James, son of Zebedee, is executed; Peter escapes miraculously from jail; Rhoda’s exuberance, and Herod Agrippa’s sudden death.
Monthly Archives: June 2022
Peter explains his eating with Gentiles, Agabus and his team of prophets appear and predict a worldwide famine, and the disciples are first called Christians in Antioch, and Barnabas and Saul are commissioned to bring relief to Jerusalem Christians.
What the Bible Really Says about Abortion and Prenatal Life
Despite the confusion circulating over the web for years, the Bible unambiguously upholds the sanctity of prenatal life.
6. Torah and Slavery: Foreign Slaves
Scriptures: Lev. 25:44-46 and Deut. 23:15-16 (and Exod. 21:16, again, with its parallel Deut. 24:7). As we have observed in this series, slavery was a cultural fact of the ancient Near East. When an Israelite bought a foreign slave or a foreigner residing among them, what were his obligations to care for them and what rights did the slaves have? This post also has two parallel cases in colonial Virginia.
This chapter is the most important one in all the Bible for the description of including the Gentiles into the New Covenant community of God. This transition could happen only through Peter.
In this chapter: Saul’s conversion and Peter healing Aeneas and raising Tabitha from the dead. Thus, Saul and Peter are paired together in different storylines, and clearly Peter is in the lead, for now.
5. Torah and Slavery: Protecting Slave Women from Injustice
Scripture: Lev. 19:20-22. One OT scholar says that this law protected a slave woman when she was caught in the middle between three men.
In this chapter, because of the persecution of the Messianic Jews, they have to flee Jerusalem. Philip reaches out to Samaritans, and then to the Ethiopian Treasurer. Philip then gets snatched away by God and ends up at Azotus and preaches the gospel in that region.
Stephen’s speech begins the slow transition from dependence on the temple and towards a more global outreach. God does not dwell in temple buildings made with hands. Stephen is martyred.
4. Torah and Slavery: What Happened When Masters Punished Their Slaves?
Scriptures: Exod. 21:20-21, 26-27; Lev. 25:43, 46. There were two cultural (and unpleasant) facts in the ancient Near East, long before the Torah existed: (1) Masters hit their slaves to punish them, and (2) slaves had secondary status. How does the Torah intervene and regulate those two pre-existing facts? (I also include cases of a servant girl dying allegedly from a beating and a servant boy who was flogged for theft, in colonial Philadelphia.)
The Hebrew and Greek widows complain about distribution of resources. The apostles appoint seven servants to handle the issue. Certain members of a synagogue oppose Stephen and drag him before Caiaphas the high priest.
Ananias and Sapphira are instantly judged. God through the apostles worked many signs and wonders, and the people greatly honored the Messianic community. Some feared to join, but others did. Peter’s shadow was cast on them and miracles happened. The council arrested the apostles and put them in prison, but an angel released them. They went into the temple and preached but were rearrested. Gamaliel gave his speech urging caution about executing them. The apostles were flogged and released but never stopped preaching.
3. Torah and Slavery: Impoverished Father Sells His Daughter to Be a ‘Secondary Wife’
Scripture: Exod. 21:7-11. In a culture of arranged marriage and widespread poverty, fathers in the ancient Near East did this long before the Torah existed. Now the Torah has to intervene and tell the men what the daughter’s legal rights were. This post also looks at polygamy.
The council (Sanhedrin) arrest Peter and John and the healed man and threaten them. The two apostles say they must obey God instead of man. They return to the Christian community and report what happened. The whole community pray for boldness and share everything in common. The place where they met was shaken, and they are again filled with the Spirit.