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Thursday, June 16 2016

Acts 15: Jerusalem's Gentile Controversy

"Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood ... By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations ... So all the generations from Abraham to David"

The English-language word "gentile" originated from a Latin word, gentilis, that simply meant a nation - any nation (a number of different words have the same root e.g. genesis, generation; see also Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word).

"Gentile" is frequently used (along with "nation" or "nations") to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced go-ee, that also means nation - any nation. Over the course of Bible history however, "gentile" came to be used, that is, came to be reduced, by the Israelites, as a term for non-Israelites - even though the Israelites were a "nation" too (i.e. when they said "gentiles," they were actually saying the other Gentiles, the other nations). Then (and to the present day) even more confining, it came to be used to mean a non-Jew - again, keeping in mind that Jews ("Jew" is merely an abbreviation of Judah) are just one of the twelve tribes of the nation Israel (see also A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel).

When humanity began, "gentile" simply meant the people of the various nations that grew from families ("nation" means nativity, or native, the family of birth) - just as Israel did. For example, from Noah and his family came all of the "gentiles," a word that means "nations," on Earth.

Abraham's Journey

"10:1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood ... 10:5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations." (Genesis 10:1,5 KJV)

Abraham (see the complete study series for Abraham, beginning with A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram) is a key ancestor of the Messiah, as stated in the Messiah's genealogy (Matthew 1:1-17).

But Abraham was not an Israelite or a Jew because they didn't even exist yet in the time of Abraham. Abraham was a righteous man, as declared by the LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour), who then became the forefather of many nations, many "gentiles," including Israel (see also A Biography Of Abraham: Abrahamic Religions).

"1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." (Matthew 1:17 KJV)

In the time of the Messiah, many of the people of Judah believed that Christianity was an exclusivist religion too. That is to say, that one must become a Jew into order to be a Christian. Ironically, along with the reality of the history that is recorded in the Holy Scriptures right from the very beginning that plainly says that their self-declared exceptionalism (which is usually just a cover for arrogant hypocrisy) isn't so, many of those at that time who made that claim, before their conversion, rejected the Messiah when He walking among them, while far more "gentiles" of the nations around them accepted Him for what He has always been - the Messiah of all people, as the Bible itself has always declared (see The Messiah And The Samaritan Woman and What Are Gentiles Doing In Israel?).

"15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

15:12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 15:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15:15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." (Acts 15:1-21 KJV)

Paul himself was, not long before, one of those who had become spiritually blind to what has always been (see Paul's Blindness Lesson). But he was, by then, awakening not only to the Truth, but to the specific task that the LORD had assigned him to be - the "apostle to the Gentiles."

"15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner;

The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:

15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 15:25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

15:30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: 15:31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 15:32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. 15:33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. 15:34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also." (Acts 15:22-35 KJV)

The LORD used Barnabas to bring Paul along to the point where he could work on his own (see The First Voyage Of Barnabas and Saul and The Return Of The Home Town Apostles). The time was nearly upon them however that they would part and become two powerful apostles, each with their own work to do.

"15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 15:39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches." (Acts 15:36-41 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is the true Gospel about the coming Kingdom of God in all of the Earth, or is it just about one people's own nationalized religion?
See What Gospel Did Jesus Preach?

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This Day In History, June 16

363: While under attacks from the Persians (see also The Decrees Of The Persian Kings), Roman Emperor Julian (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) retreated up the Tigris River in Iraq while burning his supply ships.

The Sack of Rome By The Vandals 455: Rome (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) was sacked by the Vandals, a Germanic tribe - hence the term "vandalism" (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

1487: The Battle of Stoke, the last great battle fought on English soil, brought an end to the War of the Roses between the Houses of York and Lancaster.

1654: Queen Christina abdicated the Swedish throne after converting to Roman Catholicism.

1567: Mary Queen of Scots was locked up in Lochleven Castle prison.

1671: Cossack rebel leader Stenka Razin was executed in Moscow.

1745: British troops took Cape Breton Island, which is now part of Nova Scotia, Canada.

1746: The Battle of Piacenza during War of Austrian Succession; Austria and Sardinia defeated a Franco-Spanish army.

1779: Spain declared war on Britain; the Great Siege of Gibraltar began.

1815: After marching into Belgium earlier in the month, Napoleon found himself confronted by 2 allied armies, which he tried to split. On this day, a French attack at the crossroads called Quatre Bras on the British army failed to rout it or take the crossroads. The Prussian army also retired intact. Both armies faced Napoleon 2 days later at Waterloo.

1891: John Abbott became Canada's third Prime Minister since the present-day nation was founded in 1867 (July 1 is Canada Day, the national holiday).

1897: The Republic of Hawaii was annexed to the U.S.

1903: The Ford Motor Company was incorporated.

1932: The ban on Nazi storm troopers was lifted by the von Papen government in Germany (see Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative? and Why Does Satan Love Liars?; also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1933: Chaim Arlosoroff, a prominent Jewish Zionist (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and When Zion Awakes) organization leader, was murdered at Tel Aviv.

1952: A Swedish rescue plane searching for a lost aircraft was shot down by Soviet fighters over Swedish territorial waters.

1955: At the Vatican, Pope Pius XII excommunicated Argentine President Juan Peron.

1963: Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, aboard the Vostok 6 (Sally Ride became the first U.S. female astronaut in space 20 years later, in 1983).

The U.S. often sought to overshadow important dates of Russia's space accomplishments by choosing specific "cover up" dates whenever possible - there are too many for it to have been mere coincidence. Examples: the first U.S. space shuttle launch was deliberately chosen to be on the same date as Russia's putting Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, 20 years earlier, while Sally Ride was made the first U.S. woman in space on June 18, 1983 - exactly 20 years to the day after the Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space on June 16-19 1963.

"3:27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it." (Proverbs 3:27 KJV)


1969: British Field Marshal Harold Alexander died at age 78. During the Second World War, he commanded the evacuation of 300,000 troops at Dunkirk (where he was the last man to leave the beaches), directed the allied ground offensive that resulted in the surrender of German forces at Tunis in May 1943, appointed commander of all allied forces in Italy in 1944, Governor-General of Canada 1946-1952, served as minister of defense 1952-1954 in Winston Churchill's government.

1993: Canada's peacekeeping mission to Cyprus ended after 29 years. The troops transferred their sector to British and Australian troops the previous day.

2012: China launched Shenzhou 9; the spacecraft carried three astronauts, including the first female Chinese astronaut, Liu Yang.



Copyright © Wayne Blank