The Book of Acts: Chapter 25 (pt 1 of 16)

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We are starting a new chapter, and before we get too far, I would like to review how Paul got to this point in the story. If you remember, it was against the urging of his friends that Paul was determined to press on to Jerusalem; even the Holy Spirit had made it abundantly clear that imprisonment and persecutions awaited him there. In Jerusalem, Paul met with James and the elders of the church. While they praised God for the Gentiles who had come to faith in Jesus through Paul’s ministry, they also had their concerns. The rumor was circulating that Paul taught Jews living abroad, among the Gentiles, not to observe their Jewish culture and customs. In order to disprove this rumor, the Jerusalem church leaders urged Paul to publicly worship in the temple and to do this with four Jewish men who were undergoing a Nazarite vow, he could pay their expenses. This way it would be obvious to everyone that Paul still worshiped as a Jew and that he encouraged other Jews to do the same.

Anyway, that was the plan, but it didn’t turn out as the Jerusalem elders had hoped. Some Asian Jews were trying to find fault with Paul, and they jumped to the false conclusion that Paul had taken Gentiles into the temple, thereby defiling it. (It doesn’t matter that these “Gentiles” were actually the four Jewish men whose expenses he had paid; and it doesn’t matter that Trophimus, who wasn’t there in the temple, but was one of the Gentile believers who had come with a generous donation for the needy Jews in Jerusalem). Which proves that when you have a predetermine animosity toward someone, the facts mean nothing. So, these Asian Jews incited a riot in the temple. The Roman commander, Claudius Lysias, came on the scene just in time to rescue Paul from the hands of the Jews, who were about to kill him. Paul persuaded the commander to allow him to address the crowd, which he did in Aramaic, but it exploded into another riot when Paul conveyed the message God had given him in a vision: He was to flee from Jerusalem and go to the Gentiles because the Jewish people had rejected the gospel.

Not speaking Aramaic, the commander still had no explanation for the violent reaction of the crowd to Paul, and so he prepared to get the truth “the old fashioned way”—by beating it out of him. But when Paul told them he was a Roman citizen, this put a quick stop to that. So the commander tried another approach—let the Jews get to the bottom of all this. So, Claudius Lysias summoned a meeting of the Sanhedrin. But Paul quickly antagonized Ananias, the high priest. Knowing he had no chance of a fair hearing, Paul shouted out that he was a Pharisee and that he believed in the resurrection of the dead. The Sanhedrin exploded into another riot, with the Pharisees declaring Paul innocent and the Sadducees wanting to kill him. The Roman commander once again had to suppress a riot.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts

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2 thoughts on “The Book of Acts: Chapter 25 (pt 1 of 16)

    Anders Branderud said:
    June 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Hello!

    You wrote: “the Jewish people had rejected the gospel.”

    I would like to comment on that.

    [To differentiate,]
    Did you know that the historical Jewish Mashiakh called Y’hoshua, from Nazareth, was a Torah-observant Jew and so was his followers called the Netzarim?

    This is what the Mashiakh – Messiah – must have taught about ‘salvation’ – if he was a legitimate prophet according to D’varim [Deuteronomy] 13:1-6:
    As stipulated in Devarim [“Deuteronomy”] 6:4-9,11:13-21 one is required to keep all of the directives of Torâh′ to one’s utmost—viz., “with all one’s heart, psyche and might [lit. “very”]“—”for the purpose of extending your days and the days of your children… like the days of the heavens above the earth” (i.e., eternal life).

    According to the Tan’’kh [the Hebrew Bible (which Christians call OT)] -Yekhezeqeil [“Ezekiel”] chapter 18 et.al – the Creator confer His atonement in His loving kindness to those and only those turning away from their Torah-transgressions and (re)turning to non-selectively Torah-observance including mishpat. Everyone has transgressed the Torah and its possible to obtain forgiveness from the Creator in His loving kindness when living in the above way. The Creator has promised this in His Bible – which is in Hebrew – and He doesn’t lie.

    Thus, the way of ‘salvation’ in NT contradicts Torah and what the Mashiakh taught. Thus, it will not lead to eternal life. It is only an emotional filled experience that doesn’t describe a real encounter with the Creator. I am a former Christian and understand that after having studied Torah in Hebrew according to etymology.

