The Structure Of The Book As A Whole.

A  1:1-3. Introduction.
 B  C  1:4-2:13. Jerusalem. Mission of the Holy Spirit. Equipment of the Apostles.
     D  2:14-8:1-. The Ministry of Peter (with others)to the Nation in Jerusalem and in the Land.
      E  8:-1–11:30. Peter's Ministry (with others) in the Land of Israel.
       F  12:1-23. Jerusalem. Peter's imprisonment. Subsequent abode (Cæsarea) and close of Ministry.
 B  C  12:24-13:3. Antioch. Mission of the Holy Spirit. Equipment of Paul and Barnabas.
     D  13:4-14:28. The Ministry of Paul (with others) to the Dispersion. Apart from Jerusalem and the Twelve.
      E  15:1-19:20. Paul's Ministry in association with the Twelve.
       F  19:21-28:29. Ephesus and Jerusalem. Paul's Arrest and imprisonment. Subsequent abode (Rome) and 
                        close of Ministry.
A  28:30,31. Conclusion.

    The writer is, without a doubt, Luke. The Book has the same introductory address as his Gospel (cp. 1:1 with Luke 1:3), and takes up the history where the third Gospel leaves it, giving in greater detail the account of the Ascension, with which the Gospel closes.

    It is an expansion, in part at least, of Mark 16:20, and records the fulfillment of the LORD'S promise to send the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49), as well as the answer to His prayer on the cross (Luke 23:34), a prayer which secured the guilty nation a further respite from the doom He had pronounced (Luke 13:35).

    Throughout the Book the millennial kingdom is in view (2:17-20; 3:19-21; 8:12; 14:22; 20:25; 28:23,31). The question of the Apostles (1:6) rules the character of the Acts.

    The action has Jerusalem at its center. The Mosaic Law is observed. Peter and the other Apostles are found continually in the Temple. Paul goes first to the Synagogues, because it was “necessary that the Word of God should be first have been spoken to you” (13:46). He keeps the Feasts (18:21; 20:16). He has vows (18:18; 21:23,26), and walks orderly, keeping the Law (21:24). The Gentiles take the second place (26:22,23), coming in after the Jew, but no longer as proselytes (10:44; cp. 11:5).

    Wherever the name “Christ” is used without a qualifying word, “Jesus”, or “Lord”, it has the definite article, The Christ, i.e., The Messiah.

    The Book naturally divides into two parts which are relative, mainly (1) to the ministry of Peter, John, Stephen, Philip, &c., to the People in the Land, and (2) to the ministry of Paul, Barnabas, Silas, &c., to the Dispersion outside the Land.

    18 speeches or addresses are recorded:–

  Stephen by Peter: 1. To the assembled believers, 1:15-22.
                    2. On the day of Pentecost, 2:14-40.                     3. In the Temple, 3:13-26.                     4. Before the Sanhedrin, 4:8-12.                     5.          "             5:29-32.                     6. In the house of Cornelius,10:28-43.                     7. In the council at Jerusalem,15:7-11.One by James: On the same occasion, 15:13-21. One by Stephen: Before the Sanhedrin, 7:2-53.Seven by Paul: 1. In the Synagogue at Antioch,13:16-41.                     2. At Lystra, 14:15-17.                     3. On Mar's Hill, 17:22-31.                     4. At Miletus, 20:18-35.                     5. On the stairs before the castle                     6. Before Felix, 24:10-21.                     7. Before Agrippa, 26:2-29. And those of Gamaliel, 5:35-39, and Terullus, 24:2-8.

    Luke nowhere names himself, but what are called the “we” sections (16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1–28:16) indicate where he was in the company of the Apostle. Cp also Philemon 24; 2 Tim.4:11.

    There is a noteworthy correspondence, or parallelism, between the miracles wrought through Peter and those wrought through Paul. Cp. 3:2-8 with 14:8-10; 5:12,15,16 with 19:11,12; 9:36-42 with 20:9-12.

The Dispensatioal Position of the Book of the "Acts".

