The Acts 28 Significance

Posted in: 2013
By Tom M. Ballinger
Mar 18, 2013 - 9:34:17 PM

Plainer Words Since 1968
March 14, 2013
If you desire to become proficient in the study and understanding of the Word of God; if you desire to have the Spirit of God unravel apparent contradictions; to clear up puzzling questions and solve problems of exegesis; you must come to grips with the distinctive character of the Book of The Acts of the Apostles. Unless you recognize the true nature of the time period covered in Acts, you will never be free from being led into error. You will be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and their cunning craftiness; whereby, they lie in wait to deceive.
Big money is being generated in certain segments of the Christian community by those who are lying in wait, by those who, with cunning craftiness, are exploiting the sick, the lame, the poor, the distressed, the afflicted, the widows, and the dying. They are doing it with the artifice of their gospel of prosperity, their gospel of healing, their gospel of the abundant life, their gospel of self-occupation. In order for God to abundantly bless, the peoples’ money has to flow through them and their ministries; then, God will bless with health, wealth and happiness. In the message of the pseudo-gospel-preacher, this is “sowing seed.” The seed is money. For the donor to reap a bountiful harvest, the “seed-money” must be sown in the “preacher’s field,” thus, enriching the preacher. The preachers of the Prosperity Gospel rely on their audience being Scripturally illiterate and ignorant of Dispensational Truth. If the significance of Acts 28 is recognized, these Preachers and their Prosperity Gospel would be recognized as a multi-million dollar swindle.
In the present Dispensation of Grace, God is under absolutely no obligation to bless a man’s foolishness. A man gives “seed money” to the preacher, believing God will count his gift of money as an act of faith. To believe this is a twisted, perverted, and distorted expectation. The Giver has no scriptural basis to have such an expectation.
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; …” (Rom. 8:5).
I have spent many years investigating the uniqueness of the forty-year period which the “Acts of the Apostles” portrays. There has never been a time in all of the history of mankind in which the Spirit of God operated as He did then. Notice, I said “Then.” Past tense. The Holy Spirit's activity during the Acts Period was uncommon. His activity was atypical to His work before the “Acts of the Apostles,” and it has been atypical since the close of the Acts Period, even unto this very day. The office and work of the Holy Spirit were unique. This uniqueness began in Acts, Chapter Two. This unique work of the Spirit continued, unbroken, until the end of the Twenty-eighth Chapter of Acts Verse Twenty-eight.
The chief characteristic of the Acts Dispensation was that God-commissioned men went forth, at His direction, speaking God-inspired messages; each word of which was given to them each time they spoke it, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The God-given words were always in the mother tongue of those for whom it was intended. The Word which the divinely-commissioned-men spoke was always confirmed by signs that followed, as in Hebrews 2:4. When anyone believed, his faith was accredited and confirmed by miraculous signs. This was the unvarying pattern of the Acts Period. It was entirely different from God's method of dealing with men today.
“The Acts of the Apostles” is the inspired historical account of the time when signs, wonders, miracles, and Gifts of the Holy Ghost abounded. They were commonplace among believers at the time. Read the Book of Acts as if you were living at that time in that area. Disassociate yourself from your present-day Christian experience. Become absorbed and immersed in the Christian society of that day. In that day and time, the New Testament Scriptures had not been compiled and recorded.
I think most doctrinal errors can be traced back to the fact that most theologians, scholars, and denominational leaders fail to recognize that a dispensational boundary line was crossed in Acts 28:28. This must be considered in order to distinguish that God's method of dealing with mankind changed. For example, during the Acts Period, Israel stood before God as a nation. The restoration of Israel's Kingdom was in view. It was Israel’s Pre-Millennial Hope. God showed Israel signs, wonders, and miracles.  He imparted spiritual gifts to every believer, confirming the fact that they had believed the truth. God dispensed judgment, as well as, grace. The sick were healed, the blind received their sight, the lame walked, the dumb spoke, demons were cast out, some of the dead were raised, and unfaithfulness resulted in death or sickness.
In Acts 28, God, through the Apostle Paul, pronounced blindness upon Israel, and, then, the Acts or Pentecostal Dispensation ended. Notice the monumental and historic announcement the Apostle Paul made to the Jewish leaders in Rome. Mark it well.
“Be it known therefore unto you [Jews], that the salvation [message] of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28:28).
As he declared the setting-aside of Israel, I would think the expression on Paul’s face was with the same seriousness as that which is on the faces carved in the granite on Mount Rushmore. With Paul's significant pronouncement of the blindness of Israel, God ushered in a new  dispensation, the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Willful disregard or ignorance of this truth has resulted in Christendom still trying to live the Acts Era experience in an age in which it is Scripturally impossible to do. To endeavor to mimic the supernatural events of that period in this present age is to say, “pigs can fly.”
For anyone to assert that they have received the “Baptism of the Holy Ghost,” today, is knowingly participating in a lie, a fraud, a hoax, or they have been fooled. The Bible would say they have been deceived. The language gets even more unambiguous—they have departed from the faith:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:1-2).
Many of the deceived will act pleasant, sweet, and sincere. But, when they are confronted with this error, they get upset. The Truth is that the last time the “Baptism of the Holy Ghost” occurred was in Acts 28:8-9. Since then the Lord has baptized no one with “the Holy Ghost.” He has endowed no one with “the Gifts of the Spirit.” I have seen some of these folks snarl and growl. I watched their faces turn red with anger and stomp their feet as they “storm away” from the scene.
I have, on the other hand, witnessed contrite hearts as they wanted to be shown the way!
Turn, in your Bible, to Acts 28. Look at Verses 25 through 29. These verses should be marked, underlined, highlighted and, definitely, memorized.
