Jerusalem - Jesus And The City; Part 2
September 1, 2015

C. R. Oliver

You may watch this Newsletter in a video HERE.


September 1, 2015

Jerusalem - Jesus And The City
Part 2

In the last issue of the newsletter, I concentrated on an overview of Jerusalem's significance and how the early church viewed it. In this issue, the focus is on "Jesus and the city," beginning with His birth and continuing through His death.

Jesus was born outside the city, which I believe is significant, for at this time God's steerage avoided interaction between Him and Jerusalem's depravity. For four hundred years, Jerusalem satiated itself with continual sacrifices and holy days, but with no prophetic word.

The state of affairs controlled by its power elite had denigrated to a religious caste system that excluded any general input from the Spirit. Although the Temple had been restored, there was no indication that God dwelled there (as in the days of Solomon).

Division segregated its religious leadership into Pharisees and Sadducees and all the things that inherently issue from religious separation took center stage. Even though the Torah was held as sacred, the codified words of the Rabbis and the Talmud were consulted regularly.

Through this dense and rigid framework was sifted the moral and ethical code for daily life. One could forsake his obligation to honor his mother and father by making calculated moves. One could rise in the Temple order through offerings and the overt display of wealth (hence Jesus' words about the widow's mite). The rich young ruler could pride himself in keeping the commandments from his youth up, with the emphasis on Pride. The woman at the well could demure from truth with, "You Jews say…."

Religion and government, though separated by Law, respected the wishes of each other in a strange political arrangement that would foster the death of the Messiah. Jerusalem became the "profit" center for the economy of the nation. Brandishing its centrality for feasts and special days with required attendance, it relished being the center of sacrificial atonement. (It was profitable for its inn keepers, food mongers and trade merchants.) The High Priest dwelled in luxury and prestige at the expense of spiritual advancement. (Saul of Tarsus was licensed to kill by this wayward clergy. This was the same clergy who were willing to spend Temple money [30 pieces of silver] to purloin Jesus.)

Yet, within the Temple, some honest and spiritually aware souls found ways to practice their faith.

Simeon and Anna were perfect examples of those, who in spite of the conditions surrounding them, were sold out to God and worshipped Him in Spirit and Truth. Even when Jesus had the disciples search out the place for the Lord's Supper, there were willing property owners who acknowledged His kingship. The triumphant entry to Jerusalem was afforded by the owners of the donkey He used.

So, like today, within the corrupt and errant structure of the Temple, there was a remnant of saints who were the Lord's people.

His Birth and the City
The astrologers from the East entered the city in their search for Jesus, but they became suspicious of the establishment.
Matthew 2:1-3
At about that time some astrologers from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 'Where is the newborn King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in far-off eastern lands and have come to worship him.'

3 King Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, and all Jerusalem was filled with rumors.
(I find the bold words above interesting.) Jewish King Herod was deeply disturbed because a Messiah could disrupt his kingship. This would have been indicative enough of the system in place in Jerusalem, but the Scripture adds "all Jerusalem" joined him. (Those who support the religious system have vested interest in maintaining the status quo. This is why one is "condemned by what he condones.")

What kind of rumors circulated? Where did they originate? First, the reaction of King Herod evidently was one source, for he was distraught and such news got around. His reaction in calling together the leadership council, as if there was a national threat, caused speculation to increase. The intensity of the rumors must have increased to the degree it affected every man, woman and child in the uproar. Interesting indeed!

Herod, the leader of all Israel, was a hypocrite, and the Lord steered the astrologers away from him. He claimed he wanted to know the "whereabouts" of the immaculate birth in order to worship Him. Not getting his answer increased his unease, until he called for the death of all children under two years in order to include Jesus. The question is, "How could a murderer be the head of a nation which existed in order to be a witness to the loving goodness of God?"

That question just might apply to national policies in modern times.
Matthew 2:11-18
11 Entering the house where the baby and Mary, his mother, were, they threw themselves down before him, worshiping. Then they opened their presents and gave him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 But when they returned to their own land, they didn't go through Jerusalem to report to Herod, for God had warned them in a dream to go home another way.

13 After they were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up and flee to Egypt with the baby and his mother,' the angel said, 'and stay there until I tell you to return, for King Herod is going to try to kill the child.' 14 That same night he left for Egypt with Mary and the baby, 15 and stayed there until King Herod's death. This fulfilled the prophet's prediction,

'I have called my Son from Egypt.'

