Acts 13 Bible Study

Bible study of Acts chapter 13

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Acts 13 Bible Study

ACTS 13:1  1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

What roles do "prophets and teachers" (Acts 13:1) respectively perform?
Prophets prophesy - foretell an event in the future as inspired by God - while teachers teach.

Can prophets teach and teachers prophesy?
Yes, the Old Testament has many examples of prophets teaching, and in the New Testament, Paul, for example, prophesied the demise of the ship carrying him to Rome: "... Paul advised them, saying, "Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster with much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, ..." (Acts 27:9-10) The two roles are not mutually exclusive, but neither do they necessitate one another. They are simply two of the roles to be performed as appointed by Jesus: "He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Ephesians 4:10-12)

Are "prophets" and "teachers" also titles to be used to call certain people in the church?
No, Jesus explicitly warned us against it: "But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ." (Matthew 23:8-10) According to Jesus, any Christian being called "Teacher" or "Father", let alone "Holy Father", is usurping titles reserved for God.

What about "Pastor", "The Reverend" or "Bishop"?
They fall into the same category as above. No Christian is to be entitled or exalted above any other Christian. Since Jesus told us above, "you are all brethren" (Matthew 23:8), the appropriate way for Christians to call one another is "Brethren": "Brother" or "Sister".

Then why are pastors called, "Pastors"?
It is an unbiblical tradition that helps to create and propagate an unbiblical wall of separation between those "in ministry" and all other Christians, allowing the latter to turn into passive pew potatoes who abandon their God-given gifts and ministries.

How many prophets and teachers were "in the church that was at Antioch" (Acts 13:1)?
Five: Barnabas, Simeon/Niger, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul/Paul.

What is meant by "Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch" (Acts 13:1)?
Manaen is mentioned only once in the Bible, as above. But Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrote about Manaen, deemed to be the father or the uncle of the Manaen mentioned above. When Herod the Great, the father of Herod the tetrarch, was young, the elder Manaen prophesied to him that he would one day rule Judea. When that prophecy came true, Herod the Great became close with Manaen, so it is reasonable that their sons - the younger Manaen and Herod the tetrarch - would be "brought up" as close playmates. Like Saul/Paul, Manaen would have been highly educated, although older than Saul/Paul.

ACTS 13:2-3  2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

What is meant by their having "ministered to the Lord" (Acts 13:2)?
The original Greek word for "ministered" is leitourgeo, which means "to serve" or "to serve at one's own cost" or "to discharge official duties at one's own cost".

And how did they do that "to the Lord" (Acts 13:2)?
Jesus said: "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’" (Matthew 25:34-40) So, by serving (at their own cost) the "brethren" - fellow Christians - the prophets and teachers ministered "to the Lord".

Why had they "fasted" (Acts 13:2)?
Human bodies are normally sustained by and draw energy from food. Fasting foregoes food and sometimes even water, and thereby relies only on God for His spiritual sustenance and energy for general Christian service, as above, and also during trying times, such as when we mourn (e.g. "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven." (Nehemiah 1:1-4)), plead before God (during times of spiritual trial (e.g. "David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground." (2 Samuel 12:16)), engage in spiritual warfare (e.g. "And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:14-21)

Who said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13:2)?
The "Holy Spirit" (Acts 13:2), once again proving His personhood.

What was the work to which He had called Barnabas and Saul?
To go "away" (Acts 13:3) to proclaim the Gospel and plant churches.

ACTS 13:4-5  4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.

Where are "Seleucia" (Acts 13:4), "Cyprus" (Acts 13:4) and "Salamis" (Acts 13:5)?
Seleucia was the port city 15 miles down the Orontes river from Antioch, where the river emptied into the Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is the island in eastern Mediterranean Sea that is about 100 miles southwest of Seleucia, and Salamis was a city on the east coast (facing Seleucia) of Cyprus.

Why did they preach "in the synagogues of the Jews" (Acts 13:5)?
Synagogues were where theology was discussed, and since the Jews already knew the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, they should have understood and received Jesus, a Jew, as the promised Messiah easier and quicker than the gentiles.

