We have been examining the scriptures to see what God truly said about the time of the coming of the Lord. The Acts of the Apostles records events broadcasting the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ beginning with the day of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples, and Peter declares that “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” (Acts 2:16)
In Part VIII of this series we learned that the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit was prophesied in Joel 2 to be poured forth in “the last days”, and that Peter affirmed in Acts 2 that what happened on the day of Pentecost, approx. 33 A.D., was that prophecy from Joel. Therefore, the day of Pentecost occurred in “the last days” during the first century A.D., which were the last days of the old covenant.
We also saw that the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit was for a specific time and for a specific people during the first century A.D. Acts has more to tell us which confirms that “these last days” spoken of in the New Testament were the last days of the old covenant of the Mosaic Law, and that they occurred just as Jesus promised in the first century A.D. (If you haven’t already, please read Parts I – VIII of this series for the evidences already presented.)
In Matt. 16:17-19, Jesus blesses Peter for his confession that Jesus is the Son of God,and tells him,
“……Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Contrary to what some people teach, the Apostle Peter was not the rock upon which God would build His church. Peter’s confession, that Jesus is the Son of God, was the basis, the rock upon which His church would be built. Jesus is the cornerstone, not Peter. But, Peter’s faith and confession was rewarded as Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom.
Keys open doors, and it was Peter who opened the door of the Kingdom to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. And, it was Peter who opened the door of the Kingdom to the Gentiles at the House of Cornelius, a just and devout man, of the Italian band. (Acts 10.) In both instances the Holy Ghost fell upon those present. The Jews (those of the circumcision) were astonished that the Gentiles were receiving the same gift of the Holy Ghost as they had received, and began to understand that “…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.” Acts 10: 34-35.
But, the Sadducees and Pharisees, two pernicious sects of the Jews, were threatened by the teaching of the Apostles, and the multitudes that were being baptized in the name of Jesus, the Messiah. The Sadducees held control of the temple, had the gain of the temple revenues, and control of the Sanhedrin Council. They were concerned with their political power, and their aristocratic blood line. Their wealth made them influential with Rome. The more people who abandoned the temple worship, the less revenue the Sadducees would have, the less control over the Jewish people, and the less influence they would have with Rome. The teaching and preaching of the Apostles threatened the Sadducees’ pocket book and political power.
The sect of the Pharisees, always jockeying with the Sadducees, also had a power base over the people as they professed a most superior knowledge of God’s word, which they had twisted into their “laws” of the Torah. They shunned the luxuries of the Sadducees in favor of a higher learning of the law, and led a more primitive lifestyle. The Pharisees saw their sphere of influence eroding with the converts to Christianity. Both Sadducees and Pharisees complained and stirred up the High priest and the Council so that the Council commanded the Apostles not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. Acts 4:18.
Peter and the Apostles refused to be silenced as they would obey God rather than man. The Sadducees and Pharisees fought back by excommunicating, and then anathematizing all that abandoned the rabbinical teachings of the council and the synagogue. See the supporting scriptures below.
John 12:42, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:”
Matt. 10:21, “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.”
Matt. 10:34-36, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
All those that confessed Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, risked the complete abandonment by all family, friends, and destruction of their trade and business. No one they knew would have anything to do with them once the council anathematized them for fear of being treated the same. (Anathematizing was a putting to death spiritually. But, being outcast, with no support, and no means of making a living, and the person might also physically die.)
As an illustration, in a discussion of the treatment of the Publicans by the Pharisees cited here:
“19. We find, however, that these people were strongly drawn toward John the Baptist (Luke 3:12; 7:29) and toward Jesus. (Matt. 9:10) Not having the social comforts of the Jewish religion; not having permission to attend any of the religious services; not even being privileged to attend the temple service, or to contribute toward the support of the worship of God; not being allowed any of the society of the Jews with their families, – it can be readily seen why they would welcome the teachings of the Baptizer and of Jesus. The Pharisees on the other hand, not only refused to associate with them, but anathematized every one who had any dealings with them. They went so far as to teach that it was impossible for a publican to be saved, or to have any share in the world to come. They would not even give him a Jewish burial, in order to keep him from defiling Jewish soil. This naturally in the estimation of the pious Jew, would exclude him from a resurrection, as only those Jews would be revived in the last day who were laid in sacred soil.” writtentreasures.org/html/plcchap3.html
This was the social structure of those cut off by the Pharisees and the Council. And more from the same site:
“The person not informed in rabbinical lore can hardly appreciate what is involved in rabbinic excommunication. It was not merely ostracism. If the excommunicated one did not repent, after a given time, he was considered as dead. Here are one or two Talmudic illustrations:
‘How is an excommunicated person to conduct himself, and how are other to conduct themselves toward him? It is unlawful for an excommunicated person, as for a mourner, to trim his bear or hair, or to wash himself all the days of his excommunication; neither is he to be associated in pronouncing the benediction; neither is he to be reckoned as one of ten, wherever ten person are required. Neither may any one sit with four ells of him.’
