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Book of Acts Chapter 11 - Christogenea Internet Radio 08-02-2013
Discussing Acts Chapter 10 over these past few programs, there are several conclusions that I think we can draw with the utmost certainty. First, in spite of Peter's words in his initial reactions, we must interpret Peter's vision by the words of Yahweh God which Peter transmitted to us, and therefore while that vision had included all of the four-footed creatures, creeping things and birds, Peter was only beckoned not to consider profane, or common, the things which Yahweh had cleansed. Examining the words of the prophets in relation to this, we saw that Yahweh intended to cleanse the children of Israel, and only Israel, on the cross of Christ. Therefore Peter's vision can only apply to Israelites. Secondly, and in relation to this same thing, we saw the difference between the words unclean, and common, which is also often rendered as profane. Things deemed unclean by the law of God cannot ever be cleansed. However things which are clean by the law, but which have been soiled or defiled, are considered profane and can be cleansed. While we did not discuss it last week, we did read several prophecies which also told us that even the Name of Yahweh was profaned by the children of Israel in their many sins, but that He would sanctify His Name as well. Therefore, with the Gospel, we can deduct that sheep can indeed be cleansed, being clean under the law. However pigs and dogs can never be cleansed. Finally, we saw that it is the Cross of Christ by which the children of Israel were cleansed, and they sanctify themselves when they receive His Word through the Gospel, as He said in John 15:3: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Therefore once it was discovered by Peter that those of the Nations received the Holy Spirit without water baptism, which was the baptism of John, then water was never mentioned in connection with baptism again. In this regard Peter recalled the words of Christ, as we shall see here in Acts chapter 11, and which are also recorded in Acts chapter 1, that “Iohannes immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in the Holy Spirit after not many days hence.”
XI 1 And the ambassadors and the brethren who were throughout Judaea heard that the nations also accepted the Word of Yahweh.
The Greek word δέχομαι (1209) is “to accept” here and not, as the King James Version has it, simply “to receive” which is usually λαμβάνω (2983). Properly δέχομαι is “to take, accept, receive what is offered...to accept or approve...” (Liddell & Scott). It was a matter of prophecy that “lost” Israel would hear and accept the gospel that those in Judaea rejected (i.e. Isaiah chapters 53 and 54; Ezekiel chapter 34; Hosea chapters 2 and 14 et al.). For this very reason Paul wrote “for me to be a minister of Yahshua Christ to the Nations, performing the service of the good message of Yahweh, in order that it be a presentation acceptable of the Nations, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:16). That translation of Romans 15:16 has been criticized, however it is certainly valid. There are similar grammatical constructions in other places in Scripture which support it, such as at Luke 4:19. The Gospel was to be a message that would be accepted by the children of Israel. There are several witnesses to this Scriptural concept which we shall now consider:
Psalm 95: “6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.” Paul of Tarsus, in his letter to the Hebrews, illustrated the fulfillment of this Scripture in the gospel of Christ at Hebrews 3:15 and 4:7. The children of Israel heard His voice in the gospel, as Yahshua Christ said at John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice.” Accepting the Gospel, they returned to Yahweh their God through Christ.
Isaiah 43: “25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” When the children of Israel accept the Word of Yahweh their God, they are justified by Him.
Isaiah 54: “1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. 2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; 3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. [This was fulfilled in the Germanic tribes, the Israelites who came to conquer the inhabited world over the centuries following the Assyrian deportations. At the time of Christ all the Adamic world was dominated by the seed of Abraham, whether they were Parthians in the east, Romans in the west, or the Germanic tribes in the north. Therefore Abraham's seed had already inherited all of the other Adamic Genesis 10 nations.] 4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. [That the history of true Israel was lost is therefore a matter of prophecy. This changed with the advent of modern archaeology and the rediscovery of the “lost” tribes, and now the veil is slowly being lifted.] 5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. [Israel remarried to Yahweh in Christ, who even called Himself the bridegroom. The whole earth shall belong to Israel when Christ returns to take the Kingdom and the throne: something which he did not do during His first advent, although the people wanted to make Him king.] 6 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. [Yahweh called Israel, the woman forsaken, through the gospel of Christ.] 7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. [Yahshua Christ, Yahweh in the flesh, is Redeemer.] ... 13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. [All thy children shall receive the message of the gospel of Christ, hearing His Word and thereby being taught by Him.] ... 17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Israel's righteousness is of Yahweh, not of men, and therefore all Israel shall indeed be saved.
