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Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Disciples Became Known as Christians

News of Peter’s visit to Cornelius (cir. 39-40 CE) must have gotten around to those scattered abroad due to the persecution that developed over Stephen’s Gospel. Many of those who fled for their lives were afraid and preached to Jews only, but the implication in Acts 11:19-20 is that upon hearing that Peter preached to the gentiles, those who fled due to the persecution took courage and developed a plan to reach out to the gentile sectors of Antioch. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2009 in Gospel, Religion

 

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God Repeats Himself

I find it interesting that in the space of two chapters in Acts, God has the story of Peter’s vision of the unclean animals repeated three times, twice in Acts 10 and then a third time in Acts 11. Peter received the vision of the unclean animals three times, one after the other, while God told him to kill and eat each time. Peter knew that God never contradicts himself, so he refused to partake of the animals each time it was repeated before him. In the Law God forbade the Jews to eat such animals. While Peter pondered the meaning of the vision, Jesus told him he had gentile visitors and to go with them. Peter went with his visitors, and, when he arrived at Cornelius’ home and heard about the vision Cornelius received from the Lord, Peter understood his own vision and told the story of his vision to Cornelius, his gentile host, telling him God had cleansed Cornelius and those who had gathered with him. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2009 in Gospel, Religion

 

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Don’t Call Common What God Has Cleansed!

With the persecution against the Hellenistic believers ended and Paul sent home to Tarsus, God used this time to introduce to the disciples to the idea that he had cleansed the gentiles (Acts 10). A man named Cornelius had seen a vision from God and sent for Peter who was staying at Joppa with Simon the tanner. God prepared Peter for what was about to occur by giving him a vision of unclean animals and telling him to kill and eat. It was unlawful for a kosher Jew to eat what was ceremonially unclean, so Peter understandably refused, but Jesus told Peter that he should not call common what God has cleansed. The ceremonial laws of Moses often depicted a spiritual principle. For example, a Jew could not eat an animal that did not part the hoof—indicating one walking the separate life, for God called the Jews to separate themselves from the world. Neither was it lawful to eat an animal that didn’t chew the cud—indicating that they should fully digest the word of God, thinking and meditating upon it, not just hearing the word to satisfy intellectual knowledge (hunger). If one parted the hoof, but didn’t chew the cud, like the swine, that one may live the separate life but had no idea why he lived so. In other words nothing came from the heart. If one chewed the cud, but didn’t walk the separate life, it indicated a hypocrite who says but does not. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2009 in Gospel, Religion

 

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God Brings an End to the Persecution

Before I leave chapter nine of Acts, I have to stop at verse-31. Some folks think that because Paul stopped persecuting the Jewish believers that the Church of Christ had rest or peace. Notice what the Scripture says:

Acts 9:29-31 KJV And he [Saul, later known as Paul] spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. (30) Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. (31) Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (brackets and emphasis mine)

Notice that the text points to the Churches of Christ throughout Palestine, not just Jerusalem. No matter how zealous Paul was, he could not have undertaken such a vast task all by himself. No, the text at this point refers to something else. Paul had been persecuting the church for about two years. The persecution began just after the Day of Atonement 34 CE. Paul persecuted the church up until sometime in 36 CE. During this year Pilate lost his office and was replaced. The high priest was also replaced by the new procurator. It is probably this high priest, Johnathan (son of Annas) who replaced Caiaphas (son-in-law of Annas) that Paul asked for letters to take to the synagogues of Damascus to capture disciples of Jesus who had this belief of Stephen. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2009 in Religion, Textual Criticism

 

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Stephen’s Gospel Was Preached by Paul

Paul was involved in persecuting the church for perhaps a year or two when Jesus appeared to him on the way to Damascus and called him. It seems that Paul was instrumental in the death of Stephen (Acts 7:58-59), so it is almost like poetic justice that he should be the one who would later preach the same Gospel that got Stephen killed. The Gospel has always been Jesus crucified and risen from the dead, but what made Stephen’s Gospel different from that of Peter was to whom it was preached. Stephen preached that the Temple was not necessary and God blesses others besides the Jews. It was this same Gospel that Paul began to preach and that to the gentiles. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2009 in Gospel, Religion

 

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Not the Only Church in Town!

