Acts 5:42

Time for soap (Texas sure is dusty).

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:42

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

In the previous verse, the apostles had just “departed from the council.” As they departed, they rejoiced because “they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” With that, we come to the last verse of Chapter 5 which is an important verse to consider carefully.

There are pastors, preachers, teachers, and denominations that adamantly state Christians are bound to some, or all of the precepts of the Law of Moses. In order to justify this, they will tear verses out of their context in order to make their case. For example, this is an often-cited set of verses –

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15

“But Jesus also said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.’” Matthew 23:2, 3

Jesus directly told those with Him that they were to observe (be obedient to) those who sit in Moses’ seat. They were the authority in the land, and they were thus to be obeyed. With that in mind, Luke begins this final verse of the chapter with, “And daily in the temple.”

The temple is the central point of Jerusalem, the place where the law of Moses was administered. Paul explains the significance of it, in relation to the law, in Galatians 4 –

“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.” Galatians 4:21-26

The temple in Jerusalem represents the Law of Moses. It is a law of bondage. Luke continues with, “and in every house.”

The houses in Jerusalem are filled with the inhabitants of Jerusalem, meaning the people of Israel. It is the very people that Jesus had spoken to saying that they must observe whatever the leaders of Israel who sit in Moses’ seat direct. At both the temple and in the private homes of the people, it next says that “they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

Acts 5:40, just two verses ago, said concerning those who sit in Moses’ seat, “when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”

As this council is the very body referred to by Jesus, then either the apostles are directly disobeying Jesus’ words of Matthew 5 and John 14 (noted above), or something else is going on that is completely ignored by the heretics in these denominations, teaching that we must observe the Law of Moses.

Life application: There are five principal rules that should be considered at all times when evaluating Bible passages. There are many others, but these five must be considered –

Is the passage prescriptive? (Does it prescribe anything?)
Is the passage descriptive? (Is this merely describing something?)
Context. (What is the context?)
Context. (What is the context?)
Context. (What is the context?)

As you can see, the final three rules are so important that they are one thought that needs to be drummed into our heads at least three times to make sure error does not creep into our consideration of a passage.

Considering Matthew 5:17-20 (above), are those verses prescriptive or descriptive? They are both. They prescribe something for the intended audience, and yet they only describe what occurred for anyone who is not the intended audience; they tell what was said by Jesus to the people gathered before Him.

Context: Who was Jesus speaking to? Israel. Under what authority was Israel living? The Law of Moses. Who was the Law of Moses given to? Israel? Was the Law of Moses given to any other group of people? No. What did Jesus say? He did not come to destroy the Law or the prophets. Rather, He came to fulfill them.

After that, He said that the Law is a binding code. He then went on to speak of the leaders of Israel, living under the law and doing more than any other people in the land in their attempt to meet the requirements of the law, saying that their attempts were insufficient to enter the kingdom of heaven and that every person there needed to do more than they (the scribes and Pharisees) needed to do in order to enter that kingdom. That would include being obedient to those leaders because they sat in Moses’ seat (Matthew 23:2, 3).

As this was impossible, then they need to again consider Jesus’ words. He did not come to destroy the Law or the prophets… but to fulfill them. As the highest authorities of Israel fell short of meeting the requirements to enter the kingdom of heaven, then NO PERSON of Israel could meet those same requirements. Hence, Jesus came to fulfill them on our behalf. In His fulfilling of them, the law is:

Annulled (Hebrews 7:18).
Obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).
Taken away (Hebrews 10:9).
Wiped out (erased) and nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14).

One must choose where he will hang his hat. If one desires to be under the law, he must meet every single precept of the law perfectly, not letting even one fall short. He must also obey those who sit in Moses’ seat, something the apostles of Acts 5:45 refused to do – thus, ostensibly, violating Jesus’ words under the law. As they did this, it means that either they have not met the requirements of the law, or they are not… under the law. The latter is correct. They had entered into the New Covenant and for them, the Old was annulled, obsolete, and taken away.

To obey Jesus’ commandments (John 14:15 cited above) means to be obedient to Jesus’ words under the New Covenant, not the Old. Moses gave the Old, not Jesus. Either the words Jesus spoke under the Old were flagrantly disregarded by the apostles, or they were no longer the context of the lives of those apostles. The latter is true. Jesus’ commandments center on Jesus, not on Moses.

Summary: Doctrine matters.

Lord God, after we have come to Christ, please lead us to teachers with sound doctrine. And then give us the wisdom to learn it and apply it to our lives. Amen.