Having heard several sermons on the topic “Us verses Them” concerning Acts 15…. I am no longer in agreement with many of the evangelical ministers of this day. As I study these texts in more detail I am of the opinion that what the “council of Jerusalem” was actually talking about “them WITH us”.
Much in the same light as the insanity surrounding the illegal immigration of America; there is a serious problem with assimilation to the code of conduct and the written laws of the land. This was the exact same for the leaders of the early followers of Yeshua HaMoshiach (Jesus Christ)
Ephesians 3:6 says this very clearly: ” Namely, that the Nations are fellow bnei (sons) HaYerushshah (heirs of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) of the nachalah (allotted inheritance) and joint evarim (limbs) of HaGuf HaMoshiach (body of Christ) [Isa 53] and joint partakers of the havtachah (promise) in Moshiach Yehoshua (Messiah Jesus) through the Besuras HaGeulah (Announcement of Redemption).
The “council of Jerusalem” settles the matter with these words; “”For Moshe Rabbenu (Moses our Teacher) from ancient dorot (generations) in every shtetl (town) has his maggidim (itinerant preachers) and in the shuls (synagogue) every Shabbos he has been read.”
This told the Apostles, who were active evangelists of the 1st century, that their job was the same as delivered by Jesus, in that, they were to be fishers of men and that the synagogues were there for the teaching and training of the converts. Additionally, that the instructions sent with these evangelists; “But to write to them to keep away from the pollution of elilim (dungy idols) and of zenut (fornication) and of the things strangled and of dahm. (blood)” would be useful for the converts until such time they had made a regular habit of the commandments of God.
This instruction was not a works salvation as many mainline denominations want to label it, it is in fact a post salvation reverence of the majesty of YHVH. This mirrors the act of baptism, as it does not redeem or save a person, it is an outward display of the inward change to ones heart and mind.
Jesus said of Himself, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah (Mosaic Law) or the Neviim (words of the Prophets). I did not come to abolish but to complete. Therefore, whoever annuls (makes void) one of the least of these mitzvot (divine commandments given by Hashem to Moshe Rebbenu) and so teaches Bnei Adam (sons of mankind), shall be called katon (least) in the Malchut HaShomayim (Kingdom of Heaven) ; but whoever practices and teaches them, this one will be called gadol (great) in the Malchut HaShomayim.
Notice Jesus says “whoever practices and teaches them, this one will be called gadol (great) in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Before people begin to ____ (laugh, sneer, burn animals) let me clarify one thing. I do believe wholly in the Sacrifice having been made complete in Jesus Christ. This is how He explains His yoke (discipline) as being easy. We are no longer encumbered by the weight and burden of keeping the sacrificial system, which was insanely complicated and dependent upon herds of animals.
Jesus says its good….then its good.