Church in town

from Google Images

I find it interesting that, upon the expression of Jewish unbelief in Christ at the death of Stephen, immediately the Gospel went to the hated Samaritans, and they believed! Jesus had sowed seed there during his ministry, beginning in John 4 with the woman at the well. Philip, the Jewish Hellenist and now one of the Seven of Acts 6, preached Christ to those in Samaria, and they believed.

Evidently, this came as quite a surprise to the apostles, still dwelling in Jerusalem. The persecuted church was scattered and preached Christ everywhere they went. Philip contacted the apostles in Jerusalem, and Peter and John were sent, so it seems, to confirm this was true. When they saw the work of God through Philip, they then also preached Christ to the Samaritans as they returned to Jerusalem (Acts 8:25). Apparently, they weren’t certain the Samaritan’s conversion was authentic, until they reached Philip and saw for themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2009 in Grace, Religion

 

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After the 70 Weeks Prophecy—Then What?

I have taken a tangent from my reading the book of Acts to show the 70 Weeks Prophecy ended with the stoning of Stephen. The Scriptures promised relative safety to the disciples during the 7 year period when Jesus confirmed the (New) Covenant during his public ministry (Daniel 9:27, cp. Revelation 12:6, 14) and finished up during the first 3 ½ years of the preaching of the apostles. At this time the blood of Jesus’ disciples began to run with the stoning of Stephen. Yet, Acts 8:1 shows that the apostles didn’t have to leave Jerusalem! Why was this? Notice: Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2009 in Gospel, Religion

 

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The Four Passovers in Jesus Public Ministry

lilies-of-field

from Google Images

In my most recent posts concerning the 70 Weeks Prophecy, I showed how the prophetic days—1260 days, 1290 days and 1335 days—all fall within a seven year period beginning and ending on the Jewish holy days mentioned in Leviticus 23 or, as was the case of the 1290 days, the count began on a significant day having to do with those annual Festivals. In order for this understanding to be true, the Scriptures must refer to or at least imply four Passovers to have occurred during Jesus’ public ministry. The problem is the Gospel of John mentions only 3 Passovers: John 2:13, John 6:4 and John 12:1. For this reason some Christians believe Jesus’ public ministry lasted only 2 years or 2 ½ years at the most. If this is so, the prophetic days mentioned above cannot refer to Jesus’ first coming. Therefore, it will be necessary for me to show four Passovers to have occurred during this period. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Religion, Textual Criticism

 

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The 70 Weeks Prophecy and the 1335 DAYS

from Google Images

from Google Images

As I mentioned in an earlier post the 1335 days of Daniel tie the ministries of Jesus and the Apostles together. Daniel 12:12 mentions the mysterious period of 1335 days, that those who wait until the days are concluded will be blessed! I believe the key to understanding all these mysterious periods is fitting them into the Jewish Holy Day Festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23. A clue to determining the meaning of this particular period of the 1335 days is in the fact that he who waits until it is over is blessed. I don’t believe mankind could have ever been more blessed than on Pentecost Day 31 AD, when the Holy Spirit fell down upon the disciples of Jesus, and God began making his abode with men (Acts 2:1-4). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2009 in Prophecy, Religion

 

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The 70 Weeks Prophecy and the 1290 DAYS

from Google Images

from Google Images

The second half of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy is represented in 1290 days of Daniel 12:11. This time period begins when “the daily sacrifice is taken away” giving placement to “the abomination that makes desolate.” That is, taking the daily sacrifice away and placing the abomination that makes desolate in its stead is one complete event, and there will be 1290 days after this event, and at that time the 70 Weeks Prophecy would be fulfilled. This would also be the time when the Old Covenant ended and the New Covenant would be fully established with the parousia (G3952) or coming of Jesus as the Messiah. It would also be the time of the resurrection of the dead and of the Great White Throne Judgment.[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2009 in Prophecy, Religion

