Reviewing the Acts of God

Dave Shirley Photo Dave Shirley

Okay, Act Five. And when we finish, I will try to review the Five Acts for you so that you will have a fuller understanding of that. Okay?

Well, let’s open up in prayer and bring our time to the Lord.

Father, we thank You that You are working on the earth. It is exciting to know that You had a plan. Everybody else seems like they have got a plan, all the nations of the earth. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. And we are Your people. And You have this plan of redemption even though man has fallen away from You. And it is quite amazing to us, Lord, that You would be so loving, so patient, so caring to want us at all. And we worship You, Lord, when we see You for who You are. There is no one like You. No one can even come close to the great heart that You have and the great love that You have. Lord, Your very character is amazing—Your kindness, Your gentleness, Your patience, Lord, even today. So we want to praise You and worship You, Lord, for Your mercies that are new every morning, that are over us. You are the awesome God that began this plan and we continue to be part of it. So thank You. Use us Lord we pray, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Act Five

In Act Five, God is filling the earth with His glory through restored Israel. God has had this plan from the beginning and He is going to complete it. You know, one of the things that we will see, I think, when we go back through the second time, we will see what God said. We will try to put on top of what God did, what God said and show the relationship. It always amazes me, the heart of God and that concept of the fact that sin is against love. Because—I don’t know—some of you may have had relationships in the past. Most of you are not old enough to have had long, long, real long relationships, but you know people who have, or maybe even your parents. But people who have been in relationships where they love someone, they build a relationship and then someone sins against that relationship. There is some infidelity. There is some taking of your affection off the person they committed to have affection for, and they put their affections on another person. And a person that has been through that, their heart is broken. They are just broken open. And you know that is what happened with God. And I do not know about you, but when my heart gets broken open I tend to protect it. It is like: “That is not going to happen again, I can tell you that right now.” And you begin to think about how to protect yourself.

But the amazing thing about God is that His heart is so big, even though it has been broken. And He has forgiveness, true real forgiveness. And personally, I think that is what is so beautiful about history is that you have got this thing on a timeline called history, but then there is this thing that is not on a timeline called eternity. And I know that as long as you are living in history, you can forgive with your heart but you still can remember with your head. And it is hard to forget even though you forgive as much as you possibly can as a human being. But what God is going to do is He has taken us completely, He is going to take us completely out of the timeline of history and He is going to put us into eternity. And I just do not even think we can possibly understand how wonderful that is going to be. How new and how unlike anything we have ever experienced. And just to remove completely all of that. How can He do it? How can God. I mean, He did it through the cross.

And so He is building the church right now. What a great time we live in because we are living in a time where God is saying all those people who have committed adultery against Him, all those people that have turned their heart against Him—which is us too— we get to go out and say, “Hey, you can be reconciled to God.” And it’s not just cheap reconciliation. It’s not just oh yeah, everything. You are forgiven. Fine. Catch you later. It is like He really wants to bring us totally in and He wants to be with us and in us and upon us and just so close to us. And we get to go out and tell people that. And it is just great.

But, when He finishes with this time, where it is so free right now—“whosoever will, can call upon the name of the Lord,” you might say—He is going to start Act Five and that is: He is going to fill the earth through restored Israel because they were not cast away. They were just set aside.

The Promise of Complete Restoration to Israel

So the promise of complete restoration and everlasting covenant, God will remember them. In Ezekiel 16 He promises it. And they will be restored as a theocracy, Ezekiel 36:22-28. When we compare Jeremiah 31 with Romans 11, it says:

When the full number of the Gentiles comes in, lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this, my brethren, [this mystery] a hardening has come upon part of Israel until the full number of the Gentiles comes in. And so, all Israel will be saved. As it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion. He will banish ungodliness from Jacob.” (cf. Romans 11:25-26)

And so God has not cast them away. He has just set them aside. He will bring them back.

