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Daily Archives: March 5, 2011

Fixing the Date of Stephen’s Death

Fixing Stephen’s death (Acts 7:51-60) to an exact day involves using prophecy, which if true, will offer not only an element of certainty to this study but also a degree of importance of his death. That is, Stephen’s death would have particular significance for the new body of believers and for the kingdom of God. As I hope to show, Stephen’s death is tied up in the 70 Weeks Prophecy of Daniel 9. This prophecy identifies the Messiah. That is, it points to him beyond all doubt and identifies Jesus as the long awaited Son of David, the Anointed of God. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology

 

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Apostolic Church Splits in Two!

Luke makes a “cut-to-the-chase” type of move in the sixth chapter of Acts, bringing us to the climax of the first part of his account. The Judean and Galilean ministries of the Apostles probably represented the greater part of their work and the “fruits” showed it. After all, it was here where the Lord ministered. They were still reaping from the fields where he planted. However, the Lord’s command was: do not go to Samaria nor enter into the way of the Gentiles (Matthew 10:5). Nevertheless, he also commanded them to preach the Gospel everywhere (Mark 16:15). How did the Apostles obey his command—that is, how did they understand Jesus’ words, at least toward the beginning of their ministry? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology

 

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The Matter of False Brethren

The account of Ananias and Sapphira seems a bit strange to me. First of all, nothing is said to introduce the account. Who were they and why did they act in the manner in which they did? Secondly, what prompted Peter to question the sale? Why was he suspicious of them? Later, when Paul tried to join himself to the Apostles, the text said they viewed him with suspicion, and Barnabas had to step forward to alleviate the concerns of the believers at Jerusalem. But, in the case of Ananias, nothing is said to introduce them nor is it later revealed why they were held in suspicion. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology

 

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Having All Things in Common

Immediately after Peter’s first sermon on Pentecost Day we are told in the Scriptures that the believers were in one accord and shared their wealth with those among them who had need (Acts 2:44-45). Although more may be implied in the text, what chapter two does not say outright is that the whole price of the sale was offered to the community of believers. We may be assured that no one lacked, but I don’t think the text actually means the total wealth of the new community was evenly disbursed among all. In fact, later testimony seems to show by the very fact that lands continued to be sold that a totally equal disbursement was never the intended meaning. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology

 

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What Do the Thousands of New Believers Imply?

We know that Peter preached his first sermon on the day of Pentecost, a Jewish annual festival, which is also called the Feast of Weeks in the Scriptures. This occurred 50 days or nearly two months after the crucifixion. The first thing that draws my attention that may be a factor in dating specific events in Acts 1-8 is the fact that 3,000 souls believed Peter and were baptized (Acts 2:41). The scene of Peter’s sermon was near the upper room where the disciples were staying (Acts 2:2-6). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology

 

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Chronology of Acts One Through Seven

I had always assumed the interval between Jesus’ ascension into heaven and Stephen’s death at the end of Acts 7 was about three to four years, and most of my commentaries agree. However, recently I have run across the opinion that Stephen’s death and the ensuing persecution of the Hellenist Messianic Jews was only a matter of months. The argument is that there aren’t any time indicators to prevent such an understanding, so why not just a few months? I don’t mean to misrepresent the understanding, but, although I have seen the understanding presented, I haven’t seen it defended, and I wonder if it could be. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology

 

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