“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.”
This event took place not soon after the miracle of Pentecost, when devout Jews, out of every nation under heaven, had come to Jerusalem for to worship. These men hearing the Apostle heard him preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, every man in his native tongue. This was amazing and they marveled one to another saying, “Behold are not all these which speakGalilaeas?” (Acts. 1:7). They could not understand how these Galilaean fishermen could speak in such a way that they could hear them after their own tongues but even more is how anyone from Galilee could speak intelligently. These men did not bare the outward trappings of learned or educated people. They did not have the long robe, they did not stand on the street corners and they were not desirous of being heard for their much speaking. Rather they were gathered together in an upper room awaiting the power from on high because they themselves were without strength.
This absence of visual confirmation was demonstrated when Jesus was twelve years of age. He had remained in Jerusalem and His parents had begun their journey home. After they could not find Him in the company of the family and searched for Him for three days in the city, they found Him in the temple. There He was “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions and all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers and when they (his parents) saw Him they were amazed and His mother said unto Him, Son why have you dealt with us this way? Behold your father and I have sought you with sorrow” (Luke 2:46). The point was not only could they not believe that a child of twelve could engage the scholars of the time in an intelligent conversation, or that they could not find answers to His questions but that they were not given to believe that He was Messiah. Even after He had begun His ministry and journeyed across the countryside healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out demons, they still refuted His authenticity because; “Is this not the carpenter’s son, is not His mother called Mary and His brethren James, Joses, Simon and Judas and His sisters, are they not with us? Whence then hath this all these things?” (Matt. 13:55).
The arrogance of man demands that there must be an outward presentation for the eyes of Adam to see and the wisdom of the carnal mind to understand in order for there to be any truth. These must be a proof that removes all doubt and sets all opposing arguments to naught. This is because “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart” (I Sam. 16:7). These unlearned, uneducated and therefore unimportant people were not of the chosen class of men that were established as the chief rulers and teachers of all Israel. Thus when they began to teach the people, they were intruding upon the arena of the doctors of divinity, the scholars of wisdom and the purveyors of truth. It did not matter that the twelve year old Jesus was speaking the wisdom of the Ancient of days, He was only twelve and had no formal education. It did not matter that He had lessened the social blithe of sickness disease and what appeared to be insanity by the power of His might, He was a carpenter’s son and the fact that He simply toughed the funeral bier and the widows son was raised form the dead was no excuse for teaching in the temple during the time of the feast since He was never educated (John 7:15).
“For this understanding in you is in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5)
Those who have been born of God have the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in them. The Father and the Son have made their abode with His people and the Comforter dwells in them (John 14). The mind of the one and only wise God of the universe is in the child of grace as His Spirit teaches them and leads them being filled the knowledge of His will and with all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Col. 1:9). This is the simplicity of a singular understanding that cannot be comprehended by the carnal mind and therefore those who have been taught of God are esteemed as fools. Thus the Apostle admonishes the church at Corinth that; “The foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God stronger than men. For you see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty and not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty and the base things of the world and the things which are despised has God chosen, truly, the things that are not, to bring to nought things that are, that NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS SIGHT” (I Cor. 1:26ff).
God does not need the wisdom of man nor does He ask advice of Adam. Adam does not know the ways of the Almighty and cannot attain unto His thoughts. When Paul was lifted up into what he called the third heaven, he said he saw things that it was unlawful to utter. In other words there were no words to properly explain what he saw, man was incapable of understanding what he saw and what he saw was not of this world. When God met with Moses on Mt. Sinai, He gave him a pattern of heavenly things. He showed the children of Israel an earthly representation of the heavenly reality of the beauty of His Holiness. Everything contained in that pattern fully encompassed the political, economical and social aspects of the nation of Israel. Nothing could be done in this nation here on earth that was not set forth in the pattern and Adam could not keep the pattern.
When the Spirit of God indwells one who is born of that incorruptible seed, they are completely enveloped in the reality of the covenant. There is nothing of this world contained therein because His kingdom is not of this world. They are in this world yet they are not of this world and though they walk in the flesh yet they do not war after the flesh (II Cor. 10:3). If the warfare were of the flesh then carnal weapons and reasoning would be effective. Were the enemy of the flesh then there could be institutes of higher education and training to award those who successfully complete the curriculum and outward indication that they were learned and intelligent people. But because those who are born from above do not wrestle against flesh and blood, then the carnal mind, which is enmity with God and separated from Him, cannot comprehend the opponent. The natural intellect is not equipped to devise a plan of attack, enter into the conflict or vanquish the foe.
“Being grieved that they taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2).
There were two reasons that these men caused such a commotion in the city that day. It was not because they were extolling some new religion for there were many who had raised up, thinking themselves to be somewhat, yet they all faded away as quickly as they came. One of these called Theudas who boasted himself as being somebody, drew away about four hundred men who were all slain and scattered or brought to nought. Then there was Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxation who drew away many people after him but he perished and as many as followed him were dispersed (Acts 5:36f).
But these men taught the people having not obtained the permission from the chief elders and rulers of Israel. They had no degree, they had not been schooled at the feet of Gamaliel, the doctor of the law nor were they given permission to teach those things which were not approved by the divines. They did not teach the racial superiority of nation of Israel, they taught the love of the brethren one for another, which is the eternal love of the Father for His children. They did not teach the oppression of the nations but rather they spoke of the peace and mercy upon the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16)). And they did not teach righteousness by the works of sinful man but rather the finished work of Jesus Christ.
