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Introducing Prevailing Hope – When Life Hurts .

Get your free introductory sample to the Prevailing Hope Book by clicking on this link and filling out the form here.

Prevailing Hope -When Life Hurts is a true story to give hope in the midst of all we go through on this earth.It’s a journey of how the LORD has shown me how I can be okay even when life is not okay. My prayer is all who read this, will draw closer to the SOURCE of all HOPE, the LORD Jesus Christ. From my heart-Brenda

Prevailing Hope – When Life Hurts is available for purchase currently by following this link: http://bit.ly/2mgej8j

Article #6 of Daniel Series

seriesArticle #6 of Daniel Series

Daniel 1:3

And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;

As we have just noted in our previous article #5, this also is fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah to Hezekiah. Two observations that we can make here are that Daniel may have been of the royal line “of the king’s (David) seed” and secondly, he would probably have been made a eunuch once in Babylon. This was a common practice because a conquering king would not want to have fertile chief advisers around the palace, for if they produced offspring they may conspire against the king and attempt to establish their own ‘royal’ line. It also meant that they were less likely to get distracted from their tasks by the king’s harem!

JIV NOTE: An inscription was found on a monument that is now in the Berlin, Germany museum confirming the person of Ashpenaz; the inscription reads: “Ashpenaz, master of the king’s eunuchs” – so once again confirming the historical accuracy of Daniel.

Daniel 1:4

Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

The practice of carrying away the best and brightest of a conquered nation was a good strategic move. First, it meant that the losing kingdom or nation is robbed of its future leaders as Russian or Germany did to the Poles in WWII. Second, it would help to keep the conquered nation in subjection, knowing that its favorite sons were ‘hostages’ under the ruling regime. The ancient cultures knew that a wealth of a nation is not only its silver and gold but its youth; if the next generation were to be destroyed the empire would crumble. What a contrast to today where our youth are being systematically destroyed by the eroding of morals and a sense of accountability. Today we send our young people to the “humanist training camps” we call universities where morals and the fear of God are sucked out of them. Then we commission research agencies to try to discover why suicide among young people is so high, why teenage pregnancy is out of control, why violent crime is on the increase etc. etc.evolution

Can we really be surprised when Evolution underpins almost all further education, teaching young people that we are here by chance, we are nothing more than animals and that there are no absolutes? Evolution is anti-God and anti-science. The Bible tells us that “the fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God’” (Ps 14:1) and that “the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20) In other words, by the study of things that are made, i.e. science, we can clearly see that there is a God. This is what our young people need.

We read in Ecclesiastes 10:2 “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.” We teach – You decide.

Daniel 1:5

And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

They wanted these boys to be fit and healthy to serve the king as his advisors, so a three-year intensive preparation program was put in place. A three year training program had to include language studies. These boys spoke Hebrew, not Chaldean.

Daniel 1:6-7

6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nebo

Part of this training program was subtle indoctrination. By changing their names they would begin to dissolve the ties with their homeland and the remembrance of their God. With Babylonian names they would better fit into Babylonian culture and eventually this would become ‘home’. SIGNIFICAN NOTE: This merging into the culture and forgetting one’s past was a successful tactic for the Babylonians as can be seen in the fact that after the exile, only 59,000 Jews returned home; the rest had taken root in Babylon. They remained “scattered.” Those who return home are the Judean Jews who became the Judeans of Jesus’ time (N.T. accounts are of these we now collectively call Jews).

Daniel, whose name meant ‘my God is Judge’ became ‘may Bell protect you’. Hananiah meant ‘God is gracious’, he became ‘Alumin by Rah’; i.e. commanded or enlightened by Aku.

Mishael was ‘Who is like the Lord’, he became ‘Who is like Aku’. Azariah’s name was changed from ‘The Lord is my help/salvation to ‘The servant of Nebo’. Odd but true, we remember many movie stars by their character names, not the given names. Even they change their birth names to Hollywood names BEFORE they also become characters in a TV series.

How much this change of names influenced Daniel’s thinking can be seen in the fact that only once does Daniel call himself by this new name, and it only appears ten times in total in the book – including this occurrence. He uses His Hebrew name 75 times.

Our next verse tells us of Daniel’s resistance to change away from his Hebrew:

Daniel 1:8

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not [neither] defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself

What an incredible statement by a young teenage boy. And even more remarkable when one tries to picture the following:

A 14-16 year old Daniel and his friends leave Jerusalem and travel for weeks across desert terrain. Suddenly they see a city in the distance. As they get closer the scale becomes clear. This is a city that is 15 miles per side, walls that are 330ft high and 80ft thick – wide enough for the Babylonians to have chariot races around the walls – six a breast! 250 towers are around the walls; 80ft brass gates reflecting the sun and shining for miles around, and the infamous hanging gardens that were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Euphrates River ran through the city under the walls. Babylon had orchards and vineyards inside the city as well as grazing for the herds; all kinds of trees and foliage – in the middle of a desert! It was completely self-sustaining. A siege of Babylon could not succeed.

There were over 200 open alters throughout the city, 153 different temples including one that had an 8 mile perimeter. Another had a perimeter of 3 miles. One table from the temple of Marduch was 40ft long and 6ft wide made from pure gold. The city was about 225 square miles inside, which is about 4-5 times the size of London today.