‘But if he die in his excommunication, the tribunal send and lay a stone on his coffin to signify that they stone him, because he is separated from the congregation. And it is unnecessary to say that he is not to be mourned for, and that his funeral is not to be attended.’
‘Whosoever remains thirty days in his excommunication without seeking to be absolved, is to be excommunicated the second time. If he abide thirty days more without seeking absolution, he is then to be anathematized.’ – “Hilchoth Talmud Torah.’ ”
“After the man has been anathematized, the following is the manner of dealing with him:
“He is not to teach others nor to be taught; he may learn by himself that he may not forget the learning. He is not to be hired, nor to hire. Men may have no dealings with him, nor any business except a little, that he may get a livelihood.” – Ibid.
“May we not therefore learn one reason why the Jews in the days of Christ feared to follow the Master? The wise men and the rabbis had the power of excommunication; and to be disloyal to the rabbinic leaders meant excommunication. Hence it is written:
‘Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.’
These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” John 12:42; 9:22.” writtentreasures.org/html/plcchap2.html
So, we have the situation arise in Acts 4 and 5 where the newly baptized Jews were sharing all property in common. This was not a preferred method of daily life, nor a recommendation by God for Christian living, nor a support statement for the current political tenets of Socialism or Communism. IT WAS A NECESSITY!
Their livelihoods were cut off. They had no way to make a living. They had no family support, and no friends left in the synagogue. They could only rely upon each other, and they formed a support group where they pooled their resources.
Because of the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles, the disciples, and those with the gifts understood the prophesy of the promised second appearance in that generation, but they still did not know the time. (Matt. 24:36) They most probably hoped or thought that Jesus would appear within a matter of days after Pentecost. If they had paid close attention to Jesus’ teachings (“..there be some standing here” implies some will have died before He returned), they may have better determined that some years would pass before His second appearance to them, but they were making preparation. They had no choice.
They sold their lands and their properties, and pooled their monies to live on until the promised second coming of Christ. They were not commanded to stay in Jerusalem and wait for its destruction, but they did not have a community outside of Jerusalem to go to at that point. Soon, the Apostles would disperse and teach the surrounding “world” and establish the churches, but it would take some time before these churches would be established. Regardless, whether the new converts stayed in Jerusalem or left, they knew at some point that any property holdings in Jerusalem would be worthless.
On a side note, the death of Ananias and Saphira recorded in Acts 5 was solely because of their deceit and lies to the Holy Ghost. They sold their property and gave part of it in support of those in need, but lied about holding some back. They could have been honest about wanting to keep part for themselves, and they would have lived. They were killed because of their lies. Those who practice lying, take heed.
The early Jewish converts in Jerusalem had no choice but to prepare for Armageddon. They knew it was coming, but they didn’t know when. They couldn’t time the selling of their property lest they wait too late. So, they made preparation, and when they saw the Roman armies approaching in A.D. 70, all those Christians still in Jerusalem left.
Their preparations are a testimony of their knowledge and understanding that Jesus would come a second time to those who saw his first appearance in the first century A.D; that He would come the second time in judgement against Jerusalem as He promised He would in their generation. Their actions are proof of their belief in His promises. They were rewarded!
I think it helpful to know that the attitude of both the Sadducees and Pharisees continues to this day, just as it has for centuries. The Jews are a national community in diaspora (dispersion), and they continue to believe that anyone who is not a Jew by birth is an outcast, not to be considered on a level with them. I recommend reading Henry Ford, Sr.’s, The International Jew. It is most helpful to understand how fully the Jews control all aspects of industry, banking, entertainment, and media throughout the world. Ford wrote in the 1920′s, and the conspired organization of the Jews is even more progressed today. See: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/ij_ch1.htm
This part speaks to their Jew-unto-Jew exclusion of everyone else.
“Instances of Jewish prosperity in the United States are commonplace, but prosperity, the just reward of foresight and application, is not to be confounded with control. It would be impossible for any Gentile coalition under similar circumstances to attain the control which the Jews have won, for the reason that there is lacking in the Gentile a certain quality of working-togetherness, a certain conspiracy of objective, and the adhesiveness of intense raciality, which characterizes the Jew. It is nothing to a Gentile that another man is a Gentile; it is next to everything to a Jew that the man at his door is another Jew.” The International Jew, by Henry Ford Sr., Chapt. 1.
As discussed in Part VI, the Jewish secret societies and Jewish Congress, the AIPAC, control the governments of most of the world through the international bankers and the Zionist / Jesuit fronts. They have pressed upon the world the lies of a future “second coming” to support their desire to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, and to continue instigating wars between the nations for control of the world. Their work and control is based on lies. The scriptures do not teach or support any future earthly kingdom for the Jews.
The actions of the first century Christians in preparation for the destruction that came upon Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 in judgment for crucifying Christ is proof they believed Jesus. They relied upon His word. So can we.
Source for discussion of Jewish sects: http://mb-soft.com/believe/txo/pharise2.htm