OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF ACTS
Prophetically & Dispensationally Considered

With some notes of explanation

 

 

A:  Acts 1:  The apostles prepare for the offer of the physical and spiritual restoration of the earthly kingdom to Israel (Matthias chosen to complete the 12 apostles)

B:  Acts 2 3:  God's actual offer of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. "To you first." No Gentiles

C:  Acts 4 7:  Corporate Israel at Jerusalem rejects God's offer ("ye do always resist the Holy Spirit")

            D: Acts 7:  Judgment ("I see the Lord standing")

A:  Acts 9 12:  Preparation for God's new plan, (Paul chosen, Samaritans, Cornelius)

            B:  Acts 13 28:  God's longsuffering deals with Israel via the mystery of Israel's blindness. Gentiles are included to provoke Israel to jealousy.

                    "necessary...to you first", "To the Jew first."

C: Acts 28:28:  Corporate Israel outside of Jerusalem rejects God's offer ("Well spake the Holy Spirit")

                                    D: Acts 28:28: Judgment (Israel deaf, blind & hardened. Salvation sent TO the Gentiles)

 

Following Acts 28:29-31, when Israel was temporarily "shut up," God's earthly kingdom was no longer available to Israel.  Instead, His heavenly kingdom was preached to individual Gentiles and Jews.  Details of this heavenly "kingdom" message are in Ephesians, Philippians & Colossians.  This program is what is sometimes called the 'parenthesis' of the present dispensation.

 

 

 

 

Notes on the above outline:

 

            The word "kingdom" refers to the particular sphere in which God executes His authority.  This sphere could either be God's millennial kingdom on earth (Mat. 6:10; 16:19), or His kingdom "in the heavenlies" (2 Tim. 4:18; Eph. 1:3).  God began to actively offer an earthly kingdom to Israel.  In the Acts believers would have prayed "Thy kingdom come on earth" (Mat.6:10).  Today, corporate Israel's day of prophetic fulfillment is temporarily in abeyance, and believers are now seen as risen with Christ who is "seated" not on David's throne on earth (Luke 1:32; Acts 2:30), but "seated on the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1-4), "in the heavenlies" (Eph. 1:3).

 

            The "gathering of God's elect" (known as the ekklesia, church, assembly, or gathering) was created on the "fulfilled" Jewish "Feast of Weeks" (Pentecost) when Christ baptized believers with the Holy Spirit.  This "gathering" continues unbroken through today.  Although there is only one ekklesia, that "gathering" of God's people has undergone several very significant dispensational changes in its practices as it passed through each of the three periods depicted in the above outline.  These changes have to do with the manner in which God was administering His offer of the physical and spiritual restoration of the millennial kingdom to Israel, and Israel's response to that offer in these three "administrations.". For example, the signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit (eg., tongues, healers, visions, etc.) were prophesied promises specifically engineered for the Jewish nation (see Mat. 11:2-6; Mk. 16:17-18; John 2:23; 3:2; 7:31; 1 Cor. 14:21-22; Heb. 2:4).  The writer to the Hebrews calls them "the works of power of the age to come" (Heb. 6:5), the "age to come" being Israel's millennial kingdom on earth.  When Gentiles spoke in tongues, this was a threat to Israel that God's promises were beginning to be taken away from the Jews.  Such blessings to Gentiles caused Jealousy on the part of Israel (Rom. 11:11-13, see Acts 22:21-22).  The signs were not, as some theorize, confirmations of the truth of the Word of God to 'the church' until the New Testament Scriptures could be completed.

 

Compare 1 Corinthians 12:28 (written while God was offering the kingdom to Israel), with Ephesians 4:11 (written after this offer was terminated).  During the time when the millennial kingdom was offered we have sign gifts such as healing, tongues, miraculous powers, etc.  Once that earthly offer was withdrawn all these sign gifts passed away because they no longer have significance in the present dispensation.  So don't rely on the promises given to believers of a different dispensation who could pick up a venomous snake or drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid and expect to be unharmed.  (See  Mark 16:17-18 for a list of some of these earthly-kingdom sign gifts).