Paul’s Footsteps #32

Footsteps #32.

Tragically, God was initiating the “last Act” of the great drama of Israel’s prophetic destiny. The stoning of Stephen in A.D.34 had signalled the end of Israel’s probationary period as prophesied in Dan.9: 24-27. Jesus had said, ”I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit.” Matt.21:43. The decision of the Jerusalem council in A.D.49 did not settle the argument for some. Remarkably, it was Paul, a former Pharisee, who had led the charge. I appreciate the way God had prepared the church for this moment with Peter’s vision concerning Cornelius in Acts 10 & 11. This enabled him to support Paul at this critical time (vs7-10). Peter declared that their hearts had been cleansed by faith. James added that this was a fulfillment of prophecy quoting in his speech Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos. However, The Jewish converts generally were not inclined to move as rapidly as the providence of God as it opened the way. From the result of the apostles’ labours among the Gentiles it was evident that the converts among the latter people would far exceed the Jewish converts in number. The Jews feared that if the restrictions and ceremonies of their law were not made obligatory upon the Gentiles as a condition of church fellowship, the national peculiarities of the Jews, which until now had kept them distinct from all other people, would finally disappear from among those who received the gospel message. When the Jewish converts saw the Christian church departing from the ceremonies and traditions of Judaism, they mourned the loss of their sacred customs, many grew indignant with Paul as the one who had, in a large measure, caused this change. Even the disciples were not all prepared to accept willingly the decision of the council. Some were zealous for the ceremonial law, and they regarded Paul with disfavour because they thought that his principles in regard to the obligations of the Jewish law were lax. 

Paul wrote a letter to the churches in Galatia not long after this council and we will now consider this book in detail.

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