Part 5 - The Early Acts Period
Luke picks up in the book of Acts from where his Gospel account leaves off. The term ‘early Acts period’ refers to the time in Act before Paul’s conversion in Acts 9.
At this point, Jesus’ three-year earthly ministry to Israel had ended. “… Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Israel) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers (of Israel):” (Rom. 15:8). Jesus has already been crucified, buried, resurrected, and has ascended back into heaven (Acts 1), where He remains seated today, awaiting His enemies being made His “footstool.” (Psalm 110:1-2).
“The LORD (Father God) said unto my Lord (Matthew’s Lord Jesus), Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? (Matt. 22:44)
Peter, as “the Apostle to the circumcision (Israel)” (Gal. 2:7-8), now in early Acts concludes his Pentecost sermon. “And with many other words did he (Peter) testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves (Israelites) from this untoward (Gk. skolios, warped, perverted) generation (age of Israel).” (Acts 2:40) In other words, Peter was echoing the words of John the Baptist, something like this:
“Fellow Jews, come out of your apostate, wicked, rebellious nation! Leave that vain religious system to trust Jesus as your Lord and Christ! Quit trying to please God with your feeble works and come to Him by faith! This evil generation will be consumed in God’s wrath when Jesus comes back! Get right with JEHOVAH God now!”
Peter was encouraging them to make the right decision to leave “the Jews religion” and assemble with Jesus’ “little flock” of the genuine believers of Israel, just as Hebrews 10:25 teaches;
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (as the believers of Israel that came out of Apostate Israel), as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day (of Jesus’ return) approaching (to set up His kingdom on earth).”
The writer of Hebrew wrote these words in Hebrews 13.
“We (the believers of Israel) have an altar (the cross of Christ), whereof they (the corrupt Priest) have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11For the bodies of those beasts (animal sacrifices), whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without (Outside) the camp.
12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without (Outside) the gate (of Apostate Israel).
13 Let us (as believing Jews) go forth therefore unto him (with Jesus) without (Outside) the camp, bearing his reproach (His disgrace in the eyes of Apostate Religious Israel).
14For here (among Apostate Israel) have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come (the Heavenly Jerusalem that is coming to earth).
15By him (Jesus) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name (Jesus, means Savior).” (Hebrews 13:10-15)
So, the believing Israelites, in accordance with Peter’s words, are again here in Hebrews 13, being urged to separate themselves from Apostate Israel – “Outside the camp” of Israel’s corrupted Religion.
Israel was Apostate and they rejected Jesus Christ, but the believing Jew is to be ready to “bear his (Jesus’) reproach.” As they hated Jesus Christ for believing and teaching God’s Word, so they hated the believing Israelites for believing and teaching God’s Word for Israel… to those of Israel who would hear it.
“By faith he (Abraham) sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles (tents) with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God….13these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city (New Jerusalem).” (Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-16)
We of the “body of Christ” today also seek to walk and gather around the pure word of God, the Bible, outside of the camp of the corrupted established church at large, and thus bear a similar reproach.
Many of us are ill-spoken of for our zeal and stand on “the Word of truth” rightly divided. May be bear it well in faith, looking to Him who will soon come to take us home to dwell with Him “eternal in the heavens.” (2Cor 5:1).