Into all of this come these four young Hebrew boys. One can hear the taunts: ‘Don’t tell us about your God – He’s the one whose temple we have just ransacked in Jerusalem, and we’ve brought all of His golden cups and bowls and shields to put them in the temple of our gods – you better start worshipping our gods, they’re the ones with real power!’ ‘You don’t want to keep those Hebrew names either, people will make fun of you – being named after that God. You need new names that people here will respect. Daniel, what’s the use of being called ‘my God is Judge’ from now on you should be called ‘may Bell protect you’. Hananiah, there’s no point being called ‘God is gracious’, if He was, you wouldn’t be here would you! ‘You can be ‘Illuminated by Rah’. Mishael, people will laugh if they hear you being called ‘Who is like the Lord’, so why not be ‘Who is like Aku’ one of our gods. And Azariah, you need to rethink your name ‘The Lord is my help/salvation; after all you are not in Jerusalem but Babylon. You should be called ‘The servant of Nebo’. Now what would be the problem with eating a bacon sandwich? Or maybe an Oyster? After all Daniel was now a long way away from those who would disapprove, what harm would it do and who cared in Babylon anyway, everyone else would be doing it and no one would think less of him?

WHO IS LIKE THE LORD?

JIV: BUT…put these four names together as a statement we get: “Who is like the Lord. The Lord is my salvation. I am a servant of God. God is my judge.” Consider this as a personal statement and hidden message via names; something to remember daily.

This was the temptation facing these young teenage boys, yet we read: “He purposed in his heart ” This was not a spur of the moment decision but a way of life that Daniel was not
prepared to compromise for anyone or anything. As Joseph in Egypt had rejected the lust of the flesh for the sake of his God, so did Daniel. Purity was the key; but it is so easy to give in, one only needs to do it once and there’s no going back. May we too purpose in our hearts not to remember the meanings of these four teenagers names.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:11-14)

Who is like the God? God is my salvation. I am a servant of God. God is my judge.”

Daniel 1:9

Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7)

Next week we pick it up at verse 10.

Article 3 of our Daniel Study

authenticProphecy. This needs no explanation other than to say that prophecy is one of the infallible and undeniable proofs that God has given us to show that His word is true (see 2 Peter 1:19). Jesus Himself in Matthew 24 pointed to a prophecy in the book of Daniel as the key to understanding the end-times, yet it is astonishing that so many Christians are ignorant regarding the prophecies in the Bible. Job said:Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?” (Job 24:1). Jesus held the Jews accountable for not understanding the prophetic scriptures, and rebuked the Pharisees because, although they could predict the weather, they didn’t understand the signs of the times.Miscellaneous facts about the book

 

Author: Daniel – how do we know? Because seven times we read “I Daniel…” and secondly because Jesus said Daniel wrote it (Matt 24:15). “If you don’t believe what Jesus said you’ve got much bigger problems than the authorship of Daniel!” – Chuck Missler

Daniel uses his own name 75 times.

When was it written?: About 606-530 B.C.

Daniel is one of only a few people in scripture of whom no sin is recorded, Joseph being another – this doesn’t mean they didn’t sin, Romans 3:23 makes that clear, but in this way they become a type of Christ.

Daniel is called ‘beloved’ (Dan 9:23 / 10:11 / 10:19), the same title is given to John in the NT. Both Daniel and John were given revelations of the climax of world events. It appears that God reserves His most intimate secrets for those who are His beloved. The church is also called His beloved (Rom 9:25) – i.e. these secrets are for us – what a privily The History of the Times of Daniel

Before we begin our study it would be profitable to do a crash course in ancient history to give us some of the background of the times that Daniel lived i

facts

Israel as a nation became divided during the reign of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Thorthern part of the nation became known as ‘Israel’, the southern part as ‘Judah’. Israel went from bad to worse and God sent prophet after prophet to warn them to repent or face judgment. All of this is recorded in the books of Kings and Chronicles. There was not a good king among the kings of Israel and so eventually God allowed the Assyrians to conquer Israel in around 722 B.C.

Judah was not a great deal better, with many bad kings who did not seek God but indulged in idolatry but all descended from King David. However there were a few good kings such as Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 17:1-6), Joash (2 Chron 24:1-4), Hezakiah (2 Chron 29:1-2), and Josiah (2 Chron 34:1-2).

Josiah reigned in Judah from about 641 to 609 B.C. However Josiah’s death was brought about by a strange event that is recorded in 2 Chronicles 35:19-27.

Assyria had been the dominating world empire, having already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel as mentioned above; but their days were numbered as God had prophesied through Nahum. In 612 B.C. *Babylon and Media formed an alliance and conquered Assyria’s capital, Nineveh. Three years later Pharaoh Necho, the king of Egypt attacked Assyria and defeated it at a place called Carchemish.

*Odd alliance as it was the same Media with Persia who eventually conquered Babylon.

 

The Times of Daniel
Charchemish

In 2 Chronicles 35:19-21 we read:

Josiah had prepared the temple, (for Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him. But he sent messengers to him, saying, “What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war; for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you.” NKJV

Now remember that Assyria had been Israel’s enemy for centuries; remember Jonah’s reluctance to go and preach to them; and king Sennacherib’s taunts against Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32). So the question has to be asked, why did King Josiah go out against Necho who was on his way to destroy

Israel’s enemies? Surely Josiah should have been fighting with him if anything, not against him. The answer may be found in the opening line of verse 19:After all this, when Josiah

had prepared the temple” – prepared it for what? Reading chapters 34 & 35 of 2 Chronicles we discover that Josiah had been presented with ‘the book of the law’ that had been discovered as they were starting to repair the temple. After reading it, Josiah realized how far away from God the nation had gone – the same is true today, reading God’s word will show how far from God our nation has gone. Not if we simply read it for awareness, but for knowledge and understanding.

Josiah set about restoring everything according to the Law of Moses, however in verse 3 of chapter 35 he tells the priests to put the holy ark in the house that Solomon had built. they were to put it in there, it was obviously not in there at that time. So where was it

Noah's Ark

The Ark…so where is it? Next week we will show you scripture that gives us that answer.

