exhaustive things to just one man when the accounts must be made known to all men as a record? It makes more sense to me to get the word out to all "TheoPhilos's", especially at a time when imprisonment and martyrdom is becoming prevalent. But it is of no real significance, I am just thankful this Theophilos gets to study this letter!!
(Appended Note: This book is possibly a legal deposition for Paul's trial before Caesar, thus the attention to detail and more specifically shows Paul was not preaching a new religion, which was against Roman Law, but that Jesus Christ was who the Jewish writings and prophets foretold and of whom the Jewish people were waiting. Which after more study, I lean heavily toward this explanation.)
1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Noted in verse 2 particularly that commandments came directly from the Holy Ghost after Jesus ascension and that the apostles were chosen directly by Jesus, possibly putting down any argument as to the apostle's authority.
Verse 3 - Jesus was alive, in the flesh, resurrected for 40 days! What did he speak to his apostles about? The Kingdom! Now why is this important? Well it will explain the actions of the Jewish believers and especially those of the apostles as we study the book of Acts and as you study your bible.
In the past during His earthly ministry Jesus had promised them, the Spirit to abide with them FOREVER. Not only to abide with them but they would be baptized with the Spirit. Baptized is the Greek word (Strongs no G907) baptizo which means religiously to wash and make fully wet. In other ancient writings, this word referred to sunken ships. Thus the meaning is to be fully immersed.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
This is amazing! The Holy Spirit IS the Spirit of Christ!! "I will come to you". Sealed Forever with the His Spirit.
2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
What is the earnest or down payment for?
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Our inheritance! What is our inheritance? Everlasting Life!!
On to verse 6.
Act 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
This is a valid question and Jesus answers - not figuratively or spiritually - but matter of factly.
Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Now why would the apostles be asking this question? Verse 3 answers the question. Jesus, during forty days after His resurrection, talked about the kingdom. This next verse from Matthew will also answer the question.
Mat 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jesus promised them thrones of authority. God promised a kingdom to Israel all the way back to Abraham in Genesis.
Gen 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
Gen 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Gen 17:8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
David's throne was the pinnacle of the kingdom. God promised an even greater kingdom than David's.
1Ch 14:17 And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations.
Samuel the prophet was speaking to King David;
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
So you see scriptures foretold of God establishing a kingdom, a physical earthly kingdom and His throne.
Psalms Chapter 2 is a prophetic timeline if you will for God's course of prophetic events.(Emphasis added is mine.)
1 Why do the heathen (Gentiles) rage, and the people (Jews or Israelites) imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings (Gentiles) of the earth set themselves, and the rulers (Jewish leaders) take counsel together (Pilate and the High Priest or King Herod), against the LORD, and against his anointed (Jesus), saying,
3 Let us break their (the Godhead) bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens (Resurrected Jesus) shall laugh: the Lord shall have them (All the People) in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them (All the People) in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. (The Tribulation)
6 Yet have I set my king (Resurrected Jesus) upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee(The Resurrected Jesus). (and so Pointing toward the millennial reign of Jesus)
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (Gentile nations) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them (Gentile nations) with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings (Gentile nations): be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, (Jesus) lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
A prophetic timeline for the study of book of Acts from Psalm 2 View Full Size Image
Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Now I cannot possibly reference all of the prophecy scriptures regarding the kingdom and Jesus in the timeline but this should be sufficient to satisfy any argument. The kingdom was all the Jewish people were expecting. Half did not believe in a resurrection. While Jesus was in His earthly ministry, up to His crucifixion, the disciples and apostles were expecting a kingdom. Their hopes were dashed when He died. Once resurrected, now again they were expecting the kingdom. The answer from Jesus is, "Not Yet". Prophecy did not have the body of Christ or the Gentiles or the church as we know it, mentioned anywhere. There were hints that they would be saved, but their salvation would come through the reign of the kingdom. The "Mystery" or secret of the grace of Jesus' redemptive work toward the Gentiles had not yet been revealed and will not be for another 8-10 years at the conversion of Saul (Paul) and the conversion of Cornelius and his household. It would be even another 14 years after Cornelius would the apostles agree (in Acts 15) that salvation had indeed come to the Gentiles and not through the law or Jerusalem, but by faith in the DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ alone. This is critical to your perceptions of scripture and the timelines of the epistles.
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Up until the Jerusalem counsel in Acts chapter 15, the 12 apostles were not preaching to Gentiles, but only to Jews. We will look at this later, but the bible is quite clear on this. They remained in Jerusalem until this time. Why? They were expecting the imminant return of Christ! Once Israel repented of their sin of crucifying their Messiah, He would return and establish the kingdom! That is why they were preaching to Jews!
Jesus said it in verse 8:
4. Uttermost part of the earth where Jews were scattered from the Babylonian captivity.
Witnesses, in order to testify according to the law, had to be FIRST HAND accounts. Just as in our legal system in the US. Anything else is hearsay.
Previously, Jesus had instructed the apostle's going out as to where and to whom they were to go.
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The apostles never intended to go to the Gentiles. Proof is 8-10 years after the resurrection, Peter is compelled, only after a vision from God, to go to a Gentile. I repeat, "They were astonished" at the results and there was contention over this by the Jewish believers. We will read it later in Acts 10. Why did they not go to Gentiles?:
1. Jesus never told them to, see above.
2. According to prophecy, the Gentiles would come, during the reign of the Messiah, to Jerusalem.
Isa 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Isa 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Nations always denotes Gentiles. There are only two classes of people in the bible:
1. The covenant people, the Circumcised or Israel.
2. The uncircumcised, which are all other nations or ethnic groups.
Zec 8:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
So you see that in prophecy, Gentiles would come through Jerusalem. Again the "Mystery" of the salvation of the Gentiles (us) had not been revealed.
I always assumed that "uttermost part of the earth" meant missionaries to the pagans. NO! Jews!
Act 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
JEWS ONLY - can't get any clearer than that.
When the Gentile people of the house of Cornelius, the centurian, were filled with the Holy Ghost, the Jews were "ASTONISHED"!
Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision (Jews) which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
So what has been taught or what has been assumed about we, as Gentiles, being a part of anything pertaining to Jesus and His earthly ministry, resurrection, Pentecost, or early chapters of Acts is absolutely false. We will come to this on more detail as we continue.
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
This is significant in several ways. Christ's visible return, not spiritual or only seen by few, but His return will be plainly seen by all. Christ will return feet first on the Mt of Olives.
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his (The Lord's)feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Zec 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
This is the whole premise of the Messiah, the one who would be the king, the savior, who will rule the kingdom, and gather His elect to Israel. This is where we will divide the scriptures and come to a clearer understanding of this context, which has been ommitted in so many studies and teachings in the New Testament. We will begin to draw a line delineating between prophecy and "mystery".
So next week we will finish chapter 1.