Acts 15 – The Jerusalem Council

03/04/17 (13/05) Video Broadcast

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Acts 15 - The Jerusalem Council - Study
 
Well, we're going to cover a scripture today, actually a chapter of scripture that is commonly used by those in mainstream Christianity to
actually cause a division to occur in the body of
the Messiah. A Jewish camp and then a Gentile camp. There are two different camps some believe. I've even heard some theologians claim that they there were two completely separate people of the almighty; Jew and Gentile. And different expectations from each. And for that reason, they believe that if one is a Gentile, one does not have to do things like observe the Sabbath or participate in what some would call the so-called Jewish Economy, what others would call the so-called Ceremonial Laws. Which is not a term anywhere in the bible, neither is Jewish Economy. So, we want to address this, it's actually Acts chapter 15. The Jerusalem Council. Acts 15 the Jerusalem Council And some people look at this scripture and they say, "Well, I'm a Gentile and therefore I only need to do four necessary things from the Law of Moses. And the rest you don't need to be trying to tell me to do because I'm a Gentile." And with that line reasoning, the belief is that Yahweh's expectations are based upon your lineage. Who your daddy is, if your daddy was a Jew then his expectations are different of you than if you are a Gentile. I don't believe that's true. For the record, I don't believe Yahweh shows partiality based on who your daddy is. oh imagine suppose you thought you were a Gentile and then you come to discover through perhaps some kind of a genealogical test or searching out your family tree, that there was one Jewish dad somewhere that fell out of the tree, how about that? We'll all of a sudden you're in transgression. You have to do these Jewish things and if you don't you are disobedient to our father in heaven. And it's all based on your paternity tests. I mean how do you know whether every generation you've ever had; there might have been one woman who hid the fact that she committed adultery. And then thought you were Jewish by a Jewish dad when really it was the milk man or some other person. Okay. So, now it's not based on one's genealogical record, okay. It's based on who we are in Messiah and we are Abraham's seed. According to Galatians 3:29. In the 1st Century, most of the people who believed in Yahweh were Jewish. But then as the Gentiles started to gain interest in following Yahweh, and walking away from idolatry and receiving Yahushua the Messiah through the work of Paul and the apostles. The question came on what terms should we accept these new Gentiles who are completely ignorant of anything biblical and do not know except they want to follow Yahweh. They want to walk away from their idols and turn away from immorality and follow Yahweh. So, do we accept them right away or do they have to reach a certain pinnacle of obedience before we can accept them into the brotherhood? And so some thought, "well they need to be circumcised" or keep certain commands and then we can accept them. And then there were some who said, "Well can't the heavenly father look at the hearts and accept them right where they are at? And maybe there were some real basic expectations that they would have to learn and grow in obedience and as long as they are heeding some basic stuff we cannot reject them. And wait until they get to a certain point and then accept them." But you know there was never a question of, well we don't have to ask them to do anything.
That was never a question.
There was questions, what should we require of them?
And we see that there are some guidelines that they
were given. But here is what people have done with this scripture.
What do you do with these?
We have Acts chapter 15 verse 1 and Acts 15: 24. It says a certain man came down from Judea and taught the brethren "unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moshe, you cannot be saved." Acts 15: 24 later on in the chapter says, we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying "you must be circumcised and keep the law" to whom we gave no such commitment. And later on, Acts 21 when James is recalling this, concerning the Gentiles who believe we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing.
What is being said here?
What is going on? I mean it looks pretty plain and simple. You don't have to keep the law, observe no such thing if you are a Gentile. Now, before you hit the pause button turn the off button or whatever you are thinking of doing because you think I'm just full of Looney tunes and I'm gonna give you a big load of lies. Please hear me out on this. I trust that, by the time I finish, you will fully understand that that's not what is being said at all. So what is really being said?
What is the real expectation?
What's really going on here? We gotta understand the times they were living in first of all. And I don't need to feed you a bunch of historical information to tell you what is in the historical information. I can look at scripture; I can give you scripture to give you historical information.
There were a lot of Jewish people at that time
apparently, maybe just a segment. Who believed that when you are circumcised, that's when you become a son of Abraham and that's when you become a Jew and that's when you are officially in covenant with Yahweh. And therefore you would have salvation.
And so only through circumcision in their
minds could a person actually become an Israelite, become Jewish and therefore be an inheritor of those covenants to be a named party in both the old covenant and the new covenant.
They looked at the bible and it said the new
covenant is with Israel. Look at it, Jeremiah 31:31 says the new covenant is with Israel and the house of Judah and the house of Israel. And so their theology was; you can't be a part of salvation until you partake of the covenants and you become one of us. In their mind, the way to become one of them, was for the Gentile to be circumcised because that was the so-called sign given to Abraham and his children and therefore enabling them to enter into these covenants. I mean there was almost a ring of logic to it. I mean enough for it to be deceptive, there has to be a little logic to it. But their mind the crowning achievement that made a man an Israelite was that they would get circumcised. And one was not saved until they were circumcised. And that's why they are saying here in Acts 15:1 " it's necessary to circumcise them because unless you circumcise according to the custom of Moshe you cannot be saved." That was their doctrine that was their belief, that's historically what they were saying.
