Acts 7:5

Texas cotton, up close and personal.

Monday, 11 April 2022

And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him. Acts 7:5

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).

The previous verse referred to the coming of Abraham from Haran to Canaan after the death of his father. Despite being called to Canaan, Stephen’s words continue by saying, “And God gave him no inheritance in it.”

The statement is given to show that Abraham, despite being promised the inheritance, would only receive it through his offspring. As such it is an inheritance based on faith. This is clearly attested to in Hebrews –

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:8-10

Abraham heard the word, accepted it, and lived by it in faith. He was obedient to God, anticipating the promise while living as a sojourner. Understanding this, Stephen continues, saying, “not even enough to set his foot on.”

The Greek more literally reads, “not even the step of a foot.” The word “step” is the noun béma. It signifies a step, a raised place, or a platform that is walked up to in order to receive judgment. The idea is that one spot where the step of a foot is made was more than Abraham actually received as an inheritance in his life. This same idea was expressed in Deuteronomy concerning the land of Edom as Israel passed through it –

“And command the people, saying, ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully. Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.’” Deuteronomy 2:4, 5

It is an expression then that signifies a total exclusion of any possession at all. Despite this, Abraham did make a purchase of land while dwelling in Canaan. That is recorded in Genesis 23 when he bought a field and cave for the burial of Sarah (and later for himself and other family members). In this, there is nothing contradictory to what is said by Stephen. This was not an inheritance, but a purchase. Further, it was not for the living, but for the dead. It was an act of faith in hope of the resurrection and the true land of promise that Canaan only typified.

Continuing on, Stephen next says, “But even when Abraham had no child.” This refers to the state of Sarah’s barren womb, even at an advanced age. Abraham remained childless, but God had promised that he would possess the land through his own child, as Stephen notes, “He promised to give it to him for a possession.”

This would be considered problematic. Abraham has been given a promise, he has not personally been allowed any of what the promise signifies, and so the promise would have to be through a child, and yet he had no child. This conundrum is seen in the words of Genesis 15 –

“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’
But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ Then Abram said, ‘Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!’” Genesis 15:1-3

With that understood, the Lord confirmed His promise to Abraham. Stephen notes this with the words, “and to his descendants after him.”

Despite being old and without an heir, the Lord spoke to Abraham that the promise stood and would come to pass –

“Andbehold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’
And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Then He said to him, ‘I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.’” Genesis 15:4-7

Abraham, by faith, accepted the word of the Lord. He dwelt in tents, he remained confident that the Lord’s word was true, and he did not doubt or resist what was spoken to him. Stephen’s words about Abraham are making a point for the leaders of Israel to consider if they will simply pay heed.

Life application: Abraham heard the word of the Lord and accepted it by faith. When given a promise that seemed absolutely incredible, even impossible by any stretch of the imagination, he believed the Lord’s word.

In the Bible, there are claims made, and great and rich promises given to the people of God. Some of the things that are said are incredible. The Bible tells us that Jesus died for our sins, but that He was also raised again. Such a thing, meaning a man coming back to life after being crucified, would seem impossible by any stretch of the imagination, and yet God asks us to believe that it is true.

If one cannot believe that, then the other promises of God will never apply to him. What is presented is given for us to accept by faith. As faith is exclusive of works, then to work for what is promised is an offense to the One who promises.

Be steadfast in your faith that the word of God is true, that what it conveys will come to pass, and that your faith in what it says is all you need in order to appropriate what is promised. This is what will be pleasing to God, not your attempts to buy Him off through the observance of certain rites or rituals. God has done the work. Just believe! That is what He asks of you.

Heavenly Father, if we truly believe that You are God and that the Bible is Your word, then we should have no problem accepting that what it says is true. Help us in our lack of faith. Give us the ability to understand those things that are incredible and to accept them as they are written. May we faithfully trust in Your word as we await the fulfillment of the promises that You have spoken out. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 7:4

Texas farmland.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. Acts 7:4

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 – Part 1 and Part 2), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen – Part 1 and Part 2).

The previous verses referred to Abraham’s having been called out of Mesopotamia and to a land that God would show him. The words now continue, and they clearly show that the calling indicated here is not the same as the statement referred to in Genesis 12:1. He was first called out of Ur, and then the Lord spoke to him again sometime later. Luke’s words of the verse begin with, “Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran.”

