Section X: The Pentecostal Church

The Azusa Street Revival was a historic series of revival meetings that took place in Los Angeles, California.[1] It was led by William J. Seymour, an African-American preacher. The revival began on April 9, 1906, and continued until roughly 1915. On the night of April 9, 1906, Seymour and seven men were waiting on God on Bonnie Brae Street, “when suddenly, as though hit by a bolt of lightning, they were knocked from their chairs to the floor,” and the other seven men began to speak in tongues and shout out loud praising God. The news quickly spread; the city was stirred; crowds gathered; and a few days later Seymour himself received the Holy Spirit; services were moved outside to accommodate the crowds who came from all around; people fell down under the power of God as they approached; people were baptized in the Holy Spirit and the sick were healed and sinners received salvation.[2] The testimony of those who attended the Azusa Street Revival was “I am saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost” in reference to the three works of grace of Holiness Pentecostals, the original branch of Pentecostalism…a continuous three-year revival occurred and became known around the world. Stanley H. Frodsham, in his book, With Signs Following, quotes an eye-witness description of the scene: The revival was characterized by spiritual experiences accompanied with testimonies of physical healing miracles,[4] worship services, and speaking in tongues. The participants were criticized by some secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at the time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 20th century.

Back in the 1st century, the apostles had anticipated government positions during their entire time with the Jesus because they believed he was the Messiah / Christ, the promised son of God / ruler.

“the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons…She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom…And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.” (Matthew 20:20-24)

The apostles’ eager anticipation for appointments to leadership in the kingdom reflects their awareness of exactly what had been put into play.

“therefore…they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

The problem was that they were still focused on Israel’s political and physical condition rather than God’s spiritual calling.

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

But…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:1-8)

teach all nations…to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always [as he was was Moses and Joshua], even unto the end of the world.Matthew 28:19-20)

The process by which the Jewish apostles were anointed leaders in the kingdom of God was absolutely consistent with Jewish culture.

“Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him…because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance…the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy…and shalt be turned into another man…for God is with thee.” (I Samuel 10:1-7)

Jesus…through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen...that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me…ye shall be baptized [merged with] with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

“And when the day of Pentecost [harvest celebration like Boaz had after winnowing his grainwas fully come,..suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and…they were all filled / to the greatest extent, accomplished with the Holy Ghost And began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled,

As devout Jews, the international crowd who gathered to watch this wild exhibition were able to believe Peter’s explanation because they believed the Jewish prophets’ predictions and recognized the standard sign of God Spirit speaking through his chosen representatives. This was the only way they were able to believe in Jesus as the Christ.

This exhibition would have meant nothing to scripturally illiterate Gentiles.

Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem…this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…and they shall prophesy…And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know…ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up… 

For David speaketh concerning him…being a prophet...He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of The Anointed Seed of the Woman / Messiah / Christ…This Jesus / Yeshua / YHVH’s Savior hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore…[he, Christ] having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he [Christ] hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear…

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

It was only because these listeners knew and believed the Old Testament prophets that they could understand, and therefore believe, Peter’s report that Jesus’ death was not the end, but rather the beginning of his redemptive ministry.

Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ [as John had predicted would come after him] for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off…” (Act 2:1-11, 37-41)

Peter and the other apostles did not use Jesus’ teaching as the basis of their preaching. They based their faith and their preaching on the Old Testament prophets – as did Jesus himself, even after his death ushered in the new testament.

“Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people…the chief priests and our rulers…have crucified…But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel…

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:19-27)

Following the trail of events recorded in the book of the Acts of the apostles, we find that for at least the first 20-30 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection the good news of the arrival of the Messiah / Christ and the coming of the kingdom of God was disseminated throughout the world only by preaching from the “Old Testament” Jewish writings. Until the apostles wrote their sermons and memoires of Jesus, there was no “John 3:16” or “Romans Road” with which to lead people to salvation.

The apostles couldn’t evangelize without the Old Testament scriptures, because faith can only be based on the word of God, found at that time only in Old Testament writings.

For another, as detailed in the post A Melchizedek Like Moses, Moses is the foundational prophet on which God rests his case for

  1. bringing up the subject of a Savior/Messiah/Christ,
  2. then for delineating his characteristics,
  3. then for proving that Jesus of Nazareth is he.

Peter…answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel…those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled…For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me…Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after…have likewise foretold of these days.” (Act 3:12-24)

“Then Peter…said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel…by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  (quoting from Psalm 118:22) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Act 4:8-12)

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said…The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, (quoting Isa 9:1-7) for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Act 5:29-32)

“Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.  Then they suborned men…And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law…Then said the high priest, Are these things so?  And he said, Men, brethren , and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham…[reviews history of Israel through the son of David, Solomon] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears (quoting Jeremiah 9:26), ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.  Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and the murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.  When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.  But he being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven…and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (quoting from Dan 7:12-14). Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him.” (Act 6:9-11)

An eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians…had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophetAnd Philip ran thither to him…and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” (Act 8:27-35)

“Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture [Isaiah 28:14-18], also quoted by Jesus as documented by Matthew [21:42-45] Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” (I Peter 2:6)

our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles…which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures…” (II Peter 3:15-16)

God’s spiritual laws / overriding control over the physical laws of nature make it possible to perform what we call miracles.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12)

On the other hand, we find that the miracle works that Jesus promised would prove Spirit indwelling are works he rejects as proving the workers are his followers. Which is it?

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit…Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:15-22)

Paul provides one of the many balancing acts in scripture. The “signs” – which can be faked or empowered by an evil spirit – aren’t the works that Jesus demands of us for salvation or even to prove salvation. All of these signs aren’t manifested by every believer, but every believer should be doing something!

