The Book of Acts
The Foundation for the Context of the Epistles
By Jim Searcy
Every time I read and/or study the Book of Acts, I always find Great Joy and Great Tribulation, gladness and sadness. We joy and rejoice at how SIMPLE the Word of God can make it for His CHILDREN. Simply by UNDERSTANDING the book of Acts, the MANY snares and antichrist strong delusions, which are now upon this earth, can be avoided. However, we also do mourn at how blind so many good "so-called' or "used to be" Christians have become.
Masses do not even know the difference between a Holy Bible and the many profane bibles. Masses of good people thinking they are saved by His grace, are TOTALLY BOUND in a form of godliness which denies the power thereof. Still others are bound up in religious traditions of works righteousness and so-called sacramental observances, which they think are biblical, which have NO biblical basis in fact.
Masses are bound in a
form of works righteousness that they can NOT see. The vast majority of
so-called or used to be Christians are following antichrist religious deceiving
spirits, and religious WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS traditions, unbiblical sacramental
observances, false doctrines, and wresting of the scriptures. They call
legalism, and follow their vain religious ideas. The vast majority of used to be Christians are lawless without regard for biblical holiness. Most who are religious, and claim a regard for holiness, biblical righteousness, and justification by grace through faith, are
following the antichrist deceiving religious spirits to destruction.
While we do rejoice at the fullness of the signs of the Lord's return, we also do mourn at the blindness of the blind leaders of the blind, who are NOT preparing the people of God for this antichrist war on the saints.
Masses are following some self-proclaimed rabbi, or pope, pooh bah, or religious deceiver to destruction, and NOT following the Word of God by the Holy Spirit of Truth. The saddest part is that they THINK they are right. They THINK the Holy Spirit is leading them, when in fact, it is a deceiving religious spirit. The saddest part is they THINK they are right, and do NOT KNOW, because the Strong Delusion has deceived them. They love not the truth, they do not read and study God's book of truth, the KJV Holy Bible. It is amazing that otherwise intelligent people follow leaders who do not even know the difference between the Holy Bible and profane bibles. We have the Word of God that we have the Word of God. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God and not by hearing alternate renderings, even if they have been Hebrew rootie tooted. Many are ever learning and NEVER able to come to the knowledge of the truth. It seems people are learning anything but the MOST NECESSARY principles of Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance to be able to stand in the antichrist war on the saints. Often when the truth of the Word of God is given they instinctively reject the truth by the working of the deceiving spirit which has them bound.
The book of Acts is
most foundational for understanding the New Testament context of the Epistles.
Things taken out of context can become pretexts for anything. It is time NOW for
the many schisms, divisions, or denominations within the Body of Christ to be
healed. The book of Acts being the final word, written AFTER the Epistles,
provides the necessary context to resolve the wresting, twisting, and various
pretexts which cause division.
Acts, more than any other book, defines the relationship between Jews and Gentile BELIEVERS, and members in particular, of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts shows what a lie and great deception that the pope's sun god day Christian terminology pagan sabbath, pagan feasts, and religious traditions really are. It shows why the
antichrist will find it so easy to lead the masses of so-called Christians, into some form or works righteousness religious perversion, to destroy them. Acts puts the light of truth on these antichrist religious deceiving spirits and religious WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS traditions, false doctrines, and wresting of the scriptures.
Brethren we should encourage one another to diligently study the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit of Truth is our Teacher. There are many self- proclaimed rabbis, and liars for hire, who will tell us what we want to hear rather than the truth that we need to hear. We must hear and receive the truth of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit of Truth, to be set free, and stay free from the strong delusions.
We cry out to the Lord, to spare and have mercy on Your people. In seeking how we may be used, that these precious, deceived, antichrist deceiving religious spirit BOUND, people might be set free, the answer is always the same. It is almost like He said to Moses. Tell them I AM that I AM, I AM the Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua THE Messiah,
tell them I AM hath SENT you. Tell My people, Verily My SabbathS ye shall keep: for it is a SIGN between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may KNOW that I AM the LORD that doth sanctify you.
The Lord's SabbathS, that means the seventh day, the day He has chosen since creation, to meet with His people, is the SIGN that you are His. All calendars printed for the 6000 years since creation reflected this truth until recently and it is amazing how few even notice. After nearly 6000 years, in the year 2000, calendars began to be printed with Monday rather than Sunday being the first day of the week. We should see the design of these calendars is to keep people from the blessings of the Lord's Sabbath.
The Sabbath is THE sign between the Creator of heaven and earth and His people. And there is more. It is THE Sign that your God is the creator of heaven and earth. It is THE sign that He KNOWS you and you know Him, whose name is called the Word of God, the Lord of Sabbath. It means His people will observe His seven feasts of the Lord, that
is the meaning of that S at the end of SabbathS in Ex 31:13. It includes the SabbathS of His feasts of the Lord Jesus Christ, and NOT the Christianized pagan feasts of Christmas and Easter.
More so, it means He MUST SANCTIFY US. It means we MUST NOT separate
ourselves. It means He MUST do the separating. It means NO self sanctifying Jude 19's are permissible. Jude 19 says, These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. Anything other than SOUND DOCTRINE RIGHTLY divided from the KJV Holy Bible, that causes division in the Body of Messiah is NOT of the Holy Spirit but rather a deceiving religious spirit, spirits of rebellion, or spirits of heresy. It means that we will to DO His will. It means we will do what He said, just because He said so. It means we hunger to KNOW what He said. It means we will DO what He said, even if our fathers, their fathers before them, and from whomever we have inherited lies and things wherein there is no profit say otherwise. It means we will NOT listen to the Reverends and Rabbis who would dare to presume to teach God's CHILDREN from profane bibles and NOT the KJV Holy Bible.
The most important single thing to recognize from Acts is that the Lord MUST DO THE SANCTIFYING of His people. His people will WILL to DO His will, and will hunger to KNOW His Will by His Word and His Spirit. The Holy Spirit of Truth brings unity by Sound Doctrine, rightly divided, in perfect conformity to the More Sure word which is written.
Another very important thing to learn from Acts is the relationship of Jews and Gentiles in the Church of The Lord Jesus Christ. The Church has NOT replaced Israel. God is a covenant keeping God. The Lord has not, and will not fail, to keep His covenants with His people, Israel.
Born again Christians KNOW that THE Faith of The Lord Jesus Christ makes them part of Israel, and not a replacement of Israel. God is a covenant keeping God. God has NOT cast away His people. His people have left Him because of the antichrist deceiving religious spirits, the false doctrines, and false teachers, about whom Jesus and all of
the Apostles warned us would lead the masses to destruction in these last days before the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ. All believers should diligently seek to UNDERSTAND the important doctrines of the Apostles taught in the book of Acts. We are to UNDERSTAND by the Word of God and the real Holy Ghost, and not some
self-proclaimed rabbi or sun god day liar for hire.
It was a FULL NINE YEARS AFTER PENTECOST when the FIRST Gentile named
Cornelius was allowed into the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostles had NOTHING to do with the pagan sun god day Sabbaths and feasts of Christmas and Easter. The Apostles risked their life twice a day every day to show respect for God's OBLATION ALTAR which affirms the ownership of the Lord Jesus Christ of the fullness of the whole earth. This Oblation altar affirming the ownership of the Lord Jesus Christ of the fullness of the earth will soon be set up and then STOPPED by the antichrist.
It took a tremendous spiritual experience in Peter's life to show him that he should not call any man "unclean" if God had pronounced him clean. It is very ironic that today, after 2,000 years of Church history, many leaders in the "Gentile Church" simply do not
understand that the Jews have also been included in God's plan for these last days. Gentiles and Jews who have THE Faith of Messiah Yeshua, form the ONE same family of God. Through the cross of Messiah, the way into the family of God has become much more simple, clear, and certain than it used to be. However, the deceptions, delusions, antichrist deceiving spirits, antichrist religious spirits, false teachers, and false rabbis have never been more numerous, deceptive, subtle, and dangerous.
Believers, ALL believers, are to cast out devils, heal the sick, and be ready always to give an answer to anyone who asks of the reason of the hope that is in us.
Luke 10:19-20 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
THIS IS FOR ALL BELIEVERS OR ELSE WE ARE BEING TAUGHT A FORM OF
GODLINESS THAT DENIES THE POWER THEREOF.
No generation has had such great need as this generation to understand the doctrines of the Apostles so clearly expressed in the book of Acts. The sound doctrines of the Apostles in Acts, are thoroughly misunderstood by the masses of so-called and used to be Christians. This is a result of antichrist deceiving religious spirits, and the false teachers and false prophets about whom we have been warned, would be a sign of these times in which we now live. We study the book of Acts with the Holy Spirit of Truth as our Teacher and NOT some liar for hire. Yes we do seek righteous judgment and/or confirmation from those in whom is that Spirit of Truth that we have RIGHTLY divided the word of truth. Yet our Teacher remain the Word of God and His Holy Spirit. Sadly today, there are Messianic rabbis who do not believe the biblical doctrine of the Godhead or Trinity, and some have EVEN LEFT THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST. Many today would be SHOCKED how difficult it is for some religious teachers and Messianic Rabbis to say JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH. We should understand that while they will have the greatest of difficulty in passing that simple test of the spirits, at the same time, they will be demonically smooth and subtle in their approach to seek occasion to promote their damnable heresies.
