The Separation of the Church from Judaism

(Survey of Acts)

Fred R. Coulter—January 29, 1994

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[Renamed to sermon #14]

Let's go to Psalm 110 [corrected] first, and then we will get to the book of Acts and show why God did what He did. This is important. The way this question came about was —see sermon series Who Is Jesus?—I made a mistake; but I didn't make a mistake.

Psalm 110:1: "The LORD said unto my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies as Your footstool.'"

In Who Is Jesus? #4, I said that Yahweh said to my Yahweh, and that was incorrect, so I went back and changed it to what it should be on Who Is Jesus? #6: 'Yahweh said to my Adonai.'

I got a letter from someone that was so detailed that I couldn't answer it and I sent it to Carl and he's up to 21 pages on it. That's how some of these things come about. But he, in going through and studying this out, found an appendix study on it in Bullinger's Companion Bible, which sent him off to Andrews University Library to get a little more information. It was this: In the Masoretic text of the Old Testament, which is the official Jewish text, around the turn of the century when Bullinger's was produced, they listed everywhere they changed the word Yahweh to Adonai, and this was one of them. So, this is going to prove to be very, very interesting.

What they did they made the notation of the change in the margin, and most of the translators never bother about the margin. The difference between Yahweh and Adonai is the matter of placing some vowel pointings. Furthermore, Carl is going back and studying every place where they changed it to Adonai and guess what? They remove the name of Christ—that is correct. How would they do it in the Old Testament? Get rid of all references where Yahweh talks with Yahweh, or to the One Who became Christ!

Carl also came across something else that was very profound!

Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel. Our one God is the LORD, the LORD.'" What is 'one'?

We never think about it, but this is so simple but so profound! What is 'one' grammatically speaking? An adjective! It is not a noun. If you have a number that is noun, it is what they call a cardinal number. This is an ordinal number because this is an adjective. Why is that important? Because it doesn't limit God to being one person! Husband and wife shall be one, an adjective; an adjective describing a condition. So, the Lord our God is one Elohim being two people. That's the slight of hand that took place, by calling an adjective a noun.

That's why that it probably came out of the Septuagint that way, because in Greek you can have the noun come after the verb, because of the way that you spell it. It's very unusual, but this opens up all of the knowledge that we need to unlock what was really in the Old Testament concerning God and Christ, concerning the references to the Father in the Old Testament; to show absolutely and clearly that Elohim means more than one. There are times when Yahweh refers to Yahweh.

Here's where Jesus quoted the Scripture Psa. 110:1, and we know that Peter quoted it and we know the other apostles quote this over and over again.

Matthew 22:41: "While the Pharisees were assembled together, Jesus questioned them, saying, 'What do you think concerning the Christ? Whose son is He?' They said to Him, 'The Son of David.' He said to them, 'How then does David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, "The LORD said to my Lord…"'" (vs 41-44).

In this case in the Greek it is 'Kurios/Kurios'—that's the way it's translated in the Old Testament; Lord in the Greek is 'Kurios'—which is equivalent to Yahweh/Yahweh, which also shows that David, in the spirit, called Him Lord. Was there any other lord over David besides God? No!

When David says: "…'The LORD said to my Lord…'" (v 44) and he's in the spirit, he's very clearly referring to a revelation of God the Father!

Verse 44: "'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet." Therefore, if David calls Him Lord, how is He his Son?' And no one was able to answer Him a word, neither dared anyone from that day to question Him anymore" (vs 44-46). That will give you something to think on!

Let's go to the book of Acts and we're going to see what God did in establishing the Church and continuing the severance and the separation from Judaism. Also, Carl's doing some research that it's very probable that the reason Luke wrote Luke and Acts because there were already some people thinking that Jesus was born on Dec. 25. Like Solomon said, 'There's nothing new under the sun'; it's all recycled.

Acts 1:1: "The first account I indeed have written, O Theophilus…"

Theophilus means lover of God; it's possible that he could have been one of the priests. The priests in many cases took the name Theophilus. This would make sense if it were written to one of the priests or Levites.

