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Tag Archives: Jerusalem council

Paul’s Theological Arguments

from Google Images

from Google Images

Up until this point in his epistle, Paul was trying to reestablish his credibility with the Galatians which had been damaged by the agitators from Jerusalem. They claimed Paul owed his knowledge of the Gospel to the Apostles and had no authority to preach anything except what they were teaching at Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Paul began by logically showing the Galatians that he couldn’t owe anything to the Apostles, since he had been evangelizing areas around Damascus for three years before he had even met Peter. Furthermore, he spent so little time in Jerusalem during his first visit there that he couldn’t have obtained much from them in the way of training for evangelism. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Paul’s Official Meeting with the Apostles

from Google Images

from Google Images

According to Galatians 2, Paul went up to Jerusalem for a second time fourteen years after his conversion (1:18; 2:1; Acts 22:17). Some scholars wonder if Paul went up to Jerusalem fourteen years after his first visit with Peter, but I am wary of this idea. I base my understanding on the fact that Paul’s argument in Galatians appears to be that he had no time to learn his Gospel from any man, especially from the Apostles at Jerusalem. Paul is giving an account of himself from the very moment of his new birth which occurred on his way to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him for the first time. It was three years after his new birth that he came to Jerusalem, where he spent less than three weeks with the Apostles, and fourteen years after his new birth that he returned to Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Paul, the Apostle of God

from Google Images

from Google Images

From the very beginning of his letter to the Galatians Paul identifies himself as an apostle by Jesus Christ and the Father. He words it this way: “an apostle not of man…” presumably because it had been told the Galatians by Jewish visitors that Paul’s apostleship was given him by one or more of the Twelve, and probably Peter figured prominently in their story. The sense is that if he was ordained by men, Paul couldn’t preach anything new. His Gospel must be the very same as the Gospel preached by those at Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2015 in Epistle to Galatia, Paul

 

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Paul’s Post Council Journeys

Paul's Missionary JourneysBelow is a chart of Paul’s journeys from the time of the Jerusalem Council and afterward until the close of Luke’s thesis. I have noted every year based upon what seems to be Paul’s overall plan of spending three years doing the work of God in any given area. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Gospel, Kingdom of God

 

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Who Received the Apostolic Decrees

Since Luke seems to place great importance upon the Jerusalem Council, it should be asked who received the letter from James, and more importantly, who received the Apostolic Decrees, if James’ four abstentions were required of all gentiles, if fellowship between them and Jewish believers was an issue. This letter from the Jerusalem Council, signed by James and perhaps other elders from the Jerusalem church, is never mentioned again in the New Testament. Is the great controversy upon which Luke places such importance nothing more than a ‘flash in the pan’ so to speak? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council

 

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Dividing Barnabas and Paul

It was only a matter of time before Barnabas and Paul would have split with each heading up his own evangelistic effort, thus training other brethren to labor in the glorious work of Christ, and bringing his Name to places where he was not known. Nevertheless, Luke makes a point of showing that this separation took place earlier than it would have under natural circumstances, and he uses Mark as the impetus in that division. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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The Apostolic Decrees

In Acts 15 James pointed out that the Messianic Age had dawned upon mankind, and because it has, the previous age, the Age of the Law, was coming to a close. The gentiles did not have to be circumcised and become Jews in order to seek the Messiah (cp. Amos 9:11-12 in the LXX). The Mosaic Law was no longer the mediator between God and man. Jesus, to whom both the Law and the Prophets pointed, is our only Mediator between God and us. To force circumcision upon the gentiles who are seeking the true God would be to reject Jesus as our Mediator in favor of the Law of Moses. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in circumcision, Jerusalem Council

 

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It Seemed Good to the Holy Spirit and Us!

