Gods Plan for the Ages
Adam-- 2000 yrs-.---Noah--2000 yrs.-------------Jesus crucified-----(church age 2000 yrs approx.)----(then-saints taken to heaven in the rapture)-----(7yrs trib-- begins-----at the end of 7 yrs trib)------(saints return to earth with Jesus. Rev 20 chp and then -Jesus ---sets up his millennial kingdom-1000 yrs-)----- great white throne judgment and the new heaven and earth throughout eternity. see Rev 21 & 22
Lesson 5 of Acts Chapter 8
Next In this chp. of Acts we see an example of what I call a Divine Appointment
34 AD this is in the early yrs of the church age. It is marked above in red on the time line.
Commentary: By Bill Hicks Apparently Stephen's death was about the end of 33 ad or the beginning or the 34 ad. In approx 34 ad, we see the persecution of the church intensify. The persecution was bad, but it did cause the church to scatter, and thus the Gospel spread from Jerusalem into regions beyond. Saul was from a very strict sect of the Pharisees and thought he was doing God a service to stamp out this new Christianity. Phillip, who was chosen along with Stephen, began to evangelize in Samaria and God through him, did many miracles. We see also another incident in this chp. where a sorcerer named Simon offered money to Peter in exchange for the power to do miracles like Peter. Peter strongly rebuked him. About that time Peter and John returned to Jerusalem.
1For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: 2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Everyone has appointments in this life. One is to be born and one to leave this world. We have an appointment for a job interview, or go to the dentist or doctor. God gives Christians appointments for him and his schedule for our lives.
Just be available to be used of God. He will not ask more from us than we can do. He will equip us to do what he asks of us. Have faith in him and his plan for our lives. Below I have placed this mark ( ) around a few people in the chain of events illustrating Divine appointments for me.
When I was 8 yrs. old, a friend (named Bobby) invited me to a 2 week vacation Bible school. I went and after it was finished, I attended a revival meeting in the same church. When they gave the alter call, I felt God speaking to my heart. I went forward, accepted Jesus into my heart, and was baptized. They gave me a little red new testament. I began reading it and preaching to the chickens in our back yard. I have served the Lord most of my life, and love it. However, I did backslide when I became a teenager, but returned to Him when I turned 18.
A young Christian man (named Garland), who was more devout than me and very bold in the Gospel, teamed up with me and we would go door to door handing out tracts and inviting people to church. God brought Garland into my life at a crucial time. He taught me that a young man does not have to drink, be promiscuous, and live a wicked life; but can be happy, outspoken, and not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He and I lost touch with each other over the yrs., but shortly before he died he called me and we got to renew our friendship. I will never forget the things he taught me. I look forward to seeing him in heaven. I have a large family, some who loved and lived for God, and some who unfortunately didn't.
Years ago God arranged for me to teach the Bible and hold church services at prisons and correctional facilities for 8 yrs. I did that on Tuesday evenings after painting all day. Later he led my wife and I to go to the desert near the Mexican border in Indio, Ca. Strangely enough, I was offered a contract to go there and paint new construction for a year. All of our expenses, rent, food, utilities etc. were included along with a decent salary. Before accepting the job I went home and prayed and talked to my wife, and asked God to show us if we should make the move to that area. I prayed and asked the Lord to show me some confirmation re this matter. I then opened the Bible, and the chapter that fell open was this 8th Chp. of Acts, the same chp we are studying here, about God sending Phillip to the desert to minister to a man in the chariot. Needless to say we obeyed.
Oh !! It was so hot there, sometimes 115 to 118 degrees in the summer. In addition it was humid like a sweat box. The weather was beautiful in the winter. I worked there as a painting contractor, outside, during the scorching heat of summer painting new houses and a motel. I was able to minister to many Spanish people for a yr. During the heat of summer we would go to work at 5am and quit at noon.
On weekends, and whenever I could, I handed out Gospel tracts in both Spanish and English. We attended a small church there. We were able to get acquainted with several Mexican families and lead a few people to the Lord. They began attending a Pentecostal church there in that area, and kept in touch with us for a while after we moved. During the heat of the afternoons my wife and I stayed in the house, under air conditioning. Late in the evenings we would go to the near by Salton sea, wade out in the water and fish until dark. Looking back it was fun.