But it's not true; it's not true for anybody.

The good news that Yahushua has come is
applicable no matter how much foreskin you have got. It's applicable whether or not you've come under the knife; it's applicable to any human being on the planet. That you can be saved, regardless of your circumcision or uncircumcision status. But there were people who had this different kind of good news that first, you had to repent, and then you had to accept Messiah, then you had to get circumcised and then you are saved. But they wouldn't circumcise you until you knew how to keep the law to certain sufficient exactness. And then they would circumcise you and allow you to be a full-fledged Jew. That was their belief. And we can see the confidence that they put in their flesh, we really can, we can see in scripture if you turn to Matthew chapter 3 verse 7 it says, but when John the Baptist saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them," brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Now, these are guys that a lot of people thought were righteous. He said," who warned you to flee? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance and do not think to say to yourselves we have Abraham as our father'. For I say to you Elohim is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And now even the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." They had a certain level of confidence in their physical lineage. As though they had something to do with it. One thing we can't choose and that's who our parents are, our birth parents are. They had no choice, it's not like they earned something by the fact that they were a Jewish person, Abraham being their physical father. It's our adoption that counts, whether we are adopted children of Elohim. But that's what they were putting confidence in, that's where they were focused. And so they said," we don't accept you until we have your foreskin removed. That's when we accept you. That was their mentality.
Yahushua said, to those Jews who believed in him,
he said" if you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Oh, they didn't believe he was telling them the truth. They answered him, "we are Abraham's descendants and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say "you will be made free"? They didn't believe they were in bondage. Why? Because they were Abraham's descendants, and because of the fact that their granddaddy was Abraham.
Well he said, Yahushua answered them, "most
assuredly, I say to you whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. He is pointing out the real application. The truth is you have to abide in my word and you have to let the son make you free. But they didn't see themselves that way. They didn't see themselves as being in bondage to anything or anyone. So he says "you need to abide in my word, abide in my word, you're my disciples and you'll know the truth. The truth will make you free." They're saying, "we, we're not in bondage." He says, "Well if you commit sin, you're a slave of sin. You're not abiding in my word; you're a slave of sin. And slaves don't abide in the house forever , only sons abide forever. I'm the way, the truth and the life" right? "No one comes to the father except through me." And so there were these men who thought that they put confidence in the flesh and they concluded that was where the emphasis needed to be. Yahushua is saying, "Well, no, that's not where the emphasis is." We're not sons of Abraham through circumcision. We're sons of Abraham through Yahushua Ha Mashiach, through repentance and faith in Yahushua the Messiah. That's how we become sons of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 says those who are Messiah's are Abraham's seed and heirs according to promise. Ephesians 2 says we were once Gentiles and strangers from the covenants and from the commonwealth, but now the Messiah through Messiah we're brought near. So Yahushua brings us near these covenants because it's no longer we who live, it's Messiah who lives in us. And the life which we now live, we live in the faith in the son of Elohim who gave up himself for us. And so it's not we living, its Yahushua living in us. For that reason he makes us free, for that reason, we take on his identity as a body of Messiah. He was a Jewish man, he was an Israelite. We take on his identity. So, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders about this question. The question being; is it necessary for one to be circumcised in order to be saved?
Verse 3, so being sent on their way by the church,
they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles and they caused great joy to all the brethren. And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the assembly and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things, which did, Paul did how great his ministry was? No, Elohim had done with them. I like that, I just like the way that's worded. I really, really the way it's worded. All right, so there are important things going on, how great it was, the Gentiles are coming to the faith and it's so wonderful, and then what? What happened? Someone is going to throw a stink on it. And oh, just one minute looks like I didn't get that verse posted, the important verse here; Acts chapter 15 verses 5. I got 5, 6 and 7 it will be posted up here. Just a minute and I will do that. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed
rose up saying," it's necessary to circumcise
them and to command them to keep the Law of Moses." Now the context of this is that they are not saved until they are. That was the whole premise of Acts chapter 15 verse 1, they are not saved yet. And we'll that that continues to be the context of what's being said here in Acts as we continue on. Now, the apostles and Elders came together to consider this question, this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them, " men and brethren you know that a good while ago Elohim chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe." So originally Peter was the
person who was chosen to proclaim the good news in
Acts chapter 9 and 10 and 11. And he mentions that Elohim who knows the heart, heart-based acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us. These were uncircumcised men Cornelius and others who were with him, his friends. It says, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
So, there was no question Yahweh himself sent his
holy spirit to the Gentiles and made no distinction between them, right? He says, now therefore why do you test Elohim by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples. And actually, I guess they didn't get the whole verse there. Go ahead and put the whole thing up there. batting a thousand today aren't I? Okay. Why do you test Elohim, by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we, nor our fathers were able to bear?" What's the yoke? What is this yoke he is talking about on their necks? What's he talking about when he talks about the yoke which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear? That's an important question that we understand, what that yoke really is? But first again let's take a look at the context. He said he made no distinction us and them. Between the Jews and the Gentiles. He purified the hearts of these Gentile men by faith
and here is what he said, Acts chapter 10 verses 45
through 45 to him all the prophets witnessed that through his name, whoever believed in him will receive remission of sins." Now, while peter was still speaking these words, to Cornelius and his friends. The Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision; that's the same group here that's in Acts 15 who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. They were shocked; they couldn't believe that Yahweh would accept these Gentiles even though they had not been circumcised. To them, that was foreign to them. They believed you can get the Holy Spirit; you had to be circumcised first. It was beyond strange in their minds. And it contradicted their doctrines. And then later in Acts chapter 11, he's recalling the story because some people were saying, "oh you went to the Gentiles ". He says, "Then I remembered the word of the Master, how he said 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If therefore Elohim gave them the same gift as he gave us when we believed on the master Yahushua Messiah, who was I that I could withstand Elohim? "When they heard these things they became silent and they glorified Elohim saying "then Elohim has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life." They didn't think that Gentiles could have repentance to life, repentance to eternal life. That was a foreign idea, a new thing. They couldn't fathom that they would even be accepted having not been circumcised and their tremendous amount of animosity between Jew and Gentiles in the time period. Which probably was the reason why there was such a mentality? And there were man made laws that the Jews had set up that could not go to one [of another nation. They couldn't have anything to do with them. And so when he's recalling what happened, Peter says the following, he says, verse 28 Acts 10 " you know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But Elohim has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean."