"…concerning all things that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after giving command by the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen; to whom also, by many infallible proofs, He presented Himself alive after He had suffered, being seen by them for forty days, and speaking the things concerning the Kingdom of God" (vs 1-3).

Since Luke is writing this, this becomes important and I'm going to bring you the technical reasons as to why when we have the Passover Day falling on the regular weekly Sabbath that the Wave Sheaf Offering should be waved on the first Holy Day, which is 'the morrow after the Sabbath.' There's a reason for it, and there's a reason why the Jews have become discombobulated over it.

Luke 24:1: "Now, on the first day of the weeks…"—'day' is not there in the Greek, that's why it's in the italic; 'day' is implied. We know that they rested the Sabbath:

Luke 23:56: "And they returned to the city, and prepared spices and ointments, and then rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment."

Guess what else is going to be taken under wing? Friday crucifixion! Day and a half in the grave! Again, nothing new under the sun; it's just recycled! We nickname ourselves the No Hassle, Recycled Church of God, and we're going to have to nickname them the Re-hassled Old Babylonian Church of God, if they keep going the way that they're going.

In Luke 24:1 they have: "…the first day of the weeks… [it's okay to put that word day in there for clarification because that is true] …they came to the tomb at early dawn, bringing the spices that they had prepared; and certain others came with them."

Verse 13: "And behold, on the same day, two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, which was about sixty furlongs from Jerusalem."

John 20—we have the same day and we also have something in the way of counting. You can literally see that the disciples in recording this were, in a way, counting toward Pentecost.

John 20:19: "Afterwards, as evening was drawing near that day, the first day of the weeks, and the doors were shut where the disciples had assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be to you.'"

Verse 26: "Now after eight days, His disciples again were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus came after the doors were shut, and stood in the midst and said, 'Peace be to you.'"

So, those who are 'born again' now if they don't like the hatpin test, we'll just let them try the wall and door test. What Luke is doing in Acts 1 is carrying on this counting.

Acts 1:3: "…being seen by them for forty days, and speaking the things concerning the Kingdom of God. And while they were assembled with Him, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem…" (vs 3-4).

Why is that important? The Holy Spirit, Pentecost! There's another major, major reason, which is really more profound, which underlies the whole thing: the Comforter will come! That's true.

  •  Where did God say He would put His name? In Jerusalem!
  • Do you think that there would have been any recognition of what God was doing had he done this not in Jerusalem?
  • If God would have raised His Church up in say, what we would call modern Spain and sent them over to Jerusalem and they would come in and say, 'the Lord has said…' would they have ever been received? No way!

It's very important what takes place on this Day of Pentecost. I want to emphasize it here because this is important in the difference between Scripturalism and Judaism and the Church vs Judaism, as we get into the book of Acts.

"…He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to 'await the promise of the Father, which,' He said, 'you have heard of Me. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit after not many days.' So then, when they were assembled together, they asked Him, saying, 'Lord, will You restore the Kingdom to Israel at this time?' And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority; but you yourselves shall receive power…" (vs 4-8).

  • the first authority comes from the Greek 'exousia';
  • the second word power comes from 'dunamis'—which means power or energy

"'…when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth'" (v 8).

 Verse 9: "And after saying these things, as they were looking at Him, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Now while they were gazing intently up into heaven as He was going up, two men in white apparel suddenly stood by them, who also said, 'You men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, shall come in exactly the same manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.' Then they returned to Jerusalem…" (vs 9-12). Then they selected the one to replace Judas Iscariot (v 26)!

Acts 2—What are the problems with Pentecost?

  • counting of it; where to begin counting
  • What does that leave us?
  • What, in counting differently, do we end up with in counting Pentecost?
  • end up on the wrong day

There are actually three different days

    • 6th of Sivan—which may be anywhere from a Wednesday to a Monday
    • Monday—which the Church of God Eternal and several others believe, because they believe that Pentecost was actually the 51st day.
    • the correct counting

One is correct and two are wrong! Part of the solution is found here, which you can't understand in the English, so I'll explain it to you in the Greek.

Acts 2:1 (KJV): "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."