 

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Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy and the 1260 DAYS

Ministry of Jesus - 1260 DaysDaniel 12:1 tells of a war and a time of trouble like no other period in human history. Perhaps deep down we have the desire to live in this critical time period about which the Scriptures write, or maybe we just imagine, because we are so far advanced scientifically, that these terrible times MUST be in or near our day. Daniel 12:7 says this critical period will last for a time (1 year), times (two additional years) and a half a time (or half a year), in other words 3 ½ years in all. If we would imagine a period in human history when evil is or was so great, it is singled out in Scripture as a time like no other since there was a nation, when would that be? Would it be the time at the end of our present age? We certainly live in perilous times, but wouldn’t the most evil and terrible time of human history be when we crucified our Savior? Think about it. Jesus came to save us, and we killed him. If God didn’t resurrect him and forgive us, we would have no hope—not a snowball’s chance in the hell-fire! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Prophecy, Religion

 

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Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy

70 Weeks Prophecy.- 3jpg

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy is found in Daniel 9:24-27. Daniel divides the 70 weeks of years into 7 weeks + 62 weeks + 1 week. The first division governed the 49 years it took to build the Temple and the walls surrounding the city. The second division governed the time from the building of the Temple and walls to the coming of the Messiah 434 years later. Most Christians today believe the seventieth and final week of the prophecy has been cut off from the previous 69 prophetic weeks and represents the final 7 years at the end of this age just prior to Jesus return. However, this understanding doesn’t seem to fit the Scriptures, and for the next several posts I hope to offer a reasonable explanation of what Daniel really prophesied, and in so doing show the prophecy stands fulfilled. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Prophecy, Religion

 

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The Significance of Stephen’s Death!

70 Weeks Prophecy.- 2jpg

Stephen was one of the “Seven” (Acts 6:3, 5) that were anointed for their labor in the word of God and the leadership of the Grecian Jewish believers who resettled in Jerusalem. Apparently he was a very outspoken believer, testifying and proving that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 6:9-10). It should be noted that he got himself into trouble, because those who opposed him couldn’t refute his testimony, just as was the case of Jesus during his ministry. It should also be understood that false witnesses were used to testify against Stephen, just as it was concerning Jesus when he was brought before the Sanhedrin. These similarities are not coincidences. This was the first time blood was shed among the believers since the crucifixion.[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2009 in Prophecy, Religion

 

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Murmuring Among the First Disciples

Reading through Acts 6, I find most commentaries concluding that the 7 Grecian Jews (that is, Jews of the Diaspora who resettled in Jerusalem) whom the apostles anointed were the first deacons of the Church. However, I have to wonder how the ‘deacon interpretation’ began. Notice what the Scriptures say:

Acts 6:1-7 ASV Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. (2) And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables. (3) Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. (4) But we will continue stedfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the word. (5) And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch; (6) whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands upon them. (7) And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

It seems to me that the murmuring was done for different reasons than the Grecian widows being slighted, because Acts 4:34-37 clearly shows no one lacked among the early believers at Jerusalem. In fact most of the money probably came from the Grecian Jews, because they tended to be in better financial condition than the Palestinian Jews. Why would the Jewish believers neglect the very body of people from whom most of the love gifts came? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2009 in Christianity, Religion

 

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Seasons of Refreshing

aahh

from Google Images

As I read through Acts 3 I have to wonder how many folks believe in miracles today. It must have been something to see a man leaping and walking on legs that looked more like spindles than something that would actually hold up a human body. Peter and John got themselves in a little trouble afterward, because they preached the resurrection of the crucified Jesus, showing that he is indeed the Messiah. The chief priests and the Temple captain had them arrested to be tried the next morning, but really what could they say against an apparent miracle? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2009 in Religion, salvation

 

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