Acts Chapters 1-7, Jewishness of Early Church.
Messianic Pioneer’s Acts teaches us that our Jewish forefathers in the faith, didn’t separate themselves from their Jewishness. They believed they were the recipients of a greater message, a more complete message. That message was proven true, not only through the activity of Jesus, and prophecies — but through the Spirit being poured out upon them(2:17, 33, 38; 5:32).1 They didn’t see themselves as separate from Israel or as departing from their faith; rather, they were pioneering what it meant to be truly Jewish.2 In Lukes estimation, the true heretics were Jews who would not repent, accept the messiah, and be baptized (2:38, 3:19, 5:31).
Now Kingdom The disciples and apostles wanted to know if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). Their Judaic mindset, expected an earthly kingdom from Jesus’s ministry (Isaiah 9:6-7). King David is set as anchor point to Israels past (1:16, 2:25, 2:34, 4:25, 7:45-46). This comes as no surprise to his Jewish hearers, since David had a genetic, Spiritual, and prophetic connection to the conquering Messiah (Acts 1:16, 4:25; Zech 12:10; 1 Sam 16:13). With this thinking, Peter pierces his hearers, to the very roots of their error, while pointing towards the “now, not yet Kingdom” to Judea and beyond (1:8,2:37,9-11).
Not Yet Kingdom: Inaugurated eschatology Jesus is leaving and they have one last question to ask, what is it, “At this time will you repair the Kingdom back to Israel” (1:6). The overarching story of Gods people, Israel, finds its center-point in the fulfillment of the messianic hope (5:31). They were living in the end times, waiting for God to, “overthrow Satan and once again establish, Gods unchallenged power over His world and everyone in it.”3 This chapter will come to a close when God decides, “… Not because the clock of the universe was wound only so far and the ticking ceases, but because…God set the day.”4 His disciples know the end has started, it has not ended, and they are not suppose to know when it will close (1:7).
A Question: Jewish Roots. Gods initial plan to reach all nations with salvation came through the Jews (3:25). Yet, Steven the martyr condemned his Jewish brothers by saying, “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?”— they persecuted all (7:52). Even still, God was not shaken but such actions, because it was predestined beforehand (4:28). Together with and all of the brethren, they stood between two kingdoms, looking to the heavens awaiting the return of the Christ (1:10). The Judeans build the Church on the kingdom to come: its a better promise than the need for any more sacrifices. Unlike Davids grave upon the earth, Jesus’ is risen and His sacrifice was sufficient.
Walter Elwell and Robert Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 188
Stacy, Robert W. 2021. “The Jewish Setting of the Early Church in Acts.” New Testament Orientation II 2021, Liberty University. Video of lecture.
Stacy, Robert W. 2021. “Pentecost & the Eschatological Setting of the Early Church in Acts” New Testament Orientation II 2021, Liberty University. Video of lecture.
by Paul Whitehorn