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The Book of Acts, Chapter 1 – Christogenea Internet Radio, April 11th, 2013
The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, as it is fully called, is a book of transition. It records a transition of the legitimate faith in Yahweh God, as decreed by His Word, from the tenets of Hebraism to the constructs of Christianity; from the rituals of the laws of the Old Covenant to a faith in the Word of God in Christ which was promised by the prophets of the Old Covenant, and which was recorded in the Gospel of the New Covenant. This faith in Christ would include the Christian recognition of a need for conformance to the commandments of Christ, found in those original ten commandments and the admonition to love one's brother. It records a transition of the primary subject of the Word of God from the remnant of Jerusalem to the dispersion of the children of Israel, the “lost sheep” of the ancient dispersions. That is what the New Testament is, it is the record of the Gospel of the New Covenant between Yahweh God and His people Israel, which was explicitly promised in the prophets at Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 37:26 and Daniel 9:27. It was implicitly promised in many of the other writings of the prophets. We know that these Gospels do indeed represent the promised New Covenant since they came at the appropriate time, which was outlined in the 70 weeks vision of Daniel chapter 9.
There should be no doubt that the apostle called Luke wrote Acts. The author claims to be the writer of the Gospel, “that first account” mentioned in the opening of the Book of Acts. The Greek style is precisely the same which is found in the Gospel written in his name. Paul tells us that Luke was with him at his imprisonment (Philemon 24), and from Acts we see that Luke was there when this happened (Acts 27:1). Luke was with Paul, at the least, from Acts 16:10-17, 20:5-21:18, and 27:1-28:16 (to the end of the book). Paul is arrested in Acts Chapter 21, and the balance of the book follows his imprisonment as far as Rome. No other companion of Paul’s meets all of these criteria. Luke is also mentioned by Paul at Colossians 4:14 and 2 Timothy 4:11. Acts was written to be an extension of Luke's Gospel. It can justly be called Luke, Part Two. It is written to the same audience, the “lover of God” whom Luke addresses in his Gospel. More will be said about that as we get into the opening verses of the book.
At the beginning of Luke's first book, his gospel, we see in several places Luke's having recorded that the intended scope of the Gospel was within the bounds promised in the Old Testament, that it was exclusively for the children of Israel. For instance, there are the words attributed by Luke to Mary at Luke 1:54, concerning the expectant birth of her child where she said of God that “54 He has come to the aid of His servant Israel, to call mercy into remembrance, 55 just as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring for the age.” Then there are the words attributed to Zacharias by Luke, the father of John the Baptist, from Luke 1:68: “68 Blessed is Yahweh the God of Israel, that He has visited and brought about redemption for His people, 69 and has raised a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant, 70 just as He spoke through the mouths of His holy prophets from of old: 71 preservation from our enemies and from the hand of all those who hate us! 72 To bring about mercy with our fathers and to call into remembrance His holy covenant, 73 the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, which is given to us: 74 being delivered fearlessly from the hands of our enemies to serve Him 75 in piety and in righteousness before Him for all of our days. 76 And now you, child, shall be called a prophet of the Highest: for you shall go on before the face of Yahweh to prepare His path. 77 For which to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the dismissal of their errors, 78 through the affectionate mercies of our God, by whom dawn visits us from the heights 79 to shine upon those sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.” Luke then recorded the words of Sumeon in the temple when the Christ child was presented, and Luke called him “righteous and devout, expecting the consolation of Israel”, where, from Luke 2:30-31, he attributed Sumeon as having said in reference to God that “... my eyes have seen Your Salvation, 31 which You have prepared in front of all the people: 32 a light for the revelation of the Nations and honor of Your people Israel!”
Even though from the records which we have in our Bibles it is not stated explicitly, Luke was certainly not a Judaean. There have been some cunningly contrived arguments constructed by apologists for the jews in order to somehow prove that he was, however this is certainly not the case. Many of those arguments are based upon the details concerning things belonging to the Judaeans, such as the temple and the priesthood, which are found in Luke's Gospel. But Luke himself tells us that his Gospel was not constructed from his own observations. Rather, it was constructed from eye-witness accounts provided to Luke by others, along with Luke's own knowledge of history. Luke himself tells us that Mary “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19), and that she “kept all these sayings in her heart” (Luke 2:51), thereby revealing his primary source for the events of the births and the early days in the lives of John the Baptist and of Yahshua Christ.
