Putting some things together in prep for Acts

Take the symmetry of the Bible for example. We begin with five books of the law followed by Joshua, a book of conquest. The periods of Judges (not a very good time at all) is followed by a very political period of 1 & 2 Samuel. This is where we learn of David a type of the Messiah. This is followed by the Temple project, one that ends in division of the nation of Israel from Judah and judgment upon them. The Old Testament ends with Ezra and Nehemiah, a restoration or rebuilding. That is the order of the Hebrew Bible.

Then take what we call the New Testament. We begin with four gospels followed by Acts, a book of conquest like Joshua; a greater conquest where Matthew 24:14 is fulfilled—the gospel is preached to the whole Roman world (oikomene) as a testimony for all nations! Historically speaking should we not expect there to be a humanistic assault on the church that looks like Judges, that deals with politics, that sees some failure of humanism, awaiting what? Awaiting a rebuilding. This is the church’s conquest in the world, to bring the gospel to the nations for the obedience of the faith for the sake of his name everywhere! The epistles of Peter and Paul and Revelation prepare for the end of the Old Order destroyed in AD 70 leaving only the Temple of Christ to worship in. John’s gospel is last of the New Testament pointing us in that direction. We are sent into this world in the manner of Christ, to conquer. We will see times of setbacks. In fact, astute Bible students like Pierre Courthial, as well as John Bunyan, have seen a rise of humanism that will give way to the kingdom of God in the end.

These are just some thoughts to consider. I am preparing a series on Acts, and knowing the scope of the Bible’s history and what is expected to come on the basis of studying the Scriptures clearly involves a completed mission of God in this world. When we study Acts we have to see that it is first a completed mission of bringing the gospel to the Roman world “as a testimony to all nations.” The restoration of all things (Acts 3:20–21, 24) began sometime in this period, and Jesus must reign “until he has put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor 15:25). We know that our labor is not in vain (1 Cor 15:58). We don’t work in this world because there isn’t a tomorrow, but because the godliness holds promise in this life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8). There are promises for the success of the gospel that are to take place in every generation leading up to the final coming of Jesus for his beautiful well-prepared bride.