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Salvation–God Removes All Doubt

18 Sep

Before going on to Acts 11, I think I should consider Peter’s speech before Cornelius and his household and friends to highlight a few things that he mentions. We shall begin in Acts 10:34 and continue to the end of the chapter.

Peter equated his own vision as preparatory to his meeting Cornelius and the folks gathered in his home. He began by saying that God is no respecter of men, regardless of their national origins, as far as righteousness is concerned. This is a major breakthrough in Scriptural insight for Peter.

Looking back from the 21st century CE, we sometimes read the word Christian into the events that transpired in the first 10 chapters of Acts. Nevertheless, a Christian, as we would know him today, didn’t even exist until Acts 11:26! All believers in Jesus (before Cornelius) were either Jews or gentile proselytes in the Jewish faith. It was presumed that, if you believe in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, you must become a Jew. After all, no other religion on the face of the earth could boast of having its roots in the command of God to separate oneself from all others—whether nations or gods—and enjoy an exclusive and special relationship with him. Salvation and Judaism was like male and female, bread and butter, salt and pepper. The two simply went together, but Peter announced here in Acts 10 that God had revealed to him that this simply is not so. No man or no nation was special to God—as far as righteousness is concerned. All men who fear God are accepted by the Lord over all (Acts 10:34).

This idea has its roots in the preaching of Jesus, heard throughout Judea and beginning with the Baptism of John (Acts 10:36-37). The Romans didn’t recognize a national difference between Galilee, Samaria and Judea. All were Jews to Rome, and the only difference among them stemmed from difference in religious practice. Therefore, when Peter spoke of Judea here in Cornelius’ home, his hearers would have understood him in that context, and Peter expected these people to, at least, have heard of both Jesus and the Baptist and the works they had done.

Peter first pointed out that God had anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). This was in reference to the words of the prophet, Isaiah (Isaiah 61), which Jesus ascribed to himself (cp. Luke 4:18-19). Isaiah’s whole prophecy concerns God’s appointing Jesus to build up and establish the Kingdom of God. How is he doing this? According to Peter, Jesus is building up the Kingdom with men and women from all nations—those who fear God and are kind to one another.

Secondly, Peter tells us in Acts 10:38 that God was continually with Jesus as he went about doing good (Greek—benefacting). The Romans present would recognize Peter’s term reveals a kind ruler or deity as benefactor, bestowing gifts and mercy upon those of lower degree (cp. Luke 22:25; Acts 2:22).

Next, Peter says that Jesus was slain (Acts 10:39). He uses the indefinite pronoun they which by immediate implication refers to Jesus’ countrymen. However, in Acts 4:27-28 Peter says all mankind—gentiles and Jews alike—gathered themselves together against Jesus (cp. Psalm 2:1-3), the anointed Emissary of God, and slew him after each tried him in their courts. But, God overruled the courts of men and raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 10:40) and showed him openly to those chosen men, whom he had appointed to be his witnesses (cp. Acts 10:39-41).

Fourth, by implication, Jesus’ appearances to these men meant that they would testify to others that Jesus is the appointed Judge over all—whether living or dead (Acts 10:41-42). The word judge for these Romans was equivalent to the Jewish Son of Man, a title in Judaism that was rich in meaning in both the Old Testament and in inter-testimental literature. Nevertheless, this deeper understanding would hardly have been understood by non-Jews, hence Peter using the term judge.

Finally, Peter ends by saying: the prophets testified that through Jesus’ Name—i.e. whomsoever believes in him—should receive forgiveness of all their sins (Acts 10:42). The prophets foretold of a coming age when God would simply end man’s rebellion by forgiving him—making peace with mankind through Jesus’ sacrifice (Acts 2:24; cp. Isaiah 53: 6, 11; Joel 2: 32; Luke 24:4;Acts 2:21; 10:35). The proof that the new age of God’s peace and forgiveness extending to all had begun is the descent of his Holy Spirit upon mankind, whether Jew or gentile (Acts 2:32-33; cp. 10:44-47). Therefore, God ended all doubt, concerning whom he has accepted by falling upon Cornelius and his gentile friends. None of them were Jews, and none were circumcised. If God has accepted them, no man dare refuse them on any grounds. It is not given to anyone but Jesus to control or dispense the gift of God’s grace. Rather those who consider themselves religious had better recognize this and rejoice in it.