Paul, in Colossians chapter 4, lists Tuchikos, Onasimos, Aristarchos, Markos and Iasous who is called Ioustos, and then he makes the statement that “these are the only fellow-workers for the Kingdom of Yahweh who are of the circumcision who have been a consolation to me.” Following that, Paul mentions Epaphras, Damas and “Loukas the beloved physician”, passing along the greetings of these men to the Colossians in his salutation. Luke is only mentioned by Paul in two other epistles, near the end of his life in 2 Timothy chapter 4 and in the epistle to Philemon. Colossians 4 certainly demonstrates that Luke was not counted by Paul as having been “of the circumcision”. Arguments against this interpretation attempt to limit the identity of the “fellowworkers” of Paul to preachers of the Gospel, and claim that Luke was not a preacher of the Gospel so therefore he could not be counted in that group. One so-called Doctor Of Theology, Thomas S. McCall, has an essay posted at levitt.com which makes this preposterous claim. He needs to study the Bible a little more thoroughly before he lies. In Philemon verse 24 the apostle Luke – and for some strange reason the name is spelled Lucas in the King James Version of that passage - is referred to along with Epaphras, Markos, Aristarchos and Damas as Paul's fellowworkers, and although in that passage the Greek word is rendered “fellowlabourers” in the King James Version, it is nevertheless the same Greek word. Therefore Paul's statements in Colossians chapter 4 indeed reveal that Luke was not a Judaean, that he was not “of the circumcision”, since all of the men listed in Colossians chapter 4 by Paul were indeed his fellow-workers, as Paul attests in his epistle to Philemon. Additionally, there are many citations in the Ante-Nicene Fathers which label Luke as an Evangelist as much as John or Mark were considered Evangelists.
Luke's personal appearance in the Book of Acts also helps to establish that he was not a Judaean, but that he was more likely a Greek convert from among the number of those first Christians in Antioch. In Acts chapter 15 there is the account of Paul and Barnabas disputing with certain of the Pharisees before the Christians at Antioch, and they remove to Jerusalem in order to settle the dispute before the chief apostles. Only after this point in his narrative does Luke begin to use the first person plural pronoun, we, in his descriptions of events in the lives of the apostles. Therefore only at this point does Luke's account become first hand, and all which is prior to this point must have been collected by Luke from other witnesses. At this point also, the Book of Acts becomes centered primarily around the ministry of Paul, and from this point Luke becomes the near-constant companion of Paul. The acts of the other apostles are hardly recorded from this time. The first person perspective of Luke as the writer of Acts begins in Acts 16:10, in reference to Paul's vision which came to him in a dream telling him to go to Macedonia: “10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” According to Eusebius, Luke was born at Antioch. There is little else in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, the writings of the earliest Christian leaders, concerning Luke's background. Aside from these things, Luke's refined and fluid Greek and his identification by Paul as a physician also help to indicate that he was a non-Judaean with an advanced Greek education.
Because the Book of Acts is a book of transition, when looking to the Scripture for doctrinal guidance we cannot simply point to any one passage in the book of Acts and say “see, this is what the apostles did”. That method would represent a very superficial way of looking at the book, and it seems to be the way which is employed by most Christians today. Rather, we have to follow what the apostles did through the entire book of Acts, and then examine their epistles, in order that we may obtain a complete picture.
I am going to give a rather controversial example from one of my own papers, entitled Baptism, In What?In that essay it is shown that at Acts 11:15-16 Peter realized what had happened previously at the home of Cornelius in Caesareia described at Acts 10:44-48, and he related it to the other apostles who were in Jerusalem: He says “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Prince, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” From this point on, water is not again mentioned in connection with baptism, anywhere in the rest of the Book of Acts. Then later, when you read Paul’s letters, you see in Ephesians that there is “one baptism” (4:5) and that it is in the bath of the water in the Word (5:26). Likewise Peter, in his own epistle at 1 Peter 3:21, states that immersion, or baptism, is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the demand of a good conscience for Yahweh, through the resurrection of Yahshua Christ. So we see what Christian baptism really is, through Luke 12:50 where Christ says that “I have an immersion to be immersed in”, and where Paul tells us to be “immersed in His death” at Romans 6:3-5 and elsewhere. Yahshua Himself tells us, in John 15, “You are already clean through the word which I have spoken to you.” So we see a transition in Acts in this manner, in the understanding of the true Christian baptism, which is clarified in the epistles of both Peter and Paul.
