Part 1 – Introduction and Questions to be answered:

This Article is part of a multi-part Study Series called The 12 Apostle’s Ministry from Acts 7 to 15 and Afterward.

Can You Explain Peter and the 11’s Ministry from Acts 7-15?

Where Did Israel’s ‘Little Flock’ Go After Paul’s Ministry Began?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Part 1 – Introduction and Questions to be answered:

“… Israel and her national program are set aside in Acts 7 and a new program (the Body of Christ begins with Paul in Acts 9). However, what about the ministry Peter and the 11 had between Acts 7 and say Acts 15 (the Jerusalem Council)?

If the national program is set aside, where do the converts of Peter ‘go?’ Where do they fit in the scheme of things?

Additionally, it must be obvious that not all Israel (each individual) committed the unpardonable sin, or Peter and the others would have had no ministry at all.”

I am glad you have found our ministry helpful. All praise and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ alone! Hopefully, here in this, our special-edition Bible Q&A article #250, clarity will be brought concerning these most enigmatic chapters of Acts. How sad it is that I have heard and read many “grace” preachers stumble through these passages, making grace believers more confused than those in denominational circles. Great care will be exercised here to make the truth as plain and simple as possible. We may only have “one shot” to reach people with these chapters, so let us do our very best to get it right the first time.

Introduction. Some Brief Opening Remarks

Certainly, there were individuals not present in Jerusalem in Acts chapter 7. Thus, they had no idea of Israel’s commission of the unpardonable sin and her national fall before her God. Israel’s religious leaders had endorsed the stoning of Stephen (Acts 6:12-15; Acts 7:1; Acts 7:58 cf. Acts 26:5). As you pointed out, there were individual Jews not directly involved in this most blasphemous act against the Holy Ghost and His spokesman (Stephen). Evidently, for their benefit, and even for the benefit of the Little Flock, God made sure the transition period from Acts chapter 8 onward was gradual rather than sudden.

While Israel is fallen post-Acts-chapter-7, leaders of the Little Flock continue with their ministries with the divine revelation they had been given in the months and years prior. They have not yet spoken to Paul and been brought up-to-date (Acts chapter 15, the Jerusalem Council, is still over 10 years away). The Holy Spirit has not given them further instructions, so they are faithful with what info Jesus Christ had told them previously. Until Paul’s salvation and ministry become the main theme (chapter 9), we see throughout chapter 8 a gradual “tapering off” of Philip’s ministry, Peter and John’s ministry, and Philip’s ministry again. They drop off by the beginning of chapter 9 (Saul/Paul’s salvation), they return at the end of the chapter but are oblivious to Paul’s new ministry and new divine revelation. These leaders of the Little Flock continue to appear until the end of chapter 12, with Paul making a brief appearance in chapter 11. Chapters 13 and 14 are Paul’s first apostolic ministry. Leaders of the “Little Flock” do not appear again until Acts chapter 15, then briefly in chapter 21, before disappearing from Acts altogether.

So, indeed, there is a lot of “scene-switching” between Paul’s ministry and the 12’s ministry in Acts chapters 7 through 15. Characters can and do appear sporadically. It can get very technical, confusing, and overwhelming if we are not careful to separate them and present their ministries properly. You seem to be familiar with some of our studies, and that helps make this discussion easier. Still, I will re-teach some basic material for those unfamiliar with dispensational Bible study—and particularly this topic (the Acts 7-15 portion of the transitional period). We must remember that the time period about which you are inquiring is at the heart of the Acts transitional period, so there is not an immediate termination of Peter and the 11’s ministry to Israel and Israel-blessing Gentiles. There is no immediate ministry of Paul with everything about the mystery now fully revealed. Pauline revelation will continue until 2 Timothy, some years after Acts ended at chapter 28.

In this study, we will begin with Acts chapter 7 and go through to Acts chapter 15. Along the way, we will highlight the passages that involve Israel’s apostles and prophets. Moreover, we will make brief references to Paul where he appears in the Bible text. To make this enormous amount of material easier to comprehend, a table of verses with light commentary has been constructed and provided for your convenience. An accompanying diagram will be presented later to summarize. Ready? Here we go!

Questions or Comment?

You can make comments or ask questions using this form. I welcome your questions and comments for discussion but … I will not engage in arguments with anyone. We can always agree to disagree.