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8 Comments

Posted by on September 18, 2012 in circumcision, salvation

 

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8 responses to “Salvation–God Removes All Doubt

  1. tiptopsaidhe

    November 25, 2016 at 17:13

    Wow. Thank you for the insights.

    Moving back in time, then, how quickly might have Acts 8:4,5 happened?

    Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
    Act 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
    Act 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
    Act 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
    Act 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
    Act 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

    I don’t think there is any way to pin down what I’m searching for, I guess. I really want to read Daniel 12 as a progression, but God would have pinpointed it in time if He made it that significant.

    Dan 12:11 And from the time of the removal of the perpetual sacrifice, when the abomination of desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12Blessed is he that waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. LXX

    I appreciate your help.

    Blessings,

    B

     
    • Eddie

      November 26, 2016 at 07:43

      Greetings Bill, and thanks for reading and for your question.

      Acts 8:4 seems to be a kind of summary of what was to occur in the next few years. It is similar to my saying: “I cleaned up the leaves in my yard, and this is how I did it.” The first part of the sentence gives you a summary of the whole project, then I tell you I’m going to give you the details. If you compare Acts 8:4 with Acts 11:19 you will see what I mean. Acts 8:4 is a synopsis of Acts 8:5 through Acts 11:18. So, according to my study Acts 8:4 covers about 5 years.

      Acts 8:5-17 occurs more toward the beginning of the persecution perhaps within the fall and winter months of 34-35 AD. After this, Philip was told to go toward the south of Jerusalem toward Gaza, where he met an Ethiopian eunuch, who was probably returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This would put that meeting just after the Passover or perhaps after Pentecost in the year 35 AD. After this Philip went up the coast of the Mediterranean and settled in Caesarea. Again this took some time, and we don’t know how long he took doing that.

      Paul began his journey (at least according to my estimates) around the time or slightly before Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch. Paul’s history doesn’t have to immediately follow Philip’s, because it is clear that Luke is giving a synopsis of Philip’s whereabouts, and that could have taken several months or even years before settling in Caesarea. Rather than giving a strict chronology, Luke offers us a study of important things done by some prominent people that the Lord called for the task. First, he wrote about Philip and then Paul, but the one didn’t strictly follow the other in chronology.

      Concerning the 1290 days and the 1335 days of Daniel, the 1290 days do follow the 1260 days of Daniel 12 / Revelation 12, but are separated by the three days and nights the Lord spent in the tomb. Daniel doesn’t specifically say the 1335 days follow the 1290 days. Neither does he say that it is possible to merely add 45 days to the end of the 1290 or 75 days to the end of the 1260 in order to come to the specific date he has in mind. The fact is, Daniel, himself, didn’t know what he was writing (Daniel 12:8-9). In my opinion the 1335 days can be understood only by themselves as a unit of time. I looked for a chronology of one following the other, but found nothing revealed in the word of God, and if I try to use these days to point to something today, where would I begin and where would they end? What would they point to? I neither know what I would be looking for nor understand its importance when it occurred. To look for important events today would be nothing more than conjecture. Then, since the days seem to begin and end on Jewish Holy Days I began to look for the interpretation that way. The only way they fit into that context is how I have them in my studies. They all begin and end not only on Jewish holy days, but they fall upon specific holy days important to the Gospel, and point to events in Christ’s life, except for the one that points to Stephen’s death, which is really the event that Christ pointed to in the Olivet Prophecy, saying that at that time the abomination that would cause desolation (of the Temple and the city) would take place.

      More than this, I cannot say, Bill. I look for how the word of God interprets things, and therein I find my understanding. If other folks see something different, well, God bless them, and I hope they are led by God’s Spirit in their studies. As for me, I am limited to what has been revealed to me (as I believe that to be so).

      Hope this helps, Bill, and may the Lord bless you and your family.

       
      • tiptopsaidhe

        November 26, 2016 at 16:07

        Hi Eddie.

        I’m definitely ok with the 1335 days being a separate prophecy and pointing to Pentecost. God poured out His Spirit and the kingdom came…Blessed is he that waited, for sure.

