ACTS

The History of the Spirit's Work in Testimony to the Resurrection and Glorification of Christ

(A five part overview of Acts, documenting the advent of the Body of Christ (Church) in Acts 2)

Acts 1: Preparation for the Spirit's Coming

 

Acts 1: ASCENSION

DISCIPLES* WAITING

Acts 1 shows the spiritual exercises of the disciples prior to the coming of the Spirit.  These exercises were based on the promise of the Spirit's coming, the prophecies of the coming kingdom in power, and the promise of Christ's return--but not on a vision of Christ actually in the glory.

Christ's entrance into glory was hidden from their [Apostles unto the Jewish nation] view by the cloud.  Their [revelatory] mission  was not the unfolding of the heavenly sphere and our union with Christ there as members of His body.  This was reserved for Paul.

The full complement of the twelve apostles was established according to an OT means.  All was now ready for the Spirit's coming at the opening of the heavenly parenthesis.

The ministry of the twelve had especially in view...testimony to the death, resurrection and exaltation of Christ.

Dispensational Truth, Volume 1, page 144-145, R. A. Huebner

Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

* The term "disciple" means a learner.  Except for the prophetic reference in Isaiah 8:16, the Greek word, mathetes, is found exclusively in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts.  Acts 11:25, 26 states:

"And when he [Barnabas] had found him [Paul], he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."

Based on other historical events, scholars are able to date the Apostle Paul's arrival in Antioch in the summer of A.D. 43.  The authorship of Paul's first Epistle ranges from 5 to 8 years later, A.D. 48-51.  Nowhere in any of his Epistles does he use the term disciple or discipleship.  In fact, Acts 21:16 is the final use of the term disciple for any NT author.  Thereafter, the terms: "Christian", "believer", "brother," and "saint" are used to refer to members of the heavenly Body of Christ.

Unless we're talking about the earthly followers of Jesus of Nazareth or specific individuals mentioned in Acts, like the Apostle Paul we should seek to avoid using either the term disciple or discipleship when speaking of Christian believers. Christians are in union with the Risen and Ascended Christ and our position is heavenly!  DRS

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