16 Herod was furious when he learned that the astrologers had disobeyed him. Sending soldiers to Bethlehem, he ordered them to kill every baby boy two years old and under, both in the town and on the nearby farms, for the astrologers had told him the star first appeared to them two years before. 17 This brutal action of Herod's fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah,

18 'Screams of anguish come from Ramah,
Weeping unrestrained;
Rachel weeping for her children,
For they are dead.'
Joseph wasted no time in carrying out the angel's command. Without normal preparation and documentation, he moved immediately to Egypt (since the Jews hated Egypt, in-migration must have been minimal in those days).

Spiritual adherence to required matters:
Jesus was taken to Jerusalem by his parents, to be dedicated as "holy to the Lord." This was scripturally correct, and they were protected while there. Since He was the first born and under the old covenant, it was necessary to adhere to this commandment.
Luke 2:22-23
The laws of Moses after the birth of a child, His parents took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord; 23 for in these laws God had said, 'If a woman's first child is a boy, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.'
It was on this occasion that Simeon and Anna received answer to their prayers, and it was her testimony that roared through Jerusalem. She went everywhere (among the faithful) saying she had seen the Messiah. (Those who walk with God know each other in a unique way; they communicate on a different level. Bless the Lord! Anna joined Simeon's praise for "she also began thanking God.")
Luke 2:38
8 She (Anna) came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she also began thanking God and telling everyone in Jerusalem who had been awaiting the coming of the Savior that the Messiah had finally arrived.
Again, at age twelve, and in keeping with the Law, His parents took Him to Jerusalem--this time He stayed. He was found in the Temple discussing heavy subjects and proving Himself to be beyond the scope of the great intellectuals of His day. Jerusalem was under assault from His unadulterated Word of God.
Luke 2:46
Three days later they finally discovered him. He was in the Temple, sitting among the teachers of Law.
During these times, John, the Baptizer, had matured enough to begin his ministry. He too avoided Jerusalem and required those who would accept his message to come out to the wilderness and be baptized for repentance. (Perhaps this is why so many find the need to come out of organized systems and go to the wilderness.) Ah yes, when he saw the Pharisees and Sadducees coming from their high positions in Jerusalem, he denounced them. Their divisive character called for more than an outward sign!
Matthew 3:5-7
5 People from Jerusalem and from all over the Jordan Valley, and, in fact, from every section of Judea went out to the wilderness to hear him preach, 6 and when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized, he denounced them.
The Temple became a spiritual non-entity, though filled with worshippers. Remember, satan took Jesus, in the second temptation, to its pinnacle. The devil did not fear to be near it-nothing in it caused him alarm. He was so familiar with it, he didn't flinch in saying, "Jump and prove." (The gravity of this temptation is apparent when one thinks of the ramifications of doing a great feat before all the Temple leadership while garnering popularity and favor with the power elite. To impact the Temple-ites, and do so in Jerusalem the capitol city, had a wow factor! Most preachers would have jumped at the chance.)

Jesus, in His preaching about the Law and how He viewed "beyond the letter" behavior, said that Jerusalem was meant to be more than it had become. In this comment, He set straight the place of Jerusalem and its true identity.
Matthew 5:35-36
And don't swear 'By Jerusalem!' for Jerusalem is the capital of the great King.
However, He did not hesitate to set things straight inside the Temple either. He confronted, on numerous occasions, the Temple leadership and their cohorts. Those guys would soon seek to "interview" Him, as if they were making legitimate inquiry. (Such reminds me of current media.)
Matt 15:1
15:1 Some Pharisees and other Jewish leaders now arrived from Jerusalem to interview Jesus.
Their first question was, "Why do your disciples break Moses' Law?" Jesus replied that what one thinks and says is the root of uncleanness, not the traditions of Pharisees.
Matthew 15:7-11
7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, 8 These people say they honor me, but their hearts are far away. 9 Their worship is worthless, for they teach their man- made laws instead of those from God.'

10 Then Jesus called to the crowds and said, 'Listen to what I say and try to understand: 11 you aren't made unholy by eating non-kosher food! It is what you say and think that makes you unclean.'
His own Disciples took Him to task for dishonoring these prelates of power. (How many pulpits would be upset if Jesus appeared and said, "Your worship is worthless?") If some prophet could be able to squeak by the "gate-keepers" and make such judgment-how many deacons, elders and church leaders would rush to defend their cause?
Matthew 15:12-13
Then the disciples came and told him, 'You offended the Pharisees by that remark.' 13 Jesus replied, 'Every plant not planted by my Father shall be rooted up, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and both will fall into a ditch.'