The Old Channel (The Church) is Removed

So the old channel, the church, is removed. God has to have a new channel. He will not use the church forever. This is called the “Rapture” from the saying, “meet the Lord in the air” in 1 Thessalonians 4. The day of the Lord, comprises several events, beginning with the Rapture. There follows the appearance of the Antichrist after that. Then there is the Tribulation. Then there is the Second Coming of Christ and the establishment of the millennial reign of Christ. And 2 Thessalonians 2 gives you the events prior to the appearance of the Antichrist. And so there begins to be this transition period.

Now, let’s look at the reasons for a pretribulational rapture. The picture of Daniel 7, the heavenly preparation with the saints to return with Jesus after the Antichrist wrecks havoc on earth, fits Revelation 4-5 and the following. There is no mention of the church in Revelation after chapter five. There is, however, mention of the church in chapters 2 and 3 up to the point of a scene in heaven with Christ and the Father.

And so God removes the church and He begins a new channel to work through. It is called Israel. And though it may have some connection with the church and have some similar relationships, it is still new. And we won’t see the church again until they return with Christ to rule and to reign. So Israel will be prepared for Christ’s return through the tribulation prophets. The Antichrist will be revealed and worshipped during this period of tribulation. And that will help get Israel ready to be used the way God wants to use them.

And then there will be the coming of their King. He was rejected at His first advent, but when He comes the second time, they are going to accept Him. How horrible it must have been for Jesus to be rejected.

When He came to His own and His own received Him not, But [now from that time] to as many as received Him to them He gives the power to become the sons of God. (cf. John 1:11-12)

But there is going to come a time when He returns a second time and they will receive Him. They won’t reject Him because God is going to do a work. He is going to turn their hearts toward Him. That is a work of God. It is not a work of man. God is doing it.

And Jeremiah 23:5-6 says,

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch and He shall reign as king and deal wisely and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which He shall be called, ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

And even the city ends up being called ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ He is coming—this righteous branch of David.

Daniel 7:13-14 says,

I saw in the night visions, and behold with the clouds of heaven there came one like unto the Son of Man and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion. It shall not pass away. And His kingdom is one that shall not be destroyed.

So He is coming to rule and to reign.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. And He shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

The Battle of Armageddon Ends 7Yr Tribulation

And so you will see the battle of Armageddon take place at the end of the seven year period. Jesus Christ will return and set up His reign from Israel. And this will fulfill Psalm 2 where God prophesied there about Christ in Psalm 2. You know, when He said to Him—the first prayer that you read in the book of Psalms is in Psalm 2. And it is the Father asking His Son Jesus to pray this prayer. He says,

Son, ask of Me. If You ask Me I will give You the nations for Your inheritance. And I will give You the utter parts of the earth for Your possession.

I think it is so cool that when you get into the Psalms, which is a great prayer book and a great praise book, the very first prayer in the whole book is the Father saying, “Son, here is what I want You to pray.” And the Son is Jesus Christ. And He is going to give Jesus an answer to that prayer when He returns the second time. I mean, He has given it to Him in some measure right now as the church is being planned.

And when He returns He is going to set up the Millennial Reign, the thousand year reign. Satan will be bound for a thousand years and Christ will rule and reign for a thousand years.

So what will God do through Israel in Act Five? Well, Romans 11 says,

For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world [and that is what is happening now in Act Four and if what is taking place in Act Four is amazing, He says, “Wait until you see Act Five!”] What will their acceptance mean, but life from the dead. (Romans 11:15)

Israel shall be over all nations. I will bless those who bless you and him who curses you, I will curse. And by you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)

In thy seed all the nations of earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 22:18)

And nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:3)

And then according to Numbers 14:21, “the glory of God shall fill all the earth.” Because remember, God is going somewhere with a plan. He has a goal and it is to fill the earth with His glory. And He is going to do it in a full and complete way. That has been His goal from the beginning.

We will see the battle of Gog and Magog, which is different from Ezekiel 38-39. And then finally, we will see the loosing of Satan for a short time in Revelation 20 at the end of this particular period on earth.

Then the epilogue will be the great white judgment, the Great White Throne Judgment and the new heaven and the new earth, because you know, heaven and earth will pass away into eternity there.

