This is Chapter 16 of the book titled The Destiny of Israel and the Twilight of Christianity: In Quest of the Meaning and Significance of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, by John Saggio.








Table of Contents

          The Concluding Siege for Peace








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Faithful Problem Solving

As the conquering new nation continues to increase in numbers, a problem develops in the daily dispensation of goods and services. Many captives, having been delivered from the enslaving policies of the powers and authorities of Apostate Israel, have fled to the safety and salvation of the New Davidic Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah, rejoicing in the saving hand of Yahweh their Elohim. The increasing numbers have taxed the organizational capacity of the new nation.

As a result, the Hellenists (the Greek-speaking members of the new community of Yahweh, formerly from among the Jewish Diaspora) began to murmur against the Hebrews (those members of the new community having been long-time residents of Jerusalem and Judea, speaking the common Aramaic of the land) concerning the failure to provide for their widows. Apparently, the Hellenist widows had been overlooked when administering to the needs of the people of Yahweh. Under Moses in the wilderness, such murmuring led to rebellion and disruption of the nation. Under Jesus the Messiah and His spirit, this is avoided. The application of the Law of Yahweh and His Anointed One is creatively applied to the continually developing situations.

The Twelve Apostles, the judges of the New Israel of Yahweh, call a convocation of the people, the Messianic Congregation of Israel. It is their judgment that the will of Yahweh and His Anointed Son, Jesus the Messiah, is that they should continue to administer the word of Yahweh rather than becoming bogged down in distribution obligations. Heeding the guidance of the practical administrative wisdom of the spirit, these twelve judges legislate a program calling for a division of labor. The congregation of disciples is to elect seven men from among themselves, “seven attested men . . . full of the spirit and of wisdom, whom we [the Apostles] will place over this need” (Acts 6:3 CV). Thus, the Apostles, in accord with what is right in the eyes of Yahweh, “shall be persevering in prayer and the dispensation of the word” (Acts 6:4 CV).

The entire congregation (the Hebrews and the Hellenists) is pleased with this judgment. The unified nation elects

Stephen, a man full of faith and holy spirit, and Philip and Prochoros and Nicanor and Timon and Parmenas and Nicholas, a proselyte of Antioch, whom they [the congregation] stood before the apostles. And, praying, they [the Apostles] placed their hands on them [the elected seven]. (Acts 6:5-6 CV)

Thus, the cause of the murmuring has been identified. The problem is brought before the Messianic Nation. The twelve judges appointed by Jesus the Messiah, the New Davidic King, render a judgment inspired by the spirit. The Messianic Congregation as one unified body agrees with the judgment dispensed by the Twelve.

Seven men full of the faith and holy spirit are elected. These seven men represent those whose inspiration, insight, discernment, and knowledge have been exceptionally brought to maturity by the spirit in order to carry out the needed organizational skills of the continually growing nation. These men have also been endowed with scriptural and covenantal insight equipping them to teach the word of Yahweh related to the New Davidic Covenant. This teaching is according to the revelational activity of the spirit. This is shortly to be exemplified in the teaching ministries of Stephen and Philip. In the meantime, disruption has been avoided and harmonious unity has been maintained to the glory of Yahweh and His Christ (Anointed One).

The judgment of the Apostles to continue their commitment to the Word of Yahweh is most significant. The activity of the spirit continues to guide the Messianic Nation. The Apostles, no longer having to bear the full responsibility of distribution to the needy, commit themselves more fully to the “dispensation of the word” (Acts 6:4 CV). Consequently, the text records,

And the word of Yahweh was in the process of increasing in size. (Acts 6:7a my translation)

It is at this time that the Word of Yahweh, the Hebrew Scriptures, is increased, extended by the writing of the Greek Scriptures, the crowning chapters of the revelational story. These crowning chapters are written in Greek since Greek is the international language of the Roman Empire into which the evangel of Jesus the Messiah is to be proclaimed. The Apostles are the chief witnesses to the terrestrial ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist. The new Messianic Community needs to have an authorized record of these ministries.

During this period, the Apostles become involved in the directing of, guiding of, and testifying to the writings of those books known to us as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John. Thus, the inspired Greek Scriptures begin the process of increasing in size the Word of Yahweh which had already been incorporated in the Hebrew Scriptures. These newly inspired writings of the spirit contribute to the education of the continually increasing number of national citizens identifying with the newly generated Israel of Yahweh: “and the number of the disciples [citizens of the New Nation] in Jerusalem multiplied tremendously. Besides, a vast throng of the priests obeyed the faith” (Acts 6:7b CV).

The success of the conquering nation continues. The increasing number of Israelites repenting and being baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah is not merely increasing arithmetically, but multiplicationally. The numbers are being “multiplied tremendously,” including a vast “throng of the priests” who have obeyed the voice of Yahweh being spoken by the spirit through the words of the Apostles and disciples.

These priests have heard the voice of Yahweh in the proclamation of the Gospel and have perceived His mighty hand in the signs, miracles, and healings of the Apostles. Consequently, their circumcised hearts have obeyed the faith concerning Yahweh’s Anointed King, Jesus the Messiah, becoming spiritual warriors in the new invading army of the New Davidic Warrior-King. The Word of Yahweh is not returning to Him void. It is presently accomplishing that for which it is being sent forth and will continue to do so to the end of the Mosaic Eon in 70 a.d., at which time it will have successfully completed its intended purpose (Isa. 55:11). Those being accounted by Yahweh as Abraham’s authentic children of the promise (see Rom. 9:6-8) are being led forth out of the captivity of Apostate Israel into the freedom of the New Davidic Nation and Kingdom of the Israel of Yahweh under the reign of Jesus the Messiah, the promised Son of David and the Only-Begotten Son of Yahweh.

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The Conquering Affirmation of Stephen

The Crucial Discussion

The Word of Yahweh continues its conquering invasion into the camp of the enemy as Stephen, displaying the gracious power of the holy spirit, performs “great miracles and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8 CV). This draws the attention of certain scholars of the Hebrew Scriptures (as most likely translated in the Greek Septuagint) belonging to “the synagogue termed Freedmen” (Acts 6:9b CV). This synagogue seems to be the synagogue of Hellenistic Jews, that is, Jews having their origination among the nations of the Diaspora. These Jews were known to be very zealous of the traditions of their fathers (the apostate shepherds, the traditions and commandments of the men, the scholars of Judaism) and the Temple cultic worship. Having their origination outside the holy land, the holy city, and the holy Temple, they came to ascribe great prestige to living in the holy land and city, and even greater prestige to participation in the holy cultic activities of worship in the Temple.

These men, dedicated to the study of the Torah, being steeped in the knowledge of the Law and the Prophets, are drawn to Stephen as a result of his powerful works which could not be invalidated through either investigation or refutation. Discussing the teaching of the Law and the Prophets with Stephen,

they were not strong enough to withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke . . . (Acts 6:10),

fulfilling the promise made by Jesus,

for I will be giving you a mouth and wisdom, which all those opposing you shall not be able to withstand or contradict. (Luke 21:15 CV)

Thus, these Torah-educated men oppose the interpretive teaching of Stephen in spite of their inability to refute the spirit-inspired wisdom of his revelational words. These men are, therefore, either outright sons of Cain or blind and ignorant men deceived by the teaching of the Cainite shepherds among the shepherds of Apostate Israel. Both types have the opportunity to repent and avoid the judgment of the unfaithful.

However, the disadvantage of the Cainite is the more difficult task of creating in himself a circumcised heart. The uncircumcised heart presumptuously opposes the way of Yahweh. It obstinately believes its way is right while Yahweh’s way is wrong. Thus, the Cainite must conquer his own distorted mind. He must break the enslaving bonds of his false integrity and independence resulting in his disapproved, pseudo-thinking process. This he can accomplish, but it is very difficult, requiring great courage, honesty, integrity, and a love of truth.

These Torah-educated men, incapable of intellectually refuting the teaching of Stephen, instead of repenting and receiving the truth of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah, the truth of the stipulations, the terms, the teaching of the New Davidic Covenant, turn against Stephen, inciting those Israelites under their influence by charging Stephen with blasphemy against Moses and Yahweh. They stir up the people around them, as well as the elders and the scribes of their community, creating an angry, ignorantly irresponsible mob. In the midst of this atmosphere, they seize Stephen, leading him belligerently into the hands of the Sanhedrin, the falsely incited, frenzied mob following like cattle on a rampage.

Standing before the Sanhedrin, these Torah-educated men call forth false witnesses, full well knowing the context and meaning of Stephen’s declarations. The fact that they could not refute his declarations implies their understanding of his declarations. These false witnesses merely repeat the false charges they have been given by their Torah-educated teachers. The false witnesses are duped; their Torah-educated teachers, however, know better. They are liars and, thus, are acting out the role of Cain the adversary of Yahweh Elohim. To act in this role to the end (the telos of the Mosaic Eon) is to confirm one’s spiritual descendancy from Cain. To repent and receive the salvation proclaimed in the Gospel of Christ is to characterize oneself as a faithful child of Abraham.

These duped false witnesses testify,

This man does not cease speaking, making declarations against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him saying that this Jesus the Nazarene will be demolishing this place and will be changing the customs [customary rules] which Moses gives over to us. (Acts 6:13b-14 CV)

In fact, they had not heard Stephen make these declarations. They had only heard what their Torah-educated teachers had informed them concerning what Stephen had declared. In this, they, also, are liars.

Stephen had not spoken against the Temple, though he had spoken of the impending judgment which would destroy the Temple. He had not declared that Jesus would be demolishing the Temple, but that Jesus had prophesied the demolishing of the Temple, Stephen explaining the scriptural reason why this demolishing was right in the eyes of Yahweh. This declaration and scriptural explanation could not be refuted by these Torah-educated men. In this, they arrogantly and presumptuously oppose and reject the testimony of the spirit simply because this testimony refutes their distorted, misinformed understanding and perception of the Law and the Prophets, their revered, venerated, idolized world-view.

Stephen had not opposed the Law of Moses. He upheld and venerated this law given by Yahweh through Moses. He believes Moses, putting his faith in that Prophet (Jesus) Whom Moses had declared would come in his likeness, but with greater authority and power. Moses had declared of Yahweh,

A Prophet shall I raise up to them [Israel] from among their brothers, like you, and I will put My words in His mouth, and He will speak to them all that I shall instruct Him. Yet it will come to be that the man who should not hearken to My words that the Prophet shall speak in My name, I Myself shall require his blood from him. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19 CV)

Stephen had declared that Jesus the Nazarene is the Prophet Moses had written about in the Torah. This Prophet, Jesus, had not come to change the Law of Moses, but to fulfill it. In fulfilling it, He would bring it to its telos, its goal. Consequently, this necessitated the consecration of a new covenant, the very new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. The only changes being made were in relation to the customary rules established by Israel’s apostate rulers and teachers who themselves had changed the Law of Moses by corrupting, distorting, contaminating Moses with their own traditions and commandments.

The members of the Sanhedrin, having now heard the charges against Stephen, turn their attention to Stephen, the accused. As they look intently at him, each seated as a judge sitting on the seat of Moses (see Matt. 23:2), each judge perceives the face of Stephen as if it were the face of a celestial messenger. The text does not indicate that any others present perceive his face in this manner. The members of the Sanhedrin, counting themselves as judges of Israel, are given a vision by the spirit. They alone, looking, seeing with their eyes, perceive with their senses, their souls, his face aglow with a holy radiance. This sign holds each of them responsible to render just judgment before Yahweh and His Anointed One. Each of these judges, as a result of this divinely induced visionary sign, is without excuse if each renders an unrighteous, prejudiced judgment reflecting evil partiality.