The verb is an aorist participle. The words more appropriately read, “Then having come out of the land of the Chaldeans, he dwelt in Haran.” With the proper rendering, it is one continuous action as the reader follows the words of Stephen. The movement to this location, Haran, is recorded in Genesis 11:31 –

“And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.”

The call out of Ur was to Abraham, but it is Terah, the father, who led the family out. It is speculation, but the name of the location, Haran, may have been selected by Terah in honor of his dead son. He is recorded in Genesis 11:26 –

“Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.”

No matter what, they were called out of Mesopotamia, and along the way, they stopped in this location and stayed. The Bible does not say why. It says nothing of disobedience to the Lord in having done so or anything like that. All that is recorded is that they dwelt in Haran.

If one were to speculate, it may be that the selection of the location was because Terah liked it, or maybe he was too frail to move on. It could be that the Lord purposed that Abraham, not Terah, would be considered the father of the people’s time in Canaan, and so Terah was not to be the one to lead the family into the land. No matter what the reason, they stayed there in Haran. But Luke next records Stephen, saying, “And from there, when his father was dead.”

That agrees with Genesis 11:32 –

“So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.”

The dating here brings in a problem. Genesis 11:26 (above) said that Terah was seventy years old when he had his sons. And yet, it says that Abraham was 75 when he departed from Haran in Genesis 12:4. That leaves 60 years that are hard to reconcile with the biblical narrative. But this is not really a problem.

All it says is that Terah was seventy years old when he had his sons. Abraham is placed first in the list, but this does not mean that either Abraham was born first, nor does it mean that all the sons were born by the time he was seventy. Rather, Abraham is placed first, just as the Bible often places the son of the chosen line first. And so, Terah started to have sons, not finished having sons, at seventy.

With this, we can see that Terah would have been one hundred and thirty when he had Abraham. That would have been in the year 2009AM (from the creation of the world). Terah was seventy when he had his first child, Haran, and Haran would have been sixty years older than Abraham.

With this complication explained, Luke next writes that “He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.” That is the second calling of Abraham, but the first calling recorded in Genesis –

“Now the Lord had said to Abram:
‘Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.” Genesis 12:1-4

Life application: There is often confusion in how people read and interpret difficult verses such as what is presented in Acts 7:4. Many find it easy to simply say there is an error in the chronology presented by Stephen. Others use a text which has obviously been manipulated. For example, the Samaritan Pentateuch simply changes Terah’s age from two hundred and five to one hundred and five. Because it simplifies things, they claim that must be the true reading.

However, by following the timeline of the world (as noted above with the year of Abraham’s birth), the chronology fits perfectly. The study of understanding the biblical narrative is hard at times, but it is well worth the effort in order to see what God is doing, and also to see just how accurate the Bible actually is.

To understand the timeline of the world, as it is recorded in the Bible, the chronology as compiled during the giving of the Superior Word sermons will be provided below. It goes as far as Deuteronomy because that is where the sermons are up to at the time of writing this Acts commentary. It would be beneficial to you to print this off and keep it handy.

This chronology carefully follows the Bible, but for any given date there may be a deviation of a single year depending on what time of the year an event occurs. However, it closely and accurately reflects what is faithfully recorded in Scripture within one year throughout the entire chronology.

Take time to carefully study the details as you read the Bible. It is well worth your time. You will find that what some people claim are “errors” is simply their lack of careful study showing through.

Lord God, thank You that we have a sure and reliable word. It is a treasure and a marvel to follow its many wonderful patterns and truths as we read of the story of redemption as You have laid it out. We know we have a sure word! Thank You for this.  Amen.

 

 

Biblical Timeline of the World – AM = Anno Mundi (Year of the World)

 

——————–

GENESIS

 

Adam created 1AM; died 930AM

Seth born 130AM; died 1042AM

Enosh born 235AM; died 1140AM

Cainan born 325AM; died 1235AM

Mahalalel born 395AM; died 1290AM

Jared born 460AM; died 1422AM

Enoch born 622AM; translated 987AM

Methuselah born 687AM; died 1656AM (the year of the flood)

Lamech born 874AM; died 1651AM

Noah born 1056AM

Flood of Noah – 1656 AM (Noah was 600 years old – Genesis 7:6)

Waters dried up from earth – 1657AM (1st of the year – Genesis 8:13)

