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Book of Acts Chapter 13, Part 2 - Christogenea Internet Radio 09-13-2013
Last week presenting part one of Acts chapter 13, due to its great length we were impelled to leave off in the middle of Paul's address to an assembly of Judaeans in Pisidian Antioch. This address began in verse 16 of the chapter, and in it Paul's primary task was to explain that the ministry, death by crucifixion, and subsequent resurrection of Yahshua Christ was indeed the fulfillment of the scriptural promises of a Savior and King to the children of Israel. Presenting the beginning of Paul's discourse last week, we read from 2 Samuel, Jeremiah chapter 30, Hosea chapter 3, and Isaiah chapter 53 in order to show just some of the many scriptures which support Paul's assertions. Part of Paul's challenge was to convince the Judaeans dispersed throughout the oikoumene that this is true, that Yahshua Christ was indeed the fulfillment of these promises found in Scripture, and in every place which he visits, he uses the local assembly-halls of the Judaeans in order to introduce himself to the Judaeans and to the people.
Last week we saw that Paul of Tarsus had two names: Saul (or Saulos), and Paul (or Paulos). We promised to discuss the meaning of those names as they relate to Paul's ministry. Last week we also saw that Paul and Barnabas were distinguished by Yahweh God for a special mission, in verse 2 of this chapter where it says of the apostles in general “And upon their performing services for the Prince and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke: 'Now set apart for Me Barnabas and Saulos for the work which I have called them.'” This mission, we shall learn as the Book of Acts is further presented, and as we saw when we discussed that verse in relation to Paul's words at Galatians 2:8, was to bring the Gospel of Yahweh God to the nations of the children of Israel who were dispersed long before this time. Such is why Paul and Barnabas set out for the Mediterranean islands and the Greek regions of Anatolia and Europe.
As the Hebrew Old Testament traditions are revealed in Scripture, a man's name frequently had meaning in relation to aspects of or even the purpose of his life. This is evident also in the life of Paul of Tarsus, where the meanings of Paul's names certainly do relate to aspects of his ministry.
The Hebrew word from which the name Saul is derived, which was also the name of the first Israelite king, is Strong's number 7586, Shauwl, but while it has a distinct Strong's entry it is actually only a form of another word found at 7592, which is sha'al, a verb which means to inquire or to request. [We believe that this word is also the source of our English word shall.] Inquiring into the Scriptures, we find that Yahshua is indeed the Christ. However in Hebrew the name Saul can also be spelled the same as the Hebrew word sheol, which refers to the abode of the spirits of the dead, sometimes simplified as a reference to the grave. If one scoffs at the idea of an abode for the spirits of the dead, I would refer that individual to 1 Peter 3:19-20. The dispersed children of Israel of the nations to whom Paul preached, hearing the Gospel message which Paul first brought to them, were indeed dead in sin and dead without their relationship to Yahweh their God which the purpose of the Gospel message was to restore. There is also a Greek word, saulos, which is an adjective and which according to Liddell and Scott can mean straddling. That also describes the ministry of Paul, who straddled both the Judaism of the remnant and the paganism of the dispersions of Israel, and who straddled both the Scripture of the Hebrews and the profane literature of the Greeks, in order to present the Gospel of God to Israel.
However the word from which the name Paul is derived is not from Hebrew. It is a Latin word, or it is a Greek word. The Latin word paulus means little, which perfectly describes how Christianity began: the Gospel was in the hands of a very few men who had numerous and great adversaries in a very large world. The Greek word paula is actually a feminine form, and if expressed in the masculine form it would be paulos, and it means rest. That the children of Israel can only find rest in the Gospel of Christ and in obedience to their God is a core component of Paul's message. So in several ways, both of Paul's names, Saul and Paul, can be related to aspects of his mission. But that all of the potential definitions of his names can be related to the nature of his ministry cannot merely be a coincidence.