Because Yahweh has purified their hearts by
faith, right? And so why would we consider them to be unclean and called common. Like we can't talk to them or have anything to do with them. Now the word translated unlawful does not have anything to do with the actual law of Yahweh. It's kind of a bad translation. The Danker Lexicon gives us a good definition. It's custom, a matter of common understanding or unlegislated sense of public decency. In opposition to deeply engrained custom and policy, hence forbidden. Or of behavior that shows wanton disregard of public sensitivity. So it's not talking about things that are clearly forbidden in scripture, but things that are not really mentioned necessarily. So and not forbidden expressly in scripture, it's a custom. Actually, the actual Torah what it taught was; there
was not to be this distinction.
What the Torah actually taught was this; you shall not mistreat a stranger nor oppress him for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Leviticus 19:34 the stranger dwells among you
shall be to you as one born among you and you shall love him as yourself. For you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am Yahweh your mighty one. He shall be to you as one born among you. Treat him just the same as you do anybody else. Where they doing that by refusing to go to We read here how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to Gentiles?
keep company with go to one of another nation.
When the actual law of Yahweh said just the opposite. It says you shall not mistreat him, it says you shall love him as like one born among you.
You love him as yourself, just like one born among
you. And so the unlawful tradition which was forbidden in the scripture was refuted when Yahweh himself sent his Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. But they had a hard accepting that. And so when Peter is saying, he made no
distinction between us and them, purifying their
hearts by faith; why? Because he acknowledged them giving them the Holy Spirit. So the Jews were really amazed like it happened.
So we have to understand historically what is
actually going on here in the book of Acts and in the 1st Century in general. And so he says, "now, therefore, why do you test Elohim by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of master Yahushua the Messiah we shall be saved Saved by grace, right? They acknowledged that Peter acknowledged that, Paul acknowledged, they all acknowledged that. in the same manner as they. The yoke that they would have to bear and they Peter was acknowledging here, that even they who were those who believed in keeping the Torah the law of Yahweh, they needed to be saved by grace.
could not bear was this belief that we are saved
by our own righteousness, by our own holiness, by our own ability to keep the commandments. Not a single man of Israel ever kept all the commandments except one and that's Yahushua the Messiah. And so what he is saying is that by telling them " you're not saved until you're circumcised " basically what you're telling them is even is you got on your face and you repented, you receive the Messiah Yahushua, you're still not saved until you do 1, 2,3. Do all these other things and then he will accept you. What that's saying is it's your righteousness that enables you to have salvation. When you reach a certain pinnacle of righteousness and then you will be accepted by him. That's not how it works. A man could be alone in his motel room. He could be the most wicked, filthy, rotten center in town. If he's alone in his motel room he picks up the bible and he starts reading it. He gets convicted of his sins and he gets on his
face and he cries out in repentance.