    The truth is that the Jews rightly rejected the Christian “gospel”, since it contradicts Torah. Unfortunately also some were misled to follow it.

    Doing your utmost to follow the directives of Torah will lead you into an immensly meaningful relationsship with the Creator.

    Anders Branderud

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      nhiemstra said:
      September 6, 2011 at 9:18 am

      You are partially correct. Yeshua said that he did not come to do away with, or abolish, the Torah, He came to complete it. Not in the sense of complete as to finish or to end it. The Greek used is the word pleroo. Go check any good concordance and it will tell you it means to fill up, to accomplish. Where the true meaning of fulfill is to “fill-full” or “fill-up.” In the old days you would tell the gas station attendant to “Pleroo” the gas tank—or “fill’er up;” Christ came to fill full the Torah of meaning, or bring it to its fullest extent. When you ask the gas attendant to fill up your gas tank, you certainly don’t mean to bring your tank or your gasoline to an end, do you? You mean to give you all the gas he can. That gives you an idea of what the word pleroo means.

      The two Testaments, earlier and latter, Old and New, work together. You can’t separate them like we have done for centuries. The Tanakh is the foundation of the Bible. It sets the stage for the New Testament. It lays down all the premises by which we understand the New Testament. It is The Bible, Act One. The New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament (Tanakh)t. It is Bible, Act Two. In fact, half of the New Testament is quotations of the Tanakh. They are completely intertwined. Without understanding the Tanakh you won’t understand the New Testament. Walk into a movie half way through and you’ll certainly get something out of it, but, more than likely you will come up with the wrong conclusions of the movie. That is what we do when we try to understand the Bible by only reading and studying the New Testament.

      Also, the only Scripture Yeshua used, then the early Disciples, then the Gospel writers, Paul, John, Peter and all the rest studied and taught from was the Tanakh. There was no “New Testament” when any writer of the Bible was alive. The only Scripture that existed for these men—and for Christ—was the Hebrew Tanakh, our Old Testament. Any and all references to Holy Scripture by Jesus or the Apostles were from the Tanakh. The admonition we get in II Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” was specifically referring to the Hebrew Bible because there was no such thing as a New Testament in that era. More importantly, there is NO contradiction between Torah and the New Testament.

      While I totally accept the New Testament as Holy, inspired of God and entirely belonging in our Bibles—that statement from Paul to Timothy was in no way referring to something that didn’t even exist yet. It wasn’t meant to be prophetic—Paul wasn’t talking about a future time. He was talking about the Torah, the writings, and the prophets. Paul had no idea that several decades after his death, there indeed would be additional writings added to the holy canon of the Bible—writings that we call The New Testament.

      In fact, in its most correct application—and it would help us when reading the New Testament if we could grasp this—Biblically speaking, the word Scripture or Holy Scripture only refers to what we call the Old Testament. The only Scripture that exists today is the Old Testament. The New Testament is certainly inspired and of God, but it is just that–the New Testament. You will gain far more understanding of the Bible if you dump the term “Old Testament” and call it what Jesus and all the apostles called it—the Scriptures. So, by all rights, our modern Bibles consist of two portions: the Scriptures and the New Testament–and to repeat myself, there is no contradiction between the two. The one gives us a grander understanding of the former.

      So, the “Gospel message” was announced in the Tanakh, and fulfilled when Yeshua came. As Yeshua said, “You search and investigate and pore over the Tanakh diligently, because you believe that you have eternal life through them. However, these very Scriptures testify about Me! But still you are not willing but refuse to come to Me, so that you might have life. I don’t receive any glory from men, in fact, I do not crave any human honor, I look for no mortal fame, but I know you and recognize and understand that you have not the love of God in you.

      “I have come in My Father’s name and with His power, and you do not receive Me because your hearts are not open to Me, you do not welcome me; however, if another comes in his own name and his own power and with no other authority but himself, you will receive him and give him your approval..”

      Rabbi Paul wrote, “the Law served to us Jews as our trainer, our guardian, our guide to Christ, to lead us until Christ came, that we might be justified (or declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith (Galatians 3:24).

      Like

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