Monday, July 8, 2013
“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:38,39 KJV).
No theologian has since spoken wiser words….
In the context of today’s Scripture, we find Israel’s one-year extension almost near its end. For three years, Jesus Christ preached to the nation, and most Jews ignored the gospel of the kingdom that He was their Messiah-King. When they crucified Him, He resurrected and He left earth as a royal exile. Before He returned to heaven, He commissioned His apostles to continue His work on earth: convert Israel. For one year, Israel’s believing remnant, particularly the 12 apostles, offered Israel a renewed opportunity of repentance, to accept Jesus as Messiah-King. This one-year period is documented in Acts chapters 1 through 7, the context of today’s Scripture.
Israel’s apostles are arrested and thrown in prison, but an angel comes and miraculously releases them (Acts 5:17-20). As the apostles begin preaching Jesus Christ again in the Temple, their escape is discovered, and Israel’s religious leaders have them re-captured and brought before the Sanhedrin, a religious-political governing body in Israel (verses 21-28). Once the apostles preached before them, the council members are convicted by God’s Word, and want to kill the apostles (verses 29-33).
Gamaliel, a rabbi (teacher) of the Mosaic Law, a theologian in the council, cautions his colleagues not to carry out any punishment rashly (verses 34-38)—interestingly, Gamaliel is the teacher of who would later become the Apostle Paul (Acts 22:3)! Gamaliel then relates to the council two instances of how man’s plans are ruined (Acts 5:36,37), arguing if the apostles are undertaking a work of human origin, it will dissolve, but if the apostles are doing the work of the God of the Bible, the council had better take heed, for they will be accountable to God Himself for punishing His servants and rejecting His work (today’s Scripture)!
If only more of today’s theologians agreed with and followed Gamaliel’s advice!