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Stephen’s Incursive Testimony: A Conquering, Covenantal Siege

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: National Allotment and Arrogance

The High Priest, having perceived the divinely induced visionary sign, addresses a question to Stephen, “Are these things so?” (Acts 7:1 CV). Addressing his audience (the Sanhedrin representatives of Apostate Israel), Stephen exclaims, “Men, brethren, and fathers, hear!” (Acts 7:2a CV). He immediately refers to “The God of the glory” (Acts 7:2b NEGINT), reminding his fellow Israelites of the original presence in the midst of Israel of the Shekinah glory of Yahweh their Elohim. The members of the Sanhedrin, however, are immediately reminded of the glory reflected in the face of Stephen. Thus, they ought to conclude that the God of the glory is testifying to them through this falsely accused servant of Yahweh their Elohim. The Sanhedrin is warned in advance of the seriousness of this case in relation to the covenantal destiny of Israel as a nation, and to them personally as those seated in Moses’ seat. The testimony of Yahweh’s spirit in providing them a visionary sign is testimony to the righteousness of this accused Israelite. These judges are, therefore, warned against rendering an unjust judgment in light of the very testimony of Yahweh Himself in favor of the innocence of this falsely accused man.

Stephen’s incursive, loquacious siege against the covenantal walls of Apostate Israel begins with Abraham, Israel’s primary forefather. He points out that the God of the Shekinah glory Who had dwelt in the midst of Israel had first appeared to Abraham while he dwelt in Mesopotamia. This implies that Yahweh the Elohim of Israel is not limited to the land of Israel. He appears to Abraham in Mesopotamia, and after the death of Abraham’s father, Yahweh exiles him into the Land of Promise, the very land in which Stephen’s audience is presently dwelling. Thus, the call of Abraham by Yahweh directs him to go out from his fatherland and from his family kin into a land Yahweh would show him. This was to be the Land of Promise.

However, though this land is promised to Abraham’s seed, Abraham himself is not to enjoy any allotment in this land, not even a platform for his feet. Thus, the hope of Abraham is not the promised land of Canaan. This land would be the promised hope of Abraham’s seed. Again, the implication is that Abraham’s promised allotment is to be some place other than the land of Canaan in which Israel is presently dwelling. The hope of the land promised to Abraham’s seed is an already fulfilled hope.

Abraham’s promised allotment is still future and that future is now imminent. For Apostate Israel to continue to cling to the geographical Land of Promise is to forfeit its part in the future allotment promised to Abraham and his faithful children. As Abraham had been exiled into the promised land of Canaan, his present faithful children are being called by Yahweh to live as exiles in the terrestrial land of Israel in order to participate in the impending Celestial Allotment of Abraham.

Stephen next sieges the wall of national arrogance (Acts 7:6-7). He reiterates the story of Jacob’s sojourn in Egypt, an alien land. He brings to remembrance the 400 years of Egyptian bondage. He alludes to Yahweh’s command to Pharaoh to let His people go. Pharaoh, hardening his heart, refuses to obey Yahweh’s voice, arrogantly opposing Yahweh. He increases the burden of the enslaved people, defying Yahweh’s will and purpose. He will not let Israel go forth from his land in order to worship and serve Yahweh her Elohim. Yahweh, however, with a mighty hand, performs powerful miracles and signs, delivering His people out from Egyptian bondage while destructively judging the obstinate nation of Egypt.

Stephen, thus, implies that Apostate Israel, like Pharaoh and Egypt, have enslaved and burdened Yahweh’s people. Yahweh is presently commanding Apostate Israel to let His people go. But, like Pharaoh, the apostate rulers and teachers of Israel are arrogantly opposing Yahweh’s command, increasing the burden of Yahweh’s people by hindering the work of Yahweh’s servants. If these rulers and teachers continue to harden their hearts against Yahweh’s will and purpose, they and their nation will be destroyed by Yahweh. For Yahweh will succeed in redeeming His people in order for them to be worshiping and serving Him in the present terrestrial realm and age, as well as in the imminent Celestial Realm and impending eon.

As Yahweh had delivered Israel out of Egyptian bondage under the leadership of Moses, so also, presently, He is in the process of delivering Israel out of Apostate Israelian bondage. He is accomplishing this under the reign of Jesus the Messiah, the New Davidic Warrior-King. As He had entered into a covenantal relationship with Israel at Sinai, so also, presently, He had already entered into a new covenantal relationship with the recently Born-From-Above Israel associated with the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. The Sanhedrin and the people accusing Stephen are well acquainted with the proclamation of the Apostles and their signs, miracles, and healings, rendering these implications of Stephen’s testimony most viable, most effective.

After promising Abraham’s seed the allotment of the land of Canaan, Yahweh gives Abraham the covenant of circumcision. The promised seed, therefore, would be the circumcised seed, beginning with Isaac, continuing with Jacob’s twelve sons. These twelve sons become the twelve circumcised tribes of Israel.

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Joseph: National Jealousy and Hatred

Stephen, now begins his siege of the wall of national jealousy (Acts 7:9). The patriarchs (the ten brothers of the patriarch Joseph) become jealous of Joseph their younger brother. Not only has Jacob favored Joseph, but also, more infuriating, Joseph has exalted himself over his brothers and parents on the basis of his dreams. The ten older patriarchs develop a jealous, zealous hatred of the younger Joseph. Selling him into Egyptian enslavement, they lie to their father Jacob concerning Joseph’s disappearance. They fabricate a story, claiming he was killed by a wild animal. However, Yahweh is with Joseph and

extricates him out of all his afflictions, and gives him favor and wisdom in front of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and constitutes him governor over Egypt and over his whole house. (Acts 7:10 CV)

A famine affecting the whole of Egypt and Canaan necessitates the journey of the ten patriarchs to Egypt in order to obtain provender. At their first arrival, the patriarchs do not recognize Joseph, who provides their needs. Only at their second appearance before Joseph does Joseph reveal himself to them, blessing them and the entire household of Jacob.

The implications of these allusions to the jealousy of the patriarchs against Joseph (the elect instrument of Yahweh through whom Yahweh would bring salvation to Israel, Abraham’s elect, circumcised seed) is not wasted on Stephen’s audience. All would clearly recognize the connection of these scriptural allusions to the circumstances surrounding the treatment of Jesus the Nazarene as expounded by the Apostles. As the jealousy of the ten patriarchs had exposed Joseph to affliction and enslavement, so had the rulers and teachers of Apostate Israel jealously exposed Jesus to affliction and crucifixion death. As Joseph had been Yahweh’s elect servant bringing salvation to the house of Jacob, so also, Jesus the Nazarene is Yahweh’s Anointed One bringing salvation to the house of Israel.

As the patriarchs had not recognized their brother Joseph at his first appearance, so also, the Jewish brothers of Jesus do not yet recognize Jesus as their exalted Savior and King. As Joseph had revealed himself to the ten patriarchs at his second appearance, so also, Jesus the Messiah would reveal Himself to Israel at His imminent second appearance (as Jesus had already predicted, see Matt. 23:39). As the ten patriarchs had repented of their evil against Joseph, rejoicing in his revelation of himself, so also, the remaining Israelites possessing a circumcised heart, but remaining in blindness and ignorance as a result of the deception of the Cainite shepherds of Apostate Israel, will repent of their evil against Jesus and His Ecclesia, rejoicing in His revelation of Himself.

Thus, all Israel would be saved. The Israel of Yahweh (those possessing circumcised hearts and walking in the faithful steps of Abraham) would enter into the Celestial Allotment promised to Abraham and his faithful seed. Apostate Israel, rebelling to the end of the Mosaic Eon (like defiant Cain) and possessing an uncircumcised heart directing her steps against Yahweh and His Anointed One, would endure the judgment of the Second Death.

As Joseph had been exalted over the whole of Egypt and the house of Pharaoh, so also, Jesus the Messiah had been exalted by Yahweh over all the nations (over all powers and authorities) and over the House of Israel. This implied message is clearly grasped by the Sanhedrin and the accusing multitude. All realize the accusation being made against themselves and their national history. As their forefathers had jealously hated their innocent brother Joseph, whom Yahweh had in fact favorably exalted over them all, so also this evil generation had jealously hated its innocent brother Jesus, Whom Yahweh had in fact favorably exalted over them all. The implied need is repentance. The words of Stephen concerning Joseph and the ten patriarchs are meant to remind the present audience of Jacob’s sons of the crowning message of Joseph: “you devised against me evil, yet Elohim devises it for me for good, that it may work out as at this day, to preserve alive many people” (Gen. 50:20 CV).

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Moses: National Denial and Rebellion

Having triumphantly scaled the walls of national arrogance and jealousy, Stephen now lays siege to the wall of national denial and rebellion. Moses had been born in Egypt during the reign of a king unacquainted with Joseph. This Pharaoh had enslaved and afflicted the children of Israel. Moses, like many other males being born at that time, had been exposed to a premature death. He, however, had been rescued by Yahweh. Pharaoh’s daughter had lifted from the water the babe exposed to the elements. Consequently, Moses “was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, yet was powerful in his words and works” (Acts 7:22 CV).

At the age of 40, Moses is moved by his compassionate heart to visit his enslaved and afflicted brethren, the sons of Israel. Coming to the rescue of one of his kinsmen being unjustly afflicted by an Egyptian, Moses accidentally kills the Egyptian. He had thought that his kinsmen would understand that Yahweh their Elohim had placed him and his position in the royal household of Egypt in order to bring relief (salvation) to the children of Jacob through his hand. But they did not understand.

On the following day, Moses attempts to mediate peace between two of his brethren. The one unjustly afflicting his brother, harshly rebukes Moses,

Who constitutes you a chief and a justice [a judge] over us? (Acts 7:27b CV)

Thus, even Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, had been denied by the sons of Israel at his first attempt to administer salvation. Yahweh had appointed him chief and judge over the children of Jacob. However, Jacob’s children had not understood. This twelve-tribe people had been blind and ignorant, forcing Moses to flee into Midian.

Forty years later, in the wilderness of Sinai, Yahweh again rescues Moses, this time exposed to the element of fire:

Now Moses, perceiving it [a thorn bush of fire], marvels at the vision. Yet, at his approaching to consider it, the voice of the Lord [Yahweh] came: I am the God [Elohim] of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Now Moses, coming to be in a tremor, dared not consider it. (Acts 7:31-32 CV)

Yahweh, here, first rescues Moses from the holiness of the ground he is standing on, a holiness due to the presence of Yahweh:

Loose the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy land. (Acts 7:33 CV)

Thereupon, Yahweh commissions Moses,

In perceiving I perceived the ill treatment of My people who are in Egypt, and their groaning I hear, and I descended to extricate them. And now, come hither that I should be dispatching you into Egypt. (Acts 7:34 CV)

Stephen, reaching this event in the life of Moses, lays siege to the nation's wall of rebellious denial of those men commissioned by Yahweh to deliver Israelites from bondage, to lead them in His Way, to judge them in righteousness. Likewise, Moses, whom they had denied as ruler and judge over them, had been commissioned by Yahweh their Elohim as both ruler and redeemer.

This man led them out [of Egyptian bondage], doing [performing] miracles and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. (Acts 7:36 CV)

This same Moses, the Appointed One of Yahweh, had declared to the sons of Israel,

A Prophet will God [Yahweh Elohim] be raising up to you from among your brethren, as [like unto] me. (Acts 7:37 CV)

Here Stephen quotes Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18, reminding his fellow Israelites, sons of Israel, his own accusers, and the ones denying the prophet Jesus the Nazarene, that as the sons of Jacob/Israel had rejected Moses at his first appearance, so had the present sons of Jacob/Israel rejected at His first appearance as ruler and deliverer the prophet Moses had said Yahweh would send them.

Stephen, thus, alludes to the recent rejection and crucifixion of Jesus by the rulers and judges of the sons of Jacob/Israel. His audience would not miss his allusion pointing the finger of judgment at them. He implies that just as their forefathers had denied the first intervention of Moses on their behalf, so had they just recently denied the first intervention on their behalf of the Prophet like unto Moses (Jesus the Nazarene). But, as Moses thereafter had been appointed by Yahweh as their ruler and deliverer, so also, Yahweh has now appointed Jesus the Nazarene as their ruler and deliverer. As Moses had been metaphorically raised from his Midian death to rule over and deliver the sons of Jacob/Israel from their Egyptian bondage, so also had Jesus the Nazarene been raised from His crucifixion death to rule over and deliver the sons of Jacob/Israel from their Sinatic covenantal bondage.