        I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but I was reading Clarence Larkin’s “Dispensational Truth.” On page 5 are his notes that read…

        The “Preterist School” originated with the Jesuit Alcazar. His view was first put forth as a complete scheme in his work on the Apocalypse, published in A.D.1614. It limits the scope of the apocalypse to the events of the Apostle John’s life, and affirms that the whole prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and the subsequent fall of the persecuting Roman Empire, thus making the Emperor Nero the “Antichrist.” The purpose of the scheme was transparent, it was to relieve the Papal Church from the stigma of being called the “Harlot Church” and the Pope from being called the Antichrist…”

        The “Historical School”. . . interprets the Apocalypse as a series of prophecies predicting the events that were to happen in the world and in the Church from John’s day to the end of time. The advocates of the School interpret the symbols of the Book of Revelation as referring to certain historical events that have and are happening in the world. They claim that “Antichrist” is a “System” rather than a “Person,” and is represented by the Harlot Church of Rome. They interpret the “Time Element” in the Book on the “Year Day Scale.” This school has had some very able and ingenious advocates. This view, like the preceding was unknown to the early church. It appeared about the middle of the Twelfth Century, and was systematized in the beginning of the Third Century by the Abbot Joachim. Subsequently it was adopted and applied to the Pope by the forerunners and leaders of the Reformation, and may be said to have reached its zenith in Mr. Elliott’s “Horae Apocalypticae.” It is frequently called the Protestant interpretation because it regards Popery as exhausting all that has been predicted of the Antichristian power. It was a powerful and formidable weapon in the hands of the leaders of the Reformation, and the conviction of its truthfulness nerved them to “love not their lives unto the death.” It was the secret of the martyr heroism of the Sixteenth Century.

        The “Futurist School” interprets the language of the Apocalypse “literally,” except such symbols as are named as such and hold that the whole of the Book, from the end of the third chapter, is yet “future” and unfulfilled, and that the greater part of the Book, from the beginning of chapter six to the end of chapter nineteen, describes what shall come to pass during the last week of “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.” . . . In its present form it may be said to have originated at the end of the Sixteenth Century, with the Jesuit Ribera, who actuated by the same motive as the Jesuit Alcazar, sought to rid the Papacy of the stigma of being called the “Antichrist,” and so referred the prophecies of the Apocalypse to the distant future. This view was accepted by the Roman Catholic Church and was for a long time confined to it, but, strange to say, it has wonderfully revived since the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, and among Protestants. . . ., The “Futurist” interpretation of scripture is the one employed in this book. ~ Clarence Larkin

        The eschatologies we have been exposed to our entire lives are all based upon political commentaries from the RCC, not on the bible. Once able to wipe the slate clean from these heresies, it has been exciting to allow the bible to open up its truths. I appreciate your candor in your presentation here at this site.

        My best to you,

        B

         
        • Eddie

          November 27, 2016 at 07:27

          Greetings Bill,

          I don’t have Larkin’s book: “Dispensational Truth”, but I do have his book “Rightly Dividing the Word.” I haven’t read it from cover to cover but have skimmed it now and then.

          I’m not one who trusts “Dispensationalism” probably because I have to read men’s books to find out what to believe. Rather, I divide up the Bible with covenants. If I didn’t read, for example, Scofield’s notes, I wouldn’t know where the dispensations are or what they mean. On the other hand, all I have to read is the Bible to know where the covenants are and what they mean. On the one hand, I have the word of God and the other traditions of men. So, for me the choice is clear.

          I must warn you on this point. I am probably more critical of men than I should be. The reason for this (and I’m not trying to excuse myself) is that men had at one time in the past overcome my faith. I followed a man. I trusted him, but I found him to be a charlatan. When I broke away, it was rough trying to find a church that believed I was really a Christian. I simply didn’t understand their logic. Because I wasn’t converted by them, I couldn’t be a Christian, but without their help I left a false prophet. How did that happen, if I wasn’t following Christ?