And receives the Messiah Yahushua, our father in heaven is not up there going, "well you know I can't accept you, you've not been circumcised yet." But that's what they believe. That you're won't be accepted even in that condition, until you're circumcised. Or you haven't kept enough commandments when you keep enough commandments then he'll accept you. Well, how many commandments 5, 10, 15, 20, how many? 300, 600, and then he accepts me? It's illogical. He purifies our hearts by faith, by seeing our genuine heart change and believing in the Messiah Yahushua, confessing him as the savior, the one through whom we receive righteousness, not our own works. But by his righteousness, we are saved. And that's what they were dealing with in the 1st Century. It was two completely different gospels. One added circumcision to it and how many ever commandments they decided to put on you to it. Whereas the true good news was repentance and faith in the Messiah. It means we turn away from what we know was wrong and begin that journey of walking in righteousness to the best of our understanding. But we gotta accept it first when our heart changes and we turn to him, we repent, we receive the Messiah Yahushua. Then he can take us from there. But what they were teaching in the 1st Century the whole package was; no repentance, faith and circumcision and whatever else we wanna put on you. And then you're saved. So, we gotta understand what's going on in the 1st
Century before we start making a judgment of
what's really being said here. What's really being said here is; even we who kept the law, who did the commandments, we're gonna be saved by grace How much more the Gentiles? Okay. Now, none of this means that you don't have to concern yourself at all with obedience. If your heart is repentant, then you're gonna concern yourself with it, you're going to care. Because as a repentant believer you're gonna begin that journey as we all have begun which is learning his will for our lives and it's a personal journey. To seek out his ways and submit ourselves to them as we learn them and eventually as time goes on you could grow and you build and you do. And you know some might have a slower process than other people. for a relationship and he leads us personally by his But if our heart is devoted to him and sold out to him, we want to do his will, we're looking
spirit.
As long as we're manifesting our heart of repentance and a faith in Messiah, that's what he requires of us. And that's why Peter said " repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Yahushua Messiah for the remission of sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Those Gentiles had already manifested repentance. Cornelius, in particular, he said, his arms giving had come up as a memorial before Elohim. And they got baptized, they got the Holy Spirit first before they were even baptized because their heart had received the message and they were obedient to it. So Yahushua said, "Come to me all you who labor and
are heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." See the Pharisees were always trying to put a yoke on people that people didn't need. It's Yahushua's yoke that we need. To the Pharisees, Yahushua said, "They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear and lay them on men's shoulders but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Yahushua's yoke is different, he is by example, gentle and lowly in heart and because of that through him we find rest for our souls. Beautiful. So, the yoke that we bear is Yahushua's leadership, righteousness I made it this far and I'm saved". If that was the case. the yoke that we cannot bear is you must reach a certain level of commandment keeping and then Yahweh accepts you. If you finally reach this level of commandment keeping, you can say "well, by my own
You see how it takes away from what Yahushua did for
us? Anybody can come to salvation through Yahushua the Messiah, by simply yielding their heart to him, repenting and receiving the Messiah Yahushua. All right verse 12 then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders Elohim had worked through them among the Gentiles. And so Barnabas and Paul they hear the thing that Peter was saying " hey absolutely. Yahweh gave them the Holy Spirit just like he did us". Again who is doing the work? The wonders Elohim had worked through them, right? And so I like that. And after they had become silent, James answered saying, men and brethren listen to me... I think James recognizes here, "okay yes. It is repentance; it's what's going on in the heart that matters". But he has an idea and he says this "Simon has declared how Elohim at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. And with this, the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down. I will rebuild its ruins and I will set it up. So that the rest of mankind may seek Yahweh, even all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says Yahweh who does all these things. So Yahushua is this tabernacle of David and the rest of mankind through Yahushua will be seeking Yahweh. So, known to Elohim from eternity are all his works. Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to Elohim. New converts they are just turning to Elohim, they are just learning about Him. Now study the Greek here, it does mean those who are being converted. The same word, turning, the word turning is used
here.
Brethren if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back.
Turning a sinner from the error of his ways, talking
about one who is undergoing conversion, okay. And so he did not include circumcision among the
four necessary things.
He did not why?
Take a look here in the Torah and in the book of
Joshua. In Joshua chapter 5 verse 2 it says at that time Yahweh said to Joshua " make flint knives for yourself and then circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time." So Joshua made flint knives for himself and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the man of war had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt.
For all the people who came out had been
circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness on the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised. A very curious thing. Why weren't they circumcising their children? Yahweh met Moshe and was ready to kill him because he wasn't circumcising his son. But why didn't he kill them all in the Wilderness fro not circumcising their children. Why didn't he send I don't know plagues or fiery serpents or something because they weren't circumcising their sons, why?
And here they had crossed the Jordan and still
weren't circumcised yet Yahweh led them and across the Jordan even though they weren't circumcised. Now, he did expect them to get circumcised, when they took possession of the land. But in the mind of Yahweh circumcision was not the first item up for his agenda. And no brimstone, no plagues. What did he judge them for? The things he did judge them for in the Torah were: • Idolatry, they had food offered to idols • He judged them for eating blood • He judged them for sexual immorality He never sent fiery serpents down because they were not circumcised. He never sent any plagues or anything. And the same thing with Abraham. He didn't say to Abraham remove your foreskin and then go to a place I show you. No Abraham entered the land he walked around it for a while, demonstrated faithfulness to Yahweh and then Yahweh gave him the circumcision covenant. I mean you're not gonna get that many covenants with the bible in one hand and scalpel in the other. But that's what the 1st Century, some of the 1st Century people were doing. That's not Yahweh's main priority. It never was his main priority was that the hearts will be purified and we would make the weightier things a priority first. And then down the road, if you feel Yahweh's spirit is leading you to get circumcised, yes get circumcised. But it wasn't the first item on his agenda. For Abraham, it wasn't the first item on his agenda, for children of Israel as they were out there in the wilderness for forty years. So on the basis of how Yahweh dealt with Israel and in the Torah itself, James goes on to say the following, Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to Elohim. But that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled and from blood. For Moshe has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath. And so the point here was this. They do need to show that they are repentant people, we can't just expect then to do nothing. We gotta have some real basic stuff they should know, they are gonna hear from the law because they are in the synagogue on Sabbath and they are gonna hear the rest of Yahweh's law and what he expects of them. But let Yahweh's spirit lead them.