Stephen’s barrage of implicating fiery arrows has not failed to enter the hearts of the members of his audience. These sons of Jacob/Israel are again reminded of the proclamation of the Apostles concerning the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Prophet like unto Moses. Yahweh has raised this Jesus from the dead, appointing Him both “Lord as well as Christ [Messiah, Anointed One] (Acts 2:36 CV), ruler as well as deliverer like unto Moses. This resurrected-from-the-dead Jesus has begun to pour out the spirit of Yahweh upon His people, thereby empowering them to perform signs, miracles, and healings, delivering the sons of Israel out from the covenantal bondage of the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, even as Moses had performed miracles and signs in Egypt in the process of leading the sons of Israel out of their Egyptian bondage.

Stephen, in conjunction with the Apostles, is calling his brethren to subject themselves to the rule and deliverance of Jesus the Messiah. As Israel under the rule of Moses had come forth from the womb of Egypt into the new life of the Sinatic Covenant, so also the New Israel of Yahweh under the rule of Jesus the Messiah had come forth from the womb of Judea into the new life of the New Davidic Covenant. Stephen continues to warn his contemporary Israelite kinsmen. It is one thing to deny Jesus the Messiah at His first appearance as ruler and deliverer. It is another thing to deny Him as ruler and deliverer after His resurrection appearance.

Again, Moses is the example. Moses had led the ecclesia (the called-out assembly of Yahweh’s people, the sons of Israel) through the wilderness to the foot of Mount Sinai; whereupon, hearing the Ten Words of Yahweh’s covenant, this people is given covenantal life. However, after Moses had gone up to the crown of Mount Sinai to receive “the living oracles” (Acts 7:38 CV), the two tablets containing the Ten Words inscribed with the finger of Yahweh, the people,

not willing to become obedient, . . . thrust him [Moses] away, and turned to Egypt in their hearts, saying to Aaron, “Make us gods who will go before us—for this Moses, the man who led us out of the land of Egypt, we are not aware what became of him.” (Acts 7:39-40 CV)

As a result of this rejection of Moses, the people had violated the covenant of life, bringing upon themselves covenantal death.

Denying Moses, they had disobeyed the voice of Yahweh conveying the living words, the living oracles, of covenantal life. So also, denying the resurrected and ascended Anointed One of Yahweh (Jesus the Messiah, now seated upon the throne of David located in the Celestial Realm in the interest of the right hand of Yahweh) is to disobey the voice of Yahweh conveying the living words of immortal life contained within the terms of the New Davidic Covenant, thus, to cut oneself off from the only covenantal life available, the life of the New Davidic Covenant. Therefore, to deny the resurrected, ascended, and enthroned Jesus the Messiah during His temporary terrestrial absence is to deny Yahweh, one’s covenantal sonship, and one’s participation in the promised Celestial Allotment.

Having denied Moses, Yahweh had graciously accepted the intercession of Moses on Israel’s behalf, reprieving her of immediate covenantal death by restoring her to an extended covenantal relationship to Him under the altered terms of the Mosaic Covenant.

This implied the future covenantal death of Israel. As biological death had been activated in Adam, so covenantal death had been activated in Israel. But, under the New Davidic Covenant, there would be no further reprieve or restoration. This New Covenant is Yahweh’s ultimate gracious act of mercy and compassion. The Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, according to Stephen’s allusion to the proclamation of the Apostles, is presently old and decrepit, nearing its predetermined death, termination. This present condition is bringing about the covenantal death of Israel necessitated by the violation of the Sinatic Covenant and signified throughout Israel’s history by the ministry of the Mosaic Covenant, a ministry of death which should have reminded the sons of Israel of their failure at Mount Sinai necessitating both a restored and a new covenant. The sons of Israel had forgotten the significance of their violation of the Sinatic Covenant. Stephen, here, restores to present memory what the sons of Israel have unconsciously repressed for generations.

Having restored to memory the significance of the violation of the Sinatic Covenant, Stephen takes on the significance of the failure to obey the Mosaic Covenant, even as prophesied by Moses himself in the Book of Deuteronomy. The sons of Israel had repressed this testimony of Moses by the manufacture of their own commandments and traditions. Stephen reminds the present sons of Israel of the failure of their forefathers to keep the terms of the Mosaic Covenant and to take heed to the words of the prophets sent to them by Yahweh:

Now God [Yahweh] turns and gives them up to be offering divine service to the host of heaven, according as it is written in the scroll of the prophets: Do you not offer Me slain victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, house of Israel? And you took up the tabernacle of Moloch and the constellation of your god Raiphan, the models which you make, to worship them. And I shall be exiling you beyond Babylon. (Acts 7:42-43 CV)

The sons of Israel had failed to judge righteously, failed to administer justice in accord with the statutes, judgments, testimonies, and instructions of the Mosaic Law. They had turned to worship the false gods of the nations in accord with the pseudo wisdom and knowledge associated with astrology, astrological worship, and service of alien gods. Yahweh’s prophets had pointed out Israel’s sins against the righteous remnant and against Yahweh. They had warned them of Yahweh’s judgment if they failed to repent and turn back to worshiping and serving only Yahweh their Elohim, and Him alone. Israel had failed to repent. The nation had persecuted and killed the prophets of Yahweh.

Stephen’s audience is reminded of this historical travesty of the Mosaic Law and the ensuing Babylonian exile which was the consequence of Yahweh’s judgment. Yahweh graciously had brought them back from Babylonian captivity to their own land which had metaphorically vomited them out. But the dark cloud of covenantal exile had persisted. The proclamation of the Gospel of the Christ announced the final end of the Babylonian exile. The final exodus out of captivity had begun. The implied message of Stephen is that the present evil generation of the sons of Israel continues to abuse the righteous and persecute the prophets of Yahweh, alluding to the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus the Nazarene (which his audience is well aware of), as well as the ministry of the Apostles and disciples of Jesus the Messiah. The implied, and understood, warning is that the land would once again vomit them out if they continued to administer injustice and reject the saving proclamation of the present word of Yahweh, the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah, placed in the mouth of His Holy Apostles and disciples. Another fiery arrow enters into the targeted hearts of Stephen’s audience.

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The Tabernacle and Temple--The Departed Glory

Stephen now takes up the covenantal significance of the history of the Tabernacle and the merciful permission of Yahweh to build the Temple. Stephen had just quoted from Amos 5:6, “And you took up the tabernacle of Moloch” (Acts 7:43 CV), indicating Israel’s worship of alien gods in contrast to the One Living Elohim of the Tabernacle constructed under Moses’ instructions. The design of this Tabernacle had been given to Moses by Yahweh. The glorious presence of Yahweh would walk among the tribes of Israel within this mobile Tabernacle. This Tabernacle led the way into the land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. The glorious presence of Yahweh, Israel’s King, had cast out the nations in Canaan, allowing Joshua and the elders to allot each tribe its promised allotment in the land.

However, over the course of time the Tabernacle had become polluted by the sons of Eli, the High Priest. Disobeying the command of Yahweh, the sons of Eli accompanied the Ark of the Covenant into battle against the Philistines. Israel was defeated and the Ark of the Covenant was taken captive by the Philistines. When news of the fate of the ark and the death of his two sons reached Eli, he died on the spot, falling backwards off his seat, breaking his neck.

It is at this time that the Shekinah glory of Yahweh departs from the Tabernacle, never to return. Eli’s daughter-in-law had been with child at the time of the death of Eli and her husband. When the child is born, the midwives encourage her with the announcement that she had given birth to a son, normally a cause of joy. However, just before she herself dies as a result of this childbirth, the daughter-in-law of Eli takes no joy in the birth of her son, naming him Ichabod (Heb = there is no glory), announcing,

The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God [Elohim] was taken, and because of her father in law [Aaronic High Priest] and her husband [Phinehas, son of Eli and Aaronic Priest]. (1 Samuel 4:21 KJV)

The writer of this holy text repeats,

And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken (1 Samuel 4:22 KJV),

emphasizing for the reader the covenantal significance of this departure of the Shekinah glory of Yahweh from the Tabernacle.

From this time on, through the reign of David, the Tabernacle of Moses recedes into the background of Israel’s cultic worship. Israel had failed under the presence of Yahweh’s Shekinah glory in the Mosaic Tabernacle. Consequently, Yahweh commissions Samuel as judge over Israel. Instead of the mobile Tabernacle of the presence of Yahweh, the holy text records,

And Samuel [Heb. = heard of El] judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house [not the Tabernacle of Yahweh]; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the Lord [Yahweh]. (1 Samuel 7:15-17 KJV)

The Aaronic Priesthood had become contaminated. The Mosaic Tabernacle had become polluted, the Ark of the Covenant defiled, and the presence of Yahweh’s Shekinah glory had departed. Thus, the sons of Israel had failed to bow the knee of their hearts to their sovereign King. Their final rejection of Yahweh as King comes during the old-age ministry of Samuel. At this time, Samuel appoints his sons as judges over Israel.

The decadent character of the nation, in spite of the gracious and merciful service of Samuel (the one heard of El on behalf of his people), is revealed in the character of Samuel’s sons,

And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. (1 Samuel 8:3 KJV)

These sons of Samuel had conformed to the corrupt ways of the disobedient nation. The power and wealth of these decadent sons of Samuel threatened and infringed upon the power and wealth of the elders of Israel. Thus, these elders contend with Samuel, demanding that he appoint them “a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Sam. 8:5b KJV).

Samuel is displeased at this demand. He prays to Yahweh over the matter. Yahweh responds,

Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign [be king, ASV] over them. (1 Samuel 8:7 KJV)

The kingship and kingdom of Yahweh are here rejected by Israel. In spite of Samuel’s warning of the consequences of being under the judgment of a king like all the nations,

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; . . . (1 Samuel 8:19-20a KJV)

Yahweh gives the nation what she wants. He gives her a king like all the nations, Saul. Saul fails to obey Yahweh, leading the nation further into covenantal unrighteousness. Yahweh mercifully has Samuel anoint David as the future king. David is recorded to be a man after Yahweh’s own heart (cf. 1 Sam. 13:14). Saul is rejected as king by Yahweh and his kingdom is given to David with whom Yahweh makes another covenant, an eonian covenant:

I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever [Heb. = olam, for the eon]. . . . But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever [for the eon] before thee: thy throne shall be established forever [for the eon]. (2 Samuel 7:12b-16 KJV)

When King David requests permission from Yahweh to build Him a house, Yahweh responds that from the beginning at Sinai He had chosen to dwell in the Mosaic Tabernacle, walking among His people. He had never required Israel to build Him a house like the houses of the gods of the nations. Since, however, the Mosaic Tabernacle had been defiled and His Shekinah glory had departed from this Tabernacle, He would permit David’s son Solomon to build Him a house (see 2 Sam., chapter 7; 1 Chr., chapter 28).

Thus, the building of the Temple by Solomon is a merciful and compassionate concession to Israel’s failure to walk together with Yahweh in His Shekinah-glory-walk among them within the Mosaic Tabernacle of His inspired design. As the anointing appointment of David as king over Israel in place of Saul (the king like the kings of the nations) is a merciful and compassionate concession to Israel’s rejection of Yahweh as her King, so also the permission to build a Temple is a merciful and compassionate concession to Israel’s failure to walk obediently alongside Yahweh’s Shekinah-glory-Tabernacle-walk among His people.

After Solomon completes the construction of the Temple, Yahweh’s Shekinah-glory-Presence returns to dwell within this Temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). All this is recalled to the memory of Stephen’s audience by means of his allusion to the holy history regarding the Tabernacle and the Temple. The testimony of David and Solomon, rhetorically conjured up before the mind’s eyes of these accusers of Stephen, provides the scenario within which Stephen is to launch his final fiery arrows of spiritual assault. For both David and Solomon testify to the fact that Yahweh can not be contained spaciously nor restricted mobilistically in a stationary static house built by the hands of men.

