Book of Acts Chapter 13, Part 1 - Christogenea Internet Radio 09-06-2013

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Book of Acts Chapter 13 - Christogenea Internet Radio 09-06-2013

It has been nearly a month since we presented Acts Chapter 12 here. In that chapter we saw the murder of the elder James, the son of Zebedee, and the arrest and miraculous escape of the apostle Peter. Both the murder of James and the arrest of Peter were on account of the political motives of Herod Agrippa. Upon the escape of Peter, we are also introduced to the apostle Mark. Towards the end of the chapter we see the death of Herod Agrippa, who did not deny himself when the people extolled him as a god, and the cause of his death as recorded here in Acts we also saw corroborated by the Judaean historian, Flavius Josephus.

XIII 1 And there were throughout the assembly which was in Antiocheia prophets and teachers, namely Barnabas and Sumeon who is called “Niger” and Loukios the Kurenaian, and Manaen a childhood companion of Herodas the tetrarch, and Saulos.

The Codex Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “certain prophets and teachers”; the Bezae (D) has “prophets and teachers among them”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), and Vaticanus (B). Antioch was 300 miles north of Jerusalem. It was on the Orontes river and about 20 miles upriver from the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria. It was not far from the sites of ancient cities such as Arpad, Qarqar, Hamath and Carchemish. However it seems to have been a new city founded by Seleucus Nicator, a Greek king of the early Hellenic period, around 300 BC.

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all agree that as the Roman soldiers were taking Christ to the place where He would be crucified, they forcibly enlisted a man named Simon, which is the Hellenized form of the Hebrew name Sumeon, and they compelled him to bear the cross for Christ. When this happened to Simon, he was “coming out of the country”, or alternatively coming out of a field or off of a farm, and ostensibly he must have been headed into Jerusalem as the soldiers were leading Christ out of Jerusalem. This was at the Passover, which was one of the three times each year that all Judaeans were required to appear at the temple in Jerusalem, according to the law. That this Simon is a Cyrenian, has a Hebrew name, and is in Jerusalem at this time is not a coincidence. He is certainly a Judaean man from Cyrene observing the law.

Indeed, Simon the Cyrenian must have witnessed the Crucifixion after he carried the cross to Calvary. It is fully evident that he became well known to the apostles after the Crucifixion. Because of the nature of the Gospel incident where he is mentioned, they could not have known his name beforehand, but three apostles knew his name for their Gospel accounts when they were written later. Of the three, Mark, who as we have seen discussing Acts chapter 12 certainly already knew Peter and the other apostles by this time, went out of his way to tell us more about Simon the Cyrenian. He says at Mark 15:21: “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” So Mark not only must have known Simon, but also must have come to know his sons, and mentioned them over thirty years later when he finally wrote his Gospel, which by all early Christian accounts is the testimony of Peter which Mark put into writing after Peter's death.

Here there is a Simon, called Niger, the Latin word for black,who is accompanied by Loukios, a Cyrenian. Apparently it is safe to conclude that this Simon Niger is indeed one and the same as Simon the Cyrenian, and that is why and how he is mentioned here along with another Cyrenian. There are many fools who think that the appellation Niger means that Simon was a negro. However there were no negros in Cyrene at this time. This use of the Latin word for black, niger, pronounced as we pronounce the word nigger today, does not mean that Simon had black skin. White men have for ages used terms like gold, black and red to describe hair color, and terms like black, blue or even yellow or green to describe one's demeanor or other characteristics. Eric the Red was not an Indian, but a White Norseman. Hugh the Black was not a negro, but a White Frank, a Duke of Burgundy in the 10th century. As for White men having black hair, both Prince Hector of Troy (in the Iliad) and King Solomon himself (in the Song of Solomon) are described as having had raven hair, and both of them were certainly White men.