Some people read that 'fully come' as meaning that the 50th day was already come and gone. That's a twisting of the Scriptures. That's why it's important to understand the Greek. I'll get just a little technical here so you can understand it:

'Fully come' is translated from the term, which in the English is the accomplishing of. It actually means that in the accomplishing of the day, the 50th. That's a literal translation of the Greek. So, we've had:

  • first of the week
  • same day
  • 8 days
  • 40 days
  • during the accomplishing of the day, the 50th

You see how they were counting; therefore, right in the New Testament we have the counting beginning with 'the morrow after the weekly Sabbath'; counting 50 days, and you end up on a Sunday.

Something else that is most important: the accomplishing of, that's what fully comes means. This is a very unusual structure in the Greek, because it is what is called an articular infinitive. This becomes very important because an articular infinitive is the overarching statement, which everything else flows beneath that. Everything that is in Acts 2 is done on the 50th day. Not the 51st, not the 49th, but the 50th day.

During the accomplishing of the 50th day: "…they were all with one accord in the same place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rushing of a powerful wind, and filled the whole house where they were sitting" (vs 1-2 FV).

Why is this important? The house actually means the section of the temple that they were holding their meeting in, because they had different sections within the temple in which they could do that.

  • Why is that important?
  • Why on the 50th day?
  • What also happened on the 50th day a long time ago, about 1,480 years before that?
  • What happened on the Day of Pentecost?
  • God came on Mt. Sinai and brought the Ten Commandments!

What we have here is a sign from God; it came from heaven from God, and it was a supernatural thing that took place. Why is it important that it was a supernatural thing? To fulfill the prophecies and also so that no one could say that these men took this to themselves!

It's very important that it has to come from God. Why? Because God chose Jerusalem where to place His name! It's very important that it was done at the temple. Why? Because that's where the authority of the Law came from! Was that not where the Sanhedrin was? Was that not where the decisions were made? Yes, absolutely! It's very important that God did it this way, and it's very profound in the way that the things happen. We'll get into the whole story of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, but it was so profound that that day 3,000 were baptized.

They spoke right in the temple and lambasted all the sins and everything that the Jews had not been doing, and preached the name of Christ Who ascended into heaven, and David was not ascended into heaven, He was both dead and buried, because some people were probably expecting that it would be David who was raised from the dead rather than Christ.

We're not told how much of a time-period is between Acts 2 and Acts 3, but again God begins to do something in a powerful way to show His authority, spiritually, with the apostles. Again, this is the beginning of the separation from the temple service! Not only do we have removal of the teachings from Judaism, but we have a separation now from the temple! What was to be the temple for Christ? The Church! How were we to worship Christ and the Father? In Spirit and in Truth! Not in Jerusalem or Samaria. So, this becomes very important. Here's what happened:

Acts 3:1: "Now, Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, which was the ninth hour; and a certain man who was lame from his mother's womb was being carried, whom they placed daily at the temple door which is called Beautiful, to beg alms from those who were going into the temple" (vs 1-2).

We're not told how long this man was there. We're not told how desperate his condition was other than the fact that he couldn't walk. He had to be carried, obviously on a stretcher, every day. Right at the temple! That becomes most important! At the Gate Beautiful!

Who went through the Gate Beautiful? All of those to go in to worship! When you go through the Gate Beautiful you have the Court of the Women and beyond that you have the Court of the Men, and beyond that you have the Altar of Burnt Offerings, and beyond that you have the way into the Holy Place. What is God telling us with this? A very important message!

  • none of the priests could heal
  • none of the Levites could heal
  • none of them had the power to do what really was necessary for the man

Yes, they gave alms; they did bring him to the Gate—that is true, without a doubt! But now the reason that God chose this time and this healing at this particular time is to show that God was going to do something that He had never done before. To also verify the fact of Jesus' ministry and healing, and the fact of what the apostles did with their healings. Go back to Matt. 10 and the 70 that went out and so forth. Let's read a little more from that perspective. This was a matter of a deformity from birth.

Verse 3: "When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. But Peter and John, intently observing him, said, 'Look on us.' And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, 'Silver and gold I do not have; but what I do have, this I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean, rise up and walk'" (vs 3-6).

