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Elmer G. White Elmer G. White is online now
Distinguished Professor of Prayer Healing and Creation Zoology (Baraminology)
Victim of atheist scientific persecution

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Scared Days 313-314: Acts 4-9 - 10-17-2016, 05:54 AM

The Chapters for the next two days are among the most depressing and the most uplifting in the Bible. The main message is one of persecution leading to Greater Glory in Christ. We shall see how the apostles, Peter, John, Stephen et al. will be oppressed and even killed because they want to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ. We shall see how even some false Christians that started to emerge during this era, will persecute the apostles by trying to keep a minimum income to themselves instead of offering it to the Church. But we shall also see some great and entertaining speeches by the persecuted. Finally, with all this persecution, Jesus Himself intervenes! Glory. We have color-coded these subjects for easy reading. Let us go on and enjoy

Acts 4
. Here the persecution starts but it is no surprise as Jesus foresaw it (Matthew 5:12; John 15:20). The Jewish élite does not like Jesus's message and they are alarmed at the multitude of converts.

Acts 4:4
Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

So they arrest Peter and John and they are brought to questioning but Peter's bold attitude wins the day!

Acts 4:13
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Here we can see that secular ignorance and lack of education are insignificant. The only thing that matters is Bible study and knowledge of things Spiritual. Peter, an unlearned nincompoop could defeat the academics easily. That is the True Christian™ Way (John 14:6)! So Peter and John are released and the Believers join in a lovely little prayer! Next, they share all their possession but this is not communism. In communism to give everything to the party but in this case everything in given to the Church.

Acts 4:35
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Thus, the apostles gather and give and the wonderful practice of Christian Charity is born: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Glory! We are happy to end Acts 4 with a high note but things turn ugly once we reach Acts 5. Behold, we meet the first false Christians, Mr. Ananias and his spouse, Sapphira. They are greedy. They sell everything they have and give most of the income to the Church but not everything. This is a lesson to everyone. If you try to hide your wealth from your pastor, bad things will happen to you. How bad? let us see:

Acts 5:5
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

Jesus will kill you if you don't support him financially. He will also kill your wife.

Acts 5:10
Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

After getting Mr. and Mrs. Ananias killed, the apostles take a break and heal some people who have not conspired like the Ananiases. This causes jealousy among the Jewish majority and, again, the persecution begins. Again, the apostles are questioned and Peter, the ignorant unlearned man, utters some powerful verses!

Acts 5:29-30
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

While we shall see that it is the Christian thing to obey secular law (Mark 12:17), this apparently does not include Jewish law. This is understandable, as Peter explains here once again how the Jews were the ones who killed Christ exactly as He had envisioned it and exactly in the manner that was necessary for the redemption of our sins. After some deliberation, the Jewish counsel takes the easy way out and just beats the crap out of the apostles and then lets them go. The message of Jesus lives on to see Acts 6! Praise God!

As there are more and more believers, the apostles nominate a council to take care of mundane matters. Next, we are introduced to Stephen. Apparently, he is a powerful apostle with many healings in his CV and, thus, a real threat to the Jewish élite. So they persecute him Big Time.

Acts 6:13
And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:

Stephen is also extremely good-looking.

Acts 6:15
And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

Stephen takes the stage and leads us to Acts 7. He orates his famous speech. Basically, he gives the priests the Reader's Digest version of the Old Testament. He covers Abraham and Isaac and the foreskin stuff and Jacob and Egypt and Moses and the aimless 40-year walk through the Sina Peninsula and Solomon and eventually Jesus. We've covered all that on this subforum previously.

Acts 7:52
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

Hearing the Bible abbreviated makes the Jews raving mad and they totally lose it and - Glory! - the Church has its first martyr! Stephen is totally stoned!

Acts 7:58-60
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

This is the trigger, and heavy persecution hits the apostles. The man called Saul mention in Acts 7 is very keen on persecution. His method is to hail True Christians™ into prison. Those were bad times. Meanwhile, Philip has some success in Samaria.

Acts 8:8
And there was great joy in that city.

Philip even converts a false conjurer into the real Miraculous Magic of Jesus. Peter and John also visit Samaria and things are OK over there so they go back to Jerusalem. Next, things turn interesting as Philip meets with a Hamite eunuch.

Acts 8:38
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Here we can see that decent Repentance is out for grasp for everyone. Even a vile eunuch can repent and receive Christ to become an ex-eunuch.

Acts 8:39
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Still, things are very bad with all the persecution. Things remain that way even today. Everywhere us True Christians™ are constantly persecuted and oppressed by diverse kinds of lewd and fornicatory material. However, things can change but without the influence of Jesus, everything might have been lost after Acts 8. He had to take matters into his own hands and thus we reach Acts 9.

We remember Saul. The worst persecutioner ever. Well, he's about to soil his garment and lose his eyesight!

Acts 9:3-6
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said,I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

It's Jesus Himself! This is the pivotal moment. Saul becomes Paul and starts to tell the world how to believe. Too long did the first Christians just frolic around with the good message. Now it's time to lay down some proper rules about female Christians, homosexuals, make-up, clothing, Church hierarchy, false prophets, in short, to tell the world about the wrong ways to worship Jesus!

Blind and confused, Saul reaches Damascus. There is a man called Ananias but not the same greedy Ananias we met earlier as he died, as we remember. This is a nice Ananias.

Acts 9:11
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

Some notes
: Straight road. Not gay. Also, the Judas is not the same Judas who tried to seduce Jesus with a kiss. He is also dead by now.

Acts 9:17
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Saul re-gains his eyesight and starts his new career immediately.

Acts 9:20
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Next, Saul goes to Jerusalem and the other apostles accept him after some initial uncertainty. He goes to Tarsus to do Christian stuff over there. Meanwhile, Peter grows in Godliness and finally masters the ultimate Miracle: Raising the dead!

Acts 9:40
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

From persecution to high hopes! That was our reading for these two glorious days in Jesus Christ.

Next Time: Peter has more adventures!

2 Kings 18:25 - Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.

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