The Acts of the Apostles
The opening 8 chapters of Acts record the “stumbling” and “fall” of Israel during the extension of mercy and forbearance God gave to them following their rejection of Christ. God gave “repentance to Israel” during this time, before Christ would actually begin to have His day and make His enemies His footstool. This “stumbling” and “fall” was prophesied about, taking place even in view of the increased signs that began on the day of Pentecost, which confirmed the arrival of Israel’s “last days.”
Three honest, open opportunities were given to Israel’s rulers to repent, but they spurned each one. Upon their rejection of the third opportunity, Stephen was given to see that the extension of mercy was over and the Lord was ready to begin His day of wrath. The Fifth and final Installment to the Fifth Course of Punishment was ready to begin.
However, instead of beginning His day of wrath, the Lord did something completely unexpected and not prophesised about.
The Lord Jesus Christ came back from heaven, as related in Acts 9, and raised up Paul to be a brand new apostle. He commissioned him to go out and preach the astounding message that God was holding back the day of wrath, suspending His program with Israel, and was bringing in a new and different dispensation. In view of this, the Lord’s day of wrath has yet to occur and the kingdom of heaven has yet to be established on this earth.
Following the raising up of Paul, the book of Acts records what God did to inform His 12 apostles of the change in programs He had made. It also goes on to describe the “diminishing” of Israel, as God made sure that even those of Israel outside the land knew about the rejection of Christ. In so doing He left them without excuse, but also provoked them to jealousy by His new program with the Gentiles.
Acts, therefore, records the “stumbling,” “fall,” and “diminishing” of Israel.