J Stark

May, 2019

Britannica and Wikipedia

fake news

BEWARE!

Encyclopedia Britannica joins Wikipedia is deceiving (history revisionists)

Not only has Wikipedia gone sour on Christianity in their online encyclopedia of histories, *Britannica online has now joined them dispersing false or revised historical facts. The unlearned is being greatly deceived today. It appears the “church” is simply sitting back and accepting these false histories to disseminate. Here is another example how the unlearned may not recognize something stated but is fake history. This is what the people in the churches and students in secular colleges accept as fact without even a whimper of challenge.

* https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Book-of-Daniel-Old-Testament

The language of the book—part of which is Aramaic (2:4–7:28; [a truth]—probably indicates a date of composition later [a deception/lie] than the Babylonian Exile (6th century BC). Numerous inaccuracies connected with the exilic period (no deportation occurred in 605 BC; Darius was a successor of Cyrus, not a predecessor; etc.) tend to confirm this judgment. Because its religious ideas do not belong to the 6th century BC, numerous scholars date Daniel in the first half of the 2nd century BC and relate the visions to the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164/163 BC).”

Let’s look at this above information as copied and pasted from Britannica’s online encyclopedia concerning the Book of Daniel. My goal is not to refute or add actual secular history supporting what the bible states. It is to caution believers in Christ and the bible to the fact we are already in End Times when false doctrines will fill the pages of written news, broadcasts, and deception prevails (Matthew 24:4-5).

  1. “…probably indicates a date of composition later than the Babylonian Exile (6th century BC).”
    PROBABLY?” This word alone makes it purely a supposition or guess. Caution: many readers will see it as from the reputable encyclopedia Britannica so this word “probably” is dismissed from mind. They also state that it is written later than the Babylonian Exile of the 6th century BC. Such a statement becomes a false fact for two reasons. First, it means Daniel did not prophecy but simply recorded history after the fact…almost 300 years after the fact. In this case, written by Daniel hundreds of years after he has already died and been buried in Susa, Persia. Second, it means Daniel either did not exist or was not who the bible tells us he was because he is fiction making the bible itself a story book; i.e. a fiction story book one might say.

We must add, how does “The Language of the book – part of which is Aramaic (2:4-7:28)” translates into this “document being written at a later date?” Aramaic was like the English of today; spoken almost universally; a business language common to this world just as Aramaic was common to the then known world of nations.

  1. Numerous inaccuracies connected with the exilic period (no deportation occurred in 605 BC” Inaccuracies???? Stone reliefs and archeological evidence exist telling of King Nebuchadnezzar’s rule, conquests, overrunning and destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, his three exports of Judeans from Judah to Babylon, and evidence of Daniel’s burial tomb in Susa. Susa is Persian: Šuš[ʃuʃ]Hebrewשׁוּשָׁן ŠušānGreek: Σοῦσα [ˈsuːsa]Syriacܫܘܫ‎ Šuš; was an ancient city of the Proto-ElamiteElamiteFirst Persian EmpireSeleucidParthian, and Sasanian empires of Iran, and one of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East.Here is a quote from archeological records as recorded in:

    https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium-exiles-life-in-babylonia-revealed-1.5367088 A little known collection of more than 100 clay tablets in Cuneiform script, dating back to the Babylon Exile some 2,500 years ago, was unveiled this week [February 2015], allowing a glimpse into the everyday life of one of the most ancient exile communities in the world. 2500 years ago? Do the math. 2019 minus 2500 years puts us back to the Daniel record, not the one recorded as “probable” fact by the encyclopedia Britannica.

  2. Darius was a successor to Cyrus, not the predecessor.” This is deception at its best. Tell the truth but not the whole truth. Ancient records of history tell us that there were three named or titled Darius who ruled in Babylon. Example: There was Darius the Mede who was appointed the first king of Babylon but only ruled two years; Darius the Great *4th Persian ruler of the Achaemenid Empire of Medo-Persian Babylon) (Bīsitūn inscription); Darius III (c. 380 – July 330 BC), originally named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. Deception once again in 2019…there were three Kings of Persia named or title Darius. This in no way proves King Cyrus was followed by or came before Darius. There was a short time ruler (for two years as he was 62 when he took charge) named or titled Darius before and after King Cyrus. Two other kings of this area who were called or titled Darius who were successors to Cyrus.
  3. Because its religious ideas do not belong to the 6th century BC, numerous scholars date Daniel to the first half of the 2nd century BC. Its religious ideas? What does this mean? Perhaps its intended negative challenge to canonized scripture, evangelicals, bible believers? What numerous scholars? Were or are they scholars in languages; English; geology; lab sciences? One might suggest this information in Britannica is once again deceptive and deliberately misleading of the ignorant of facts and the under-studied, just as prophesied in the very bible this section of Britannica Encyclopedia is trying to undermine as “the word of God.”
  4. “…and relate the visions to the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164/163 BC).” “Relate the visions…” can only mean Daniels recorded vision are records of fact but only AFTER THE FACT. This totally discredits the bible recordings as inaccurate or altogether false. Why limit this to Antiochus IV since there are hundreds of records of Jewish suppressions, exiles, holocausts such as Nazi Germany or the oft misreported 1492 – 1503 A.D. Spanish inquisitions. This is taught in history books but does not mention it focused upon the execution or dispersing of Jews in Spain by the Catholics. Their third choice was to change their Jewish names to ‘christian’ (Pope acceptable) names. We only know it as the inquisitions. Do history books in public schools also mention 1492 (Columbus) to 1503 AD as a time when Ferdinand and Isabella consolidated their rule tried to rid the Iber Peninsula (Spain) of all Jews?

