Synopsis on Acts001 thru 023 - 1st Seven Years
We are about to enter a major shift in our study of the Acts. The door for the Gentiles will put the early Jewish believers in uncharted waters. So before we get to that door, it will be good to highlight where we've been. We dealt with the first seven years of early Church history. But now a season is about to change.
When the disciples ask the Lord if He was about to restore the kingdom to Israel, Jesus said, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority." That statement let's us see that the Father works in 'times, and, 'epochs'.
The word 'time' or kronos in Greek refers to an exact time or age. Epochs is different. The Greek word 'kairos', speaks of a season that fits a particular purpose. The Lord designed his redemption program to work through times and epochs. (People always looking and longing for a return to the early church period don't understand this issue of seasons.)
In the Bible, the number seven speaks of completeness, or fulfillment. The first seven years of Acts has seen the new covenant offered to Eretz Israel. (Land of Israel.) Everything has been taken place has been within a Jewish-Samaritan framework. (The Samaritans were half Jews.) And everything has been within 150 miles of Jerusalem. (Damascus is within the land promise made to Abraham.)
Here is a brief synopsis on what we have covered thus far:
(1) Jesus said that the kingdom one day would be restored to Israel. This shows us that God's redemption program as we know it will conclude with Israel coming to the kingdom. (Acts 1:6,7)
(2) The day of Pentecost was the coronation day for Jesus Christ and the beginning of the new covenant. (Acts 2:32-36)
(3) The proclamation of the wonderful acts of God was spoken to the Jewish peoples in all the languages of their sojournings. This is the only recording we have of speaking in other languages in the first seven years of the Church. (Acts 2:1-16)
(3) About three thousand Jews were added to the Church at Pentecost. (Acts 2:41) Many of these will return to the land of their dispersion carrying the news of Messiah's kingdom with them.
(4) Special signs and wonders are taking place through the hands of the apostles. This will continue throughout Acts. (Acts 2:43)
(5) A lame man receives a miracle healing through the apostles, and this bring about their first confrontation with the Jerusalem authorities. (Acts 3,4)
(6) The number of Jewish men in Jerusalem who accept Jesus as Messiah reaches about 5000. (Acts 4:4)
(7) A judgment is brought upon a Jewish couple, Ananias and Sapphira, for lying to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:3-11) This brings a soberness upon the believers.
(8) The number of converts steadily increases, as special miracles continue to take place through the apostolic band. Peter's shadow passing over people brings healings. (Acts 5:12-16)
(9) A second confrontation with the authorities and the apostles are placed in prison. An angel delivers them and they continue to preach right in the temple complex. (Acts 5:17-32)
(10) The apostles are again brought before the Sanhedrin Council, but this time Gamaliel intervenes. They are released after a flogging. But the apostles continue right on teaching and preaching Jesus as Messiah. (Acts 5:27-42)
(11) Seven men are chosen to help care for the Hellenistic widows. (Acts 6:1-6)
(12) One of the seven, Stephen becomes the first martyr of the Church. The stoners of Stephen lay their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. (Acts6,7)
(13) A great persecution begins and this man Saul becomes it prime mover. (Acts 8)
(14) Another of the seven, Philip, goes to Samaria and a great ministry takes place there. Peter and John come on the scene and the door is opened for the Samaritan believers to enter the new covenant. (Acts 8)
(15) Philip goes to the desert and meets the eunuch. This man will carry the gospel back to Ethiopia. (Acts 8)
(16) The man Saul heads for Damascus to imprison Jewish believers, but he is accosted on the road by Jesus. He is blinded for three days, until a disciple names Ananias arrives, and Saul is brought into the new covenant. (Acts 9)
(17) Saul begins preaching Jesus and many more Jews turn to the Lord in Damascus. He has to be let down a wall to escape imprisonment by the authorities. (Acts 9) (
18) Saul goes to Jerusalem, but the believers are afraid of him. Barnabas introduces him to the apostles, and Saul begins ministering in the Jewish synagogues. He is sent to Tarsus to keep him safe.
(19) Peter travels through the region of Galilee, Samaria and Judea, ministering to believers and producing new disciples. He has two miracles that greatly increases the ranks of the Church. He raises up the lame man, Aeneas, and also brings back to life the disciple Tabitha. (Acts 9)
(20) The numbers of Jewish believers is in the multiplied thousands. The harvest has been rich and includes a number of priests. (Acts 9)
There it is in brief. Keep in view that we've covered seven years of harvest among the Jews of the land. The door for the Gentiles has yet to be opened. But it is quite near.
This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added October 22, 2004
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