Brit Chadasha Foundations-Concepts in Acts-Chapter 21

Acts 21.1-40 tells us about what happened on the way back to Jerusalem; Paul is warned again of the danger that awaits him in Jerusalem; Paul learns about a rumor about him, saying that he is teaching Jewish people to forsake Moses (Torah); Paul denies this and proves otherwise; Jews from Asia organize a riot against him and is rescued by Roman soldiers; Paul addresses the mob.

v 1…And when it had come about that we had parted (literally “turn”-it was hard to do) from them and had set sail, we ran a straight course to Cos and the next day to Rhodes and from there Patara;

v 2…and having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail.

v 3…And when we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left (steered southeast of it), we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload its cargo.

v 4…And after looking up the talmidim (a congregation was there), we stayed there seven days and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem (they knew by the Ruach danger awaited him there; getting him focused).

v 5…And when it came about that our days there were ended, we departed and started on our journey while they all, with wives and children, escorted us until we were out of the city. And after kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another.

v 6…Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home again.

v 7…And when we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived in Ptolemais (later Acre; named after the Ptolemies when they ruled there), and after greeting the brethren, we stayed with them a few days.

v 8…And on the next day we departed and came to Caesarea; and entering the house of Philip the evangelist (called this because of his work spreading the basar to the Ethiopian court officer and teaching in Samaria-Acts 8.40), who was one of the seven (shammashim in Acts 6.5), we stayed with him for a day.

v 9…Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses (as foretold in Joel 2.28; Acts 2.16-18).

v 10…And as we were staying there for some days, a certain prophet named Agabus (Acts 11.28) came down from Judea (when the news of Paul’s arrival spread).

v 11…And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Ruach Ha Kodesh says, ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles (this was said not to prohibit him from going, but to build his resolve to stand up to the test).’ “

v 12…And when we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem.

v 13…Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Yeshua.”

v 14…And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord (Yehovah) be done.”

Acts 21.15-26 is one of the most misunderstood portions of Scripture that we know of. These verses will prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Paul was a Torah observant believer in Yeshua, coming out of his Nazarite vow and needing to offer the proper animal offerings (korbanot) as required by the Torah. This is nearly 30 years after Yeshua, showing that believers were Torah observant, went to worship in the Temple, kept the festivals because the Temple and the priesthood was still functioning, and offered animal sacrifices. They were never taught that the Torah was “done away with” like some believe, in fact, they went out of their way here to prove that they were Torah observant. Paul will be accused of starting something “new” but we will show otherwise. Once done, one can no longer say Paul was not Torah observant or taught others to disregard it. Then we can accurately reexamine the epistles and see the falseness of so many of the doctrines that are found in replacement theology Christianity and other religions.

v 15…And after these days we got ready and started on our way up to Jerusalem (to keep Shavuot-Acts 18.21, 20.16).

v 16…And some of the talmidim in Caesarea also came with us, taking us to Mnason of Cyprus (whose identity is unknown), a talmid of long standing with whom we were to lodge.

v 17…And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly (the assembly there).

v 18…And now the following day Paul went in with us to James (Jacob the Nasi of the believers there; the exact identity of this James is not certain, but possibly James the Just, or “Ya’akov Ha Tzadik”, the half brother of Yeshua in Matt 13.55, the brother of Jude in Matt 13.55, and author of the book of James-James 1.1), and all the elders (zekanim) were present (some may have been the authors of the Brit Chadasha like Paul).

v 19…And after he had greeted them, he began to relate one by one the things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

v 20…And when they had heard it, they began glorifying God (who deserved the highest regard); and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands (Greek “muriads” meaning tens of thousands) there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous (zealots) for the Law (Torah- this was after the book of Galatians was written; some Christian commentators says James and these believers had not come to the light to see that the Torah had been done away with; if that is true, then you cannot trust the epistles in the “new testament” either because they were written by some of these people, and that would include anything Paul wrote);

v 21…and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses (the Torah; this is what Christianity does do by the way); telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk in the customs (Paul was not doing this-1 Cor 11.1-2; 1 Thes 2.15, 3.6; but like Yeshua, he evidently disregarded openly some of the oral traditions of Beit Shammai, especially the 18 Edicts of Shammai concerning the ritual circumcision of non-Jews to be saved-Acts 15.1; this was seen by others as “forsaking Moses.” However, these accusations were embellishments by his enemies no doubt; these same enemies are also coming up to Jerusalem for the festival).