One of the most important things for ALL BELIEVERS to understand NOW is the Apostolic seal, and great respect demonstrated by the Apostles for the Oblation Altar. The Apostles were always in the Temple morning and evening for the Oblation affirmation of the ownership of the Lord Jesus Christ of the fullness of the earth because He created it AND He redeemed it. We NOW are the people who will see this Oblation altar again set up, and we will see it STOPPED by the Antichrist.
Woe be unto ANYONE who DARES to teach ANYTHING AGAINST this Oblation altar. The Word of God is EXPLICIT and we KNOW the Antichrist will oppose and STOP the Oblation altar. Sadly, we also see how the masses of so-called Christians have been deceived and are set up to SOON cheer and follow the antichrist and his false prophet pope to destruction. Antichrist religious spirit deceived and bound so-called, or used to be, Christians will religiously oppose God's seal of ownership of the Lord Jesus Christ, on the fullness of this earth as they follow the antichrist in opposition to God's oblation altar.
The "Gentile Church" has accused the Jews of being "Christ killers." It has been taught that the "Gentile Church" took the place of Israel in God's plan. Do we know who God's people are? They include all Jews and all Gentiles who believe that Messiah is the Kinsman-Redeemer of all the spiritually poor and needy throughout the earth. Such
spiritual pride and deception is NOT the way. God will sanctify His people and people who sanctify themselves are in for a very bad shocking separation by God soon to come on OUR Watch. God will use His Oblation Altar and sacrifice to Separate His sheep from the goats, and His wheat from the tares.
The APOSTLES participated in the offering of the lamb for the morning oblation. They participated in the offering of the lamb at the evening oblation. They knew that the oblation affirmed that the God of Israel owned the fullness of the earth because He created it. Unlike the other Jews, who did not know or recognize Yeshua as THE
Messiah, the Apostles knew the lambs offered at the morning and evening oblation affirmed that the God of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, owned the fullness of the whole earth because He has also redeemed it.
Willing ignorance about the OBLATION, is proof of bondage to WORKS righteousness. In THIS TIME NOW it is a dangerous and most perilous ignorance to lump the Oblation altar and oblation sacrifice together with all the sacrifices under the heading of sacrifices for sin. Anyone doing that is IGNORANT of something VERY essential. That particular ignorance could lead to the destiny of the antichrist and NOT the destiny with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word of God is very clear that many of the sacrifices were NOT for the purposes of atoning for sin. Many of the sacrifices in the Old Testament had nothing to do with sin. If one can not see this, having claimed to know the word of God, it is strong proof such opposers of God's oblation altar are actually in bondage to works righteousness, self-sanctification, and self-righteousness. This really is proof of works righteousness bondage, if not simple ignorance from never having read or studied the Old Testament. The record of the Apostles risking their lives twice daily in respect to God's Oblation altar on THE Place where God has chosen to place His name is EXPLICIT in the book of Acts. Even if one does not realize it, this is an indication of a very subtle attempt to atone for ones own sins with ones own works righteousness religious observances. Such opposition to God's oblation altar on THE Place where He has chosen to place His Name, is a strong indication of NOT trusting in God's righteousness. Such an one is NOT having the true righteousness of Christ imputed through justification by grace through repentance and faith.
Whenever one can not receive that there were free will offerings, and oblation offerings, that were never anything other than a sweet savor unto God, though often too religiously proud of their self sanctification to admit it, are in the DARKEST and most deadly of
deceptions. What is really going on in such a heart is belief that all sacrifices that one makes in life, and especially religious observances, become sacrifices for sin. One so deceived believes that God is so pleased with all their works, that in fact, they are
counting their own works for righteousness. God knows the truth about such a heart. The one deceived in his own vain works righteousness and religious observance does NOT know. The truth such a deceived heart, which God knows, is they really value their self-righteous works, and are hiding their discounting of God's righteousness. The truth of such a heart, that God knows, is attempting to establish its own righteousness, trusting in its own righteousness, rather than trusting the true imputed righteousness of God in Christ, found in THE Atonement of The Lamb of God.
This is so sad and
subtle and is at the root of ALL apostate religions whether they call themselves
Christian or not. Christians have biblical good works flowing as a RESULT of
having found God's grace in REPENTANCE, and following His Holy Spirit of Truth
than the vain religious spirit. Self righteousness, by our own goodness, and our own observances without biblical foundation in the grace of God found in repentance, is INIQUITY. Titus 3:5-6 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Such hypocritical self righteousness stinks, and God knows it, even if such an one has deceived themselves NOT to know it. It will make no difference if all the church folk one knows believes the same deception. The OBLATION altar issue will signify God's right to be the God of this world. Anyone and everyone who opposes the altar will be denying the right of the Lord Jesus Christ as owner of the fullness of the earth, and following the lead of the antichrist and not the example of the Holy Spirit filled Apostles.
Brethren, please do make sure that you understand what an OBLATION is. This short article on the GJiGT can explain that Altar to you. What is the danger in failing to support the oblations?
This is something
that you would do well to try to communicate to all who might have ears to hear.
The bible EXPLICITLY says the antichrist will be the one who does the
abomination of STOPPING the OBLATION Altar. Ignorance and/or opposition to the
OBLATION altar could end you up with the tares and goats in hell, rather than
with the wheat and sheep, which will be gathered into the Master's Kingdom. The
OBLATION Altar will separate the sheep from the goats. The goats will follow and
cheer the antichrist for the abomination that will make them desolate when he
stops the OBLATION. The sheep will follow the example of the Holy Spirit filled
Apostles and joy and rejoice in the Oblation altar, trusting only in God's Mercy
and His Righteousness.
Believers finding the grace of God through repentance and faith in the Atonement of The Lord Jesus Christ, hunger to KNOW what God said with FULL determination to DO what God said just because God said so. They do not need to figure it out. God said so is enough for them. God's people know that if they will continue to read His word daily that the Holy Spirit will give UNDERSTANDING as they will turn at His reproof. They will KNOW because they have read it with their own eyes, in context, in the KJV Holy Bible, with the Holy Spirit giving them understanding as they turn at the reproof of the Word of God.
The book of Acts shows why the vast majority of so-called or used to be Christians will cheer and follow the Antichrist and his false prophet Pope as he leads them to destruction, NOW, in the perilous times of these glorious last days.
In the book of Acts we get
a clear understanding of the relationship
between the Royal Law of God and the Grace of God. It MUST be
BOTH, we must know BOTH the Law and Grace of God. We see the sound doctrine of
the Apostles confirmed by the actions of their lives in the power of the Holy
Spirit. This doctrine and example of the Apostles should give God's children
great protection from the various types of wolves in sheep's clothing seeking to
lead them to destruction in these last days.
Some of the wolves today teach Satan's grace, instead of God's grace, that God will not really punish sin. Some would teach to look at the Cross of Christ and see a license or excuse to sin, instead of the best reason to want to stop sinning. There was nothing wrong with the old covenant. The fault with the old covenant was found with the people, and not with the old covenant itself. Hebrews 8:8 makes that perfectly clear. For finding fault with THEM, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
A new covenant was necessary, NOT because of fault with the old covenant, but because of fault with THEM. The people did not have the heart to keep God's covenant, God's Royal Law of LOVE, life, and liberty. Yes, His Royal Law, those 10 Commandments are 10 simple instructions in REAL genuine LOVE, four how to love God, and six how to love our fellow man. There was not fault, and still can be NO
fault found with that covenant. It truly is an outrage how the antichrist global governments make the public display of that perfect Royal Law illegal. The fault was found with the people and their heart attitude not being set to love and obedience to such a good and merciful God.
When we look at the Cross of Christ, if we have found God's grace to come to repentance, in response to the TRUE Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, we see the BEST reason, from our heart, to WANT TO keep that Royal Law of God. We WANT TO obey the Law of God, we WANT TO keep our part of His covenant of grace to us.
So we have a new covenant with a BETTER priesthood and BETTER promises. We have the best reason to want to keep our end of the covenant from the heart. Jesus said IF you love Me, keep My commandments. Who would not want to serve, obey, love such a King who has done what King Jesus has done for us? But we see there is ANOTHER
gospel today, which leaves out repentance. Paul said it as strong and clear as it could be said and gave the IMMEDIATE second witness. Gal 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Paul says it strong that those following another gospel will be DAMNED. It is MOST certain any gospel without the necessity of repentance being central is another gospel.
THE True Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ MUST have repentance CENTRAL. That is how we KNOW we have found the GRACE of God by repentance. The WAY of the Believer is the way of repentance. We have the BEST reason to want to keep that law because we REALLY do love our King Yeshua, and therefore WANT TO keep His commandments.
Now there is also another brand of wolf that will try to get you into religion. This type of wolf attempts into a system of religious works and religious observances whereby one might make oneself acceptable to God. Truly this is an ABOMINATION. If we are going to be acceptable to God the first thing we MUST understand is that it was God's HOLINESS which was offended by our sin. It is not the degree of sin, but the FACT that any sin is an OFFENSE TO GOD'S HOLINESS. It therefore MUST, and can ONLY be God, who will make the conditions by which the offense to His Holiness may be satisfied. The offense to God's holiness can be satisfied NO OTHER way than by THE way, which
the sacrifice of our King made for us. Alleluia What a Savior and great King of Glory.
