Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 17 – Small Groups – Chuck Missler

Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 17 – Small Groups  – Chuck Missler

Well, we are in Hour 17 of our Learn the Bible
in 24 Hours, and we’re going to focus this session on the Book of Acts, and I’ll call
it with my tongue in my cheek a little bit, Luke volume two. Luke wrote two books, the Gospel of Luke and
the Book of Acts which follows naturally in many ways from his gospel. The New Testament, of course, has five historical
books opening the New Testament. The Old Testament had five books of Moses
which opened its structure, and the New Testament has five narrative books, the four
gospels and the book of Acts. And again, I say the book of Acts really
serves as Luke volume two in a sense. And that’s followed by Epistles which are
the interpretive sessions and we’ll get to those of course, later. And climaxing is the book of Revelation
which wraps up the whole Bible in a comprehensive way. But the Book of Acts is our focus tonight. Sometimes in some of your Bibles it’s called the Acts of the Apostles. Well, if that was true, it’s a little puzzling
because you’ve only … you got primarily Peter and Paul in the first half of the book
of … major section of the book being Peter and the second section being Paul. But it could
be more properly titled The acts of the Holy Spirit, because there’s
much more going on than just Peter and Paul, with Philip and some other things. But you may recall as we looked at the
design of the four gospels, we recognized that each of the four main writers had a specific
theme, a specific focus, a specific approach. Matthew presenting Jesus Christ as the Messiah
of Israel, a very Jewish perspective starting His genealogy with Abraham, and going right
on through … finishing with the Resurrection which is a very again, a very Jewish focus
of attention. Mark, who is really Peter’s secretary, wrote
emphasizing His servanthood, and he focused on what Jesus, not what He said but what He
did. He’s almost like a shooting script if you
study it carefully, but it finishes with the Ascension. Luke being a doctor, focuses on Christ’s humanity,
the Son of Man. And his genealogy starts with Adam and
goes right on through Mary. We covered all of that and he closes his
gospel with a Promise of the Holy Spirit that when Jesus would leave, the Holy … The Comforter
would come. And as you realize, what that really does,
it deliberately sets up the Book of Acts. And John, as the fourth gospel
focuses not on what Jesus said or what He did or what He felt, but who He was
the Son of God. And he finishes his gospel with the Promise
of Christ’s Return which is interesting because he sets up his gospel in a sense, he sets
up his sequel, the Book of Revelation of the Return of Christ. So again, John focuses on who Jesus was
and Luke on the Holy Spirit which of course, sets up the Book of Acts. In John 14:26, Jesus said, “But the Comforter
which is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things,
and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever, I have said unto you.” So this is a pre-announcement, anticipative
announcement in the upper room, and He continues a couple chapters later, He also
amplifies His mission. Jesus says, “How be it when He, the Spirit
of Truth is come, He will guide into all truth for He shall not speak of Himself but whatsoever
He shall hear, that shall He speak, and He will show you things to come.” So here again, Jesus is doing several things. He’s announcing the primary mission of the
Holy Spirit. Don’t be confused by this, the Holy Spirit’s
very active all through the scripture. The first quotes of God involved the Holy
Spirit. The Spirit of God moved or brooded above the
waters in Genesis, in the first chap, in the second verse of first chapter. So the Holy Spirit’s very active but He is … He
comes in a very special way to accomplish these things. And He will guide you into all truth. He shall not speak of Himself. You know, it’s fascinating to notice throughout
the Bible, whenever there’s a type or a model like Abraham being the Father, and Isaac being
the Son, the Son being offered and so forth. It’s always interesting that the Holy Spirit
is always in the role of an unnamed servant. In Genesis 24 where Abraham commissions his business partner to go and get a bride for Isaac, again, we have Abraham the role
of Father. We have this guy unnamed there but if you
go several chapters earlier, you’ll find out his name is Eleazer which means comforter
but it’s interesting, he’s always an unnamed servant in the book of Ruth. When Ruth is introduced to Boaz. Ruth is the gen … going to be the Gentile bride
of the kinsman-redeemer, Boaz, who introduces Ruth to Boaz? An unnamed servant. It’s fascinating to notice the Holy Spirit
when He’s in a typological model of some kind. It’s always an unnamed servant. And, why? Because of John 16:13, “He shall not speak
of Himself.” But whatsoever He shall hear, that
shall He speak, He will show you things to come. That’s also a pre-endorsement of the New Testament
which will come out of all of this. It’s interesting how in John 16, Jesus emphasizes
the apparent, mutually exclusiveness in some sense. For this next phase, Jesus announcing,
of course, the upper room, John 14 through 16 being that and in fact, through 17 of the
upper room discourse. He says “It is expedient for you,” speaking to
His disciples, “that I go away. For if I go not away, the Comforter will not
come on to you but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” Now, we can’t pretend to really understand
the dynamics here except it’s clear that there’s some kind of exchange going on. Jesus would leave in order for the … to make
it possible for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell among us. So there’s a concept here of locality. When Jesus was on the earth in His ministry,
He had locality. You could touch and feel Him. He was in a specific location geophysically
and it’s interesting that by His going away and the Holy Spirit coming. The Holy Spirit can be everywhere at one time.
Among all of us, not just in one place. So it’s interesting to see that the difference
is there. So the Acts of the Holy Spirit will involve
a number of things. We’ve got the Ascension. We’ll see Pentecost which as we would call
it, or should be the Feast of Shavuot, the birth of the church, major feature. The outrage against Stephen will occur. Philip and the Ethiopian treasurer. We’ll talk
about that because most people don’t know the background there. Now, the call of Saul if you will, or Paul,
and we got 28 thrilling chapters that’s gonna clear all these, Peter’s vision uh,
at Cornelius. He’s introduced. He is a Jewish apostle introduced to the Gentile
world via Centurion or a vision through the Centurion. And uh, which of course opens the mission
to the Gentiles, and then, this very interesting council in Jerusalem, and um, there, there,
this whole book, it’s a shame we have to survey it so superficially because it’s full of intrigues,
violent mobs, blood-oath alliances, people, a group of 40 guys swearing to the death to
kill Paul. These guys were, took what they were doing
very seriously on both sides and uh, all kinds of corrupt officials and so were jailbreaks,
shipwrecks, magicians, sorcerers, um, raising from the dead, all, all these things are going
on very, very, uh, interesting book, a very, very dynamic dramatic book. But it’s also a very key book. It’s the bridge, if you will, from the history
to the interpretive epistles. It’s the gateway to the epistles, and it also
highlights the major turning point of world history. And we’ll have the first missionary
journey that Paul takes on to the Gala … to Galatia. The second missionary journey which will
go to Greece and start to open up Europe, and then a third missionary journey
where it’s … he reviews all of that. And we’ll find … these outcries against
this incredible human being that we call Paul. Before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish officials, before the governor Felix, before Festus, before King Agrippa and ultimately
appealing to the … leader of the world, Caesar himself. And so, Acts will conclude about that time. Now, when he goes to Rome, we’ll talk some
of the interesting things about the shipwreck and that was not the only shipwreck by the
way. It’s probably the fourth shipwreck that he
had but he was, he was probably bad news for a ship captain. If Paul’s aboard, you know, oh, anyway, I’m
kidding. Acts chapter one really deals with the
departure of Jesus Christ. It deals with the Ascension. The gospels take you up to this but this really records the post resurrection instructions. Where they are instructed
to await the empowering of the Holy Spirit. And so, of course, records the Ascension
from Mount of Olives where a cloud comes down and receives Him, and there’s two angels. It’s interesting how these angels always