We left off last week with Acts 13:27, where Paul said “Indeed those dwelling in Jerusalem and their leaders, not knowing Him and the voices of the prophets being read throughout every Sabbath, judging Him have fulfilled them. Here we saw that the words of Isaiah 6 fulfilled, that the people of Jerusalem – whether they were of the Canaanite enemies of Christ or of His Own people - would be blind to prophecies concerning Christ, and that their blindness assisted in the fulfillment of His mission because He had to die as a man. Yet that those who judged Christ did not actually know Him is an indication that neither could they have been His sheep, which He Himself told them as it is recorded in John chapter 10. In this manner, a word meaning know is used in much the same way as it was with Joseph and pharaoh in the Exodus account (Exodus 1:8). For Joseph must have been known of, since it was such a short time after the end of his life that this new pharaoh came into power, and this new pharaoh was of the same dynasty and household as the old pharaoh. However that which is alien to us is truly not known to us regardless of our seeing or hearing, and it can be established that the new pharaoh of Exodus chapter 1 was indeed the son of a Hittite woman, a bastard of the same Canaanite stock as the enemies of Christ are here. With this we shall commence with verse 28:
28 And finding not any guilt for death they demanded of Pilatos for Him to be killed. 29 And as they completed all the things which are written concerning Him, taking Him down from the beam they laid Him in a tomb.
The word rendered as beam is ξύλον, Strong's 3586, and may have been translated as tree or stock. In this manner, as Paul explains in Galatians chapter 3, Christ became a curse on our behalf, for the Law in Deuteronomy 21:23 says in part: “for he that is hanged is accursed of God”.
The version of verses 28 and 29 in the Codex Bezae (D) suffers from imperfect grammar, as the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (NA27) also indicates, and it reads: “28 And finding not any guilt for death in Him judging Him they gave Him over to Pilatos in order that for which to be killed. 29 And as they completed all the things which are written concerning Him, they demanded of Pilatos indeed to crucify Him and again being successful and taking Him down from the beam also they laid Him in a tomb.” While the original texts of Acts 13:28 and 29 surely leave no doubt that the leaders of the Judaeans were responsible for the execution of Christ, and not the Romans, and the Gospels certainly demonstrate the truth of Paul's words, yet the version found in the Codex Bezae, and the interpolations it contains, seems to reflect a desire on the part of at least some early Christians to magnify that understanding emphatically. The Judaeans, those who rejected Christ being the ancestors of today's Jews, are those responsible for the Crucifixion of Christ, and not the Romans. His blood is on them and their children as they themselves attested, which is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew (27:25). The statement when it was made references guilt, and not the Christian symbol of His mercy.
30 But Yahweh raised Him from the dead, 31 who appeared over many days to those who went up with Him from Galilaia to Jerusalem, who are now His witnesses to the people.
The Codex Bezae (D) has “until now”, while the Codices Vaticanus (B) and Laudianus (E) want the word for now. The text of the Christogenea New Testament (CNT) agrees with the third century papyrus P45 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), and Ephraemi Syri (C).
The Gospel of Mark contains nothing legitimate of the events following the resurrection of Christ. The current text of those Bibles which contain verses from Mark 16:9 through 16:20 only represents one of several endings created by later scribes for a Gospel of which the original ending was lost, if indeed it ever continued beyond Mark 16:8 at all. The remaining three Gospels describe different events related to the appearances of Christ to His disciples after His Resurrection, told from different perspectives. Paul himself offers a summary in his epistles, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “3 For you are among the first [writing to the Corinthians] that I had transmitted to that which I also had received. [The first mention of Paul in Corinth is in Acts chapter 18.] That Christ had been slain for our errors, in accordance with the writings; 4 and that He had been buried, and that He was raised in the third day, in accordance with the writings; 5 and that He had appeared to Kephas, then to the twelve. [He evidently referred to the entire group of apostles as 'the twelve' even though they were not twelve at this time.] 6 Thereafter He had appeared to more than five hundred brethren at the same time, of whom the greater number remain until presently, but some have died. 7 Then He had appeared to Iakobos, then to all of the ambassadors; 8 and last of all, just as if from a wound, He had appeared to me also. 9 Therefore I am the least of the ambassadors, I who am not fit to be called an ambassador, since I had persecuted the assembly of Yahweh.” In reference to this last statement, 1 Corinthians 15:8, with Paul calling himself the “least of the apostles” we should again note that the Latin word paulos means small. From this it can be clearly discerned, that while there were indeed men who were recognized as apostles by Christ who were the bearers of His teachings, yet there were hundreds of others who witnessed His resurrection, and must have testified to it throughout the subsequent years. For this reason did Christianity eventually become the prevalent religion throughout the empire, although many elements of paganism persisted among the people, and still do to this very day.