Shem 100 years old 1659AM (Genesis 11:10)

Arphaxad born 1659AM (Genesis 11:10)

Salah born 1694AM (Genesis 11:12)

Eber born 1724AM (Genesis 11:14)

Peleg born 1758AM (Genesis 11:16)

Reu born 1788AM (Genesis 11:18)

Serug born 1820AM (Genesis 11:20)

Nahor born 1850AM (Genesis 11:22)

Terah born 1879AM (Genesis 11:24)

Peleg died 1997AM (Genesis 11:19)

Nahor died 1998AM (Genesis 11:25)

Noah died 2006AM (Genesis 9:28)

Abram born 2009AM (Deduced from Genesis)

Reu died 2027AM (Genesis 11:21)

Serug died 2050AM (Genesis 11:23)

Abram called to move to Canaan 2084AM

Ishmael born 2095AM (Genesis 16:16)

Arphaxad died 2097AM (Genesis 11:12)

Covenant of Circumcision 2108AM (Genesis 17:1)

Isaac born 2109AM (Genesis 21:5)

Salah died 2127AM (Genesis 11:15)

Sarah died 2146AM (Genesis 23:1)

Isaac married Rebekah 2149AM (Genesis 25:20)

Shem died 2159AM (Genesis 11:11)

Abraham died 2184AM (Genesis 25:7)

Eber died 2188AM (Genesis 11:17)

Jacob and Esau born 2169AM (Genesis 25:26)

Esau married two wives 2209AM (Genesis 26:34)

Ishmael died 2232AM (Genesis 25:17)

Isaac blesses Jacob approx. 2247AM (Back-dated from Joseph being 30 Genesis 41:46)

Jacob marries Leah and Rachel approx. 2254AM (Genesis 29)

Jacob completes 14 years of labor approx. 2261AM (Genesis 30:25)

Jacob departs to return to Canaan approx. 2267AM (Genesis 31:38)

Joseph 17 years old approx. 2275AM (Genesis 37:2)

Isaac died 2289AM (Genesis 35:28)

Joseph 30 years old; second over all Egypt 2289AM (Genesis 41:46)

Jacob stands before Pharaoh at 130 2299AM (Genesis 47:9) * 215 years after promise to Abraham

Jacob died 2316AM (Genesis 47:28)

Joseph died approx. 2370AM (Genesis 50:26)

 

——————-

Genesis ended with the death of Joseph. He was born right around the year 2260 Anno Mundi. He lived 110 years and so his death came at approximately 2370AM. After the death of Joseph, not another word about the time which the Israelites remained in Egypt was given until sometime around the birth of Moses.

 

This was a period of about 64 years and so Exodus 1:1 is somewhere around the year 2434AM, but the date isn’t specific. However, the dating of the Bible will become specific again at key points during the book.

 

Just because it is a period of only 64 years from the death of Joseph until the time of the birth of Moses, it is a full 215-year period from Jacob’s arrival until the Exodus, which occurs when Moses is about 80 years old.

 

——————–

EXODUS

 

Israel departs Egypt on the 15th of the 1st month in the year 2514AM (Exodus 12:40; see Exodus 12:6)

Israel comes to Wilderness of Sin on 15th day of the 2nd month in the year 2514AM (Exodus 16:1)

Israel comes to Wilderness of Sinai on the 1st day of the 3rd month in the year 2514AM (Exodus 19:1)

Tabernacle is raised up on first day of 1st month of the year 2515 (Exodus 40:17)

 

——————–

LEVITICUS

 

The dating of Leviticus can be figured based on when Solomon’s Temple was built. By tracing back from that day as stated in 1 Kings 6:1, which indicates 480 years from the Exodus, we can assert with relative confidence that it was penned approximately 1445 BC.

 

There was a 45-day journey to reach Mount Sinai, where the Israelites worked to construct the Tabernacle. In Exodus 40:2 it stated, “On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.” This would have been the beginning of the second year and 345 days after the Exodus and 300 days since their arrival at Sinai. It would also make it the year 2515 AM. Later, the Israelites departed Sinai as indicated in Numbers 10:11 –

 

“Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony.”

 

As Leviticus was certainly recorded by Moses during this 50-day period, we can be confident of this timeframe and dating.