Who was Barnabas and Saul/Paul's "assistant" (Acts 13:5)?
"John" (Acts 13:5) "whose surname was Mark" (Acts 12:25), who was "the cousin of Barnabas" (Colossians 4:10) and who had accompanied Barnabas and Saul/Paul from Jerusalem.

ACTS 13:6-12  6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Where is "Paphos" (Acts 13:6)?
During the Roman era, Paphos, situated on the southeastern coast of Cyprus, served as the island's capital. So, Paul, Barnabas and John Mark had traversed Cyprus from the northeast coast to the southwest coast.

Who called for Barnabas and Saul, "who is also called Paul" (Acts 13:9) and why?
"The proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man... called for  Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God." (Acts 13:7)

Who was with the proconsul?
A "sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus" (Acts 13:6), translated "Elymas" (Acts 13:8) who was "full of all deceit and all fraud" (Acts 13:10) and was the "son of the devil" (Acts 13:10) and the "enemy of all righteousness" (Acts 13:10) kept on "perverting the straight ways of the Lord" (Acts 13:10) and "withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith." (Acts 13:8).

Was he made permanently blind?
No, only "for a time" (Acts 13:11), but long enough to shut him up, for the proconsul to be converted.

What astonished the proconsul?
He was "astonished at the teaching of the Lord" (Acts 13:12), which the display of the Lord's power validated.

ACTS 13:13-14  13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. 14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down.

Where are "Perga in Pamphylia" (Acts 13:13) and "Antioch in Pisidia" (Acts 13:14)?
Perga was the capital of the Roman province of Pamphylia, which is today's southern coastal province of Antalya in Turkey. Pisidia was the mountainous province to the north Pamphylia, and Antioch (not to be confused with the Antioch in Syria where Paul, Barnabas and John Mark began their missionary journey) was its capital, located 3600 feet above the sea level.

Why did John Mark leave Barnabas and Paul to return to Jerusalem?
The Bible doesn't state the reason, but it was one that Paul didn't consider to be legitimate: "Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work." (Acts 15:36-38) Perhaps John Mark had left Jerusalem with Barnabas, his cousin, and Paul with the intent of going to Antioch only, and the missionary journey was more than he had bargained for. John Mark returned "to the work" later and was even with Paul in Rome when he was in prison: "Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him)." (Colossians 4:10)

ACTS 13:15-16  15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.” 16 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:

How big was this synagogue?
Big enough for its rulers to have invited Paul and Barnabas to speak by having someone "sent to them" (Acts 13:15) with the invitation.

Who were in the audience?
Both Jews - "Men of Israel" (Acts 13:16) - and gentiles "who fear God" (Acts 13:16), which means gentiles who believed in the God of Judaism but had not been circumcised.

What had just taken place?
Readings from "the Law" (Acts 13:15), which means the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) and "the Prophets" (Acts 13:15), which means the Old Testament books of Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

ACTS 13:17  17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it.

What does Paul mean by, "The God of this people Israel chose our fathers" (Acts 13:17)?
That God chose Abraham, his son Isaac, Isaac's son Jacob, and Jacob's twelve sons to be the "fathers" (Acts 13:17) of a nation that God appointed to be "His" people.

What was so special about them that made God choose them from all of the people on the earth?
Abraham was a wimp who instead of protecting his wife, disavowed their marriage and let another man take her to sleep with her in the hope of saving his own neck: "And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid. And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” Then Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?” And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife." (Genesis 20:1-11)

Like his father, Isaac volunteered the same cowardly lie regarding his wife, Rebekah, to the same man, no less: "So Isaac dwelt in Gerar. And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, “She is my sister”; for he was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” because he thought, “lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.” Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing endearment to Rebekah his wife. Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Quite obviously she is your wife; so how could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die on account of her.’” And Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might soon have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us.” So Abimelech charged all his people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” (Genesis 26:6-11)