          Long-story-short, I’ve had trouble with men. I read a lot, but I read with the idea that the writer must prove himself that he is actually offering a good explanation of God’s word. I have little patience with writers who put down paragraph after paragraph and not only don’t quote Scripture or offer a reference, but what they say doesn’t recall Scripture to mind–except the one that says “beware of men” (Matthew 10:17; Colossians 2:8). About 10 years after leaving the church of the false prophet, I found a good church–one that allowed me to be me in Christ and not simply a carbon copy of themselves. I even teach a Sunday school class there with their blessing. I love this church. God healed me of being too suspicious through this church, but scars of the past keep me from fully embracing **everything** good men teach. So, you need to beware of me too, Bill. :-)

          Concerning the Roman Catholic Church, I have come full swing on this. I was born into the Roman Catholic faith, and left and despised it at the warning of the ‘false teacher’. The good thing is that I do recognize evil history when I see it, but is this what the Roman Catholics are about today? I have my doubts. I have many relatives who worship there, and I would put some of them alongside of the best followers of the word I know at my present church. I try not to categorize large groups of people as though I know what they are all about–because I don’t. Jesus is the Judge, and I am not, neither is Larkin or anyone else.

          As for Preterism, I came by this quite by accident (or was it providence). I was reading a discussion on line and could hardly believe others believed as I did about prophecy–that it was fulfilled in the 1st century. I never heard of Alcazar, until you mentioned him above. Nevertheless, I’ve heard others say that dispensationalism is a quite recent doctrine. Long-story-short, every man has an opinion about things he sees around him. He will embrace it as true or reject it, or perhaps glean out what truth is there–eat up the chicken and spit out the bones, so to speak.

          I don’t know the answers for everything that comes down the pike, Bill. However, experience has taught me to beware of men and of what they say. Times spent with my Lord in prayer has taught me to not be too-too critical of what men say, because good men are sometimes ignorant. So, I study the word of God and read what the works of men say about the word of God. If something simply jumps out at me as though it were the truth, I consider it more deeply, perhaps even trust it to be true. It depends upon how much God’s word seems to support it. In the end, the Spirit leads us into all truth. It may come through men of God, or it may come while watching a TV program that was meant to entertain rather than teach, but it comes, and the Spirit will reinforce its truth with the Bible.

          As for which school of thought is really true concerning Revelation, technically, I’m probably a Preterist, but not a full Preterist. I do look for the return of Christ. I see things that could also be true in the historical theory, but it is an interpretation that only seems to fit at times–so I have to ask whether or not I’m forcing things. I also see things that may apply to futurist thinking, but not things like predicting when Christ will return. So, in reality I look upon Revelation as a “Pantheist” — it will all ‘pan out’ in the end. :-)

          This I know: ‘politics’ is the power of this world; ‘religion’ is the spirit of this world; and ‘universities’ and ‘science’ offer the doctrines of this world. These things exist at the command of God, so there is some good in all, but it would be wrong to hang my hat on any one of them as the savior of this world. We cannot separate ourselves from this world, but we don’t have to be ‘of’ this world. Hence, ‘beware of men’ but keep in mind that our Lord died for men–all men. In other words, despite our evil, there is good enough in us to die for.

          Lord bless you, Bill.

           
  2. tiptopsaidhe

    November 22, 2016 at 21:46

    Hello again Eddie. Happy Thanksgiving!

    I have a question for you regarding this part of Acts 10, if you could indulge me.

    The LXX says…Dan 12:11 And from the time of the removal of the perpetual sacrifice, when the abomination of desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12Blessed is he that waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. LXX

    I have seen the blogs on the 1260 and 1290 and 1335 days, but I’m reading Dan 12 as it saying at 1290 days something will occur that sets up the abomination of desolation, then he who waits until the 1335th day (45 days later), he will be blessed.

    Is there 1290 days from Calvary (the removal of the perpetual sacrifice) to the death of Stephen? and is there 45 more days until Acts 10:45…Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    If not, what event could have occurred 1290 days after Calvary, and what subsequently occurred 45 days later that would bring blessing to those who waited?

    My best to you,

    Bill

     
    • Eddie

      November 23, 2016 at 09:16

      Greetings Bill, and Happy Thanksgiving to you too. Thanks for reading and for your question.