Mark 3:22
22 But the Jewish teachers of religion who had arrived from Jerusalem said, 'His trouble is that he's possessed by satan, king of demons. That's why demons obey him.'
Jerusalem, the killing city
Jerusalem and those who officiated over it were killers. Jerusalem became the "killing city." Roman soldiers had to quell insurrection and dissidence through force--for blood ran in the sacred streets.
Luke 13:1-2
13:1 About this time He was informed that Pilate had butchered some Jews from Galilee as they were sacrificing at the Temple in Jerusalem.

2 'Do you think they were worse sinners than other men from Galilee?' He asked. 'Is that why they suffered?'

Luke 13:4-5
'And what about the eighteen men who died when the Tower of Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5 Not at all! And you, too, will perish unless you repent.'
These questions were both open-ended and loaded. The two questions had one answer, "Better be prayed up, repented and ready to face death if you stick around this city." Random selection and the dangerous structure of the territory precluded bloodshed from many sources. Be assured, the Temple itself was not sacred to the Romans.

Soon, His disciples and followers would witness His death at the hands of a mixed adjudication.
Matthew 16:21
21 From then on Jesus began to speak plainly to His disciples about going to Jerusalem, and what would happen to him there--that He would suffer at the hands of the Jewish leaders, that He would be killed, and that three days later He would be raised to life again.

Mark 10:32 Now they were on the way to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking along ahead; and as the disciples were following they were filled with terror and dread.
Jesus' disciples began to view Jerusalem from a different perspective. (Often familiarity and reverence for a place blinds one's eyes from reality. Is it not time to examine why Jesus spoke to the fig tree which would not respond to entreaty and care?)
Luke 13:6-9
6 Then he used this illustration: 'A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if he could find any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally he told his gardener to cut it down. 'I've waited three years and there hasn't been a single fig!' he said. 'Why bother with it any longer? It's taking up space we can use for something else.'

8 'Give it one more chance,' the gardener answered. 'Leave it another year, and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine; if not, I'll cut it down.'
Israel and Jerusalem were often seen as the "fig tree."

Jerusalem was no longer to be viewed in light of its historic place, but as God saw it--a city no longer governed by a responsive collective.

(Perhaps it is time to view ministries and movements in light of their fruit, rather than their mission statements. Just maybe, it is time to put the axe to the root of the unresponsive, rebellious constructs which are posing as churches and ministries.)

Jerusalem: The Subject Matter of the Transfiguration
As a matter of fact, the subject matter discussed by Moses and Elijah was Jerusalem. Moses had never been there as a mortal. Elijah had fled its gates under indictment by a wicked governance.
Luke 9:28-31 Transfiguration:
Eight days later He took Peter, James, and John with Him into the hills to pray. 29 And as He was praying, His face began to shine, and His clothes became dazzling white and blazed with light. 30 Then two men appeared and began talking with him--Moses and Elijah! 31 They were splendid in appearance, glorious to see; and they were speaking of his death at Jerusalem, to be carried out in accordance with God's plan.
Jesus' disciples needed to see the plan of God and what part Jerusalem played in it. They were to view the city, not as a familiar and favored spot, but as a place where the covenant of Jesus' blood would stain its streets and forever change its significance.
Luke 18:31-33
31 Gathering the Twelve around him He told them, 'As you know, we are going to Jerusalem. And when we get there, all the predictions of the ancient prophets concerning me will come true. 32 I will be handed over to the Gentiles to be mocked and treated shamefully and spat upon, 33 and lashed and killed. And the third day I will rise again.'
(What has the church "handed over" to government in our day? The list is lengthened daily. "Handing Over" is the "smooth" way to accomplish the church's venial goals.)

The Triumphal entry targeted Jerusalem:
Luke 13:33-35
For it wouldn't do for a prophet of God to be killed except in Jerusalem!