Jesus did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill it. He gives us the best reason, and the power of the Holy Spirit to keep our end of the covenant, on this side of the Cross of Messiah. The book of Acts makes this so clear. We need to understand this, because in these last days there are so many wolves, snares, and deceptions. There are so many antichrist deceiving spirits. All of the wolves appear to be sheep to hide their antichrist spirits and deceptive doctrines. We have to KNOW the Truth to set us free, and keep us free, from these smooth talking deceiving wolves in sheep's clothing.
Jesus, and all the Apostles warned us, of the wolves that looked like sheep, which would be filling the pulpits and airwaves in these last days of Strong Delusion in the antichrist war on the saints.
We must remember that it was a FULL NINE YEARS AFTER THE APOSTLES WERE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST AT PENTECOST that the FIRST GENTILE, Cornelius, was allowed into the Church of Jesus Christ. It was NINE years AFTER Pentecost, when the Jewish disciples in Jerusalem rejoiced at Peter's explanation of Cornelius' conversion.
It is essential we understand the Jerusalem council of the Apostles. Acts 15:1-5 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had NO SMALL DISSENSION AND DISPUTATION WITH THEM - BECAUSE some religious spirit bound vain people were saying - That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
This became known as the "Judaizing" controversy. Today it is very sad to witness a revival of genuine biblical Judaizing. We see this 1600 year dead, biblical Judaizing, rising out of the greatest PROPHETIC move of the Spirit in the history of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we do mourn to see the modern Messianic movement of these last days, bringing a revival of biblical Judaizing.
People are not more spiritual by pretending to speak by using Hebrew words instead of English words. That is the work of a religious spirit and NOT the work of the Holy Spirit. Religious spirits counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit. We know God is pleased with people who delight in the Lord's Sabbath more than the pope's sabbath. However, the free, unchecked occasion, and even the spreading of the religious spirits, in the Messianic movement is NOT GOOD OR PLEASING TO GOD.
Acts 15:1-5 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had NO SMALL DISSENSION AND DISPUTATION WITH THEM BECAUSE some religious spirit bound vain people were Judaizing. This was and is the classic biblical "Judaizing" controversy.
Classical Biblical Judaizing has been extinct for almost 1600 years. As we should expect, in these last days of strong delusion, we are now seeing the greatest revival of Classical Biblical Judaizing ever. It is especially sad that we see this 1600 year extinct DESTRUCTIVE biblical Judaizing, rising out of the greatest PROPHETIC move of the Spirit in the history of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Most of you know we were planting and nurturing Messianic congregations before Messianic became cool or messy. We do especially mourn over this revival of biblical Judaizing.
Within the church there is much misunderstanding of the biblical context of this term Judaizing. What is Judaizing? As the Word of God defines it: Judaizing is the view that unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved.
(Acts 15:1) However, PLEASE UNDERSTAND, that Judaizing would also hold that following the call to be a Jew places an individual on a HIGHER SPIRITUAL PLAIN with God, which is otherwise unobtainable. YES, THAT IS JUDAIZING TOO!
When it comes to a correct understanding of biblical Judaizing it is good to understand what Judaizing is NOT. Judaizing is not a term to be applied to believing Jews who maintain their practice, heritage, and IRREVOCABLE CALL, to be part of the nation of Israel. Neither does Judaizing refer to non-Jews who have an appreciation for Jewish
Classical Biblical Judaizing teaches that following the call to be a Jew places an individual on a HIGHER SPIRITUAL PLAIN with God, which is otherwise unobtainable. YES, THAT IS JUDAIZING!
The Good News of the Gospel of Yeshua Messiah is a message of salvation by grace through repentance and faith in Yeshua THE Messiah. No human work can be an ingredient in that salvation. It cannot be said that any human work is necessary to fulfill that salvation.
Paul asserted his apostleship as of equal authority to the Jerusalem apostles. His apostleship was clearly recognized by the Jerusalem apostles. Paul made it very clear that Gentiles are saved by grace through repentance and faith in Yeshua, without adopting the IRREVOCABLE CALL and life of national Israel. While making that clear, Paul also taught heart OBEDIENCE to the Law of God, as the expected RESULT of that TRUE reception of the Grace of God, through repentance and faith in Messiah. Paul taught a higher incentive to KEEP and OBEY the Law of God. Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Did anyone ask the Holy Spirit yet, what Law is he talking about? We know there are four basic types of laws. When we read or hear that word LAW it is very good and wise to ask - What Law? 1 The Law of Sin and Death from which ONLY the Blood of Yeshua can redeem. 2 - The Law of Moses. 3 The Law of commandments and ordinances of Rabinic Tradition. 4 The Royal Law of Love, Life, and Liberty, (the 10
The fault with the old covenant was with the heart of the people, and not the old covenant itself. Paul made it very clear that the Judaizer's position was WRONG. Judaizers implied that a man was righteous in the sight of God by his works according to the LAW, rather than by faith in the atonement and resurrection of Yeshua. And just like the Judaizing from segments of the Modern Messianic Movement, they would include those rabinic additions which were nailed to the Cross of Messiah. This was AND IS heresy, and NOT the subject of Peter and Paul's argument. Paul publicly rebuked Peter
because Peter was INSINCERE about the Gospel, because he refused to eat with the Gentile believers, after the Jews from Jerusalem arrived.
When the Gentile had accepted Yeshua he was clean in Messiah. This was the point of Peter's vision in Acts 10, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common or unclean. Peter's vision had NOTHING to do with eliminating the God given instructions regarding food. Saying that vision did away with God given instructions regarding food, simply is WRONG. The vision was all about the FACT that the Gentiles were clean in Yeshua. This truth was to be reflected by eating with them. Eating together signified mutual acceptance and spiritual unity. Peter had withdrawn under the pressure of the fear of men. Such withdrawal undercut the truth of salvation by grace, and the spiritual unity of Jews and Gentiles in Yeshua.
We should understand that the Jews still have a covenant, IRREVOCABLE CALL, to be part of God's working and fulfilling all His word through national Israel, soon to become the nation of Judah. However, Jews and Gentiles in Messiah, MUST UNDERSTAND justification by faith, and MUST NOT DO ANYTHING TO UNDERCUT THAT FOUNDATION.
Judaizing teaching, salvation by works, is WRONG. However, the obvious result and proof of salvation is the works. James clearly tells us, faith without works is dead. John tells us, hereby we do know that we KNOW Him, if we keep His commandments. Jesus said, if you love me keep my commandments. That is quite clear and simple for a child to understand. It is amazing how religious deceiving spirits can complicate such pure simple truth.
Everyone should be able to see in that famous First Apostolic Council in Jerusalem, of Acts 15, not a single word questioned the IRREVOCABLE CALL to national Israel in the last days fulfillment of the Word of God. Neither is there a single word that it was not proper, and even expected for Jews, to maintain their heritage and CALL and Jewish biblical practice. James carefully pointed out and encouraged the Gentile believers to observe the 4th commandment, remembering to keep holy the Sabbath day.
By his statement "For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every SABBATH day," the Gentiles were encouraged to take advantage of the preaching and teaching of the Torah and the prophets. It was a foregone conclusion that these Gentile new believers in Yeshua, would want to learn the
foundation of their faith. The foundation of their faith was the SAME scriptures that Yeshua and the Apostles had, the Old Testament. These scriptures of Moses and the prophets were ONLY available, on the Sabbath, in every community, in the local synagogue.
These new Gentle believers knew that all the Law and the Prophets found their fulfillment in Yeshua as the Messiah. These new Gentile believers would make the Jews in the synagogues jealous. They knew the Messiah. They had a relationship with the Messiah. Their understanding and excitement recognizing how the scriptures being
taught in the synagogues on Sabbath pointed to Yeshua, provoked the Jews to jealousy. Their understanding in celebrating the Feasts of the Lord, provoked the Jews to jealousy.
The job of the Apostles, since Messiah had removed the dividing wall of hostility, was to spread the Good News of Yeshua, without any barriers of culture or national CALLING standing in the way.
Acts 21 is the most important passage in the New Testament for understanding the Apostle's position on the practice of Jewish believers. It reflects the doctrine of the Apostles and makes what was implied in the New Testament explicit. The Good News had really spread in Jerusalem. There literally were tens of thousands of Jews who believed. They were ALL zealous for the Law.
being zealous for the Law is not "legalism." It should be obvious that being
zealous for the Law is the natural proof of salvation for the Jew. It should
ALSO be the evident proof of salvation in the life of the Gentile. Yeshua came
to save us from the law of sin and death. Yeshua said, "go and sin no more."
Yeshua gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to obey the Law, and stop sinning.
He did not come to give us a license to sin, and call everyone who keeps the
commandments a "legalist." We are saved by grace to find repentance through our
faith in the atonement of the Blood of Yeshua. The proof of our salvation is
that we stop sinning. Yet to deny the FACT that we were born sinners would make
God a liar. (1 John 1:10 Part of our blessed hope is to die redeemed repentant
sinners bound for glory. Messiah did NOT come to call the righteous but SINNERS
to REPENTANCE and Faith. (Mat 9:13) The proof of salvation is that we love the
Law and keep it. The proof of salvation is NOT that we call people who keep the
The reason the restatement of the Acts 15 decision was made again in Acts 21 is so that we will understand that Paul's maintaining his Jewish heritage was no compromise of the principle of freedom in the Gospel, made in Acts 15. Paul did not compromise! We should understand how this clearly revealed the difference of CALL in one universal body of faith.