Ezekiel 34: “6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. [He did that Himself on a small scale in Palestine, and on a wider scale through His gospel as it was transmitted by His apostles.] 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. [This process began about a century after the Assyrian deportations of Israel.] 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. [Not necessarily mountains in Palestine, but mountains that belong to the people Israel.] 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick [Luke 7:22, the lame walk, etc.]: but I will destroy the fat and the strong [this we await today, Rev. 19]; I will feed them with judgment. 17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. [The sheep are preserved, the goats go into the fire.] ... 20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.... 22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David [David as a type for Christ.]; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. 25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.... 30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD [and the promise is only for the house of Israel, 'even' being emphatic]. 31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men [Adam], and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.” In the end there are only sheep, and only Adamic men can be part of that flock.
Hosea 2: “7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.... 14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. [The gospel brought to the seed of Israel in the nations of Europe.] ... 16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi [my husband]; and shalt call me no more Baali [my lord].” All of this can only have happened when the children of Israel in their dispersions had accepted the Gospel of Christ, and became Christian nations, thereby betrothing themselves to Christ.
Hosea 14: “1 O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2 Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.... 4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. 5 I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.... 8 Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.”
Through the presentation of the gospel Ephraim is portrayed as having gave up his idols voluntarily.It is a clear matter of prophecy, that the nations of Israel had to be presented with the gospel, and that they then had to accept the Word of Yahweh in order to be reconciled to Him. The gospel was an offering to the nations of Israel, and His sheep indeed heard His voice, thereby becoming known as Christendom.
Presenting Acts chapter 10 we have seen that Yahweh had only promised to cleanse the children of Israel, and that He fulfilled that promise on the cross of Christ. Here we see that the Gospel too was a matter of prophecy, and that is also promised exclusively for the children of Israel. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that anyone besides the children of Israel are to receive the Word of God.
2 Then when Petros went up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him 3 saying that “You went in with uncircumcised men and ate together with them!”
The phrase “the uncircumcised men” is literally “men who have foreskin”. The Codex Bezae (D) has this verse to read: “So then Petros after a considerable time desired to go to Jerusalem. And calling to the brethren and reinforcing them making much speech throughout those regions teaching them, he also came to them and announced the favor of Yahweh to them. But those of the circumcision contended with him...” The third century papyrus P45 and the Codex Vaticanus have the end of this verse to read: “saying that he went in with uncircumcised men and ate together with them!” The text of the Christogenea New Testament here follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), and Alexandrinus (A), and the Codex Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text which vary slightly in the word order. A discussion of Galatians chapter 2 and Paul's remarks concerning Peter belong to a later time, to Acts chapter 15. Many cross-references wrongly link it to this verse.
Here it should be noted, for all those who may be persuaded by the deceivers who purport that somehow the Judaeans were dark-skinned, or olive-skinned, as the Arabs of today are. The word arab means mixed, for which one may see Strong’s Hebrew lexicon numbers 6148, 6150, 6151, and 6154, and that is the reason for the color of their skin. The Greeks throughout all of their own literature, from the earliest poets (Homer and Hesiod) through the Middle Ages (the Byzantine period), described themselves as white-skinned, fair-haired people, in both their literature and their art.