34 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city that murders the prophets. The city that stones those sent to help her. How often I have wanted to gather your children together even as a hen protects her brood under her wings, but you wouldn't let Me. 35 And now--now your house is left desolate. And you will never again see Me until you say, "Welcome to Him who comes in the name of the Lord.'
Turn now to Jesus' intent in cleansing the Temple. The people hailed Him, the authorities did not. Nonetheless, He taught the Word all day long to those in attendance.
Matthew 21:10-12
10 The entire city of Jerusalem was stirred as He entered. 'Who is this?' they asked. 11 And the crowds replied, 'It's Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth up in Galilee.' 12 Jesus went into the Temple, drove out the merchants, and knocked over the moneychangers' tables and the stalls of those selling doves.

Matt 21:23
3 When He had returned to the Temple and was teaching, the chief priests and other Jewish leaders came up to Him and demanded to know by whose authority He had thrown out the merchants the day before.
A great divide can be seen in the citizenry of the ancient community. Those of the power elite were threatened and sought a plan to jeopardize His popularity. The general public saw His miracles and wanted more of them. The general population wanted to hear Him. The governing agents did not want what He offered because repentance was far from them. (Jerusalem, today, is still a [nation and] city divided between two groups: the Sephardic and the Ashkenazim.)
Luke 19:47-48
47 After that He taught daily in the Temple, but the chief priests and other religious leaders and the business community were trying to find some way to get rid of Him. 48 But they could think of nothing, for He was a hero to the people--they hung on every word He said.
In another place:
John 2:17-24
17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: 'Concern for God's House will be my undoing.'

18 'What right have you to order them out?' the Jewish leaders demanded. 'If you have this authority from God, show us a miracle to prove it.'

19 'All right,' Jesus replied, 'this is the miracle I will do for you: Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up!'

20 'What!' they exclaimed. 'It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and You can do it in three days?' 21 But by 'this sanctuary' He meant His body. 22 After He came back to life again, the disciples remembered His saying this and realized that what He had quoted from the Scriptures really did refer to Him, and had all come true!

23 Because of the miracles He did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many people were convinced that He was indeed the Messiah. 24 But Jesus didn't trust them, for He knew mankind to the core. No one needed to tell Him how changeable human nature is!
In verse eighteen, the Jewish leaders issued the exact same challenge satan chose with Jesus. Why? They were of their father, the devil, just as He said. When the house of God is ruled by those who have not been born again, the religious system becomes exceedingly untrustworthy. Jesus didn't trust the people to know the difference. He knew they would be swayed, as they eventually were, against Him.

Jerusalem, prepared for the crucifixion and the birth of the early church.
Mark 14:12-13
2 On the first day of the Passover, the day the lambs were sacrificed, His disciples asked Him where He wanted to go to eat the traditional Passover supper. 13 He sent two of them into Jerusalem to make the arrangements.
In order for a new covenant to be established, the transition had to take place in Jerusalem.

(It is not necessary to cite the passages concerning the new covenant significance of the elements of bread and wine at this point. The Last Supper, when combined with the crucifixion, along with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, gave life to the final covenant. The early church had to be birthed on the day of Pentecost (in that same upper room--which was symbolically tied to the new face of Jerusalem in prophecy).
Luke 23:26-31
26 As the crowd led Jesus away to His death, Simon of Cyrene, who was just coming into Jerusalem from the country, was forced to follow, carrying Jesus' cross. 27 Great crowds trailed along behind, and many grief-stricken women.

28 But Jesus turned and said to them, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, don't weep for Me, but for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are coming when the women who have no children will be counted fortunate indeed. 30 Mankind will beg the mountains to fall on them and crush them, and the hills to bury them. 31 For if such things as this are done to Me, the Living Tree, what will they do to you?'
After His payment for our sins, and the shedding of His blood as the supreme sacrifice, came an earth shaking conclusion which was followed by God raising Jesus from the dead. So powerful was that forthcoming many graves were opened and Jerusalem saw the Godly dead come to life and walk the streets and visit loved ones.
Matthew 27:51-53
And look! The curtain secluding the Holiest Place in the Temple was split apart from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and rocks broke, 52 and tombs opened, and many Godly men and women who had died came back to life again. 53 After Jesus' resurrection, they left the cemetery and went into Jerusalem, and appeared to many people there.
Notice, this was a selective group that came back to life: the Godly dead. The ungodly remained in the grave!