THAT BY NO MEANS PUTS JEWS, OR PRETEND TO BE JEWS, ON ANY HIGHER
SPIRITUAL PLAIN THAT SORT OF WORK OF THE RELIGIOUS SPIRIT IS WHAT
RESULTS IN BIBLICAL JUDAIZING. WHAT AN ABOMINATION IT IS TO SEE PEOPLE TRYING TO PRETEND TO BE MORE JEWISH, AND BY THAT PRETENTIOUS HYPOCRISY, MORE SPIRITUAL.
Acts makes it so obvious that Paul was a practicing Jew throughout his whole life. He was indeed a Pharisee of the Pharisees. We should understand the reason why Paul circumcised Timothy and why he would NOT circumcise Titus. Paul always insisted his Gospel was to the Jew first. He expected Jewish AND Gentile Christians to be loyal to the Torah of Judaism. Jews under the New Covenant are still IRREVOCABLY CALLED to maintain their identity as part of national Israel. Gentiles are not called to be wanna-be, or pretend to be Jews.
I think it would please God if the Gentiles would lift up the name of Yeshua, as much as it would please Him if the Jews would lift up the Name of Jesus, for the sake of unity.
Having planted and nurtured
Messianic congregations from before
Messianic became cool or messy, one can speak from a point of
experience about some of the messy Messianic messes the Messianics are messing
with in these last days. The only Messianic Rabbi of whom I can immediately
think, who would use fewer Hebrew words in speaking to English speaking
Messianic Congregations today, would be the Messiah Yeshua Himself. It is His
approval which I seek, without regard for the approval of the rabbis,
potentates, and pooh-bahs of the UMJC, MJAA, or anyone else.
Here are some of the IMPORTANT things we should learn and know from the Acts of the Apostles:
1) What a GREAT difference the Holy Ghost makes. The Lord sanctifies us. We do NOT make ourselves sanctified. We follow the lead of the Holy Ghost, to be conformed to the image of Christ, growing from faith to FAITH, taking every thought captive to the mind of Christ.
2) Even after we receive the Holy Ghost we can really mess up. Therefore we need the KJV Holy Bible, and we NEED the Holy Ghost more than ever, and we need each other, to be able to receive the reproof of life.
3) We MUST hear the voice of God.
4) Deliverance, Spiritual Warfare, and the casting out of devils should be the number one ministry of the church as we prepare to endure to the end of this antichrist war on the saints.
5) Being zealous for the Law is not "legalism."
6) The fourth commandment is still the fourth commandment. The pope had no right or authority to change the Sabbath day. The Lord Jesus Christ was Crucified on WEDNESDAY Nissan 14, 30 AD, and was resurrected on SATURDAY, the Sabbath, Nissan 17, 30 AD. Click here for documentation and PROOF if these FACTS
7) The book of Acts explains the relationship between Jew and Gentile believers IN Messiah Yeshua, Christ Jesus.
8) It is important to understand BOTH the Law and Grace of God.
9) Perhaps, in these last days, the Gentile believers should make the Jews jealous, by stopping the silly bowing to the Roman Catholic pope's sun god day, and celebrate Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath. We should honor God, rather than the Roman Catholic pope, by Remembering the only Commandment which begins with Remember.
10) Perhaps in these last days the Gentile believers in Messiah should provoke the Jews to jealousy by their Biblical UNDERSTANDING that all of the Feasts of the Lord celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps the Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should let the pope keep his pagan celebrations of Christmas and Easter. If it is something GOOD then 7 Feasts are better than 2 feasts, especially when celebrated with UNDERSTANDING and Joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, it is very sad to witness a revival of genuine biblical Judaizing, rising out of the greatest PROPHETIC move of the Spirit in the history of the church. Prophetically the modern Messianic movement is far greater than the entire Reformation. People are not more spiritual by pretending to speak by using Hebrew words instead of English words. That is the work of a religious spirit and NOT the work of the Holy Spirit. Religious spirits counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit. The free unchecked occasion, and even the spreading of the religious spirits, in the Messianic movement, is NOT GOOD OR PLEASING TO GOD.
Within the church there is much misunderstanding of the biblical context of this term Judaizing. As the Word of God defines it: Judaizing is the view that unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved. "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (Acts 15:1) Judaizing would also hold that following the call to be a Jew places an individual on a HIGHER SPIRITUAL PLAIN with God, which is otherwise unobtainable. YES THAT IS JUDAIZING TOO!
The Good News of the Gospel of Yeshua Messiah is a message of salvation by grace through repentance and faith in Yeshua THE Messiah. No human work can be an ingredient in that salvation. It cannot be said that any human work is necessary to fulfill that salvation. Paul made it very clear that the Judaizer's position was WRONG. Judaizers implied that a man was righteous in the sight of God by his works according to the LAW, rather than by faith in the atonement and resurrection of Yeshua. This was heresy, and NOT the subject of Peter and Paul's argument. Paul publicly rebuked Peter because Peter was INSINCERE about the Gospel, because he refused to eat with the Gentile believers, after the Jews from Jerusalem arrived.
We understand that the Jews still have a covenant, IRREVOCABLE CALL, to be part of God's working and fulfilling all His word through national Israel, soon to become the nation of Judah. However, Jews and Gentiles in Messiah, MUST UNDERSTAND justification by faith, and MUST NOT DO ANYTHING TO UNDERCUT THAT FOUNDATION.
Judaizing teaching, salvation by works, is wrong. However, the obvious result and proof of salvation is the works. James clearly tells us, faith without works is dead. John tells us, hereby we do know that we KNOW Him, if we keep His commandments. Jesus said, if you love me keep my commandments. That is quite clear and simple for a child to understand. It is amazing how religious deceiving spirits can complicate such pure simple truth.
The job of the Apostles, since Messiah had removed the dividing wall of hostility, was to spread the Good News of Yeshua, without any barriers of culture or national CALLING standing in the way.
UNDERSTAND, that being zealous for the Law is not "legalism." It should be obvious that being zealous for the Law is the natural proof of salvation for the Jew. It should ALSO be the evident proof of salvation in the life of the Gentile. Yeshua came to save us from the curse of the law of sin and death. Yeshua said, "go and sin no more." Yeshua gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to obey the Law, and stop sinning. He did not come to give us a license to sin, and call everyone who keeps the commandments a "legalist." We are saved by grace through our faith in the atonement of the Blood of Yeshua. The proof of our salvation is that we stop sinning. The proof of salvation is that we love the Law and keep it. The proof of salvation is NOT that we call people who keep the
USING HEBREW WORDS BY NO MEANS PUTS JEWS, OR PRETEND TO BE JEWS, ON ANY HIGHER SPIRITUAL PLAIN THAT IS THE SORT OF WORK OF THE
RELIGIOUS SPIRIT AND NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT. DO YOU REALLY THINK THE
LORD YESHUA WOULD COME INTO A CONGREGATION WHERE THE MOTHER TONGUE OF THE CONGREGATION WAS ENGLISH AND SPEAK HEBREW??? IF YOU DO, YOU ARE VERY DECEIVED BY RELIGIOUS DEMON SPIRITS. SADLY, PEOPLE TRYING TO IMPRESS OTHER PEOPLE WITH THEIR JEWISHNESS TODAY, IS WHAT RESULTS IN BIBLICAL JUDAIZING HERESY. SUCH HERESY IS STRONGLY CONDEMNED BY ALL THE APOSTLES AND BY THE LORD YESHUA HIMSELF. WHAT AN ABOMINATION IT IS TO SEE PEOPLE TRYING TO PRETEND TO BE MORE JEWISH, AND BY THAT PRETENTIOUS HYPOCRISY, MORE SPIRITUAL.
The gospel teaches that by the sacrificial death of Messiah, the partition wall between Jew and Gentile was taken down, and we have a better priesthood with better promises. Because Peter's offence was public, Paul publicly reproved him. Peter, by withdrawing from the Gentiles, led others to think that the Jews have some sort of higher spiritual ranking. To teach, or to in any way imply, that Jews are spiritually superior to the Gentiles, by their observance of rabbinical ordinances and traditions, is Judaizing, and heresy. The oral law, the handwritten rabbinical additions to the law and the prophets, has been nailed to the cross of Messiah.
Paul was not inferior to any apostle, even to Peter himself. The public rebuke of Peter, and by Peter finding the GRACE of God to REPENT, proves that FACT of Paul's Apostleship beyond ALL controversy. Messiah tore down the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles. That dividing wall had NO basis in Torah. The removal of the barrier between Jews and Gentiles is part of the great foundation doctrine of the gospel and faith of Messiah.
Just exactly what is it that we believe in Messiah? Our belief is that we might be justified by the faith of Messiah. If so, and if Messiah tore down that dividing wall, nailing the handwritten rabbinical additions of the oral law commandments and ordinances to the cross, HOW DARE RELIGIOUS SPIRIT BOUND MESSIANIC BELIEVERS GO ABOUT REBUILDING THAT WALL. INDEED TEACHING JEWISH OBSERVANCE IS HIGHER SPIRITUALITY, IS JUDAIZING HERESY. JUDAIZING HERESY SHOULD BE REBUKED AS STRONGLY AS PAUL REBUKED PETER.