This assignment from God reminded me of Phillip, and the man in the chariot, and their Divine appointment in the desert that is described below. I never felt led of the Lord to Pastor a church or build church buildings although I was a licensed ordained minister. My calling was evangelism to be available to do different things for God. At this present stage in life, you might say I am an internet evangelist. I teach the Bible to my congregation which is scattered into 112 countries all around the world. I have never been a paid worker for God. He provided jobs and income. My wife was an accountant at a local hospital system. We are both retired now, but still serving God.
I also met Dumitru Duduman, a mighty man of God. I met him and his family shortly after they moved to America. We had a Romanian lunch with them in their rented apartment in Fullerton California. We visited them and met with them on a couple of other occasions. We brought them to Bakersfield. I arranged for him to speak on a local radio station, in a church, and assisted him on other occasions. I worked with them for a lot of yrs. I handed out over 45,000 of his tracts in malls, parking lots, shopping centers and at our local colleges. I still have their link on my site. I publish his visions and letters on this site and have helped with their 'Hand of Help' orphanage.
I can't leave out Ron Wyatt, another mighty man of God. He was in our city on one occasion. I met him and his son and talked to Ron by phone later and was trying to get him on Jewish Voice Ministry, but was unsuccessful in that. I know in my spirit and heart that his archeological discoveries were of God. I have kept his link on this site for others to enjoy and have their faith increased by the things God has revealed through this devout servant of God.
Then there was Pastor Jim in Australia who helped me so much; and Pastor Baby John in Kerala India and their church in a land that worships 3000 false Gods. What shall I more say of the wonderful servants of God that I have been blessed to know and work with.
I took 2 semesters of Hebrew from Rabbi Kolatch and Rabbi Robin, while in Jr. college, and attended on occasions the Temple Beth El synagogue. God enabled me yrs. ago, when I was single, to go to Hillel Hebrew academy on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills and Downtown Hollywood. There I spoke to 3 leading well known orthodox Rabbis. There were Rabbis and Jews from Canada, New York, and other areas attending this conference. God gave me their undivided attention as I told them about Jesus. This was a very orthodox Jewish academy. These 3 Rabbis were very attentive, interested and kind to me as I spoke to them and showed them the Bible scriptures in the 18th chp. of Deuteronomy, and explained that these scriptures were describing and talking about Jesus their Messiah.
There were several hundred Jews attending this conference. After I spoke to the Rabbis on the stage, several other men from the audience grabbed me, herded me off the stage and physically drug me out the door and told me to go preach to the Gentiles. An older very kind Jewish woman stood up for me and protected me at the bus stop. Several of the Jewish men got on the city bus with me and we continued the discussion until I reached my exit point. I was not hurt or injured, and was blessed by the Lord. This event occurred while I was a Probation Officer with the county. I had a dear Jewish friend and coworker at probation named Frank. When I shared with him about my trip to speak at the Hillel academy, he said you were lucky that you were not stoned. It was a Divine appointment and God was with me. God later spoke to my heart and said I know you will go wherever I send you and do what I ask of you. I love the Lord so much and have had a wonderful life with him as my constant companion.
I have had many Divine appointments in my life and, if you think about it, perhaps you can recall events that God arranged in your life. How did you meet your spouse? My wife and I met through circumstance that God arranged. God gave me this ministry, http://anewheavenandearth.net . About 6 months before I started this website, my sister (Doris) said God told her "I am going to set my servant Bill on a high mountain to preach the gospel." When she first told me this, I felt maybe he was going to have me move to a town that was in the mountains and get on a small radio station and preach. I had already worked at a Christian radio station as an announcer and board man. I would open up the station at 6am in the mornings and operate it until 2pm. I also preached and played Christian music. My thoughts were much to small. I had not worked in radio for several yrs. A small station in the mountains would not reach many people.
About 6 months after God spoke to my sister Doris, He
used my niece (Tracy). She said I should start a Christian website on the internet. I didn't know one thing about building or running a website. Tracy introduced me to (Randy Thomas) who owns prophecyupdate.com. He told me he would help me and place my link on his site. Randy had previously met Hal Lindsey and Hal gave Randy a link on his site. Hal Lindsey gets millions and millions of hits per month and is known far and wide. Randy is now receiving around 10 million hits per month, and I receive thousands and thousands of hits per month. He has truly set me on a high mt. and teamed me with men of God.