Cyrene, or Kurene, was a Greek colony on the coast of northern Africa alongside Egypt. It was fully settled by Greeks as early as the 7th century BC. In contrast to Simon who is called Niger, or black, probably after his hair color, the Greek name of his companion Loukios is from a word which means white. As we also noted in our presentation of Acts chapter 4, there was a large population of Judaeans at Cyrene, as Josephus attests in his Antiquities, Book 14 (14:115 or 14.7.2): “There were four classes of men among those of Cyrene; that of citizens, that of husbandmen, the third of strangers [τῶν μετοίκων], and the fourth of Judaeans.” Therefore it is highly plausible that Simon was a Judaean from Cyrene, and so is his companion Loukios who is mentioned here.

In reference to Manaen, a “childhood companion” of Herod the Tetrarch, the Greek word σύντροφος (4939), which is translated “which had been brought up with” in the King James Version, is actually a noun and appears only here in the New Testament. It therefore is “a childhood companion”, while the King James did get the correct sense of the word's meaning. While Herod was an Edomite, however, this does not mean that Manaen was an Edomite. Rather, it means that his family was an aristocratic Judaean family, and that either his father was in the employ of the Herodian government of Herod's father (who was the first Herod, called “the Great” by the jews), or that his father was wealthy enough and influential enough to be in the social circles of the King, so that their sons were schooled together.

2 And upon their performing services for the Prince and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke: “Now set apart for Me Barnabas and Saulos for the work which I have called them.”

The Greek verb λειτουργέω (3008), from which the Roman Catholic Church word liturgy is derived, is here literally to perform a service, yet the word should not be interpreted to mean the conduct of a ritual, such as a mass, as many cults including the Catholics would interpret the word. The verb λειτουργέω means “to serve public offices at one’s own cost...to perform public duties, to serve the people or state” (Liddell & Scott), and the word was used throughout the Greek world to describe any service which a person may perform for the general public at his own cost. In classical Athens, wealthy citizens were assigned a λειτουργία, or public duty, by the assembly. Such duties may include the building and outfitting of a warship, or in times of peace perhaps the financing of a theatrical production, and so in Athens such an assignment served as a form of taxation. The proper Christian λειτουργία is any service which one may freely perform for one's Christian brethren. We are not told here what services these are, however in the early chapters of Acts it is clear that the apostles were delegating the management of a large and growing Christian community. While that community was dispersed with the persecutions following the martyrdom of Stephen, we saw that with the death of Herod Agrippa described in Acts chapter 12 that the persecutions abated, “and the Word of Yahweh grew and was multiplied” (Acts 12:24).

3 Then fasting and praying and laying the hands upon them they released them.

In the Old Testament, the laying on of hands was used to confer the authority of an appointment or an office to another, as we see with Moses and Joshua in Deuteronomy 34:9: “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.” At this point, without a doubt, it should be absolutely clear that these men were accepted as apostles by the original eleven. It should also be absolutely clear that the mission of Barnabas and Saul was distinct from that of the other apostles. Later we read in Paul's epistle to the Galatians: “He who has been operating within Petros for a message of the circumcised, has also operated within me for the Nations” (Galatians 2:8).

4 So then being sent out by the Holy Spirit they went down into Seleukia, and from there sailed off to Kupros 5 and arriving in Salamis they proclaimed the Word of Yahweh in the assembly halls of the Judaeans. And they had Iohannes for an assistant.

The Codex Bezae (D) has “they had Iohannes assisting them”, the Codex Laudianus (E) “they had Iohannes for a servant.” Seleucia was a nearby town just slightly closer to the sea than Antioch. This John, or Iohannes, is John Mark, or the apostle Mark, introduced in Acts chapter 12 at verses 12 and 25: “12 And understanding it he went by the house of Maria the mother of Iohannes who is called Markos, where there were many gathering and praying.... 25 And Barnabas and Saulos returned to Jerusalem completing the supply, taking along with them Iohannes who is called Markos.” In Colossians 4:10 we learn that this John Mark is also a cousin, or a nephew as the King James Version has it, of Barnabas whom both he and Paul accompany here.

6 And passing through the whole island[meaning Cyprus] as far as Paphos they found a man, a certain magos, a Judaean false prophet who was named Barjoshua, 7 who was with the proconsul Sergios Paulos, a man with wisdom. He summoning Barnabas and Saulos sought to hear the Word of Yahweh.