Is our education and depth of knowledge per the WHOLE TRUTH of histories controlled by secular liberals? We can call them by their real identities: History revisionists!

Rev. Dr. Jstark
March 2019

http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/BBabylonianExile586BCE.html

https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium-biblical-city-of-libnah-identified-1.5303117

Decoding Daniel – Part 2

research

RESEARCH

When doing research I am always personally open to the possibility of what I set out to discover and validate ends up changing my mind or position in some way, major ways, or affirm my position. It is called UNDERSTANDING. I leave my doors of new knowledge open to these possibilities. This position is also steeped into reasoning out why Daniel is written in Syriac/Aramaic (non-Israelis) and in Hebrew (to the Tribes of Jacob and the Old Testament Covenant).

Much of Daniel’s chapter 8-12 prophecies are exclusive to the Israelites (12 Tribes) with particular attention given to the Tribe and Kingdom of Judah then dispersed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. to a 70 year captivity; i.e. better said not allowed to return to Judah/Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Israel meaning the Northern Ten Tribes were dispersed by Assyrians in 732 B.C. and again in 720 B.C. In 605 B.C. and again in 586 B.C. the Kingdom of Judah went into their 70 year exile. Gentiles (the church) can safely consider that we are not in the same river or current of future events as those promised to God’s chosen People. Christians; i.e. The Church of believers may NOT be the primary target in some of Daniel’s prophecies, but could be caught up in the vacuum of events in Israel as Christians if the Church is not a pre-tribulation rapture event. If the Tribulation is targeted to Israel alone, the church body of believers will already be missing due to the Rapture (the pre-tribulation, pre-millennial view).

My sources represent a mix of liberal and conservative scholarly theologians who hold diverse views. These will be listed separately at the end of this work-in-progress study of Daniel. In no-way can I conclude or offer possible insights to all of the meaningful sources until they have been added to this work-in-progress. I will attempt to weed out that which is purely speculation, one-sided denomination planks, tickling ear syndrome not supported by scripture.

In this initial commentary, it is my goal to begin the awareness and some loose understanding of the prophetic blend and practical teachings of the Book of Daniel. God the Father ultimately controls every nation, having determined the times set for them and the exact places where these events will unfold. For that reason, I have structured Decoding Daniel upon God’s Sovereignty in the Rise [and fall] of *Four Hebrew, Five World Empires, and their Princes. These men and nations are but a methodology used of God to fulfill his covenants with Old Testament Israel (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and the Church established in the early pages of the New Testament. *Four Hebrew powers: 1) the Judges; 2) the Nation of Israel; 3) the divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah; 4) the Covenant with His people to bring them back to a Promised Land but yet to be fulfilled; i.e. a work still in progress.important-

IMPORTANT JIV NOTE: We should conclude by the end of this Bible study that politics is nothing more than an earthly tool of Satan to distract, derail, confuse and hide the fact that the real issues is between Lucifer’s fall from Heaven and God’s creation giving mankind, made in HIS own image, the opportunity to share in Satan’s destiny or God’s preferred destiny.

The importance of the Book of Daniel

  1. It is an indispensable introduction to New Testament prophecy.
  2. It bridges the gap between Israel’s historical books and the New
    Testament.
  3. It reveals details about the *comings of the Anointed One, the Antichrist and other princes.
      1. The coming of Christ, anointed Son of God
      2. The Rapture of the Church
      3. Jesus on the Throne during the Millennial reign from Jerusalem
  1. It tells of the Tribulation, followed by the Lord’s return to rule from the Throne of David in Jerusalem for 1,000 years.
  2. It speaks about the resurrections and the judgments of God.
  3. It covers “the Times of the Gentiles.”
  4. It shows that God is sovereign in the affairs of man.
  5. It provides compelling evidence that there is a God in heaven who rules history.
  6. It uncovers a great spiritual warfare among the angelic and demonic forces.
  7. It illustrates what true dedication to God means, and what God is willing to do through and for those who are committed to Him.
  8. It provides a solid basis for comfort in the midst of adversity.
  9. It discloses Godly principles for politicians and officials.
  10. It offers hope for God’s people so they will not fall away.
  11. It challenges God’s people to faithfulness and perseverance.
  12. It contains an unusual amount of practical truth that is applicable to Christians today.
  13. It predicts an everlasting kingdom ruled by the Son of Man.

During the Olivet Discourse Jesus directed our attention to the prophet Daniel (Matthew 24:15). By referring to Daniel, Jesus was drawing our attention to some of the most amazing last day prophecies of the Bible. Daniel’s prophecies were written during the sixth century BC, after the Babylonians had conquered Israel and taken them into captivity. Secular theologians state it was written in the first century BC due to its accuracy. Daniel received several visions and prophecies during this time, beginning when he was a youth under king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Olivet Discourse didn’t happen until several hundred years later; about 30 A.C.

The Apocrypha adds three additional moments to Daniels’ life in Babylon. These events are found in Bel and the Dragon found in the Vulgate as Daniel 14; Susanna found in the Vulgate as Daniel 13; *The Song of the Three Children; Vulgate, Daniel 3:24-90. The standard Evangelical Bible typically stops after chapter 12 in the Book of Daniel.

* This passage includes the sorrowful prayer of Azariah (Abednego) in Babylonian while the three youths were in the fiery furnace. It is a brief account of a figure who met them in the furnace and was unburned (an angel, or interpreted by fundamental Christians as a pre-figurement of Jesus Christ, in the same vein as Melchizedek); and the hymn of praise they sang (with the refrain, “Praise and exalt Him above all forever…”, repeated many times, each naming a feature of the world) when they realized they were delivered.

