A Study in Acts-the History

Historical Information on Acts

Dr. jStark

Bible School 2017-2018

The great German composer Ludwig van Beethoven is still remembered around the world for his beautiful and skillful compositions. But as wonderful as his musical scores are in themselves, his works are even more impressive when we learn that Beethoven suffered progressive hearing loss that began when he was a young man. In fact, it is astounding to realize that Beethoven wrote many of his greatest works when he was entirely deaf. Knowing the background of Beethoven’s life makes his music all the more impressive.

In important ways, appreciating the Scriptures is similar to appreciating Beethoven. It isn’t difficult to see the power and clarity with which the various books of the Bible proclaim God’s revelation. But when we learn about the backgrounds of the writers of the Bible, their world, their lives and their purposes, our understanding and appreciation of the Scriptures becomes much deeper.

Acts of the Apostles: Critical verse to this study of Acts is in Hebrew 10:25 (last line…”*as we see the end time day drawing nigh”) *”as” (hosos) means:  how much; how many; whoever.

History and Background Information

Luke wrote two, possibly three New Testament books: Luke, Acts and possibly some of Hebrews. Acts is the second of these books. At the end of the gospel of Luke Jesus says “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In the Book of Acts he picks it up where he leaves it off in Luke. We see the fulfillment of Christ’s words as the apostles carry the gospel to the world. See Luke 24:48-53. Luke is the third of the four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called synoptic gospels.

The Book of Acts is the FIRST account of the original church. In brief it covers the period of time between Jesus’ resurrection and the death of the Apostle Paul. Often Luke reverts to the inclusive or plural pronoun “we” in his writing. This is probably when he references him and Paul with others who may be present at that time. Some try to discredit Luke as author when all Luke is doing is including himself and probably Paul.

According to legend, Paul died by execution at the time when “firebug” Roman Emperor Nero was looking for a scape goat per the burning of parts of Rome. He started with the Apostle Paul then continued by accusing the new sect of religion called “THE WAY;” i.e. Christians. The Romans originally saw Christianity as an offshoot of Judaism since the original “church” consisted of Jews (Israelites). They identified themselves as The Way.”

Dictionary: The “Way” with a capital “W” was the early name for followers of Jesus. Considered a sect of Judaism, later in Acts 11 it is replaced with the term “Christian.” The first of only six biblical references, all in Acts, occurs as Saul obtained letters to arrest members of the “Way” in Damascus, immediately after stoning “Way” follower Stephen in Jerusalem. (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22)

This by itself reminds me of Matthew 16 per our understanding or lack of it… (Matthew 16:2, 3; NASB)
turkey-red sky
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?

This reminds me of a man who once came up and asked for a Word for him from God. While acknowledging the request the reply was almost spontaneous. Turning to the man asking for “a word” I replied… “God said, ‘Ask him yourself but don’t forget to listen to what He tells you.’”

We will follow an outline of Acts provided in small sections with an applicable article with each section of the building outline in this new study. Acts is the ORIGINAL Acts of the Apostles Peter then Paul, the early church, and the acts of the early church. Today’s church is a far thing from what the early church did. This too will be discussed; sometimes in detail. For now, let’s begin with:

OUTLINE of ACTS: (Part 1)

  1. It appears that Luke set out to show in two volumes how redemption came to mankind.
      1. Luke relates the coming of a Redeemer who died for our sins, rose in triumph, and looked to the time when mankind might share in salvation. Luke 24:46­-47.
      2. Volume II (Acts) takes up the narrative at that point and shows how over a period of about 30 years the gospel went from Jerusalem to Rome.
      3. The Gospel he wrote tells about the things “Jesus began both to do and to teach.” Acts 1:1.
      4. Acts tells what Jesus brought about through the Holy Spirit’s continuation of his work. Acts 1:8; cf. John 16:13.
  1. Based on volume/content, Luke, not Paul, wrote over one ­fourth of the entire New Testament.
  2. The Acts of the Apostles is a crucial part of Holy Scripture.
      1. It tells of the establishment of the church.
      2. It describes the growth (amid frequent perils) of the church and records the gospel’s amazing spread through the Roman Empire.
      3. It gives inspiring accounts of great persons who loved not their lives unto death; people who loved Jesus more than life itself.

They Went Thata’ Way – Noah’s DNA

Noah’s DNA Fall Term – 2017

Let’s begin with a review of the two times waters covered the earth. The first time found earth without form and void. The second time was the global flood 1,657 years later after the first time. If there was no second flood, then there was no need for a Noah. Noah is the ancestor of today’s 7 billion people.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1–2

This verse suggests that the land and water had yet to be divided. It isn’t until Genesis 1:6 & 7 that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) separated the land from the waters. Verse 1:7 is actually telling us that this is when God created the atmosphere with clouds and tons of moisture. The surface of the earth was UNDER WATER. In verse 9 we read that DRY EARTH appeared. This explains why in so many places on earth tour guides will tell visitors about huge but now missing seas. How about considering Noah’s Flood to their explanation?

Upon closely reading verse 9 & 10 we read that the waters on earth at this time were “gathered together into one place.” I.E. There was an expanse of waters and an expanse of dry land; one mass of land. Continents had not yet been separated. This division of the lands on earth does not happen until the birth of Eber’s son Peleg. His name means, “When the firmament was separated or divided.”

1,657 years later upon the death of Methuselah the NOATIC FLOOD occurred. After the flood the world was repopulated by the passengers on the Ark. The animals were probably all juveniles within their species. The three other men aboard the Ark men were of Noah’s DNA (Y chromosome). The three wives are of unknown background, other than related to or in the line of Adam and Eve. They gave Noah at least 16 known grandsons. It is not uncommon for the bible to add or ignore that there are or may be other “sons and daughters” not mentioned in any list of descendants.