George Rawlinson, in his edition of Herodotus' Histories, in a footnote at 7.195 says that “Paphos seems to have been one of the earliest Phoenician settlements in Cyprus”, and indeed it was, but the Phoenicians who settled it were ostensibly Israelites. Although the translation is challenged in many modern editions, in Ezekiel 27:6 in the lamentation over Tyre the prophet wrote: “Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites [meaning the Israelite tribe of Asher] have made thy benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim.” Chittim was the Hebrew word for Cyprus in the Old Testament scriptures, and Cyprus was originally the land of Kittim, a Japhethite tribe of the same name.

After the word Barjoshua in verse 6 the Codex Laudianus inserts the phrase “which is interpreted Elumas”, which paraphrases the first clause of verse 8. That manuscript also repeats the phrase where it appears in verse 8.

8 But Elumas (for thusly is his name interpreted) the magos opposed them seeking to pervert the proconsul from the faith.

Thew Codices Bezae (D) and Laudianus (E) insert at the end of this verse the words: “since he was glad to hear them”.

The word for Barjoshua, the Greek Βαριησοῦς is in Hebrew “bar Yahshua”, or “son of Joshua (or Jesus)”, for which see Strong’s Hebrew dictionary numbers 1247 and 3091. The name Ἐλύμας is evidently from the Greek word ἔλυμα, a word which means “the tree or the stock of the plough on which the share was fixed” (Liddell & Scott). Therefore it has a meaning which can not be related to the phrase “bar Yahshua” by any means. The name “bar Yahshua” is a type of surname seen often in Hebrew literature of the period, in names such as Simon bar Kokhba and others, bar being “son of”, much the same as the Irish Mc-, Scottish Mac-, British fitz- or -son, and Swedish -son or -sen names, et al. It can only mean “son of Joshua”. So it is quite apparent that Elumas is not an interpretation of Barjoshua, but is rather an interpretation of whatever Barjoshua’s given name was, and that given name is not supplied here by Luke. In his definition of this word Joseph Thayer rather oddly read Luke’s statement here supposing that Luke intended to say that magos was an interpretation of Elumas, something that the Greek text does not at all infer or support. And not only that, but Elumas is clearly a Greek word, and it would not need interpretation in Greek. It is rather apparent that Elumas is an interpretation of some unmentioned Hebrew name. The Codex Bezae (D) here has Hetoimas (ἑτοῖμας, 2092, or Ready) rather than Elymas, or plough-stock.

9 But Saulos, who also is Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit staring at him

Many of the people who love to criticize Paul often claim that Paul somehow changed his name. But that claim is not at all accurate when compared to the Scripture. Here Luke takes the opportunity to inform us that the man known to him as Saulos is also named Paulos, which in English we are wont to abbreviate to Paul. First, it was common for men of the period, especially Greeks and Romans, to have several names, one of which was a gens, or family name, and the other which was a given name, but to use only one of those names familiarly. Several men mentioned up to this point in the Book of Acts have had more than one name. In Acts chapter 12 we learn that John was surnamed Mark, the name with which we commonly refer to that apostle. In Acts 1:23 we see “Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus”. In Acts 4:36 we read that Joseph was alternatively named Barnabas by the apostles themselves. Additionally, men often adopted the name of a patron as their own. For example, the Roman emperor commonly known as Vespasian was fully Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus. Flavia was his gens, or family name. Vespasian became a benefactor of the Judaean historian Josephus, who initially called himself Joseph bar Matthias, and Josephus expressed his gratitude by adopting the name Flavius, and therefore we call him Flavius Josephus. It may be that Luke took the occasion here to introduce Saulos’ name Paul to us in order to indicate that there was some existing relationship between Saulos and Sergios Paulos, or perhaps Luke himself only learned here during this event that Saulos was also named Paulos – whether or not there was a relationship between Paul and Sergius Paulos. In any event, it is fully apparent that Barnabas and Paul had ready access to a man of high office, a proconsul being the governor of the province, and that they also had his respect, and this makes credible the possibility of a prior relationship between Saulos Paulos (Paul of Tarsus) and Sergius Paulos.