Now some people say" well we're Gentiles.
The only four requirements from the Law of Moses is that we refrain from being polluted by idols and sexual immorality, from things strangled and from blood. And so that's the only thing from the Law of Moses we gotta be concerned about." That's the mentality that they approached this with. Problem number one, these are not just from the Law of Moses, they are in the Law of Moses. But they are not from the Law of Moses. Before Moshe came along, before Moses came along, Yahweh didn't say" yeah go ahead and eat fruit offered to idols, its okay. Go and have a fellowship with the idol, go ahead.
He didn't say, "Well, yeah you can be sexually
immoral." And then Moses came along and said, "no can't be". I mean why would he judge Sodom and Gomorrah? How about the drinking of blood? That was forbidden in Genesis 9:3, 9:4 when he said "you shall not flesh with its life, that is, its blood." That was already, it was not even from the Law of Moses. So, what is being brought up here is not like some codes from the Law of Moses that it's only these four codes you gotta follow. These things existed from before, long before. And they were common practices seen in false religions and temple worship, pollutions of idols, pagan elements of our faith, of one's faith. And so the pollutions of idols would obviously be one thing to consider should not be doing as a new Gentile. You're trying to say Yahweh is your mighty one, and then if you believe that you're not gonna go down to the temple and do something. And we all know that he forbids adultery that's and obvious thing. You can't be going out there to commit adultery and drinking blood. Those are all wrong things, those are we're going to the temple of prostitutes and then drinking the blood from those sacrifices, okay. And so notice it says, for Moshe has had throughout
many generations those who preach him in every city,
being read in the synagogues every Sabbath. And so the premise of his ruling was this for what?
The premise upon which he made the four things was
they can learn the other aspects of what Yahweh requires from the synagogue. They didn't have a bible necessarily where you can just open and read it. And they had to go to the synagogue and hear the law being read. That's the basis or the premise upon which he was
able to say only these four things because you're
gonna hear the rest every Sabbath. Which certainly implies they are keeping the Sabbath? Then they are going to learn more and you see it. You look in the book of Acts and Paul would find Gentiles in the synagogues learning about the law.
Acts 26:19 Paul said, therefore, King Agrippa; I
was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. But declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea and then to the Gentiles that they should repent turn to Elohim and do works befitting repentance. So, they had to repent, right? You couldn't just say, "well you don't have to worry about obedience at all" not only that they had to show that they had works that was demonstrating that repentance, right? And so Paul was looking at works, he expected works to come out of their faith. And so, what were the works that was being expected here in Acts 15:21 then don't go down to the temple and worship idols and the drink the blood of those animals and have relations with those prostitutes or commit sexual immorality of any kind. And that should be enough to okay prove that you're at least really repentant. You can say you're repentant and then keep nothing, that wouldn't be adequate. We have to have works that are befitting repentance.
Then it pleased the apostles and elders with
the whole assembly, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely Judas who was also called Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. They wrote this letter by them; the apostles, the elders, and the brethren, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls saying, ' you must be circumcised and keep the law. To whom we gave no such commandment. Now I'm reading from the new King James here. Now this phrase right here saying; you must be
circumcised and keep the law to whom we gave no
such commandment. That particular phrase is not found in other bible versions. For instance, if erase this section right here, if you erased it what would it say? It would say; We have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls. Well, look at the New American Standard Version; since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls And that's it
New International Version; we have heard that some
went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. What they really said was you're not saved yet. You haven't been circumcised you're not saved yet.
Actually the 3rd Century Manuscripts, anything
before the 5th Century do not contain those extra words. This is an interpolation; this wasn't an addition by a scribe who just decided to put that in there on his own. The earlier manuscripts do not contain that phrase saying you must be circumcised and keep the law to whom we gave no such commandment. That's a whole intrived interpolation and addition that is not found in the older manuscripts. I'm telling you the truth and that's why the newer version, even Revised Standard Version did not include that phrase in the text. Now, whenever I talk about things like this.
I say "well there is an interpolation; there is an
addition to the text ". I can provide manuscript evidence of that fact, okay? I'm not just making it up. Somebody could say, "well that not an original, they gotta have manuscript evidence, that's not an original' and I have manuscript evidence. And so do these other translations, they saw the manuscript evidence and knew that didn't belong there.
They recognized that it didn't belong there, in
fact usually whenever there is a variant the newer National Version say, "Well, here is the variant text, the other texts say this". It was so clear to them, this was an addition they didn't even give it a textual note.