The second reason they grieved the priests, captain of the temple and the Sadducees was because they preached the resurrection. Now in order for there to be a resurrection there must first be a death. This death was the death of Jesus Christ where He who knew no sin became the sin of His people and shed His precious blood for the remission of that sin. But it was also the death of the types and foreshadows of the Law of Moses. The handwriting of ordinances, which were against His people and contrary to them, were blotted out and taken out of the way, being nailed to His cross (Col. 2:14) This was the old man of the law who was crucified with Christ “that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rms. 6:6).
It also taught that were this death was, there was also an end and a beginning. The end of man’s teaching of righteousness by the keeping of the law, wherein one might say that when it came to the righteousness of the law he was blameless or that he had kept all these things from his youth upwards, and a rising up of a new way which is not by works of righteousness which we have done. It teaches that it is not by the will of man, nor by the strength or might of man but all by the grace and mercy of God. This resurrection was unto a newness of life not according to the letter of the law, which kills, but according to the Spirit of the law which is life. And so these prominent people of empirical knowledge and wisdom were grieved when these ignorant uneducated up-starts intruded into their territory and began teaching those things that turned the world up-side-down.
“The stone the builders refused is become the head of the corner. This is Yehovah’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:22f).
The educated of this world reject the Rock of our salvation as being unworthy of a place in their works. This Rock has no place in them. His words are not for them because they are not His people. Their affections are on the things of this earth because God has put the things of this world in their hearts. They seek the finite wisdom of man because they have a carnal mind. They cannot receive the things of the Spirit, they are not properly equipped to know them and they have not been made willing or able to consider them. God has made the preaching of the cross to be foolishness to them that perish (I Cor. 1:18), and has given them to esteem the flock of His sheep to be fools for Christ’s sake (I Cor. 4:10). The children of this age are wiser in the things of the world than the children of light yet the children of the King of glory are “wise, strong and honourable” in Christ. The world hates, despises and has rejected the wisdom of God and His work so for these ignorant men to teach that the way unto deliverance was not according to the religious methodologies, ceremonies and rituals would indeed cause the inhabitants of this world to hate them for His name sake.
But the children of the kingdom have come as new born babes, desiring the sincere milk of the word that they may grow by, unto that very stone which has been disallowed of men. They have an eternal union with that Rock which is alive and chosen of God precious and they are one with Him. They are therefore living rocks which are built up as a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:2ff). They have been taught of the Spirit of God according to the new covenant and eternal of God. They have the testimony of the finished work of Messiah wherein He has abolished the handwriting of ordinances and all that pertains thereunto. There was nothing left undone or incomplete for just as the old covenant (the pattern and foreshadow) had application to every aspect of natural life in and for the nation of Israel so the new covenant (the reality of the fulfillment of all things whatsoever was written) pertains to every aspect of the Israel of our God. Nothing could have been left over or carried over from the one to the other for that which is of the earth is earthly and that which is of the Spirit is spiritual. Just as everything that was given as a pattern in the mount was a figure of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah so the reality of the new heaven and new earth with the New Jerusalem is the reality of the fulfillment of all things in Christ, and so the children have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
“What shall we do to these men? For that indeed a notable miracle has been done by them is manifested to all them that dwell in Jerusalem and we cannot deny it”
The wonders of the existence, justice and sovereignty of God are all about us. The manifestation of the truth is clearly seen in the creation of God yet He has blinded the eyes of many so that they cannot see. With all of the science, philosophy and religion in the world man cannot understand God. When he attempts to do so he must bring God down to his level of understanding since he cannot raise himself up to the level of the perfection of God. He attempts to explain God using the vulgar tongue of the people and he judges the righteousness of God according to the socially accepted standard of what is true and just. Truth is not a concept that Adam knows because all men are liars.
These rulers of Israel had many magnificent things done in their sight which stood not to convince them of the deity of Messiah but to condemn them as wicked evil men. Jesus told them that if they did not believe the words that He said, believe the works that He did for truly a notable miracle had been done in their midst and they could not deny it. The signs and wonders done by the apostles were not done to convert the masses but to demonstrate the power of God in His condemning the seed of the serpent, the nation of Israel and everything that loveth or maketh a lie.
The truth cannot be proven to anyone who does not know the truth. The truth is revealed to those who are sons of God. God manifestingly declared Jesus to be His Son when He raised Him from the dead and all those who have a part in that first resurrection have also been so declared. He has declared the to be the sons of God when he declared His generations to the Father saying; “Behold I and the children whom Yehovah hast given Me” (Is. 8:18)
The truth cannot be refuted in anyway for it stands in the perfection of Holiness. No one can deny the truth though many will run away having rejected it. But Jesus said the He was the “Way the truth and the life” therefore any and all who have eternal life in Him have the truth for He is the hope of glory in them.
Each of the men who “taught the people and preached the resurrection” and thereby grieved the elders of Israel, were properly equipped to do so. They had the Spirit within, they had been made willing in the day of His power having their will set at liberty to perform the assignment and they had an earthen vessel afore prepared commensurate to the task set before them. They each endured the trials and tribulations worthy of that high calling in Christ Jesus and they all ran the race with patience looking to the author and finisher of their faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down in the completion of His work at the right hand of the throne of God.
“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb. 12:2f).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
January 19, 2014