The Impact of the Jerusalem Council Meeting of Acts 15


Please read the Acts 15 chapter to set the context of this paper concerning four key points to be drawn from the ‘Jerusalem Council Meeting’ of Acts 15. It was after 15 years Paul came to the Jerusalem meeting with the Apostles of Pentecostal Messianic Jewish “little flock” remnant church to explain clearly what he said was “the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles.” (Gal. 2:2).

1. In that meeting Paul was right, and what most of the Messianic Jewish leaders in Jerusalem who opposed Paul put forth were wrong, but not Peter. Peter recognized God was using Paul in this new and different way with his new “gospel of the grace of God” for the Gentiles.

Recall how that Peter had his own earlier experience with Gentiles to guide him in the meeting. Peter originally had resisted the Lord’s instruction for him to go to ‘the house of the Gentile Cornelius,’ but he did go. The result of Peter’s trip was that he saw how Cornelius and his Gentile household had been ‘saved’ and ‘received the Holy Spirit just as the Jews had at Pentecost.’ Just as importantly these Gentiles Had NOT Been Circumcised or Brought Under the Mosaic Law (read Acts 10:1-48). It was a radical change for Jewish Peter.

So, Peter recounted this story in the Council Meeting’ of Acts 15. This demonstrates how God in His foreknowledge had foreseen Paul’s conflict with the Messianic church in this meeting. God used Peter’s experience to rally Peter to Paul’s defense now years later in the that Jerusalem Council meeting.

2. It’s clear that AFTER the ‘Jerusalem Council Meeting’ of Acts 15 any unbelieving Jews would be seen just as lost as unbelieving Gentiles. With that they would have to believe and besavedas unbelieving (heathen) Gentiles.’ Recall, it was by implementing the Law” and circumcision that God had made Israel a unique people, separating them from among “the nations” (Gk. ethnos, the Gentiles), declaring the Nation Israel as ‘a peculiar treasure unto Me’ ‘set Above all people’ (Exo. 19:5-6; Deut. 32:8). Now, Paul wrote that he is THE Apostle to the Gentiles.” (Rom. 11:13).

For 2,000 years under “the Law,” a Gentile had to be saved as a Jewsunder Israel’s program of “the Law,” that included taking Israel’s circumcision. If a Gentile wanted to be saved and blessed of God, they had to come through Israel’s ‘Kingdom / Law program.’ At that time no other way of salvation existed for Gentiles. God had established this arrangement initially with the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3).

The outcome of the Acts 15 Jerusalem Counsel meeting is where James, Cephas (Peter), and John, formally ENDED Israel’s Law adherence requirement For The Gentiles, since… now the Gentiles had their own Apostle, Paul (Rom. 11:13) with his ‘pure 100% Grace gospel.’ Paul wrote of that outcome here in Gal. 2:8-9.

“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision [Israel], the same was mighty in me [Paul] toward the GENTILES:) 9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me [Paul], They Gave To Me And Barnabas The Right Hands of Fellowship; that WE SHOULD GO UNTO THE HEATHEN [the unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Gentiles], and THEY [Peter and company would now go] UNTO THE CIRCUMCISION [the already believing Israelites only] (Gal. 2:8-9 (KJV)

So, from Act 15 onward, any unsaved Jews had to Be Saved as unsaved Gentiles, that is by grace through faith” in Jesus Christ alone … this now was the ONLY God-sanctioned way of salvation. That is to say, unbelieving Jews from then on would have to be saved through Paul’sgospel of the grace of God.” No longer during Acts could any man be saved under Israel’s, now set-aside, gospel of the kingdom.” The significance of this is staggering. This then explains Paul’s strong words to the Galatians (Gal. 1:6-9) could not have written prior to the Acts 15 Council of Jerusalem pronouncement. Paul related the Acts 15 meeting here;

“…  there be some [Jews] that trouble you [Gentiles], and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach Any Other Gospel unto you than that which we [Paul and company] have preached unto you, let him be accursed [banned]. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL [including the ‘kingdom gospel’] unto you [Galatians] than that ye have received [from Paul], let him Be ACCURSED [banned from the assembly].” (Galatians 1:6-9 (KJV)

From Acts 15 onward, ONLY Paul’s ‘gospel of pure grace salvation’ was valid. God’s sanctioned turn of the age had begun – as God turned from Israel to the Gentiles. This ‘turn’ is finalized in Acts 28:28. Unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Gentiles were both to be seen as unbelieving lost Gentiles. The words preached by Jesus of Nazareth continued only with The ALREADY believing Jews of Jerusalem. Now, faith alone in Paul’s gospel that “Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead” (1Cor. 15:1-4) could SAVE.