And so if you have a New King James or a King James
Version that will have that extra phrase. The New King James version will tell you the Nestle Codex omits saying you must be circumcised and keep the law. The Nestle is the compilation
of manuscripts based on the oldest and most
reliable manuscripts. So it's regrettable that we have that in our English bibles because in the older Greek bibles it's not there, not there at all. All right, so continuing to read here, verse 25 through 27; It seemed good to us being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our master Yahushua Messiah. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to
lay upon you no greater burden than these
necessary things; that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. Now, why didn't they mention anything that like
" Oh, but the way, make sure you go the synagogue
every Sabbath'. Why that is no mentioned there in this letter? The only logical reason I think of why it would be excluded was that they were already in the synagogue every Sabbath. So the point is they don't have to be told, they are
already there.
In the synagogue, they heard the word of Yahweh, that's where people went to hear the word of Yahweh. was the synagogue. And so, he didn't have to tell them. It would be like telling someone who is already going to church on Sunday to go to church on Sunday. They didn't have to tell them. It was already being done. Well, you're gonna go to the synagogue on Sabbath so I don't have to mention it you, you're already going there. Do you understand? So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch and when they had gathered the multitude together they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. Encouragement, we accept you, we don't reject you. Now, if you go on to read Galatians 2, I do have a full study on the book of Galatians, they continue to have this problem even after the letter was sent out which was some attitudes. Peter had some attitude issues with this, But it's all about accepting that someone, even if though they are not completely on board with your level of obedience. You can't expect someone to sit down the table and eat an 85-course meal in one sitting. It's little by little you learn, you partake of the word, you meditate you chew on it, you digest it, you grow. You go on back later and learn a little bit more and so on and so forth. That's the way it's supposed to operate. Now I wanna mention that James here actually if you
look up this word James 2 verse 2 it says for if
there should assembly a man with gold rings in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes. The word translated assembly, look it up in the lexicon, its synagogue. In fact, this is one of only two places where it's
not translated synagogue.
In other places, it's not translated synagogue. It's referencing the synagogue. And so why here only in James 2 where they have not translated synagogue, can you think of a reason? I can think of a reason. the book of James. It's because they wanted and didn't believe that Gentiles or people were going to synagogues that's all done away with. You see? And so they can't fathom you know... So this is talking about Sabbath service here in
Where he says you don't show partiality to a poor
man who comes in with filthy clothes into the synagogue on Sabbath.
And so my point sometimes it helps.
If you look beneath the English translation sometimes you can see what's really going on.
Now some people say, "well I'm just gonna do the four
things, that's all I have to do and I'm good. I'm safe and I don't have anything to worry about." I mean does that mean you can be a drunkard? You can be an extortioner? Can you steal? Can you be a liar? Can you really be a thief and covetous man because it's not among the four things?
About Ephesians 5 where Paul said this you know
that no fornicator, unclean person nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any
inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah and Elohim.

Well, you can't be an unclean person or a
covetous person; he must be laying upon them more than four things, the Ephesians anyway.
Two different contexts Ephesians is a more mature
group. Paul himself established the group there in Ephesus and I think established it and revisited it and they are a more mature group. He expects more from them.
About Galatians, the works of the flesh are evident
which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like so which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the time past that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim. That's a whole lot more than four things there; I mean that's a lot. Something's I don't have to worry that we aren't all on board. Currently were perfect on those things. And so if you practice these things you're a goner he says. I thought there was just four necessary things? And someone says, "Oh that's just in the Law of Moses." Those four things are not from the Law of Moses remember? They were before; you can't drink blood Genies 9:4, it's not just from the Law of Moses. So, he obviously put on them more than those four
things and as they matured, as they got older
as they learned more and more in the synagogue every Sabbath. He expected more of them.
Now Romans 3: 31 says do we make void the law
through faith? Certainly not, on the contrary, we establish by faith. The word translated established means to cause to stand the law still stands. And by faith, we establish that it stands. Because we are walking in obedience to it. The law is not null and void, contrary to what you may have heard, the law is not void. It is established by our faith. At the same time because we live by faith and we walk in the grace of Elohim. We recognize that our salvation comes not because we obeyed a certain level of commandments and reached a certain pinnacle of obedience, it's because we've turned our hearts to him, we've chosen to begin this journey, learning how will and applying his will in our life.
Because we've done these things there will be works
that will follow the repentance that will have occurred inside the heart. If there are not any works that have repentance, then the repentance is simply not genuine, it's a dead faith. And the faith is not genuine. It's like just sitting there doing nothing Butt's not for us to say, 'well you need to keep this that way this way that way and then you will be saved" Because Yahweh can reach down inside a person's heart and reach it right where they are at, right? So there are some real basic necessary things that you need to at least show that you're not worshipping idols anymore and you're not out there getting drunk, sorry. Going out there fornicating every day or committing adultery every day. But as you learn, you're given more and more being required of you. Now, later in Acts chapter 21, James greeted Paul, Paul greeted James he told in detail those things that Elohim had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. So second time he gave James this report about what he had done, what Yahweh had done. And when they heard it, they glorified the master. And they said to him, " you see brother how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed and they are all zealous for the law. But they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles for forsake Moses saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor walk according to the customs. What then? The assembly must certainly meet for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: trick those into thinking you obey the law by taking a vow and all these things? No, prove that you have been a Torah-obedient, a man who walks in obedience to the law. Therefore do what we tell you: we have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads and that all may know that those things which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. You gonna prove and show to them that you are a Torah keeper and that you would not teach other
people to stop keeping Torah.
