Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

Dr. John Hartmann header image 2
Cialis online

The Temple and the Law

August 21st, 2011 · No Comments

In today’s study we again look at how the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah marks an epoch-shift that will in time radically alter the significance of the Temple and the Law of Moses, both of which, for a time, remained significant for the early Jewish-Christian community in Jerusalem.

A brief survey of Acts 1-5 reveals that the early church in Jerusalem remained very tied to the Temple. They continued with one mind in the Temple (2:46), which suggests daily attendance for prayer at the hour of morning and evening sacrifice. Peter and John go to the Temple for the hour of prayer (3:1), after which a miracle of healing (3:2-10) and sermon (3:12-26) take place at the Temple. Peter and John are arrested by the Temple guard (4:1-5) and brought before the Jewish Council, where they bear witness of Jesus and are commanded to speak no more in His Name (4:6-22). They meet opposition with prayer, are freshly filled with the Spirit, and continue to speak boldly in Jesus’ Name, as the Lord continues to confirm their witness with signs and wonders following, wrought through their hands in the Name of Jesus (4:23-31). Luke then contrasts the congregation’s unity and generosity (4:32-37) with the greed and hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira (5:1-10), who become an example of God’s judgment in the church to keep it pure of the leaven of wickedness and hypocrisy (cf. Revelation 2-3; 1 Peter 4:17-18; 1 Cor 5:1-13; 11:17-34). The result of this dynamic work of God in purging the church is quite stunning: “fear came upon the whole church and on all who heard of these things” (5:11), so much so, that none of the unbelievers dared to join this community without sincere repentance, for fear of God that they too might be struck with judgment (5:13). The narrative continues with the disciples continuing to meet at Solomon’s portico on the east side of the Temple, as the apostles continued to preach Jesus and work signs and wonders (Acts 5:12-16). Upon being arrested for their testimony, the apostles are released by an angel and commanded to speak the Word at the Temple (5:20), where they are re-arrested and brought again before the Sanhedrin. After being flogged and released, the apostles continue to teach and preach that Jesus is Messiah in the Temple and from house to house (5:40-42).

So it seems clear that the early Jewish-Christians in Jerusalem remained very tied to the Temple. This state of affairs continued for some time, but was soon to be challenged by Stephen (Acts 6:11-14), who seems to understand what the new epoch that has dawned with Jesus’ death and resurrection means for both the Temple and the Law, thus laying the foundation for the later theology of the apostle Paul.

With respect to the Law, we find that many of those converted to faith in Jesus the Messiah came from different sectarian backgrounds, with various interpretations of the Law. Some were priests, who were Sadducees (Acts 6:7), while many Pharisees also were converted, and continued to have a strong influence among their Jewish brethren (15:1-5). All of the main sectarian groups of first-century Judaism had varying views of how to observe the Law and remain pure before God. We thus discuss some things about the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Essenes, and the Qumran community, which our teacher understands to be a group that at some point broke off from (or represented a more radical wing of) the larger Essene movement. Without question, the early Jewish-Christians were of one mind when it came to the basic essentials of the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus. But it very likely that many continued to hold fast to their particular sectarian understanding of how to observe the Law of Moses. Acts 21:17-25 serves to show that as late as about 57 AD there were still thousands of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who remained very zealous for the Law and who had strong misgivings toward the apostle Paul because of his ministry among the Gentiles, having accepted the false accusations brought against him that he was teaching Diaspora Jews to forsake the Law of Moses.

Our teacher closes with a suggested assignment.

  1. To study the subject of the Law in Galatians, with a particular focus on what aspects of the Law are still applicable to those who are in Christ in the new era, and which, according to Paul, are not.
  2. To study the subject of the Temple in Ephesians, with a particular view to understanding how God, through the Cross of Jesus, has torn down that which separated Jew and Gentile, and how the two together now become the New Temple of God in the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 3:9, 16-17; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 2:1-9).
  3. To study the passages that spell out the importance of God’s judgment in purging the church from the leaven of malice and wickedness (Revelation 2-3; 1 Peter 4:17-18; 1 Cor 5:1-13; 11:17-34).

Tags: Sermons

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

You must log in to post a comment.