Solomon upon completion of the Temple testifies,

 But will God [Elohim] indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? (1 Kings 8:27 KJV)

Solomon further elaborates on this truth when he prays,

That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

Stephen, alluding to Solomon’s testimony, declares,

But the Most High is not dwelling in what is made by hands, . . . (Acts 7:48a CV)

Then he quotes the testimony of the prophet Isaiah:

Heaven is My throne, yet the earth is a footstool for My feet. What kind of house shall be built for Me? (Acts 7:49a CV)

The Temple had been the temporary abode of the Shekinah glory of Yahweh. But that Shekinah glory had departed just prior to the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Since then it had not returned. Thus, the present Temple of Herod the Great had never housed the Shekinah glory of Yahweh. Yet, the present evil generation of the sons of Israel idolize this Temple, restricting Yahweh’s covenantal presence to this house made with hands, as though Yahweh could only be worshiped in this specific Temple in this specific city of Jerusalem.

From their perspective, the destruction of the Temple meant the end of their elective relationship to Yahweh. Anyone, therefore, directly or indirectly proclaiming the future destruction of the Temple is committing blasphemy against Yahweh and His holy people. Stephen’s audience equates the Temple with Yahweh’s covenantal cultic worship and service, and the hope of Israel. Their minds are terrestrially oriented. The hope of Israel, for them, is intricately associated with the physical house made by the hands of men.

When the promised Messiah would arrive, Jerusalem and the Temple would be reconstructed and Israel would rule politically, economically, socially, and religiously over the nations. Thus, they have a misconception of the coming Davidic King, the Messiah. When this Messiah arrives, they expect him to restore the greatness of the Solomonic Temple and purify the Aaronic and Levitical priesthoods, restoring to Israel a righteously holy system of cultic worship and service and a Mosaic government ruled by the righteously holy judges rendering impartial and just judgments in accord with the holy Mosaic Law. The Shekinah glory presence of Yahweh would once again return to this restored Temple built by the coming Davidic Messiah. The nations, then, would have to come up to this Temple in the holy city of Jerusalem in order to worship Yahweh.

Though these sons of Israel understood that Yahweh transcended the Temple and the earth, they limited proper worship and service of Him to the physical Temple of stones standing in the midst of the one and only holy city, Jerusalem. These Cainite sons of Apostate Israel had not grasped the divinely revealed significance of Israel’s historical failure in relation to the role and function of the Mosaic Tabernacle, as well as the role and function of the Solomonic Temple. From the very beginning, the Sinatic Covenant and Mosaic Tabernacle were temporary. They were shadows pointing to and confirming the promise of the coming substances.

The Mosaic Tabernacle had concealed Yahweh’s Shekinah glory. The exclusionary Holy of Holies within the Tabernacle had indicated man’s inability to come into the direct presence of Yahweh’s glory. The Sinatic Covenant allowed Israel alone to draw near to Yahweh in covenantal relationship. But it had excluded the nations from such a relationship. Yet, Yahweh Elohim is also the One and Only Living Elohim of the nations. The Sinatic Covenant relegated the nations to a status inferior to Israel. Within this covenant, there was no provision for a change in status, though the nations could be blessed through Israel’s obedience. The Sinatic Covenant had been devised for a world consisting of nations. It had not been devised to relate to the needs of humanity as a unified race.

The failure of Israel in relation to the Mosaic Tabernacle resulted in Yahweh’s merciful and compassionate concession permitting the construction of the Temple. The Temple had been, from the beginning, inferior to the Mosaic Tabernacle. The design for the Tabernacle had been given to Moses upon the height of Mount Sinai as Moses met with Yahweh face to face. The design of the Temple had been given to David on terrestrial ground by the inspiration of Yahweh’s spirit. The Mosaic Tabernacle had been mobile and simple. The Solomonic Temple had been stationary and elaborate. Both had been made by human hands with terrestrial resources.

As the Mosaic Tabernacle had concealed Yahweh’s Shekinah glory, so also, the Solomonic Temple had concealed Yahweh’s Shekinah glory. Both had indicated man’s defilement by death, and, thus, man’s temporary inferior status. As shadows, the Tabernacle and Temple both confirmed, guaranteed, the promise of man’s future superior status. As Yahweh’s Shekinah glory never had returned to fill the Mosaic Tabernacle after its departure, so also His Shekinah glory after its departure had never returned to fill the Solomonic Temple and would never fill the Herodian Temple or any future temple constructed of stones.

The spirit of Yahweh in the present last days of the Mosaic Eon, in which the Apostles and disciples were living, had already revealed to the saints of the New Israel of Yahweh the return of the Shekinah glory of Yahweh. It was in the process of being recorded in the Gospel of John:

And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we gazed at His glory, a glory as of an Only-Begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 CV modified)

The Mosaic Tabernacle had been a shadow of the true and living Tabernacle, the fleshly body of Jesus the Only-Begotten Son of Yahweh. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, the Mosaic Tabernacle became a shadow of the living fleshly bodies of all the faithful ones in Christ whose bodies became the tabernacles of the spirit of Yahweh and His Christ.

As for the Solomonic Temple, it had been a shadow of the true and living Temple of Yahweh constructed of living stones. Jesus had already informed His disciples that He had come to build His Ecclesia (Matt. 16:18). His spirit had already revealed to His Apostles (after the pouring out of that spirit at Pentecost) what would later be recorded by Peter:

Whom approaching [Jesus the Messiah], a living Stone, having been rejected indeed by men, yet chosen by God, held in honor, you [plural, all of you], also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, . . . (1 Peter 2:4-5a CV)

Stephen, being aware of this true and living spiritual Temple which was in the process of being built by Jesus and His spirit, understands why the Solomonic/Herodian Temple of stones had to be destroyed. This Temple had become an empty tomb turned into an idol of worship. As the idols worshiped by the nations had been made by human hands, so also had the empty Temple of Yahweh, also made with human hands, been turned into an idol of worship, a covenantal tomb of death. This defiled Temple made with hands had been blinding the minds of its worshipers to the appearance of the true and living Stone upon which Yahweh was in the process of building a spiritual Temple consisting of living stones not made with human hands.

This spiritual Temple was not confined to Jerusalem. It was a mobile Temple, taking the Shekinah glory of Yahweh to all Israelites in the land and among the lands of the nations. It was not operating in relation to the static Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant, but in relation to the dynamic New Davidic Covenant which would soon be revealed to contain a provision by which the nations would no longer have to endure an inferior status.

Thus, Stephen assaults the last and most holy stronghold of the opposing powers and authorities of Apostate Israel. The Solomonic Temple made with hands had been Yahweh’s merciful and compassionate concession to Israel’s covenantal failure. Israel had also failed in relation to this conceded Temple. It had been destroyed by Yahweh. His Shekinah glory had departed from it just prior to its destruction. Upon its restoration, His Shekinah glory had not been sent to fill it. It had remained empty of this glory to the very day of Stephen’s affirmative declaration before the Sanhedrin and his accusers. By their own hands, the sons of Israel had made an idol of this empty tomb of a temple.

But Yahweh’s ultimate goal transcends this concessionary Temple made by human hands. His goal, in accord with the Law and the Prophets, is the construction of a spiritual Temple, not made by human hands, consisting of living stones: living, vivified human beings. Stephen’s accusers, as well as all Israelites in Judea, have been witnesses of the newly begun construction of this spiritual Temple, this spiritual Nation, this newly Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh. They have witnessed the powerful activity of the Shekinah glory of Yahweh filling and irradiating this spiritual Temple, People, Nation, Kingdom of Yahweh and His Anointed One.

Being witnesses of Yahweh’s triumphant invading nation of spiritual warriors, Stephen’s audience is being called upon to accept a peaceful surrender, thereby obtaining a release from their present captivity under the apostate rulers and teachers opposing the liberation provided by Yahweh and His Anointed One, Jesus the Messiah. Choosing Yahweh’s liberation means becoming members of the New Nation, citizens of the New Davidic Kingdom, and living stones in the spiritual Temple of Yahweh. Rejection of this liberation means covenantal destruction, participation in the Second Death, loss of Celestial Allotment, loss of covenantal relationship with Yahweh. Stephen, the New Davidic Warrior-King’s envoy delivering His offer of peaceful surrender, is now prepared to make his concluding assault against the metaphorical walls of the defensive arguments of the opposing forces still committed to continue to engage in spiritual warfare. His intended continuing goal is the evocation of a righteous attitude of humility and a penitent heart bowed in joyful surrender to the New Davidic King, Jesus the Messiah.

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The Concluding Siege for Peace

Stephen, having completed his barrage of historical fiery arrows implying covenantal guilt, now directly accuses his audience representing Apostate Israel,

Stiff-necked and uncircumcised in your hearts and ears, you are ever clashing with the holy spirit! As your fathers, you also! Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced before concerning the coming of the Just One [Jesus the Prophet like unto Moses], of Whom now you became the traitors and murderers who received the law for a mandate of messengers and did not maintain it! (Acts 7:51-53, CV modified)

Stephen accuses the elect nation of being stiff-necked and rebellious from the first generation to this present, final, evil, crooked generation. Thus, he characterizes this holy, elect nation as Cainish. This Cainite nation has arrogantly opposed Yahweh’s spirit from the very beginning. The hearts and ears of his audience, having been pierced by Stephen’s fiery arrows, are now brought to a searing combustion of exploding flames by this final, direct assault.

Luke writes, “they were harrowed [cut through] in their hearts” (Acts 7:54b CV). Like Cain, the flames of hatred within the hearts of these rebellious Israelites have seared asunder the wombs of their hearts, unnaturally giving Caesarian birth to the devouring sin of fratricide. Having been convicted by the fiery arrows of the spirit of Yahweh of rejecting Moses himself, changing his lawful customs by means of their own traditional religious customs and commandments, and having become traitorous murderers of Jesus the Nazarene (the prophet like unto Moses, the Messiah, the Only-Begotten-Son of Yahweh), they become infuriated (harrowed) in their hearts and enraged (gnashed their teeth, Acts 7:54c CV) in their bodies. Being unable to refute Stephen’s inspired survey of Israelite history, this Israelite herd stands, pawing the ground, on the verge of wildly stampeding.

As this crazed herd looks menacingly at Stephen, he, possessing a fullness of faith and holy spirit, declares,

Lo! I am beholding the heavens opened up, and the Son of the Man standing at the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56 CV modified)

Jesus the Messiah is seen in a vision standing at the right hand of Yahweh as the Commander-In-Chief of His warfaring spiritual soldiers. He stands at the right hand of Yahweh as the New Davidic Warrior-King prepared to direct His warriors according to the response of the opposing enemy to the offer of peaceful surrender delivered by His holy envoy, Stephen. However, His holy envoy is not given the opportunity to offer his concluding call for repentance.

Their pseudo-circumcision incisions upon the wombs of their hearts being completed, the demonic lions of fratricide come leaping forth upon the holy envoy of Jesus the Messiah. As Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob possessed only a tomb of death in the promised land, so Apostate Israel would possess at the termination of the Mosaic Eon only a tomb of covenantal death, for this Cainite nation would refuse to share in the only tomb of death leading to resurrection life, the old covenantal tomb of Jesus the Messiah located geographically in the heart of the land of Israel (the Mount of Olives within which Jesus had been entombed). To cling to the literal land is to cling only to a tomb of death which that land had become for all the unfaithful children of Abraham possessing an uncircumcised heart.

The crazed herd “crying with a loud voice, . . . pressed their ears and rushed on him [Stephen, the holy envoy] with one accord. And, casting him out, outside of the city [where Jesus had been crucified], they pelted him with stones” (Acts 7:57-58 CV). Stephen, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would possess only a stone tomb of death in the holy Land of Promise, but, sharing in Jesus’ tomb of death in the heart of the land (see Matt. 12:40), he would be roused out from his own tomb to enter together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the Celestial Allotment promised to the faithful sons of Abraham.