(appendix 181 Companion Bible)

     1. The original title of the Book was probably simply "Acts" (praxeis), as in Codex Sinaiticus, and there is no reason to doubt that it owes its human authorship to Luke, "the beloved physician" (Col.4:14). Tradition from very early times ascribes it to him. Eusebius (300 A.D.) in his Ecclesiastical History says, “Luke....a physician has left us two inspired of these is his Gospel...The other is his Acts of the Apostles which he composed not from what he had heard from others (like his Gospel), but from what he has seen himself” (Bk. III, ch.4)

     2. The Book is a record of the “Acts” of the Holy Spirit through “witnesses chosen before of God” (10:41) during the period of the final offer to the children of Israel of National restoration and blessing, on condition of National repentance and obedience. In the O.T. the offer was made by the FATHER, as Yehovah, through the prophets (Heb.1:1), and was rejected (cp. Zech.7:12-14; &c.). In the Gospels the offer was renewed in and by the SON, and was again rejected (Matt.23:37-39; &c.). “Acts” records the third and final presentation by the HOLY SPIRIT, and its final rejection by the Nation (28:25-28. Rom.11:25, &c.). Of these “chosen witnesses” no mention is made of “works” done by any save those through Peter and John of the Twelve, and later those through Paul.

     3. The Structure shows that the Book consists of two main divisions (cp. the Structures of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, &c.), each divided into beautiful correspondence.
    The First portion, consisting of the first 12 Chapters (after the introduction 1:1-5), concerns the “witness” (1:8) of the Apostles in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Peter the apostle of the “circumcision” (Gal.2:7), is the central figure, and this section ends with his imprisonment at Jerusalem (44 A.D.).
    The Second division, that is the last 16 Chapters, carries on the “witnessing” “to the uttermost parts of the earth” (cp. 1:8; Col.1:23), Paul being the chief personage (Gal.2:7). This division terminates with his imprisonment at Rome in 61 A.D. “Acts” was most probably published towards the end of that imprisonment, i.e. 62-63 A.D.
    The period covered by the entire Book is therefore as follows:

   I. From Pentecost 29 A.D. to Passover (12:3,4) 44 A.D.;
   II. From Pentecost (?) 46 A.D. to 61 A.D.
    Consecutively, from 29 A.D. to 61 A.D. 32 years (4 x 8 =32. Biblical numerics. #32 represents Covenant. #4 denotes Creative works, and always has reference to the material Creation, as pertaining to the earth, and things “under the sun”, and things terrestrial. #8 denotes Resurrection, regeneration; a new beginning or commencement. The 8th is a new first. Hence the octave in music, color, days of the week, &c. It is the number which has to do the the Lord, Who rose on the 8th, or “first-day”. This is therefore, the Dominical number. By gematria (that is the addition of the numerical value of the letters together (Jesus, Iesous in Gr.) makes the number 888. It, or its multiple is impressed on all that has to do with thee Lord's names, the Lord's People, and the Lord's work). This must not be confounded with the whole period between the crucifixion, the climax of the National rejection of the Lord as Messiah, and the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, namely from 29 A.D. to 69 A.D.; i.e. 40 years (#40 = probation).

     4. The Dispensation Teaching of “Acts” is of profoundest import, and is significantly set forth by the Structures.
    In the earlier section, the “witnessing” of the Twelve, as recorded from 2:5 to the end of Chapter 12, was to the “Jews (Israel) and proselytes ” (2:10) alone; “to you (Jews/Israel) first” (3:26), &c. Their subject was that Jesus (“the Nazarene”) is the Messiah; cp. 2:31,36; 3:18,20; 4:10,26; 5:42; 8:5,37; 9:20,22. At Damascus, after his “Conversion”, Saul (Paul) “preached (kerussõ) Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God”, and proved “that this is the very Christ”, that is Jesus as the Messiah. There was no proclamation to Gentiles (nations) as such (see 11:3). The preaching of the Word was to the Jews (= Judah, figure of speech, put for all of the tribes of Israel) only (11:19), and to the Gentile proselytes, that the crucified “Nazarene”, Jesus, was in truth the Messiah. The duration of this witnessing was about 15 years (see 1 above). The second part of “Acts” records the apostleship of Paul, an his “witnessing”, which was to the Jews (Israel) and Gentile (Gr. ethnos = nations) alike. He was the “chosen vessel” separated by the Holy Spirit “to bear My Name before Gentiles (nations) and kings, and sons of Israel (huriõn te Israel, 9:15). His subject was “Jesus and the Resurrection” (17:18). Not, be it marked, Jesus as Messiah, but Jesus (Savior-God), raised from among the dead, and made the Federal Head of a new race of beings by resurrection, as announced in Ps.2:7, with which comp. 13:32-39. This “witnessing” lasted 15-16 years (see 3 above) of the labors of Paul and those associated with him till the imprisonment in 61 A.D. And to the Jew (Israel) was given priority of hearing the message (13:5,14,42,43; 14:1; 17:1,10,17; 18:4,7,19,26; 19:8).

