4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about 5 000.
...there was a large influx of Jewish believers (Acts 2:41; 4:4), including many priests (Acts 6:7), and of Pharisees (Acts 15:5); the latter two groups showing later their zealousness for the Law (Acts 15:1, 2, 5, 24, 28; 21:20-21; In. 12:42,43).
The author noted that the effects of the ecclesial circumstances of the first century were similar to those that surrounded Israel in the wilderness (chs. 4:1-2; 10:32-34; 12:5,12,15).
There was the splendour of the sanctuary and temple that drew the admiration of the Jewish believers, as is demonstrated in the attitude of the apostles prior to the offering of the Messiah (Mark 13: 1). This burning patriotic zeal of fanatical countrymen willing to revolt was soon evident in the community of the Jews, and tested the disciples as they experienced persecution and excommunication by their fellowcountrymen.
The Jews manifested a love of the outward ceremonial religion of their fathers, and a fervent rejection of the Truth as proclaimed by the apostles.
Bro GE Mansfield
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
This name was the Father, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, by His power manifested in the flesh, crucified, and afterwards justified or perfected. - Eureka 13.19.
"I will proclaim the NAME of Yahweh before thee .. ."Yahweh, Yahweh Elohim, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth."
Beside character and purpose, Name imports many things, as:
AUTHORITY- "My Name is in him" (Ex. 23:21). "By what Name hast thou done this?"
RELATIONSHIP- "Let us be called by Thy Name" (Isa. 4:1).
HONOUR, RENOWN, ACHIEVEMENT- "Make us a Name."
REPUTATION- "A Name that thou livest" (Rev. 3:1). "A good Name is rather to be chosen than great riches."
RECOGNITION, ACCEPTANCE, INTIMACY- "I know thee by Name" (Ex. 33:12). (Compare Jesus' words, "I know you not")
ALLEGIANCE - "Confess His Name" . . . "Love His Name" . . ."Hold fast My Name."
FAITHFULNESS - "Believe on the Name." "For His Name's sake."
REPRESENTATION - "I come in my Father's Name" (Jn. 5:43).
PROTECTION - "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower."
DELIVERANCE-"Save me, Ο God, by Thy Name" (Psa.54:l).
MANIFESTATION-"I have manifested Thy Name" (Jn. 17:6). "The Name of the Lord cometh from afar" (Isa. 30:27).
REMEMBRANCE-"Blot out his Name" (Rev. 3:5).
LIFE, EXISTENCE-"I will give them an everlasting Name."
IDENTIFICATION- "Everyone that is called by My Name.
CITIZENSHIP-"/ will write on him the Name oj the City of my God" (Rev. 3:12).
In its fullest application, Name imports an individual's history, nature and destiny - the sum-total of his existence.
When Jesus promises that he will write upon those whom he accepts his New Name and his Father's Name, he is promising immortality and the Divine Nature-everlasting membership in the family of God.
To be baptized "into the Name," and to be "in the Name," constitutes a complete union and unity with the bearer of the Name, a sharing in all that has been accomplished through this Name.
Names are important in worldly matters-a family name, a company name, a national name-all are matters of great value, and power and pride. In spiritual things, a sound and clear union and allegiance and faithfulness to THE NAME is infinitely more important. THE NAME is the banner, the ensign, the rallying-point, the fortress of assembly.
"God hath given him a Name which is above every name" (Phil. 2:9).
"There is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
It is clear that the Name is the touchstone-the deciding factor of life or death. To have the Name, to comprehend the Name, to be in the Name, is life eternal.
Bro Growcott - 144 000 on Mount Zion
The systems of human wisdom around us that would reduce Christ to a moral reformer, however eminent - the urger and exemplar of excellent principles of action for men - would give us a Christ that is not the Christ that Paul preached. He was all and ten times more than moral philosophy could ever ascribe to him. He was "the way, the truth, and life" in the sense defined in Paul's preaching.
"We," said Paul, "preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24): "by him, all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses" (Acts 13:39).
In this conception of Christ as the "One mediator between God and man," we see also how essentially God is the root of the whole scheme of the gospel, for where could mediatorship arise, either as a valuable or a conceivable institution if it were not for the eternal God, the Creator of all things, who appointed the ministry of reconciliation, "to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them?" (2 Cor. 5:19).
"By whom (our Lord Jesus Christ), also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand."
By Christ, and in no other way.
"No man cometh unto the Father but by me" so Christ declared.
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" so the Father demanded.
"There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" so the apostles testified.
And this is what we Christadelphians offend our neighbours by re-echoing and earnestly contending for, as against the easing and pleasing thoughts of our day and generation, which more and more tend in the direction of making everybody right and everybody safe-Mohammedans, Brahmins, Confucians - and none in such danger as those who maintain "the narrow way (proclaimed by Christ and the apostles) that leadeth into life."
Bro Roberts - the inside of the Truth
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Peter was given the 2 keys to the door of the Kingdom...firstly to the Jews, then to the gentiles.
When the strangers of Rome returned from Jerusalem, they would unquestionably speak more about Peter than the rest, because he was chief speaker.