seem to be in pairs, the pair of angels that destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, there’s a pair of angels here at the Ascension and so forth. Two angels confirm that He will return just
like He left and in like manner is the phrase in your English Bible. And this is also described in Zechariah
chapters 12 through 14. There’s a great deal of visibility. In fact, there’s seven times as many verses
about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as there are with the First. And so, it’s a very, very major part of scripture. But now, they have of course, 11 in the key,
the key group, the inside group are 11 because Judas is history (laughs). And there are about 120 present at the
meeting. But the inside 11, they decide
to cast lots to elect a replacement for Judas. And the lots are cast, a guy by the name of
Matthias is selected. And this leads to some disputes among scholars. There are many that believe that that was
probably a mistake. It was a self-appointed task they took on
for themselves. Many feel that the 12th apostle would
be Paul. Paul would be the natural replacement. There are many Bible teachers that emphasize
that and they may be correct. However, there are other scholars which point
out that the apostles were Jewish and primarily ministered to Israel. That Paul’s distinctive role was to be called
as the apostle to the Gentiles. The door to the Gentiles will be opened by
Peter, an incident with Peter in chapter 10 but the real, clearly the clear
mandate for the Gentile world was Paul. So whether the 12 really, you know, there’s a lot of debate as to just, you know, was Matthias really the legitimate choice
or not. And not a big deal, but you’ll find different scholars have slightly different views. But one of the key verses in the first chapter of the
Book of Acts is the marching orders, where God, where Jesus says to them, “ye shall
receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come up on you,” which of course will occur
in the following chapter, in chapter two. “And ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in
Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto to the uttermost part of the earth.” Now, what’s interesting about this is there’s
a sequence here, Jerusalem being the local scene that they’re at right now. Then all Judea. Visualize that as a larger
ring, all Judea. Then extending that even further all in Samaria
which is sort of the half Jewish area. Samaria, Samaritans being looked as only ethnically impure in that sense. And then, of course, fourthly, the uttermost parts
of the earth. There are many ministries that look at this
as their growth charter. First, you bloom where you’re planted, where
you start. Then as you grow, you take the next neighborhood. Then you just grow and finally, to all the earth. And so, but clearly, Acts chapter two,
we have the big event. The Holy Spirit descends in a very visible
way at the Feast of Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks. And it is very, it’s a very interesting, it’s a very overlooked feast. Of the seven feasts of Moses, there were three
that were required attendance of every able-bodied Jew in Jerusalem, if you could do it. And the Passover is, actually, it’s the Feast
of Unleavened Bread, but generically, the Passover season is one of them. The Feast of Tabernacles at the end and there’s
a strange one in between, the Feast of Shavuot. And it’s the only one that has leavened bread
involved and it’s very peculiar. It’s obviously, a predictive
feast of the gift of the Holy Spirit as fulfilled on that very day. And as they meet, the
Holy Spirit visibly descends like flames of fire and everybody, the … all the
people there from all over the world hear them speak in their own tongues. And they’re really quite disturbed. Something very supernatural is going on.
And Peter explains it by quoting from Joel chapter two. And it’s the birth of the church. This is where the mystical church begins. This is one of the distinctions you need to
emphasize in your own Bible studies to recognize that not all people that are saved are necessarily in
the same category. There are people saved all through the Old
Testament obviously, and there are also people that are saved during the period we live in
today. But there are some very important distinctives between those two. And there’s going to be
again, a third group, in effect. Those that are saved after the church
has gathered. You need to understand as you study ecclesiology,
the study of this peculiar, mystical thing we call glibly the church. And we’re obviously, not talking about the
physical edifices of churches, we’re talking about this very privileged assembly
that you and I are part of if we’re in Christ. We enjoy privileges and blessings that are
unique to us that were not available to the people in the Old Testament, very distinctive. And that’s what Paul tries to get across in his
epistles. We often don’t understand his answers because
we don’t understand the questions he’s dealing with and so, be sensitive to that
in any case. Israel and the church are not the same thing. They’re both distinctive. They have different origins, different missions,
different destinies. You need to understand that, check it out. Well we won’t go through each of the chapters,
there are 28 chapters in Acts but chapter seven of Acts is an incredibly interesting, instructive
chapter. It’s basically this young kid, Stephen, is before
the Sanhedrin, the most august body in Judaism. And he gives, this kid gives these elders
a history lesson. In his speech, he reviews the history of Israel. This is interesting for several reasons. Let me give you two. One is, he mentions things in his speech. He makes comments in effect about the Old
Testament that you will not find in the Old Testament. There are insights here that are unique to
this chapter, that he unravels a few riddles for us by his perspective. The other reason it’s interesting is to figure
out where he’s headed. They do not let him finish his speech. Before he’s finished, they take him out and
stone him to death. It’s interesting to study his speech, outline
it for yourself on a piece of paper some time and see where he was headed and I’ll give
you a few clues. First of all, there’s a place where he talks
about the pharaoh … of the Exodus. He mentions how Joseph is down there and in charge and all that, but then another pharaoh that knew not Joseph rises. Now, in the English, when we say another,
we just mean another. In the Greek, they have two different words. If I want one of you to give me another pencil
exactly like the one I have, I just broke it. I want another one like the one I’ve got,
you see I would use the word ‘allos’ for another. If I really want a different kind of pencil,
I’ve got a red one. I want a blue one or something, then I would
use the world ‘heteros,’ a different kind. It’s like saying another of a different kind. The first one is another of the same kind. What’s provocative in the Greek, of Stephen’s discussion of pharaoh, he uses the word ‘heteros’ which
means the pharaoh that succeeded the pharaoh that was favorable to Joseph was a totally
different kind of guy. That puts us on the alert when you get to,
it turns out that the pharaoh that … of the Exodus was not Egyptian. He was an Assyrian. You will not find this, I don’t believe in
any study of Egyptology because they all presume, they make presumptions there are some
scholars, that recent scholars have just shredded the traditional chronology of the Egyptian pharaohs. You discover if you get into this, start studying
it, you know, 25th dynasty or whatever these are scholastic labels. They were not necessarily clear from the dynasties of the time. They’re retrospective scholastic
categories and there are some studies now that I would show that if you put, if you
analyze what we think we know about the pharaohs carefully, they do fit astonishingly with
the Bible. And one of the embarrassing things if you’ve done Biblical studies in the past,
the Egyptian lineup, chronologies and the Biblical chronologies don’t seem to
mesh at all. We’ll that’s because of poor scholarship of
the past. There are some very radical studies that are kicking that ant hill if
you will. But Isaiah chapter 50:4 tells us that the
pharaoh of the Exodus was Assyrian. Pharaoh was a title. He wasn’t always Egyptian. A very important pharaoh we’re going to talk
about when we get to Acts chapter 8 is … We’ll get to that there, but (clears throat)
something else, we also discover in the first few verses of Stephen’s talk. We discover that Abraham didn’t obey God
the first time. God had said to Abraham, get you out of Ur of the Chaldees and so you read Genesis carefully. The allusion there is something God had said
earlier. He’s supposed to leave his family. He didn’t. He just moved up a river and that is another fascinating aspect to Abraham’s life that emerges out of Stephen’s summary