“And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among  themselves.”
The deep significance of Verse 28 has escaped the notice of most Bible students. After Paul's declaration, here, the miraculous signs, wonders, and Spiritual gifts which had accompanied the heralding of the Word of God, ended. They ended abruptly! There have been no “Gifts of the Spirit” since Acts 28:28. These gifts have been withdrawn. They are not part of God’s dealing with believers today. He deals, only, in Grace.
The privilege the Jews had of heralding the Word of God during “The Acts of the Apostles” was taken from them. The Gentiles were given the privilege that the Jews had forfeited because of their unbelief.
In Romans 3:1-2, Paul posed the question; “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way, chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
The Jews lost this advantage. And with that loss, their hope of the realization of Israel’s Pre-Millennial Kingdom was placed in abeyance. An unprophesied dispensation, which Paul refers to as the Mystery, came into being with the close of the Acts of the Apostles. It replaced the Pentecostal Dispensation. The Mystery, God’s Great Secret, is revealed in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. These epistles reveal a subsequent revelation which was given, exclusively, to the Apostle Paul. The Mystery is the latest report from God. The truth of the Mystery must be seen as Truth for Today. We must not read into it the Pentecostal truth of signs, wonders, miracles, and spiritual gifts. They belong to a past and bygone dispensation. They are not embodied in Present Truth.
Pentecostal Truth, as exhibited during the Acts Period, was a preview of things to come. They will, again, become even a more Glorious Truth when the Lord Jesus Christ, the Righteous Judge, begins to administer His Kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1).
Some may ask, “If I understand you correctly, such things as the gift of healing are no longer operational?”
The answer is, “The gift of healing is gone. There has not been a man since Acts 28 who had the Spiritual gift of healing. I don’t care how many men claim to be healers; they are frauds.  No- one, man or woman, has the divine gift of healing.” This is not to say that the Lord does not choose to heal a person. The Lord Jesus Christ does heal, but He does it in secret. He does not have a hands-on human agent administering the restoration to health.
Christian services in which people are “healed” from various sicknesses or physical maladies are performed by charlatans (imposters).  No-one is healed, cured, or made whole in these Faith –Healer campaigns.
On September 10, 2008, I wrote a study titled PLAINER WORDS …THE QUESTION OF DIVINE HEALING ( The following paragraph is from that study:
The question of so-called “Divine Healing” should not be, “Can God heal?”  Nor, should the question be, “Does God heal?” Everyone who professes faith in Christ Jesus knows that He CAN and, often, DOES heal in answer to prayer. It seems that the point of controversy is on the matter, “Does the Bible teach that men, today, have the Gift of Healing, even, as the disciples and apostles had?” Our studies have led us to the firm conclusion that the answer to the question is an emphatic No! [End of quotation]
The last man in the world to exercise the true divine Gift of Healing was the Apostle Paul. It took place in 62 A.D. on the island of Melita. Paul prayed and laid hands on the father of Publius and healed him from a sickness, and he, also, healed many others (Acts 28:7-9).
The Acts 28 Significance, again, applied even to Paul, the most prolific “healer” of all time. Notice two proofs of this fact in the following Scripture references. After Acts 28:28, when God had withdrawn all of the Gifts of Healing, even the Apostle Paul was unable to heal two of his companions, Epaphroditus and Trophimus.
Epaphroditus “was sick nigh unto death.”
“Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow” (Phil. 2:25-27).
This is a clear indication that the healing powers had been withdrawn as all of the other Gifts of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul, also, had to leave Trophimus, “sick,” at Miletum (2 Tim. 4:20). Not only that, but Paul’s dear son in the faith, Timothy, had severe stomach trouble which Paul was unable to heal, But, he did recommend that Timothy “drink no longer water but a little wine for [his] stomach’s sake and for [his] oft infirmities” (1 Tim. 5:23).
The SPIRITUAL GIFTS are enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10:  these gifts included the word of wisdom; knowledge; faith; healing; effecting of miracles; prophecy; distinguishing of spirits; tongues; and their interpretation.
With the pronouncement of Israel’s blindness in Acts 28:28, these Spiritual Gifts became a by-gone phenomenon—buried with Israel—awaiting her resurrection—and the revival of the Gifts of the Spirit.
In conclusion of “The Acts 28 Significance,” it could be said that when you cross the border from one country to another, you would be a fool not to reckon that laws and regulations differ from one country to another. By the same token, when one of God's dispensations ends, and another begins, it is imperative that we recognize the change. We cross a border. I like to say, “From Pentecost to Prison.” Let's put it another way. At the end of the Acts Period, we leave  God's  Pentecostal Administration and enter into His Administration of Pure Grace.
Every book Christendom calls the New Testament was written prior to Acts 28:28 except Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and 2 Timothy. This cluster of epistles is referred to as Paul's Prison Epistles. They were written after the hope of Israel was set aside at Acts 28:28. God ushered in a new and unprophesied dispensation, the Dispensation of the Mystery. It is in these that we find Truth for Today. Pentecostal truth was truth for a past and bygone dispensation. Some truths carry forward into this dispensation, but some ended abruptly. Signs, wonders, miracles, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost ended with Acts 28:28.
Ordinances are no longer required, such as the Ordinances of the Lord’s Supper, water Baptism, observing new moons and Sabbath Days, Holydays and things like “touch not; taste not; handle not; … after the commandments and doctrines of men.” (Col.2:20-23).
 “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances” (Col. 2:20).
Tom L. Ballinger
Plainer Words
1031 Wilson Road
Lancaster, Texas 75146
U. S. A.