After His resurrection, Jesus remained in Jerusalem to prepare the Disciples for the birth of the church. Jerusalem transitioned from the city of the Ancient Jews--to the city where Christianity was founded.
Luke 24:46-53 (ascension)
46 And He said, 'Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day; 47 and that this message of salvation should be taken from Jerusalem to all the nations: There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to Me. 48 You have seen these prophecies come true.

49 'And now I will send the Holy Spirit upon you, just as My Father promised. Don't begin telling others yet--stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.'

50 Then Jesus led them out along the road to Bethany, and lifting His hands to heaven, He blessed them, 51 and then began rising into the sky, and went on to heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem filled with mighty joy, 53 and were continually in the Temple, praising God.
Naturally, the Disciples considered the Temple as the place for proper worship, but not for long. Their kind soon understood how Jesus' Supreme Sacrifice had negated the animal offerings. The attitude of those "running the show" was raw and unfriendly toward them. Finally, the Jerusalem Christians saw their numbers increase at first, then decrease as more and more fled before the persecution.
Acts 1:3-4
3 During the forty days after His crucifixion he appeared to the apostles from time to time, actually alive, and proved to them in many ways that it was really He Himself they were seeing. And on these occasions He talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

4 In one of these meetings He told them not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them in fulfillment of the Father's promise, a matter He had previously discussed with them.
As the persecution increased, Christians feared for their lives. The city began to be drained of its glory, and Jerusalem lay fallow for two thousand years, until the end time.
Acts 8:1-5
Paul was in complete agreement with the killing of Stephen. And a great wave of persecution of the believers began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled into Judea and Samaria. 2(But some godly Jews came and with great sorrow buried Stephen.) 3 Paul was like a wild man, going everywhere to devastate the believers, even entering private homes and dragging out men and women alike and jailing them. 4 But the believers who had fled Jerusalem went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus!

Acts 9:1-2
1 But Paul, threatening with every breath and eager to destroy every Christian, went to the High Priest in Jerusalem. 2 He requested a letter addressed to synagogues in Damascus, requiring their cooperation in the persecution of any believers he found there, both men and women, so that he could bring them in chains to Jerusalem.
Notice, everyone fled except the apostles. Jerusalem was now the hub from which the spokes of the gospel projected. When Rome burned the city and destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, it's key role changed from the center of religious Judaism, to the birthplace of Jesus' Spiritual Kingdom.

Today, its central role is that of a "marker" to show the "time of the Gentiles" is ending and Jesus' return is any day now.

In Acts 8, the verse above, be aware that gender and age meant nothing to those persecuting Christians. Approval came from the highest religious authority, the High Priest. (Here is where I wish to observe that in the future, Christians may again find persecution comes from religious "sell outs" supported by governing officialdom. For many years, I had the privilege of traveling with Rev. Chas. A. Gruber of Riga, Latvia. He told me that when he was a child, the pastor of his church (Baptist) disappeared just before the Communist invasion of the Baltics and re-appeared, some month later, in military uniform--telling his congregation he had "informed" the incoming authorities about them, their locations and the number of family members in each unit. To Charles, it was a devastating revelation to see his pastor "sell them out" to the enemy. They fled to Brazil, and there his father died of malaria the first year. He warned me, before his death, of the impending "sell out" that might again take place.
Acts 11:19
Meanwhile, the believers who fled from Jerusalem during the persecution after Stephen's death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, scattering the Good News, but only to Jews.
Judaism, like Roman Catholicism, was so deeply rooted in the lives of the early converts that subversion of the gospel (through compromise) began almost immediately. Exclusivism took its toll, for the phrase "only to the Jews" was a powerful restriction. Instead of the freedom which the gospel brings, the "add ons" reached out to choke that freedom. (Can anyone see modern similarities?)

(Early on, as a senior in college, I had a colleague who was working on a text for a book entitled, "The Tentacles of the Octopus." All of us, in those days, were serious-minded beyond our years. His book explored religious systems and how they wrap around every segment of life and influence decisions which are far afield from their source. Gene F., was an observer of the power elite in all segments of society, and how their clandestine decisions were often flavored by religious dogma.
Acts 15:4-6
4 Arriving in Jerusalem, they met with the church leaders--all the apostles and elders were present--and Paul and Barnabas reported on what God had been doing through their ministry. 5 But then some of the men who had been Pharisees before their conversion stood to their feet and declared that all Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow all the Jewish customs and ceremonies.