here. But something else, a large overview, what
Stephen’s really highlighting as you study his talk, is that Israel’s history has always
been a pattern of failures. Abraham didn’t obey God initially. Finally, when his father dies then he does
obey. He had been told to leave. It was a second time, so to speak, that
he does it right. Joseph was rejected by his brothers and again there’s a double identity time there before he’s exalted. Moses was rejected by Israel at first when
he killed the Egyptian. It was the second time that they accept his
leadership. The law, the first 10 commandments were destroyed. God had to make a second set of them and they’ll
always, all through their history, when they get to Kadesh-Barnea, they don’t accept the
spot, you know, the challenge to go forward so they’re condemned so to speak
into spending 40 years wandering in the wilderness. It’s the second time that they finally go through
under Joshua and so forth. His pattern is that they always blow it the
first time to make it on the second. And this builds right up to the point he’s
talking about your Messiah came and you crucified Him. What’s his point? He’s coming back. See there’s a second, again, it follows
the pattern that the second time He comes, they’ll accept Him and so forth. So you can go through that on your own studies. There’s some interesting parallels. The first 12 chapters of the Book of Acts, Jerusalem is at the center. Peter is the chief figure in the first 12
verses … 12 chapters. It reaches as far as out, the outreach of
the gospel goes out as far as Samaria. The word is rejected by the Jews of the homeland
in Israel. Peter is imprisoned. There’s a judgment on Herod. In chapter 13 and following, you’ll
note, you’ll discover that the center of the action is no longer Jerusalem, it’s Antioch. Is at the center of the Gentile
outreach. Peter’s no longer the chief figure. We don’t hear much about him after that occasionally. Paul is the chief player in the last half of
the book. The outreach here goes all the way
to Rome and the word is rejected now by the Jews of the dispersion. Paul is imprisoned, not Peter and there’s judgment on the Jews so interesting parallels. There’s another way to parallel the Book of
Acts as you go through it. Peter, his first sermon is Acts chapter
two, a lame man is healed in chapter three. Simon, the sorcerer is dealt with in chapter
eight. The influence of his shadow heals people
in chapter five, strangely enough. Laying on of hands, Peter’s worshiped
actually. He rejects it, of course, but they try to worship
him in chapter 10. Tabitha is raised from the dead. Peter is imprisoned in chapter 12. From chapter, after chapter 12, Paul is the
key player. The first sermon is there in chapter 13, a
lame man is healed. The Elymas the sorcerer is the key thing in chapter 13. Again, we have these strange influences, the
handkerchiefs and laying on of hands emphasized, Paul is even worshiped in chapter 14 or they
try to. Eutychus falls out of third-story window and
he’s raised from the dead in chapter 20. Paul imprisoned. Not a big deal but there’s some interesting
parallels here in structure that I think is probably deliberate or is certainly, I
think an intentional design. Let’s take a look at it … let’s take another
look at it geographically. Let’s talk about Philip. He’s one of the … After the stoning of Stephen,
the believers in Jerusalem were scattered. And Philip was one of the seven helpers or
deacons, if you will, of the early church. And he goes to Samaria and many people are
healed in Samaria. And it’s up north. It’s marginal country from a Jewish
perspective and it’s up there that Simon the Magician comes to faith. Down in Jerusalem, there are several namely
Peter and John are surprised that Samaritans are accepting Jesus. They’re excited about that. They go up to check it out, and they do, and
find that these Samaritans are very enthusiastically accepting Christ.
But they also recognize this guy, Simon, who was a Magician, apparently of some repute
at the time, who became a believer. They had to admonish him because he offered them money for the Holy Spirit. By the way, Peter, John do investigate and
they get good return, they get good news, although they did admonish
Simon. But now, right in the middle of this revival
so to speak, Philip is sent by God down to the Jerusalem to Gaza road. There’s a road from Jerusalem down to Gaza. And Philip is pulled out of this revival and
sent down there to meet, of all people, an Ethiopian treasurer. He is on his way home confused. He apparently has gone to Jerusalem to worship
the Messiah. There, he finds out he’s been killed whatever,
he’s confused. He’s on his way home now confused and we have
this interesting incident where Philip approaches him and says, do you understand what you’re
reading. How can I unless somebody helps me? And it turns out, he’s reading from Isaiah
53 and I’m going to suggest 52 and 53 for some reasons. There are … to really understand what’s
going on here, you should be acquainting yourself with some of the theories about the Ark of
the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant disappeared sometime
after the Babylonian captivity. It seems to have disappeared from history. There are about six different theories as
to what happened and where it is. They’re all conjectural but the most interesting
one is one that has been disregarded by many scholars because it’s accompanied with
some non-Biblical legends. To look at history here a little bit,
see, let me back up. We’re going to talk about, is it possible that
the Ark of Covenant could be down in Ethiopia? And most people reject … the Ethiopians
believe that they’re guarding a relic, that they are destined to present to the Messiah
on Mount Zion. That’s guarded as to the present day in a,
in a special compound in Axum. They believe the way it got there is a way
that you can dispute Biblically and so most people dismiss the fact that what they have
is really the ark. What they overlook is they may have the
relic by a path that they didn’t understand. They have a different legend, they believe
and I won’t go into that here. We do know from 2 Kings 21 that Manasseh,
who took over after Hezekiah tried to destroy Judaism and he made reading that Torah … He
tried to destroy all copies of the Torah, reading it was a capital crime. He tried to destroy Judaism from end to end. During that time, the Levites to protect the
Ark of the Covenant, got it out of the temple, out of town, out of the country. When you get down …
and apparently, they sought protection under Pharaoh Necho of Egypt. After Manasseh comes to Josiah,
a young guy who discovers an overlooked copy of the Torah, reads it, and realizes how
far they’ve fallen. So he institutes a whole revival and he instructs
the Levites to return the Ark to Israel. In fact, to the Temple, the Holy of Holies. It doesn’t say they complied. He just asserts that they should. A few verses later, this is all in 2 Chronicles
35, a few verses later, Pharaoh Necho of Egypt is taking up arms against the Assyrian empire
which apparently is decaying and it’s going to fall in a few more years. Josiah takes up arms against Pharaoh Necho. That puzzles any reader but it also puzzles
Pharaoh Necho and he says, “what are you doing? I’m doing what God told me to do.” But most people don’t realize is that Pharaoh
Necho was Ethiopian. He was the 25th, was called the Ethiopian
dynasty. While he, Josiah, goes against him anyway
and gets killed, but from that point on, there is a traceable record of a relic of some kind. The tabernacle was set up on Elephantine island. Which at that time was the capital
of Egypt. The middle of Nile at the border of upper and lower Egypt. And for two centuries, the tabernacle
was there. The ark is transferred from Elephantine island
to Tana Kirkos island which is on Lake Tana in Ethiopia and it stays there
for eight centuries. In fact, from about the … there
are even records in the Ethiopian Bible of Joseph and Mary, and the infant Jesus visiting
Tana Kirkos island, when they were down there taking refuge from Herod. But anyway, they, after eight centuries
at Tana Kirkos island, it’s transferred to Axum where it stayed, where it is today. So from about 642 BC, Elephantine island in
Egypt. At 420 BC, it transferred to Tana Kirkos
island in Ethiopia. And it’s destined and now, it’s in
Axum and it’s destined to be presented to the Messiah at Mount Zion according to Isaiah
18 and Zephaniah 3:10, and other passages. Now, we don’t know if the relic they’re guarding
is the Ark of the Covenant, but the more we’ve studied, the more it looks like it could very
well be. And there’s a whole story behind that. I encourage you to dig out on your own and
come to your own conclusions. But the question was, why was the Ethiopian treasurer on a mission?