I am often confronted for this position on Baptism, with the writings concerning its practice found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers. However the same people who would use their writings to confront this position must admit, that many Identity Christians recognize a lot of other areas where we esteem these men to have been in error. These things include their positions on Enoch and other so-called apocryphal literature, the Passover, the Sabbath day, the feasts of Tabernacles and First Fruits, their apparent universalism and their poor understanding of the scope of the Gospel, and their frequent insistences concerning the conversion of the jews. Neither did most of them understand the history of Judaea in the decades prior to Christ, and true nature of many of the jews as the descendants of Canaan and Esau. So if we admit that the Ante-Nicene Fathers were in error concerning any of these things, then we must admit that neither are they above criticism, and that their position on rituals such as baptism must also be held subject to a closer evaluation.
Furthermore, many Christians do not realize that Acts is hardly a complete record, and that the accounts which Luke has preserved for us therein transpire over a period of nearly thirty years. There are at least 14 years, and possibly longer, between the beginning of the book and the events of Acts chapter 15, and the events detailed in the balance of Acts from the time of Luke's personal involvement also encompass a period of at least 14 years.
In our presentation of the Gospel of Luke given here last year, it was established that John the Baptist was born in the Spring of 3 BC, and that Christ was born in the early Autumn of that same year. In August of 14 AD Tiberius Caesar comes to the hegemony of Rome upon the death of Augustus. Therefore the year 28 AD marks the 15th year of Tiberius, which begins in August or September, Christ turns 30 shortly thereafter and is baptized by John who had turned thirty in March, according to Luke chapter 3. With this account of Luke as an anchor date, it is evident that the Crucifixion happened in the Spring of 32 AD, after the 3 ½ year ministry of Christ. The duration of the ministry of Christ can be ascertained by determining the feasts mentioned in the Gospel of John, along with some of the words in the parables of Christ Himself, and the prophecy of the Messiah in Daniel chapter 9.
Therefore the events detailed in the Book of Acts begin at the first Pentecost after the Resurrection in 32 AD, and they end with Paul going in bonds to Rome circa 59 AD, and arriving there circa 60 AD. We can be reasonably certain of these later dates because of what we know from Roman secular history and from the anchors which Luke provides. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles covers mainly Peter and Paul, and hardly Peter, who we lose after chapter 15. James, John and Philip and some of their deeds are mentioned, but almost half of the book exclusively concerns the latter years in the ministry of Paul. Concerning the ministries of the other apostles we know very little except for scant details and allusions provided in the writings of much later Christians, which are not always in agreement.
The events of Acts chapter 15 can be dated to at least 46 AD, and possibly later, from Paul's words in Galatians where in chapter 1 he says that “after three years I went up to Jerusalem to relate an account to Kephas, and remained with him fifteen days”, which seems to refer to Paul's first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion and his eventual acceptance by the Christians there as described towards the end of Acts chapter 9, and then where Paul says further in Galatians, at the beginning of Galatians chapter 2, that “the after fourteen years I had again gone up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titos along also”. Unfortunately Titos is mentioned in several of Paul's epistles, but not at all in the Book of Acts. However Barnabas accompanied Paul to Jerusalem only once, in Acts chapter 15, and later in that same chapter it is recorded that Paul and Barnabas had split for good. Now whether the 14 years of Galatians chapter 2 follow the 3 years of Galatians chapter 1, or whether they overlap the 3 years, following the time of Paul's conversion is debatable since the text is not explicit. So it may be argued whether the events of Acts chapter 15 transpired 14 years or 17 years after Paul's conversion in Acts chapter 9. Neither can we determine the amount of time that transpired between the first Pentecost and Paul's conversion with any certainty, from the text of Acts or from Paul's epistles. We certainly cannot assume that they all took place the same year. If the edict of Claudius expelling the jews from Rome took place in 49 AD, as it is popularly dated, then the first events of Acts chapter 18 can be tied to that year. Therefore, imagining the 14 years of Galatians 2:1 to follow Paul's conversion, there are 14 years between Acts chapter 9 and Acts chapter 16. That leaves 3 years for all of the events from Acts chapter 1 through Acts chapter 8, and those of Acts chapter 16 and 17. Paul's conversion must have taken place in 34 or 35 AD, and the events of Acts 16 and 17 must have transpired from 47 or 48 to 49 AD. The earlier period must allow time for Paul's oppression of the Christians of Damascus and his bringing of prisoners to Jerusalem, and their trials there. The later period must allow time for Paul's journey from Jerusalem and his visits to several places in Anatolia and Macedonia before his appearance in Athens.