Very profound miracle! Right there in the eyes of everyone! Right there in front of all of the priests and all of the Levites and all of the people, and being the ninth hour was a time when the people would come to the temple when the incense offering was offered. That's when they would come to pray.

Luke also records an event that took place about the same time, which was also a miraculous event. This has to do with the father of John the Baptist: Zacharias.

Luke 1:8: "And it came to pass that in fulfilling his priestly service before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priestly service, it fell to him by lot to burn incense when he entered into the temple of the Lord. And all the multitude of the people outside were praying at the hour of the burning of incense…. [the hour of prayer, the ninth hour] …Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him…" (vs 8-11). And you know the rest of it!

Again, God chooses a very profound time, the ninth hour when there would be the most people there. This was witnessed by how many thousands of people? Of course, those who would come to the temple on a regular basis and would come with their daily prayers at that time, they would see this man all the time. They knew that he had this from birth.

Acts 3:6: "…'In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean, rise up and walk.'" He did not say in the name of Yahweh, Elohim, or the priesthood! These were men who were not of the priesthood, not of the line of Levi, not of the line of Aaron.

Verse 7: "Then taking him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankle bones were strengthened. And leaping up, he stood and walked; and he entered into the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. Now, all the people saw him walking and praising God. And they recognized him, that he was the one who had been sitting at the temple gate called Beautiful, asking for alms; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him. And as the lame man who had been healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch that is called Solomon's, for they were greatly amazed" (vs 7-11).

Here God was establishing right at the temple His spiritual authority! He was showing by it none of the physical things that were being done at the temple were able to heal this man, had no affect upon this man, but now God was intervening spiritually!

Verse 12: "And when Peter saw it, he answered to the people, 'Men, Israelites, why are you wondering at this? And why are you looking upon us so intently as if by our own power or Godliness we have made him to walk?'"

No inherent power within themselves. Notice also with the power of the Holy Spirit comes humility.

Verse 13: "'The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, Whom you delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate…" He's talking to the people; probably some of those were there when they said, 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!'

"…after he had judged to release Him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and requested that a man who was a murderer be granted to you; and you killed the Author of life Whom God has raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses. And through faith in His name, this man whom you see and know was made strong in His name; and the faith that is through Him gave this complete soundness to him in the presence of you all" (vs 13-16).

Verse 19: "Therefore, repent and be converted…" Message of repentance! If there's any one thing that the priests did not want, and is this not true of many ministers even today? They don't like to let people know that they're just as human as anybody else and they have sins to repent of. So, we know what happened.

Let's see how the plot thickens here, Acts 4:1: "Now as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, being dismayed because they were teaching the people, and preaching through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in the hold until the morning; for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed, and the number of men was about five thousand. Now it came to pass in the morning that their rulers and elders and scribes…" (vs 1-5).

  • Who was the message to first, right away?
  • Did God have a message to the Levites? Yes!
  • To the priests? Yes!
  • To the Sadducees? Yes!

He wanted them to know!

Verse 6: "And Annas, the high priest, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander…"

  • these are the ones who denied Christ
  • these were the very ones who said execute Him
  • these were the ones who were in agreement with Judas and gave him the 30 pieces of silver to deny Christ, to turn Him in

What a witness! This separation is coming mighty, mighty powerfully.

They were all gathered at Jerusalem, v 7: "And after placing them in the midst…"

It was like a courtroom with the Sanhedrin all around. All of the chief priests, all of the chief Sadducees, all of the important people having to do with the temple were there. This was the Sanhedrin. They were gathered together.

"…they inquired, 'By what power or in what name did you do this?'" (v 7).

The answer is a little bit different than what Jesus gave the priests when they came and said, 'By what authority do You do these things.' Remember Jesus' answer? 'Okay, you answer Me one question and I will tell you. The baptism of John, was it of men or from God?' They reasoned saying, 'If we say from man, then we know that the people will be against us, because they believe he was from God. And if we tell Jesus it was from God, He will say: why didn't you believe Him?' Now they're confronted with something entirely different.