The phrase in Acts 15:28 seems a bit odd in our ears today, but I believe there is more to what Luke is saying than what might appear to us as an overly religious or even a presumptuous remark. “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us…” what does Luke intend for us to see? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council

 

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The Jerusalem Council’s Verdict

Luke’s placement of the Jerusalem Council at about the center of his thesis tells us how important this event is. It is also only here that we find Paul, Barnabas, James and Peter together in one place at the same time. While Paul did visit with Peter and James on his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion in Acts 9, Luke doesn’t put them all together in one place until here, and according to Paul (Galatians 2:9), the apostle, John, was there too. So, what was done here was of key importance to the Gospel afterward. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council

 

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The Council’s Sequence of Events

We know that the Jerusalem Council was convened as a result of the heated debate in Antioch by Barnabas and Paul with the men from James (Acts 15:1). I hardly believe that a few Sunday school teachers (like me) could create such a controversy in our denomination of Christianity, just because we disagree with our pastor or the pastor of another body of believers in our denomination. However, if several leading men in my denomination had a disagreement with other leading men, such a conference would inevitably occur to avert a schism within our denomination. Would this be a logical conclusion? If so, shouldn’t we see the men from James as high ranking men at the Jerusalem church as well? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Gospel, Jerusalem Council

 

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Circumcision ~ What’s at Stake?

Jews were not the only people who practiced circumcision. Some of the men in Arabia practiced it as well. They were among Abraham’s sons, and circumcision was among their traditional customs, just as it was for the Jew, but only the Jews took it so seriously as to draw their identity from its practice. Anyone among the Jews who was not circumcised was cut off from his people. Eventually, the practice of circumcision came to include the whole Mosaic Law. So, to be circumcised, according to Judaism, meant that one embraced the Torah, as well. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in circumcision, Jerusalem Council

 

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The Peter-Paul Faceoff at Antioch

Many Biblical scholars seem to think Paul’s conflict with Peter at Antioch occurred after the Jerusalem Council. I don’t believe that reasoning is correct. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul claimed that he visited Jerusalem twice before he wrote his epistle—once three years after his conversion (Galatians 1:18), and a second time fourteen years after he met Jesus on the Damascus road (Galatians 2:1). Some scholars conclude that Paul either missed a visit (Acts 11:28-30; 12:25), or Paul’s visit fourteen years later occurred during the famine, and the Jerusalem Council visit occurred sometime later, perhaps after he left Corinth in Acts 18. Nevertheless, the ‘two’ are the same visit. That is, the Famine-Relief visit and the Jerusalem Council visit were one and the same visit, and occurred cir. 49 CE. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in circumcision, Textual Criticism

 

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The ‘Men from James’

Awhile back (HERE), I wrote about these men from James who came to Antioch claiming the gentiles there couldn’t be saved, unless they were circumcised (Acts 15:1). In the next few blog posts I wish to offer a slightly different but a more dangerous perspective on the efforts of these men. First of all, their argument made logical sense, and this only made the danger of their scheme more difficult to detect. Nevertheless, logic is only as good as the knowledge upon which it is based. Think about it, the Jewish religion was the only religion on the face of the earth that was begun by God. Why shouldn’t the Jews believe gentiles needed to become Jews to be saved? Isn’t that similar to what is believed by Christians today? Don’t we believe one must become a Christian to be saved? If we believe this way, why would it be so unreasonable for Jews to believe that way too? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Jerusalem Council, Paul

 

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The Jerusalem Council

Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem cir. spring of 49 CE to discuss the matter of gentile circumcision with James and the other elders of the believing community there. This was Paul’s second visit to Jerusalem, since his meeting with Jesus on the Damascus road, and he and Barnabas came not only to discuss the issue of circumcision with the church elders, but also to bring the gentile famine-relief offering for the poor in Judea (see HERE and HERE for the details). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in circumcision, Jerusalem Council

 

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Paul’s Fourteen Year Journey

Josephus records the time of the great famine occurring during the terms of Cuspius Fadus and Tiberius Alexander. This would cause the worst season of the famine for Jews to occur during the Sabbatical Year of 48-49 CE (autumn to autumn). [Antiquities 20.5.2; compare 20.1.2 – Claudius Caesar in the year of his 4th time as consul, i.e. 47 CE, wrote a letter to Judea’s procurator, Cuspius Fadus before July of that year]. So, Fadus was still governor in 47 CE. A bad harvest season in autumn of 47 CE and spring of 48 CE would produce famine conditions for the poor in the Sabbatical year of autumn 48 CE to autumn 49 CE. These conditions began during the tenure of Cuspius Fadus, but famine conditions grew to its worst state during the term of Tiberius Alexander. The Jerusalem church would have been able to care for the poor for a few months, but as food reserves and funds grew low, they would have found it necessary to send to the gentile churches for help. Therefore, the famine-relief offering and the Jerusalem Council occurred at the same time, most likely in the spring of 49 CE. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Fourteen Years, Kingdom of God

 

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