PAUL IN ACTS 21:
THE LAW OF MOSES WAS INTACT
PAUL IN ACTS 21:
THE LAW OF MOSES WAS INTACT.
Most scholars today hold that Paul was in Jerusalem, as seen in Acts 21, in 58 CE.
The Law of Moses was still observed by the Messianic assembly at Jerusalem, and we thus read,
Acts 21:17-20, AMP net version,
“When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters welcomed us gladly.
18On the next day Paul went with us to [see] James, and all the elders of the church were present.
19After greeting them, Paul began to give a detailed account of the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20And when they heard it, they began glorifying and praising God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all enthusiastic supporters of the Law [of Moses].” (Editor’s emphasize) - IMAGE: Moses smashing the tablets.
Keeping on reading the following verses, tells us that a rumor had been going of Paul, as one who did not obey the Law of Moses, - and the Jews were upset about that. Consequently James and the elders got Paul’s consent…to have him undergo the Nazarite Vow of shaving his head and making this Vow before the Lord, with four witnesses following him, and so openly show to the people that he certainly observed and practiced the Law of Moses. Verses 21-26 read,
“Now they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are living among the Gentiles to turn away from [the Law of] Moses, advising them not to circumcise their children or to live according to the [Mosaic] customs.
22What then should be done? They will certainly hear that you have arrived.
23Therefore do just what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow;
24take these men and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses [for the temple offerings] so that they may shave their heads. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to the things they have been told about you, but that you yourself also follow and keep the Law.
25“But with regard to the Gentiles who have believed [in Christ], we have sent them a letter with our decision that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from [consuming] blood and from [the meat of] what has been strangled and from sexual immorality.”
26Then Paul took the [four] men, and the next day he purified himself along with them [by submitting to the ritual]. He went into the temple to give notice of [the time] when the days of purification [ending each vow] would be fulfilled and the usual offering could be presented on behalf of each one.”
So far, so good.
Notice that verse 25 is a direct hint to Acts 15 and the Jerusalem-conference on what the Messianic assembly should teach the Greek (proselyte gentiles).
A clip from biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com says of the Nazarite vow,
“The best example to show how much of an observant Jew Paul was, is to showcase his Nazarite Vow. The only vow which had the shaving of the head connected with it, was the Nazarite vow which started with the shaving of ones hair. At the end of his naziriteship a nazirite brings three offerings, a sin offering, a burnt offering and a peace offering, and shaves his hair (Num 6:13-18). Together these three offerings were called “the hair offering” at the time, for they were accompanied by the shaving of the hair.” (End of quote).
This was not the first time Paul underwent this Vow. He had done the same rite when in Cenchreae, Acts 18:18,
“After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow.”
The Nazarite had the specialty of being the only single rite which demanded shaving off ones hair.
The circumstances in Acts 18:18 are not laid out for us in details by Luke. But anyhow, it shows to us that Paul making the Vow in Jerusalem in 58 CE was not just a ‘Political’ move to calm the mob. It was because the Law of Moses still was in force and so intact. The Jesus-believers kept the Law.
LEAVING ACTS 21, JUMPING TO EPHESIANS AND COLOSSIANS 2
Now it gets interesting!
Eph. 2:14, 15; as well as Col. 2:14 – written in 63-64 CE as Paul was jailed the second time,
“For He Himself is our peace and our bond of unity. He who made both groups—[Jews and Gentiles]—into one body and broke down the barrier, the dividing wall [of spiritual antagonism between us],
15by abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the hostility caused by the Law with its commandments contained in ordinances [which He satisfied]; so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thereby establishing peace.”
“…having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of legal demands [which were in force] against us and which were hostile to us. And this certificate He has set aside and completely removed by nailing it to the cross”. (Editor’s emphasize).
Paul’s actions when in Jerusalem 58 CE contradicts his teaching in Ephesians and Colossians in a most sensational way: In Jerusalem 58 CE he observed and practiced the Law of Moses, but in jail in Rome 63-64 CE he taught to his believers the very opposite: The entire Law of Moses with its commandments and ordinances was entirely abolished, and completely removed as it had been nailed to the cross back in 28 CE. However kept secret and hidden to the Messianic believers during Acts period. This because Christ tested Israel during Acts period, whether they would repent to Him, so He could come back from heaven to establish the Kingdom. Israel failed the test.
Thus Paul, writing his two final epistles of faith doctrine, dropped a huge bomb: The Law of Moses was no longer!
Paul was given a new astounding revelation by Christ, a Mystery which had been hid in God from before the creation of the world, Eph. 3:1-6,
“For this reason [because I preach that you and believing Jews are joint heirs] I, Paul, am the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—
2assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was entrusted to me [to share with you] for your benefit;
3and that by [divine] revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I have already written in brief.
4By referring to this, when you read it you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
5which in other generations was not disclosed to mankind, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the [Holy] Spirit;
6[it is this:] that the Gentiles are now joint heirs [with the Jews] and members of the same body, and joint partakers [sharing] in the [same divine] promise in Christ Jesus through [their faith in] the good news [of salvation].” (Editor’s emphasize).
From then on it has been but one thing only, to all believers in Jesus Christ, namely the free Grace Gospel salvation by faith only, and for all peoples in the entire world. Jesus tore down the wall of partition between Jewry and the nations, so making by faith that ‘One new Man’ told in Eph. 2:15. The Church, also called for the Body of Christ to which He is the Head.
By these two prison-epistles by Paul, God ended His offer to Israel of an earthly kingdom, and just 6-7 years later, the apostate nation was destroyed and scattered by the Romans as Titus’ army crushed Jerusalem and Judea, on the very same calendar day as when the Babylonian king in 586 BC took them, - which was Sunday 10 September. Josephus tells of this in his book on the Jewish War. The ‘Kingdom Gospel’ found in Acts has not been preached to them ever since. God took it off His roster. This is also the very reason why we cannot find any word on the Second Advent in Ephesians and Colossians!
Eph. 2:8, 9 cannot be misinterpreted, AMP net version,
“For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].”