As Stephen is being pelted with stones, he invokes the name of his Lord, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” (Acts 7:59b CV). As if countering the loud voice of the crazed herd, kneeling, he cries with a loud voice,

Lord, Thou shouldst not stand against them this sin! (Acts 7:60 CV)

Stephen had not been given the opportunity to call these stiffed-necked Israelites to repentance, as the Apostles had been doing. But such would have been his intention if he had been allowed to conclude his message of peaceful surrender. However, in death, he gives this wild, crazed herd of Israelites another opportunity to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah. He requests his Lord not to stand up as witness before Him (Jesus) this their sin against him (Stephen), against Himself (Jesus), and against Yahweh. Thus, there would still be time for these Israelites to turn back to Yahweh and receive His Christ. For many among these zealous-for-the-law Israelites possessed circumcised hearts. But these hearts had been hardened by the pseudo traditions of the fathers, as Saul/Paul would later testify to:

I inordinately persecuted the ecclesia of God and ravaged it. And I progressed in Judaism above many contemporaries in my race, being inherently exceedingly more zealous for the traditions of my fathers [ancestral traditions, see Matt. 15:1-9; Mk. 7:1-13]. (Galatians 1:13b-14 CV)

These ancestral traditions are those which had changed the Mosaic lawful customs so as to do that which is right in the eyes of men rather than that which is right in the eyes of Yahweh. Such instruction had blinded the eyes of the righteous whose circumcised hearts sought to obey Yahweh’s Law, sought to do that which is right in the eyes of Yahweh. Such pseudo conceptions of holy scripture resulted in misconceptions which distorted the teachings of the inspired holy scriptures, as Saul/Paul later explains,

For I am testifying to them [unbelieving Israelites whose hearts are circumcised] that they have a zeal of God, but not in accord with recognition [knowledge, appropriate acknowledgement]. (Romans 10:2 CV)

Even of himself, as Saul consenting to the assassination of Stephen, as Saul a member of the crazed herd that lawlessly had stoned Stephen to death, Paul declares,

Grateful am I to Him Who invigorates me, Christ Jesus, our Lord, for He deems me faithful, assigning me a service, I, who formerly was a calumniator [blasphemer] and a persecutor and an outrager: but I was shown mercy, seeing that I did it being ignorant, in unbelief. (1 Tim. 1:12-13 CV)

Others among this blind and ignorant herd of crazed Israelites possessed uncircumcised hearts and were children of Cain, arrogantly opposed to Yahweh. However, even these had the capability of recognizing the futility and vanity in opposing the truth of Yahweh. Even these could repent, acknowledging the truth being proclaimed in the Gospel of Christ and being demonstrated in the works of the spirit of Yahweh and His Anointed One. Their minds being cleared of distorted conceptions and perceptions, they could change their hearts, they could repent, as the prophet Ezekiel had made clear,

“Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. . . . Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord [Yahweh Elohim]. “Therefore, repent and live.” (Ezekiel 18:27-28, 31-32 NASB)

Having repented at the hearing of the Gospel of Christ and thus making themselves a new heart and a new spirit, even such formerly uncircumcised-in-heart Israelites are properly prepared for the active work of the spirit in writing the law on their hearts, thus receiving the new heart and new spirit of the New Davidic Covenant.

However, those apostate Israelites, those sons of Cain, who continue stiff-necked and arrogantly rebellious to the end of the eon imminently at hand, will be cut off from the Israel of Yahweh. Their sins will be remembered, counted up, and justly avenged. They will metaphorically be thrown into the fire of Gehenna (Matt. 5:22, 29), the judgment of the Second Death (Rev. 2:11, 20:6, 14; 21:8), that is, the death of the Sinatic Covenant, the covenantal death of Mosaic Israel, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. As Ezekiel had declared,

The person who sins will die. . . . the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. (Ezekiel 18:20 NASB)

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The Significance of the Response of the Accusers

The conquering affirmation of Stephen is evidenced by the response of the apostate Sanhedrin and the apostate Israelite accusers of Stephen. Neither the members of the Sanhedrin nor the members of the accusing crowd of arrogantly proud Israelites are able to refute the incursive testimony of Stephen inspired by the spirit of Yahweh and Jesus the Messiah. The truth of the Gospel, the truth of the New Davidic Kingdom, the truth of the New Davidic Covenant can not be refuted. It can only be defiantly opposed by those who hate the truth.

Thus, the enemies of the truth of Yahweh have already been essentially conquered. They have been exposed as unrighteous, as wicked, as malignant, in the eyes of Yahweh the One and Only living Elohim of Israel. The spiritual forces of the New Davidic Warrior-King have laid covenantal siege against the stronghold of Apostate Israel and conquered. The lawless assassination of Stephen proves this. Apostate Israel is destitute of the power necessary to defeat the New Davidic King, Kingdom, and Nation. Its puny and cowardly attack against a solitary envoy of peace is abominable, exposing its covenantal shallowness and evil heart.

The Sanhedrin, although not actively involved in this lawless assassination of an innocent Israelite, is, nevertheless, guilty of passive consent, as exemplified by the young man Saul:

And the witnesses put off their garments at the feet of a young man called Saul. (Acts 7:58b CV)

Later, Saul/Paul would testify,

And when the blood of Stephen, Thy [Jesus’] witness, was shed, I myself also was standing by, endorsing it, as well as guarding the garments of those assassinating him. (Acts 22:20 CV)

As Saul stood by and endorsed the lawless assassination of Stephen the New Davidic Warrior-King’s envoy of peace, so also many members of the Sanhedrin stood by and endorsed this lawless assassination.

This same Sanhedrin had already persecuted the Apostles, ordering them not to be teaching in the name of Jesus, even though they had confessed that “a known sign has occurred through them . . . and we can not deny it” (Acts 4:16b CV). A second time the Apostles had been seized and brought before this Sanhedrin. After again hearing the testimony of the Apostles, Luke records, “Now those who heard were harrowed [cut through in heart, infuriated], and they intended to assassinate them” (Acts 5:33 CV). But the power of Yahweh prevailed as the spirit moved Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin whose heart had not been infuriated, to intervene on behalf of the Apostles, evidence, again, of the conquering power of the New Davidic Warrior-King and the weakness of Apostate Israel.

The accusing crowd of arrogantly proud Israelites, on the other hand, is guilty of actively committing the crime of lawless assassination of an innocent brother. Like Cain, these murderers would justify themselves by claiming they were not their brother’s keeper, but their nation’s keeper, opposing Yahweh’s clear testimony endorsing the word and work of Stephen (which they could not refute) with their own false testimony which secured their own evil treasures in their own evil hearts. Righteous Israelites would have humbly identified with Stephen’s accurate portrait of Israel, confessing with righteous Daniel,

We sin and we are depraved, we do wickedly and revolt, we withdraw from Thy instructions and from Thy judgments. We do not hearken to Thy servants the prophets, who speak in Thy name to our kings, and chiefs, and forefathers and to all the people of the land. . . . My Lord, according to all thy righteousness, pray, let Thy anger and Thy fury turn away . . . (Daniel 9:5-6, 16 CV)

Daniel’s heart and behavior had been righteous in the eyes of Yahweh. Nevertheless, when Yahweh judged the wicked, unrepentant nation, sending it into Babylonian captivity, Daniel, along with other righteous Israelites, had been among the first captives taken to Babylon. In spite of his righteousness, he identifies with his wicked and unrepentant nation, believing that Yahweh deals righteously with both the righteous and the unrighteous. He is merciful and compassionate to all His people, seeking their repentance in order to bless them. Daniel confesses his own sin and also the sin of his people, Israel, casting his supplication, on his own behalf and on behalf of his people, before Yahweh the Elohim of Israel.

All those Israelites hearing the merciful and compassionate Gospel of Christ proclaimed by the Apostles and disciples of Jesus the Messiah were being called upon to identify with the sinfulness of their nation, sharing in the nation’s guilt before Yahweh and repenting along with all sinning Israelites, thereby exposing themselves to the gracious salvation of Yahweh revealed in and through His Only-Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Anointed One of Yahweh, the promised Messiah. The righteous remnant had always represented the Israel of Yahweh, acting on behalf of themselves and their national brothers. They had always understood that they were their brother’s keeper, thus seeking the genuine covenantal welfare of their brothers, especially the downtrodden, those pushed to the circumference of national covenantal life. Even the wicked brother’s genuine covenantal welfare had been sought, which is Repentance unto salvation. So also the faithful remnant, bowing her knee to Jesus the Messiah in the last days of the Mosaic Eon, is acting on behalf of her own welfare and on behalf of the welfare of Apostate Israel and proclaiming Repentance unto Salvation, for

there is no salvation in any other one [Jesus the Messiah], for neither is there any other name [Jesus Christ], given under heaven among men, in which we [Israelites] must be saved. (Acts 4:12 CV)

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The Resulting Persecution: The New Deployment of Spiritual Warriors

As Gamaliel had been roused by the spirit to further the ministry of the Apostles, so now a former pupil (Saul/Paul) of Gamaliel is roused by the spirit to further the conquests of the spiritual armed forces of the New Davidic Warrior-King, Jesus the Messiah. Gamaliel’s circumcised heart had not been infuriated by the testimony of the Apostles. As a righteous Israelite, he had proposed that the Sanhedrin seriously consider and sincerely evaluate the counsel and work of these Israelite brothers proclaiming Jesus as the promised Messiah, before it opposed what might very well be the work of Yahweh. Here is a righteous Hebrew Israelite, a righteous Daniel, committed to doing that which is right in the eyes of Yahweh, committed to the genuine covenantal welfare of his nation, his people, his brothers.

Saul, on the other hand, is a blind and ignorant unrighteous Israelite whose heart, though circumcised, has been hardened by his deep immersion in the deceptive waters of “the traditions of my fathers” (Gal. 1:14b CV), the ancestral traditions overzealously revered and nurtured by Hellenistic Israelites of the diaspora. Saul’s hardened circumcised-heart had been infuriated and his disapproved mind had been outraged by the irrefutable testimony of Stephen. Although he could not refute the testimony of Stephen, he had been compelled to reject it, since it meant the necessity of desacralizing the revered and ever-nurtured ancestral traditions. He understood that by such desacralizing, he would have to consider as refuse his zealously revered and nurtured ancestral traditions. This, his hardened heart and disapproved mind would not compute.

Thus, the truth of the Gospel proclaimed and taught by Stephen and the Apostles had to be repressed. It could not be truth from Yahweh since it amounted to blasphemy against Yahweh and the Mosaic Law as interpreted by the ancestral traditions. Saul, unlike Gamaliel, could not set aside his own cherished, assumed perceptions and conceptions concerning Yahweh and the Mosaic Law. Imprisoned within the cell of those false perceptions and conceptions, he could not seriously consider and sincerely evaluate unbiasedly the proclamation of the Gospel and the mighty signs, miracles, and healings being performed by the Apostles and disciples of the man Jesus the Nazarene.

Consequently, the spirit of Yahweh and Jesus the Messiah employs this hardened heart of Saul by maintaining its hardened condition for an extended time of short duration. The spirit uses Saul’s fury and rage to redeploy the spiritual warriors of the New Davidic Warrior-King. Luke writes,

And the witnesses put off their garments at the feet of a young man called Saul. . . . Yet Saul was endorsing his [Stephen’s] assassination. Now in that day there came to be a great persecution of the ecclesia which is in Jerusalem, and they were all dispersed among the districts of Judea and Samaria, save the apostles. . . . Now Saul devastated the ecclesia; going into the homes, dragging out both men and women, he gave them over to jail. (Acts 7:58b; 8:1, 3 CV)

Saul’s persecution of the ecclesia of Yahweh and His Anointed One disperses the Messianic warriors into the districts of Judea and Samaria where they proclaim the liberating Gospel of Christ, the salvation of Yahweh for His people. Thus, Jesus the Messiah, the New Davidic Warrior-King, invades and conquers Judea and Samaria for the New Davidic Kingdom, the New Nation of Israel:

Those indeed, then, who are dispersed, passed through, evangelizing with the word. (Acts 8:4 CV)

Philip invades Samaria, proclaiming the triumphant Messiah Jesus and performing powerful signs of the liberating authority and power of Jesus the Messiah the New Davidic Warrior-King:

Now the throngs with one accord heeded the things being said by Philip, on hearing them and observing the signs which he did. (Acts 8:6 CV)

Philip casts out unclean spirits, heals the paralyzed and the lame, exposing and expelling, in accord with the Law of Moses, the existing sorcery in the land:

There shall not be found among you anyone . . . who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, . . . (Deuteronomy 18:10-11a NASB)

The Samaritans had been captivated under the spell of a man named Simon, a magician “using magic and amazing the nation of Samaria, saying himself to be some great one, whom they all heeded, from the small to the great, saying, ‘This man is the power of the god which is called Great’” (Acts 8:9b-10 CV). However, upon hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom of Yahweh, the message concerning the salvation offered in the name of Jesus Christ (Messiah Jesus or Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed King of Yahweh), the chains of their captivity are broken. Consequently, both men and women repent of their sins, submitting to the baptism in the name of Jesus the Messiah.