It is foolish, even for Jewish believers in Messiah, to go back to those rabbinical handwritten additions to torah ordinances, which the Messiah so STRONGLY REBUKED in Matthew 23rd chapter. There is NOTHING Holy Spirit spiritual, about going back to the rabbinical additions, traditions, handwritten commandments, and ordinances which Messiah CONDEMNED and NAILED to the Cross of Calvary.
To try to impress the church folk with your Hebrew words is NOT the work of the Holy Spirit, but rather the work of vanity and the demonic religious spirits. To seek religious status by EXTRA BIBLICAL rabbinical additions to the KJV Holy Bible, is simply WRONG.
The merit of moral works, is that they FOLLOW the justification and love of Messiah. The occasion of the public rebuke of Peter arose from these rabbinical additions and ceremonial law. However, the principle is quite strong against all dependence upon the works of the moral law, in respect to justification. But if, while we seek to be justified by Messiah, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Messiah the minister of sin? This would be very dishonorable to Messiah. On this side of the cross of Messiah, there is now no further need of the sacrifices, cleansings, ritual washings, phylactery wrapping, and other rabbinical ordinances and observances, since they were done away in Messiah. That is foundational to Messiah's work in His offering up Himself as the Lamb of God, and once for all sacrifice for our sins.
Because of our blessed hope we have no fear of death or hell; any more than a dead man would fear an enemy. But the effect is NOT, a lawless life. Now we live to please God, and as such, will abhor the vanity and religious spirits being manifest by those who would try to impress the church folk with their Jewishness and rabbinical ordinance observances. Those who are IN Messiah, being led by the Holy Spirit, and not a religious spirit, are zealous for the Biblical law confirmed by the Word of God, out of devotion to Messiah. Our obedience is the natural and expected response to the Love and Grace of the gospel. Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
The doctrine of justification by faith alone, tends to encourage people of REAL faith, to be zealous for the law. Those justified by real faith are NOT zealous for the rabbinical ordinance observances. Those who do NOT view sin as exceeding sinful, are NOT saved; but, they are deceived. We are to find His grace in repentance through faith in His Atonement, and the evidence of that faith is the resulting works that FOLLOW. To take occasion from free grace, or the doctrine of justification by faith, to live in sin, is to try to make Messiah the minister of sin. Any truly born again Christian is repulsed by such ideas.
Jews under the New Covenant are still IRREVOCABLY CALLED to maintain their identity as part of national Israel. Gentiles are not called to be wannabe, or pretend to be Jews. I think it would please God if the Gentiles would lift up the name of Yeshua, as much as it would please Him if the Jews would lift up the Name of Jesus, for the sake of unity.
The Sound Doctrines of the Acts of The Apostles
The book of Acts is most foundational for understanding the New Testament context. The Acts of the Apostles, is the continuation of the Gospel of Luke. Luke traveled with the Apostle Paul and remained with him until the end. The Book of Acts is much more than the exciting history of what happened in the 40 years after Yeshua (Jesus) ascended to take His seat on the throne in heaven, at the right hand of G-d the Father. It is the key book which will help us unload the theological baggage which has caused the great divisions in the Body of Messiah for the last 1600 years. It is essential for us to understand that we all have theological baggage. Even the great men of G-d, like Brother Stair, Martin Luther, and Monte Judah have theological baggage. To deny we have theological baggage is to deny the truth of the word of G-d which clearly tells us that we ALL know IN PART. G-d did it that way so that we would not get puffed up, and that we would realize that we need each other. As surely as the Catholic Pope is not infallible, neither are any of the various protestant prophets, teachers, rabbis, pastors, and Pooh-Bahs on this side of glory.
Whenever questions of doctrine arise, the book of Acts is generally passed over to find the answers in the epistles. Now days some people actually go to comments of unsaved rabbis who do not have the Holy Spirit, rather than the Book of Acts. Some actually seek answers on doctrinal issues from rabbis who do NOT, and can not confess, that Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh, rather than going to the Book of Acts. Some actually seek answers on doctrinal issues from damnable heretics who have left the Doctrine of Messiah, rather than to the Book of Acts. This causes many of the divisions. People always seem to choose their own particular brand of church theology rather than to look to the Book of Acts as a foundation to understand the epistles. When one goes to the epistles without the Acts context, one will find many a great pretext to think they got it right and everyone else has it wrong. The Book of Acts provides the context for understanding the epistles. Things taken out of context become pretexts for most anything you want to believe. Without the context of Acts, theological baggage causing strife and division, will continue to divide the Body of Messiah.
Central in this strife and division is understanding the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in the kaheelah or church of Messiah. Luke's theology, inspired by the Holy Ghost, will help us all unload our theological baggage. We all have theological baggage and we don't even know it. For 1 Cor 13:9 says - For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. And 1 Cor 13:12 says - For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. Luke carefully researched his material and was an eye witness to much of the material in Acts, which was written AFTER Paul's epistles. The Epistles of Paul are written for very specific situations, and a lack of understanding of those situations, is the source of much theological baggage. There is no way we can understand the specific situations, which the epistles of Paul address, if we fail to understand from the foundation laid out in the Book of Acts. Understand, that these were indeed specific situations that Paul addressed in his epistles. It is only the context provided by the Book of Acts, which will keep us from going out on theological tangents, to generalize the epistles in ways that make general applications of specific situations. Luke's perspective in the book of Acts is a general overall perspective, and a summary made AFTER the epistles were written. This overall perspective provides the ESSENTIAL CONTEXT to keep us from being misled on various theology tangents that can easily fragment even the faithful remnant of the Body of Messiah. The L-rd now calls us all to repent, and discard that theological baggage which divides His Body, which He is going to restore. We best demonstrate true godly leadership by example of personal repentance. Knowledge puffs up, while love builds up.
The Book of Acts begins with the L-rd's ascension into heaven. The disciples are very much concerned about the establishment of the kingdom on earth through Israel. Yeshua reminds them to be patient and to do G-d's work. Even in Acts chapter 1 we can see the continued purpose for the nation of Israel, as well as an eventual coming to the world of the earthly reign of Messiah spoken of by the prophets. However the disciples are told to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, after which, they will be mighty witnesses of all that G-d has done through Yeshua. Their ministry is to have world wide dimensions. Yet the disciples believe that this world wide dimension was to come by witnessing to Jews scattered all over the world. They believed that the Gentiles would also respond by becoming Jews, at the return of the Messiah, once Israel had accepted His Good News.
The account of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is one of the most wonderful in all of scripture. The 120 were gathered in the upper room, in prayer, on this day as were all Jews. Then there appeared tongues of fire on each one of them, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance. It is important to remember that the feast of Shavuot, or Pentecost, is one of the 3 major feasts of Israel, for which devout men were to travel to Jerusalem. This is what made men devout men. They traveled to Jerusalem, as instructed by G-d, for these 3 feasts which required them to be at Jerusalem. That is what the term "devout men" means. Devout men from every nation under heaven were dwelling in Jerusalem for the feast. That means that the men, at the feast, from all those nations, were Jews. They were Jews who spoke the languages of the countries from which they had come. This miracle of the languages points to the truth that the Good News was for every nation and tongue, and yet at that time, it was only the Jews from those nations who were hearing the Good News. That crowd which was gathered were bewildered because each one HEARD them speaking in his own language. They were amazed and they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. Acts 2:5-11
It is true that there were proselytes there on that occasion, but proselytes were converts to Judaism, just like Luke was. It was Peter who stood up and gave the great interpretation of the event. His message is a profound affirmation of the truth of Messiah's life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return. And he calls upon the people gathered to repent. The miracles were undeniable. Yeshua was resurrected. Many signs and wonders were done. Those who were added to this young congregation of believers numbered about 3000. It was a significant congregation of Jewish believers in Yeshua that was established at Jerusalem on that day. Their lives were changed and there was a demonstration of love and unparalleled sharing. They sold their possessions to meet each others needs. They broke bread in one another's homes and enjoyed a deep fellowship in praise to G-d. The Jewish religious establishment sought to stop the apostles from their miracle works and teaching under the power of G-d. The establishment even whipped them for continuing their work. The apostles continued that work of teaching and miracles under obedience to the Spirit. They considered it a privilege to suffer for Yeshua and for righteousness' sake. We can see that by Acts 4:4 that the number of followers had swelled to over 5000. We see that Peter still addressed them as sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which G-d gave to your father Abraham (3:25). The covenant with Abraham is still perfectly valid, and is fulfilled, and will be fulfilled, in Yeshua's ministry (Acts 3:26 and chapter 4).
