TO THIS AGREE
Acts 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
We are still looking at this passage which records the very first Christian council, that took place at Jerusalem attended even by the Apostle Paul. Now we come to the comments of the Apostle James. (See last week’s lesson on Peter’s recorded remarks.)
James brings forth the phrase used as our title. He confirms Peter’s words by stating, To This Agree the words of the prophet! Then he quotes the prophet Amos’ very words to prove it to be so! Peter had a like phrase in his first public christian message at Pentecost. There he said, This Is That which was spoken of by the prophet Joel. (Acts 2:16).
Why is this noteworthy? First because of Isaiah 8:20: … if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Even the apostles with their direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, could never bring forth anything unless it agreed with the scriptures. And the only scriptures they had were those of the Old Testament! Listen to Peter’s words:
1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
And then in 2 Peter 1:20-21 we read; Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
But what of the verses James quotes from Amos 9:11,12? How has the building again of the fallen down tabernacle of David anything to do with the Holy Spirit bringing forth the conversion of the Gentiles? For this is what caused this council! If no Gentile can be saved until the tabernacle of David is built, doesn’t that, according to the millennialists, make void all those saved since Calvary? Doesn’t that – according to their schedule – defer all Gentile conversions to the millennium, when they say the temple shall be rebuilt? – Somebody is wrong!
But if the tabernacle was built by the Incarnation, then all Gentiles believers are truly born again! In John 1:14 the scriptures state that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us! And that word, “dwelt” is the word “tabernacled!” The Word that was God and was with God (Jn. 1:1,2), took on human flesh and tabernacled among men! And in John 14:10, 11 the Lord Jesus said that the Father was IN him!
Also in John 2:19-21 we read that the Jews back then were like the literal thinking millennialists of today, for they set their minds on the wrong tabernacle! John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
The raising up of the tabernacle DID bring in the Gentile believers! For it was Christ’s Incarnation and Resurrection that produced their regeneration! Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
And God also raised up the church as Christ’s body to complete the spiritual man! Christ, the Head! The church, the Body! Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
1 Cor. 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
And what does this new, spiritual man provide? It provides a habitation for God Himself! The following verses are spoken to the Gentile believers, assuring them that they are every bit as much the children of God as are the Jewish believers. Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
How else can David’s kingdom be for ever? How else can there never fail a man to sit on David’s throne? Only in Christ!! Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Pastor Gene Breed
September 8, 2010.