While physical descriptions of people in the Old Testament are rare, there are some: David is described as being ruddy at I Samuel 16:12 and 17:42, and so he must have been White. The Hebrew word adam itself means ruddy. Jeremiah described the Nazarites as being “whiter than milk...ruddy in body” (Lamentations 4:7), and so they must have been White. In the Song of Solomon, at 5:10, words attributed to the King's bride describe him as being “white and ruddy”. The king, in that poetic work of Scripture, is actually Christ, and the bride is Israel. The love story truly represents the relationship between Yahweh God and Israel. Now added to all of this we have the testimony of Josephus at Antiquities 12.5.1 (12:237-241) who, speaking of certain of his countrymen said: “...they were desirous to leave the laws of their country, and the Judaean way of living according to them, and to follow the King’s laws [those of the Seleucid King Antiochus], and the Grecian way of living [they were Hellenists, as we have seen many such Judaeans mentioned here in Acts]: wherefore they desired his permission to build them a Gymnasium at Jerusalem. And when he had given them leave they also hid the circumcision of their genitals, that even when they were naked they might appear to be Greeks.” And so the reason for the designations “circumcision” (περιτομή, 4061) and “uncircumcision” (ἀκροβυστία, 203) throughout the New Testament should be clear: it was the only reliable way to tell Judaeans apart from Greeks and Romans, or Syrians or Parthians, who were all White!
4 But Petros beginning in order exhibited to them saying: 5 “I was in the city Ioppa praying and saw a vision in a trance, a vessel descending somewhat as a great linen cloth with four corners being let down from the heaven, and came as far as me. 6 At which staring I considered and saw the four-footed creatures of the earth and the beasts and the reptiles and the birds of the heaven. [The Codex Bezae (D) wants the reference to reptiles here.] 7 Then I heard a voice saying to me ‘Arise, Petros, offer sacrifice, and eat!’ 8 And I said ‘Not at all, master, because not ever has a profane or unclean thing entered into my mouth.’ 9 But the voice from the heaven answered a second time: ‘The things which Yahweh has cleansed, you do not deem profane!’ 10 And this happened a third time, and everything was drawn up again into the heaven.
Here once again we see, that regardless of Peter's response to this vision, the words which he attributes to Yahweh God are “The things which Yahweh has cleansed, you do not deem profane!” We as Christians must not formulate our doctrine from the picture we draw of the vision, or from Peter's response to the vision, but on what Peter reported as having come from Yahweh God Himself. The Word of Yahweh as related by His prophets promised to cleanse Israel as a condition of their redemption, and this promise cannot be extended by man to anyone else.
Jeremiah 33: “7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.”
11 And behold, at once three men stopped at the house which we were in, those sent to me from Caesareia. 12 Then the Spirit told me to go with them, not making any distinction.
The “house which we were in”: the third century papyrus P45, the Codex Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “the house which I was in”. The text here follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), and Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Bezae (D).
The third century papyrus P45 and the Codex Bezae (D) both want the phrase “not making any distinction”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), and Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text, although each have minor differences from the others. The King James Version translates the phrase as “doubting nothing”.
Before his vision, Peter would not have even entertained uncircumcised men, as he is recorded as having professed at Acts 10:28: “and he said to them: “You know how it is unlawful for a Judaean man to join to or associate with another tribe. Yet Yahweh has explained to me not to call any man profane or unclean.”
And these six brethren also came with me and we entered into the man’s house. 13 And he related to us how he had seen the messenger standing in his house and saying [The Codices Bezae, Laudianus, and the Majority Text have saying to him, the text follows the Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus and Vaticanus] ‘Send to Ioppa, and summon Simon who is called ‘Petros’, 14 who shall speak sayings to you by which you and all of your house shall be preserved.’ 15 And with my beginning to speak the Holy Spirit fell upon them, even as also upon us in the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the saying of the Prince as He spoke: ‘Indeed Iohannes immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if Yahweh gave to them the same gift as also to us, believing upon the Prince Yahshua Christ, am I anyone who was able to prevent Yahweh?”
The Codex Bezae (D) extends the question in verse 17, inserting the words “not to give the Holy Spirit to them believing in Him”. Again, there are many such interpolations in the Codex Bezae.
Even though by his own account he did not recognize it immediately, here as Peter recollects what had happened in the house of Kornelios (Cornelius), we see him admit the realization that water baptism was for John, and that Christ Himself had told the apostles “but you shall be immersed in the Holy Spirit.”