Verse 8: "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, 'Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we are examined this day as to a good work done to the infirm man, by what power he has been cured, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean, Whom you crucified… [looked them right in the eyes] …butWhom God has raised from the dead…'" (vs 8-10).

  • What did they do about it? They lied! They knew He was dead!
  • How do you know they knew He was dead? Some people say that He really wasn't dead!
  • How do you know that the religious rulers knew He was dead at the time of the crucifixion?

Very simple, they paid the guards money to say that the disciples carried off His body! If you have a body to carry off, you know He's dead. They knew He was dead! They knew they had crucified Him! God isn't going to let them get away without a witness. This is a power witness to them.

"…by Him this man stands before you whole" (v 10). So, he was standing in the midst of them, too! How about that?

They went out and got Peter and John and the man who was impotent and there they are all standing in the middle with all of these glaring, hard eyes looking down upon them.

Verse 11: "This is the Stone that was set at naught by you, the builders, which has become the Head of the corner. And there is no salvation in any other…" (vs 11-12).

What he's saying very clearly is that not only the name, but there is no salvation any other way.

  • there's no salvation in Judaism
  • there is no salvation in the ritual
  • there is no salvation in the sacrifice

It is only through Christ!

"…for neither is there another name under heaven which has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (v 12). Greek: 'dei'—which means that it's obligatory to be saved!

Verse 13: "Now, when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlettered and uninstructed men, they were amazed…"

That's quite a statement in itself. Not learned means they were not educated in the Pharisaic way; means they didn't go to any of the religious schools in Jerusalem. Ignorant means they did not have the refinement that would have expected from educated people. That's why Christ chose fishermen. When you have a situation that you don't have a lot to unlearn you're in better shape. That's what we're dealing with. They didn't have a lot to unlearn in the way of religious nonsense and laws of Judaism.

"…and they took note of them, that they had been with Jesus. Yet, seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they said nothing to oppose them…. [they could say nothing against it] …But after commanding them to go outside the Sanhedrin… [a closed-door session] …they conferred with one another, saying, 'What shall we do to these men? For a remarkable miracle has indeed come to pass through them and is manifest to all those living in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it'" (vs 13-16).

What did they say of Jesus when He was healing? You heal by the power of Beelzebub! Here they were at the temple of God, right at the Gate Beautiful, using the name of Jesus Christ. They couldn't say that they did it in the name of Beelzebub—correct? Very important point! Now they were stuck! They said, 'We can't deny it. They would love to deny it, but they can't.

Verse 17: "'But that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them with a severe threat not to speak any more to anyone in this name.' And after summoning them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, 'Whether it is right before God to listen to you rather than to God, you judge'" (vs 17-19).

Understand how powerful that statement is. Who was he talking to? All the powerful religious leaders who spoke in the name of God, and who judged in the name of God! Now, Peter is saying that you who are the judges, judge this:

"…'Whether it is right before God to listen to you rather than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak what we have seen and heard.' And after further threatening them, they let them go, finding no means by which they might punish them, because of the people, for all were glorifying God on account of what had been done, because the man on whom this miraculous healing had been performed was over forty years old" (vs 19-22).

Let's say he was put there at age 20, minimum. He was there every day for 20 years! He was older than Christ. Christ died at 33-1/2. He was born 6-1/2-7 years before Jesus. He must have been there 20 years at the temple, because they took him there daily. I imagine they would take some of the more pitiful cases to be there. I imagine he was a pitiful case. I don't know exactly what was wrong, whether he was deformed or whether he just couldn't walk. Let's just say he was there some 20 years.

Verse 31: "And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness."

That's what we need to do, brethren. The time is going to come when we will preach to the world and we need to preach with boldness and with power and with the name of Jesus Christ.

One of the prayers I would like you to pray is that God would give us the understanding of the Message that He wants preached and how He wants it preached and the way He wants it preached so that we do not become a clone of every other media-religious circle that is on television or radio. It must be one of not only conviction, but it must be one also of love and hope and it must be one of denunciation of sin, but not destroying verbally unto death—if you know what I mean. That's one of the things that I've been praying about, and I appreciate your prayers on that, too.