10 said: “O full of all guile and all fraud! Son of the False Accuser, enemy of all righteousness, will you not stop perverting the straight ways of the Prince?

The question is rhetorical, and more or less a challenge. Elumas, a “son of the devil” and enemy to righteousness, was evidently not a candidate for conversion to Christianity.

11 And now behold, the hand of the Prince is upon you and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for some time!” Then immediately there fell upon him gloom [or literally a mist] and darkness and he sought to be led around by a guide. 12 Then seeing that which happened the proconsul believed, being amazed at the teaching of the Prince.

The Codices Bezae (D) and Laudianus (E) have “marveled and believed”, to which the Codex Bezae further adds the words “in God”. Elumas was made blind not so that he would repent – for he had nothing to repent of. Rather, he was made blind so that the proconsul could witness the glory of God.

13 And setting sail from Paphos, Paul and those with him came to Perge in Pamphulia, but withdrawing from them Iohannes [John Mark] returned to Jerusalem. 14 Then they passing through from Perge arrived in Pisidian Antiocheia, and entering into the assembly hall on the day of the Sabbaths they sat.

“Paul and those with him”, literally the phrase is only “those around Paul”(οἱ περὶ παῦλον), Liddell & Scott describe the usage in their definition for the preposition, περί, C., I., 2. Luke's use of the phrase at this early time indicates his desire to illustrate that Paul was already the central figure of the group.

Perge in Pamphulia is literally Pergê of Pamphulia, an ancient Greek city in a district on the central southern coast of Anatolia, Pamphulia was generally believed by the Greeks to be first settled by Chalcol, for which see Herodotus 7.91, Strabo 14.4.3, and 1 Kings 4:31. In Greek literature the Pamphylians were related to the Trojans, as in 1 Kings 4:31 Chalcol was related to Darda, the legendary founder of Troy known to the Greeks as Dardanos.

The Codex Alexandrinus has it that Paul “came to Pisidian Antiocheia”. The Codices Bezae (D), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “Antiocheia of Pisidia”, where the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the third century papyrus P45, and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C). Antioch was a Greek city, and Pisidia was a district in Anatolia north and northwest of Pamphulia. The Greek presence there dates back to at least the 4th century BC.

As for the phrase “day of the Sabbaths”, in the Greek here the word for day is singular, and the word for Sabbaths is plural. The rendering is literal and the reading is consistent across all of the ancient texts. The inference seems to be that they entered in and sat in the assembly hall on every Sabbath day.

There was no word for week in Greek, and the Hebrew word Sabbath was used in the Greek text to describe both the Sabbath day and the seven-day Sabbath cycle. The phrase “first day of the week” appears several times in Scripture and always refers to the first day after a Sabbath, with Sabbath being the word translated as week. Therefore “day of the Sabbaths” seems to refer to every seventh day of the week, the Sabbath day itself.

15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets they sent the assembly hall leaders to them saying “Men, brethren, if there is with you any word of encouragement for the people, speak!” 16 And arising Paul then motioning with the hand said, “Men, Israelites, and those fearing Yahweh, listen! 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and raised up the people during the sojourn in the land of Egypt, and with an arm raised high led them out from her.

Literally in the sojourn, the word during, which may have been written in the time of, is a metaphoric rendering of ἐν for which one may see Liddell & Scott at ἐν, IV., 1.

18 And so for forty years’ time He bear with them in the desert, 19 and destroying seven nations in the land of Chanaan, He gave them their land for an inheritance 20 for about four hundred and fifty years. And in the course of these things He gave judges until Samuel the prophet.

“He bear with them”: The Codices Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Laudianus (E) have “He sustained them”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), Bezae (D) and the Majority Text.

The word μετά (3326) is often after with the Accusative case (i.e. ταῦτα, “these things” here), but here it is “in the course of”, for which see Liddell & Scott, μετά, C., III., 2.

The Codex Bezae (D) has this verse: “and unto 400 and 50 years He gave judges until Samuel the prophet”, using the symbols υ and ν for numbers rather than spelling them out. The Codex Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have the verse: “and in the course of these things for about four hundred and fifty years he gave judges until Samuel the prophet.” The text follows the Codices (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), and Ephraemi Syri (C).