This was valid for BOTH unsaved Jews and unsaved Gentilesto believe and be saved. Thus Paul in Gal 1:6-9 says Any Other Gospel than the one Paul preached was now banned.’ Now the only ‘salvation plan’ available was unto “ALL Men” and to be acquired … “by grace through faith [alone]” in ‘Christ ALONE.’ Only Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) was to be preached during Acts after Acts 15.

Thus, the mutual decision of the Acts 15 Council Meeting at Jerusalem was formally established concerning both Jews and Gentiles as recounted by Paul in Gal. 2:9 (as seen in the KJV ONLY).

3. It is clear that from the outcome of the Acts 15 Council Meeting, as seen in Gal. 2:8-9, that Peter and the leaders of Israel used “the keys of the kingdom” that Jesus gave Peter (Matt. 16:19, below). Jesus gave Peter “the keys of the kingdom of [from] heaven” to come on earth.

“And I [Jesus] will give unto thee [Peter] the Keys of The Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever thou Shalt BIND On Earth shall be bound in heaven: and Whatsoever Thou Shalt LOOSE On Earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19 (KJV).

More importantly, as result of the decision of the Acts 15 Council Meeting, … Peter used those keys to “bind or limit ministry of the Twelve To The Already Saved ‘Jews only,’ while loosing’ Paul with his pure gospel of the grace of God” forAll men,” ‘ALL’ meaning ALL the unsaved (heathen) of mankind…  both the unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Gentiles.

Peter had first used those keys Christ gave him to open the door to salvation for the unbelieving Jews under “the Gospel of the Kingdom” on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), and to the Samaritans after the preaching of Philip (Acts 8:14-17). Now Peter was ‘binding’ or ‘limiting’ his ministry. Hence after Acts 15, Peter and the Twelve did not ‘go into all the world’ preaching ‘the gospel of the kingdom,’ according to Jesus’ so-called ‘Great Commission.’ In fact, Jesus had prophesied of the Jewish remnant’s limited short-term outreach saying; “Ye will not have gone over the cities of Israel until the Son of Man be come” at the close of the Tribulation (cf. Matt. 10:23). Jesus’ Great Commission for Israel will one day be fulfilled after the Tribulation period in Millennial Kingdom.

4. Paul had first ministered to Gentiles in Acts 13:42, before the decided outcome of the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council (~AD51). But ALL of Paul’s ‘Acts period’ letters were written AFTER the Acts 15. Thereafter Paul’s Grace Gospel was irrefutably established as the ONLY Way of Salvation for all men. Then Paul in his POST-Acts epistles, discloses another teaching that the Lord of Heaven revealed to Paul for the new Gentile Church that Paul calls “the body of Christ,” which is seated “in the HEAVENLY places(Eph. 1:3).

ALL Christian doctrine for today’s dispensational age of “the grace of God” comes from “rightly divided” portions of Paul’s 6 Acts period epistles, all written after Acts 15, and 7 epistles AFTER the Acts Period. Only in the POST-Acts epistles of Eph, Philip, Col, 1 & 2Tim, Titus and Philemon do we learn of the ‘heavenly hope and calling’ of the Church of “the Mystery” that Paul calls “the body of Christ.”

CONCLUSION: We can see why intelligized students of the Bible refer to The Book of Acts is as the ‘fulcrum,’ ‘hinge,’ or the ‘Turning Point,’ as the transitional book of the Bible. It covers the dispensational age of “the Law” and “promise” unto Israelto the dispensation of the Grace of God” for ‘All Men.’

Luke wrote the Book of Acts to explain to the JewsWHY the promised kingdom of God had not yet come to Israel on earth. What Luke recorded concerning the Acts 15 Jerusalem Counsel meeting fits with his primary purpose of the book, which provides the record of the Acts 7 stoning of Stephen for the “fall of Israel” with the TEMPORARYbinding’ and ‘setting aside’ of the Nation Israel and her kingdom program, while God later turned to obtain His heaven-bound Gentile Church called “the body of Christ(Acts 28:28).