Now, if the law was abolished then what Paul is doing here is not being honest with the gospel. If the gospel included forsaking Moses if the gospel included no longer having to circumcise or participate in temple rituals and all these things. If that's what the gospel did away with, then he would be deceptive, he'd be trying to trick people and then when they find out he's fooling them through going through this whole thing, what would happen then? They'd realize he was deceiving all along and that James himself was participating. They'd figure it out eventually, right? And so Paul never taught the law was abolished.
and so Jams comes to him and says, "well you know
you're not a new convert here, you grew up keeping the Torah so you're gonna show them that you're still doing that and you also walk orderly." To walk orderly is to keep Yahweh's law, that's how you walk orderly, just keep Yahweh's law. Now, what about Gentiles? Are we expecting them to go in the temple with you and do all these things? No. Those who are turning to Yahweh and even those, later on, he says, concerning Gentiles who believe we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled and from sexual immorality. Now I wanna say something.
This phrase "they should observe no such thing" is
also an interpolation in the later Greek texts.
The earlier Greek texts do not have "they should
observe no such thing". Does not have it in there. And as evidence the New American Standard it says but concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. He never says that they shouldn't observe no such thing and this other translation. Same is true in the NIV; we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. It's not in here, "they should observe no such thing." The Revised Standard Version: but as for Gentiles who believe, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should do no such thing? No, he is just repeating the basic expectations of what one who is a Gentile, who claims to be a believer. These are the four basic things that they needed to be doing. So 3rd Century manuscripts do not contain "Observe no such thing". The 5th Century manuscripts, there is one that has that phrase in there and there is a few that phrase. And to me that's significant, it is highly questionable other later manuscripts who follow the pattern as well. But the earliest manuscripts do not have
significant.
And again it's the NIV did not even make a textual note there. It was so obvious that someone, later on, added that. So, what James is reiterating is the original requirement still stands. He's not gonna demand those from among the Gentiles who are turning to Elohim, not just all Gentiles, but those among the Gentiles who are turning to Elohim to observe these four things,
that's what he required of them.
Now, he's not talking about mature Gentiles, who
had been in this for five years.
Because even Paul himself mentioned to the Galatians, you don't do these other things then you're not saved either. Because they were a more mature group and they were expected to obey these other things. Many times Paul would give lists you know, such and such a person, drunkards, and all these other words he would use to describe people who were not going to be saved. And so yes, there was a different expectation for
someone who is brand new to keeping the
commandments compared to someone who was grown up in it. And so Paul who was expected that he would do something more than the Gentiles. And so James is simply reiterating that standard that he had given; who had he given it to? To those who were turning to Elohim, the newer converts, right? That's who it's to. All right. So there is not two different standards necessarily based on your lineage, although that applied in the 1st Century because the Jews all grew up in the Torah, the Gentiles had no clue about Torah. They had to go to the synagogue and learn about it, it was all new to them. So in that context not based on one's lineage, but based on one's level of knowledge, the level of understanding, the level of spiritual maturity. It just so happened the spiritually immature ones would be the Gentiles who were turning to Elohim. Hence the same is true, if you are a brand new converting your congregation, even if you go to a church on the first day of the week, do you just throw the whole thing on them at one time? Or do you give them time to grow and learn and figure out what this faith is all about?
And so that's what was going on in the 1st
Century but yes it was divided along racial lines, simply because the Jews all grew up keeping Torah, Gentiles were totally clueless about Torah. So, we have to give grace to the ones who are new and give them time and space to learn and grow from Yahushua's yoke being placed upon them. If you say "you're not saved until you go under the knife. You're not saved until you keep a certain number of commandments ". How many commandments are you gonna require? I mean there was four necessary things, basic stuff that would show that you're at least a repentant person and you're not just going through the motions and saying stuff that you don't really mean. So we have to make sure we're not misinterpreting
what's going on.