     5. Throughout the whole period of the “Acts”, the witnessing was accomplished by the miraculous gifts promised (Mark 16:17,19). Cp. 3:7,8; 5:5,10,15,16; 6:8; 8:6,7,13; 9:33-42; 11:28; 13:11; 14:8-10; 16:18; 19:6,12; 20:9-12; 28:3-6,8,9. At the close these gifts ceased; as is plain from the significance of Phil.2:26 (62 A.D.); 1 Tim.5:23 (67 A.D.); 2 Tim.4:20 (68 A.D.). See Chronology of the “Acts” period. Thenceforward, the privilege of proclaiming and “witnessing” (Isa.43:10; 44:8, &c.) was taken from the Jew (Israel), and “the salvation of God” (see Isa.49:6) sent away (Gr. apostello, implying the mission or commission employed, and the power and authority backing it) to the Gentiles (= nations, Gr. ethnos 28:28). The proclamation is now by witness taken out from among “all the nations upon Whom My Name is called” (15:17), including of course the Jewish (Israelites) members of “the body”

     6. Having now before us all the “sequence of fact” (compare also the Structure and Chronology), we can trace “the progress of doctrine”, the development of the dispensational teaching in Acts, as well as in the complementary “Church” Epistles of Paul, nd the limitations of the strictly Hebrew Epistles. Our Lord's words in John 16:12,13 are precious, and they are precise. The Gospels record what the Lord “began to do and teach” (1:1); after His Resurrection He continued “speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom”; and after His Ascension the teaching is carried on by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16,17,26; 15:26), Who was to guide (lead on) into “all the Truth” (John 16:12,13). During the “Acts” period, believers were guided into much truth, truth in advance of what had previously been revealed. They were instructed in much that they had been unable “to bear” before the coming of the Holy Spirit to instruct them. But not even yet had they been guided into “all the truth”. Ths was reserved, and not permitted to be revealed, until the public proclaiming of “the Kingdom” had ended, after the close of the “Acts”. (See notes on the Epistles, especially Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians). Then it was, at the commencement of this present interim period during which “blindness in part is happened in Israel” (Rom.11:25), that “the church which is His body” (Eph.1:22,23) began to be formed “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph.1:6). As above stated, and as the facts show, the church did not begin at Pentecost as is so commonly taught and believed.

Additional info from Smith's Bible Dictionary

    The 5th Book (#5 = Grace in Biblical numerics) in the N.T. and the second treatise by the author of the third Gospel, traditionally know as Luke. The Book commences with an inscription to one Theophilus, who was probably a man of birth and station. The readers were evidently intended to be members of the Christian Church, whether Jews or Gentiles; for its contents are such as are of the utmost consequence to the whole Church. They are the fulfillment of the promise of the Father by the decent of the Holy Sprint, and the result of that outpouring by the Dispersion of the Gospel among Jews and Gentiles. Under these leading heads all the personal and subordinate details may be arranged. First St. Peter becomes the prime actor under God in the founding of the Church. He is the center of the first sayings and doings. The opening of the door to the Jews, Chapter 2, and Gentiles, Chapter 10, is his office, and by him, in good time, is accomplished. Then the preparation of Saul of Tarsus for the work to be done, the progress, in his hand, of that work, his journeyings, preaching and perils, his stripes and imprisonments, his testifying in Jerusalem and being brought to testify in Rome, – these are the subjects of the later half of the Book, of which the great central figure is the Apostle Paul. The history given in the Acts occupies about 33 years, and the reign of the Roman emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. It seems most probable that the place of witting was Rome, and the time about 2 years from the date of St. Paul's arrival there, as related in Chapters 28:30. This would give us for the publication about 63 A.D.



The Acts welds together the teaching of the Gospels to the Gentiles

Acts 1)