With this realization on the part of Peter, the ritual of water baptism is not again mentioned in connection with the transmission of the Gospel of Christ. Rather, Peter says in his first epistle that baptism is “Not a putting away of the filth of the flesh but a demand of a good conscience for Yahweh, through the resurrection of Yahshua Christ”. Therefore Paul asks at Romans 6:3 “are you ignorant that as long as we are immersed in Christ Yahshua, into His death we are immersed?” In his epistle to the Ephesians Paul told them that there was but one baptism (4:5) and that “Christ has also loved the assembly, and had surrendered Himself for it, in order that He would consecrate it, cleansing it in the bath of the water in the word” (5:25-26). As the Book of Acts is clearly a book of transition, and as it took some time for the apostles to fully reconcile the Scripture and the Gospel in their own understanding, we should follow them and not follow after men who would cling to rituals and the “works of the law”, imagining their cleansing and their salvation to be by their own works and by the hands of men when indeed it has already long ago been effected by Yahweh their God. This is true in spite of the fact that many early Christians clung to the baptism ritual, just as many modern Christians do so today. Since the dawn of our race, men have heeded to themselves rather than seeking to understand and heed to the Word of Yahweh our God. It is His Word and His work which is our only true source of cleansing.
18 And hearing these things they were silent and extolled Yahweh saying “Then also to the Nations has Yahweh given repentance for life!”
Whether the apostles all understood at the time that these were all the nations of dispersed Israel is immaterial. It can be fully demonstrated from nearly all of Paul's epistles, and from Peter's first epistle, that those apostles later understood as much. The prophecy of Yahweh is fulfilled whether or not man is conscious of it. Christ Himself knew that these things would be misinterpreted by men, and therefore He Himself prophesied of universalism, when gave us the parable of the net, in Matthew chapter 13:
Matthew 13: “47 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a net having been cast into the sea and it gathers from out of every race, 48 which when it is full, bringing up upon the shore and sitting they gather the good ones into vessels, but the rotten ones they cast out. 49 Thusly it shall be at the consummation of the age, the messengers shall go out and they shall separate the wicked from the midst of the righteous 50 and they shall cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth!” There is only one “good” race, and that is the White the race of Adam, represented today by the nations of the true children of Israel. Only Israel was justified as righteous by the Word of God. Paul explains this at length concerning Adam and Adamkind in Romans chapter 5.
19 So then those who were scattered from the tribulation which happened after Stephanos had spread so far as Phoenicia and Kupros and Antiocheia speaking the Word to no one except only to Judaeans.
Here we see once again that the household of Kornelios were the first to receive the Gospel who were not Judaeans, who were not of the circumcision. This must include the so-called Ethiopian eunuch, the people of Samaria to whom the apostles had preached, and the men of the various nations listed in Acts chapter 2 – they must all have been Judaeans.
20 And there were among them some Kupriot and Kurenaean men who coming into Antiocheia spoke also to the Hellenists, announcing the good message of the Prince Yahshua. 21 And the hand of the Prince was with them, and a great number of believers were turned to the Prince.
Since people of the Nations were just beginning to be presented with the Gospel, these men of Cyprus and Cyrene were evidently Judaeans also, and so were the Hellenists of Antioch. For if they were actually Greeks, they would not have been called Hellenists, a word used for non-Greeks who followed Greek manners, customs, and even laws as we have seen here at Acts 11:2 where we quoted from Josephus' Antiquities.
However here where the text has Hellenists, in agreement with the Codices Vaticanus (B), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text, the Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Bezae (D) have Greeks. The true reading is difficult to ascertain from the context, and either reading may be correct. Oddly, the Codex Sinaiticus (א) has neither Hellenists nor Greeks, but the word for gospel instead, which is apparently a gloss.
22 And the account was heard in the ears of the assembly which was in Jerusalem concerning them [meaning the new converts at Antioch] and they sent out Barnabas unto Antiocheia,
Barnabas was introduced to us at the end of chapter 4 of Acts. The Codices Bezae (D), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “to go through unto Antiocheia”; the text agrees with the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Bezae (D).
