An Outline of the Transition


Paul epistles provide us an outline of the transition events covered in the Book of Acts.

Romans 11:11-13 I say then, Have they ( Israel ) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their ( Israel ’s) fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them ( Israel , is) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

  1. Israel stumbled, but did not fall at the cross. God kept the door open into the early Acts period.
  2. Then Israel does fall” and this results in at the stoning of Stephen… salvation going to the Gentiles.
  3. Israel ’s “diminishing” phase then follows through to the end of the Book of Acts.

1. Israel “Stumbled” at the Cross.

Because Israel was not walking by faith, she failed to recognize Christ as her Messiah and “stumbled” – a reference to her rejection of Christ by calling for His crucifixion.

Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone (Jesus) and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him (Jesus Christ) shall not be ashamed.

As we will see, although Israel had “stumbled” at the cross, she was not yet set aside.

The Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit upon “the Messianic church” of the early Acts period were still in “Time Past.” Pentecost was fully “Prophesied” and so Pentecost is of “Time Past.”

Thus the Early Acts period is not in the “But Now” of the “dispensation of the grace of God.” It’s not a record of the beginning of “the church, which is His body (of Christ)” (Eph 1:22b-23a).

One of the great blunders of the church to date has been to take for granted and assume that “the church, which is His body” began with the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. “The church, which is His body (Christ body)” is of the time of “the mystery” (the Secret), which is of the “But Now”“dispensation of the grace of God.” It had been “kept secret and (hid) since the world began” (Rom 16:25) until it was revealed to Paul, who at the time of Pentecost was not yet converted and thus not yet given “the gospel of the grace of God” for “the body of Christ.” Paul’s grace experience is “pattern” (1Tim 1:16) for us, not Pentecost.

a. The Pentecost Blessing On Israel WASN’T a Secret – it was fully prophesied and expected if the Kingdom was to come. We must again compare Peter’s words with Paul’s in these key verses.

Peter said this at Pentecost… still in “Time Past”

Acts 2:16  this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which GOD HATH SPOKEN BY THE MOUTH OF ALL HIS HOLY PROPHETS SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN.

Acts 3:24 Yea, and ALL THE PROPHETS from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise FORETOLD OF THESE DAYS. Acts 3:25a Ye are the children of the prophets….

By Contrast Paul writes of the “But Now” and “the dispensation of the grace of God”

Ephesians 3:5 (THE MYSTERY) WHICH in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as IT IS NOW REVEALED unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to MY (Paul’s)GOSPEL, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of THE MYSTERY, WHICH WAS KEPT SECRET SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN,
Colossians 1:26 Even THE MYSTERY which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now IS MADE MANIFEST to his saints: 

  1. “Pentecost” or Shavuot has many names in the Bible (the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest, and the Latter Firstfruits). It was a Jewish Feast associated with Israel ’s Kingdom feast calendar. Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: (See also Leviticus 23:15-21 for detail.)
  2. Israel was not yet set aside at the time of Pentecost; thus Israel is still uniquely differentiated as God’s chosen channel of blessing to the nations (Gentiles). Gentiles still had to come to God through Israel , God’s elevated chosen people. Note who Peter addresses.

Acts 2:14 But Peter (at Pentecost), standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

  1. Israel ’s promised Kingdom on earth was being offered during the Pentecostal era in early Acts.

Acts 2:36-40 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Acts 3:18-26 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ (back), which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS (THE DAVIDIC KINGDOM), which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN. 22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. 25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE KINDREDS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED. 26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

  1. Pentecost is of Israel ’s “last days.” It was not the first days of “the body of Christ.”

Acts 2:17 (Peter quotes the prophet Joel to “Ye men of Israel )… And it shall come to PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

  1. There already was the “Messianic church” in existence on the day of Pentecost – a prophesied church. NOTE below the word “added,” means that “church” it was already in existence.

Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

  1. Israel ’s Pentecostal program is NOT the program for the “body of Christ” under the “dispensation of the grace of God.”

Compare Peter’s and Paul’s words that follow.

Ø      Two Different Spirit Baptisms – Israel ’s is in Water, while Paul’s is Dry – into Christ’s body.

Jesus said: Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost…

Paul wrote: 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been ALL made to drink into one Spirit.

Ø      Different views of the Cross

Peter scolded Israel : Acts 3:14-15  But ye (“men of Judea ”) denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead..

Paul wrote differently of the Cross: Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I SHOULD GLORY, SAVE (EXCEPT) IN THE CROSS of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Ø      Peter & Paul Preached Two Different Salvation Requirements.

Peter said: Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Paul said: Acts 16:31 (Paul, Barnabas) said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved

Ø      Different Economic Orders

Peter said: Acts 2:44-45 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Communal living)

Paul wrote: 1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (Individual responsibility)

Ø      Different Religious Orders – Paul says External Religious Practices are now Irrelevant.