v 22…What, then, is to be done (to prove these charges false)? They will certainly hear that you have come (to the festival like they did).

v 23…Therefore do this (to prove it) that we are telling you. We (the believers in Yeshua in Jerusalem) have four men under a vow (a Nazarite vow-Paul was also under a Nazarite vow and ended it in Acts 1818 by cutting his hair; He also had to come to the Temple to offer the appropriate animal offerings prescribed in the Torah when the vow had ended-Num 6.1-21);

v 24…take them and purify (immerse) yourself, along with them and pay their expenses (that went along with coming out of the vow, including animals, wine, bread-Num 6.13-14) in order that they may shave their heads (like Paul did in 18.18) and all will know that there is nothing to the things (the rumors that Paul was teaching Jews to forsake Moses, or in other words, they were “free from the Law”) which they have been told about you (the lies and rumors), but you yourself also (along with the other Torah observant believers in Yeshua, both Jew and non-Jew) walk orderly (loyal to the Torah) keeping the customs (Torah-Acts 28.17).

v 25…But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood (eating it, Niddah, etc) and from what is strangled (carrion) and from fornication (sexual immorality-Lev 18 list; these were minimum standards for table fellowship, and they were to go to the synagogue and learn what else applied to them-Acts 15.21).

v 26…Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself (immersion to enter the Temple) along with them, went into the Temple, giving notice of the completion of the days of purification (to the priests as to when the vow ended) until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them (see Num 6.13-20 to see what was offered for each one, then multiply by five and you can see what Paul paid for to prove he was Torah observant).

v 27…And when the seven days were almost over (the seven days of purification for a Nazarite), the Jews from Asia upon seeing him in the Temple (these are many of the same Jews who opposed him in Asia, and they knew him and they knew he had just come from there and were there for the festival), began to stir up the multitude and laid hands on him (like they did in Asia and Ephesus),

v 28…crying out, “Men of Israel, this is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our own people, and the Law (Torah) and this place (the Temple; and besides he has even brought Greeks (God-fearers) into the Temple (through the Soreg, a 3 cubit high “wall” surrounding the sanctuary courts; at regular intervals a sign was put up on the Soreg saying, “No intruder is allowed in the courtyard and within the wall surrounding the Temple. Whoever enters will invite death upon himself.” These signs were a literal interpretation of Num 1.51; several of these signs have been found and are on display today), and has defiled (tamai) this holy place (Temple purity is at stake here).”

v 29…For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian (who accompanied Paul-Acts 20.4) in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the Temple (beyond the Soreg).

v 30…And all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul, they dragged him out of the Temple (before he could complete his purification-v 27); and immediately the doors were shut (probably the Nicanor and all the other gates).

v 31…And while they were seeking to kill him (on the basis of a false report; like what Paul supported in the case of Stephen-Acts 8.1), a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort (about 600 soldiers stationed in the fortress Antonio (named after Marc Antony) overlooking the Temple on the northwest side) that all Jerusalem was in confusion (Antonio was under the command of Claudius Lysias.

v 23…And at once he took along some soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them (the mob); and when they saw the commander and the soldiers (coming), they stopped beating Paul.

v 33…Then the commander (Claudius Lysias-Acts 23.26) came up and took hold of him (Paul), and ordered him to be bound (fulfilling Acts 21.11) with two chains; and he began asking who he was and what he had done.

v 34…But among the crowd some were shouting one thing and some another, and when he could not find out the facts on account of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks (Antonia).

v 35…And when he got to the stairs, it so happened that he was carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob;

v 36…for the multitude of the people kept following behind, crying out, “Away with him.”

v 37…And as Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek (Paul evidently asked him the question in Greek)?

v 38…Then you are not the Egyptian (a particular Egyptian Jew who hoped to show his followers from the Mount of Olives the collapse of the walls of Jerusalem-Josephus, Book 20, Chapter 8.6, Whiston edition) who some time ago stirred up a revolt and led four thousand men of the assassins (Sicarii) out into the wilderness (and got away)?”

v 39…But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia (Phil 3.5; Acts 23.6; 2 Cor 11.22), a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.”

v 40…And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs (leading up to Antonia), motioned to the people with his hand; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect (the NIV says “Aramaic” but the Greek word “Ebrais” is the word for Hebrew-this will be the last time the nation of Israel will hear the basar from the lips of Paul).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Temple, Tying into the New Testament

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