As Saul persecutes the ecclesia (being hardened for a short time according to the preordained purpose of Yahweh, even as Pharaoh had been so hardened), the Gospel begins to be extended beyond conquered Jerusalem. Within Jerusalem, however, the Apostles remain as conquering judges reigning, together with Jesus the Messiah, upon the new thrones of rule established in the heart of the land of Israel by the conquering New Davidic Warrior-King. Many faithful servants of Jesus the Messiah are imprisoned by Saul for a short time. But they would soon be released to return to their homes. Many Jerusalemites would return to Jerusalem, rejoining the Apostles and other faithful servants returning to take up their covenantal obligations within the Jerusalem Ecclesia, the Jerusalem congregation of the Israel of Yahweh, which had continued to increase in numbers in spite of (or, as a result of) persecution.

Meanwhile, in Samaria, those having repented and having been baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah had not yet received the spirit. Upon receiving word that Samaria had received the word of Yahweh, the ruling Apostles in Jerusalem send Peter and John to Samaria, where Peter, using the Keys of the Kingdom given to him by Jesus (see Matt. 16:19), takes the Key of Samaria, unlocking the door of the Kingdom allowing the entrance of the faithful ones in Samaria (Peter had already used the key of removal and locking-out, loosing, in relation to Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11). Thus, Peter, using this key of the New Davidic Kingdom, binds (consecrates) in the terrestrial realm what had already been bound (consecrated) in the Celestial Realm as a result of the active guidance of the spirit in dispersing the spiritual warriors of the Kingdom into Judea and Samaria.

There is no need for the use of such a key in relation to those in Judea, for they were considered legitimate Israelites. However, the Samaritans had been considered a mixed breed because of the consequences brought about by the policy of the Babylonians to remove and mix populations of conquered peoples. This necessitated the use of one of the keys of the New Davidic Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah. By their repentance and baptism, these Samaritans had already “belonged to the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16b CV). Peter and John, praying, request that the spirit be poured out upon these baptized Samaritans. Placing, then, their hands upon them, these Samaritans obtain the holy spirit, thus becoming authorized citizens of the Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh.

As Jesus had foretold His Apostles, they had now become witnesses in Judea and Samaria (see Acts 1:8 CV). Peter would soon become a witness “as far as the limits of the earth [land]” when the spirit in a vision would send him to Cornelius, a Yahweh-fearing, uncircumcised gentile. Peter would then use the second, and last, key of entrance into the Kingdom, thereby consecrating in the terrestrial realm what had already been consecrated in the Celestial Realm: the entrance of those belonging to the nations, the uncircumcised gentiles.

The door of the Kingdom now having been opened to the Samaritans (a mixed breed), a celestial messenger summoned before the throne of Yahweh and the Anointed King is sent to Philip, directing him to an Ethiopian eunuch. Under the Mosaic Covenant, mixture is forbidden, is unholy:

You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together. (Leviticus 19:19 NASB)

For this reason, the Jews had separated themselves from the Samaritans, treating them as unholy. They were considered a mixed breed and thus excluded from the covenant community.

The acceptance of the Samaritans under the New Davidic Covenant also opens the door into the New Davidic Kingdom to eunuchs, who also had been excluded from the holy congregation (assembly, ecclesia) of Israel under the Mosaic Covenant:

No one emasculated by the crushing of his testicles or having his penis cut off shall come into the assembly of Yahweh. (Deuteronomy 23:1 CV)

This change in covenantal status had been foretold by Isaiah:

Let not the foreigner [the Samaritan] who has joined himself to the Lord [Yahweh] say, “The Lord will surely separate me from His people.” Neither let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” For thus says the Lord, “To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, To them I will give in My house [not built by the hands of men] and within My walls [of the New Jerusalem from above] a memorial, And a name [Jesus Christ] better than that of sons and daughters [under the Sinatic/Mosaic Covenant]; I will give them an everlasting [eonian] name which will not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:3-5 NASB)

The eunuch, under the Mosaic Covenant, having his genitals cut off, had been excluded, cut off from the assembly, the ecclesia of Yahweh. Now, under the New Davidic Covenant, the eunuch whose genitals had been cut off, but who is choosing what pleases Yahweh, is not only granted entrance into the Ecclesia of Jesus the Messiah, the New Spiritual Assembly of Yahweh, but also is given an eonian name, a name associated with the impending eon of celestial Glory and Allotment, a name (Jesus Christ) which, contrary to his terrestrial genitals, will not be cut off.

The Ethiopian eunuch, returning to Ethiopia after having worshiped in Jerusalem, is found by Philip, sitting on his chariot reading the prophet Isaiah. The spirit instructs Philip to approach this eunuch. He discovers the eunuch is reading from Isaiah chapter 53. The eunuch is puzzled by the passage. Philip, then,

beginning from this scripture [Isa. 53:7-8], evangelizes to him Jesus. (Acts 8:35 CV)

Having heard and believed the Gospel of Christ, the eunuch is baptized. Philip is then snatched away by the spirit of Yahweh and His Lord Jesus the Messiah. This Ethiopian eunuch, a man of authority and position in his country, having entered into the New Davidic Kingdom, has been prepared to carry the Gospel into Ethiopia. He now understands the Hebrew Scriptures in the light of Jesus the Messiah. He possesses the key opening up the enigma of the Law and the Prophets.

Rejoicing, he continues his journey home wielding the sword of the spirit, the Gospel of Yahweh’s salvation to all Israel and soon to be extended to all nations by the spirit of Yahweh. The spirit has equipped this Yahweh-fearing Gentile for the proclamation of the Gospel soon to be opened up to uncircumcised nations. This Ethiopian eunuch becomes a new recruit in the spiritual army of the New Davidic Warrior-King. His return to Ethiopia marks the extension of the New Davidic Warrior-King’s invasion into the ancient land of Egypt, the land of Israel’s 400 years of bondage, the land of its birth and creation.

Meanwhile, Philip had been transported by the spirit to Azotus, directly west of Jerusalem, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Traveling north up the coast, “he brought the evangel to all the cities, till his coming into Caesarea (Acts 8:40b CV). The dispersing of the faithful servants of Jesus the Messiah, due to the persecution by Apostate Israel, ironically results in the spread into Judea and Samaria of the invading liberating word of the New Davidic Kingdom. The strategy of the opposing spiritual forces (of Apostate Israel) has been transformed (by the Commander-in-Chief of the invading Israel of Yahweh) into a medium of strategic redeployment of Christ’s spiritual forces, resulting in the extension of His new Davidic Kingdom’s conquest.

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The Commissioning of Saul

Saul’s fury and rage, reaching its climax and nearing its divine termination, compels him to request from the High Priest letters authorizing him to seize and bind any Jewish man or woman he could find in the synagogues of Damascus who was following the way of the blasphemous messianic pretender, Jesus of Nazareth. Still breathing out threats of affliction and murder, his purpose is to bind those followers of Jesus and return them to Jerusalem to stand trial before the Sanhedrin. The lawless assassination of Stephen had continued to haunt him. His blind, raging, jealous, impassioned heart had determined he would, like Phinehas the son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the High Priest (see Num. 25:6-9), lawfully rid the holy nation of the plague caused by these contaminators of Israel.

These rebellious and reckless Israelites had now become described as followers of the Way, referring to Jesus as the fulfiller of the Law and the Prophets: the Way, the Truth, and the Life of the Word of Yahweh (Acts 9:2). This designation is now being used by the followers of Jesus (the Israel of Yahweh) to refer to the way of Yahweh revealed in the New Davidic Covenant. It is a term taken from the Book of Deuteronomy where Yahweh Himself refers to the Sinatic Covenant as “the way” (Deut. 9:12) which Israel had withdrawn from by crafting and worshiping the golden calf. The New Israel of Yahweh would not withdraw from the new, superior, superseding way of Yahweh associated with Jesus the Messiah. It is a term also alluding to this transition from “the way” of Moses to the way of Jesus the Messiah found in Isaiah 40:3 and quoted by John the Baptist in Luke 3:4.

Saul, though threatening murder, is aware of its prohibition in the Mosaic Law. He would not commit murder. He is zealous of Yahweh’s Law. These contemptuous defilers of the holy people of Yahweh must lawfully be condemned by the Sanhedrin (the Supreme Court of Israel) to death by stoning, the judgment of the law.

However, Saul’s zealousness for the strict application of the Law of Moses is not “the way” of the cautious political correctness of the practical Sanhedrin. Although the Sanhedrin had been infuriated and outraged at Stephen’s affirmation of the historical character of the apostate nation, this legal body had not been prepared to render a judgment of death by stoning. The accusing mob had taken the law into its own hands. The Sanhedrin had been taken by surprise, and, although in agreement with the emotions of the accusing mob, would not have authorized the mob’s behavior.

The stoning of Stephen, from the perspective of the Sanhedrin, threatened the nation’s political welfare in relation to the rule of Rome and also in relation to the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding cities and villages of Judea. This is evidenced by the pious men of Jerusalem who took it upon themselves to become the pallbearers of Stephen, manifesting great grief over his unlawful and contemptuous assassination at the unrighteous hands of Israelites supposedly committed to the righteousness of the Mosaic Law (see Acts 8:2). These pious Israelite pallbearers had been sympathetic to the testimony of Stephen and the proclamation of the Apostles and disciples of Jesus. Many of these would turn to Jesus the Messiah as a result of this viciously unrighteous assassination and the persecution of innocent Israelite men and women which followed. These covenantal captives, as a result of these events, had been shockingly exposed to the unrighteous way of the Sanhedrin and the unrighteous and pseudo Mosaic zealousness of these hypocritical Hellenistic Israelites.

Thus, the Sanhedrin had not directly instigated the persecution which followed the death of Stephen. This legal body publicly follows the advice of Gamaliel, though privately seeking ways and means to destroy this political and religious threat to Israel’s national welfare. Consequently, the High Priest had been very appreciative of the request of this young, zealous former student of the greatly honored Rabbi Gamaliel. He would let this foolish, impetuous man perform publicly what he and the Sanhedrin could only authorize privately. He would let this impractical, zealous Israelite perform the sordid task of publicly oppressing malevolently this irritating plague of religious extremists threatening the national welfare of Israel. This political body could not afford to stir up either the populace or the Roman officials. Yet, Saul/Paul later testifies that he had actually imprisoned many saints (Israelites faithful to Jesus the Messiah); others he had hunted down in the synagogues of the cities surrounding Jerusalem, punishing them by synagogal flogging, compelling them to blaspheme, revile, Jesus the Messiah (Acts 26:9-11). He confesses that he had executed this persecution with the complete endorsement of the chief priests, as well as all the elders (Acts 22:4-5).

However, Saul is never to execute his legal authority in Damascus. On his way to Damascus, Jesus the Messiah, the New Davidic Warrior-King, manifests Himself in all His blinding glory to Saul, the zealous persecutor of His Ecclesia, the Israel of Yahweh. Jesus the Messiah reveals Himself to Saul, opening the eyes of his mind and melting his hardened heart. He does this in spite of the fact that Saul had heard the proclamation of the Apostles, resisting their call to repentance. Saul had beheld the great miracles and signs performed by Stephen and had even discussed the Hebrew Scriptures with Stephen. In spite of these facts, and though not being able to withstand or refute Stephen’s Messianic interpretation, Saul had zealously rejected the truth. He had heard the conquering affirmation of Stephen’s offer of peaceful surrender and had endorsingly witnessed the lawless assassination of this innocent Israelite, yet not only had he continued in unbelief, but he had also initiated a great persecution against his fellow Israelites, those faithfully following the Way of Yahweh associated with Jesus the Nazarene. During this glorious manifestation to Saul, Jesus declares,

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? (Acts 9:4 CV)

To persecute those confessing Jesus as the Messiah is to persecute Jesus Himself. Saul then asks,

Who art Thou, Lord? (Acts 9:5 CV)

Jesus replies,

I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting. Nevertheless, rise and enter the city, and it will be spoken to you what you must be doing. (Acts 9:5b-6 CV)

Saul is then led by those with him (those who had heard the sound of a voice, however, seeing no one, Acts 9:7) into Damascus, for he had been struck blind by the glorious light of Jesus’ appearance.