And it’s our conjecture that he was there to check out, is it time to deliver
the Ark of the Covenant to the Messiah? He gets to Jerusalem to discover that … Messiah
is apparently killed. He’s confused. On his way home, Philip is supernaturally
dispatched to explain to him, Isaiah 53 which essentially says that the Messiah is destined
to return. So I think he went back to Queen Candace and
said, not yet and they’ve been guarding it ever since. It moved from Tana Kirkos island to Lake …
to Axum, Ethiopia in 330 AD, and they celebrate it every year. They don’t actually bring it out. They bring out a ceremonial relic for ceremonial
purposes. It’s interesting to see, to stand on an island,
stand on a hill surrounded by tens of thousands of Levites in white sheets singing and praying
ecstatically round the clock for two days prior, and during the two days of Timkat,
celebrating get this, the Baptism of Jesus Christ. Now, the ceremony goes down to the water and
comes back, takes two days as well. It’s very colorful, very interesting
but try to compute, try to integrate that. Tens of thousands of Levites celebrating the
Baptism of Christ. I think it’s kind of interesting. Anyway moving on. So anyway, the Ethiopian treasurer encounters
Philip. He interprets the scripture for him. He says, Gee, there’s some water, can I
… he says, here’s some water, can I not be baptized? Certainly, you can so he baptizes him and he goes
on to report to Queen Candace. So Peter meanwhile travels north, preaching
at every town. Peter settles in Caesarea with wife and
daughter, and Stephen is martyred in Jerusalem. And after he’s martyred, believers are
scattered throughout the world and some travel up to Antioch. Now, I want to warn you there are two Antiochs. The main one is the one we’re looking at here. The Antioch, we could call the Antioch of
Syria. There’s another one we’re going to encounter
up in Galatia that’s less important. This is the Antioch that’s important. It becomes the strategic center of the Gentile
outreach of the church and so in chapter 11, they travel to Antioch and initially
preached to Jews only, but some of these come from Cyprus, some from North Africa, and they
preached to Gentiles. So this is the beginning of the Gentile conversions. Now, the Jerusalem church sends Barnabas,
a trusted leader to find out what’s going on up in Antioch. And when he gets up there, he collect Saul
from Tarsus. He had spent some time in Tarsus and they stayed to teach for several years. Now, the strength of
the church in Antioch that raises money to assist, to relieve the church in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is technically, James is the head
of it and they’re sort of the leaders at the same time they’re poor. They have financial needs. Antioch is stronger and sends relief money
there. There’s many records of where Paul encourages
them to send money to the church in Jerusalem, and they also from Antioch, not only they
support the church in Jerusalem financially but they also send missionaries to foreign
countries. So it becomes a major, major center for the last half of the book of Acts for
sure. Very cosmopolitan countries, it’s one of the
most important cities in the Roman empire. And it’s interesting to see that cross section
of these cosmopolitan people that God is using. Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus. Simeon also called Simeon the Black, probably
from Africa thus. Now, Lucius was a Cyrene from North African
city, Manaen was a foster brother to Herod Antipas, obviously of influence. And we have this interesting character
by the name of Saul, who’s a Jew from Roman Tarsus. He later would become Paul, the Apostle, interesting
cross section of people and just like you and me, all different kinds. Well, let’s shift now. We talked about Philip. Let’s talk about the acts of Peter. On Pentecost, he preaches, of course, and many
become believers. He heals a lame man. He’s arrested with John and warned not to
preach but, of course, that does no good (laughs). Peter and John follow Philip into Samaria
and many believe there. I’ve mentioned that before. Peter then goes to Lydda and Joppa to raise
Dorcas from death and miracles going along the way. Then we get in this interesting issue with
Cornelius. He’s a Centurion. You know, it’s interesting in the book of
Acts and in the gospel of Luke, Centurions are always good guys. That’s very fascinating. You’ll also notice when you read Luke and Acts
is that there’s always an emphasis there that the uprisings, the trouble was always the Jewish
leadership reacting to the Christians. And all through the book of Acts,
the persecution didn’t come from the Romans. It came from the Jewish leadership. The Roman oppression came later and Nero, and much later but in any case, here we have Cornelius. He has a vision in Caesarea, that’s where
he’s based and so that is the maj … the major headquarters for the Roman activity
was Caesarea, not Jerusalem. They were in Jerusalem only for holidays. The Pilate was in Jerusalem during Passover
because it was a holiday. Normally, he would have his headquarters was
in Caesarea. Anyway, so he has a vision and he sends
for Peter who’s down in Joppa. Well, while this is going on, Peter down in
Joppa has a vision and … so he goes to Caesarea, and this is where we have the
strange vision where the sheet comes down with all the non-Kosher food in it and rise
and eat. And he wouldn’t eat because he was Jewish,
this is non-kosher stuff and he says don’t, you know, don’t condemn what I have
blessed so. It all, until it happens three times. The message it gets across to Peter is that
all things are lawful and it’s a whole different … it’s really
opening the door to the Gentile believers. The major thing in Acts 10. So he, Peter reports to the Jerusalem church
who accept because of all this, they accept the fact that the gospel is for Gentiles
also not just Jews. And this starts, this leads to a whole
‘nother set of issues that are going to come to head in chapter 15 of Acts. But at this point, there are Gentiles that
are accepting Christ and becoming what you and I would consider what we would call Christians. Peter’s arrested and he’s miraculously released
and so forth. There are so many of these episodes going
and he ultimately will testify at the Jerusalem council in Acts 15, and we’ll get there. The rest of Peter’s work, we don’t know much about. We know that he meets Paul in Antioch
and he also visits churches in North Asia Minor. We hear allusions to that. There’s evidence that he was in Corinth at one
time. He wrote his first letter, 1 Peter was written
from Babylon. Now, it’s very interesting there are many
people that believe that Babylon is a code for the city of Rome. That’s utter foolishness. Babylon was a major Jewish center. He wrote his first epistle from
Babylon. The Babylonian Talmud came from Babylon. Babylon in those days was a major Jewish center. It was no longer a dominant imperial town
like it had centuries earlier but it’s still there as a major center. So as anyway we’ll go on. Peter was executed in Rome just as the Lord
had predicted. And Mark wrote his gospel in Rome just after
Peter’s death. He acts somewhat as a secretary,
an amanuensis for Peter. So when you read the gospel of Mark, it’s
really almost Peter’s perspective. Peter was a guy of action, not words.