 1: The former (Lit. first. This links the Acts with Luke's Gospel [see introductory notes]) treatise I made (= account. Gr. logos = the word [spoken, as a means or instrument, not as a product]; the expression [both of sayings and of longer speeches]; hence, an account, as in Matt.12:36; 18:23. Luke 16:2. Acts 19:40. Rom.9:28; 14:12. Phil.4:17. Heb.13:17. 1 Pet.4:5.), O Theophilus (A common Roman name = beloved of God. You can take this letter personally beloved), concerning all that Jesus (Gr. Iêsous, or the abbreviated form Yahshua [Joshua, cp. Heb.4:8], and means the Salvation of Yahaveh, or Yahaveh the Savior. The name "Yahshua" [Jesus] expresses the relation of Yahaveh to Him in Incarnation, by which "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" [Phil.2:8; Who being God, did not deem His glory a thing to be thus relinquished [see note on "robbery", Phil. 2:6]) began both to do and teach (This shows that the Acts records the continuation of the Lord's ministry to the Circumcision [Rom.15:8]),
 2: Until the day in which He was taken up (= received up. Cp. Mark 16:19), having through the Holy Spirit (= Pnuema Hagion [Heb. = Kadesh Ruach] = Divine power and always means His gifts. This "power from on high" includes whatever gifts the Holy Spirit may bestow "according to His own will") given commandments to (= commanded) the apostles (this term is used of the 12 chosen and commissioned by the Lord during His earthly ministry) whom He chose out (see Luke 6:13):
 3: To whom He presented Himself also alive after his passion (= after that He suffered) by many infallible proofs (= indubitable evidence. Cp. 1 John1:1,2), being seen of them forty days (= during 40 days. The only reference to the period between the Resurrection and the Ascension), and speaking of the things concerning to the kingdom of God (is the sovereignty of God, which is moral and universal. It existed from the beginning, and will know no end. It is over all, and embraces all. God = Theos, generally, with Elohim of the O.T., denoting the Creator; but it corresponds also with El, and Eloah. Sometimes it corresponds with Yahaveh. For our purposes here I will use YaHaVeH [YHVH]):

1:4–2:13. Jerusalem. Mission of the Holy Spirit. Equipment of the Apostles.

C  A  a  1:4-. Assembled.
       b  -4,5. Command. Wait.
      a  6. Come together.
       b  7,8. Promise given.
        B  9-11. Ascension of the Lord.
   A  c  12,13. Return.
       d  14. Obedience. Waiting.
      c  15-26. Assembled.
       d  2:1-3. Promise fulfilled.
        B  4-13. The Descent of the Spirit.

 4: And, being assembled together with them,

commanded (Gr. parangellô = to transmit a message, i.e by implication to enjoin. Not the same word as in v.2. First occ. Matt.10:5.) them that they should not depart (= separate themselves) from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, “which,” says He, “you all heard of Me.
 5: For John truly (= Because John indeed) baptized with water (implying the element); but you all shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (= after these many days. It wouldn't be many days after this that the disciples would receive the Holy Spirit).

 6: When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him (= were questioning), saying, “Lord (= Kurios, means "owner". It expresses the authority and lordship arising from and pertaining to ownership. Here used of Christ, as in 1 Cor.8:6), will You (Lit. if You do) in this time restore again (= establish or set up) the kingdom to Israel?” (i.e. the Messianic kingdom, which the prophets spoke of, and all Israelites were looking for. Cp. Luke 1:32,33. Jesus had resurrected and defeated death. The disciples were anticipating what might happen next. Would the kingdom of God appear on earth? No. It wasn't time. If the kingdom had come in at that time, many would not have had an opportunity to hear the witness and testimony.)

 7: And He said to them, “It is not yours to know the times or the seasons (= the great time, &c. A Hebraism, pl. of majesty. The disciple were not to know the seasons. But, you of this generation are to know the seasons (Daniel 12)), which the Father hath put in His own power (= authority.).
 8: But you all shall receive power (Gr. dunamis = inherent power; the power of reproducing itself: from which we have the English dynamics, dynamo, dynamite &c.), after that (see Zech..9:9,10. Mark 13:9-11) the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you all shall be witnesses (see notes on John 1:7) of Me (cp. Isa.43:10,12; 44:8) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and as far as the uttermost part of the earth” (Gr. = gê = land, as distinct from water; or earth as distinct from heaven; or region or territory, used of one special land, or country, as distinct from other countries, in which peoples dwell, each on its own soil. The witness and truth must extend to the entire world. Every soul must have the opportunity to love Him).

 9: And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was lifted up. (See Matt.17:8. Always in Gospels "lift up"; and a cloud (Not a rain cloud of the earth, but referring to the attendant angelic hosts. Elijah was a type of this. Cp. Ps.24:7-10; 47:5. Matt.24:30; 26:64. 1 Thes.4:17. Rev.1:7; 11:12) received him out of their sight (= from their eyes).
 10: And while they looked steadfastly (= were gazing earnestly) into heaven (= the heaven [singular]. See note on Matt.6:9,10) as He was going, behold, two men (Gr. anêr = an adult male person. Latin vir, an honorable title [as distinct from a mere "man"]. These were angels. Cp. 10:30. John 20:12.) stood by them in white apparel; (The cloud blocked the disciples view, and I believe the cloud concealed a vehicle such as Ezekiel saw in Ezekiel Chapter 1. Two angels then appeared before the disciples.)
 11: Which said also, “All you men of Galilee (Lit. Men, Galileans. The term "men" was usual in addressing a company. Cp. our use of the word, "Gentlemen". This usage is common in Acts), why stand you all gazing up into heaven? (= to look in or into, fix the eyes upon, or look intently. It denotes a looking or regarding fixedly. Hence, to know by inspection) this Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner (How could anyone ever wonder how Christ is going to return? This verse makes it very clear. The descent, therefore, will be like the Ascension, actual, literal, visible, unexpected, save those looking for Him, in the clouds of heaven [see v.9], and to the same place from which place He departed [Zech.14:4]. There will be NO in between trips, NOT at some other time like the so-called "rapture theory", ) as you all beheld Him going into the heaven.”