While there are some slight differences in the Greek, all of the ancient manuscripts of Acts agree on this reading concerning these 450 years. As we examined at length in our presentation of Acts chapters 6 and 7, the Exodus almost certainly occurred during the reign of Thutmose III, who ruled Egypt for nearly 55 years, presumably from 1479 to 1424 BC. Paul's statement that the period of the Judges lasted for 450 years seems to be consistent with the duration of the Judges period as it appears in our Bibles, but there are some ambiguities if we try to reckon it precisely. We see at Judges 11:26 that it had been about 300 years at that time since Israel had taken the land of Moab. So from that point unto Samuel may have been about another 150 years.

The chronologies may never be reckoned perfectly. An example is found at 1 Kings 6:1, where the King James Version and the Masoretic Text state that Solomon's rule began nearly 480 years after the children of Israel left Egypt, where the Septuagint version of that same passage says 440 years. If we count the 40 years of the Exodus, 450 years of Judges as it is stated here in Acts, then add 40 years for the rule of Saul and 40 years for the rule of David we may reckon 570 years for this same period, and that is far too long.

However Paul's 450 years here reckons the length of time the children of Israel were in the land and Paul's words may well be read with the understanding that he says “in the course of these things”, and not “after that”, as the King James Version has it, in reference to the 450 years and the time of Samuel the prophet, who lived nearly until the time when David had become king. Therefore it is possible that Paul meant to reckon the life of Samuel and Saul's forty years in with the four hundred and fifty, and therefore his estimation would be consistent with the Masoretic Text at 1 Kings 6:1, where the difference is only ten years - provided that 1 Kings 6:1 is not reckoning the forty years in the desert in with the 480 year period, but rather counts them as part of the process of coming out of Egypt.

With Paul's words here in Acts, if we estimate the time of the Exodus to 1450 BC and count the 40 years in the desert to precede the 450 years of Judges, then adding the 40-year reign of Saul, David becomes king around 920 BC. The year 920 BC is very late for the beginning of David's rule. However if Paul means to count the ministry of Samuel and rule of Saul in with the 450 years, David becomes king around 960 BC, which is somewhat more reasonable. This is why when translating the Christogenea New Testament I have interpreted the use of the word μετά to mean “in the course of [these things]” rather than “after [that]”, as the King James Version reads the word. Either translation is possible, since the Greek word μετά may mean with or after. Neither can we take it for granted that the reigns of the pharaohs as they are popularly reckoned by anthropologists are written in stone, and there are chronologies which place the reign of Thutmose III to begin and end a few decades sooner.

Considering this Book of Judges, we have very little history for this important 450-year period, a period even longer than the modern history of North America, since now it is not even 400 years since the settlement of Virginia and New England. The Judges period is important because although at times Yahweh allowed the children of Israel to be oppressed by their neighbors, ostensibly for their sins, during this period the children of Israel lived under a manner of government which was prescribed by Yahweh Himself, before they demanded an earthly king. During the period of the Judges, Yahweh Himself was king over the children of Israel.

21 And then they demanded a king and Yahweh gave to them Saul, son of Kis, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.

1 Samuel 8: “10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. 21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. 22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.”

“They demanded a king”: this is exactly why we are in our current worldly predicament, because our ancient ancestors rejected Yahweh their God as King and demanded an earthly king. The result has been far worse than Yahweh had even forewarned the people in 1 Samuel chapter 8. However inspecting the books of the Law, the prescience of the Word of Yahweh certainly warned that this was going to happen. In Deuteronomy 17:14-15 we read the following: “14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.” The record that Israel demanded a king is found in 1 Samuel chapter 8, and while Israel had demanded a king in response to the evil of the sons of Samuel who were to take his place as judges, the remedy which the people chose was nevertheless their own. Yahweh God would later bring the people back to Himself by raising Himself from the seed of David as King: for Yahshua Christ is Yahweh manifest in the flesh.