We then see how Ananias and Sapphira die for their sin of covetousness and lying to the Holy Ghost, and GREAT FEAR fell on, not only the congregation, but the entire community. Then there was the rest and spiritual growth through the feeding of the disciples. There were great miracles of healing followed by the great speech of Gamaliel to let the movement be for if it is not of G-d, it will come to nothing. Then in chapter 6, we see the appointment of deacons to serve the congregation. This then set the apostles free to serve the congregation in teaching and prayer. What had caused this to occur was the fact that the Greek speaking, Hellenistic Jews, complained of unfair treatment toward their widows in the distribution of community funds. One of the deacons appointed was Steven. Steven had a powerful preaching and teaching ministry. There were some who hated his teaching ministry and conspired to have him arrested on trumped up charges of blasphemy. We see his great defense in chapter 7. In that sermon he tells the whole story of Israel's history. At the end of his account of Israel's history, Steven makes a strong accusation against his accusers calling them stiffnecked, uncircumcised in heart and ears, resisting the Holy Spirit, and following the tradition of those who killed the prophets. They were enraged and stoned Stephen, illegally, on the spot. But Steven saw a vision of Yeshua, praying that his spirit be received as he asked forgiveness for those stoning him. Wow! How do we ever kick against just those who revile and reject us?
The fact is that in all this up to chapter 8, the Good News had not yet spread beyond geographic Israel. The struggle is between Jews who follow Yeshua, and a Jewish religious establishment that seeks to destroy the movement. It is the persecution that follows in the 8th chapter, which finally becomes the means of forcing the Good News out of its confinement. There is still no sense yet that the Gospel was to be offered freely to Gentiles. The Good News was still for Jews only, at this point. Now we begin to see G-d preparing for a change of understanding by spreading the Gospel to the Samaritans and the amazing conversion of Saul to the movement, and the wonderful story of the conversion by Peter, of the Gentile proselyte, Cornelius. This conversion prepared the apostles to accept a ministry to the Gentiles, the most prominent ministry being that of Paul, the former great persecutor of the "followers of the Way." The earliest name for followers of Yeshua was "followers of the Way."
The pattern for the last days is that what God did at the beginning, God will do in the last days. As the church started all Jewish, the times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled. In the last days it will be just as it was in the beginning of the history of the "followers of the Way."
When Phillip preached to the Samaritans, there was a tremendous response. Many believed and were cleansed from unclean spirits, and many were healed. Many were baptized in the Name of Yeshua, but strangely, the Holy Spirit did not come upon them. The account in Acts chapter 8 is NOT an example of the way the Spirit must come to indwell a person. These people were Samaritans. In general, people could receive the Spirit without the apostle's laying on of hands. Unless the apostles became the source of their receiving the Spirit, the conversion of the Samaritans would be suspect, for the Samaritans were not accepted as Jews. They were considered half-breeds who no longer followed the truth. Seven hundred years earlier, when the Assyrians took the northern tribes captive, there were non-Jews who settled in the region of Samaria, who intermarried with the few remaining clans. When the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, to reestablish the nation and temple, the Samaritans, fearing the loss of their own political position opposed them. Great hatred grew between the Jews and the Samatitans.
The Samaritans worshipped at Mt. Gerizim, and not in Jerusalem. The Samaritans accepted the Torah, (5 books of Moses), but they did not accept the books of the prophets, and allowed and accepted many of the pagan occult practices. Many "followers of the Way," disciples of Yeshua, would certainly have held that the Samaritans could not accept Yeshua unless they renounced their Samaritan religion and converted to full fledged Judaism. Peter and John laid hands on those Samaritans, and then they received the Holy Spirit with supernatural manifestations. We are not told what these manifestations were. It may have been prophecy, it could have been tongues, it could have been any of the manifest gifts of the Holy Spirit. It was clear by the manifest gifts of the Spirit that there would be no dispute from the Jerusalem congregation as to the genuineness of these Samaritan believers and now "followers of the Way," having received the Holy Spirit.
However, to accept the Samaritans, who in spite of the errors, had a Jewish ancestry, accepted the Torah, was quite different from accepting Gentiles who were foreign and pagan. This is where we see the providence of G-d in the conversion of Saul into Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, in chapter 9. He was a student of Gamaliel, the greatest rabbi of his day, a Roman citizen from Tarsus, a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He had letters of authority to beat and/or imprison "followers of the Way" as he journeyed to Damascus after them. On the way to Damascus he saw his great vision of Yeshua, forever putting the fear of G-d on Saul, and converting him to Paul the apostle. He was blinded and told to go on into Damascus.
This was one of the great miracles of history. Those who seek any kind of natural explanation of this event are to be pitied. There is no natural explanation for this supernatural experience which so dramatically changed the life of Paul the apostle. A Damascus disciple named Ananias also had a vision telling him to go tho the house of Judas in Damascus to find the blinded Saul. G-d also gave Paul another vision that Ananias would come to lay hand on him that his sight would be restored. The whole thing was supernatural. Ananias could not know where to go, and he sure did not want to go to this famous persecutor of his people, and even argued with G-d about going to such a famous persecutor. In Acts 9:15-16 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. Ananias obeys, Paul receives his sight, is baptized and accepts his call as apostle to the Gentiles.
Paul now preaches the Good News in the Synagogue, Acts 9:20, mind you in the Synagogues, not the church. He escapes an attempt to kill him, and seeks to join the disciples in Jerusalem, who cannot believe that he too is a disciple. Through the intervention of Barnabus, they accept Paul into their fellowship. Paul is now sent to Tarsus and we should understand that we still have a 100% Jewish movement regarding "followers of the Way," disciples of Messiah Yeshua.
In Acts 10 we finally come to the great turning point. It is crucial for us to realize at this point that we are still reading Jewish history. Against all prejudice and theological baggage of the ages we must shout, that Yeshua is the Messiah, and savior of the Jewish people. Let it be said again, against all the prejudice and theological baggage of the ages, we must shout that Yeshua is the Messiah, and savior of the Jewish people. Do we have an inkling of the theological baggage which may have crept in to some of our understandings because of our failure to appreciate the foundational nature of the Book of Acts for our understanding of the epistles?
Only the supernatural work of the Spirit of Truth, could bring about the things which we find in the next chapter. No human intention was behind it. The Spirit of Truth worked against the intentions and the natural inclinations of the apostles, to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, without the restrictions of having first become a part of the CALL of Israel. It really is funny that the person chosen for this work of the Spirit was that impulsive Jewish fisherman apostle Peter. Once again G-d's method of communication was by supernatural visions. A vision was given to Cornelius, a man who FEARED the G-d of Israel. He was told to send for Peter in Joppa. While they were on the way Peter had his great vision of a sheet coming down from heaven, containing all kinds on non-kosher, or unclean food. Peter was told to kill and eat. Peter refused protesting that he had never eaten anything unclean. To which G-d responded, what G-d has cleansed you must not call common. This vision occurred 3 times. I totally disagree with the folks who hold that because this vision occurred 3 times that it signified the end of the unclean food list in the Torah, especially for Jewish people. The vision really had NOTHING to do with food. We never read that Peter ate the food or in fact that the vision implied anything about the food laws. Instead we read "Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there." The perfect timing of G-d. Peter was told by the Spirit to go with them.
Now the significance of the vision was that the Gentiles who turned to the G-d of Israel, in Yeshua, are NOT to be considered common or unclean or SECOND CLASS citizens of the Kingdom of Messiah Yeshua. This is the ISSUE of ACTS. Are Gentiles fully accepted by G-d in Yeshua, without adopting the CALL of the nation of Israel? IT IS NEVER AN ISSUE THAT THE JEWS MIGHT BE CALLED TO GIVE UP THEIR CALLING AS PART OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL, ALONG WITH THEIR PRACTICE OF JEWISH BIBLICAL NATIONAL HERITAGE. It is assumed that they will maintain their heritage in a biblically consistent way as Jews.
So Peter preaches the Good News to Cornelius and makes the marvelous statement "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that FEARETH HIM, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.(Acts 10:34-35) Now while Peter preached, the Spirit fell on those Gentile listeners. It amazed the Jewish believers because the Gentile believers were given the gift of the Spirit. It says in Acts 10:46, "For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God." Yet they had not become Jews? Also the usual order according to Acts chapter 2, repent, believe, be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit is reversed. Here they believe and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit before baptism. "Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?(Acts 10:47) Just as in Acts chapter 8, we see that the supernatural manifestation of the Spirit is completely unprompted. Peter did not lay hands on them. This manifestation and the apostolic presence would be used to enable Jerusalem disciples to accept these events.
Many people in the Book of Acts believed the Gospel. However it was only in 3 incidents, after Pentecost, that the supernatural manifestations were emphasized. In each case, it was for the purpose of ENABLING THE DISCIPLES TO OVERCOME BARRIERS TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS AS ONE IN THE FAITH WITH THEM. How very sad it is today to see religious spirit bound Messianics separating themselves and rebuilding the barriers which Messiah tore down. In Acts chapter 8 it was the Samaritans. In Acts chapter 10 it was the Gentiles. This designation of Gentile covered everyone else.
In Acts chapter 11, Peter was questioned concerning his actions by the Jerusalem community. In verse 2-3 we see "And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." All Peter had to do was tell them what G-d had done. And as it says in Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. DO NOT MISS THIS - CENTRAL ALWAYS TO THE GOSPEL OF YESHUA MESSIAH IS REPENTANCE - THE WAY GOD'S GRACE IS MANIFEST IS WHEN PEOPLE ARE GRANTED REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE.