Second Peter says the exact process of God’s act of creating a new heaven and a new earth is not revealed in any detail. So, we rest on the sovereignty of God in these matters. We do not know how God is going to do that, we just know that He said that is what He is going to do.

So, it is like this and I want to go over these acts. And I want to review these Acts. Because what you have here is, you have got five acts in history. Now just think for a moment. Whose acts are they? They are God’s acts. In other words, there are five acts of God. And it is sort of like a play. And what we see is that first God sets the stage, because if you are going to do a play you have got to set the stage. And how does God set the stage? He does that in Genesis 1-11, right?

In Genesis 1-11 we have the setting of the stage. God sets the stage. He did that. I mean, He did not have a bunch of stage hands to help Him. I mean, He is the one that created. He is the one that made everything. He is the one that made us and set us here. And the stage is set because even though God created us and we fell away from God and we turned away from ruling for Him through the influence of Satan—the adversary that was once Lucifer but because he would not stay in his place and because of his rebellion and getting out from under God, became Satan.

And the whole world just continued to experience death. Man experienced death. And it ends up in the time of Babel. And all of the nations are confused because they are trying, in their own humanistic manmade way to reach out and worship the stars and worship the creation. And they are worshipping the creation more than the Creator. And it is like God says, “That is the stage.” Man has turned away from God and he is worshipping the creature more than he is worshipping the Creator. And upon that stage God says, “I am going to play out redemption.” And He sort of even gave a promise on that stage in Genesis 3:15. He says, “The woman, from the seed of the woman will come the Messiah.”

But He begins Act One and what is Act One? It is when He chooses that one man Abraham. And through Abraham what does He do? What does God do? God builds a nation. So Act One is God builds a nation. That is basically it. God does it. He takes it from Abraham and it goes all the way from Abraham to where?—Abraham to David. And you know that starts in what?—Genesis 12. And it goes all the way to 1 Kings 10.

So Act One is God building this nation that He said He would build because He wanted to bring a Messiah. But as usual, man messes everything up. And even though God has built a great nation, man’s heart still is not after God. But it is a great nation. It is a theocracy and God is ruling.

So in Act Two what does God decide to do? What does the nation need? It needs to be judged and scattered. So God judges and scatters, or scatters and judges the nation. And so it goes from this high time where they are in this theocracy, you might say, but they end up where?—in Babylon. So God just totally judges the nation. And we can see that when we start reading in 1 Kings 11 and we read all the way to 2 Chronicles 36, which was the last book in the old Jewish Bible, which included Ezra in it. So the history takes us in Act Two to where God just scatters the nation.

But then, what is Act Three? God is going to restore them. So, God restores. But why does God restore?—to bring the Messiah. He restores the nation to bring the Messiah. So really, when God restores, where do we start reading about that? Let’s just say Ezra. It takes you from Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther to what?—to the four Gospels. That is Act Three. God restores the nation. He brings them back so that He can provide the Messiah. So we start reading about that in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. And Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther transition right into the four gospels. And all of a sudden there is the Messiah. He is on earth. He is incarnate. God is here.

So now that Christ is here, then we have Act Four. Christ says, “Well, you know, really it would be best if I left.” You just got here! “Well, I want to build My church.” And so Act Four is God builds the church. He does it from the seeds of Israel. And pretty much you can start with Luke 24 and Acts 1. That is where it begins. And God is going to build His church. And it just continues. The book of Acts continues to go on, doesn’t it? It has not stopped yet. There is the former and the latter rain. The book of Acts is just keeping on going, the word of God. We hear all the time a new church is planted. It is exciting to hear. God is just working everywhere. You can hardly keep up with it. That is what is so amazing.

In a sense, Calvary Chapel, you might say is just one group alone and trying to keep up with how many churches are being planted. You cannot even keep up with how many Calvary Chapels are being planted. It is just mind-boggling that all around the world God is still—the book of Acts is still going on and God is still building His church.

The Millennium

But there will come a time—just like He builds that from the seeds of Israel, there is going to come a time where God is going to restore Israel. In Act Five of our study, the Messiah is going to come. God restores Israel and the Messiah comes the second time. Messiah reigns. He is received by the Jews and He reigns. And we have this period of 1,000 year reign, the Millennium on earth.