There are many other places where the Book of Acts is substantiated by secular history, particularly by Josephus and Tacitus, and by which certain events can also be dated. This detail for history is also a characteristic of Luke's gospel. Two examples shall be provided here.
At Acts 23:3 it is recorded that Paul calls the high priest Hananias a “whitened wall” and warns that God would smite him. The fulfillment of this is recorded by Josephus, in Wars 2.17.9 (2:441-442), where Hananias (or Ananias) along with his brother had hid themselves from robbers in an aqueduct, and they are found and slain by them. This Hananias was made a high priest by the Roman procurator Fadus in 45 or 46 AD, and he was slain in this manner while Florus was procurator, about 66 AD (Wars 2.14.1-2 and 2.17.1). Paul’s captivity began about 57 A.D., two years before the end of the tenure of Felix as procurator (Acts 24:7), which ended in 59 A.D.
At Acts 24:1-3 we read: “1 And after five days the high priest Hananias came down with some of the elders and a certain orator Tertullos, who appeared to the governor against Paul. 2 And upon his being called, Tertullos began to accuse him, saying: “Having obtained much peace on account of you, and reforms coming to this nation by your foresight, 3 in every way and in every place we approve, noble Phelix, with all gratitude.” This Phelix (or Felix) is mentioned by Josephus twice in Antiquities Book 20 (20.7.1 and 20.8.5), and also in Tacitus’ Annals at 12:53. He was procurator of Judaea from 52 to 59 A.D., so the date here may be determined from Acts 24:27 to be about 57 A.D. Acts 24:27 says, from the King James Version: “But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.” Phestos received the procuratorship from Phelix, who according to this had charge of Paul for two years already and who left him bound, in 59 AD, and probably sent Paul to Rome that very year. According to Luke's account in Acts, due to the setbacks which were experienced, the trip to Rome took at least until the following year, where Paul must have arrived in early 60 AD.
I 1 That first account I had made concerning all things, O lover of Yahweh, which Yahshua continued both to do and to teach,
The Greek word ἄρχω (757) is “began” in the King James Version, but as it is explained by Thayer in his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament at ἄρχω, 2. it bears the meaning, “having begun from some person or thing (and continued or continuing) to some person or thing”, where he cites Matthew 20:8, John 8:9, Acts 1:22, and I Peter 4:17 as examples. The word is used similarly in Luke's Gospel at 18:3 and 23:30.
We see both here and in the opening of his Gospel that Luke calls his reader a “lover of Yahweh”, or God, and where the King James Version has Theophilus, as if Theophilus was actually the name of a particular individual. Luke in his Gospel does use the words κράτιστε θεόφιλε, “most excellent theophilus”, as he also uses the Vocative Case θεόφιλε in his opening to the Book of Acts. However θεόφιλος is not necessarily a proper name, and it belongs to no known individual. Rather, it is apparent that Luke is using the word as a literary device, as it means “lover of God”, as an address for whoever is reading his book at any given time, since he may expect none other but a “lover of God” to be reading his work in the first place. It is no different than a modern writer using the term “dear reader”, or “dear Christian” or something similar.
2 until that day He was taken up, commanding the ambassadors whom He had chosen through the Holy Spirit,
The Codex Bezae (D) appends the words “He also ordered to proclaim the good message” to the end of this verse. This Codex Bezae has many significant differences in the text of Acts in comparison to the other major ancient Codices. It is arguable, whether they are worth repeating. Many of them will not be repeated here, although we will take note of those which are significant in their scope.
Luke's opening describes his Gospel precisely, since the last three verses of his Gospel describe this very thing, what Yahshua had done “until that day He was taken up” where it says in chapter 24: “50 And He [Christ] led them as far as to Bethania, and raising His hands He blessed them. 51 And it happened upon His blessing them that He had separated from them, and was carried up into the heaven. 52 And they worshipping Him returned to Jerusalem with great joy 53 and were continually in the temple praising Yahweh.” This account by Luke continues at that very point where his Gospel had ended, and it begins by elaborating on those very events where his Gospel left off, which shall be quite clear in the subsequent verses.