Peter said: Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread (the Lord’s supper) from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Paul wrote: Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat (foods), in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

The Early Acts Period is a record of the Pentecostal Era that has past.

Ø      Pentecost experienced (Act 2:1-11)

Ø      Pentecost explained (Acts 2:12-47)

Ø      Pentecost pictured (Acts 3:1-11)

Ø      Pentecost presented (Acts 3:12-4:22)

Ø      Pentecost repeated  (Acts 4:23-5:11)

Ø      Pentecost withstood (Acts 5:12-42)

Ø      Pentecost extended (Acts 6:1-7)

Ø      Pentecost rejected with the stoning of Stephen (Acts 6:8-8:1)

2. The Fall of Israel

Although Israel did not “fall” at the cross, she did subsequently “fall.” This took place in Acts 7 when the Nation’s blasphemy against the Holy Spirit culminated in the stoning of Stephen, a deacon of the “little flock” of Messianic believers. This declaration concerning Israel ’s unrepentant leaders in Jerusalem is recognized as official on behalf of the Nation Israel.

Acts 7:51 (Stephen, by the Holy Spirit, said) Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, YE DO ALWAYS RESIST THE HOLY GHOST: as your fathers did, so do ye.

CHRIST SPEAKS TO PAUL - Acts 22:17-22 when I (Paul) was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; 18 And saw him (Jesus) saying unto me, Make haste, and GET THEE QUICKLY OUT OF JERUSALEM: for THEY (ISRAEL) WILL NOT RECEIVE THY TESTIMONY CONCERNING ME. 19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 21 And he (Jesus) said unto me (Paul), Depart (from Jerusalem ): for I (JESUS) WILL SEND THEE (Paul) FAR HENCE UNTO THE GENTILES. 22 And they gave him (Stephen) audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.

The JEWS OPPOSED PAUL’S GOSPEL - 1Thess 2:14-16 ye (Gentile), brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they… are contrary to all men: 16 FORBIDDING US TO SPEAK TO THE GENTILES that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

ISRAEL IS BLINDED BY GOD - Romans 11:25-32 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that BLINDNESS IN PART IS HAPPENED TO ISRAEL, UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN. 26 And so ALL ISRAEL SHALL (ultimately) be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them ALL in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon ALL.

3. The “Diminishing” of Israel

Acts 8 and onward demonstrates that Israel’s program is no longer continuing on as it once did, but rather it is being replaced by “the reconciling of the world (all men)” (Rom 11:15) under Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). The “diminishing of them” refers a period of transition (Rom 11:2).

While the fall of Israel meant that God would not long deal with the world through Israel, He did continue to deal with Israel for a time in such a manner as to “provoke” lost Jews to be saved into Paul’s NEW pure grace program, being introduced through the ministry of Paul (Rom 11:13-14).

This transition through the balance of Acts explains the presence in Paul’s ministry of some of Israel’s formerly exclusive possessions which had been “signs” while the Kingdom was being offered (e.g., tongues, water baptism, miraculous healing through anointed men). These “signs” bore witness to the authority of the Kingdom being offered. Now Paul offers signs 1 Cor 1:22 For the Jews require a sign

Elements of a New Way of Living Under Pure Grace – As The Age of The “Signs” Was Ending.

Jesus HAD instructed The Twelve of “Water Baptism” being necessary tobe SAVED

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mark 16:15-16 (Jesus said) Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Water Baptism is NOW Over, in favor of a new “dry baptism” into the “one body” of Christ (1Cor 12:13).

1 Corinthians 1:14 I (Paul) THANK GOD that I BAPTIZED NONE OF YOU, but Crispus and Gaius;

1 Corinthians 12:13 by one Spirit are we all baptized into (the) one body (of Christ), whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been ALL made to drink into one Spirit.

Paul says The Miraculous Signs Were Ending with the Transition to God’s Pure Grace Program

1 Corinthians 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 Charity (love) never faileth (ends): but whether there be PROPHECIES, THEY SHALL FAIL (end); whether there be TONGUES, THEY SHALL CEASE; whether there be (the word of) knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect (complete, as of full age) is come, then that which is in part (apportioned) shall be done away.
See also 1 Corinthians 14:23-36, and verse 37 below;

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that THE THINGS THAT I (PAUL) WRITE UNTO YOU ARE THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD.

Miraculous Healings by the hand of the Apostles, including Paul, IS OVER.

1 Timothy 5:23 (Paul wrote to Timothy) Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. <<Why didn’t Paul heal Timothy? The dispensation had changed!

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

With the ministry committed to the Apostle Paul by our risen Lord from heaven’s glory, we leave our study of “Time Past.” We have reached the time of what Paul calls “BUT NOW”!

In the next Session we will begin to examine and enjoy the riches of “our mail” that is the Scripture that is specifically addressed to us as members of “the body of Christ.” “All Scripture is for our learning,” but only some is directed to the members of “the body of Christ.”