Highlights of What Really Happened at the Jerusalem Council!
- The apostle Peter the 11 apostles and all in the Jerusalem Church were still UNDER THE LAW. THEY BELIEVED THAT JESUS WAS THE CHRIST (ISRAEL’S MESSIAH) BUT THEY WERE STILL PRACTICING THE MOSAIC LAW!
- Members of the Jerusalem Church were all saved under the “Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 9:35; 10:5-7). There profession of faith was to believe Jesus was the Christ “the promised Messiah”, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16,17).
- God sent Paul to the Jerusalem Church to tell them how it was going to be moving forward. It was Paul that told Peter and all at the Jerusalem what the risen Lord Jesus revealed to him. (Galatians 2:2, Acts 15:1-4, Acts 9:15,16)
- Up until the time (51 AD) when God sends Paul to the Jerusalem Church there have been no revelations or record that Peter and the 11 or anyone at the Jerusalem Church were to stop practicing the Mosaic Law or stop Temple worship.
- It was Paul that stood his ground against the Jerusalem Church defending what the “Risen Lord” had revealed to him. (Galatians 2:3-5)
- God revealed the “Gospel of Grace” to Paul not Peter 11 years after Pentecost (Galatians 1:11,12, 17,18, – Ephesians 3:1-10, Colossians 1:24-27).
The “mystery” was that the gospel of grace that had been hid in God until revealed to the apostle Paul.
That now because of the finished work of the cross and the nation of Israel rejecting their promised King (Acts 2:23; 3:14,15, 7:51-50), in which God knew would happen in His foreknowledge (Romans 11:2,32,33). God has temporarily blinded Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles occurs (Romans 11:25; 32). So that since around 40 AD and not before (Ephesians 2:11; Romans 16:25), God has opened the gates of heaven pouring out His grace on all mankind, making salvation available to both Jew and Gentile alike apart from circumcision, the Mosaic law and temple worship (Romans 3:19-22) . With faith, alone in the finished work of the cross being the only means for salvation. Amen!
- At the time of the Jerusalem Council in 51 AD, Pentecost is 22 years in the past.
- It was the apostle Paul that called Peter a hypocrite right to his face for falling back under the law or legalism (Galatians 2:11-16).
- Peter and the other 11 apostles offered nothing to Paul (Galatians 2:6,9). Not because Paul was any better but because it was to him that the risen Lord Jesus Christ chose as the vessel to dispense these new revelations, to both Jew and Gentile. A gospel message that was kept hidden since before time began (Ephesians 3:1-11; Romans 16:25).
Christendom Minimizes the Apostle Paul
Christendom has minimized the apostle Paul’s role surrounding the Jerusalem Council. With most commentaries stating something like; “Paul was called up to the Jerusalem Church to discuss with Peter, James and John the problems he was having with members from the Jerusalem Church telling Gentiles that they needed to keep the law or they cannot be saved. (Acts 15:5) So Peter, James, and John with the help of Church Elders could make a decision on what to do about this issue.”
That is one of the popular narratives but across the board, most teaching on the “Jerusalem Council” completely distorts the truth of the apostle Paul’s role at the Jerusalem Council.
Example of “Wrong” on the Jerusalem Council
The popular Christian website Got Questions does an almost perfect job minimizing the apostle Paul’s role at the Jerusalem Council.
They gave the apostle Paul one sentence in the entire article. You can read the “sentence” for yourself below. Please read the entire Got Questions article titled “What was the meaning and importance of the Jerusalem Council?” So no one can say I was taking them out of context.
In Acts chapters 13—14, Paul and Barnabas had a very fruitful ministry among the Gentiles.
The Truth About Paul’s Role
The record shows that God revealed to Paul, not Peter, the gospel of grace and all the doctrine for the grace age Church. “ELEVEN (11) YEARS AFTER PENTECOST” Peter, James, John and all at the Jerusalem Church knew NOTHING about the gospel of grace until Paul shared it with them at the Jerusalem Council. (51 AD)
Peter, James and John and all the members of the Jerusalem Church were still practicing the law! The temple is in full operation. NO ONE HAS TOLD THEM TO STOP PRACTICING THE LAW.
Members of the Jerusalem Church Offered Paul Nothing
Paul makes it clear that Peter and the other apostles had zero to offer him (Galatians 2:6,7). Of course, Paul knew that Peter and the 11 spent 3 years with Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry but what Paul knew that they didn’t. It was the “Mystery” or what God kept secret (Ephesians 3:1-10, Colossians 1:24-27), until now, is that the crucifixion wasn’t just about the Jews along with the Romans killing Israel’s messiah.
The mystery is that now because of the cross and the nation of Israels rejection of their Messiah that God knew in His foreknowledge (Romans 11:2,32,33). God could now pour out His grace on all mankind making salvation available to both Jew and Gentile alike apart from the circumcision, the Mosaic law and temple worship. And now, beginning from the time God first revealed the gospel of grace to Paul. Salvation is by faith alone in the finished work of the cross.