AHAMOMENT: The history of Hanania, Misheal, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego) was under Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian King. The historical reference to Danial in the Lion’s Den was over 70 years later under the new Medo-Persian Ruler, Cyrus. These are NOT stories. They are history that ss to some degree mentioned on the *Black Oblisk and other written tablets of ancient Babylon and Persia.

* Black Obelisk of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III

 

Rev. Dr. James Stark
original copy 3/20/2013
Revised March 2, 2019

 

Acts 24

palace2

King Herod’s Palace

Governor Felix asks Paul what country is he from. Paul tells him Cilicia. He then agrees to hear the case once Paul’s accusers arrive. He is held in the great palace that King Herod had built for himself long ago. This is where we left off in our previous Acts article, chapter 23.

High Priest Ananias is summoned to appear before Felix arriving five days late. He brings along a spokesperson. Interestingly the bible calls him, not a lawyer but an hray’-tore; an orator, someone skilled in the use of language and persuasion. We already know by Paul’s own words that he himself is not a man of flowing words nor trained in such [1 Corinthians 2:1 & 2 Corinthians 11:6]. No doubt the Sanhedrin charges against him had knowledge of this. Their hopes probably were that since they know Paul had not committed a crime against Rome, by comparison, a fluent and influential speaker named Tertullos could simply make Paul sound foolish. What is even more interesting is that this Tertullos is a Roman, not even a Jew or from the Sanhedrin.

This polished orator begins this case by flattering Felix as to *how quiet it is around this Roman province and kingdom. Keep in mind as pointed out in the previous JIV NOTE that just a couple years later, there is a significant 4 or 5 year Jewish revolt against Rome. Rome retaliates by destroying the very Temple these guys from Jerusalem are saying Paul disparaged. So much for flattery even Festus recognized. Recall that Festus replaced Felix as governor and was “the new sheriff “ in this Roman Province. He was handed the case by the outgoing Felix who left Paul in prison [Acts 24:27] “because he perceived it pleased the Jewish leadership.”

*JIV NOTE: Two years after Paul began his two year “imprisonment’ in Caesarea, the Roman governor Felix put down a Jewish uprising with such brutality that the Jewish Sanhedrin complained bitterly to Rome. Felix was recalled to Rome and Porcius Festus had just arrived in the Roman “province” (Acts 25:1) of Judea as its new governor.

KEEP THE PREVIOUS MENTIONED JEWISH REVOLTING!!!

This Roman orator hired by the Sanhedrin drops the blame of the Jewish unrest in this province of Rome right into the lap of Paul (Acts 24:5a). “This man is a plague who stirs up the Jews.” So it is all Paul’s fault that the Jews as a whole people hate the Romans. Hmmmm?

Dr. JStark

Acts 23

When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.”

This oath comes from Acts 23:12. If these Jews stayed true to their oath, then they all died of thirst or hunger. What sinister plot is going to sway the hand of God? NONE!

none

Knowing that this period of Paul’s imprisonment in Jerusalem while under Roman protection began with his arrest and rescue by Roman Tribune Claudius Lysias, as recorded in the last chapter of Acts. This imprisonment [lasts until the conclusion of The Book of Acts]. [Coffman’s Bible Commentary]

Paul’s first defense was on the steps of the Roman Garrison’s barracks. See Acts 22 article. Keep well in mind that these are very likely to be some if not all of the same Sanhedrin bunch that condemned Jesus to the cross. Paul is not talking to a second or third generation of people. These are for the most part, the same Jewish leaders. How frustrated they must be at this point when the one they killed (Jesus) for his message did not stop the message. Paul, Peter, James, Phillip, and a large number (recall in our previous article…”thousands”) of people becoming believers and followers of this Messiah.

Acts emphasizes that simply being well-minded, good in consciousness, or sincere does not pave the path to Heaven. There is but one way to see the God the Father; it is by Jesus his only begotten son [John 6:44; John 14:6]. To be blunt…sell out to Jesus. Need more evidence? Look at John 16:2.

SELL OUT.jpg

SELL OUT 

[ESV] “People will tell you to *leave their synagogues and never come back. In fact, the time will come when they will think that by killing you they have done God a good service.”

*JIV NOTE: A pastor by the name of Schwartz and probably others is a modern day example of this prophecy. He accepted the pulpit call to a mid-west church in America only to be asked in very shot order to “leave” their church (synagogue). He preached the gospel and they said that there will be none of that around there.

Point being…these people as Jesus states from his own mouth in John 16:2 will be of good conscience, sincere, and well-minded. They have served god (little g) by arresting and killing Christians. It takes little knowledge to grasp at the probability of End Time leaders and Satan himself encouraging such sincerity. As we read on in Acts 23, we even personally find a time when those standing next to Paul are instructed by the High Priest Ananias to strike Paul (us) in the mouth for what Paul (we) states [Acts 23:2]. After being struck, Paul retorts that action of being struck without cause will come back right back at this high priest. What you have done to me will also me done to you. Paul did not know that this was the High Priest giving the order. He does not apologize but points out that now only did the Law of Moses forbid such action, but he, Paul, was obliged by the same Law of Moses to withhold criticizing their leadership (Acts 23: 5).

Paul may not have realized his statement to this high priest was prophetic. “Ananias was High Priest between 47 and 52 A.D. Then again up to 59 A.D. These secular dates help us to know the time period of this incident. An aside but of historical fact, Ananias was murdered by some of his own people after being acquitted of scandalous activities.” [Ananias“. Encyclopædia Britannica.] 1 (11th ed.)

In 66 C.E. The first Jewish revolt against the Romans started. It lasted until 70 or 71 C.E.