32 And we announce the good message to you, the promise having come to the fathers, 33 that this has Yahweh fulfilled to our children, raising up [or resurrecting] Yahshua as also in the second Psalm it is written: ‘You are My Son, today I have engendered You!’
Here the text of the NA27, following the Codex Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text, has the first clause of verse 33 to read “that this has Yahweh fulfilled to us their children”; the text of the CNT follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Bezae (D).
The Codex Bezae (D) has this last verse in part “raising up the Prince Yahshua Christ. For thusly in the first Psalm it is written”; The third century papyrus P45 generally follows the text, but only has in part “in the Psalms it is written”m wanting the word for second; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C), and the Codex Laudianus and the Majority Text which vary only in word order. The quote is in the Psalm which is listed second in both the King James Version and the Septuagint.
Regardless of which of these manuscript readings is correct, Paul's message here is once again a very pointed racial message, the statement connecting “the promise having come to the fathers” directly to the children of the ancient people of Israel, since Paul's address is to his brethren, who are Israelites and who are “sons of the race of Abraham”, as we have seen at the beginning of his discourse in verse 26. We see this idea is also fully reflected in that Gospel which was written by Paul's companion, Luke. For only Luke records the prophetic words of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, at the end of Luke chapter 1 where it describes the very purpose of the Messiah: “68 “Blessed is Yahweh the God of Israel, that He has visited and brought about redemption for His people ... 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 ... For which to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the dismissal of their errors ....” All of this language is exclusive to a physical, genetic Israel, and all of the writings and recorded actions of both Paul and Luke must be understood in this context.
The quote of the second Psalm given here at the end of verse 33 is from Psalms 2:7. At the end of this verse of Acts 13, the Codex Bezae (D) interpolates the text which is found at Psalms 2:8: “Ask from Me and I shall give to You the Nations for Your inheritance and the ends of the earth for Your possession”.
Here it is evident, that when Paul or any other apostle in Scripture quotes from the Old Testament writings, it is our duty to go back to examine those writings for the context. To someone who does not know the Scriptures, by itself the clause “You are My Son, today I have engendered You” has nothing to do with anyone in particular, let alone the Christ. However, if one reads the entirety of the second Psalm, in context the clause has everything to do with Christ. Paul's invocation of this line requires that his listeners go back and read that Psalm, hopefully to determine that same thing for themselves, to arrive at the same conclusion as Paul did. We learn much more from Scripture, and gain much more insight into the minds of the New Testament writers when we do such a thing, because they certainly were not quoting Scripture out-of-context, as the judaized churches of today would have us to believe.
Psalm 2: “1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
While aspects of this Psalm indeed apply to David in his own time, yet this is clearly also a Messianic prophecy which can only apply to Christ, and especially the last half of it, which far transcends the scope, duration and power of David's kingdom. The final proof that the second Psalm is a Messianic prophecy is found in the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, in His Own words, in Revelation chapter 2: “26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star.” From Luke 6: “40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.”
34 And because He raised Him from the dead, no longer going to return to corruption, thusly He said that ‘I shall give to You the holy things assured to David.’
From Isaiah chapter 55, which continues a much longer Messianic prophecy which actually begins several chapters earlier: “3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.” This leader, witness and commander can only be Christ, of whom David was a type. That Christ was to be the recipient of the promises to David is elucidated in this prophecy, however it is also clear that Christ Himself is the sum of the “sure mercies” [as the King James Version has it] which were promised to David. Therefore in Christ, Yahweh God Himself becomes one of the seed of David and the heir to David's throne, the King of Israel, as He was before Israel demanded an earthly King.