And Mark’s gospel is like a shooting script. It includes details. When they sit on the grass, it’s green grass
et cetera. If you watch, it’s a very brief
tight little gospel. Actually, it’d be longer than Matthew,
if Matthew hadn’t included all the discourses. Matthew included the discourses because he
took shorthand. But let’s … pickup this Damascus
road event, very, very important thing. Saul, who spent his early years in Tarsus. He was born a Roman citizen, raised in
Tarsus. Tarsus was a very important Roman city and
it was also the seat of a famous university, higher in reputation than any of the other
universities. Even Athens or Alexandria were the only
other ones that existed, but Tarsus was a top, you know, intellectual center. He was taken to Jerusalem as a young boy,
and educated, by, of all people, Gamaliel himself. Gamaliel is probably the most venerated, you
know, Jewish teacher at that time. So he became a Pharisee, very well taught
in both Greek culture and Hebrew culture. And of course, when Stephen is stoned to death for his faith, Saul’s the guy holding the coat so the guy is throwing the stones. And he becomes a violent persecutor of the
church. And he’s given letters of authority to imprison Christians and even travels to
foreign cities to root them out. So this is … this is Saul. So he’s,
as I say, educated in Jerusalem, and so forth and … Now, he’s on the road
to Damascus, on the way there. And he’s confronted by guess who? Jesus Christ. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” And he’s also … he’s told then
to go when he gets to Damascus to check out with this guy Ananias and he’s
blinded in the meantime. And when he gets to Ananias, his blindness
is healed and he’s baptized there as a Christian. Now, this also leads to some speculation. We do know that Paul had some medical
afflictions. We also have hints in his letters that they
had something to do with his eyes. So even though, his blindness was healed,
he apparently did suffer some ocular, optical impairment here. And apparenly it was … very un, non-cosmetic and those are … so we don’t know that much more than that. But in any case, he has this incredible experience
where he now is called by the Lord Jesus Christ to serve Him. He stays in Damascus. While there, he … during
the Damascus period, he also spends about three years in the Arabian desert and then,
returns to Damascus. So he’s … during that time, he apparently is instructed
directly by the Holy Spirit and so forth. Now, he becomes the apostle to the Gentiles. So three years after his conversion, he is
now forced to flee Damascus in a basket. They throw him over a basket over the wall
to get him out of town. That’s a pattern he’s going to endure a lot
in his life I guess. He goes to see Peter and Barnabas introduces
Paul to the suspicious believers. You got to understand the predicament of the believers in those days. Here’s this zealot that has been persecuting,
who’s now coming and posing as a Christian. They think he’s just, it’s just a ruse to
get their names before they, you know, get imprisoned or something. So they had to overcome that paranoia
if you will, and Barnabas helps some with that. He talks to Peter and James, and after two
weeks he’s smuggled out of Jerusalem but with the blessing, if you will, of Peter and
James. And he’s taken to Caesarea and then to
Tarsus. And he’ll be in Tarsus about 10 years before
Barnabas comes and recruits him to come to Antioch where all the action is. In the meantime, Paul had visited Cilicia and Syria and some places but he’s still relatively unknown to believers
in Judea. He’s doing most of this up there north
of Syria, in a region that would be associated with Asia Minor. And Barnabas finally recruits him and
brings him to Antioch because that’s where all the action is. And they teach together for a year, they become
good buddies. They’ll have a dispute that splits them up. Meanwhile, Saul, Barnabas and Titus bring
famine relief money for Judea. See again, the churches up north are helping
to support the believers down in Jerusalem. And, anyway, the leadership meets
privately and they acknowledge Saul’s ministry to the Gentiles. Now, this leads to the first missionary journey
which is the goal is really … we would call it Galatia if you will or Asia
Minor. So Salamis, these are the different cities. Let’s take a look at the map. Saul and Barnabas set out together from Antioch
and they’re joined by a young man, young John Mark. And a rich kid, probably a little spoiled,
there’s all kinds of speculation that he might’ve been the rich, young man that
fled naked in the garden that night and so forth, anyway, for whatever, they go to Cyprus. They encounter a character by the name of
Bar Jesus who’s a false prophet but a friend of the governor. He’s struck blind, the governor thus becomes
a believer and some other things occur. But then, they head to Attalia. It’s at this point, from Paphos on
that Saul starts calling himself Paul. He changed his name from Saul to Paul and
it’s also about this time that John Mark is not excited about getting up in Galatia. It’s apparently a very rough country and he
fades on them and goes back to Jerusalem. Something that really upsets Paul later, gets
into a big debate with Barnabas over this. And Paul preaches to both Jews and Gentiles,
and the Jews are very jealous. They get very upset and they stir up opposition. They stay quite a while. Many Jews and Gentiles become believers. But a Gentile plot against their lives, forces
them uh, to move on. At Lystra Paul heals a cripple. They are hailed as gods. The people want to
worship them. Enemies arrive from Antioch and Iconium and
they’re almost killed there. And they flee to Derbe and many more disciples are won
and so forth. Several times here, Paul … will be
left for dead, and whether he actually died or whether he rose from the
dead is a debate among some scholars, but in any case, there are some … a lot of adventures
here. And so they return back home the way they
came, revisiting the churches they planted, encouraging these young churches. And they finally report all, they give the
final report to the church in Antioch. Now, this leads to Acts 15. This is a chapter that’s very, very important. We obviously, can’t recount all the little
details. You can just read them, but I want you to understand
Acts 15. A huge controversy has erupted within the
church. Over what obligations are incumbent upon Gentile
believers. You need to understand the situation. Before Christ, if you wanted to join
Israel in their worship, you became a proselyte. You would become, you would, you would take
on the obligations of becoming a Jew. You’d get circumcised and adopt all the legal requirements. The Jewish church, all the believers, apostles,
everyone, they were all Jewish. And they took for granted that if you want to join the church,
great. You became a Jew. And assumed you’d get circumcised, and
you have to do the Mosaic Law, and a big … Others said no, they’re still Gentiles. They’re saved, but they’re Gentiles. A big controversy erupted here. Do they have to get circumcised? Do they have to keep the Mosaic Laws and so
forth. Paul and Barnabas, and Peter, and others came
down to Jerusalem to get this whole thing resolved because by now, it had become a big
dispute. And they give the report about
how they’ve gone to these places and people accept Christ and the Holy Spirit gets poured
out, people get healed. They don’t think I’m Jewish. That’s not … that’s the argument. Peter is also there and he testifies. And I want you to … Notice I love the way
Peter puts this in Acts 15. This is Peter speaking says, “Now there … therefore
why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers
nor we were able to bear?” He saying, in other words, why make these
Gentiles take on all the burdens of the Jewish laws. “Now, why temp ye God, to put a yoke upon
the neck of the disciples,” meaning the believers, “which neither our fathers nor we are able
to bear. But we believe that through the grace of the
Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” He (laughs) hit the inversion (laughs). He’s not saying these guys can be saved just
like we are. He’s saying we might be saved as they are
(laughs) because he’s doing the context of these miracles that they’re observing as
they go through in these foreign countries where people accept the Lord, the Holy Spirit
and all kinds of miraculous things happen. So that’s what he’s arguing. But what most people who study this chapter
miss is there are two issues here. The main issue that we focus on is gee does
a believer have to become a Jew to be saved? And the answer, of course, no. But, there’s another problem. What must a Gentile do to be saved? He’s going to answer that, of course. But the other question is what’s to become
of Israel? See, the implied question, the other flipside
of that question is if a believer, a Gentile becomes, doesn’t have to become a Jew to be saved,
what was this all for? All of our history, all of these laws, all
of these ordinances, the priesthood, all of, you know, the temple. Is this all now over? Is it gone? That’s their issue. And James answers. James is clearly the leader of the church in Jerusalem. He says, “Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them
a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets,
as it is written.” And he’s not quoting, it happens Amos chapter
9. He says “After this, I will return, and will
build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and will build again the ruins
thereof and I will set it up.” And he goes on. In other words, God is going to call out a
people for His name out of the Gentiles and once that’s done, He will then return and
build the tabernacle and do all these other things. You following me? So the point, the main point here is, well,
two points. That a believer does not have to become a
Jew to become … a Gentile didn’t have to become a Jew to be in Christ. He’s grafted in by the very fact that he’s
in Christ but the second thing is that God is not through with Israel. Israel has a destiny after the church is complete
and that’s where it’s emphasizing, a very important point that most churches today miss. Do your own study, come to your own conclusions. The resolution that James publishes, the Gentiles
should abstain from idols, abstain from fornication, and abstain from things strangled in blood. That’s a hygienic thing. Other than that, fine. There’s no comment here about circumcision. There’s no comment here about keeping the
Sabbath. That doesn’t mean those aren’t good things
