1In the Fellowship at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers. They were Barnabas, Simeon (also called Niger), Lucius (from the city of Cyrene), Manaen (who had grown up with King Herod), and Saul. 2These men were all serving YAHUSHA and fasting when the Set-Apart Spirit said to them, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul to do a special work for Me. They are the ones I’ve chosen to do it.”
3So the Fellowship fasted and prayed. Then they laid their hands on Barnabas and Saul and sent them out. THIS IS THE SAME WAY AN OLD-COVENANT PRIEST WAS ANOINTED & ESTABLISHED TO SERVE IN THE TABERNACLE/TEMPLE AFTER YAHUAH HAD CHOSEN THEM.
4So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Set-Apart Spirit, to the city of Seleucia. Then they sailed from there to the island of Cyprus. 5When Barnabas and Saul came to the city of Salamis, they spoke the Good News of YAHUSHA in the Jewish Synagogues. John Mark was also with them to help.
6They went across the whole island to the city of Paphos. There they met a Jewish man named Elymas who did magic. THIS WAS AN ABOMINATION ACCORDING TO TORAH - AND HE WOULD KNOW THAT, BEING A JEW. He was a false prophet. 7He always stayed close to Sergius Paulus, FOR POLITICAL STATUS & POSITION who was the Governor and a very smart man. One day the Governor invited Barnabas and Saul to come visit him, as he wanted to hear the message of YAHUAH. 8But the magician Elymas spoke against them, trying to stop the Governor and his council from believing in YAHUSHA. BEING A JEW HE WOULD KNOW WHAT HAD BEEN SAID ABOUT YAHUSHA AND KNEW HE'D LOSE HIS POWERFUL POSITION IF THE GOVERNOR BELIEVED THE GOSPEL ... SO HE STOOD RIGHT IN THE DOORWAY AND BLOCKED PAUL ... HE THOUGHT!
9But Paul (filled with the Set-Apart Spirit) glared at Elymas 10 and said, “YOU SON OF THE DEVIL, FULL OF LIES AND ALL KINDS OF EVIL TRICKS! YOU'RE AN ENEMY OF EVERYTHING THAT'S RIGHT. WILL YOU NEVER STOP TRYING TO CHANGE YAHUSHA’S TRUTHS INTO LIES? 11NOW YAHUSHA WILL TOUCH YOU AND YOU WILL BE BLIND. THAT’S RIGHT! FOR A TIME YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO SEE ANYTHING—NOT EVEN THE LIGHT FROM THE SUN.”
Then everything became dark for Elymas, and he walked around lost, and was trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. SIMILAR TO WHAT HAPPENED TO PAUL HIMSELF!12When the Governor saw this, he believed, and was amazed at the teaching about YAHUSHA. Paul and the people with him sailed away from Paphos. They came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia. There John Mark left them and returned to Yerushalim.
14They continued their trip from Perga and went to Antioch, a city near Pisidia. On the Shabath Day they went into the Jewish Synagogue and sat down. 15The Law of Moses and the writings of the Prophets were being read. Then the leaders of the Synagogue sent a message to Paul and Barnabas: “Brothers, if you have something to say that will help the people here, please speak.”
6So Paul stood up, raised his hand to get their attention, and said, “People of Yisharal and all you others who worship the true Alahim YAHUAH, please listen to me! 17The Alahim of Yisharal chose our ancestors. And during the time our people lived in Egypt as foreigners, He made them great. Then He brought them out of that country with great power. And He was patient with them for 40 years in the desert. 19 YAHUAH destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and gave their land to His people. 20All this happened in about 450 years. After this, YAHUAH gave our people Judges until the time of Samuel the Prophet. 21Then the people asked for a King. So YAHUAH gave them Saul, the son of Kish. Saul was from the Tribe of Benjamin. He was King for 40 years. 22 After YAHUAH took Saul away, YAHUAH made David their King. And this is what YAHUAH said about David: ‘David, the son of Jesse, is a man from my own heart, the kind of person who does what pleases Me. He will do everything I desire him to do.’