Verse 32: "And the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul… [may we, with God's Spirit, all come to that same thing again] (v 33): And with great power the apostles testified of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all."

They were still staying there after Pentecost. That's why they sold the things that they had and they were all together and so forth. That's why they did it. It wasn't communism. They weren't instigating a new economic reform. It just is that with the Holy Spirit of God the things that were being done, they were still there after Pentecost and staying over instead of going home.

(go to the next track)

The first part of Acts 5 is a good lesson on 'let your yes be yes, and your no be no.' All of those who are compromising doctrine and the teachings of God consider your baptism—your yes to God when you said 'yes, Lord, I'm yours.' When you start compromising doctrine and you're going back on God, read this; and this had to do with just physical things:

Here becomes a tremendous dividing point with Judaism and the Church! Think of this. Put yourself over here on one said as a chief priest, the high priest, the Levites, Sadducees, the officials and you for 1400 years—you and the ones before you—

  • were the recipients of God's way
  • were the recipients of God's authority
  • you had the final word concerning Scripture
  • you had the final word concerning life and death of people
  • you made the determination of the Word of God

Now we have on the other hand God doing something new and not using these people that God used before. God starting something new at the temple with power, with miracles, with absolutely incredible things that are going on.

Acts 5:12: "And many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles…"

It doesn't tell us what they were. I imagine there were healings. I imagine there were lunatics that were brought back to a sound mind. Imagine they were casting out demons. I don't know what else were some of the signs that they worked among the people.

"…and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch; and none of the others dared to join them… [the rest of the Sadducees, Pharisees, priests didn't dare join themselves to the apostles] …but the people magnified them" (vs 12-13).

Let's also put yourself in this position: What if you had a deformed child, or a blind child, or a deaf child, or a terribly ill mother or father and you brought them to the apostles and they were healed? What would you do when you got back home? They didn't need telephones, believe me! They didn't sit down and watch the nightly news; they were the nightly news! They told everyone! All of Jerusalem is in an uproar! All the political and religious power of the priests and the Levites was going down the tubes!

Let's put this in some perspective if we can. How do you think the Democrats would be if every one of the polls with this coming election showed that every Democrat was being voted out?

  • that all the policies were being put down?
  • that the Federal Reserve was being abolished?
  • that the Income Tax was being relinquished and the people wouldn't be taxed?
  • that all of these socialists who were running this government with a heavy hand were being abolished?

Now we can get a little perspective as to what was happening in Jerusalem with these miracles, and there wasn't a thing they could do legally. This was something!

Verse 14: "And believers were added all the more to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women… [this was a big thing] …insomuch that the people were bringing out the sick into the streets and putting them on beds and stretchers, so that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them" (vs 14-15)—and they would be healed!

  • Was that a greater work than Jesus did? Yes, it was!
  • What did Jesus say?

That was fulfilled and was going to be fulfilled again. I think, brethren, it's going to be fulfilled when we get all of the vanity and stupidity out of our religion and when we quit playing church and we quit playing judge and jury over everyone and start yielding ourselves to God with all our heart, mind, being and soul.

John 14:10: "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak to you, I do not speak from My own self; but the Father Himself, Who dwells in Me, does the works."

Brethren, when it comes time that God wants more miracles done, and He wants it preached, it's going to have be the Father and Christ in us doing the works. It's going to have to be to preach the Gospel, not for merit badges that we heal people or whatever it may be. God is the One Who has the power. When He's ready, we need to be willing.

Verse 11: "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; but if not, believe Me because of the works themselves. Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me shall also do the works that I do; and greater works than these shall he do because I am going to the Father" (vs 11-12).

A fulfillment of that is in Acts 5. Were these not greater works than Jesus'? Absolutely! The very shadow of Peter passing down the street!

Acts 5:16: "And a multitude from the cities round about also came together to Jerusalem…"

If they can do that for Aunt So and So or Uncle So and So, sister/brother So and So, they can do it for me and my children. Here they were coming. Just picture some of these riots that they show on television in Jerusalem. Instead of having riots where they are trying to kill someone or wave a flag or are political, here they are all struggling with their sick, bringing the cots, carrying them on their backs, walking along—whatever they can do—all flooding into Jerusalem.