23 who arriving and seeing the favor of Yahweh rejoiced and encouraged them all with purpose of heart to remain among the number of the Prince, 24 because he was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a considerable crowd was added to the Prince.
The NA27, following most of the other manuscripts, has “in the Prince”, or “in the Lord”, from the Dative Case of the noun alone. The text follows the Codex Vaticanus (B) which has the preposition ἐν preceding the noun, which is “among the number of”, for which see Liddell & Scott at ἐν (1722), “I...3. in the number of, amongst”.
25 And he departed for Tarsos to search for Saulos, 26 and finding him brought him to Antiocheia. And he came to them even a whole year to gather in the assembly and to teach a considerable crowd. And the students in Antiocheia were first to be labeled “Christians”.
The Codex Bezae (D) has verses 25 and 26 to read: “And hearing that Saulos is in Tharsos he departed searching for him, and as he met with him he exhorted him to come to Antiocheia. Who arriving a whole year gathered with a considerable crowd, and then in Antiocheia they first labeled the students ‘Christians’.” However Barnabas must have already known that Paul was in Tarsus, from the account in Acts chapter 9, and we therefore see another unnecessary and strange innovation on the text by that codex. It was Barnabas who first introduced Paul of Tarsus to the original apostles, as described in Acts 9:27.
Strangely, the Codex Sinaiticus (א) has Chrestians, the vowel being an eta rather than an iota. That codex repeats the odd spelling where the word occurs elsewhere, at Acts 26:28 and at 1 Peter 4:16. The reason can only be conjectured, however this commentator shall not venture to offer one. The earliest extant manuscript of Tacitus also has the Latin equivalent of Chrestians where he mentions Christ and Christians in his work The Annals (15.44.3). Among profane writers, both Flavius Josephus and the Roman Suetonius used the term as we do today, writing Christians.
There are some today who reject the label, Christian. To do so is to reject the Scripture where Yahweh God says that He would place His Name upon the children of Israel. Christ had many names, such as Yahshua (which is His given name), Emmanuel (which is a title with a meaning), and other titles. However it is recorded that He accepted the title Christ as a name at John 4:25-26 thus: “25 The woman says to Him: 'I know that Messiah comes, who is called Christ. When He should come, He shall announce to us all things.' 26 Yahshua says to her: 'I am He, who is speaking to you.'” This is ascertained in scriptures such as Matthew 24:5, where Christ is recorded as having said “5 For many shall come by My Name saying ‘I am the Christ’, and they shall deceive many.” So Yahshua Himself tells us that His Name is Christ.
Now this does not mean that He was not named by these other terms, such as Yahshua, or The Nazarene, or Emmanuel, which means “God walks with us” and which is literally true of the Christ. Yet Christian is the name which the apostles accepted. This can only be the fulfillment of prophecy, such as that found in 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.”
1 Peter 4: “15 For not any among you must suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler in the matters of others, 16 but if as a Christian, you must not be ashamed, but you must honor Yahweh by this name, 17 because the time of judgment is to begin for the house of Yahweh. But if first for us, what is the end for those who are disobedient to the good message of Yahweh?”
I have seen men who accept the Israel Identity message in one form or another, yet reject the term Christian. They often do this because the term Christian has come to be confused with the popular judaized form of religion which is now taught in the formerly Christian churches. What these short-sighted men do not realize, however, is that the enemies of our God will corrupt and distort any label which is placed upon the people of God, and it does not matter what that label is. We must stop surrendering our language to our adversaries. For my part, I am a Christian. That is the Scripture.