Paul’s Book of Romans explains the core doctrines of this age of the pure “gospel of the grace of God.” Much of what we read in Paul’s later Post-Acts 28 epistles may be seen more in terms of further explanation and encouragement in the knowledge of the formerly secret and hidden relationalMystery of Christ.’  Paul wrote the Book of Romans around the time of Acts 20, saying;

“I am not ashamed of the gospel [of pure grace], for it is the ‘power of God for salvation’ to EVERYONE [both lost unbelieving Gentiles and lost Jews alike] who BELIEVES, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16 (KJV).

Note how that Paul went to “the Jew first” during the Acts period but not after Acts 28. During Acts, with each Jewish synagogue’s rejection of Paul’s message, Paul said, lo, we turned to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46) Luke confirms that Paul went to “the Jew first,” who consistently rejected his grace gospel message toward All Men. They of the Nation of Israel, rejected Paul’s word beginning with Acts 13:46, and then after Acts 15 in Acts 18:5-6 and 28:28-29. But still, in Acts 28:20, Paul served Israel’s Hope for the “kingdom come on earth.”

It’s clear that today’s age of “the Mystery [the revealed secret]” of “His body,” Paul’s pure grace gospel is the sole basis of salvation and relationship with God. But, from the time that Jesus saved Paul, revealing to him “the gospel of the grace of God” UNTIL The Acts 15 Jerusalem Council Meeting, Jews could be saved by believing EITHER of the two gospels; 1) Jews could be saved under Jesus’ “the gospel of the Kingdomas did the Jesus’ “little flock” of Luke 12:32, OR 2) under Paul’s grace gospel for “ALL men” (Gal. 3:28).

Jesus’s “gospel of the kingdom” was offered in His earthly ministry to his earthly people of the Nation Israel ONLY (Matt. 15:24); those who have an earthly destiny On Earthwith Christ. This was also then offered to “Ye men of Israel” by Peter and then the Twelve Apostles during the EARLY Acts period, until the decision of the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council meeting. Though not valid today, the faithful saved of Israel will one day “reign” on earth in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, and then forever (Rev. 5:10, 20:6). It was only for a relatively brief period, from the time of Paul’s conversion until the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council meeting. It appears that there were Two different but Valid Gospels being preached to God’s Two People Groups; one for Jews and … and one for the Gentiles. Then AFTER the Acts 15, per Gal 2:9, it was clear that only One Gospel was in force. Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” could then save men of “All races including Jews  

NOTE: Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) is for ALL men AND Paul’s latter “revelation of the Mystery (Rom. 16:25), explained in his Post-Acts epistles, were REVEALED to Paul by Christ in ‘His heavenly ministry.’ Paul’s Post-Acts epistles apply to God’s HEAVEN-bound “faithful” of the Gentile “body of Christ,” applying to those who have heard, understand, believe, and have their ‘hope’ in the truth of this heavenly ‘Calling.’ In this God gets His heavenly inheritance of the Gentile Church to will reign with Christ “in the heavenly places.”

“[1 Paul] Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the Knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your Understanding being Enlightened; [so] that ye may Know what is the Hope of his Calling [upon us], and what the riches of the glory of HIS INHERITANCE in the saints,” Ephesians 1:15-18 (KJV)

What do you have faith in? Faith in “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 24:20) and the Acts period doctrine… gets you saved into “the kingdom” come on earth with Israel at “His coming.”  By contrast, Faith in Paul’s added revelation of the mystery (Rom. 16:25) of “His body” as explained Post-Acts in Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians gets one into “The Heavenly Places In Christ(Eph. 1:3).

So, after the Acts 15 Council meeting at Jerusalem, ALL Men of ALL Races could be saved ONLY by believing Paul’s gospel of the grace of Godfor All Men, including Jews who are now seen by God as being Gentiles.’ Then also, of those who are 1) saved through faith in Paul’s gospel of the grace of God AND 2) then believe Paul’s POST-ACTS Ephesian “Mystery” of “His body are destined to ‘appear with Him [Christ] in HEAVEN’s glory’ (Col. 3:4) … to co-reign with Him in heaven (2Tim. 2:12).

Thus we believe “When Christ, who is our life, shall Appear, then shall ye also APPEAR WITH HIM in [heaven’s] glory.” (Col. 3:4) As believing members of “His body” during today’s Post-Acts Gentile age of “the Mystery,” it is now for us; “… To Make ALL Men See What Is The Fellowship [the administration] of The Mystery [the formerly secret plan of God concerning ‘the body of Christ’], which Hath Been Hid In God, …” (Eph. 3:9 (KJV).