3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, with many proofs, appearing to them over forty days and speaking of the things concerning the Kingdom of Yahweh,
The Greek word τεκμήριον (5039), which appears only here in the New Testament, in the plural is proofs, but in the King James Version it is rendered more fully as “infallible proofs”. Liddell & Scott define the word as “a sure sign or token...a positive proof”.
Following the Resurrection, several appearances by Christ to the apostles are described by Matthew, Luke and John. However in those accounts the length of time over which they occurred cannot be determined. Here we see that they occurred over a period of forty days. Therefore there could not have been much longer than a week or so from the command of Christ for them to wait in Jerusalem for “the promise of the Father” until that event of the Pentecost which is recorded in Acts chapter 2.
4 and gathering together He instructed them not to depart from Jerusalem but to “await the promise of the Father which you have heard of Me, 5 because Iohannes immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in the Holy Spirit after not many days hence”.
The Codex Bezae reads the end of this verse: “... after not many days hence, until the Pentecost.”
John baptized in water: here is the beginning of just one of the transitions recorded in the Book of Acts. By the words of Peter in chapter 11 is the realization admitted that the people of the household of Cornelius had received the Holy Spirit without having first been baptized in water. While baptism is mentioned later, a connection with water is not. It is therefore apparent that the statement in verse 5, “because John immersed in water”, is a first indication that the apostles had learned that water baptism was a ritual to be left behind with John. While at first the apostles continued it, as we progress through Acts we will see that eventually water baptism is abandoned. It was not, however, abandoned by many of the early Christian assemblies and of course the practice has always been with us as a part of the sacramentalism of the organized sects.
6 So then they who were gathered asked Him, saying “Prince, then at this time shall You restore the Kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them: “It is not yours to know the times or the seasons which the Father has placed in His own authority.
At Luke 19:11, as Christ was journeying to Jerusalem through Jericho in the last days of His ministry, we read the following: “Then adding a parable He spoke for those hearing these things, because He was near to Jerusalem and they were supposing that immediately the Kingdom of Yahweh was going to appear.” Later in that same chapter, as He was about to make His triumphal march through the gates of the city, we see this, from Luke 19:35: “35 And they brought it [the foal of an ass, in fulfillment of Scripture] to Yahshua, and casting their garments upon the colt they mounted Yahshua. 36 And upon His going they were spreading their garments in the road. 37 Then upon His approaching, already near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of students rejoicing began to praise Yahweh with a great voice concerning all of the feats which they had seen, 38 saying 'Blessed is He coming, the King in the Name of Yahweh! Peace in heaven and honor in the heights!'” This is also recorded in John chapter 12, upon Yahshua's triumphant ride into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass, the people are said to have exclaimed “Oh save! Blessed is He coming in the Name of Yahweh, the King of Israel!”
The people of Judaea, and even the apostles, were persuaded that the Kingdom of Yahweh would materialize immediately with the manifestation of the Messiah. In John chapter 6, after Yahshua had fed a multitude of 5,000 men, and also many women and children, from five loaves and two fish, we have this: “14 Then the men, seeing the sign which He had made, said that 'this is truly the Prophet who is coming into the Society!' 15 Then Yahshua, knowing that they were going to come and to seize Him in order that they would make Him king, He alone withdrew back into the mountain.” Here it is evident that the apostles also expected the Kingdom of Yahweh to come to fruition immediately.
That the apostles believed that the Messiah is the rightful King over Israel is evident right from the beginning, as one can see at John 1:49: “Nathanael replied to Him: 'Rabbi! You are the Son of Yahweh! You are King of Israel!'” A belief in immediate restoration of the Kingdom of God to Israel prevailing in the minds of the people of Judaea in regards to the Messiah, subsequently one of Paul's biggest challenges was in convincing the people to whom he brought the gospel that the truth was otherwise, as he explains at Acts 26:22-23: “However obtaining assistance from Yahweh, unto this day I have stood bearing testimony to both the small and the great, saying nothing outside of the things which both the prophets and Moses said are going to happen, 23 whether the Christ was to suffer, whether first from a resurrection from the dead is a light going to be declared to both the people and to the Nations.”