23And as He promised, YAHUAH has brought one of David’s descendants to Yisharal to be their Deliverer. That descendant is YAHUSHA. 24Before He came, John told all the people of Yisharal what they should do. He told them to be immersed for repentance so they could change their lives. 25When John was finishing his work, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I'm not the Messiah. He is coming later, and I'm not even worthy to be the slave who unties his sandals.’
26My brothers, sons in the family of Abraham, and you other people who also worship the true Alahim YAHUAH, listen! The Good News about this deliverance has been sent to us. 27The Jews living in Yerushalim and their leaders did not realise that YAHUSHA was the promised Deliverer. The words the prophets wrote about him were read every Shabath Day, but they did not even understand that it was all about Him. And they condemned YAHUSHA. And when they did this, they made the words of the prophets come true all the more. 28They could not find any real reason why YAHUSHA should die, but they asked Pilate to kill him anyway.
29These Jews did all the horrible things that the Scriptures said would happen to YAHUSHA. Then they took YAHUSHA down from the Torture Stake and put him in a tomb. 30But YAHUAH raised Him from the dead! 31And after this, for many days, those who had gone with YAHUSHA from Galilee to Yerushalim saw Him. And they are now His witnesses to our people. 32So we tell you the Good News about the promise YAHUAH made to our Ancestors. 33We are their descendants, and YAHUAH has made this promise come true for us. YAHUAH did this by raising YAHUSHA from the dead. We also read about this in Psalm 2: ‘You are my Son and today I have become your Father.’
34YAHUAH raised YAHUSHA from the dead. YAHUSHA will never go back to the grave and become dust. So YAHUAH said, ‘I will give you the true and Set-Apart promises that I made to David.’35 But in another Psalm it says,‘You will not let your Set-Apart One rot in the grave.’
36David did YAHUAH’S will during the time he lived. Then he died and was buried like all his ancestors. And his body did rot in the grave! 37But the one YAHUAH raised from the dead did not rot in the grave. 38-39Brothers, understand what we are telling you. You can all have forgiveness of your sins through this YAHUSHA. The animal sacrifices laid out in the Law of Moses could not free you from your sins, but you can be made right with YAHUAH if you believe in YAHUSHA. 40So be careful! Don’t let what the Prophets said happen to you also:
41Listen, you people who doubt and despise! Watch out all you haters! You can wonder all you like, but then get lost, go and drop dead - because during your time, I’ll do something that you would never believe. No, you won’t believe it, not even if someone explained it all simply to you!’”
AFTER EXPLAINING TO HIS MIXED AUDIENCE OF JEWS AND ALAHIM-FEARING GENTILES ABOUT YAHUSHA BEING THE ONE THAT ABRAHAM'S BLOOD-COVENANT PROMISED, AND THAT HE FORGIVES SINS, PAUL ISSUES A STERN WARNING. AND HE DOES IT BY BORROWING A PASSAGE FROM HABAKKUK 1. THE WARNING IS THAT IN YAHUSHA, ALAHIM IS DOING AN ASTOUNDING WORK THAT IS HARD TO BELIEVE EVEN WHEN SOMEONE THOROUGHLY EXPLAINS IT. BUT FOR THOSE WHO MOCK WHAT YAHUAH HAS DONE, THE ETERNAL DEATH PENALTY AWAITS THEM. PAUL IS ESSENTIALLY DECLARING YAHUSHA TO BE ALAHIM IN THE FLESH EVEN THOUGH HE DOESN’T EXPLICITLY SAY SO. EVERY JEWISH CHILD KNEW THAT IT WAS ONLY YAHUAH WHO COULD FORGIVE SINS, SO WHEN PAUL SAYS THAT YAHUSHA COULD FORGIVE SINS, THEY INSTANTLY UNDERSTOOD THE IMPLICATION. YAHUSHA WAS ALSO QUESTIONED ABOUT THIS WHEN HE DECLAFRED TO THE CRIPPLED MAN THAT HIS SINS WERE FORGIVEN!
42And when Paul and Barnabas were leaving the Synagogue, the people begged them to come again on the next Shabath Day and tell them more about these things. 43So after the meeting, many of the people followed Paul and Barnabas, including many Jews and people who had converted and turned to YAHUAH. So Paul and Barnabas encouraged them to continue trusting in YAHUAH’S favour.