 

——————–

 

After the exodus, there was a 45-day journey to reach Mount Sinai, where the Israelites worked to construct the Tabernacle. In Exodus 40:2 it stated, “On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.” This was the beginning of the second year, 345 days after the Exodus, and 300 days since their arrival at Sinai. It would also be the year 2515 AM.

 

Numbers begins its text thirty days later on the first day of the second month of this same year. The book of Leviticus was compiled during a very short period of time between the ending of Exodus and up to Numbers 10:11, a period of fifty days. Numbers lasts much longer.

 

——————–

NUMBERS

 

The Lord speaks to Moses on the 1st day of the 2nd month in the 2nd year after coming out of Egypt, 2515AM (Numbers 1:1)

Israel departs Sinai on the 20th day of the 2nd month in the 2nd year after coming out of Egypt, 2515AM (Numbers 10:11)

Miriam dies in the Wilderness of Zin in the 1st month of the 3rd year after leaving Egypt, 2516AM (Numbers 20:1)

Aaron dies on Mt. Hor on the 1st day of the 5th month in the 40th year after leaving Egypt, 2554AM (Numbers 33:38)

 

——————–

 

The Exodus occurred in the year 2514 Anno Mundi. Deuteronomy comes at the ending of the fortieth year since the Exodus, as is noted in Deuteronomy 1:3. Therefore, it is recorded in the 11th month of the year 2554 Anno Mundi.

 

——————–

DEUTERONOMY

 

On the 1st day of the 11th month of the 40th year Moses spoke to the children of Israel, 2554AM (Deuteronomy 1:3)

 

Moses died no later than the 7th day of the 12th month of the 40th year (possibly earlier) in the year 2554 Anno Mundi, or from the creation of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 6:11

The horses at Las Colinas.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” Acts 6:11

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).

The words prior to this verse revealed that those of the Synagogue of the Freedmen were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which Stephen spoke. As this is so, they were obviously filled with jealousy, and they were also surely miffed at the surety of what he was saying, finding it wholly distasteful.

But this brings in an immediate problem. If Stephen’s words could not be resisted, and if they were based upon what is stated in Scripture, then what is stated in Scripture supports Stephen’s words. As this is so, who are they resisting? Stephen or the one Stephen is proclaiming. But the situation is unpalatable to them and so Luke records, “Then they secretly induced men.”

The word translated as “secretly induced” is found only here in Scripture, hupoballó. It comes from hupo, meaning “under,” and balló, signifying “to cast down.” As such, it gives the sense of throwing something in stealthily or introducing by collusion. A word that gives the proper sense is “suborn.” Vincent’s Word Studies gives examples to better understand its meaning –

“The verb originally means to put under, as carpets under one’s feet; hence, to put one person in place of another; to substitute, as another’s child for one’s own; to employ a secret agent in one’s place, and to instigate or secretly instruct him.”

These deceivers then are bringing a false accusation against Stephen, replacing the true intent of his words with a different meaning. It is what happened several times to Jesus, such as –

“Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward 61 and said, ‘This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’” Matthew 26:59-61

However, in John, the true meaning of Jesus’ words is explained, there it says, “But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:21). The same type of false accusation will be brought forth by those who have been induced “to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words.’”

The exact words in the charge against him are found in verses 6:13, 14. They are words that have certainly added spice to those presented by Stephen, even if the substance of them may actually be close to what he said. This is because what Stephen said was, as already noted, surely in accord with Scripture. If it was not, then his words could have been easily resisted. However, they are falsely charging him with blasphemy “against Moses and God.”

The Greek has an additional force that is left untranslated. It reads indefinitely at first and then definitely, building to a climax by saying, “against Moses and the God.” As such, it is comparable to saying, “against Moses and God Himself.” The NLT gives the sense by saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.”

To this day, what is recorded as Stephen’s words (in verses 6:13, 14, and which will be evaluated as the commentary arrives at them) are charged by both Jews and unschooled Christians as being points of blasphemy. And yet, it is certain that they are words that are in accord with what is stated later in Acts and the epistles. As such, they are not only not words of blasphemy, but they are proper statements concerning the final, forever, and finished work of Jesus Christ.

Life application: Finding something distasteful to our senses in the word of God is not an excuse to argue against the word of God. In fact, it shows a rather dull sense in a person to do so. We might look at the actions of those from the Synagogue of the Freedmen as ridiculous – “If God’s word clearly reveals that Stephen’s words are correct, then why would they attack Stephen? It doesn’t change God’s word!”