6 So the apostles and church elders set a further meeting to decide this question.
Their conclusion:
Acts 15:13-21
When they had finished, James took the floor. 'Brothers,' he said, 'listen to me. 14 Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people to bring honor to his name. 15 And this fact of Gentile conversion agrees with what the prophets predicted. For instance, listen to this passage from the prophet Amos:

16'Afterwards' [says the Lord], 'I will return and renew the broken contract with David, 17 so that Gentiles, too, will find the Lord--all those marked with my name.'

18 That is what the Lord says, who reveals his plans made from the beginning.

19 'And so my judgment is that we should not insist that the Gentiles who turn to God must obey our Jewish laws, 20 except that we should write to them to refrain from eating meat sacrificed to idols, from all fornication, and also from eating unbled meat of strangled animals. 21 For these things have been preached against in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.'
Notice how James found (in the words of Amos) his answers in the Old Testament. He also found credence in the traditions of Judaism for abstaining from fornication and unbled meats from strangled animals. Though the larger issue of Gentile inclusion was Biblically oriented, the traditions of the past had to be included to satisfy the leadership. (How long has it been since you heard a message on either of these subjects? Hmmm?)

In spite of the decision in Jerusalem, among the elders, observe the following passage. (My, how Jerusalem's octopus found places to attach their tentacles.)
Acts 16:3-5
In deference to the Jews of the area, he (Paul) circumcised Timothy before they (Paul and Silas) left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek [and hadn't permitted this before]. 4 Then they went from city to city, making known the decision concerning the Gentiles, as decided by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the church grew daily in faith and numbers.
Jerusalem had changed from the Holy City to a place of terror. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit led Paul to it as a witness. Renowned for his former credentials, Paul now came to be the "touch stone" for a new age and would serve as the "firebrand" igniting the Temple's demise.

However, the church at Jerusalem initiated a plan of appeasement. It was decided that Paul must go to the Temple, offer a sacrifice and thereby align himself with the Jerusalem church's thinking. (Compromise and circumvention has never been the plan of God.)
Acts 21:18-22
18 The second day Paul took us with him to meet with James and the elders of the Jerusalem church. 19 After greetings were exchanged, Paul recounted the many things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his work.

20 They praised God but then said, "You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they are all very insistent that Jewish believers must continue to follow the Jewish traditions and customs.

21 Our Jewish Christians here at Jerusalem have been told that you are against the laws of Moses, against our Jewish customs, and that you forbid the circumcision of their children. 22 Now what can be done? For they will certainly hear that you have come.
Look now at the early leadership's reasoning.
Acts 21:24
'Then everyone will know that you approve of this custom for the Hebrew Christians and that you yourself obey the Jewish laws and are in line with our thinking in these matters.'
Meanwhile, the Turkish Jews arrived and kept Paul from carrying out this charade. From the moment of their arrival and interference, the movement of Paul from one court to another led to his appeal to Rome and to Caesar. Here is the text of the Turkish Jews.
Acts 21:28-32
"Men of Israel! Help! Help! This is the man who preaches against our people and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He even talks against the Temple and defiles it by bringing Gentiles in!" 29(For down in the city earlier that day, they had seen him with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus in Turkey, and assumed that Paul had taken him into the Temple.)

30 The whole population of the city was electrified by these accusations and a great riot followed. Paul was dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31 As they were killing him, word reached the commander of the Roman garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
The last mention of Jerusalem in Acts is found among the Jews at Rome.
Acts 28:22-31
But we want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about these Christians is that they are denounced everywhere!"

23 So a time was set, and on that day large numbers came to his house. He told them about the Kingdom of God and taught them about Jesus from the Scriptures--from the five books of Moses and the books of prophecy. He began lecturing in the morning and went on into the evening!

24 Some believed and some didn't. 25 But after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul ringing in their ears: 'The Holy Spirit was right when he said through Isaiah the prophet,

26 'Say to the Jews, "You will hear and see but not understand, 27 for your hearts are too fat and your ears don't listen and you have closed your eyes against understanding, for you don't want to see and hear and understand and turn to me to heal you." 28 So I want you to realize that this salvation from God is available to the Gentiles too, and they will accept it.'

30 Paul lived for the next two years in his rented house and welcomed all who visited him, 31 telling them with all boldness about the Kingdom of God and about the Lord Jesus Christ; and no one tried to stop him.
When God instructed Paul to "Say to the Jews," the transition was complete.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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