27 And in those days prophets came down from Jerusalem into Antiocheia.
The Greek word προφήτης (4396) has several senses. It is basically, according to Liddell & Scott, “one who speaks for a God and interprets his will to man, a prophet”, and they supply several examples from Greek Classics. The Hebrew prophets both spoke for Yahweh God, and sometimes, as we see in Daniel, interpreted His will to men. Yet in the New Testament a prophet may also be one who merely interprets the Word of God, which seems to be the sense of the word as Paul uses it in 1 Corinthians 13, and as Peter uses the word prophecy at the end of chapter 1 of his first epistle. The third sense, is that a prophet can be one who reveals things which are not openly known. Examples of this use of the word prophet are found in John chapter 4, where the woman at the well exclaims to Yahshua that He is a prophet because he revealed her marital history, which no ordinary man could have known, and it also seems to be how Paul uses the word at 1 Corinthians 14:24-25. In his epistle there Paul says “24 But if perhaps all might interpret prophecy, and some unbeliever or uninstructed may enter; he is brought convincing proof by all, he is examined by all; 25 the secrets of his heart become evident, and thus falling upon his face he will worship Yahweh, announcing that truly Yahweh is among you.”
In chapter 19 of the Revelation we read “10 For the testimony of Yahshua is the spirit of prophecy”. Or of interpreting prophecy. For that reason, or so it seems, Liddell & Scott offer a secondary definition of the word: “an inspired preacher and teacher”, which seems to be how the word is used here, of those who bear the Gospel in the manner of Revelation 19:10. Yet the next verse reveals that some of these may also foresee future events:
28 And there arose one of them named Hagabos who indicated through the Spirit that a great famine is going [the third century papyrus P45 wants going] to come upon the whole inhabited world, which happened in the time of Klaudios.
This Hagabos, or Agabus in the King James Version, is probably also the same man who some years later predicted the impending arrest of Paul, which is recorded at Acts 21:10.
That this famine is that “which happened in the time of Klaudios” indicates that Luke wrote this account retrospectively. This supports the assertions made here in the beginning of our presentation of Acts, where it was explained that Luke wrote these accounts from stories collected from various eyewitnesses, until the time when he himself appears in the records in Acts chapter 16. Luke first appears not by name, but by his having written in the first person in certain places beginning in Acts chapter 16, after Paul and Barnabas argue their position against circumcision for uncircumcised converts before the elder apostles in Jerusalem, which is recorded in Acts 15. There are extant and early assertions that Luke was indeed a Greek from Antioch, and so he may have been a Christian this early, however it is still quite clear that this account is written retrospectively. Klaudios, or Claudius Caesar, was emperor from 41 to 54 A.D. This famine is mentioned in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, 2:12, and in Josephus’ Antiquities 20, chapters 3, 4 and 5. It is known that the death of Herod Agrippa I, which is recorded near the end of Acts chapter 12, occurred in 44 AD, and here at this point it is obviously still some time before 41 AD.
29 Then of the students, just as anyone prospered, each of them set aside for suppliesto send to those brethren dwelling in Judaea, 30 which they then did, sending to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saulos.
The word rendered supplies in this context, where the King James Version has relief, is διακονία (1248), which is “the office of aδιάκονος, service...attendance on a duty, ministration...the ministry” (Liddell & Scott) but here is collectively “supplies” in context. Liddell & Scott define the corresponding verb, διακονέω, as “II.... to furnish, supply … Passive to be supplied”.
The need for this relief is often linked to the aforementioned famine, and that may be the case here. However it is evident that the Christians in Judaea were pretty much ostracized from society, and always under threat of harm due to their being persecuted, as we shall see in Acts chapter 12. Therefore those who could work were obliged to assist them, as we see here. Paul and the people of the assemblies which he gathered in Europe were still assisting the saints in Jerusalem many years later, as is evident in his first epistle to the Corinthians in chapter 16 where he says in part “1 Now concerning the collection that is for the saints, just as I had prescribed to the assemblies of Galatia, in that manner also you should do. 2 On every first of the week each of you by himself must lay up, treasuring whatever he may grant for the journey, in order that when I should come there would not be collections then. 3 And when I have arrived, whomever you may approve I will send them with instructions, to have your kindness carried off to Jerusalem; 4 and if perhaps it would be sufficient for me also to make the conveyance, they shall go across along with me.” This same thing is mentioned again in 2 Corinthians chapter 8.