Jacob was a liar, thief and a blasphemer who lied to his father to steal from his brother, and even used God's name in his lie: "Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” And he answered him, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Behold now, I am old. I do not know the day of my death. Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt game and to bring it. So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, “Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, ‘Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death.’ Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death.” And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.” But his mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.” And he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. Then she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. So he went to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the LORD your God brought it to me.” Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.” So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. Then he said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He said, “I am.” He said, “Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, so that my soul may bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.” And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said: “Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed. Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!" Now it happened, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also had made savory food, and brought it to his father, and said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that your soul may bless me.” And his father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” So he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, “Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it before you came, and I have blessed him - and indeed he shall be blessed.” When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me - me also, O my father!” But he said, “Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.” (Genesis 27:1-35)

Jacob's sons sold their own brother into slavery after colluding to murder him: "This is the history of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.” And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Then his brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.” Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem. Now a certain man found him, and there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, “What are you seeking?” So he said, “I am seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks.” And the man said, “They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!” But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him” - that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father. So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt." (Genesis 37:2-28)

So why would God choose to mold His nation out of a such messed up bunch of people?
The same reason he chooses to mold into His image Christians today: to demonstrate his love, grace and mercy, He chooses people who deserve absolutely none of His love, grace or mercy.

How was it that God "exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt" (Acts 13:17)?
God grew them into a mighty nation: "And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we." (Exodus 1:6-9)

Why does Paul say that "with an uplifted arm [God] brought them out of" (Acts 13:7) Egypt?
He is referring to God's miracles that forced Pharaoh to let the Hebrews leave Egypt, the majority of which were performed with Moses' or Aaron's arms uplifted. For example, "Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days." (Exodus 10:21-22) "Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’” So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt." (Exodus 8:5-6) And of course God parted the Red Sea when Moses' arms were uplifted: "And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left." (Exodus 14:10-22)

ACTS 13:18  18 Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness.

Why does Paul say God "put up with" (Acts 13:18) the ways of the Hebrews in the wilderness for "about forty years" (Acts 13:18)?
During the forty years that the Hebrews spent in the wilderness after leaving Egypt and prior to entering the Promised Land, God constantly "put up" with their betrayal, complaining and doubting.

How did the Hebrews betray God?
When Moses stayed on Mount Sinai a little longer than they expected (he was busy receiving the Ten Commandments from God), the Hebrews made and worshipped a golden calf: "Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!" (Exodus 32:1-4)

When did the Jews complain?
Constantly. For example, they complained when they were hungry, even exaggerating how well their Egyptian taskmasters had fed them during their slavery: "... the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you..." (Exodus 16:2-4) And when they wanted more than just the bread - "manna" - they complained again, this time even weeping in their exaggeration about their slavery in Egypt: "Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!" (Numbers 11:4-6)

When did the Hebrews doubt God?
After witnessing God methodically and utterly destroy the mighty but idolatrous nation of Egypt before the defeated Pharaoh let the Hebrews depart, the Hebrews should have trusted God will likewise protect them and destroy any other idolatrous nation that stood in their path. Yet, when ten of the twelve men who had checked out the Promised Land spoke about the strength of its inhabitants, the Hebrews wept and tried to pick a new leader to take them back to Egypt: "Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the LORD said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” And Moses said to the LORD: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, LORD, are among these people; that You, LORD, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, ‘Because the LORD was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, ‘The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” Then the LORD said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD - because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.” And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection." (Number 13:27-14:34) Had the Hebrew adults believed God instead of doubting Him, they would have reached the Promised Land instead of dying in the wilderness over the ensuing 40 years.

Was not believing in God and His deliverance really grounds for death?
Absolutely. It was back then, and it is today. Only those who believed in God - Joshua and Caleb - reached the Promised Land back then, and only those who believe in Jesus will reach heaven today.

ACTS 13:19  19 And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.

Who were the "destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan" (Acts 13:19)?
From north to south, they were the Hivites (north of the Sea of Galilee), Girgashites (Galilee region), Canaanites (western plains), Amorites (eastern mountains), Jebusites (including Jerusalem), Perizzites (southwest, near Gaza), and Hittites (near the Dead Sea): "When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, ..."  (Deuteronomy 7:1)

Is it accurate to say that God - "He" (Acts 13:19) - destroyed those seven nations?
Yes, God won the battles, which He let the Hebrew army then mop up. For example, in the battle for Jericho, God miraculously blew out the city's protective wall, which ended the battle before it began: "Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.” And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the LORD.” So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.” So he had the ark of the LORD circle the city, going around it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp. And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days. But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the LORD to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the LORD; they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.” So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city." (Joshua 6:1-20)

ACTS 13:20-21 20 “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.