The Holy Spirit had perfectly prepared the apostles for a new situation which came up in Antioch. The Good News was being preached to Greeks in Antioch. Prior to this new situation even though the Jewish believers were scattered abroad by persecution and traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, they preached the word to none but unto the Jews only, everywhere except Antioch. Paul and Barnabus taught this congregation at Antioch of both Jews and Greeks for a year and sought to demonstrate unity with the apostles and believers in Jerusalem by sending aid to them. Saul and Barnabus were called out by prophecy from the Antioch congregation to take the Good News to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Here we see the focus of Acts become the ministry of Paul the apostle. Strong's tells us the title apostle means an ambassador of the Gospel, officially a commissioner of Christ, with miraculous powers and sent by G-d. Who was this man who was often accused of perverting the simple truths of Yeshua's teaching, criticized as a renegade Jew, and at the same time even credited as the founder of Christianity? He was a very well educated, zealous, Jew and a leading rabbi of the Pharisees. He used Jewish reasoning in which he was so well trained. He was a Roman citizen by birth, yet still very Jewish of the tribe of Benjamin. He could also quote the philosophical views of his day. He could tell the Corinthians that he did not come with words of human wisdom, but by the power of the Spirit. Could Paul be a man so highly called and empowered of G-d, that our limited understanding causes us to distort his vast work and teaching? Are we perhaps capable of understanding only certain facets of his vast work?
Barnabus and Paul believed in a big G-d, big enough to reach out to the Gentiles with the Good News of Yeshua. Yet they never forgot the IRREVOCABLE CALL of G-d to the nation of Israel of whom they were part. As they traveled, their first stop in every town was the Jewish synagogue. The synagogue had the Torah and the prophets which were the source for conveying the truth of the Gospel. They lasted 18 months in Corinth. Usually they were quickly driven from the synagogue as they preached the Good News of Yeshua as the Messiah and fulfillment of all the law and the prophets. There would always be some of the Jews who would realize the truth of their message and follow them to start a new synagogue in that town which would open its doors to the Gentiles. The Gentiles responded in droves. We are told in Acts 13:44-45 "And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming." In those days Judaism was a proselytizing religion. Many Gentiles knew the moral bankruptcy of paganism and attached themselves to the synagogue with its high view of one great G-d and the superior law of Moses. Some converted but most could not take the final step. The barrier was circumcision. Most remained "proselytes at the gate," who did not become Jews.
Paul's preaching allowed the Gentiles to be blessed by a life and fellowship with G-d on the higher spiritual plane in Yeshua, without requiring their conversion to Judaism. This truly infuriated the Jewish synagogue leadership, for they would lose most, if not all, of their "proselytes at the gate." The spread of the Gospel thus became the most serious threat to Judaism.
We must remember that the Jewish disciples in Jerusalem rejoiced at Peter's explanation of Cornelius' conversion. However, this great increase in Gentile believers would soon require a clear and definitive decision regarding the relationship between Jewish and Gentile "followers of the Way." What were the requirements for Gentile believers? The requirements for Jewish believers were clearly, completely and fully established.
Acts 15:1-5 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
This became known as the "Judaizing" controversy. This term is often used today by many people who have little if any understanding of the term in biblical context. Yasser Arafat is a most classic example in his accusations of Jews as Judaizing Jerusalem. However, within the church there is also much misunderstanding of the biblical context of this term. It stands as an example of human carelessness in handling the Word of G-d.
What is Judaizing? Judaizing is not a term to be applied to believing Jews who maintain their practice, heritage, and IRREVOCABLE CALL, to be part of the nation of Israel. Neither does Judaizing refer to non-Jews who have an appreciation for Jewish things. As the Word of G-d defines it: Judaizing is the view that unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved. "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (Acts 15:1) Judaizing would also hold that following the call to be a Jew places an individual on a higher spiritual plane with G-d, which is otherwise unobtainable. Acts and Galatians are the sources for understanding of the controversy. Acts gives the broader context and Galatians gives the specific situation. We should understand the significance of the fact that Galatians was written BEFORE the book of Acts, and BEFORE the events described in Acts 15. Galatians reflects the situation before it was settled by the authority of the apostles, and Acts 15 would be the definite statement of apostolic authority regarding the controversy of Judaizing.
The Good News of the Gospel of Yeshua Messiah is a message of salvation by grace through faith. No human work can be an ingredient in that salvation. It cannot be said that any human work is necessary to fulfill that salvation. Paul asserted his apostleship as of equal authority to the Jerusalem apostles. His apostleship was clearly recognized by the Jerusalem apostles. If the Acts 15 decision had already happened it would have been very strange that Paul did not quote that decision to the Galatians, which had the unanimous backing of all the apostles in Jerusalem, to silence the Judaizers. He did not quote it because the decision had not yet been reached. Paul made it very clear that Gentiles are saved by grace through faith without adopting the IRREVOCABLE CALL and life of national Israel.
Paul, in his strong and public arguments with Peter, concerned Peter's lack of sincerity regarding the Gospel. Paul was saying that the Judaizer's position implied that a man was righteous in the sight of G-d by his works according to the Law, rather than by faith in the atonement and resurrection of Yeshua. This was heresy and NOT the subject of Peter and Paul's argument. Peter was called insincere about the Gospel because he refused to eat with the Gentile believers. To the practicing Orthodox Jew, the Gentile was unclean. The uncleanness of the Gentiles would result from possibly touching a dead body, eating blood, pork, or shellfish. Contact with a person who had engaged in any of these practices would disqualify the observant Jew from Temple worship or service. Peter served G-d daily at the Temple after being filled with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.
When the Gentile had accepted Yeshua he was clean in Him. This was the point of Peter's vision in Acts 10, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." If Gentiles were clean in Yeshua, then the truth was to be reflected by eating with them. Eating together signified mutual acceptance and spiritual unity. Peter had withdrawn under the pressure of the fear of men. Such withdrawal undercut the truth of salvation by grace and the spiritual unity of Jews and Gentiles in Yeshua. We should understand that table fellowship, and Jews eating together with Gentiles in Yeshua was a key issue in Galatians.
Jews still have a covenant IRREVOCABLE CALL to be part of G-d's working and fulfilling all His word through national Israel. However, Jews and Gentiles in Messiah, MUST UNDERSTAND justification by faith, and MUST NOT DO ANYTHING TO UNDERCUT THAT FOUNDATION. There really is great humor and irony in the highly trained Pharisee taking the Galilean fisherman to task for trying to appear so Jewishly kosher. Paul's whole point in telling of the argument was that Peter accepted the rebuke. Judaizing teaching, salvation by works, is wrong. However, the obvious result and proof of salvation is the works. James clearly tells us that faith without works is dead. John tells us that "Hereby we do know that we KNOW Him, if we keep His commandments.
James became the leader of the Jerusalem community of Yeshua. Who was James? He was the brother of Yeshua and authored the epistle of James. According to historians, James' piety and loyalty to the Jewish biblical heritage was absolute. When James was murdered by the wicked Saducean high priest, the Pharisees were furious, and eventually had that high priest removed from his office. James gave the definative conclusion to the requirements for Gentile believers in Acts 15. "James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
There we have it: 1) Abstain from idols, 2) Abstain from fornication, 3) Abstain from things strangled and from blood, and 4) Keep the Sabbath and learn to live the Torah of Moses in Yeshua. Yeshua is the Living Torah, and focal point of all the prophets.
Please notice that in the decision, or the discussions leading to the decision, there is not a single word which would question the IRREVOCABLE CALL to national Israel in the last days fulfillment of the Word of G-d. Neither is there a single word that it was not proper and even expected for Jews to maintain their heritage and CALL and Jewish biblical practice. Jews would have to lower their standards of rigorous ritual cleanliness to maintain fellowship with Gentile believers in Yeshua Messiah. Gentile believers would avoid grossly offensive practices in regard to eating forbidden things according to Leviticus 11. James carefully pointed out and encouraged the Gentile believers to observe the 4th commandment, remembering to keep holy the Sabbath day.
By his statement "For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day" the Gentiles would be encouraged to take advantage of the preaching and teaching of the Torah and prophets. That teaching was available only through any Jewish synagogue in their community. It was a foregone conclusion that these Gentile new believers in Yeshua, would want to learn the foundation of their faith. The foundation of their faith was the same scriptures that Yeshua and the Apostles had, the old testament. These scriptures of Moses and the prophets were ONLY available, on the Sabbath, in every community, in the local synagogue. These new Gentle believers knew that all the Law and prophets found their fulfillment in Yeshua as the Messiah. These new Gentile believers would make the Jews in the synagogues jealous. They knew the Messiah. They had a relationship with the Messiah. Their understanding and excitement recognizing how the scriptures being taught in the synagogues on Sabbath pointed to Yeshua, provoked the Jews to jealousy. The excitement of the Gentile believers at the local synagogues on Sabbath caused many Jews to come to saving faith in Yeshua as the Messiah. Is it time for us Gentiles today to start going to the synagogues on sabbath and express our joy whenever we hear any scripture that refers to Yeshua????
The job of the apostles, since Messiah had removed the dividing wall of hostility, was to spread the Good News of Yeshua without any barriers of culture or national CALLING standing in the way.
Acts 21 is a commentary on this great decision of Acts. It is the most important passage in the New Testament for understanding the apostles position on the practice of Jewish believers. It reflects the doctrine of the apostles and makes what was implied in the New Testament explicit. We find in Acts 21:17-18 "And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present." Paul was gladly received and meets with James who had given the Acts 15 definitive statement for the practice of the Gentiles in Yeshua. However a problem described in verses 20-21 had arisen: "And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs." The Good News had really spread in Jerusalem. There literally were myriads who believed. They were zealous for the Law.