Here are all the beady-eyed Sadducees and Pharisees and high priests watching all of this going on. Where are they going? They're not going to the Temple at the hour of incense! They're coming to the temple area at Solomon's Porch and lying in the streets there—thousands of them! multitudes!

"…bringing sick ones and those beset by unclean spirits; and they were all healed" (v 16).

In one of my offices that I have to go to, right in front of the office they have this special school for those who are the mentally and physically handicapped and I thought about that the other day when I walked by. Man, oh man! What a fantastic thing it would be! Can you imagine the heartache, the mental strain, the emotional difficulties that not only the parents, but these children have gone through? What a thing it would be, brethren! God is going to do it one of these days. I tell you, the Church of God better get itself in order so it can do it, because God is going to do it!

Verse 17: "Then the high priest rose up, and all those with him, being of the sect of the Sadducees; and they were filled with anger. And they laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the public hold. But during the night an angel of the Lord came and opened the doors of the prison; and after bringing them out, he said, 'Go and stand in the temple, and speak to the people all the words of this life'" (vs 17-20). It didn't say of this religion!What we are doing is a way of life!

Verse 21: "And after hearing that, they entered into the temple at dawn and taught. Now when the high priest and those with him came, they called together the Sanhedrin and all the elderhood of the sons of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison; and when they returned, they reported, saying, 'We indeed found the prison locked with all security, and the keepers standing outside in front of the doors; but after opening them, we did not find anyone inside'" (vs 21-23).

That's something! That's startling! No holds! No broken doors! No escape hatches! An angel came and let them out!

Verse 24: "And when they heard these words, both the high priest and the captain of the temple, and the chief priests also, were utterly perplexed as to what this could lead to." They had to say, 'We've got to stop this!' So, they were willing to kill the disciples.

Verse 25: "But a certain one came and reported to them, saying, 'Behold, the men whom you put in the prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.' Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, so that they might not be stoned; for they feared the people" (vs 25-26).

You can tell they were losing religious power, political power, standing. God was literally turning Jerusalem upside down! If we can understand this great separation that took place, that's what's happening.

Verse 27: "And they brought them in and set them before the Sanhedrin…."—the second time. Don't know how soon it was from the other event, but the second time!

"…And the high priest asked them, saying, 'Did we not order you by a direct command not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, with the purpose of bringing this man's blood upon us'" (vs 27-28).

What is the overriding thing of Judaism today? It's to get all Christians to say that the Jews were not responsible for killing Jesus! Same thing! It's been a campaign going on for 1,900 years.

Verse 29: "But Peter and the apostles answered and said, 'We are obligated to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree. Him has God exalted by His right hand to be a Prince and Savior, to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel. And we are His witnesses of these things, as is also the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those who obey Him'" (vs 29-32). Very clearly saying to them: 'you don't obey God.'

Verse 33: "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and took counsel to put them to death."

This was no mean little thing they were going through. Brethren, the separation of the Church from Judaism was a bloody thing!

Verse 34: "But a certain man stood up, a Pharisee in the Sanhedrin, Gamaliel by name… [that the one who taught Paul] …a teacher of the law who was honored by all the people, and commanded that the apostles be put out for a short while." Then he gave an example and the long and short of it is:

Verse 39: "But if it be from God, you do not have the power to overthrow it. Take heed, lest you be found to be fighting even against God.' And they were persuaded by him; and they called in the apostles and, after beating them, commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus; and they released them. Then they departed from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and in the houses, they did not cease teaching and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ" (vs 39-42). That was something! Now things really started going.

Acts 6:1: "Now, in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied…" They needed to get a little organization, so they appointed deacons to serve on the tables!

Verse 9: "Then certain arose among those of the synagogue who were called Libertines, and of the Cyrenians and Alexandrians…"—from the area of Alexandria!

Note that because the area of Alexandria becomes very important. Who is the most notable Alexandrian Jew that we have knowledge of today? The philosopher Philo!