Now Paul uses his knowledge of the Sanhedrin make-up of Sadducee, Pharisee, and others. Pharisees believed in an after-life, a resurrection, final judgment and angels. The Sadducee did not. Paul brings this difference of opinion into the conference while in front of the Roman Tribune commander.

Acts 23:6… Paul knew that some of the men in the council meeting were Sadducees and some were Pharisees. So he shouted, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee and my father was a Pharisee! I am on trial here because I believe that people will rise from death.”

That comment is all it took. Now the accusers were in a fight between themselves (v6). Sadducee believed that once dead, eternally dead. No resurrection, no angels, no after life, no spirit. Once their argument got heated, the Pharisees stood up and contested that they see nothing wrong or of a crime committed by Paul (v9). The Pharisee vs. Sadducee fight got so heated and became so violent the Tribune commander ordered Paul to be taken back to the military barracks for protection.

JIV NOTE: There are not three groups of Synagogue peoples; Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes. Both Pharisees and Sadducees had members among them that were also scribes.

We need to go back to verse 3 for some clarification. Paul called this so-called high priest a “whitewash or painted wall” that covers dirt behind it. History tells us what Paul was very likely indicating but the bible does not. Ananias had “purchased” his position of high priest. The ESV Study Bible points out that Ananias was a particularly bad high priest; a bad guy even before he became high priest. Josephus says he confiscated for himself the tithes given the ordinary priests and gave lavish bribes to Romans and also Jews (cf. Antiq. XX, 205-7 [ix.2], 213 [ix.4]). He was hated by what we would call Jewish nationalists. They wanted Israel first; others second or third. Ananias muddied this water with politics, Roman alliances, bribes, and seeking favors with a gratitude debt.

Anianias was a brutal and scheming man, hated by Jewish nationalists for his pro-Roman policies. When the [Jewish] war with Rome began in A.D. 66, the [Jewish] nationalists burned his house (cf. Jos. War II, 426 [xvii.6]) and he was forced to flee to the palace of Herod the Great in the northern part of Jerusalem (ibid., 429 [xvii.6]). Ananias was finally trapped while hiding in an aqueduct on the palace grounds and was killed along with his brother *Hezekiah (ibid., 441-42 [xvii.9]).

JIV NOTE: *Not Hezekiah the Judean King. *Rome burned the Temple to the ground in 70 C.E.

So for him to be a legal high priest in the line of Aaron was a real stretch and a whitewash facade. He wasn’t even a Levite. Paul either in ignorance or the possibility of knowing that Ananias got the office by politics and bribery did not recognize him as legitimate therefore his “whitewash” comment.

Here we find another visitation from heaven either in a vision or angelic. Verse 11 says this message from above tells Paul that what he has done in Jerusalem he must also do in Rome. This assures Paul that he is not going to die at the hands of this mob or in this city. But, this did not mean the contemptible Jews heard that message. They plotted to once again kill Paul. They go to Ananias and ask him to have the Roman Tribune bring Paul to the Sanhedrin so he could better clarify his position. While being transferred to the Sanhedrin from the military barracks these 40 some men would attack and kill Paul. We have no clue what they would do with the Roman guard with Paul.

We now see this article’s opening statement about some Jews who had taken a vow to not eat or drink until Paul is silenced by death. Once again these guys must starve to death because God had just assured Paul that he “must go to Rome.” In Acts 23:16 we discover something about Paul we did not know up to now. He had a nephew, son of Paul’s sister. His nephew heard of the plot, went to the army barracks, and told Paul. Paul sent his nephew with another soldier to the commander of the Romans in Jerusalem. He relays the same message of the plot the nephew overheard directly to the commander.

Now we see something by default. The Romans may have conquered and ruled the land but to some degree did not trust and perhaps feared Jewish revolts. Why? We find that answer in how the commander reacts. Acts 23:23 states:

Then the commander called two army officers. He said to them, “I need some men to go to Caesarea. Get 200 soldiers ready. Also, get 70 soldiers on horses and 200 men to carry spears. Be ready to leave at nine o’clock tonight.”

The Roman commander did not wish a standoff against these Jewish insurgents. He order Paul transferred out of Jerusalem immediately; by 9:00 that same evening. He sends Paul to Governor Felix along with a letter of some explanation. By now the commander had to wonder about these Jews. Why were they so determined to kill a man who some of their own leadership, the Pharisees, claimed he was not guilty of any crime against the State of Judaism.

Verse 26 is where we discover the name of this commander and Tribune…Claudius Lysias. It is in the heading of the letter to Governor Felix that Luke includes in this passage of Acts. He explains in a short note that there was almost a riot in Jerusalem requiring he call out the troops to protect a man named Paul. He ordered a command of troops to take Paul to Felix; one well prepared to defend themselves and Paul if necessary. Once out of town, the horse soldiers continue on with Paul to see Felix.

Secular histories tell us that the First Jewish War against the Romans was between 66 and 70 C.E. Now we may better understand the tensions that already existed in this land.

Governor Felix asks Paul what country is he from. Paul tells him Cilicia. He then agrees to hear the case once Paul’s accusers arrive. He is held in the great palace that King Herod had built for himself long ago.

Rev. Dr. Jstark

November 2018

Acts 9 –The Way?

Can one be totally dedicated to a cause not knowing s/he is on the wrong side? This is Saul in the first couple verses of Acts 9. He witnessed the stoning of Stephen in chapter 8. Now he sets out with a mission of destruction to what verse 2 in Acts 9 calls members of (ESV) The Way.

one way

There is only ONE WAY!