to do. It means they’re not required. See that’s point. There’s a big difference. There’s no commitment to, there’s no … the
ceremonial laws are not laid on them for that. The other issue here is that of Israel’s identity
and we’re going to take that up in the next session. Because the book of Romans spends three chapters
hammering on that one for us. We’ll get to the second missionary journey
after the council of Jerusalem in which they go to Greece. Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth,
Ephesus and so forth. And so, Paul and Barnabas argue about taking
Mark along. Mark wants to come along and Paul wants
no part of it, because he quit on them before. So Barnabas … they, Paul, this causes
Paul and Barnabas to split up. God really uses their tension to double their
efforts because Barnabas takes Mark and they go their way, and Paul takes Silas and they
go their way. So they got now two teams out rather than just one team, see. So Barnabas takes Mark with him to Cyprus,
Paul takes Silas to Galatia. And at Lystra Paul encounters a young
guy Timothy to join them, becomes one of his proteges. And his couple of letters to Timothy are treasures for us to this day. But understand, there’s another Antioch they
encounter up there in Galatia. Antioch is a city as some people would call
it but don’t confuse the two and the key one is the one in Syria, the first one
we mentioned. And anyway, as they go through now,
they publish the decisions of the Jerusalem council. That a Gentile can join the church
by accepting Christ. He does not have to be circumcised or become
a Jew to do so. Then Paul goes to Bithynia
which is up north, northern part of Turkey almost that area that’s starting to get
into Magog, if you will. And he’s blocked by the Holy Spirit. He wants to go very badly but the Holy Spirit
makes it quite clear that that ain’t where He wants you. And I might mention something here as you
read the book of Acts, you encounter these resistances and so forth, but Luke is editorializing
for you. The Holy Spirit won’t let him go, realize
that’s glibly said but it’s an inference they have to draw from having encountered
certain kinds of resistance and so forth. But it’s at this time that Paul has a night
vision. In this night vision, in a dream, there’s
a Macedonian that shows up and urges him to come across … See Macedonia’s across the
sea to Greece. He said, come on over and see, on the one hand,
Paul can’t go north. The Holy Spirit won’t let him, but he is called
to go west to Greece by the Macedonian dream and so, at Troas and so. It’s also at this point, by the way, that we
discover Luke joins them. This is where he first shows up in the picture.
And they sail then for Macedonia or what we might consider northern Greece. And there are many scholars that suspect
that Luke was the guy in the dream. Okay, it was a prophecy of encountering
Luke, but whatever. In any case, that takes him to Philippi, and
there there’s a girl that’s a medium that has an evil spirit. She gets … becomes a believer. When she becomes a believer, she loses her
occultic gift. That’s very interesting. Her owners are really teed off because
that was a source of income, so they protest. There’s a big crowd and there’s a bru-ha
that goes on and they get flogged, imprisoned but they’re freed by an earthquake. The jailer is really panicked. He’s going to kill himself because he would
inherit all the liabilities that are thus unfinished if these do escape. But he gets
converted by Paul, very interesting, the Philippian jailer is a interesting episode there. They travel to Thessalonica, a little further
westward and so Paul convinces both Jews and Greeks, both Jews and Gentiles,
so Jews and some, the Jewish establishment in the region stirs up a riot against it. And Paul leaves secretly, he has to get out
of town so he slips out of Thessalonica and heads to Berea. And this is chapter 17. They get a little better reception there but
there’s still a mob that gets stirred up by Jews from Thessalonica and there’s still
problems. There’s a verse that’s become
one of our trademarks in this ministry, because Luke tells us that the people
in Berea were more … They had riots in both places. There are people accept them in both places. They had riots in both places, but he says,
the ones in Berea were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that, they received the word of God with
all openness of mind, but they searched the scriptures daily to prove whether those things
be so. We might say, they came, they’re from Missouri. In other words, they were open but still skeptical
and that’s healthy. That’s what Paul’s … There were more noble
than those in Thessalonica in that, they received the word with all readiness
of mind, yet searched the scriptures daily to prove whether those things be so. The way I usually paraphrase that, that’s
where Luke tell you don’t believe anything Chuck Missler tells you, but do your own diligence. Receive with all openness of mind but, search
the scriptures daily to prove where those things be so. And we’ve used that as a trademark
on our institute and other things so for what it’s worth. Okay, well Paul leaves for Athens, he leaves
Silas and Timothy behind to follow up on the work and he goes to Athens. And this is where we have the famous, in Acts
17, the famous speech he makes on Mars Hill, at the Aeropagus or Mars Hill if
you will. And let’s talk a little bit about
that. Aeropagus was the court of the judges if you
will. It was crowned by the Parthenon, if you go
there to visit there. There’s temples, theaters, market place, the
Agora and all of that. Aeropagus was where Socratism four centuries
earlier, Socrates was tried and put to death. This is where Paul makes his famous speech. It’s interesting how Paul preaches, he’s not preaching
to Jews here, he’s speaking to Greeks so he’s not speaking from the Old Testament. He’s not quoting the scriptures. He’s quoting Greek poets. First of all, he starts where their heart
is. See, you have to understand they were idolaters. Do you know how many gods they had there in
Athens? 30,000 is estimated by some scholars. They had all kinds of things. And he notices so he gives them a complement. He says, you’re obviously, extremely devout. You’re very God-fearing, look at all the gods
you’ve got. He gives, he doesn’t turn that against them. He just, you’re obviously very God-fearing
but he’s going through this. He says, I found one idol committed to the
unknown God. That’s the guy I want to talk to you about,
the one you don’t know. (laughs) You see, you see the genius here
that’s going on. And he goes on, he says, “We are his offspring.” He’s not quoting from the Old Testament, he’s
quoting from an astronomical poem by Aratus. That was a Greek countryman of Paul from
Tarsus that is, a predecessor three centuries earlier. He also quotes from a religious hymn of Cleanthes
of Troas who is a contemporary of Aratus. So these are two ancient Greek poets that
would be venerated by his audience and he quotes from them to give them a place to start. And so that’s where the whole, the famous
speech of Mars Hill is. And he also in another place … By the
way, quotes from yet a third Greek poet, Menander in 1 Corinthians 15 but in any case, so not all … the very famous speech, not a lot is accomplished. They just agree to talk more about it later. He departs from Athens to Corinth which is
very close, of course, but not very far away. Silas and Timothy bring news from Thessalonica
and as a result, Paul writes the Thessalonian letters. And he’ll spend about two years here
despite the Jewish opposition. These Thessalonian letters are the two earliest
we think, the earliest epistles. They’re so important that we’re going to defer
dealing with them until we get to Hour 21 which is going to be our review of eschatology. But the first … It’s interesting that both
of these letters that he writes to the Thessalonians review what he taught them when he was there. He was there for a few weeks. He’s now been gone two years but when he writes
letters to them, he simply reminds them of things he taught them while he was there for
a few weeks. The first letter emphasizes the rapture. They’re all concerned and he explains again
how the rapture works so it’s very, very important to understand the first Thessalonian letter. Later on, they again get concerned about eschatology. They were all worried about the fact that
the tribulation seems to have started and they’re still here. They apparently were taught that they would
not see the great tribulation. Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have persecution? There’s a difference. Anyway, Paul clarifies that in the second
letter so the two letters, interestingly enough, deal with eschatology. What’s really bizarre is these, these are
considered very advanced topics in modern Bible studies. But what’s fascinating to me is Paul taught
them these issues in the first few weeks of their Christian experience. It’s two years later, he writes them letters
and in the letters, he reminds them of that which he taught them when he was with them
which means he exposed them to these ideas right up front, which I think is very fascinating. But anyway, the Thessalonian letters, he writes
from Corinth back to Thessalonica and we’ll study those in-depth in a subsequent session. And then they sail from here
to Ephesus and they want to … When they got to Ephesus, they wanted him to stay longer
but he resists that and they travel back to Antioch via … They go to Caesarea
and Jerusalem first but then they got back to their home church which is Antioch in effect. They stopped by Jerusalem to report but they,
they really, their real base of operations is Antioch so that’s the second. The third missionary journey, they finally
decide to revisit the churches in Galatia and Phrygia where, you know, where
they were on the first journey and then … After they revisit those churches,
he makes Ephesus his base there for three years and Apollos shows up at this time. Disciples of Apollos received the Holy Spirit,
a church is founded and there’s more adventures. There are some problems in Corinthians that
caused a lot of confusion. Paul while in Ephesus, plans to go to
Macedonia. He sends Timothy and Erastus instead. They may have gone to visit Corinth but Paul
is very worried about the immorality in the church there in Corinth. To be a Corinthian as we’ll stuck, we’ll get
in when we get to Corinthian letter. To be a Corinthian was a … was equivalent to calling
a person a fornicator. It was analogous to what we think of as Hollywood
today or something, and Paul is very worried about the church there because about immorality.