Who were the "judges" (Acts 13:20) whom God gave to the Hebrews?
For about 450 years after Joshua, whom God used to lead the Hebrews into the land of Canaan, God raised up and used men to convey His instructions to the people, to lead Israel into battle against their neighbors, as well as to serve as judges to settle disputes. And when Israel was so lacking in manly men that even the commander of its army was a wimp, God even used a woman judge: "Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?” And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!" (Judges 4:4-8)

Why did Israel ask for a king after those 450 years?
Their pretext was the corruption of Samuel's sons, but their real reason was their rejection of God's direct rule and their desire for a human ruler whom they could see, hear and touch, like their neighbors': "Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them." (1 Samuel 8:1-7).

Is such desire to be led by a 'tangible' human being instead of God present today?
Yes, and this is one of the drivers that led to the unbiblical Popes and pastor-worship.

ACTS 13:22  22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’

When did God decide to remove Saul as King and raise up David in his place?
When Saul sinned by making a sacrifice to God that wasn't his to make: "Then the Philistines gathered together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude. And they came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth Aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed), then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you." (1 Samuel 13:5-14)

But didn't David sin as well?
Yes, he committed adultery against one of his most loyal soldiers, and then murder when his efforts to cover up the adultery failed: "Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” Then David said to Uriah, “Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also." (2 Samuel 11:2-17)

Then why did David but not Saul find favor with God?
Their difference wasn't in their sin, since both sinned and it could easily be argued that David's betrayal, adultery and murder were more grave sins than Saul's impatient sacrifice. Their difference lay in what they did afterwards when they were confronted about their sins. Saul made excuses and blamed others as above, while David admitted his sinfulness: "Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’” So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD." (2 Samuel 12:1-13)

Does this distinction still apply today?
Yes, because we are imperfect, fleshly human beings, Christians still sin from time to time despite our best efforts not to sin: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) The key question is, "What do we do thereafter?" Do we make excuses and try to justify ourselves, or do we admit our sins and come before the Lord for His forgiveness. The difference in outcome that hinges on this question is no less than that between Saul and David, or Judas and Peter.

ACTS 13:23-25  23 From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior - Jesus - 24 after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.’

According to what promise did God promise that Jesus would be from David's seed?
According to the one conveyed by the prophet Isaiah - "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6-7) - as well as by the archangel Gabriel: "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:26-33)

How did God keep His promise?
Through the following lineage: "Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er, the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David." (Luke 3:23-31)

Why does Paul emphasize that "John had first preached, before His coming" (Acts 13:24)?
John "preached... the baptism of repentance" (Acts 13:24) - the need for people to recognize their sinfulness and to seek God's help to turn away from and seek a solution to their sins. The recognition of the problem - sin - had to precede its solution - Christ - back then, and it must precede the solution today. Today's pulpits' tendency to preach the cross of Christ but to skirt the issue of sin amounts to offering the solution without mentioning what it solves.

ACTS 13:26-29  26 “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. 28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. 29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.

How was the "word of this salvation" (Acts 13:26) sent to the Jews and God-fearing gentiles in Antioch of Pisidia?
By Barnabas and Paul, who was speaking.

Who had "fulfilled" (Acts 13:27) what "voices of the Prophets" (Acts 13:27)?
Voices of prophets like Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would be oppressed, afflicted and slaughtered: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth." (Isaiah 53:5-7) Even though the Pharisees and the rulers in Jerusalem "read every Sabbath" (Acts 13:27) the words of prophets, including Isaiah, they "did not know" (Acts 13:27) God and ended up being the ones to oppress, afflict and slaughter Him.

