The Book of Acts: It's not about what it's been commonly believed and taught in Christendom!

Who wrote Acts, and who was it to? Written by Luke “To Theophilus” who further continues his gospel account of the person, work and ministry of Jesus Christ in the very beginning, but immediately transitions into what should accurately be described as the fall of Israel. It was written “to” kingdom saints and “for” grace embracers" to serve as a transition book from “law” to “grace”...

 

Companion of the apostle Paul, Luke is the author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts and much can be learned about him from this two-volume work of which there are several writer similarities. In the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, the bible indicates that he was not an eyewitness or immediate disciple of the Lord.We also learn that Luke carried out detailed research and had written an orderly account about our Lord Jesus Christ. It should be noted that Luke was one of the few followers of Christ who were exposed to God’s dispensing of law and grace (after it was revealed to Paul)! While not being one of the twelve apostles, Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and continued his account in Acts beginning at the ascension of Jesus Christ and concluding at Paul’s statement concerning his distinctive ministry to the Gentiles.

 

Luke’s writings have some features not found in the other Gospels. The extraordinary feature of Luke’s work is the inclusion of the book of Acts as a sequel to the Gospel account. The two books together-Luke and Acts-show the actual fulfilling of the prophecies of Isaiah with the proclamation of the gospel to the ends of the earth. The Gospel of Luke displays a keen interest in individuals, social outcasts, women, children, and social relationships, especially situations involving poverty or wealth. In all of the events going on in the world today, this information would be a welcome remedy to review and identify with from a horizontal (man-to-man) point of view.

 

The Gospel account has a special stress on prayer and the Holy Spirit as it pertains to Israel, which results in a striking note of joyfulness and praise for those under The Law. These features tell us something about Luke as a person and his understanding of Christianity during that time.

The “we” passages of Acts disclose that Luke was in Philippi (possibly his hometown) when he first joined Paul (Acts 16:10-17). Then he later rejoined Paul when the latter returned to Philippi (20:5-15). Luke then journeyed with Paul on his way to Jerusalem and stayed with Philip at Caesarea (21:1-18). After Paul’s two-year imprisonment in Caesarea, Luke sailed with him to Rome (27:1-28:16).

 

Further references to Luke in the epistles of Paul (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24) give valuable information about Luke. Colossians 4:11 and 14 indicate that Luke was a Gentile and a physician. It is also interesting that early tradition adds that Luke was a physician of Antioch who wrote his Gospel in Achaia and died at the age of eighty-four.

 

But when was Acts written? The events of Acts span between 33 A.D. through 62 A.D. and the book itself was penned by Luke around 62 A.D. What is this book about? It was written “to” kingdom saints but “for” grace believers to serve as a transition book to show the origination of the conclusion of God’s dispensing of law and soon “shelving” of His program to Israel (Romans 9 through 11) as demonstrated by:

  • Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven after His glorious resurrection and revealing to the masses of people concerning His victory over death itself.

  • Christ’s specific instruction to the apostles to continue His ministry in Jerusalem and Judea and then to the uttermost parts of the world.

  • The stoning of Stephen even after his sermon to the leadership of Israel as a nation in Acts 7. Please remember that Stephen’s sermon was on the heals of Peter’s message to that same faction of religious rulers as recorded in Acts 2 and 3. Both messages were rejected culminating in the death of Stephen (who was filled with the Holy Ghost while accusing Israel of rejecting The Third Member of the Godhead as well)

  • Three Strikes and Your Out! Department: In summary, Israel had rejected the warning of each member of the Godhead:

  1. The rejection of God The Father at the beheading of John the Baptist.

  2. The rejection of God The Son through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.

  3. The rejection of God The Holy Spirit at the stoning death of Stephen (after he provided a “Readers Digest” version of the nation of Israel and its rebellion against God!

Take special note that after the stoning of Stephen, before he died he saw Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God! Jesus standing was not to give him an ovation, but was instead a picture of Him coming ready to judge the earth in order to usher in the Great Tribulation; for on the prophetic calendar this was next! The Greek word “histemi” for “standing” in Acts 7 depicts one who stands for a cause, one who stands for authority or for one who stands ready or prepared. 

 

The risen Christ is "The One" who fits all of these including several Old Testament verses that show God ready to defend or judge when “standing”.

Psalms 82:1 - God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. 
Psalms 109:26 - Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle. I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.

 

In addition, the following events had already taken place:
The “Nations” or Gentiles had repeatedly rejected God (Romans 1 through 3) and were strangers and aliens to the commonwealth of Israel “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” – Ephesians 2:12 

 

The Gentile “estrangement” started back in Genesis 11, while being of one language, the nations collaborated to build a tower unto to God to reach Him. God wanted them scattered abroad but they did not want to be scattered abroad! Because of this continued disobedience, God judged the Gentiles through the confounding or confusion of their language. Please note that the catastrophic events of the judgment of the flood were only several generations old but the Gentiles had still rebelled again. In fact, they had fallen into grave idolatry in response to God’s desires for them (Joshua 24:2). This left Israel as God's chosen nation to be that "shining light", to be a living testimony of The One True and Living God, but they failed this calling and have since been written off in unbelief as demonstrated in this transitional book of the New Testament. It is here where we can account Paul saying in 1 Timothy 1:16:

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.