And so, three members of the chur, Corinthian church bring a letter to Paul. And it’s full of questions and the problems
apparently are far greater than Paul had even realized. And so, he writes a letter in response
to this visit, back to first, to Corinth. We call that letter first Corinthians and
he tackles these problems, okay. Well, Paul hurries to Corinth. And when he gets there, the encounter there
is apparently very painful for everyone. Paul has to be very severe and he returns
then back to Ephesus and writes a second letter that we don’t apparently have. It, don’t call, I don’t think it’s second
Corinthians, … we’ll just call it the severe letter. And Titus takes this letter to Corinth and
Paul arranges to meet Titus up at Troas to get how the situation’s going. And so, Paul is at the center of a riot
in Ephesus. His messages there in Ephesus have threatened
the silver trade, they’re a bunch of guilds that made their money off selling religious artifacts and they’re celebrating the, the Ephesian goddess Diana. And so that trade is dropping off
because of Paul’s preaching, so there’s a big riot, and anyway, he goes up to
Troas and he … Paul’s really worried about this last letter, this painful letter. Was it too harsh? Titus is not where he was supposed to be. He somehow they didn’t appear as arranged. So he goes to Macedonia in search of Titus. I have no idea how they would arrange to meet
but somehow through the network step, they would meet to arrange. And, and meanwhile, on the way he’s encouraging
churches and he’s collecting money for the church in Jerusalem. Finally, Paul and Titus meet and Paul gets
good news. The severe letter was taken as Paul had intended
it. It did not result in the misunderstandings
that Paul was fearful of. So he writes what we call second Corinthians. It’s really, you might call third Corinthians. If you recognize, there’s one that we’ve,
we’ve lost. Some people feel segment that, that the
second Corinthians is actually a composite of several letters and is the, the missing
letter maybe part of it, tucked in there. There’s scholastic debate about that,
but in any case, Paul writes second Corinthians which is full of joy. Many people, it’s their favorite epistle, because
of its joyful epistle. Then Titus takes the letter to prepare the
church for Paul’s visit. And so, that’s the letter we call second Corinthians
written in response to Paul’s anxie, you know, hearing the good news. He stays in Achaia for about three months,
probably in Corinth or at least in that region. And there, he writes the letter to the Romans,
the most comprehensive statement of Christian doctrine in the Bible. And he plans to travel to Jerusalem by
sea. However, a plot by his enemies forces him to return through Macedonia. So he changes plans to, in response
to that threat and persecution. So he arrives at Philippi and at Troas
he preaches till midnight. There’s one guy sitting in a window that falls
asleep and it’s a third story window so he fell and apparently died. But
he’s raised from the dead. I want you to notice that he was preaching
for about six hours. So those of you that are a little restless
after 60 or 90 minutes, okay. Anyway, Miletus, now Paul wants to talk
to the elders at Ephesus. He seems to know that this is the end, the
last time he’ll see them because he knows what, there’s some tough adventures coming.
But he doesn’t go to Ephesus. He goes to Miletus which is on the opposite
side of the peninsula. The elders crossed the peninsula to come meet
him. He’s doing that to avoid the crowds. He wants to give his farewell to the elders
there, so he bids farewell to the Ephesian elders. We’re going to talk more about that when we
get to the book of Revelation because we’re going to explore the nuances there when Jesus
Christ writes a letter to Ephesus and show how these fit together. So we’ll deal with that then, but it’s a very
touching letter of affection and also warnings of the future. At Miletus to the Ephesian elders
and then he goes from there back to Tyre and back to a home base. And so, after landing at Tyre, they spend
a day at Ptolemais. And then, up to Caesarea, they stay
at Philip’s house. Agabus, the prophet dramatizes to Paul. He takes Paul’s belt and ties himself up and
shows this is what’s going to happen to you if you only get down to Jerusalem. Paul is undeterred. He’s going to go to Jerusalem despite these
prophetic warnings and when he gets to Jerusalem of course, he’s welcomed by the
church fortunately. But he’s recognized by some adversary Jews
from Asia and a mob tries to kill him. There’s 40 guys that swear a blood oath to
kill him. They don’t do that I don’t know whatever
happened to them because the Roman troops rescued Paul from all of that. But he does get permission to make a speech
but that’s just incites more violence. So Paul announces his Roman citizenship, that
shakes up the Romans a bit, to realize he’s a born … He’s got Roman citizenship. That’s very unusual and he made a
defense before the Jerusalem council turns violent. So the violence comes from the Jewish leadership,
understand that. The Roman troops are arresting him, but they’re
doing that to protect him. And so, anyway, the Romans learn about
this plot against his life and so, he’s sent under armed guard to Ceasarea which is the
headquarters. That’s where governor Felix is in residence. So Paul has a number of hearings – before the
Sanhedrin which turned violent. He has a hearing before Governor Felix
who defers and he stays, still in prison for two years until Festus replaces Felix. Festus receives him but by this time, Paul
is getting the message … Several years in prison while they’re waiting to figure out
what to do. They don’t know what to do with him. From a administrative point of view they just want peace, but here’s this guy wherever he goes, there’s all this uproar, so they don’t,
they’re not quite sure what to do. So before Festus, Paul says okay, I, he plays
his trump card. I appeal to Caesar. He’s a Roman citizen, he has that right. That also means by the way, a written record
of all the background has to precede him to Rome and that’s what Luke’s all about we think. He was funded by … He got someone to
fund him, Theophilus and that that was all pulled together in support of Paul’s hearing. But in any case, he’s still in
prison while this gets all resolved and now, he’s before King Agrippa. Agrippa’s kind of impressed with him but
he can’t do anything now because Paul’s put it out of his hands. He’s put in to Caesar. That’s where, that’s Christ, that’s what Christ’s destiny is, to get Paul to Rome for lots of reasons. Well we have this very interesting chapter
in the book of Acts, chapter 27 where they leave from Jerusalem to Caesarea then up to Caesarea,
they go to Sidon. And Paul and other prisoners pick
up a ship of Sidon late in the season. This is in October so it’s getting
too late to safely navigate these waters. There are very lot of of storms at this
time and so they pick up a granary, a huge ship, a grain ship heading for Rome
so it’s where they supplied the food to Rome. At Myra, they pick up this granary and
they get to a place, they’re tacking and they get to a place called Fair Haven, which
is a shelter from bad weather. They hope it’s just a little bit further,
they’d like to go to Phenice because they believe that would be a better harbor to weather the
winter in but they have a meeting. The Centurion that’s aboard, that’s a military
commander, the ship owner, the ship captain, and Paul. Paul’s quite a seasoned experienced guy at
this point. Luke by the way is along with him probably
as a slave. It’s the only way he would be able to accompany
Paul as a prisoner. But Luke’s along as his slave or
a doctor. But in any case Paul tries to advise
him to stay at Fair Haven and not go further but they ignore him. What does he know? (laughs) And so, they decide to try to