 12: Then returned they to Jerusalem (cp. Mark 13:14) from the mount called Olivet (Only here in the N.T., but found often in the Papyri. The usual expression is the "Mount of Olives".), which is near Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey (about 2,000 English yards. God's promise had not been received at this point. The disciples would not receive the Holy Spirit, until 50 days after Passover which was and is Pentecost).
 13: And when they entered in, they went up into the upper room (= a higher part of the house, i.e. apartment in the THIRD story), where were abiding both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James (Judas of Iscariot missing, but don't count him out, see v.18).

 14: These all were continuing with one accord (= with one mind, no disagreement) in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus (the last mention of her "at prayer"), and with His brethren.

 15: And in those days Peter rose up in the midst of the disciples, and said, {the number of names to the same place were about an hundred and twenty (= three 40's. A divinely appointed number during a period of waiting. It was the number of Ezra's great synagogue),}
 16: “Men and brethren (cp. v.11), this scripture (Gr. graphê; a document, i.e holy Writ [or its contents or a statement in it]) must needs (= it was necessary) have been fulfilled (= filled full), which the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David (Peter asserts that Ps.69 was written by David, and was the utterance of the Holy Spirit. Cp. 2 Pet.1:21. See also Ps.41:9,10) spoke before concerning Judas, which became guide to them that arrested Jesus (cp. Matt.26:55).
 17: For he was numbered with us, and obtained a portion (= the lot. 5 times in the Gospels, of the lots cast for the Lord's garments) of this ministry.

(vv.18,19 form a parenthesis)
 18: Therefore this man (= this one, indeed) purchased (= caused to be purchased) a field (= place, or holding. See note on Matt.26:36.) with the reward (= pay. Sins pays its wages [Rom.6:23]) of iniquity (cp. 2 Pet.2:13, where the same Greek words are translated "wages of iniquity"); and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst (Gr. lakeô. Only here. Dr. John Lightfoot [1602-75] writes: "The devil, immediately after Judas had cast back his money into the temple, caught him up in the air, strangled him, threw him headlong, and dashed him in pieces on the ground". He refers to Tobit 3:8, and adds, "That this was known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem, argues that it was no common and ordinary event, and must be something more than hanging himself, which was a accident not so very unusual in that nation." Works, viii, pp.366,367. This requires that Matt.27:5 be read, "He was hanged, or strangled", instead of "hanged himself". He was hanged by the spies so he couldn't identify them. Be careful how you judge Judas. He did repent of his acts), and all his bowels gushed out (were poured out).
 19: And it was known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their on tongue (= dialect), Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood (This will be another study for another time).
 20: For it has been written in a book of Psalms (i.e., the second book, in Ps.69:25), ‘Let his habitation (= farm, or country house) be desolate (= desert: i.e. let the place he has thus acquired become a wilderness), and let no man dwell in it (Lit. let there not be thee dweller): and his bishopric let another receive.’ (the office of an episcopos, or overseer. Occ. only here; Luke 19:44. 1 Tim.3:1. 1 Pet.2:12. Cp. v.17. This is a composite quotation from Pss.69:25, and 109:8)
 21: Wherefore of these men which have accompanied with us in all the time (someone that actually witnessed the ministry of Christ) that the Lord Jesus went in and out over us, (A Hebraism for life in general)
 22: Beginning from the baptism of John, to that same day that He was received up from us, must one of these become a witness with us of His resurrection (The Resurrection is the great subject of the Apostolic witness. Cp. 2:32; 3:26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30; 17:3,31, &c.).
 23: And they appointed two (= put forward, or nominated), Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
 24: And they prayed, and said, “You, Lord (see v.6), Which knows the hearts of all men (Lit. heart-knowing.), show plainly whether of these two (Lit. of these two, the one) You have chosen,
 25: That he may receive the lot of this apostolic ministry and apostleship, from which Judas transgressed, to go to his own place.
 26: And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

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