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant…Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

  1. to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;
  2. to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
  3. To another faith by the same Spirit;
  4. to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
  5. To another the working of miracles;
  6. to another prophecy;
  7. to another discerning of spirits;
  8. to another divers kinds of tongues;
  9. to another the interpretation of tongues:

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit…But now are they many members, yet but one body…

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? Obviously his rather sarcastic answer is “No!” do all interpret?

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbalFollow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church…Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?…Brethren, be not children in understanding…

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not…

Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God…

What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (I Corinthians 12-14)

Even when outreach was extended to Gentiles, beginning with Cornelius, what we call the Old Testament scriptures continued to be the only available – and necessary – basis for faith in Jesus Christ and inclusion in the New Testament Church.

“Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee…Then Peter opened his mouth, and said…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth…To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Act 10:22-43, 11:18)

The first Gentile to accept Jesus as the Savior could only do so because he was grounded in the Old Testament scriptures which prophesied of his coming. He was, as described by James, one of

them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God…For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:19-21)

(You just have to wonder if this was the centurion who presided over Jesus’ crucifixion.)

And as Peter went in, and found many that were come together…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.

Notice how Peter continues to define himself as a law-abiding Jew. While he had Jesus’ last words to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;” (Mark 16:15-16), this was being done in the synagogues where Gentiles, while present, were segregated from full participation with the Jews. Peter needed the special vision to understand that, as a Jew, he was allowed to assemble with – church with Gentile believers.

Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)…To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on / baptized all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished [that they received the Holy Spirit without converting, through circumcision, to Judaism]For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized / merged into one body with the other believers, up to now all Jewish, which have received / been baptized / merged into one with the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10)

This was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy to the Jews quoted earlier.

In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gateWhom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing…I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:5-16)

And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them…

This clearly demonstrates at the first followers of Jesus were all law-abiding Jews and expected all followers of Yeshua to be the same. Peter was the first apostle to understand that Gentiles did not need to covert to Judaism to be saved. The proof of new life were the signs of the Holy Spirit controlling the new convert, as we see in the progression of this account.

And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord [finally!], how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 

When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:1-18)

There were additional signs among the Gentiles – i.e. fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies – proving that YHVH’s savior had come not only to rule over Israel but to retake dominion over all the other peoples of the earth. Like prophecy in general, these are vague and can be argued to fit multiple interpretations. The Spirit of God who gave them is the only one who can accurately interpret them.

“Wherefore the LORD said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid…in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” (Isaiah 29:13-24)

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (I Corinthians 1:10-24)

Jesus had predicted this as well.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall

  • they cast out devils;
  • they shall speak with new tongues;
  • They shall take up serpents;
  • and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them;
  • they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

These miracles and wonders were the proof that the Jews needed to be convinced that the uncircumcised Gentiles could be indwelt with God’s presence and power like they were.

Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying,

Men and brethren…the Gentiles are turned to God:” (Act 15:12-19)

This, too, was fulfillment of prophecy.

Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings…Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries…And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said…These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land. But I had pity for mine holy name…

Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land…And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it…I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock…so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 36:17)

The original group of believers was a subset of the larger group of Jewish believers in the fact of a prophesied Messiah in the holy scriptures who just didn’t accept Yeshua of Nazareth as being the fulfillment of the Messiah, some of whom are still waiting for Messiah to show up for the first time.

 “my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:” (Romans 9:3-6)

 “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:15-16)

The understanding of the New Testament church as the Israel of God is a fundamental truth, essential for understanding the whole story. The New Testament does not separate Jewish believers from Gentile believers. It unites us.

If this sounds heretical, please be judicious enough to investigate the historical facts detailed in the New Testament.

“I am the good shepherd, and know [identities merged] my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:14-16)

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles…without Messiah / Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah / Christ...that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby…For

    1. through  him we both have access
    2. by one Spirit
    3. unto the Father.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God…keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 2:11-19, 4:3-6)

Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled…Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that…I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour…I will work, and who shall let /stop it?…Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel…Behold, I will do a new thing.” (Isaiah 43)

The Jewish religious leaders would not have fought against the threat to their authority and power, and the Roman rulers would not have listened to their complaints if belief in Jesus Christ was just one of the multitude of “other” religions for which Rome was famous for tolerating and even incorporating.

“The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort…” (John 18:19-20)

They were well aware that Jesus’ followers constituted the “other nation” to whom leadership under the God of Israel had been given.

“And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased…Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing…Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21)

That nation / brotherhood was not the Gentile church.

“[His Jewish disciples] asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)

One notable piece of evidence that there was no Gentile leadership at this time is the lack of authorization by Jesus’ delegated church leaders of any Gentiles – or even of Paul.

“when it pleased God…To reveal his Son in [not too] me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.” (Galatians 1:15-20)

The anointed church leadership at Jerusalem never accepted Paul’s authority to witness to the Gentiles.

when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.” (Acts 11)

Now they that were scattered (from Jerusalem] preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only…when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus…[Then] the church which was in Jerusalem…sent forth Barnabasand much people was added unto the Lord…Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul.” (Acts 12)

“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. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question…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…Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul…And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles.” (Acts 15)

James’ failure to credit Barnabas and Paul as credible witnesses screams out to us by its silence. And yet by this time they had multitudes of Gentiles saved under their full-time Gentile ministry against Peter’s one and only episode with Cornelius and his family and friends.

Clearly including Gentiles into a Jewish sect was a sketchy business.

“And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul….we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and

  • a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world,
  • and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes
  • Who also hath gone about to profane the temple

Then Paul…answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself…there are yet but twelve days since

    • I went up to Jerusalem for to worship
    • And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. 
    • But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy [i.e. within Judaism],  so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets
    • And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 
    • And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men. 
    • Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings. 
    • Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult…Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day. 

And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way [that sect], he deferred them…” (Acts 24:1-22)

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