“God has left us ample evidence to confirm that these 16 grandsons of Noah really lived, that the names the Bible gives were their exact names, and that after the Babel dispersion (Genesis 11:1-32) *their descendants fanned out over the earth and established the various nations of the ancient world.” [Creation Magazine]

*Their descendants did not “occupy the earth” until God intervened confusing their languages forcing them to segregate in other parts of the earth. It is only then that they occupied the earth as God had commanded Noah and his sons (Genesis 1:28). Some daring individuals may have “occupied the earth” outside of their babel community, but for the most part, they stayed together. “Those of a feather….”

For our knowledge and understanding, Noah lived 350 after the flood (Genesis 9:28); Shem lived another 500 years (Genesis 11:10, 11); the ages of Ham and Japheth go unmentioned. However, they lived long lives since there is much mentioned of their feats, offspring and migrations after the deluge.

For this study, keep these three things in mind:

  1. People in history past, living in various areas, called themselves by the name of the man who was their common ancestor. Just as men do today with their surname. We still name villages and streets after individuals as a mark of identity or in-common heritage.
  2. They called their land, and often their major city and major river, by his name or some form of that name.
  3. Sometimes the various nations fell off into ancestor worship. When this happened, it was natural for them to name their god after the man who was ancestor of all of them, or to claim their long-living ancestor as their god.
  4. “…and they had other sons and daughters.” This means the descendants listed in the Bible does not include all of their sons and/or daughters.

Great empires of the past: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia all have strong historical links to the Biblical figures connected with the sons of Noah. Most, if not all, tribes and nations can be traced to these men through their descendants. This in no way means these people remained within the culture of their founder or continued to recognize their ancestries. The big “HOWEVER” is that all mankind descended from Noah, Japheth, Shem, and Ham…NO EXCEPTIONS.

We must be cautious as to the origination of supposed historians or writer’s data or suppositions. Too often they have hidden and often not so hidden agendas when they record their take of lineage. Historical revisionists are the death of truth. This is very much an End Time trait. Even this website’s author’s insights should be challenged per the facts. We teach – You decide.

One more thing for which we need to be mindful; one can get his or her DNA traced backward to a nationality or mix of nationalities. This does NOT mean one’s DNA has been traced backward to its origination be it Noah (after the flood), Japheth, Shem or Ham. For this we need a study like this. Using linguistics, migrations, names of nations and peoples, and a grasp of the same groupings called by different names in different countries and languages. There is no way this short study intends to bring all of that detail forward. We will look at the obvious trends, migrations, name chasing, and the like as discussed in the bible (primarily Genesis 10 & 11) and recorded by reliable historians of the past.

Here is an example: the Iberian Peninsula is in and of its very name is reflective of the name Eber, Noah’s great-great grandson through Shem. The obvious question is why would it be referred to by such a name? Using tradition it would be named after a people or progenitor of a given peoples. When the Northern Kingdom of Israel’s ten northern tribes were forced out of their land by the Assyrians around 720 B.C. They had to go somewhere.s

Solomon had trade routes to Tarshis (Spain) back in the 900’s B.C. Spain (Iberian Peninsula) was an active territory with Solomon. He had many Israelites settled there to conduct business of mine the natural resources. He often had Phoenician sailors (I Kings 9:27).

When in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue King Ferdinand of Spain and his vengeful queen Isabel, devout Catholics, first chased out the Muslims in Spain who had previously overran someone else in their conquest of that same land. At this time the Spanish inquisitions began against a huge and significant population of Israelites (Jews) in this Iberian Peninsula. His policy was, convert to Catholicism, leave the land, or be killed. What peoples are in-common here to both the Muslim Arabs and the Catholics of King Ferdinand? The answer is Israelites. Thus, the land was called *Iberian Peninsula after the original progenitor of these Israelites through Shem.

*Eber is from where we get the identity and name “Hebrew, Iber, Uber or Iberian.“

How does this serve as an example? Spain is a mix of peoples from Arabic, Japheth, and Israeli blood. So if one’s DNA inquiry results say “SPANISH by ‘X’ percent,” then one must also know which brand of Spanish s/he might be: Arabic mix, Japheth mix, or Israeli mix? Eber means “the land beyond” or affixed to “wanderers.” This is highly suggestive of the original peoples in this once unpopulated land being Israelites; ever since Solomon’s time and when they were expelled and dispersed from their Northern Kingdom Israel by the Assyrians. Not conclusive but certainly inclusive. There is more to this but this is good enough for an introduction.

Spain

Let me add one more supporting piece of interesting research information. Since many places are named after the founder, especially in old times, the Iberian Peninsula has one more undeniable fact. The River Ebro (Eber) cuts right through the center of Spain in a north west to south east direction. This is another linguistic clue as to the original people who occupied and gave name to this land after the flood, Solomon’s trade routes, and the Assyrian dispersion of the Kingdom of Israel.

dnaWe will find that linguistic studies are a fairly solid platform of origination of people, places, and things in our continuing studies of Noah’s DNA; which way did they go. Today the name may not reflect the current occupants of a given land, but it is historically reflective of the name of its founders; i.e. Alexandria, Egypt… a city built by Alexander the Great and named after its founder. Add to this as to why God had so many “BEGATS LISTED” in His Holy Bible. We can trace global events and people through a bible study such as this course. “Study to show one’s self approved.”    

miniJim

Rev. Dr. Jstark September, 2017