But of these who (Peter, James, the Lord’s brother, and the other apostles) seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person🙂 for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me.
But contrariwise (or on the other hand) when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (Grace 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (gospel of the Kingdom Matthew 10:1-8) was unto Peter;
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen (Gentiles), and they unto the circumcision.
Really? Has anyone read their Bible lately?
Paul was chosen by God to preach to Gentiles. (Acts 9:15) God dealing directly with Gentiles was something that hasn’t happened since before the call of Abraham (2000 years) and is one of the main reasons why the Jews troubled Paul so harshly. The Jews as a whole could not except that their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was now going to the “Gentiles”.
THREE YEARS WITH THE RISEN LORD JESUS IN ARABIA
The apostle Paul spends three years with the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ somewhere in the desert of Arabia (Galatians 1:17,18). Paul was with the Lord in Arabia for 3 years until around 40 AD. During these three years, God reveals to Paul the gospel of
So what were Peter and the 11 preaching while Paul is with the Lord Jesus?
What About Peter’s Visit to The Roman Centurion?
Yes, in Acts 10 around 40 AD the apostle Peter was sent by God to Cornelius and Cornelius along with others in his household were saved. This was 11-12 years before the Jerusalem Council. There is no record of Peter or the 11 with a ministry to the Gentile world from that day forward. As a matter of fact, there is no record of Peter and the apostles ever leaving Jerusalem! (Acts 8:1)
No one told Peter or any Jew to stop practicing the Mosaic law and the temple is in operation. (Acts 10:28, Acts 11:8) Cornelius and the other Gentiles that were with him were saved the same way those at Pentecost were saved (Acts 11:15).
This isn’t how it works for us today under grace! 1 Corinthians 12:13, is clear that it is the Holy Spirit that baptizes believer into the body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit
Just take look at the operation of the Holy Spirit and how God dealt differently with regard to the believer at different moments in Biblical history.
Jew Only. The operation of the Holy Spirit from John the Baptist was in preparation for the coming King, Israel’s Messiah. Jews were Baptized with water for the remission of sins. (Matthew 3:6, 11 – Luke 3:3, Mark 1:1-4)
Jew Only. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell upon the person that believed Jesus was the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God and they were to keep the Mosaic law. As a show of proof of their salvation, they were given the gift of speaking in tongues. The same Holy Spirit experience happened to Cornelius and his household. (Acts 10:44-46; Acts 11:15)
Both Jew and Gentile. For grace-age believers, we are baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit. Completely different operation. The moment an individual Jew or Gentile believes they are a sinner hell-bound without hope and believe by faith alone that Jesus Christ died for their sins, was buried and rose again three days later. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) That person is baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) All grace-age believers are members of the Body of Christ which is His Church. (Colossians 1:24)
That’s not what happened in Peter’s experience with Cornelius. Not even close. Yes, Cornelius and his Gentile household were saved but not by believing the gospel revealed to the apostle Paul. How could they? Peter knew nothing about the gospel of grace it wasn’t revealed yet. THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL DOESN’T HAPPEN FOR ANOTHER 11 TO 12 YEARS.
“The whole purpose of the Jerusalem Council was so Paul could tell them what God told Paul to tell them. That we are not under the law but under grace.
As stated earlier, even though God commanded Peter to go to Cornelius who was a Gentile. There is NO record of Peter or the 11 having a ministry to Gentiles. God did not command Peter to go to ALL Gentiles, God told Peter, to go to Cornelius.
From the time of Peter meeting with Cornelius and the Jerusalem Council 11 to 12 years have gone by. If Peter, the eleven and everyone else at the Jerusalem Church had been preaching Paul’s gospel, ‘Why the need for the Jerusalem Council in the first place’? Makes no sense at all!
The purpose of the Jerusalem Council is clear. God sent Paul to tell ALL at the Jerusalem Church that from this point forward both Jew and Gentile are EQUALS (Romans 10:12, Romans 3:22, Galatians 3:28) SALVATION IS BY FAITH ALONE apart from THE MOSAIC LAW (Romans 3:21, Ephesians 2:8,9 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Romans 2:16), believers are indwelled with the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5, 8:9) that as believers in this newly revealed gospel of grace we are ALL baptized into His Body (1 Corinthians 12:12,13), the Body of Christ which is the Church. (Colossians 1:24)
That is the truth about what happened at the Jerusalem Church. The Biblical record of the apostle Paul’s role at the “Jerusalem Council” just may be the single most important event in Christianity next to the cross.
Thank you for reading.
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Mesa Bible Study
Jamie Pantastico, @jamiepantastico
“It’s All Grace or Nothing at All”