Yahweh God portrays these events in retrospect through His prophet in Hosea chapter 13: “4 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.... 9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. 10 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. 12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.... 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”

22 And removing him [Saul] He raised David for them for a king, at which He also spoke, testifying: ‘I have found David the son of Iessai a man after My heart, who shall do all of My desires.’

The Codex Vaticanus (B) wants the Greek word rendered “a man”; the Codex Laudianus (E) wants the words rendered “a man after My heart, who”, reading only “I have found David the son of Jesse shall do all of My desires”. Here Acts records Paul as paraphrasing both 1 Samuel 13:14 and perhaps from Psalm 89:20, however not all of the words are found in our extant copies.

1 Samuel 13: “13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.”

Psalm 89: “20 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: 21 With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.”

23 From his offspring Yahweh, according to a promise, brought to Israel a savior: Yahshua, 24 Iohannes proclaiming before the appearance of His presence an immersion of repentance to all the people of Israel.

The Codices Ephraemi Syri (C) and Bezae (D) have raised in place of brought; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), and Vaticanus (B). Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text.

The Codex Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have salvation place of a savior; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), and Vaticanus (B). Ephraemi Syri (C) and Bezae (D).

The phrase “the appearance of His presence” is literally “the entrance of His person”. Of course, the word rendered immersion in verse 24 refers to the baptism of John.

The promise of a savior which Paul describes in verse 23 is found expressly in 2 Samuel chapter 7. While the prophecy seems to be talking of Solomon, by no means was it fulfilled in Solomon, since Solomon never suffered any physical calamity. Solomon built an earthly temple for Yahweh, but only Christ Himself is raised an eternal temple.

2 Samuel 7: “8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: 9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. 10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, 11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. 12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.”

This prophecy in 2 Samuel chapter 7 is a dual prophecy, applicable to both Solomon and to Christ. In this manner, the lives of David and Solomon together become a sort of type for Yahshua Christ.

2 Samuel 22: “50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. 51 He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.”

Jeremiah 30: “9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. 10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.”

Hosea 3: “5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.”

Paul's challenge was to elucidate the scriptures in order to demonstrate that Christ was indeed this David of the promises, promises which were made long after the passing of King David, who was merely a type for Christ.

25 And as Iohannes fulfilled his course he said ‘Who do you suspect me to be? I am not! But behold, He comes after me of whom I am not worthy to remove the sandals from His feet!’

Paul is paraphrasing comments attributed to John in relation to an event which is recorded in all four Gospels, in part at Matthew 3:11 and Mark 1:7, but more fully at Luke 3:15-16 and John 1:20-27. Paul's words here indicate that these accounts of John the Baptist which are seen early in the Gospels only record events towards the end, or the fulfillment, of John's ministry. It is only natural, according to the Law and the purpose of God, that John's ministry had run its full course with the immersion of Christ Himself and John's announcement concerning Him, that He was indeed the “Lamb of God”. It was necessary for the Passover lamb to be cleansed before it was sacrificed, according to the Law. Therefore after that time, John's ministry did not continue much longer.

26 Men, brethren, sons of the race of Abraham, those among you fearing Yahweh, to us was this word of salvation dispatched!

The Greek text of this verse which is presented by the 27th edition of the Novum Testamentum Graece (NA27) follows the manuscripts which have “and those among you”, which makes it appear as if Paul was addressing two groups, distinguishing sons of Abraham from those who fear God. The oldest Greek manuscript which has this reading is the Codex Sinaiticus (א). Aside from the Codex Sinaiticus are the Codex Vaticanus, which is roughly equal to the Sinaiticus in antiquity, both esteemed as being from the fourth century, and the third century papyrus labeled as P45 (one of the famous Chester Beatty papyri). The text of the Christogenea New Testament follows those manuscripts which want the word and, which are two of the three oldest known manuscripts, meaning P45 and the Codex Vaticanus.