But that is how we are. We will shoot the messenger, even when the army he represents is a thousand times larger, as if shooting the messenger will solve the problem. But the army is still outside the city, and it will only be more enraged and ready to destroy because of the offense against it.

The same is true with God’s word. We find the Freedmen’s actions ridiculous, but do we do the same thing? There is a point of doctrine laid out in the New Testament that we just don’t like. We disagree with it, and we hide it away or ignore it. For example, maybe the church we attend has a female pastor. The Bible is explicit that this is not allowed, but we don’t like that part of the word, and so we ignore it.

This does not change what the word says. Rather, it demonstrates an unwillingness to be obedient to the very word we have wrongly used to allow a female pastor. This is because she claims to be a Christian. Being a Christian is something that is derived from precepts laid out in the Bible. She claims to follow Jesus. But the proper way to follow Jesus is laid out in the Bible. She reads Scripture from the Bible each week. But she ignores the parts of the word that she disagrees with that are found in the same book from which she reads her Scripture and of which she bases her sermons on each week.

All of what she does ignores precepts in the very same book that she claims as the authority for her ordination, instruction, faith, and practice. It is confused, it is illogical, and it is as common as cans in the soup section of the grocery store.

When something is explicit in the word, we are to be obedient to it. It doesn’t matter a hill of beans if we agree with it or not, God is God. His word is our instruction. And we are to be honoring of the sanctity of the faith we profess by being obedient to His word.

Lord God, help us to be molded into Your image by being obedient to Your word. We are humans, and it is in our nature to buck against things we don’t like or things we find unpalatable. And so, Lord, change us from within. May we be pleasing to You in all ways and at all times. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Acts 4:12

Alvin York Residence; Now Historic Site

Friday, 14 January 2022

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

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).

Peter has clearly identified Jesus with the Messianic hope through his citing of Scripture. The council would understand this perfectly. But now, He more precisely identifies Jesus in a particular role that was impossible to come from any other source than God, saying, “Nor is there salvation in any other.

A definite article precedes “salvation” in the Greek – “Nor is there the salvation in any other.” This then refers to the messianic hope of deliverance from sin and restoration with God that was lost at the fall of man. In the Old Testament, the use of an article before “salvation” is found only three times. The first is found in 1 Samuel 14 which is referring to salvation of the nation in battle. The other two times are in the psalms where David obtains “the salvation” from the Lord in battle, and in Isaiah 12 –

“And in that day you will say:
‘O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’
Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of [the] salvation.” Isaiah 12:1-3

The words of Isaiah are messianic in nature, and they reflect a sense of “the salvation” being accessible solely from the Lord God. It is a hope that the Messiah would come to provide this, and Peter confirms that this was to be found in Jesus and in Him alone. As he said, it is not found in any other. He then continues on by saying, “for there is no other name.”

The Greek translated here as “other” signifies another, something different, a second, and so on. It is a word of exclusivity. The salvation is found in Christ Jesus, and it is not to be found in any other source. This unmistakably indicates that “the salvation,” of which the leaders of Israel would be perfectly aware of the meaning, was a direct threat to their direct positions within the community. The reason for this is that it then means at least two immediate things, with innumerable new thoughts issuing from them:

  • No person could be saved through obedience to the Law of Moses, of whom they were the stewards. This is because “Moses” is another name.
  • If “the salvation” is found in Jesus, then the law must now be annulled in Him.

One of the thoughts that would be a direct explanation for this is that the Mosaic law included the Levitical system of priestly sacrifices. But they never brought about complete cleansing from sin. If they did, a single sacrifice would have been offered and that would have been the end of it. But the sacrifices were repeated continuously – as needed, daily, monthly, and year after year as directed by the law.

But if “the salvation” came through Jesus, then His death was a one-time and for-all-time sacrifice for sin. As it occurred apart from the Mosaic Law, it means that the law must have first been fulfilled in Him and then it was set aside in order to establish the New Covenant.

In other words, as the Law of Moses anticipated the coming of Messiah, and as the Messiah had come, then the New Covenant anticipated in the law itself (Jeremiah 31:31) must be found in Him alone, apart from the Law of Moses. All of this is more fully explained in the book of Hebrews, but the truth of what is stated there would have been understood by the leaders in some aspect, even as Peter spoke out his words to them.