In the meantime, Jesus speaks to one of His saints, Ananias, in a vision. He instructs Ananias to seek out Saul of Tarsus who is described as praying. Saul, during this time of prayer, is given a vision of the man Ananias coming to him and placing his hands upon him so as to restore his sight. Ananias, however, in response to the instruction of Jesus, hesitates, before revealing his legitimate concern,

Lord, I hear from many about this man, how much evil he does to Thy saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who are invoking Thy name. (Acts 9:13-14 CV)

Jesus alleviates Ananias’ fear,

Go, for he is a choice [elect] instrument of Mine, to bear My name before both the nations and kings, besides the sons of Israel, for I shall be intimating to him how much he must be suffering for My name's sake. (Acts 9:15b-16 CV)

Ananias, obeying the command of his Lord, finds Saul, and declares,

Saul! Brother! The Lord has commissioned me (Jesus, Who was seen by you on the road by which you came), so that you should be receiving sight and be filled with holy spirit. (Acts 9:17 CV)

Ananias addresses Saul as “brother.” He understands that Jesus has chosen Saul. Thus, Saul has become a “saint,” a holy one of Jesus. The designation “saint” is applied to all circumcised Jews believing into Jesus, even as evidenced by Ananias’ reference to “Thy [Jesus’] saints in Jerusalem whom Saul had been persecuting. Saul, having had Jesus appear to him, is an elect instrument of the New Davidic Warrior-King, becoming, thus, a saint (one set apart by Yahweh to serve Messiah Jesus), and as such, a brother of Ananias a fellow-saint, as well as a brother to all other saints set apart by Yahweh to serve Jesus.

Ananias, then, places his hands upon Saul. As Saul’s spiritual eyes had been opened at the glorious appearing of Jesus, so also his literal eyes (which had been blinded by the glory of Jesus) are now opened. His literal blindness now healed, he immediately stands up and is immediately baptized with holy spirit (Acts 9:18-19). According to the Greek text, Saul stands himself up (active voice) and is immediately baptized with holy spirit (by Jesus, passive voice). Saul is then nourished with food for physical strength.

After Saul finishes his meal, Ananias informs him as to what he must be doing:

The God of our fathers [Yahweh] fixes upon you beforehand to know His will, and to be acquainted with the Just One, and to hear the voice of His mouth, that you shall be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now, why do you defer? Rise, be baptized, and bathe [wash] off your sins [as a Jew covenantally related to Yahweh], invoking His [Jesus’] name. (Acts 22:14-16 CV)

In the Greek text, Saul is commanded to rise (stand himself up, active voice), and, invoking the name of Jesus (believing into Jesus on his own behalf, middle voice), be baptized with water (on the basis of his actively having invoked the name of Jesus on his own behalf, middle voice), thereby washing off (on his own behalf, middle voice) his sins against Yahweh (since he is a Jew under the Mosaic Covenant), against Jesus (the Davidic King of New Davidic Covenant) and against his brothers (Stephen and the saints Saul had persecuted).

Later, testifying before King Agrippa, Paul adds that at Jesus’ glorious appearance to him he had been told,

I was seen by you for this, to fix upon you before for a deputy [minister] and a witness both of what you have perceived and that in which I will be seen [viewed in future appearances] by you, extricating [delivering] you from the people [Apostate Israel, Jews] and from the nations, to whom I am commissioning you, to open their eyes, to turn them about from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan [The Adversary] to God [Yahweh Elohim], for them to get [receive] a pardon of sins and an allotment among those who have been hallowed [sanctified] by faith that is in Me [Jesus]. (Acts 26:16b-18 CV)

Saul/Paul, thus, is a chosen vessel. He is an elected one. Furthermore, he has been accounted a child of Abraham. He has a circumcised heart. He had zealously attempted to obey the voice of Yahweh his Elohim, although in ignorance and blindness. He had been deceived by the ministers, the pseudo-shepherds, of The Adversary (Satan, who had been given authority over the apostate nation).

At the appearing to him of Jesus the Messiah, his heart had been melted and the eyes of his mind had been opened to the error of his way and his thinking. He now understands he has been appointed a minister of Jesus the Messiah to both Israel and the nations. He is commissioned to open the spiritual eyes of the elect, faithful children of Abraham (who are presently under the mesmerizing deception of The Adversary and his ministers) by the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. Opening their eyes, he is to turn them from the darkness of the pseudo traditions and commandments of their pseudo-fathers to the light of Jesus the Messiah revealed in the teaching of the Gospel of Christ, the instructions associated with the New Davidic Covenant.

As to the nations, he is to open the spiritual eyes of those Gentiles whom Yahweh is accounting as children of Abraham, those whose hearts are circumcised, longing for the genuine salvation which their gods had now been accounted incapable of providing. These hearts had been yearning in the darkness for light, eagerly awaiting a messenger bearing the light of truth. Saul is commissioned to be this messenger bearing the light of the truth of the Gospel of Christ. He would turn these Gentiles to the true and living Elohim from Whom their ancestors had turned (after the destruction of the tower Babel), choosing instead to worship the sun, the moon, the stars and the idols made with their own hands.

However, at this time Saul does not know the Secret of Yahweh and His Christ soon to be revealed to him. He does not yet understand the concealed truth of Hosea 1:10-11. He does not yet know the concealed truth to be revealed in the Gospel of the Uncircumcision soon to be given him. The time is not yet ripe; the season has not yet arrived.

At this time, Saul is also not aware of himself as a pattern, as later recorded in 1 Timothy 1:16b:

But therefore was I shown mercy, that in me, the foremost [sinner], Jesus Christ should be displaying all His patience, for a pattern of those who are about to be believing on Him for life eonian. (CV)

He is oblivious as to how his being a pattern is to be associated with giving the nations, faithful Gentiles, “an allotment among those who have been hallowed by faith that is in Me [Jesus] (Acts 26:18b). This is still a secret about to be revealed. The faithful Gentiles (uncircumcised faithful ones believing the Gospel of the Uncircumcision) are to partake of the same Celestial Allotment as the faithful Jews (circumcised faithful ones believing the Gospel of the Circumcision).

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The Early Chronology of Saul

Before, however, delving into the theme of Saul/Paul as a pattern, it is necessary to present an accurate account of the chronological order of the events of Saul/Paul’s life from the moment of his encounter with Jesus the Messiah on the road to Damascus. Following his being filled with holy spirit, Saul, invoking the name of Jesus the Messiah, is baptized with water, washing off his sins, thereby becoming cleansed for entrance into the New Davidic Kingdom (the Ecclesia of Jesus the Messiah, the Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh) and in preparation for his commissioned ministry.

As a Born-From-Above saint, he now is a qualified priest after the order of Melchizedek, belonging to the New Davidic Kingdom of priests consisting of all circumcised faithful Jews. This priesthood supersedes the Aaronic Priesthood of the Mosaic Covenant. Later, the uncircumcised faithful Gentiles will enter this Kingdom of Priests as priests superseding the Levitical Priesthood of the Mosaic Covenant.

However, these faithful Gentiles will not be designated Saints by either the New Davidic Covenant Community or the writers of the Greek Scriptures. This will explain the continued advantage of the circumcised faithful Jew. The faithful Jew is still first. The faithful circumcision Saints are covenantally commissioned with the holy service of evangelization and, in due time, are to become the spiritually authorized teachers of the Gentiles entering the New Davidic Nation, the Ecclesia being built by Jesus the Messiah.

Having entered the New Priestly Kingdom, Saul joins the disciples of Jesus residing in Damascus. Unhesitatingly, he enters the synagogues in Damascus boldly and convincingly proclaiming Jesus the Nazarene as the Son of Yahweh, as the Messiah testified to in the Law and the Prophets. The Damascus Jews are amazed, having heard of his ravaging in Jerusalem all those invoking the name of Jesus the Messiah:

Yet Saul was the more invigorated, and threw the Jews dwelling in Damascus into confusion, deducing that this One is the Christ. (Acts 9:22 CV)

After a considerable number of days of such rabbinic scriptural investigation and instructional conclusion, the blind and ignorant antagonistic Jews concoct a plot to assassinate the disturbing Saul. Like Saul, before his encounter with Jesus the Messiah, these Jews perceive the Gospel as blasphemous. It contradicts their understanding of the hope of Israel taught them by the traditional teaching of their relatively recent ancestral fathers (from the Babylonian captivity to the present). Saul, discovering the plot, escapes, with the help of the disciples.

He returns to Jerusalem, attempting to join the disciples. During his stay in Damascus, many of the disciples who had fled Jerusalem, as a result of Saul’s persecution, had returned. Others, who had been imprisoned, had been released, returning to their homes and the Messianic Community. All these disciples fear Saul, believing his claim to be a follower of Jesus the Messiah a clever deception to infiltrate the community with the intent of capturing and imprisoning them. Since Saul’s absence, the persecution had waned. His return poses a legitimate threat to their safety.

Barnabas (one of the disciples having returned to Jerusalem after fleeing as a result of the Sauline persecution), however, learning of Saul’s encounter with Jesus the Messiah and his bold proclamation and teaching in the name of Jesus in the synagogues of Damascus, intercedes on his behalf. Taking Saul to the Apostles, Barnabas (the son of consolation, reconciling like ancient Joseph) relates to them the recent events leading to Saul’s confession of Jesus the Messiah and His preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus the Messiah (Acts 9:23-27). Saul is then able to share with the Apostles his testimony concerning his encounter with Jesus Who had commissioned him to open the eyes and turn from darkness to light both Jews and Gentiles. He also shares with them the testimony of Ananias which Jesus had given Ananias concerning Saul. The Apostles, as well as Saul, remain puzzled concerning the commissioning of Saul to the Gentiles. But the guiding spirit confirms the testimony of Saul.

Remaining in Jerusalem, among the disciples for a time, Saul freely moves in and out of the Messianic Community, the New Davidic Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah, boldly conquering the enemy forces in the name of the Lord Jesus. He even confronts in spiritual warfare the Jewish Hellenistic community within which he himself had disputed with Stephen, participating in the zealous throng which had accused Stephen before the Sanhedrin and which had lawlessly stoned to death this innocent disciple of Jesus. Saul proclaims to these fellow Jews (ultra-zealous of the traditions of their fathers, even as he had been) the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah (the Gospel of the Circumcision, the only authorized Gospel of Jesus the Messiah at this time) and discusses in rabbinic fashion the Hebrew Scriptures as they testify to Jesus as Christ, the Messiah, the divinely Anointed High Priest and King (Acts 9:29).

As these Hellenistic Jews had been infuriated and outraged at the proclamation and teaching of Stephen, resulting in their assassination of him, so also these same Hellenistic Jews become infuriated with Saul, being unable to refute his proclamation and rabbinic disputation. As the blind and ignorant Jews in Damascus had schemed to assassinate Saul, so also these blind and ignorant Hellenistic Jews dwelling in Jerusalem, refusing the liberation offered by Jesus the Messiah, the New Davidic Warrior-King, plan the assassination of Saul, whom they perceive to be a more despicable traitor to the cause of his people, to the traditions of his fathers, than even Stephen had been.