44And on the next Shabath Day, almost all the people in the city came together to hear the word of YAHUAH. 45When the Jews there saw all these people, they became very jealous. So shouting insults, and heckling and contradicting, they argued against everything Paul said.
46But Paul and Barnabas spoke very boldly, saying, “It was right for us to give YAHUAH’S message to you Jews first, but you refuse to listen. You have made it clear by your behaviour that you’re not worthy of having eternal life. So now we go to the nations and spread this good news to all people.
47For this is what YAHUSHA told us to do: ‘I have made you a light for the other nations, to show people all over the world the way to be delivered.’”
48And when the gentile folks there heard Paul say this, they were very happy and rejoiced, praising the message of YAHUSHA, and many of them believed it. These were the ones chosen to have eternal life.
THIS ISSUE OF GENTILES IS ADMITTEDLY A BIT DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND SINCE ALAHIM-FEARING GENTILES WERE ALREADY A PART OF THIS SYNAGOGUE CONGREGATION BEFORE PAUL AND BARNABAS ARRIVED. THE UPSETMENT WAS THAT IT WAS ONE THING FOR GENTILES TO COME AND WORSHIP THE ALAHIM OF YISHARAL AS INVITED GUESTS, BUT IT WAS QUITE ANOTHER FOR THEM TO BECOME DELIVERED AND SET-APART BY A UNIQUELY JEWISH MESSIAH.
IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS ONE THING TO ALLOW A FOREIGN IMMIGRANT INTO YOUR COUNTRY TO WORK AND PAY TAXES, BUT IT IS QUITE ANOTHER TO OFFER THEM CITIZENSHIP AND ALL THE RIGHTS THAT CITIZENS HAVE. AND MOST OF THESE OBJECTIONS CONCERNING GENTILES BOILS DOWN TO THE ISSUE OF CIRCUMCISION, WHICH IS THE ONLY MECHANISM BY WHICH A FOREIGNER CAN COVERT TO A JEW. AND AS WE ARE SEEING DEVELOP, PAUL IS OUTSPOKEN AGAINST THE NEED FOR A GENTILE TO BECOME A JEW IN ORDER TO BE GRAFTED INTO THE BLOOD-COVENANTS OF YISHARAL, AND THEREFORE ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF DELIVERANCE. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT WHAT WE’RE ABOUT TO STUDY IN ACTS 15 IS DIRECTLY TIED TO THIS ISSUE OF THE CONVERSION OF GENTILES, THE RITUAL PURITY ISSUES THEY CAUSE, AND THEIR ELIGIBILITY TO BE DELIVERED BY A JEWISH MESSIAH ... AND ALL THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REPENTANCE, IMMERSION, DIVINE HEART OPERATION AND THE IMPLANTED SEED OF ETERNAL LIFE.
49And so the message of YAHUSHA was being told throughout the whole country. 50But the Jews there caused some of the noble women and the leaders of the city to be angry and turn against Paul and Barnabas and throw them out of town. 51So Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet against them. Then they went to the city of Iconium.
52But YAHUSHA’S followers in Antioch were happy and filled with the Set-Apart Spirit.
AS WE CONCLUDED ACTS CHAPTER 12 LAST WEEK, THE FOCUS THAT HAD BEEN MAINLY ON PETER AND THE GOINGS-ON IN YERUSHALIM NOW SHIFT TO PAUL AND TO THE FOREIGN LANDS THAT WERE HOME TO THE MAJORITY OF JEWS. WE HAVE PASSED A NEW MILESTONE IN THAT YAHUSHA HAS SPECIFICALLY INSTRUCTED THE MEMBERS OF ‘THE WAY’, (CONSISTING OF ALMOST 100% JEWS UP TO NOW) TO TAKE THE GOSPEL AND THE BLESSINGS CONTAINED IN ABRAHAM’S OLD-BLOOD COVENANT, TO THE WHOLE WORLD (GENTILES) REGARDLESS OF RACE, ETHNICITY, OR NATIONALITY.