With this noted, Peter adds in more words of exclusivity concerning the name of Jesus, saying, “under heaven.”

The words qualify and further explain “no other name.” There is not any other person born into the stream of human existence by which “the salvation” can be obtained. Peter then adds a synonymous thought to ensure this is more perfectly understood with the words, “given among men.”

This excludes anyone born to Adam. Apart from Jesus, no prophet, no priest, no king, no instructor of the law, no other religious leader (such as Buddha or Muhammed) and so on, is to be found in the stream of humanity “by which we must be saved.”

The Greek uses the word “in.” It is in the name of Jesus, and in none other, that it is necessary to find salvation. One is either in Christ Jesus and he is saved, or he is not in Christ Jesus, and he will not be saved. Everything about what Peter says is clear, unambiguous, and perfectly exclusive to the name of Jesus.

A somewhat paraphrased but marvelous translation of this verse is given in the Weymouth New Testament –

“And in no other is the great salvation to be found; for, in fact, there is no second name under Heaven that has been given among men through which we are to be saved.”

Life application: This verse teaches us what Jesus has already said in John 14:6. There is one way, and one way alone, to be reconciled to God the Father. Apart from Him, the condemnation that rests upon all men (John 3:18) remains upon them. One must move from Adam to Christ in order to be saved. If you are not grounded in, and willing to proclaim, this fundamental truth, then you need to adjust your thinking. God has spoken, and as Paul says, “let God be true but every man a liar.”

We can lie to ourselves and to others, but we cannot lie to God, nor will God ever speak that which is untrue. Ground yourself in Christ and proclaim His name alone for the salvation which has been presented to all men.

Lord God, Your word proclaims that Jesus Christ alone can reconcile us to You. It is an unpopular word in today’s world, but it is… Your word. I will stand upon it to the end. Jesus Christ alone! Amen and amen.

 

 

 

Acts 3:18

Saturday, 25 December 2021

But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Acts 3:18

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).

Peter, after having clearly identified the men of Israel as having been those who killed their Messiah, then noted that they did it in ignorance. A sin of ignorance, as was seen in the previous commentary, could be forgiven with the appropriate sacrifices. But now, Peter doesn’t say to them, “You must observe the rituals laid down by Moses for the atonement of your sins.” Rather, he immediately turns to explain what those sacrifices only anticipated. He does this by beginning with, “But those things.”

This is referring to what he had just said in the previous verses –

But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.

 

What Peter is saying is that what occurred in the betrayal and crucifixion of Christ Jesus had a set purpose. Despite the fact that Israel did these things, thus bearing guilt for their actions, the very things they did actually served as the means of making their own forgiveness possible. This continues to be seen with the words, “which God foretold.”

In other words, the things that happened to Jesus were actually prophesied in advance, meaning that God knew what would occur. Despite this, two things are to be taken as axioms: 1) God did not cause the events. His foreknowledge does not mean active participation in the event. And 2) the people bore guilt for their actions. God’s foreknowledge does not negate personal culpability in the things that they participated in.

God, knowing all things and understanding the hearts of the people of Israel, foresaw their rejection of Christ and allowed them to continue through with His crucifixion, knowing that it would be the means by which the world could be saved. What should have occurred came about. God’s plans and purposes were fulfilled exactly as spoken “by the mouth of all His prophets.”

This is clearly evidenced throughout Scripture, especially it is seen in typology, but it is also directly prophesied to have occurred at times. Jesus indicated this after the resurrection –

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:25-27

The word of God reveals Jesus. From beginning to end, He is the main subject of what God is doing in the span of redemptive history. The word of God is given to show this. And the word of God clearly revealed the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of man. Of all of the words of the prophets, this is most explicitly seen in Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Take the time to read that short passage today, thinking about how they point to the Person of Jesus. In those words, as elsewhere in Scripture, it clearly indicates “that the Christ would suffer.”

By saying this, Peter is plainly and unambiguously saying that the sufferings of Christ were prophesied in advance, and that what happened to Him was in fulfillment of Scripture. As this is so, and as all of the sacrificial system pointed to what He would do, Scripture – meaning the Law of Moses – is fulfilled in Him. As such, it is now set aside (made obsolete and annulled) in Him.