May I say, that being zealous for the Law is not "legalism." May I say that being zealous for the Law is the natural proof of salvation for the Jew. It should also be the evident proof of salvation in the life of the Gentile. Yeshua came to save us from the law of sin and death. Yeshua said, "go and sin no more." Yeshua gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to obey the Law and stop sinning. He did not come to give us a license to sin and call everyone who keeps the commandments a "legalist." We are saved by grace through our faith in the atonement of the Blood of Yeshua. The proof of our salvation is that we stop sinning. The proof of salvation is that we love the Law and keep it. The proof of salvation is NOT that we call people who keep the commandments "legalists."
Paul had an opportunity to admit that he did teach Jews to forsake Moses and to not circumcise. He did not and could not make such an admission. The passage in verse 24 clearly shows that Paul was loyal to his Jewish biblical heritage and his later arrest was unfair in light of this loyalty. James advises Paul to purify himself with four men under a Nazerite vow. This was a special vow to G-d where the men would not drink wine nor cut their hair during the time of the vow. Everyone in the community would surely recognize that Paul was in the company of 4 of the most observant Jewish believers. "Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law."
There is no argument and Paul does exactly as advised. He is later arrested anyway due to the strength of the rumor. It has been argued that Paul compromised under pressure. Did James also compromise? There is no hint of compromise from either Paul or James who would both die martyr's deaths for their faith in Yeshua. Knowing that both Paul and James continued to be observant Jews and would not compromise if their life was at stake, underscores the importance of understanding verse 25. "As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication."
Why is this restatement of the Acts 15 decision made? It is so that we will understand that Paul's maintaining his Jewish heritage was no compromise of the principle of freedom in the Gospel, made in Acts 15. Paul did not compromise! We need to understand how this clearly revealed the difference of CALL in one universal body of faith. Jews are part of the CALL and identity of national Israel. Gentiles are free from this call. Further proof that Paul did not compromise may be seen in Acts 18:18. "And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow." It was the same Nazerite vow (Num 6) taken by the 4 men in Acts 21.
We find that Paul observes the Law with no external pressure! There are clear indications that he practiced Jewish observance through his whole life. Check Acts 15:22, 16:3, 20:16, 22:3&12, 23:1-5, 24:11-17, 25:8, 26:5-8 &19-12 for more proof of how observant of Jewish law and heritage he was throughout his whole life. Look what Paul says to the Jews in Rome in Acts 28:17 "And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans." Paul's concern was not with Jewish loyalty to the Law for he conformed himself to the Law, before and AFTER knowing Yeshua. If you hunger for truth more than theology, it begins to become obvious that Paul was a practicing Jew throughout his whole life. He always insisted his Gospel was to the Jew first. He expected Jewish Christians to be loyal to the Torah of Judaism. Jews under the New Covenant are still IRREVOCABLY CALLED to maintain their identity as part of national Israel. The apostles are our authority for doctrine by both their teaching and example. It is time Jews be encouraged to practice the highest form of Jewishness, knowing that Yeshua is the One to whom all things point. The very existence of Jewish people is a witness to the world of G-d's faithfulness to Israel and all the children of G-d.
If we would read Paul's epistles in the understanding of proper context we will begin to see our pretexts. We can and should identify and get rid of a lot of theological baggage. Many things that cause divisions today, even among the faithful remnant, could be ended if we could first realize that we all have theological baggage and then repent of it. Repentance is not a dirty word. We best demonstrate true godly leadership by example of personal repentance. Knowledge puffs up, while love builds up. Anyone who is "born again" through faith in Yeshua is part of the family of G-d called Israel. Jew or Gentile makes no difference. Being born again makes all the difference. However there still is an IRREVOCABLE CALL to national Israel.
Yeshua taught us that the end or goal of the commandment is love. He summarized the 10 commandments with 2, that we love G-d with all our heart, and love our neighbor as ourselves. The first 4 commandments tell us how to love God, and the remaining 6 tell us how to love our neighbor.
It is pride and blind tradition of men which would say that the church described in the book of Acts met on the first day of the week and not the Sabbath as the 4 commandment, (not suggestion), instructs. This tradition of the Pope, is carried on in churches with ignorance, deception, assumption, thoughtlessness, and pride. The scriptural and historical truth is that the Pope changed it in the 4th century to honor the Sun god, and make the pagans happy. Pagans, insisted everyone worship on Dies Solis, or Day of the Sun, and honor of Lucifer's sun god.
Few people understand bible time reckoning. The day begins at evening. "And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Gen 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, & 31) The Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. At sundown on Saturday, the First Day of the week begins. Since the time of the apostles the L-rd's Supper, or Communion was held at or near the end of the gathering and not at the beginning. The traditional way of ending the Sabbath gathering of the believers was that the Havdalla, or closing of the Sabbath. This would be followed by the "L-rd's Supper" or Communion. Therefore, if you asked the disciples when they celebrated the "L-rd's Supper," since it was after the Havdalla, (close of Sabbath), they would tell you the First Day of the Week or the L-rd's Day, which was right after sundown on Sabbath. Anything occurring after the Havdalla, was the First Day of the week.
In Acts we find the following verses which show when the church, before it was paganized by the Pope in the 4th century, gathered for worship.
Acts 13:14 But when they
departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went
into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
Acts 13:27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
Acts 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
Acts 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
We see that Paul's (Acts 17:2) custom was the same as Yeshua's custom. They obeyed the 4th Commandment and went to gather for prayer, fellowship in the word, and worship on the Sabbath.
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
say, Don't let man judge you on this. Do it the way God said. Do
it the way Jesus and the apostles did. Don't let any man judge
you on this. Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other
apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
You will be
blessed. The 4th commandment is still the 4th commandment. God
did not change it. Men may try to change it but it is part of the
everlasting covenant. Keep it and do exploits.
Dan 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
The main god in almost all ancient pagan empires was the Sun god. Sunday has always been the day that pagans worship the sun god. During the 4th century the Sun god "mysteriously" vanished and Roman "Christianity" began. This Roman "Christianity" was very different from that practiced and taught by Yeshua, Jesus, and the first century apostles. In reality it was a polluted, corrupt "Christianity" which suddenly included all of the Sun god rituals.
Many scriptures warn against worship and practice of the pagan rituals and they particularly warned against the Sun god worship and rituals. Yeshua Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had come and defeated Satan by personally paying repentant man's death penalty for the transgression of God's laws. He Himself had established those laws at the time of creation. And yet in the 4th century, by way of a Satanic "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" deception, a blend of the worship of God and the worship of pagan gods, particularly the Sun god, was officially proclaimed as "Christianity" by the Roman Empire.
As the gospel spread throughout the nations; and the persecution of true believers proved to be ineffective, Satan, the author of confusion, began his assault on the truth - the truth that "sin is the transgression of the law" and that the penalty is death. The celebrations including December 25th in honor of the Sun god at the winter solstice, and Easter, the solar observance of the spring equinox, attempted to void the 1st commandment in the name of "Christianity". The graven images of pagan deities were given "Christian" titles, and attempted to void the 2nd commandment. To say that "Christians" do not have to obey the commandments of G-d, is take the name of G-d in vain and voids the 3rd commandment. The Sunday observance of "Deis Solis", the day of the sun, attempted to void the 4th commandment.
We say attempted because Messiah had proclaimed "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law." Yet, God has always preserved a faithful remnant. And God's truth will emerge to and through that faithful remnant, regardless of the pressure applied to make the laws of God of no effect by the traditions of men.
The official recognition of sun worship in the Roman Empire began during the time of Aurelian when he instituted the cult of "Sol invictus". In the year 307 A.D. Emperor Diocletian, a sun worshiper, was responsible for the burning of scripture which made it possible for later emperors to formulate their own version of "Christianity." These would always include the violation of the 4th commandment with observance of "Deis Solis," the day of the sun, or Sunday.
After Diocletian, Emperor Constantine, while claiming to be a Christian maintained the title "pontiffus Maximus" the high priest of paganism. It is interesting that the title "pontiffus Maximus," supreme pontiff, is a title in a religion calling itself "Christian" today. Constantine's coins were inscribed with: "SOL INVICTO COMITI", (Committed to the Invincible Sun). During his reign pagan sun worship was blended with the worship of the Creator, and officially entitled "Christianity." The priests of the sun god were known as "Fathers." Sunday (Deis Solis), the day of the sun, was considered by sun worshipers a sacred day of rest. December 25th was celebrated as the birth of the sun, given birth by the "Queen of Heaven" - "Mother of god." Up until the 4th century, none of these sun god practices and rituals could be found in the Christian faith. In the 4th century, through confusion and manipulation, rituals of "sun worship" were pronounced by followers of Satan to be "Christian" in nature.
Constantine ushered in the "Dark Ages," which continued under the iron fisted rule of the "Supreme pontiff" of Roman "Christianity" until enough brave men gave their lives that the Holy Bible, the written word of God, could be translated into the language of the common man, and not just Latin. The printing press of Gutenberg, printing the Holy Bible, in the language of the common man, brought an end to the "Dark Ages."
The 4th commandment is found in Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
I should warn you that one of the most sure ways of witnessing an explosion of a religious churchman is to ask "When did G-d change the 4th commandment?"