We have visitors and hits from 112 countries around the world. In 6 yrs I have received over 4,052,086 hits on this web site. God greatly exceeded my meager expectations and imaginations. These messages he gives me go around the world. These contacts I mention here re:(), the beginning of this website and the people involved in getting me where I am in this world wide ministry are just a few examples of Divine appointments God has given me. He has some exciting adventures ready for you also. Think out of the box. You know how it is, sometimes, when you wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. You lay there and think about people and events of the day. It is a good time to discuss everything that is on your heart with God. He is wanting to talk to you at that time in the night when there are no distractions. You pray and talk to him also. He gives me these lessons often times in the middle of what one person on face book called, cozy times with the Lord.
If you are a Christian living for God, pray and ask him to make you aware of his guidance in your life. Ask for Divine appointments and watch for chances to lead people to Jesus or teach them about the word of God. If you affect even one person like the man in the story below, you have done something with eternal far reaching consequences. They will have the gift of eternal life and may bring many others along with them. It can snowball and gain momentum. Don't be bashful, ask for Holy Boldness. Jesus said if you are ashamed to confess me before men, I will be ashamed to confess you to my father in heaven. We should not try to be secret agents for Jesus. We are ambassadors for a King, and we are proud of Him and Glorify Him. Without him we can do nothing. Every heartbeat is a gift of God.
We will have adversities in this world and opposition. Jesus did not promise us a bed of roses. He will, however, be with us through it all. He will not allow us to suffer more than we are able to bear but will, with the trial of our faith, make a way for us. Peter said our trials will refine us as vessels of gold, and God will fill these vessels with his Holy Spirit.
Pastor Ron at Valley Bible Fellowship constantly receives Divine appointments in his life. I have lived this way also for many yrs. You don't have to be an ordained minister. God will do this for you also. If you have never given your heart and life to Jesus you can begin life anew like the man in the chariot in this text and audio lesson below.
The true story of Phillip and the man in the chariot
In 34 AD Acts 8th chp. While Phillip was preaching in Samaria, God spoke to him and told him to go on a road in the desert that goes towards Gaza. Phillip obeyed, and there he met up with an Ethiopian man riding in a chariot. Phillip was on foot. God had an appointment for these two men. The man in the chariot was a very important man in Ethiopia. He had come from his country to Jerusalem to worship God as a believer in the old testament and in the faith of Judaism. God knew just how fast the chariot with that man was traveling, and just how fast Phillip was walking. God's timing was perfect to have them meet. God also had them meet not far from an oasis and pool of water in the desert so this Ethiopian man, after accepting Jesus, could be baptized. Phillip led this man to Jesus Christ. The Ethiopian man, it said, went on his way rejoicing. We see in this encounter the importance of faith, repentance, and baptism.
So in approx. 34 AD, he carried the Gospel of Jesus Christ back to his land, and that is how the Ethiopian church began. It is still flourishing in that country although persecuted now by the Muslims. You might ask, how did the Jewish faith occur in Ethiopia centuries before this incident with Phillip and the man he met in the desert ?
Judaism was carried back there by the Queen of Sheba in approximately 950 BC. This was another Divine appointment to spread the Jewish faith in that land hundreds of years before this incident with Phillip. All though these two appointments were approx. 984 yrs. apart, God was working his will for Ethiopia by King Solomon and Queen of Sheba in 950 BC, and much later with Phillip and the man in the chariot.
When God gives you an appointment to work for him, never underestimate the importance of the outcome. You see the Queen of Sheba brought Jewish worship of God to Ethiopia during the dispensation of the law of Moses 950 BC. That was the proper form of worship in the old testament. However, after Jesus came to earth, he purchased our salvation and fullfilled the prophecies of the old testament. He then established his new covenant. With these two men in the desert, we see God providing a new messenger to carry the Gospel to Ethiopia so they would have the proper form of worship for the new testament or Christian dispensation.
1 Kings 10
1And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Jehovah, she came to prove him with hard questions. 2And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. 3And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king which he told her not. 4And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, 5and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of Jehovah; there was no more spirit in her.
6And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom. 7Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me; thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard.
8Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. 9Blessed be Jehovah thy God, who delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because Jehovah loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do justice and righteousness. 10And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
11And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug-trees and precious stones. 12And the king made of the almug-trees pillars for the house of Jehovah, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for the singers: there came no such almug-trees, nor were seen, unto this day.
13And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants.
You can read and listen to this important 8th chp below.