From this fact, he would acquire the title "Prince of the Apostles" and Holder of the Keys: and though there is no reliable evidence that he ever was in Rome (and, if he ever had been there, the account of it would hardly have been omitted from the Acts), the part he enacted was so conspicuous, that his relation to Rome in the introduction of the gospel there, would seem almost like his personal presence.
In process of time, this would be affirmed, like many other imaginary things, to be a fact; and then, when popes came into fashion, they would seek to sanctify the imposition by styling Peter "the first pope!"
It is one of the strongest evidences of the Messiahship of Jesus that in connection with his word, illiterate men performed that which was impossible for them to do unless supernaturally assisted, which they were. The Spirit was sent upon them and produced results which caused the Jews to marvel.
What is the explanation? They had something besides their illiterateness. What was it? God worked with them, confirming their words with signs following. The promise of Christ was fulfilled, that the Spirit of truth should come to them and bring all things to their remembrance #, whatsoever he had spoken to them.
Bro Roberts - Was Jesus of Nazareth The Messiah?
we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God - 2 Cor 4: 7
Literary culture or great breadth of mind are not usually found among fishermen, and did not characterise the apostles. The absence of educational polish is expressly noted in Acts iv. 13, where it is recorded that the rulers
"perceived that they (Peter and John) were unlearned and ignorant men."
The natural crudeness of character mostly belonging to them comes out in a variety of instances: such as the dispute among them who should be greatest in the Kingdom (Mar. ix. 34); their repulsion of the mothers with their children, who were seeking the blessing of Jesus (Mar. x. 14); their impulse to invoke judgment on the Samaritans (Luke ix. 54); the obstinate scepticism of Thomas (Jno. xx. 25); and Peter's threefold denial of Christ in the hour of darkness (Matt. xxvi. 74, 75).
But it does not follow that peculiarities which would have disqualified them for the execution of a human enterprise, were disqualifications for a work which God proposed to accomplish through them.
On the contrary, it is possible to see that the supposed disqualifications were positive qualifications.
... "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the things that are mighty ... that no flesh should glory in His presence ... according as it is written. Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord" (1 Cor. i. 26, 31).
The object being to exhibit the wisdom and power of God, in the salvation of men by His grace for His glory, it was needful to make use of instruments who would not frustrate or obstruct this exhibition by distracting attention to themselves.
Men of great polish and high natural gift would have been liable to fall into this mistake, without design. They would have figured largely in the eyes of the public, and would have been in danger of becoming important in their own eyes, especially with miraculous power at their command.
God would not have been so visible as the instruments. This was the (unpremeditated) crime of Moses for which he was excluded from the land of promise.
"Ye sanctified me not in thee eyes of the congregation."
In a moment of natural impatience with Israel's obduracy,he appeared to take the credit of giving them water out of the rock:
"Hear now, ye rebels,must we fetch you water out of this rock?"
Thus God was hidden when he was aiming to be seen, and thus it likely would have been with the apostolic work had men of position, parts, and education been chosen as its instruments, instead of men of obscurity, deficiency, and illiteracy.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 22
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
That they had seen and heard them is evident from the fact that they submitted to persecution, and ultimately surrendered their lives for declaring that they had so seen and heard Jesus of Nazareth for forty days after he had been put to death.
That fact is evidence to us that what they said was true. Men never go in the face of disadvantage and opposition, without a motive. The motive in this case was a conviction that certain facts were true. It was not, as in the case of the persecuted Puritans, a persuasion of certain doctrines. The boldness of the apostles, on the one hand, and the antagonism of the Jewish rulers on the other, turned upon a question of fact, viz., whether the crucified Jesus had risen. Upon the fact, doubtless, the apostles founded a doctrine, but it was the fact and not the doctrine, that was the cause of the dispute that cost them their lives. Hence their firmness is evidence of the fact, which they asserted, and the basis of our faith.
Their subsequent proceedings and writings show too much sanity and discrimination to admit the suggestion that though sincere, they were hallucinated.
Bro Roberts - Exhort No 4
26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Jesus the Redeemer of Israel
There is not a prophecy in scripture in which the coming of Messiah is not connected with the glory of the tribes of Israel, as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation upon earth; with their universal ingathering, and the confirmation of the New Covenant with them, and with all the nations blessed in them, look for example at Gen. 49:10; Acts. 4:27; Psal. 11; Isaiah 11; Mic. 5:2: and if any one, through the sinful ignorance which reigns in the religious world upon this subject, and which their superficial preachers would perpetuate and deepen, doubts of this, we can put you upon a course of study, simple and unexceptionable, which will remove that doubt in the course of one evening.
It is to take those prophecies quoted in the gospels, and there applied by the Holy Spirit, to Jesus of Nazareth; take them one by one, and turn to the passage in the Old Testament, of which it is a part; read the whole context of that psalm and prophecy, and let your natural understanding judge, and for which purpose it is given you, whether the main drift of it be not to set forth Christ as the king and prince priest of the Jewish people, gathered together in great and everlasting mercy, and made a blessing unto all the ends of the earth.
Do this, and we assert without the smallest hesitation, and that without a single exception, every prophecy of the Old Testament which the Holy Spirit has thus applied to Jesus of Nazareth, represents him as redeeming the Jews from the bondage of oppression of the Gentiles, restoring them to their own land, sealing them with an everlasting covenant of holiness, reigning over them, and through means of them, over the whole earth.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1859