I'll just whet your appetite just a bit: Carl Franklin has done some research where he shows conclusively that Simon Magus and Philo met in Rome. That will become very important.

They had Stephen brought to the council, v 11: "Then they suborned men, who said, 'We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.'" Here's the first anti-Semitism movement!

  • we don't want you saying anything against the Jews
  • we don't want you saying anything against the temple
  • we don't want you saying anything against Moses

Verse 12: "And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes; and they came and seized him, and brought him into the Sanhedrin. Then they set up false witnesses, who said, 'This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this Holy place and the law; for we heard him saying that this Jesus, the Nazarean, will destroy this place, and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.' And all those who sat in the Sanhedrin, looking intently at him, saw his face as the face of an angel" (vs 12-15).

  • here comes one of the most powerful witnesses that God gave
  • here is the real point and the separation of Judaism that really drove the spike right into their hearts

The witness of Stephen!

What a mighty, mighty witness it was! Of course, he began with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and Israel and Egypt and coming out of Egypt; all the way down till we come to Jesus Christ.

Acts 7:47: "But Solomon built Him a house. However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made by hands, as the Prophet says… [quoting Isa. 66:1-2]: …'The heaven is My throne, and the earth is a footstool for My feet. What house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Have not My hands made all these things?' O stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so also do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of Whom you have become the betrayers and murderers; who received the law by the disposition of angels, but have not kept it" (vs 47-53).

Verse 54: "And when they heard these things, they were cut to their hearts, and they gnashed their teeth at him…." [grinding their teeth together while they were listening to him speak] …But he, being filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God'" (vs 54-56).

  • Do you know what this did?
  • Do you know what a powerful statement that was to the Jews, the priests, the Sanhedrin?

What a fantastic thing this was, that a man would dare say that he could see God and the Son of man standing at His right hand? There's another place that refers to this and this is why they got so angry, this why they got so mad and filled with vehemence. This is the thing that really just took the axe to separating between Judaism and the Church. They knew this is what Stephen was saying when he said this:

Daniel 7:9: "I watched until thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days sat, Whose raiment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was like flames of fire, and its wheels like burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court sat and the books were opened. Then I was looking because of the voice of the boastful words, which the horn spoke. I watched until the beast was slain, and his body was destroyed and given to the burning flame" (vs 9-11).

Verse 13: "I saw visions in the night and, behold, One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And dominion and glory was given to Him, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (vs 13-14).

So, when Stephen said, 'I see that; I see God; I see the Son of man at His right hand' notice what they did:

Acts 7:57: "Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man called Saul. And they stoned Stephen, who called upon God, saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' And he fell to his knees and cried with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not lay this sin to their charge.' And after he had said this, he died" (vs 57-60).

Notice his love and loyalty to God to the very last! He knelt down and was praying for those who were stoning him! That's something!

Next time we'll see that the separation between Judaism and the Church was even greater. Why? Because the one who was their chief SS officer—Saul—was called of God and became known by Judaism as the 'greatest traitor to Judaism in the history of Judaism!Their favorite saying concerning Jesus and Paul is this: Jesus we understand, Paul we will never forgive!

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Psalm 110:1
  • Deuteronomy 6:4
  • Matthew 22:41-46
  • Acts 1:1-3
  • Luke 24:1
  • Luke 23:56
  • Luke 24:1, 13
  • John 20:19, 26
  • Acts 1:3-12
  • Acts 2:1-2
  • Acts 3:1-6
  • Luke 1:8-11
  • Acts 3:6-16, 19
  • Acts 4:1-22, 31-33
  • Acts 5:12-15
  • John 14:10-12
  • Acts 5:16-34, 39-42
  • Acts 6:1, 9, 11-15
  • Acts 7:47-56
  • Daniel 7:9-11, 13-14
  • Acts 7:57-60

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Acts 1:26
  • Matthew 10
  • Isaiah 66:1-2

Also referenced: Sermon Series: Who Is Jesus?

FRC:bo:
Transcribed: 2-24-12
Reformatted/Corrected: 2/2020

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