35 On which account also in another He says: ‘You shall not give Your Sanctioned One to see corruption.’
Psalm 16: “10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
The martyr Stephen is recorded in Acts chapter 2 as having presented this same argument, that because David did die and see corruption, the promise concerning the Holy One was actually made for a future Messiah, and not for David, and in Christ is its fulfillment since Christ died but was raised before He suffered corruption. While David himself will be in the resurrection, and won't be left in hell (or sheol) that can only be through Christ.
36 For indeed David serving his own generation by the will of Yahweh slept and was placed with his fathers and has seen corruption. 37 But He whom Yahweh has raised has not seen corruption.
The best commentary on these verses is found in the words of the martyr Stephen, where at Acts 2:29-32 he is recorded as having said: “29 Men, brothers, I had to speak with frankness to you concerning the patriarch David, because he also has died and is buried, and his tomb is among us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet and one who knows that Yahweh had sworn an oath to him that one from the fruit of his loins is to sit upon his throne, 31 having foreseen he had spoken concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that He would not be left behind in Hades nor His flesh see corruption. 32 This is Yahshua whom Yahweh has resurrected, of whom all of us are witnesses.”
Here in Acts 13:36 we see one of those few occasions in the New Testament where the Greek γενεά (1074) may be properly translated as generation in context. However that does not eliminate the primary meaning of the word from its definition. The meaning of the word is primarily “race, stock, family” and secondarily “race, generation”, according to Liddell and Scott. When used of a generation of men who are all alive at the same time, it must be limited to a generation of a particular race of men. The idea that a word can only mean one thing or another, and therefore a word must lose part of its meaning if it appears in certain contexts, is a shallow and simplistic idea that has no basis in truth.
David did not serve any chinamen or hottentots who may have been alive at his time. David did not serve the Amorites and Moabites whom he slaughtered and whose lands he possessed. Rather, David served his generation of Israel, and the members of that particular race who lived while he ruled as their king. Translated generation, the word γενεά refers to a generation of a particular race.
38 Therefore it must be known by you, men, brethren, that through this [the Codex Laudianus (E) has “through Him”] for you is remission of errors declared, and because of all whom were not able to be justified by the law of Moses, 39 by this all who are believing [or all who are trusting] are justified.
Here in verses 38 and 39, the notes in the NA27 which explain the variant readings in the different Greek manuscripts do not account for the differences in the King James Version which are evident in the order of the clauses, but where the meaning of the message is the same.
The Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Bezae (D) wand and. The text follows the Codices Vaticanus (B), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text. The word ἀπό is a preposition which literally means from, but is because of here in verse 38. The use is described by Liddell and Scott in their definition for the word at ἀπό, A., III., 6.
From the blessing of Israel by Moses, recorded in Deuteronomy chapter 33: “3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words. 4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.”
From Psalm 147: "18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. 19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.”
Of course, the law of Moses was only given to the children of Israel. One of the lessons of the Old Testament was that the children of Israel could not be justified by the law alone, even though the law itself is good. Therefore the scope of the context demands that “all those believing” can only be imagined to be from among those who “were not able to be justified by the law of Moses”. Either side of the equation can only refer to the genetic children of Israel, since only genetic Israel was ever given the Law of Moses, and since only Israel was ever given the promises of a New Covenant and of Salvation. Paul upheld this message of exclusivity all the way to the end of his ministry, where at Acts 26:7 he is recorded as having said “Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” The Jews who rejected Christ are not Israel, and have always been contrary to the promises made to the twelve tribes.
Because all men sin and the law by itself can justify no man, in his epistle which was addressed to them Paul explains to the Galatians, who were also descended from the dispersions of ancient Israel, namely those who were in the Assyrian captivity, that “13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, becoming a curse on our behalf, (for it is written, “Accursed is everyone who hangs upon a timber,”) … 24 So the law has been our tutor for Christ, in order that from faith we would be deemed righteous. 25 But the faith having come, no longer are we under a tutor; 26 for you are all sons of Yahweh through the faith in Christ Yahshua.… 4 And when the fulfillment of the time had come, Yahweh had dispatched His Son, having been born of a woman, having been subject to law, 5 in order that he would redeem those subject to law, that we would recover the position of sons.” (Galatians 3:13, 24-25 and 4:4-5). Out of the descendants of the ancient Israelites, all those who believe Christ recover the position of sonship which their ancestors had lost in their disobedience.” Paul's language here and throughout his epistles is very consistent and pointedly exclusive to the descendants of the children of Israel.
