JEWS WHICH BELIEVE ACTS 21:20
GENTILES WHICH BELIEVE ACTS 21:24
1—Did the Lord approve of Paul’s two-fold position as set forth in I Corinthians 9:20 and 21 “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law, as under the Law, that I might gain them that are under the Law; To them that are without the Law that I might gain them that are without Law”?
2—Compare this declaration of Paul with his condemnation of Peter in Galatians 2:11 to 15, especially these words of Paul to Peter. “I said unto Peter before all, if thou being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Tell the difference in the position of Paul and that of Peter.
3—According to the agreement, recorded in Galatians 2:7 and 9, what was to be the difference in the ministry of Peter, James and John on the one hand and Paul on the other?
4—In Galatians 1:17 and Galatians 2:6 we are informed that Paul did not receive either his authority or message from the twelve apostles, but directly from Christ in heaven. Galatians 1:12 and 16. Did the twelve apostles preach to the House of Israel the message of Galatians 3:6, which the risen Christ gave to Paul for the heathen or Gentiles?
5—If these heathen or Gentiles were not under the Law before they were justified, and Christians are not under the Law—according to Romans 6:14—did any one have Divine authority to entangle these justified heathen with any part of the program of the meats and drinks, carnal ordinances and divers baptisms which were imposed upon Israel until the time of the reformation? Hebrews 9:10.
6—What did James mean when he was moved by the Holy Spirit to speak those words recorded in Acts 15:19, “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God?” Did he not mean that “Gentiles which believed” were not to practice the religious ceremonies which many of the “Jews which believed” were practicing years after Christ had blotted out the handwriting of ordinances, nailing it to His cross?
7—Why did Paul circumcise Timothy 20 years after the death of Christ and at the same time write to the Galatians severely criticizing and condemning them for submitting to circumcision? Galatians 5:3 and 6 and Galatians 6:12 . . . Acts 16:3.
8—James, Peter and others wrote a letter to the Gentiles, according to Acts 15:24, and told them that they were opposed to the Jewish preachers who were saying to justified heathen that they had to be circumcised and keep the law. “To whom we gave no such commandment.” What did the perverted gospel do to the soul?
9—Compare this emphatic declaration of James in the year 53 A.D. with his statement to Paul in the year 60 A.D., as recorded in Acts 21:20. “Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are zealous of the Law; And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after their customs.” Here then we observe one order for the Jews among the Gentiles and an entirely different order for the Gentiles among the Jews during the first 30 years after Pentecost.
10—In Acts 21:22 to 27, we have the record of Paul becoming a Jew in the Jerusalem temple for 7 days, in accordance with his declaration in I Corinthians 9:20. If he were out of the will of God, was he not most inconsistent in condemning Peter . . . Galatians 2:14 . . . and deceived when he said, “I. have fought a good fight”, etc.?
11—If Paul became a Jew for seven days at this time, to please James and others of the 12 apostles, were not all of the apostles out of the will of God, if Paul were acting in the flesh, as some would lead us to believe?
12—If Paul was trying to please the Jews by obeying their wishes at the suggestion of James, do you think he would have displeased them by defiling the temple, inviting Trophimus or any other Gentile to go into the temple during the time of their religious services? We note according to Acts 21:28 and 29 that this is what aroused the wrath of the Jews.
13—Now, if these religious Jews poured out their wrath upon Paul for his message, and James was living, with other apostles, in Jerusalem undisturbed, is this not proof positive that Paul’s commission from Christ and the message which came to him from heaven was different from the God-given ministry to Peter, James and the others?
14—Note Acts 21:23 the word “We”. “We” have four men which have a vow on them.” James is included in the “We”. If in the year 60 A.D. James compelled Paul to take a vow, shave his head, and become a Jew to please the Jews, was it not consistent of James, in his epistle which was addressed to the Twelve Tribes, to instruct the elders to anoint with oil? Is it not a fact that vows, shaving of heads, circumcisions and anointing with oil belong to the religion of Jews and not to justified Gentiles?
15—According to Ephesians 2:12 the past record of the Gentiles is set forth in this language: “Remember that ye in times past Gentiles . . . that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Did the “Jews which believed” remain in the commonwealth of Israel after they were saved? Did the justified Gentiles enter the commonwealth of Israel at the time they were saved? Read Romans 11:11 to 20.
16—Read carefully in Ephesians 2:13 to 22 the unity of the Jew and Gentile in the body of Christ and state why this truth was withheld until the year 64 A.D. after Paul declared in Rome, “the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.” Would it have been consistent on the part of Paul to have become a Jew to the Jews after he declared the Ephesian truth?
17—During the years covered by the Book of Acts Paul wrote the following epistles: First and Second Thessalonians, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians and, last of all, Romans. If, during this period, we find that God’s order was “to the Jew first”, and also, that there was during those years one order to the “Jews that believe”, and another order to the “Gentiles that believe”—which orders did Paul ceased to recognize after he reached Rome—should we not expect to find—and do we not really find—marked difference in this respect between the epistles mentioned above and the following epistles which he wrote after he reached Rome, namely: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, First and Second Timothy, Titus and Philemon?
18—In Acts 23:5 we find recorded these words: “Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, “Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” If you consider that Paul erred 27 years after the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom, by reviling the high priest—in Acts 23:4 called “God’s High Priest”—on what grounds do you base your decision?
19—Is it not clear to you that during the Book of Acts, Peter and the eleven were ministers to Israel, under the Commission of the resurrected Christ in the Land of the Jews and the Apostle Paul a minister to the heathen or Gentiles with a commission and ministry from the risen Christ which superseded the commission of Christ to the twelve?
20—If God’s order, “To the Jew first”, ceased when Paul reached Rome, and the Jews require a sign, are we surprised to find no signs recorded in Paul’s last seven epistles? If signs, circumcisions, anointings, etc. ceased at that time, what do you believe to be the one baptism mentioned in Ephesians 4:4?
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.