With this understanding, Peter is indicating that Jesus – not the sacrificial system of the law – is the only Sacrifice acceptable to atone for what they had done. Depending on our knowledge of the Old Testament, we may or may not get this. But the men standing before Peter would have. They had heard that God foretold these things, that Christ was the fulfillment of what was spoken forth, and that there was intent and purpose behind those events. Everything added up, and they would have fully grasped this, whether they believed it or not.

This is perfectly evident from discussions with Jews today. Any Jew who is even remotely versed in Scripture, and who understands who Jesus is, knows fully well that Christians believe this to be true. They grasp the theology mentally, but they do not believe it to be so. They also know it because, throughout the centuries, a remnant of believing Jews has always existed. There are Jews who have not only grasped what is said, but they have believed it. Of these things concerning the sufferings of Christ that were prophesied in advance, Peter – still speaking of God in Christ – says, “He has thus fulfilled.”

As before, this does not mean that God actively caused these things to happen. And further, God could have actively stopped them from happening. This is evidenced by Jesus’ words prior to His crucifixion –

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” Matthew 26:52-54

God allowed the events to take their course because He knew that what Christ would do was necessary for restoration between Him and man to take place. But the guilt of what took place rests squarely upon Israel for their actions, the denial they professed, and the rejection that occurred among them. Peter has stated it is so, he has shown that Scripture confirms his words, and he will next explain what they need to do in order to be forgiven for their actions. He will also explain to them what a failure to do what is necessary will mean for them.

Life application: When thought through, this verse is a good one to understand other important issues that arise in theology, such as the process of salvation. For example, many people believe that because God knows in advance what will transpire, it necessarily follows that man does not actually have free will. This is nonsense, and that becomes perfectly evident from evaluating this verse.

If that were so, then there would be no culpability for Israel’s actions in having crucified their Messiah. Peter clearly told them that Scripture foretold what would happen. And yet, he also unmistakably has told them that they are guilty before God because of it, and they must do something in order to be absolved of their guilt. God’s foreknowledge in no way negates man’s free will, nor the guilt that comes from exercising it.

Further, God’s foreknowledge in no way negates man’s responsibility toward the gospel. As an example, Calvinism teaches that man does not have free will in choosing Christ. It says that man is incapable of calling out to God because he is totally depraved. But total depravity can have various meanings. Just two of the many examples of total depravity are:

  • Man is completely fallen and cannot choose what is good. The image of God in him is erased.
  • Man is fallen and can do nothing pleasing to God because he bears a sin nature. But man still bears the image of God, even if it is marred. He still has a knowledge of what is right and wrong. He can see the good and choose it.

The first is wrong on the surface. James 3:9 clearly indicates that the image of God in man remains. And more, Genesis 3:22 plainly indicates that, in the fall of man, he obtained the knowledge of good and evil. He can know the difference and choose what is good and what is evil (see Genesis 4:7).

With the incorrect view of man in relation to God, Calvinism says that man cannot receive Christ without God imposing the decision on him. As such, it teaches that God chooses who will be saved, He regenerates their spirit (they are born again), they then can choose what is good by calling on Christ, and they are then saved. In essence, a person is saved before he is saved. It is confused thinking and poor theology.

Calvinists cling to John 6:44 as evidence of their view –

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Using this verse as a stand-alone rejects the entire context of what Jesus is saying. In John 5, Jesus distinctly indicates that God uses Scripture for this very purpose. God the Father IS DRAWING man through the word of God. The word of God speaks of Christ, and Christ came to fulfill Scripture. As such, Jesus later says in John 12:32 –

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

In every numbering system ever devised, except that used by Calvinists, 12:32 comes after 6:44. There is a reason why Jesus’ words are placed there. It is because Scripture is used to draw man to God. Jesus fulfills and thus embodies Scripture. Therefore, when He is crucified, He will become the principal means for God to draw men to Himself. This is just one of the many points where Calvinism incorrectly uses Scripture to come to erroneous conclusions concerning key theological points of doctrine.

Conclusion to life application: Calvinism is a failed theological system.

Lord God, thank You for the offer of Jesus Christ that has been presented to all people. It is by personal faith, through free will, that we are allowed to believe or reject Your offer. This demonstrates a great care for Your creatures. You allow us, without forcing us, to simply believe and be saved. Thank You for this offer of peace and reconciliation. Yes, thank You for the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.