40 Therefore you watch, lest that spoken by the prophets may come: 41 ‘You behold, despisers! And wonder, and hide from sight! Because I work a work in your days, a work which you shall by no means believe even if someone related it to you!’”
The Codices Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “may come upon you”. The text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B) and Bezae (D).
In verse 41, the King James Version has the verb ἀφανίζω (853) as perish, rather than the literal hide from sight. The Codices Bezae (D), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text want the final occurrence of the words “a work” here, with which the Septuagint version at Habakkuk 1:5 agrees. The text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C). The Codex Bezae inserts the phrase “And they were silent” at the end of verse 41.
This final Scriptural reference offered by Paul, as his address here comes to a close, is from Habakkuk 1:5. The work being worked would require an examination of the entire prophecy of Habakkuk, since it culminates in chapter 3 of his book, and the day of the wrath of Yahweh which ends with the ultimate salvation of the people of Judah. Here we shall examine both the King James Version of Habakkuk 1:5 and that of Brenton's Septuagint, which is clearly based on an edition very close to the Greek which Paul seems to have been following:
From the King James Version, Habakkuk 1:5: “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”
The phrase “among the heathen” should probably be “among the nations”, however the words of the prophet address the people of Judaea prior to its invasion by the Babylonians.
From Brenton's Septuagint, Habakkuk 1:5: “Behold, ye despisers, and look, and wonder marvelously, and vanish: for I work a work in your days, which ye will in no wise believe, though a man declare it to you.”
42 And upon their going out they exhorted them for which to speak these words to them after the Sabbath.
As for the words “upon their going out”, the assembly was dissolving as Paul's address came to a close. The Majority Text has “going out from the assembly hall of the Judaeans” however the King James Version very dishonestly translated that as “when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue”! The text of the CNT follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C), Bezae (D) and Laudianus (E), all of which contain no reference at all to Judaeans in this verse. The Majority Text innovation and the King James rendering seem to represent an agenda designed to create and uphold the false Jew/Gentile dichotomy of Judeo-Christianity.
Rather than the words “they exhorted them”, the Codex Vaticanus has “they thought it fitting”; the Codex Laudianus (E) wants the phrase entirely; the Majority Text has “the people exhorted them” where the King James Version has “the gentiles besought”, and the difference in the interpretation of the Greek phrase τὰ ἔθνη shall be discussed below at verse 46. The text of the CNT here follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Bezae (D).
43 Then upon the assembly hall’s being discharged many of the Judaeans and pious converts followed Paul and Barnabas, who speaking with them persuaded them to continue in the favor of Yahweh.
After verse 43 the Codex Bezae (D) inserts the sentence: “And it happened that the Word of Yahweh passed through the whole city.” The Codex Laudianus (E) inserts: “And it happened that the Word was being reported throughout all the city.”
The fact that there are “pious converts”present does not change the fact that the words of the promises to Israel which were repeated from Scripture in Paul's address here are indeed exclusive to the children of Israel. However many of these “pious converts” may well have been Israelites themselves, whether they were aware of it or not. Here we are in a Greek city, Antioch, in Pisidia, an ancient district of Anatolia. This part of Anatolia and the surrounding area was settled at various times throughout history by the followers of Chalcas who were considered to be Greeks and were known as Pamphylians (which is a compound Greek word which indicates that the region consisted of multiple tribes), and by Lydians, who were descendants of Shem through Lud who is mentioned in Genesis chapter 10, and by Dorian Greeks, and by Persians who were descended from Elam, a son of Shem mentioned in Genesis chapter 10, and by Makedonians who were evidently descendants of the Trojans and Greeks (and probably Danaan Greeks), and by Ionian Greeks who were Japhethites descended from Javan in Genesis chapter 10, and later by some of the Galatians, who were descended from some of the Israelites of the Assyrian deportations. There were also a large number of Romans throughout Anatolia at this time. It can be established that the followers of Chalcas were akin to the Trojans, and like the Romans they were at least in part descended from ancient Judah. It can also be established that the Danaans were Israelites from Egypt, and that the Dorians were Israelites from Palestine. As for the non-Israelite peoples of Shemite and Japhethite origins, if any of their descendants were present here, or even if any Canaanites, Edomites or other aliens were present here, is immaterial, since their presence still does not change the fact that Paul's address was for his Israelite brethren, and that the promises were only to those of the “race of Abraham” whose ancestors were Israelites under the law, as Paul explicitly explained in his address. We, being men, must not perceive the Word of God to change by our own circumstances or by our perceptions of the circumstances of others.