He goes to the Chief Priest asking for what we would call in today’s language, warrants to arrest any Jews who proclaim Christ as Savior. The Jewish Sanhedrin had no jurisdiction over Gentiles or Gentile believers but if a Jew, one would fall under the Roman authorized and supported Jewish (Judaism) leadership and the Sanhedrin. This seems odd for a power like Rome to defer to another authority within its own domain. Especially after the trouble the Jews caused for them. This, in fact all changes in 70 A.D. when the Romans finally destroy the Temple and Jewish independence; about 30 years from this point in Acts 9.

Oddly as it may seem, Saul, soon to be evangelist Paul, the one seeking authority to destroy The Way (Christians), is one of the primary reasons Rome turns on both the Jews and the Christians. This chapter in Acts is known as The Damascus Road chapter. Saul sees a bright light from heaven as he travels to Damascus with warrants in hand. His accompanying comrades or Temple Police witness the voice event but see nothing or no one. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? (Acts 9:4 – ESV)

Saul replies “Who are you, Lord?” The fact is the word he used in the Greek, LORD (kurios) means “supreme being.” Saul already knew the answer to his own question. Jesus simply takes him to a moment or reality…”I am Jesus, the one you persecute.”

JIV: This is a moment of past, present and future per those who call upon the name of the Lord as Christians. Saul knew well of the crucifixion of Jesus only a few years earlier. He is now talking to the same one he in spirit helped to kill.  Saul saw Christianity as a great threat to Judaism. We now move from God (Old Testament) to Jesus (New Testament); one and the same but a change from Judaism to Christianity…another way of defining this moment.

Paul is told by The Voice of The Way to continue on to Damascus, but he is now blind. There is great symbolism in him being blind. John 9:25 reads…”I was blind but now I see.” This passage reports a miracle of Jesus. There is something of huge value in temporarily retreating to this passage in John 9. Jesus is asked by his disciples “why is this man blind? What sin did he do that blinded him? HERE IS THE KEY VERSE: (ESV) “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” This man had a difficulty or birth defect for one purpose…so that “the works of God (be shown) through his healing.” Why am I diseased? Why am I a cripple? Why do I have cancer? Why is it such a young person died? Why does God let this or that happen? So that the works of God may be shown (given opportunity) to show through him or her. It may not always be an earthly healing we see, but we do see the “works of God” manifesting in his or her life.

Amazingly, a leadership of Judaism, this time the Pharisees, questioned the blind man’s healing. He claims it was Jesus. As it states in verse 9, some tried to convince themselves it was a look-a-like person who was now seeing. The blind guy must have stepped off the face of the map because such a thing cannot be done…so they thought (see Acts 9:28)

The Pharisees cry that since it was the Sabbath it couldn’t be of God. It was traditionally a day of peace and rest. By Jewish Law work was forbidden on the Sabbath. This reminds us of Colossians 2:16…” Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” …or what day one calls his or her Sabbath? Man-made tradition and rules!!!! We have so many man-made rules we don’t know the difference between what scriptures actually tell us and what some theologian or denominational doctrine tell us is as much gospel as the Gospels themselves. How will we understand if we do not know? How will we know or have true knowledge if we are not personally aware of bible facts by study?

In desperation, verses 18 and 23, the Pharisees call the healed man’s parents to testify if this is really their “from birth” blind son? They say YES but in fear of the authority of the Sanhedrin, they defer to their son saying, “Ask him. He is of age.”

In Acts 9:22 the finality of being sanctioned from the synagogue or as in Catholicism, excommunicated, was foremost in his parents’ mind. As a Jew, to say Jesus was the Christ (Messiah), was fatal. They passed the buck to their healed son. This reminds us of the End Time reference found in Luke 12:53; Father against son, son against father; mother against daughter, daughter against mother. See below copy of ancient fragments discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This fragment states of a time yet to come when such will be fact!

It actually addresses a time when the sons of light will battle with the sons of darkness. By implication we can deduce this will be a time of great distress and no one trusting another.

Now the Pharisees get religious. In verses 24, 25 they tell him to give glory to God for this man (Jesus) is a sinner for having worked on their Sabbath. The healed man simply says, whether he is a sinner of not I do not know. But, once I was blind and now I see.

Here is a point too often missed from the pulpit or the Sunday Bible study hour. He healed man says “whether Jesus was a sinner or not, he did not know.” Hmmmm?

Now it gets real interesting. The Pharisees question him again but the healed man gets frustrated with their persistence. He tells them, I already answered your questions. What is wrong with you? In essence, what is it you don’t understand about me being healed? Do you wish to become his disciples (learners)? The Pharisees make a fatal statement…(V28) “And they reviled him, saying, “’You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses’.” They don’t even claim to be disciples of the God they had just ordered the healed man to give glory (v24). They are students of Moses whom they never personally knew from 1,500 years earlier in Hebrew history. Jesus they can see at this time.

Then the Pharisees get totally outwitted by the healed man and “cast him out” of their presence (9:34).

Just above in this article you should have read a hmmmmm statement. The healed man did not know if his healer (Jesus) was a sinner or not. Now we find the answer. Recall that Jesus mudded the eyes of the man commanding him to go to the Pool of Salome to wash off the mud. He did NOT KNOW what Jesus looked like as his previous contact with him was when he was still blind. His faith did not heal him and he knew not Jesus.

Beginning at Acts 9:35, we must read the conversation that followed when the healed man was cast out of the presence of the Pharisees.

Joh 9:35  Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

Joh 9:36  He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”

Joh 9:37  Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.”

Joh 9:38  He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Joh 9:39  Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

Joh 9:40  Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?”

