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
The Twelve Apostles, the judges of the New Israel of Yahweh,
call a convocation of the people, the Messianic Congregation of
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
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
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]
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.
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
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
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 [
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
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
Stephen’s incursive, loquacious siege against the covenantal
walls of Apostate Israel begins with
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
Abraham’s promised allotment is still future and that future
is now imminent. For Apostate Israel
to continue to cling to the geographical
Stephen next sieges the wall of national arrogance (Acts 7:6-7). He reiterates the story of Jacob’s
Stephen, thus, implies that Apostate Israel, like Pharaoh and
As Yahweh had delivered
After promising Abraham’s seed the allotment of the
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
A famine affecting the whole of
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
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.
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).
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
At the age of 40, Moses is moved by his compassionate heart to
visit his enslaved and afflicted brethren, the sons of
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
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
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
This same Moses, the
Appointed One of Yahweh, had declared to the sons of
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 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
Again, Moses is the example. Moses had led the ecclesia (the
called-out assembly of Yahweh’s people, the sons of
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
This implied the future covenantal death of
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
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
The sons of
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.
Stephen now takes up the covenantal significance of the
history of the Tabernacle and the merciful permission of Yahweh to build the
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
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
The writer of this holy text repeats,
And she said, The glory is departed from
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
And Samuel [Heb. = heard
of El] judged
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
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
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
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. ). 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
Thus, the building of the
After Solomon completes the construction of the
Solomon upon completion of the
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
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)
From their perspective, the destruction of the
When the promised Messiah would arrive,
Though these sons of
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
The failure of
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
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
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
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
But Yahweh’s ultimate goal transcends this concessionary
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
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
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. , 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
The person who sins will die. . . . the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. (Ezekiel 18:20 NASB)
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
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
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 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
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
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)
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
Saul’s persecution of the ecclesia of Yahweh and His Anointed
One disperses the Messianic warriors into the districts of Judea and
Those indeed, then, who are dispersed, passed through, evangelizing with the word. (Acts 8:4 CV)
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
There is no need for the use of such a key in relation to
As Jesus had foretold His Apostles, they had now become
witnesses in Judea and
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
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
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
Rejoicing, he continues his journey home wielding the sword of
the spirit, the Gospel of Yahweh’s salvation to all
Meanwhile, Philip had been transported by the spirit to
Azotus, directly west of
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
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. ) which
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
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
However, Saul is never to execute his legal authority in
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)
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
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
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 -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
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
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).
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
As a Born-From-Above
saint, he now is a qualified priest after the order of Melchizedek, belonging
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
Yet Saul was the more invigorated, and threw the Jews
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
He returns to
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.
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
It is at this time that Saul evangelizes the entire
Indeed, then, the ecclesia down the whole of Judea and
While Saul is in
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
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
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
Upon his arrival at
Thereupon, after three years, I came up to
During these fifteen days, Saul personally encounters only the Apostles and James, the brother of Jesus the Messiah (Gal. ). 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
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
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
In Paul’s Galatian account, he purposely omits his first stay
Now it occurred, at my returning in my interest to
He had returned to
Saul argues, in relation to the command of Jesus (given to
Saul while in a trance) to get out of
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
The Commander-in-Chief orders him to return to his territory
among the nations, his territory outside the