      You said you have read my blogs on the 1260, 1290 and the 1335 days, so I won’t link them to you. The Days don’t follow one after the other, according to my studies. The 1260 days begin on the Last Great Day about 3 weeks into Jesus public ministry and end on the day of the crucifixion. The 1290 days begin three days later on the day of Jesus’ resurrection, the day the Wave Sheaf was offered (it blessed the harvest season, and Jesus blessed us in that we could from that time be resurrected to immortality). Counting from this day (the day of Jesus’ resurrection) we come to the Day of Atonement, which I believe was the day Stephen was killed. Something happened with Stephen’s death both in natural history and in the spiritual realm. Blood was shed for Christ for the first time, and a persecution against Hellenistic Christians began. At the same time the Levitical priesthood led by Annas and Caiaphas led the nation away from God, setting their authority against Jesus’ authority. This is rebellion, called an abomination, and it ends with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, which the Levitical priesthood sought to preserve. Remember Stephen was accused of blaspheming the Temple and the Law–that Jesus would destroy the Temple and change the Law.

      According to my study, I have the 1260 days beginning near the beginning of Jesus public ministry and the 1290 days begin 3 days after the 1260 days ended. They virtually comprise the **week** in Daniel 9 that is referred to as the 70th Week in the 70 Weeks Prophecy. However, Jesus began his ministry in Nazareth three weeks before the Last Great Day (of the Feast of Tabernacles). He began on the Feast of Trumpets and he said “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” If you count 1335 days after this day you will come to the Pentecost (or Feast of Weeks) after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It is the day the Spirit of the Lord fell upon men (believers in Jesus). The 1335 days end only a few weeks after the 1290 days began, but taken together, all three prophecies comprise the whole of Jesus’ public ministry and his ministry through the disciples up to the time of Stephen’s death.

      I hope this helps. Lord bless you, Bill.

       
      • tiptopsaidhe

        November 23, 2016 at 16:24

        Thanks Eddie. I follow the line of thinking.

        If you were to conjecture on the timing of Acts 10:45, how long do think it was from the stoning of Stephen until the gospel went to Cornelius? Is there any way to know?

         
        • Eddie

          November 24, 2016 at 09:28

          Greetings Bill, and I’m glad I was able to help.

          Concerning the timing of the Gospel going to Cornelius, I think I am able to offer a ballpark figure. If we can place Stephen’s death at the end of the 70th week, which began in the fall of 27 AD, then Stephen died in the fall of 34 AD. New pilgrimages and events nearly always began in the spring, so Paul’s going to Damascus was probably around the Passover of 35 AD or shortly before. Paul claims that he ministered the Gospel to Jews and gentiles in and around Damascus for 3 years (Galatians 1:18), and the persecution of the Hellenist Jewish believers was still taking place. This would put Paul’s visit to Jerusalem in about the year 38 AD. Luke tells us that shortly afterwards the churches experienced a “rest”, which I take to mean from the persecution of the Jewish Hellenist believers that began with Stephen (Acts 9:31).

          The officiating high priest at this time was Theophilus, the son of Annas (who had Jesus crucified). Luke wrote his Gospel shortly before this time and presented it to Theophilus as a witness (Luke 1:3). Luke is the only one of the Gospel writers that says armies would surround Jerusalem (Luke 21:20), which would be a sign the end was near. At about this time Gaius Caesar had told his general, Petronius, to take his armies to Jerusalem and place an image of himself in the Temple there, by force if necessary. This would most assuredly have begun the war between Jerusalem and Rome decades before it actually occurred. It is my opinion that Theophilus stopped the persecution at this time, and the Lord halted Petronius just north of Caesarea at Ptolemias until word came of Gaius Caesar’s death. After this, Petronius’ orders became moot.

          This campaign occurred in 40 AD, according to my estimates. Theophilus was able to see that the prophecy of Luke 21, could have been fulfilled at this time, so he repented (if not in heart, at least by ceasing the persecution of God’s people). Gaius was assassinated in January of 41 AD, and the threat no longer existed, and it wasn’t long before it broke out again in 44 AD with the killing of James, the Apostle (Acts 12:1).

          I would place the Gospel going to Cornelius sometime between 39 and 40 AD. The rest of the churches (Acts 9:31) had to have occurred after Paul left Jerusalem in 38 AD, but before Gaius’ death in January of 41 AD. 39-40 AD is my best guess.

          Hope this helps, and Lord bless you, Bill.

           

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