44 Then on the coming [the Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Laudianus (E) have following] Sabbath nearly all the city gathered to hear the Word of the Prince.
The Codices Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Laudianus (E) have “to hear the Word of Yahweh.” The Codex Bezae (D) “to hear a great account made by Paul concerning the Prince.” The text of the CNT follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Alexandrinus (A).
45 And the Judaeans seeing the crowd were filled of jealousy and were blaspheming, contradicting the things[the Codices Bezae (D) and Laudianus (E) have words] being spoken by Paul.
Yet “the crowd” here must have also consisted of Judaeans, since many of the Judaeans followed Paul and Barnabas, as it has already explained in verse 43. So we cannot imagine that all of the Judaeans rejected the Gospel, as many commentators who would take certain elements of this account out-of-context may attempt to lead us to perceive. Rather, it is evident that those Judaeans who rejected Paul's message cannot even be said to have been more numerous as those Judaeans who had received it.
For the word blaspheming in the text, the Codex Bezae and the Majority Text have “contradicting and blaspheming”, repeating the word rendered contradicting (for which in one instance the King James Version has “spake against”; the Codex Laudianus has in that same place “opposing and blaspheming”. The text of the CNT follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A)Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C).
46 Then Paul and Barnabas speaking openly said: “To you it was necessary to speak the Word of Yahweh first. Since you have rejected Him and judge yourselves not worthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the people!
The third century papyrus P45 and the Codex Ephraemi Syri have “But since”, as do the Codices Alexandrinus (A), Laudianus (E) the the Majority Text, although they vary slightly. The text of the CNT follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B) and Bezae (D).
The Greek phrase τὰ ἔθνη is the Accusative plural of the Greek word ἔθνος (1484) accompanied by the Definite Article. Here the phrase is rendered the people. There are several other places in the New Testament where context dictates that the word ἔθνος be rendered people and not nation or as the King James Version often renders it, gentile. Among those places are Mark 11:17, Luke 18:32, Acts 8:9, 14:2 and 18:6, and I Corinthians 12:2.
The King James Version itself has people for the Greek word ἔθνος at Acts 8:9, and the King James Version must be noted at Isaiah 56:7 which is quoted at Mark 11:17. While ἔθνος in the plural is nations in Mark 11:17, the Hebrew word where that verse in Mark's Gospel quoted Isaiah is people in Isaiah 56:7. Furthermore, in the King James Version the word ἔθνος is rendered once as people and again as nation where it appears twice in the same verse in Romans 10:19! In the Septuagint, Brenton has people for ἔθνος at Leviticus 20:2, and I haven’t yet undertaken the arduous task of checking elsewhere in his translation. At Acts 14:2 the phrase τὰ ἔθνη should be the people, where the word appears alongside both “Judaeans” and “Greeks”, and in the context of 14:1 it is ridiculous to imagine it should mean “gentiles” in the sense of non-Jews. At Luke 18:32 the phrase τὰ ἔθνη should also be rendered the people, as both the Judaeans and the Roman soldiers spat upon and mocked the Christ. In any event, on two occasions (Acts 8:9 and Romans 10:19) the King James Version itself has rendered the Greek word ἔθνος as people, rather than as nation or as gentile.