All of this is in accordance with the prophecy found in Daniel, where it says at 9:26 that after a certain prophetic period of time “shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself”. It is within the provenance of God, that so many Judaeans understood that the Messiah was to come, and missed these plain words of Daniel concerning His being “cut off”, or killed. If He is to be King, a second coming is necessitated, as we see in Matthew 25:31: “And when the Son of Man should come in His effulgence and all the messengers with Him, then He shall sit upon His throne of honor.” Christians recognize His Kingship now, being confidently assured that His words will certainly be fulfilled. The apostles at that time, along with many others of Israel, anticipated the restoration of the kingdom. Yet it is clear in the prophets and in the Revelation, that this will not happen until a Second Advent of the Christ.
Malachi 4: “1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Micah chapter 4 is a similar prophecy, speaking of the last days, but we shall only read the last four verses of the chapter: “10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. 11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12 But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.”
This threshing did not happen prior to His First Advent, so there must be another: the day of His wrath described in Revelation chapter 19. Yet before White Christians can tread down the wicked, they must learn to love each other! Observing the world around us, without this hope we have no hope at all.
8 Rather you shall receive power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you and you shall be My witnesses in both Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samareia, and unto the end of the earth.”
The Greek word ἔσχατος (2078) is singular here, “end” and not “ends”. The word in this context is surely spatial and not temporal. It is difficult for me to determine whether in the singular the word is commonly used in the manner in which πέρατος (πέρας, 4009) was often used, to denote the other end, the western extremity, of the οἰκουμένη (the Greco-Roman world), as I have interpreted the use of πέρατος at Romans 10:18 where Paul wrote “18 But I say, have they not heard? Yea, rather, 'into all the land went out their voice, and to the western extremities of the habitable world their words.'”
That the children of Israel were to be scattered and removed unto “all the ends of the earth” is a matter of Biblical prophecy. That the Gospel was to be brought to “the end of the earth” is only an indication that all of scattered Israel would be brought the Gospel from abroad. What follows are some passages from Isaiah which elucidate this fact of prophecy.
Isaiah 26: “13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. 15 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it [the nation of the people of Israel] far unto all the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 41: “1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment. 2 Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. 3 He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet. 4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. 5 The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came. 6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. 7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved. 8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. 9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. 10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. [Remember Micah chapter 4, Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion!] 13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. 14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. 16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.… 27 The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings.”
Isaiah 43: “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 8 Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.”
The blind that have eyes, these are the people whom Paul references in Acts 26:18, where he states that the purpose of his ministry is: “18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” These can only be the nations of Israel scattered abroad.
Isaiah 45: “19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. 20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
That the gospel was to be brought to the ends of the earth is a matter of prophecy, because Israel was scattered unto the ends of the earth, and the gospel was explicitly for all of the children of Israel! Paul cites this very last passage of Isaiah chapter 45 in Romans chapter 11, where he says “26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:”
Isaiah 52: “1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. 4 For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. 12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.”
Where Paul says in Romans 15: “21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand”, he was referencing this last part of Isaiah 52. Paul also quotes from Isaiah 52 in Romans chapter 10: “15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” Paul understood that the nations to whom he brought the Gospel, were indeed the scattered people of Israel.
Jeremiah 16: “19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. 20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?”
The Gospel was not for all of the nations of non-Israelite people unto “the ends of the earth”. To make such a claim is to set at nought all of the words of the prophets. Rather, the gospel was for all Israel which was scattered unto “the ends of the earth”. The prophet Jeremiah tells of the fate of those non-Israel nations which Israel was scattered among, in chapters 30 and 46 of his prophecy.
Jeremiah 30: “11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”
Jeremiah 46: “28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.”
Israel is to be regathered in Christ, and therefore the Gospel of Christ had to be brought “unto the end of the earth”, as we see here in Acts chapter 1, verse 8. It shall become evident that Paul understood that his message was to the dispersion of Israel, and only to the dispersion of Israel. In Acts 13:23 Paul professes that “Of this man's seed [David] hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus”. In Acts 28 Paul exclaims that “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain”. Many other proofs of the exclusivity of the message of Paul, of Luke, and of the Gospel of God shall be elucidated as this series unfolds, all which shall prove Christian Identity to be the only valid interpretation of Scripture. Of course, there are other messages in Scripture for the children of Israel which are also important, and Yahweh willing we shall be discussing them in future weeks as well.