make it to Phenice but a huge storm shifts and they get near the little island Cloda
but they suddenly find themselves in desperate straits and the storm blows
them. They’re fearful of getting to the
desert area here. If they should land on the northern
part of Africa, in that area, there’s no water for many, many miles. It’s a commitment to death, in effect. And so, but anyway, in this storm, they
ultimately end up after two weeks, the storm, they jetison
all their cargo and gear. They stave off a mutiny and along the
way, Paul ends up winning the respect and the admiration of the
Centurion and the tribunal. He takes a liking to
Paul. In fact, saves, he saves their lives
and the Centurion saves his. But they reach this sand bar in which the ship’s
going to break up on and they, there’s an incident where they drop four anchors. They have anchors to keep
the ship from crashing and then, they finally cut the anchors, head in, and swim to
shore. No lives were lost. All these was predicted by an angel to Paul
and he mentions that, if they follow his directions, which they do, and in effect it’s
quite a dramatic event. Now, the reason I’m touching on this, in Acts
27, there’s so much marine detail that it was recently possible by looking at that very
carefully to track down the four anchors of Paul, they’re exactly where the Bible says
they would be. And we just got back from a cruise a few
months ago where they were formally delivered to the museum at Malta. And so that … we
have Briefing Packs on that. Bob Cornuke was very instrumental in having
this all pull together, has written some very graphic books on this. It’s very worth your reading. I commend them to your background. But in any case, while they’re on Malta, they
survive venomous snake and they heal the chief of the island of a fever. After three months, they sail to Syracuse
and after three days, at Rhegium, then on to Puteoli which is a major harbor, and Paul’s very encouraged by the local believers. He’s kept under house arrest awaiting trial. For two years, he’s under house arrest in
effect in Rome and he enjoys considerable freedom to preach. The last we hear of Paul, of course, are through
his pastoral letters. His first … there are three books that
in the Old Testament, no, I mean the New Testament that they give us glimpses of what
happened after the Book of Acts. They’re written to two of his young proteges. 1 Timothy, Paul is out of prison by this time. Probably released from his house arrest at
Rome and at the end of Acts. He’d recently been in Ephesus and heading for Macedonia. He left Timothy in Ephesus to continue his
work and he’s giving him counsel and that letter is very worth reading. Titus was Paul’s troubleshooter. When there was a trouble in a church that Paul
couldn’t deal with, he’d dispatch Titus on a number of occasions. And he apparently traveled to Crete with
Titus and he knows the situation there very well so he may have been on Crete for
some time. He left Titus there too and asks him to
meet him at Nicopolis. And where he intended to spend the winter and
so forth, and so there Titus is, as I say, one of his troubleshooters. And in his last letter of all, he wrote
to Timothy. Now, this situation, Paul is in prison probably
facing death and it’s Paul that is encouraging Timothy. You think it’d be the other way around and
he seems to expect execution pretty soon, but he had been traveling recently. He left his cloak and some books at Troas
apparently and he’d been at Miletus and Corinth leaving friends in all those places. And there’s a hint they may have also
been at Ephesus. Anyway, this does seem to be Paul’s last letter. There’s also some hints here and there that
he may have visited Spain. He had intentions to do so and some scholars
believe that he may have done so after he was arrested. He was arrested and released,
had some freedom and then, was arrested again and then, killed. And so, there’s a tradition that he did
visit Spain. So much, the Book of Acts, let’s just wrap
it up. The birth of the church is the key issue as
distinct from Israel. Study those topics very carefully. The Book of Acts is a gateway to the Epistles. We’ve been to the historical books, now we’re
going to get into the interpretation and significance of all these things. The history of the first 30 years of the church
is outlined in the Book of Acts. The next 2,000 are also in the Bible in the form of Revelation chapter 2 and 3 which we’ll deal within a special session
when we get there. Just as the period between the two testaments
is not absent from your Bible. It’s anticipated in Daniel chapter 11 versus
5 through 35. Likewise, the history of the church, after
the first 30 years as covered by the Book of Acts is anticipated in the seven letters
that Jesus profiles for us in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. So our next session will be on the epistle
to the Romans. The definitive gospel according to Paul, the
most comprehensive book in the New Testament. It’s impact, the impact of the book of Romans
is unequaled in all of history. See, grace always erodes to forms of legalism,
and when grace finally becomes obscured, you know what that leads to? The Dark Ages from the sixth through the 16th
century, dark period. What got us out of the dark period was the rediscovery,
if you will, of God’s grace through the Book of Romans. If you really want a history of the church,
you should either get our briefing pack called the “The Kingdom of Blood” that Dave Hunt
and I did together or better yet, just go get Dave’s book, “A Woman Rides the Beast,”
which gives you both a historical and a prophetic glimpse of the, what I’ll call
the medieval church and so that’ll be next time.

17 thoughts on “Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Hour 17 – Small Groups – Chuck Missler”

  1. Koinonia House – @ 19:36 you say Isaiah 50:4 tells us the Pharoah of the Exodus was Assyrian, but it does not. Can you please post the correct verse?
    Thank you!

  2. Koinonia House – I found the correct verse. Isaiah 52:4 states (ESV) For thus says the Lord "My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing."

  3. My hard question for God is, why was it so bad of King David to number his people…bad enough to send a plague to kill everyone off?…

  4. beautiful insight. thanks. do you have and videos discussing mental illness, specifically schizophrenia. thank you for what you do. much appreciated.

  5. I have been reading / studying and have been asking our Lord to open me up to learn, understand and know Him deeper… then this course is found. I am awestruck with the depth of secrets in God's holy writ. The proverb is so true, God conceals a matter, kings search it out.

  6. I was abused by my priest. That didnt feel weary holy but i thought that jesus saves me but wasnt that day already? Oh, i forgot the day. What i do now? Someone have to write again a new testament to get the days updatet othervise we are screwed. My dog isnt so much in to religions but she scares the light, when i turn the switch. Good summer to all. Ps. Trump is hitler in a scapecoat i see it in my slashlight.

  7. Love Dr. Missler's teaching! I would wager that he has forgotten more about the Bible than most will ever know! 🙂

  8. Blessed to learn these teachings saves so much study to have these notes 📝 so happy the slides are here I can easily screenshot them ❤️ such a great resource. Bless you

  9. At 25:59..for the 1st time I disagree with Chucks idea thought the Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia since Ron Wyatt's discoveries. Especiallythe blood of Jesus evidence. Astounding. I wonder if it's possible there may have been 2 made. After all, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed twice.

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