Once again, discovering this conspiracy, the Messianic brethren

led him down into Caesarea, and they sent him away to Tarsus. (Acts 9:30 CV modified)

It is at this time that Saul evangelizes the entire province of Judea (Acts 26:20), though personally not becoming acquainted with any of the ecclesias of Judea (Gal. 1:22). With Saul’s departure from the land of Israel, the New Davidic Conquering Nation of Jesus the Messiah, throughout the whole of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, dwells in peace, continually being built up with the addition of a multitude of liberated Jews subjecting themselves to the rule of Jesus the Messiah, the New Davidic Warrior-King of Yahweh their Elohim. Thus, Luke concludes,

Indeed, then, the ecclesia down the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being edified, and, going on in the fear of the Lord and the consolation of the holy spirit, multiplied. (Acts 9:31 CV)

The New Davidic Kingdom successfully spreads throughout the land of Israel, liberating the captives.

While Saul is in Tarsus, he receives a vision of Jesus (“I will be seen by you,” Acts 26:16 CV) calling him to go into Arabia, the location of Mount Sinai, for further instruction concerning his apostleship to the nations. In Arabia, most likely in the wilderness of Sinai, Christ revealed to Saul the Secret of the Christ, the Secret of the Gospel of Christ, the evangel of the untraceable riches of the Christ, and the Administration of the Secret which had been concealed from the eons in Yahweh Elohim (see Eph. 3:1-9 CV; Col. 2:1-5 CV). Hidden within the Gospel of Christ had been the truth of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision (see Gal. 2:6-10) and the truth of Hosea 1:9-10 concerning Yahweh’s promise to reunite the Northern Kingdom of Israel with the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Saul, thus, becomes prepared to function as the Apostle to the nations, the gentiles, the uncircumcised. Having been personally instructed by Jesus the Messiah in Arabia, Saul returns to Damascus.

This chronological arrangement is demanded by Paul’s own testimony recorded in Galatians 1:15‑17,

But, when it delighted God [Yahweh], Who severed me out of my mother-like womb and called me through His grace, to unveil His Son [Jesus the Messiah] in me [literally, in the sphere of my interest, that is, in the sphere of the interest of his apostleship to the nations] in order that I may be evangelizing Him among [literally, in the sphere of the interest of] the nations [Gentiles], I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood [other humans], nor did I go up into Jerusalem to those who were Apostles before me [before my apostleship], but I went away into Arabia, and I returned again into Damascus. (my translation)

Saul/Paul’s severance out of his mother-like womb had occurred on the road to Damascus. He had been deeply entrenched in the womb of the old Israel, the Mosaic Israel, the Israel of the traditions of his fathers to whom he had been exceedingly zealous (see Gal. 1:14). But he had been cut out of that national/covenantal womb before due-time, Caesarian-like, by the glorious appearance of Jesus the Messiah. This is Paul’s own metaphorical image:

But last of all, He [Jesus] was seen by me also, even as if to one untimely born. (1 Corinthians 15:8 my translation)

The due-time (untimely born) refers to the Parousia/Approach, the time when the Ecclesia of Jesus the Messiah is manifested in glory in the sight of the remaining Jews possessing a hardened circumcised heart due to unbelief caused by eyes blinded as a result of the distorted traditions of the fathers. These Jews, like Saul of Tarsus, had been persecuting Jesus the Messiah in ignorance and unbelief. However, like Saul on the road to Damascus, Yahweh would open their blind eyes and melt their unbelieving hearts as a result of His manifesting to them the glory of Jesus the Messiah as revealed in His saints. In this, Saul would be a pattern of those Jews turning to Jesus the Messiah during the approaching Parousia of Jesus the New Davidic King, at which time His glory would be manifested in His Ecclesia, heralding His imminent arrival. Thus, all Israel (the Israel of Yahweh, those Israelites accounted authentic, faithful children of Abraham by Yahweh Himself, the One Who looks at the heart, not merely the outward appearance, 1 Sam. 16:7) would be saved (Rom. 11:26).

Saul had been cut out, severed, from the mother-like womb of the traditions of the fathers, out of due-time, thus, unnaturally. The last remnant of circumcised-in-heart Jews to be added to the new Born-From-Above Nation of Israel would pass out of this mother-like womb naturally (that is, in Yahweh’s predetermined due-time). For this last remnant would be born-from-above in the appointed due-time assigned by Yahweh.

Although Saul/Paul had been severed from his mother-like womb and called while on the road to Damascus, the unveiling of Yahweh’s Son in him did not take place at that time. This unveiling takes place in Arabia, during which time Saul/Paul is commissioned, apostleized, with the Gospel of the Uncircumcision. Having become the Apostle to the nations (Gentiles) and having been entrusted with the Gospel of the Uncircumcision (see Gal. 2:7), Saul returns to Damascus for a time, proceeding, then, a second time to Jerusalem. This second journey to Jerusalem occurs about three years after his first journey, at which time (his first journey to Jerusalem) it had been necessary for Barnabas to intercede on his behalf.

Upon his arrival at Jerusalem this second time, Saul needs no intervention. His purpose is to relate to Cephas (Peter) that which had occurred in Arabia:

Thereupon, after three years, I came up to Jerusalem to relate my story [concerning what took place in Arabia] to Cephas, and I stayed with him fifteen days. (Galatians 1:18 CV modified)

During these fifteen days, Saul personally encounters only the Apostles and James, the brother of Jesus the Messiah (Gal. 1:19). He seeks out Cephas because it is he who had been entrusted with the Gospel of the Circumcision (Gal. 2:7). The Apostle of the Circumcision needed to be informed of the spirit’s most recent activity in appointing Saul as the Apostle to the nations and entrusting him with the newly revealed Gospel of the Uncircumcision.

The knowledge conveyed to Peter is most enlightening to the Apostle of the Circumcision. For, during the intervening three years, Peter had been sent to Cornelius, an uncircumcised gentile, upon whom the spirit fell after hearing and receiving the Gospel of the Christ (the Messiah Jesus), the Gospel of the Circumcision. At this occurrence, Peter and the other circumcised Messianics are amazed, surprised, and, even more significant, bewildered. The Gospel they proclaim is to the Jews only. The cleansing and acceptance of the nations, the uncircumcised, had not been expected at this time. It did not fit into their schemata of eschatological events. They had no explanation for it, that is, until Saul’s revelation to Peter concerning the Gospel of the Uncircumcision which had been concealed within the Secret of the Kingdom, the Secret of the Christ.

After Peter and the circumcised believers with him report their encounter with Cornelius to the rest of the Apostles and the Messianic Community in Jerusalem, Luke records,

Now, on hearing these things, they are quiet, and glorify God [Yahweh], saying, “Consequently, to the nations also God gives repentance unto life!” (Acts 11:18 CV)

The entire New Born-From-Above Nation occupying spiritual control in Jerusalem is bewildered. Not a single member of the New Davidic Kingdom centered in Jerusalem is able to explain the event concerning Cornelius. The spirit is working out events which are in the process of revising the deficient eschatological schemata possessed by the Ecclesia at this time. The new nation can only quietly, humbly, acknowledge the work of the spirit of Yahweh and His Anointed Son.

During this same three-year interval, unbeknown to the Apostles and community in Jerusalem, some of the disciples who had been dispersed as a result of the persecution occurring after the stoning of Stephen (which disciples had been speaking the word to Jews only), arriving in Antioch, inspired by the spirit, began announcing Jesus as Lord to the Greeks (the uncircumcised) as well as the Jews (Acts 11:19‑20). Luke, then, writes,

And the hand [the spirit] of the Lord [Jesus the Messiah, the New Davidic Warrior-King] was with them. Besides, a vast number [of the ones] who believed turned back [from their false worship of the gods] to the Lord [Yahweh]. (Acts 11:21 CV)

Thus, the new nation continues its conquering invasion, vastly increasing its liberated numbers of new citizens, although it remains bewildered by these unexplainable events produced by the spirit.

Some time after Saul’s second return to Tarsus (having completed his 15-day visit with Peter in Jerusalem), the Apostles and Messianic disciples in Jerusalem become informed of the work of the spirit among the Greeks in Antioch. Consequently, they delegate Barnabas to evaluate the new state of affairs in Antioch. However, before following Barnabas to Antioch, it is necessary to give the account of Paul’s additional testimony concerning his 15-day visit with Peter in Jerusalem.

In Paul’s Galatian account, he purposely omits his first stay in Damascus, the plot to assassinate him, and his escape to Jerusalem. This is omitted because it had occurred before Arabia and his entrustment with the Gospel of the Uncircumcision, the Gospel he is to call “my Gospel” (Rom. 2:16). During his first return to Jerusalem, he had proclaimed the Gospel of the Circumcision. He had not acted as Apostle to the nations. Thus, at that time, Jesus the Messiah had not been unveiled in the sphere of the interest of Saul’s distinguished Apostleship and Gospel. This explains Paul’s use of the pronoun my (mou) in the dative case. The dative case is the case indicating interest. Thus, Paul’s later testimony before the infuriated Jews who had sought to murder him after dragging him outside the Temple (see Acts, chapter 22), when referring to his second return to Jerusalem (by way of Arabia and Damascus), makes use of the pronoun my in the dative case. He testifies,

Now it occurred, at my returning in my interest to Jerusalem and while I was praying in the Temple, I came to be in a trance [an ecstasy] and to perceive Him [Jesus] saying to my interest, “Hurry and get out quickly from Jerusalem, because they [apostate Jews] will not be assenting to your testimony concerning Me.” (Acts 22:17-18 my translation)

He had returned to Jerusalem in his interest only after his experience in Arabia. At that time, he returns to Jerusalem to inform Peter of his Apostleship and Gospel. He, thus, returns to Jerusalem in the interest of his distinguished Apostleship and in the interest of his distinguished Gospel, in the sphere of the interest of which Jesus the Messiah would be unveiled according to the Secret of the Christ, the Secret of the Gospel of the Christ, now revealed in the interest (the concern) of Paul’s ministry. Paul’s Apostleship and Gospel would complete and make sufficient the deficient eschatological schemata possessed up to that time by the Ecclesia, the Messianic Community, the New Born-From-Above Nation of Yahweh.

Saul argues, in relation to the command of Jesus (given to Saul while in a trance) to get out of Jerusalem quickly (Acts 22:18 quoted above), that his personal testimony has weight. For he also had once been so infuriated concerning the proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah, even having initiated a great persecution against those who had received the proclamation. He contends that these fellow-Jews are still very much aware of his former activities against “the way” (Acts 22:19-20). He believes his testimony will open the eyes and soften the heart of some (1 Cor. 9:22b). Jesus imperatively responds,

Go! For I shall be delegating you afar to the nations. (Acts 22:21 CV)

This had not yet happened. It would occur soon.

Thus, it is not in the distinguished interest of Saul’s Apostleship to remain any further in Jerusalem. Saul’s testimony would only infuriate the apostate Jews even more, since they would perceive him as a great traitor to the traditions of their fathers. He had been one of them, but had gone over traitorously to the enemy.

Jerusalem is in the authoritative hands of the Apostles. Peter, as the Apostle to the Circumcision, is delegated to the Jews in the land. He, having been given the keys of the New Davidic Kingdom, had already used the key opening the door of the kingdom to the Gentiles. Saul is soon to be officially delegated by Jesus the Messiah, the New Davidic Warrior-King, to become the administrator of the gathering in, the harvesting of the uncircumcised faithful children of Abraham among the nations.

Thus, Jerusalem is already secured, already conquered spiritually, by the Jerusalem Apostles and circumcised disciples. These spiritual warriors under the command of Jesus the New Davidic Warrior-King have a firm spiritual hold on Jerusalem, the spiritual center of the New Davidic Kingdom, the recently Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh. Saul is therefore commanded by his Lord to immediately flee Jerusalem, for Jerusalem at this time is not in the interest of his Apostleship; it is not his delegated territory.

The Commander-in-Chief orders him to return to his territory among the nations, his territory outside the land of Israel. Saul obediently returns to Tarsus, patiently awaiting his official call by Jesus and the Ecclesia (the Messianic Community, the New Spiritual Nation of Israel) to begin his administration of the Secret among the nations, his evangelization of the uncircumcised gentiles in accord with the proclamation of the Gospel of the Uncircumcision committed to him personally by Jesus the Messiah, the Commander-in-Chief of the spiritual forces representing the New Davidic Kingdom, the New National Israel of Yahweh.