And just like there was a setting of the stage, at the very end usually you have an epilogue. Or let’s say this. At the end of some plays, what do you have? If it is a really good play what is at the end of the play?—an encore. What else? It is the encore, but I think it is going to be a standing ovation. And the standing ovation is what? It is the new heaven and the new earth wherein dwells righteousness because Satan is bound at the end of all of this. You know, after he is loosed, he is cast into the lake of fire.

So basically, I am just trying to get you to see the big things in Scripture. You need to have this in your mind because it is important for interpreting the Bible. And when we go back through the second time to look at what God says, you need to have this. Because if you are not placing what God says on this, in terms of history, you can get into a lot of misinterpretation of what God says because you are taking it out of context. God is a God of history, real history and real time. And you cannot just take everything and take it out of the context or else you will end up in a mess.

And so first you have to look at what God did. And these are the acts of God. He set the stage. Then He said, “I will build a nation through which I can provide the Messiah.” But He scattered and judged that nation because of their idolatry and their turning away from God. And then He restored that nation so He could bring the Messiah. And the Messiah came. And then He builds the church from the seeds of Israel. But He is going to restore Israel and the Messiah is coming back and there is going to be a 1,000 year reign on earth. But after that is over and Satan is dealt with and all who want to go with him, then there will be the new heaven and the new earth.

And so the Five Acts of history, they are really God’s acts. They are what God did. Now He used man. He did it through man, but only in the interim time, right? When He was setting the stage, God did it by Himself. And when we get to the epilogue, the standing ovation, God did that by Himself. We did not help Him create the first earth and the first heaven. And we are not going to help Him create the new heaven and the new earth. Those are things God does all by Himself on either end of history. That is why we say, there was no sin in Genesis 1-2. There was no sin in Revelation 21-22. We begin with no sin; we end with no sin. Everything else is in the middle. It is about sin and sin has to be provided for. And God provides. That is called redemption.

And that is why we say the theme of the Bible is redemption, the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And so when you see this, when we go back through and look at what God said in His Word from Genesis to Revelation, hopefully you will be able to take a different little picture in terms of your interpretation of things in history.

Then we will make a comparison of the covenants and the dispensations a bit and try to understand why we have one group that is focused on dispensations and then why we have one group that is focused on covenants? And they are always pounding at each other. And we won’t answer all those questions, but I think you will see some things.

And then when we go through and see what God said, we will make one last little comparison again of covenants and dispensations. And hopefully by then you will have a good understanding of the whole view of the Bible. And you will understand why people come from a covenant view and you will understand why people come from a dispensational view. And you might be able to look at both of them and go, “Well, there does not necessarily have to be a huge conflict here because I see the relationship of what God did and now I can put what God said on top of what God did.”

You see that is the problem. Most people do not take the time to study the Bible enough to know the history so that they can lay the words of God on top of the history. So there is not a problem between the covenants and dispensations. But if you do not do both of these you are always going to have a problem between the covenants and dispensations. And you are going to divide into a camp. And I am in this camp and you are in that camp. But if they understood both the history and what was said on top of the history, you see, there is not a problem. They work together fine. So that is what we are hoping to accomplish.

Well, let’s pray and we will let you go.

Lord, we, again, we just acknowledge Your sovereignty, absolute Ruler over all, Creator God. You are just worthy to be worshipped and praised and acknowledged. Truly, Lord, we see that You created us, not we ourselves. And You are the One who has been working in history. You said that You would fill the earth with Your glory. And Your glory would cover the earth like the waters cover the sea. And we really believe that, Lord, that we will be part of it in some measure. Though we do not understand all the details, we believe that we return and reign with You. There is just going to be a glorious kingdom age here. And Lord, eye has not seen, ear has not heard, the imagination of the heart has not quite been able to come up with how wonderful it is going to be, the thing that You have prepared. But the Spirit lets us know that it is real. And we just want to say thanks, Lord, that we are part of it by Your grace. Continue, we pray, to strengthen those that are submitted to You, building Your church in these last days for Your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.