There is a feature of Greek language and culture which is lost on most Bible commentators today, but which is certainly apparent in the New Testament. Because this is a mixed group, the mixed group cannot properly be termed as a λαός (2992) in Greek, which is the general word for apeople. A λαός in Greek is a people as a collective unit, but the group which consists of people of various ethnic backgrounds is not properly considered as such, and therefore such a group is termed τὰ ἔθνη, referring to “the nations” of the people in such a mixed place. According to Liddell and Scott, a λαός is “the people, both in singular and plural”. Although Brenton writes “peoples” for the plural at Psalm 116 (117):1 in the Septuagint, Thayer makes no definite comment except to say that “the plural … seems to be used of the tribes of the people”, giving Genesis 49:10, Deuteronomy 32:8, Isaiah 3:13, and Acts 4:27 as examples. So in Greek, wherever we have a group of people of mixed ethnic background, regardless of the fact that they are generally all White people, they are called τὰ ἔθνη, which indicates that the group is comprised of people of different nations. They can only be a λαός when they are all of the same nation.
It is an absolute fallacy committed by many theologians that here in Acts chapter 13, or again where a similar statement occurs in Acts chapter 18, that Paul invents a new religion, rejecting the Judaeans and bringing Christianity to some “gentiles” in their place, as they also wrongly define that term to mean non-Jews. Many Bible editions cross-reference Matthew 21:43 to Acts 13:46 to somehow support this fallacy. In that passage, Christ is recorded as having said “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” I have a Thomas Nelson study Bible based on a study Bible from Liberty University which does that. However I have another Thomas Nelson Bible with a more traditional cross-reference system which does not do that. The correct cross-reference for Matthew 21:43 should be to Daniel 2:44 and Micah 4:8. The passage in Daniel describes Daniel's fifth kingdom, and the passage in Micah says that “the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”
In answer to the fallacy of those theologians who maintain that this passage upholds the viewpoint of universalist replacement-theology, which insists that here Paul alone somehow changes the nature of Christianity, as if such a thing were possible, forsaking the Jews in favor of alien “gentiles”:
Firstly Paul is found in other Judaean assembly halls at Acts 14:1, 17:1, 17:10, 17:17, 18:4, 18:19, and 19:8, and each one of these is a different assembly hall in a different town! If Paul abandoned the Jews here for “gentiles”, why would he keep on visiting Judaean assembly halls, when there were plenty of Greek marketplaces and pagan temples to find potential converts? Then, long after his visits to all of those Judaean assembly halls, Paul says in Acts 26:6-7: “6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.” Therefore Paul never abandons the principles which he expressed throughout the discourse recorded in this chapter: that the covenants and promises of God are exclusively to a physical, genetic Israel, as he calls them twelve tribes in Acts chapter 26. Some supposed “spiritual Israel” certainly cannot be constructed of twelve tribes or be said to belong to ancient Hebrew fathers!
Secondly, in the context of his statements here, there are Judaeans from this assembly hall who did believe and who followed him, and there are Judaeans who did not. Paul here is only addressing that portion of the Judaeans who did not. Paul is only rejecting those who opposed him in this one local assembly hall – and turning to the people making up the assembly, which consisted of both Judaeans and Greeks, and possibly also of Kelts, Romans, and others, all of them being Adamic people, and most of whom descended from the ancient dispersions of the Israelites.
The truth which all universalist Bible commentators have missed is that by this time most of the Adamic oikoumene was made up of descendants of Israel, along with portions of the other Genesis 10 Adamic tribes. This becomes evident in Paul's ministry in his discourse to the Athenians recorded in Acts chapter 17. The Judaeans were only a remnant of the tribes of ancient Judah who were taken off to Assyria and Babylon, and not many more than 42,000 of them ever returned to be later called Judaeans. Among the people descended from these were many Edomites and other Canaanites who were converted to Judaism in the centuries leading up to the time of Christ. The proselytes were indeed twice-fold the children of hell.
The purpose of the Gospel was to bring that remnant of Judah, which Zechariah tells us was to be saved first (Zechariah 12:7) into one body along with the rest of the Israelites who were dispersed many centuries beforetime, reconciling them to Yahweh their God in Christ. In Paul's day most of the Israelites were living as pagans and divided up into the many nations of Europe. For this reason Paul told the Corinthians to “18 Behold Israel down through the flesh: are not those who are eating the sacrifices partners of the altar? 19 What then do I say? That that which is sacrificed to an idol is anything? Or that an idol is anything? 20 Rather, that whatever the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to Yahweh. Now I do not wish for you to be partners with demons.” This passage from 1 Corinthians 10:18-20 demonstrates Paul's knowledge that the pagan nations of Europe were indeed “Israel according to the flesh”. Most of those claiming to be Israel in Palestine were Israel in name only, and they were actually Canaanites and Edomites, as Paul also explains in Romans chapter 9. The “one stick” prophecy of Ezekiel was eventually fulfilled in the Gospel of Christ. However in Paul's day, the gospel was meant already to divide the wheat from the tares.