We gotta study the history if what's going on, not necessarily from reading a history book or some Josephus, or whatever. But by looking at what's actually said in scripture itself. There were Jews who were taking confidence in the flesh. The fact that they were circumcised men. And Yahushua and John the Baptist and now Paul and many others were saying no, that's not where salvation comes from. Our salvation comes through repentance and faith in the Messiah Yahushua through grace we are saved. That not of ourselves and that's what Peter said and James himself is reiterating. So, the Messiah came not so that we can break Yahweh's law, but for those of us who did break Yahweh's law, we would have a way and a means that we might still be saved. Even though we've not done anything to deserve salvation. So, I have to agree with Yahushua who also taught circumcision and law keeping is not your ticket to salvation, it's a repentant heart. Yahushua said, "If you love me keep my commandments and I will pray for the father and he will give you another helper that he may abide with you forever. The spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him for he dwells with you and will be in you. So when we chose to abide in the truth, we receive the Holy Spirit and we will be free indeed. Throughout the New Testament unlike the common identity with Christians today, they say of Jesus Christ. You know we got all these traditions and all these things going on and ignoring anything that happens to be Jewish. Unlike that, the expectation of scripture is that we would not sin and that sin is actually transgression of Yahweh's law and it's Messiah who lives in us and therefore the things that he did when he was on the earth, he wants to do us now. And keeping those commandments he kept on the earth in us. And those commandments that we keep now, the feast days, the Sabbath day and all these things will be observed when Yahushua returns. Paul himself walked orderly it says by keeping the law, he walked orderly. He told the Corinthian congregation to imitate me like I imitate the Messiah. Did the Messiah keep the law? Absolutely, and so it's clear. In fact Romans 8:5 says those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim. Why is it enmity against Elohim? Enmity means hatred. For it is not subject to the law of Elohim nor indeed can be. So then those who are in the flesh cannot please Elohim. Those are in the flesh ids defined here by those who are not subject to obedience to the law of Elohim. That's what it teaches in the scripture. So we want to be spiritually minded we know the law is spiritual, we know that we are carnal. But the law is spiritual and so if we are following the law then we will be spiritually minded. Because we are being subject to the law of Elohim. And so the expectation was the Gentiles who were turning to Elohim were spiritually minded people and that they were manifesting some degree of obedience by no longer drinking blood and worshipping idols ad committing sexual immorality. But that they were subject to the law of Elohim and they could learn from the law of Elohim in the synagogues every Sabbath. Galatians 5:15 says for you brethren have been called to liberty, only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. An opportunity for the flesh would be as we saw in Romans 8 to not be subject to the law of Elohim. That's the carnal mind, the fleshly mind. Not being subject to Yahweh's law So, we don't use liberty as an opportunity to break Yahweh's law, but seek to love one another as the law says. So, the apostles are giving the Gentiles room
to grow, some room to take up your stake and follow
Yahushua and let Yahushua's yoke of the spirit lead them individually. And then over time, he has to expect more of them. But not new converts do you walk up to them and tell them "you're not saved until you're circumcised". Almost turning the circumcision there to some kind of hazing act or something, "and then you'll be accepted into the club". That was never his intent, never his intent at all. So who are the true saints of Elohim? Revelation 14:12 says, here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yahushua. We have to do both; keep the commandments and the faith of Yahushua. So we have two religions in this verse Judaism by and large they believe in keeping the commandments, Christianity, traditionally by and large believes in the faith of Yahushua. But traditional Christianity does not put an emphasis on the commandments. In most circles at least in terms of certain commandments like the Sabbath and the feast and the clean and the unclean and things like that. And then those who are in Judaism do not consider the faith of Yahushua as something necessary. And so what we go here is you have Judaism on one side and you got Christianity on the other
side.
And you know what? The true is right down the middle, the narrow way.
You don't go to the right and you don't go to the
left. You keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yahushua both, that's who the saints are.
And we're given a warning in the book of Revelation
in the final chapter. Blessed are those who do his commandments, Revelation 2:14 that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. And so we must seek to be found faithful. Recognizing out own works is not sufficient to save us, but also recognizing a heartfelt true and holy desire to keep Yahweh's commandments is necessary. We must love him back. Not because some man put a yoke on us but because we have a conviction and sincerity of our hearts and out of our love for Yahushua and his life out of the desire to follow and pattern our lives after Yahushua and how he lived. Keeping the Torah as he did, living as he did, and walking as he walked. Recognizing however it's his longsuffering, it's his sacrifice that our salvation. But out of love, genuine love, we seek to follow his example. It's Yahushua who brings us to that place of being able to enter into that relationship and also enables us to have the power to keep the commandments of Elohim. So either way, he gets the glory. So whether you're a Jew or Gentile, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. Aren't we all supposed to be one in Messiah Yahushua, slave and free, Jew and Gentile, we are all one? So if Yahushua lives in us we are gonna walk as he walked, living as he lived. Can we do that? The misinterpretation, the misunderstanding of Acts 15 has a caused a number of people to turn away from following the example of Yahushua the Messiah. Let's not be among them. Let's look at it logically, reason through it, compare it to other scripture and seek Yahweh's will in how we understand this verse and these verses recognize the propensity of those traditional Christianity to possibly have their own spin on things.
This is one of like maybe 5 or 10 different places
where there were interpolations. Not very many on text, but I can show you manuscript-wise they are additions. And also show you how, if you really just look at this from a biblical perspective comparing all scripture with this chapter. There is nothing here that would justify us walking away from following Yahushua's example in fullness. Let's pray; heavenly father Yahweh in Yahushua's name thank you for your word, thank you for Yahushua ha Mashiach for his example. Please continue to teach us and instruct is in your word. Let's not be deceived, help us to have your mindset when we read your word. Meaning how do we love you more? Father forgive us for any way that we have not walked as Yahushua walked.
Teach us and instruct us on what it really means to
manifest his life. For we know and we are sure yours is the kingdom and power and glory. That all praise, honor, and worship belongs to you Yahweh Elohim, Yahweh our mighty one forever and ever. In Yahushua's great name we pray. Amein.

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