ACTS 13:26  30 But God raised Him from the dead. 31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 And we declare to you glad tidings - that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ 34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’ 35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’ 36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. 40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you: 41 ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’ ”

Who are "those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem" (Acts 13:31)?
Jesus' disciples, who are "His witnesses" (Acts 13:31)

What "glad tidings" (Acts 13:32) is Paul declaring to them?
That the story doesn't end with the slaughter of the Messiah, that God the Father "has raised up Jesus... from the dead" (Acts 13:33-34)

Why should that matter to them?
It proves that He is God and validates what He "preached" (Acts 13:38), that "by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39) - i.e., "the forgiveness of sins" (Acts 13:38)

What "corruption" (Acts 13:36) is Paul talking about?
The Greek word is diaphthora, which in the physical sense indicates destruction, decay or decomposition.
To the Jews waiting for a David-like Messiah to arise and re-establish the political Kingdom of Israel, Paul is declaring the incomparable supremacy of Jesus. Their revered David died and remained dead, becoming food for dandelions. By contrast, Jesus defeated death and rose in His un-decomposed body to prove His deity, just as the Old Testament had prophesied, that God the Father will not "allow Your Holy One to see corruption." (Psalm 16:4 & Acts 13:35)

What does Paul warn them to "beware" of (Acts 13:40)?
Unbelief. Paul was there to "declare" (Acts 13:41) to them the "work" (Acts 13:41) of God, which if they did not "believe" (Acts 13:41), they will "perish". (Acts 13:41) Paul was warning them not to end up being the ones that the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk warned about in Habakkuk 1:5 as quoted in Acts 13:41 above.

ACTS 13:42-43  42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

When Paul finished speaking, which group left the synagogue?
"The Jews went out of the synagogue." (Acts 13:42)

Which group stayed in the Jewish synagogue?
"The Gentiles", who "begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath" (Acts 13:42)

Did all of the Jews leave Paul and Barnabas?
No, "many of the Jews" (Acts 13:43) followed them.

ACTS 13:44  44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.

What happened the next Sabbath?
"Almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God." (Acts 13:44)

Why?
After hearing just one sermon, the hearers had invited their neighbors to come an hear the Word as well?

How many sermons have you heard, and how many neighbors have you invited to the Word of God?

ACTS 13:45  45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

How did the Jews oppose "the things spoken by Paul" (Acts 13:45), and why?
The supposed people of God engaged in contradictions and blasphemy, which is against God, out of "envy" (Acts 13:45).

Why was it "necessary that the word of God should be spoken to" (Acts 13:46) the Jews first?
The good news about the long-awaited Messiah was first offered to those who had been waiting for Him.

Did Paul and Barnabas plead to reconcile with them?
No, they declared that the opposing Jews' rejection of the "word of God" (Acts 13:46) judged them to be "unworthy of everlasting life" (Acts 13:46) and that they would now "turn to the Gentiles". (Acts 13:46)

Was it their place to pronounce judgment on anyone?
It wasn't, and that isn't what they did. Their declaration was an observation of the judgment that Jews' own rejection of the Gospel had on their eternity.

How does that apply to us today?
Only God knows whom He will save before they die, so Christians cannot tell anyone that they will or will not go to heaven. However, when asked where people who die without believing in Jesus end up, Christians have a biblical duty to inform them that they go not to "everlasting life" (Acts 13:46) in heaven but to everlasting punishment in hell. If you see someone walking toward a quicksand, you have a duty to warn them of it.

ACTS 13:48-52  48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Who "believed" (Acts 13:48)?
"As many as had been appointed to eternal life." (Acts 13:48).

Appointed by who?
Since the verb is "appointed" and not "self-appointed", it is God who appoints those who believe in Him.

How did the Jews raise up "persecution against Paul and Barnabas" (Acts 13:50)?
They went after the city's political elite: "The Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city." (Acts 13:50)

How did Paul and Barnabas react?
They "shook off the dust from their feet against them." (Acts 13:51)

Why?
To obey Jesus: "And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them." (Mark 6:11)

Why were "the disciples ... filled with joy" (Acts 13:52)?
Apparently, Paul and Barnabas had stayed long enough that "the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region". (Acts 13:49)

So why did God let them be "expelled" (Acts 13:50)?
To have them spread the Gospel as well in "Iconium" (Acts 13:51), about 80 miles to the east.

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