Law Commentary on Acts
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
Acts mentions the “Sabbath day’s journey” here, a law that should have already been abolished.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
The Disciples kept the Feast of Pentecost.
On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Notice that even after Christ’s 40 days with his disciples, after his resurrection, Peter is still keeping the God’s dietary laws. Many will use these verses to say, “see we no longer have to keep God’s dietary laws”. How can someone use Peter’s vision as evidence that the dietary laws are abolished? Since when do visions mean exactly what is seen? Also even Peter knew that he had to figure out what the vision meant.
Continuing with verses 17-20
Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
Peter’s vision did not mean, we may now go eat cats, dogs and cockroaches. Peter tells us what the vision meant in verse 28.
And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.
Another verse showing Paul observing the Sabbath day.
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
If the Gentiles were meeting with the disciples on Sunday, then why did the Gentiles ask the disciples to preach the sermon on the next Sabbath? Why didn’t the Gentiles just ask the disciples to preach this tomorrow at church? Why wait a whole week to hear it again?
Continuing with verses 43-44
Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
These verses are more verses that show that the disciples and the Gentiles were meeting on the Sabbath day.
"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."
In many conversations that I have had, the first “proof” people give, that the law was abolished was when the disciples decided that the Gentiles do not need to be circumcised to be saved. A person will say, “See, we know that circumcision is abolished and all the Gentiles have to do is “abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood”. If you look at the verses in context, starting from the first verse, you should see that the whole debate was not if the law still applies....it was do you have to be circumcised to "be saved".
"But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, that it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
Some will point out the above verse and say, “see this proves that the debate was also if they Gentiles should keep the law”. The Pharisees were usually crafty at their words. The Pharisees obviously wanted the Gentiles to be circumcised. So they are going to gain influence to theie side by every little means possible. They purposely said, “and to command them to keep the law of Moses”, because it makes a stronger point for their case than, “Are we going to require the Gentiles to be circumcised”. Because again¼.that was what the whole debate was about. The debate was not, if they should keep the law of Moses. And actually, later in this same discussion, the disciples acknowledge the law.
Continuing with verses 6-7
And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
Jesus walked with his disciples for 40 days after he rose from the dead. That is at least 5 weekly Sabbaths plus one High Sabbath (the last day of unleavened bread). If Jesus did "nail the law to the cross"...don't you think he would have mentioned it during those 40 days. Don't you think that when his Mom or someone was preparing unleavened bread for him on the last days of unleavened bread, that he would have said something like, "You know....you don't have to do this anymore....I abolished that law"... Or during one of the Sabbath days, he would have said something to let the disciples know that the law was abolished? I mean this would be HUGE news! How do I know Jesus didn't mention that to his disciples? Because if he did, there would not have been “much disputing” about should the Gentiles be circumcised. Also, the debate was not, “is circumcision still a law”. It is still a law that we should follow. Will breaking this law keep you out of the Kingdom of God? No, (Thank God for His Son!) but males who are not circumcised have about a MUCH higher chance to get penile cancer than those who are circumcised. This is a penalty that is still in force for breaking one of God’s laws.
"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day."
The disciples here are saying, “Why teach them the whole law, because the law of Moses is being read (notice present tense) in the synagogues every Sabbath day?” The disciples just hit on the major issues for the Gentiles (abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood). Notice they didn’t say, “Don’t murder, don’t steal¼.why didn’t they? Do these laws not apply to the Gentiles? They do apply; it is because this was not a big issue that the Gentiles needed to work on.
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
Again, Paul is preaching to the Jews and the Greeks, in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
Paul is still keeping the feasts of God, after Christ ascended into heaven.
And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued his speech until midnight.
This is the best and only evidence that people use to show that the disciples changed the day of worship to Sunday. These above verses are actually evidence that the disciples were keeping the law of God.
In the KJV (with italicized words) the word “day” appears in italics. This means that the word was not in the text used to translate the KJV (it was an added word). So we now have, “And upon the first of the week”. But that is not all. If you check the Strong’s concordance for the word “week” used in this verse, you will see that the King James’ translators actually translated “sabbaton” meaning “Sabbath” to “week”. So it should read, “And upon the first Sabbath”. What does that mean? Well, if you notice from verse 6, this time frame was right after the days of unleavened bread. Those who study and practice the Law of God, know that this is the time where one counts seven Sabbaths to the day of Pentecost. This day when they met was on the first Sabbath. These verses not only show that they were keeping the Sabbaths, but also it shows good evidence that they were keeping the feasts of God.
For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
Again, Paul hasting to keep the feast of Pentecost.
And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
If the law
was “nailed to the cross” and Paul was actually teaching against the law of
God, don’t you think that Paul would be sending a mixed signal here? They are asking him, “prove to us you still
keep the law” and Paul says, “Okay”. If
the law was truly abolished, Paul had his chance right here to show everyone
this. He not only blew it, by keeping
quiet about it. He MAJORLY BLEW it, by
going into the temple to purify himself and others.
Paul was not required by the law to make sacrifices for people that have made vows. Paul was not doing this to obey the law. He was doing this to show that the law was not abolished. This is the reason why James says, "As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing." Just as Paul was not required by the law to make these offerings, neither are the Gentiles (or any non Levites) required by the law to make offerings for someone else's vows. (Numbers 6)
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
The Greek word for “believing” is also sometimes translated as “commit unto”.
And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
Paul was detained by authorities. They were trying to find a real charge so they could punish him (They didn’t care if he had lust in his heart 3 years ago, or something to that effect). Paul then tells the accusers that neither the Jews, nor Caesar has any right to continue to hold him in custody because, “Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all”. Now, is Paul lying here? Did Paul just say, “Neither against the law of the Jews neither against the temple¼have I offended anything at all”? If Paul was breaking the Sabbath, then Paul couldn’t say the above statement with out lying.
Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die:
Paul was very aware that Sabbath breaking has a death penalty. But Paul says, “For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die”. Paul is either bluffing, schizophrenic, or he is still keeping the Sabbath.
And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.
Paul again tells the chief of the Jews, “I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers¼” Again, if Paul was not keeping God’s laws, then Paul would be lying here.