Earlier, in the start of his address at verses 15 and 16 Paul addresses the entire audience as “men, brethren” and calls them “Israelites, and those fearing Yahweh”. Then Paul says that the “God of this people Israel chose our fathers” and that that same God “brought to Israel a savior: Yahshua” and that the baptism of repentance by John was “to all the people of Israel.” Here Paul says “to us”, meaning to Israel, “was this word of salvation dispatched”. Many of the manuscripts have “to you”, including the third century papyrus P45 and the Codices Ephraemi Syri (C), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text, where the reading of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Bezae (D). However whether Paul stated either “to us was this word of salvation dispatched” or “to you was this word of salvation dispatched”, the statement is just as exclusive to Israel. The use of the conjunction both in Greek and Hebrew was often emphatic, and not indicative of the addition of something new or different. There is nowhere in any of Paul's discourse where room may be found in the Covenants of God for anyone but Israelites, physical genetic Israelites of the seed of Abraham. The phrase “those among you fearing God” can only refer to Israelites who fear Yahweh among the greater population of those of Israel.

27 Indeed those dwelling in Jerusalem and their leaders, not knowing Him and the voices of the prophets being read throughout every Sabbath, judging Him have fulfilled them.

The word κρίνω (2919), judging here, may have been interpreted as condemning. Rather than “not knowing Him and the voices”, thew Codex Bezae (D) has “not understanding the writings”; the Codex Laudianus (E) “not knowing Him and the writings”.

The words used by Paul, where he says of the people who judged Yahshua Christ that they did not know Him, demonstrate fully that “those dwelling in Jerusalem and their leaders” were at least for the most part spurious men, and not truly Israelites, but Edomites. Paul displays this same understanding in epistles which he wrote not long after this time, to the Romans and to the Thessalonians. Yahshua Christ had said to His adversaries in the temple, as it is recorded in John chapter 10, “26 But you do not believe, because you are not My sheep! 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me”. Therefore one cannot say that the men who were culpable for the death of Christ were Israelites, although it is certain that Israelites did not oppose their leaders in condemning Him, and thus bore the responsibility. Elsewhere the apostle John informs us, in chapter 12 of his Gospel and speaking of Christ: “37 Now having made so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 in order that the word of Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled, which says: “Yahweh, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed?” 39 For this reason they have not been able to believe, because again Isaiah said: 40 “He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts, that they should not see with the eyes and perceive with their hearts and turn about, that I shall heal them.” 41 Isaiah said these things because he had seen His honor, and had spoken concerning Him. 42 Yet likewise even many of the leaders believed in Him, but on account of the Pharisees they would not profess it lest they would be expelled from the assembly hall, 43 for they cherished the honor of men more than even the honor of Yahweh.”

Both John in chapter 12 of his Gospel, and Paul here, allude to Isaiah chapter 53 as the proof that Yahshua was the Christ, for Isaiah 53 describes a man appointed by Yahweh God who would be stricken for the sins of Israel, and overcome the power of the grave. From Isaiah 53: “1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

The Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 53, which actually begins and ends in Isaia before and after that chapter, proves several things: that the Messiah, or Christ, was to be a man of lowly estate, who was to suffer and die on behalf of His people, and who was also to overcome death.

Paul tells us that those who condemned Christ knew neither Him nor the writings. John cites Isaiah chapter 6, but in John chapter 12 the apostle also explained that many of the leaders did believe in Christ, however they would not support Him because they preferred the benefits of the society. John explains that “42 Yet likewise even many of the leaders believed in Him, but on account of the Pharisees they would not profess it lest they would be expelled from the assembly hall, 43 for they cherished the honor of men more than even the honor of Yahweh.”

A study of the prophecies of Ezekiel and Jeremiah concerning the people of Jerusalem, namely - but not limited to - Jeremiah chapters 2 and 24 and Ezekiel chapter 16, reveals that from that early time there were both bad figs among the people, who were race-mixed, and good figs, who were purely Israelites. Many other statements from the prophets corroborate this as fact. In Isaiah chapter 6 we see the following words, which were addressed not only to the bad figs in Jerusalem, and not only to the good figs, but to the people in general: “9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” The subject of that prophecy is described in Isaiah 5 where it says: “3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.” Whether good fig or bad, Israelite or Edomite, Yahweh God used the blindness of the people to accomplish His will, for He had to die as a man in order to redeem Israel. As Paul explains later to the Corinthians, from the King James Version of 1 Corinthians chapter 2: “7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

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