Joh 9:41  Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

Jesus finds the man a second time and asks him if he is aware of who is “the Son of Man?” He says no but I want to believe. Who is he? Jesus tells him, “It is I who stands in front of you.” So often, in fact too often we hear that JESUS IS LOVE without hearing the rest of the detail (story as Paul Harvey once proclaimed on radio). Jesus said he came to judge (v39). The only reason that the Pharisees had any sense of guilt is the closing verse. In simplified English, if you were not aware you would not know or understand. But now that you are aware, you are guilty.

cropped-minijim1Rev. Dr. Jstark
August 2018

Acts Chapter 5

puzzleThere is more to knowing and understanding the historical record of Ananias and Sapphira as is usually preached from Acts 5. If one is not familiar with this passage, the apostles were collecting funds as needed and volunteered by other believers to feed their widowed. There was an issue between the Hellenist Jews and the Jerusalem Jews where one group seemed to be getting more than the other. We will address this in chapter six of the Book of Acts article. For now it is Ananias and Sapphira.

In agreement with each other, this couple sold some property for the expressed purpose of contributing to the “widow Fund.” It seems that they had an ulterior motive; to look good amongst their fellow believers per contribution. In a real sense this is reflected per an attitude in Mark 12:38-44.

(In brief) In His teaching Jesus was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets… and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation. They made much ado about dropping their tithe in to the collection box. The noisier the better and greater likelihood others will make note of their abundance in generosity.”

This is what is usually pointed out in lessons and preaching; the fact that Ananias and Sapphira wanted all to know they gave so much to this cause of widow funds. Peter challenged Ananias as to whether or not the amount he gave was the same as for what he sold his property? He said yes. He died on the spot as it was not so. He wanted to deceive those in witness regarding his generosity by confirming that the amount given was the amount collected.honest

Three hours later his wife came looking for him. She must have wondered what was holding him up. Perhaps he was being celebrated for such generosity and she wanted her fair share of the attention. Peter asked if the amount her husband had given as an offering and as he had claimed was the price of the property sold. As previously agreed with Ananias, she also said yes. Sapphira also died on the spot.

This is the content of Acts 5:1-10 but the context is more than the historical facts recorded in the bible per Peter, widows, Ananias, and Sapphira. It is what this meant and remains true today per our relationship with others and the Holy Spirit. It may not be directly connected but keep in thought that “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” is the one unforgivable sin.

Matthew 12:31-32

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Luke 12:10

“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.

Acts 5:3 & 9 are too often given little attention in a Sunday School lesson or from the pulpit. We lie to each other in order to deceive. But, the same sin is not a deception of the Holy Spirit but a blatant lie. In other words, we can deceive each other but not the Holy Spirit. He is part of the trinity God-head; all knowing, ever present, and all knowledgeable. What fool thinks a deception of other humans is also a possibility with God? We deceive each other but can only lie to the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:13 is of particular note. It reads… (ESV) “and more than ever believers were added to the Lord…men and women.” The word “believers” is pisteuō in the Greek. It means to put one’s confidence in. It is more than acknowledging something to be true, it is putting one’s trust and life (living) in it; a new way of life. To be a true believer is to accept and to live out one’s faith of confidence.

Beginning at verse 17 the true heart of the Jewish (religion) leaders is exposed. Verse 17 says that the leaders were “jealous.” They see their Judaism flock flooding to Peter consequently putting him in the public spot light and not them. It isn’t that Peter wants the spot light, but the Sanhedrin bunch sure wish it. So what do they do? Arrest Peter and company in the name of their self-proclaiming righteous positions inside the Jewish community.

In short, Peter and his companions are under lock, key and guard. What happens next is amazing. Verse 19: (ASV) “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors and brought them out…” Two great mysteries are found here per this angelic prison escape. We find both in verse 23 of Acts 5. The prison doors were found soundly locked the next morning, and two, the prison guards were still standing at the prison doors unaware of any “escape.” Peter and his co-conspirators per the Sanhedrin, walked out of prison unnoticed and without unlocking the doors.

JIV: (Jim’s Introspective View) The Greek word for ‘open’, as in the passage where the Angel of the Lord opens the prison doors, is anoigō. It can be used literally or figuratively. Either the prison guards were made total unaware of their surroundings and blinded to the actuality of the event or they made consciously blind and Peter along with the angel of the Lord simply walked through the ‘door’ way open or figuratively speaking.

What a shock it had to be the next morning when the Sanhedrin assembled to ‘judge’ these Jesus preaching individuals, seeking them in their prison cells but found them in the Temple witnessing just as they were doing previous to their in initial arrests (verse 25). But in verse 24 we read that the Jewish leadership and captain of the guard were “perplexed.” This means they were trying to find a rational explanation to this unexplainable event. Even in full view of this miracle, they refused to see the truth. This is one of Satan’s most powerful tools of deception.

Acts 5:28 supports this self-deception of the Sanhedrin and guards. The Jewish legal system peaceably gather Peter and company from the Temple a second time and tell them to basically…don’t do that or this again; we forbid it.” Following this warning we find in verse 30, Peter points out that they must follow God not the whims of religious dictums. He also reminds this Sanhedrin bunch, many being the very same people who had condemned Jesus but a few years earlier, that it was them who crucified Christ Jesus. He put the blame right at their feet. This reminder, plus their efforts to forget the crucifixion made them want to kill them on the spot. Gamaliel, one of their own Sanhedrin members, cautioned them that this is either not of God and will go away on its own or if of God, they must not kill again adding to their guilt of crucifying Jesus.

What an example of to be and to live a life in Christ. Verse 42 specifies that Peter and his entourage kept witnessing door to door and teaching in the Temple. At no time did Peter invite unbelievers to join in the fellowship and worship of believers. He went to them. Has the modern day evangelical church got it wrong? ABSOLUTELY!

cropped-minijim1Rev. Dr. James Stark
August 2018

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.