Sabbatical Designs in the Book of Acts

Two years ago I discovered yet another design or pattern within the Word of God. I was reading the seventh chapter of John. In this chapter the Feast of Tabernacles was approaching and the brothers of Jesus asked if He was going up to Jerusalem. Jesus delayed and went up separately and “secretly.” Much of chapter seven is devoted to occurrences at the Feast of Tabernacles. This seventh feast is a picture, or foreshadow, of the Millennial Kingdom, or the Seventh Millennium, when there will be peace.

When I realized this, I discovered the Sabbatical Design; a Biblical pattern based upon the Seven Days of Creation. Here is the design set out by the days of Creation:

  1. The Lord began His Creation The Beginning
  2. The Lord separated or set apart the waters Set Apart
  3. All seed produced after their kind After Their Kind
  4. The Sun, Moon and Stars given for signs Signs
  5. Non-land creatures (birds and fish) that move through the fluid air or water just as spirits move about (This was a tough one.) Spiritual
  6. Man was created Man and his actions
  7. The Lord rested on the Seventh Day Rest and Reprieve
The Book of Acts, having twenty-eight chapters, naturally falls into four sets of seven. I reviewed this book in view of the Sabbatical Design and was astonished. Here is what I found.

Chapters 1, 8, 15 and 22 demonstrate part one of the designs. The Beginning in Acts is always about spreading the Gospel; “you shall receive power” (1:4-8), the Church is scattered (8:1-8), the Ethiopian Gentile is converted (8:35-38), the Church leaders accept Gentile conversions (15:22-29), Paul’s conversion retold (22:6,11,14).

Chapters 2, 9, 16 and 23 contain the pattern of being Set Apart; Believers are set apart for salvation (2:37-41), Paul is the Lord’s chosen vessel (9:15), Macedonia set apart for salvation (16:6-10), Paul chosen to be the Lord’s witness in Rome (23:11).

The third part of the design found in chapters 3, 10, 17 and 24, After Their Kind, shows Christians saving others and producing After Their Kind; Peter’s second sermon (3:12-26), the conversion of Cornelius and his household (10:44-48), the conversion of Thessalonians and Bereans (17:4 and 12), Felix believed but rejected the Gospel (24:25-26).

In chapters 4, 11, 18 and 25, part four of the pattern, Signs, is clearly evident; the house was shaken after prayer (4:30-31), Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit (11:15-16), Prophetic signs are given (11:27-28), Paul gave a sign to the Jews (18:6).

In chapters 5, 12, 19 and 26 there are so many Spiritual confirmations of the Sabbatical Design; Miracles performed and the Apostles were freed from prison (5:12-19), an angel freed Peter from prison (12:7-11), an angel struck Herod with death (12:23), the Holy Spirit was received by the Corinthians (19:5-6), Paul performed miracles (19:11-12), an evil spirit rejected non-Believers (19:15), Demetrias promoted a false goddess, or spirit of evil (19:27), Paul’s vision of the Lord Jesus (26:14-18).

Man and his (innately sinful) actions are shown in part six of the Sabbatical Design, found in chapters 6, 13, 20 and 27; false witnesses against Stephen (6:10-14), envious Jews stirred up opposition to Paul (13:45-50), Paul avoided Ephesus because of the actions in 19:23-29 (20:16), Paul warned against false teachers (20:29-30), The centurion would not listen to Paul (27:11).

The most blessed part of this design is part seven, Rest and Reprieve, found in chapters 7, 14, 21 and 28; Stephen was called to Eternal Rest (7:56-60), Paul’s reprieve from death (14:19-20), the Apostles stayed at Antioch a long time (14:26-28), Paul was bound and rested from his missionary journeys (21:33), Paul and the entire crew of the ship found reprieve on the Isle of Malta (28:1-10).

Finding these patterns is exciting because they confirm the handiwork of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. These hidden patterns refute the idea promoted by rebellious man of the Bible being a collection of miscellaneous myths. And the patterns or designs help in understanding the Bible. Realizing that chapters 5, 12 and 19 of the Revelation have a spiritual character helps us to understand those chapters better. That is just an example of the benefit of such patterns and designs.

I urge you to study the Word. You will be blessed. In fact, there are two promises of blessing for those who read and keep the words of the Revelation. (Revelation 1:3 and 22:7) Read it and be blessed. And praise the Lord always!

BACK to Lesson Archive.