47 For thusly the Prince commanded us: ‘I have placed you for a light of the Nations, for you to be salvation unto the end of the earth.’”
Isaiah 42:6 is a part of a Messianic prophecy which is recorded as having been cited by the elderly Simeon in reference to the Christ child in Luke chapter 2: “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Nations”. The purpose of that light is explained in Isaiah 42:7: “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” The blind and the prisoners were the children of Israel sent off from the presence of Yahweh their God, culminating in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities.
These assertions are proven later in that same chapter, Isaiah 42: “18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. 19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant? 20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. 21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. 22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. 23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law.”
We see this same purpose expressed again where this same phrase quoted by Paul here in Acts also appears in Isaiah chapter 49: “5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.”
48 And hearing the people rejoiced and extolled [the Codex Bezae (D) has accepted] the Word of the Prince, and as many as were appointed to eternal life had believed.
The phrase τὰ ἔθνη is also the people here in this verse, applying to both believing Judaeans and Greeks.
The Codices Vaticanus (B), Bezae (D) and Laudianus (E) have “the Word of Yahweh (or God)”; the text follows the third century papyrus P45, the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Ephraemi Syri (C), and the Majority Text.
It must be noted here exactly what the text fully infers: that many of those people who were present were understood as being those who were “appointed to eternal life” first – apart from hearing the gospel and believing – and it is those people who believed the gospel once they heard it. Whether they knew they were of Israel or not, they believed the gospel even though Paul repeated several times that the promises and covenant were for Israel exclusively – not once in his discourse, which all these people had heard, did Paul ever indicate otherwise! From Romans chapter 8: “29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Only the ancient children of Israel, and their descendants, were foreknown, called, chosen and predestined for these things, all which are explicitly stated in the Scriptures of the Old Testament.
From John chapter 10: “26 But you do not believe, because you are not My sheep! 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me”.
From Romans chapter 9: “21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Judaeans only, but also of the Natons? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. ”
Reading Hosea, whom Paul quotes in this passage of Romans 9, those words were meant only for the children of Israel who were being deported by the Assyrians. As it was stressed in the beginning of this presentation, whenever the Old Testament is quoted, it is important to go back to it and read the passage being quoted in context. That is the beginning of true Christian understanding. The apostles were not quoting scripture merely because it sounded nice, or because it gave them something to write. They were quoting Scripture because Scripture is true, and they knew that was being literally fulfilled!
49 And the Word of the Prince [the third century papyrus P45 wants of the Prince] was carried throughout the whole land. [We are still in Pisidian Antioch.] 50 And the Judaeans urged on some of the noble pious women and first men of the city and aroused a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and ejected them from their borders.
The Codices Sinaiticus (א), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “pious women and noble women”; the text follows the third century papyrus P45, the Codices Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Bezae (D).
The Judaeans, who had great influence throughout the oikoumene, were always able to manipulate both the wealthiest and the lowest classes of the people to persecute the Christians. As both the early Christian writers Tertullian and Minucius Felix testify, disbelieving Judaeans were later behind all of the persecutions of Christians. There is more to this than a simple difference of religious belief. Among the Romans, the Judaeans who rejected Christ never attempted to persecute any other sect, whether it be of one of the many pagan Greek philosophies that many of the Judaean people were also caught up in, or whether it was a native Judaean sect, such as the Essenes which were also numerous at this time. Over all this time, only Christianity has ever truly threatened the devil and aroused such hatred in his minions.
51 And they shaking off the dust of their feet upon them went into Ikonion, 52 and the students were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Ikonion was the capital city of the district to the east of Pisidia and northeast of Pamphylia, known as Lukaonia (Lycaonia).