Acts Bible Study Lesson 23

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The Coming Messiah

Acts 3:22—26

Up to this point in Acts, everything that has happened is within Israel’s Prophetic program, and has nothing to do with Paul’s Mystery program. When John began his ministry announcing the coming of Jesus, he did so according to prophetic revelation (Malachi 3:1). When Jesus came, He came according to prophecy and died according to prophecy (Micah 5:2; Isiah 7:14; Genesis 22:18; Numbers 24:17; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53). When Jesus began His ministry, He brought the good news of the Kingdom only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew15:24), dealing only with the people of Israel who were the subject of most of the Old Testament. When He trained His Disciples He taught them to go preach the Kingdom to Israel (Matthew 10:5—6). When Jesus died, He died for the many in Israel (Matthew 20:28) and when He gave the 12 Apostles His final instructions, He spoke in terms of fulfilling prophecy concerning His Second Coming (Acts 1:6—11). When the Holy Spirit was given, it was only to Israel and it was in the context of prophecy (Isaiah 32:15; 44:3; Joel 2:28; Ezekiel 39:29; Zechariah 12:10).

Now, As Peter addresses the crowds, he continues to preach the same message (Gospel of the Kingdom) to the same people (Israel), once again ignoring the Gentiles. It should be obvious, even to the casual observer, that nothing has changed from the accounts in the four Gospels to the early part of Acts. God is dealing only with Israel under the Law. The prophecies that have been fulfilled only prove that there is no change in how God is dealing with mankind. They certainly don’t show that God is doing a work among the Gentiles.

The Messiah

As Peter continues his second sermon, he begins to preach on the Second Coming of Israel’s Messiah. This is again consistent with Israel’s prophetic program and is a source of hope for Israel throughout the Old Testament (Psalm 118:19—24; Zechariah 9:9; 14:1—9; Isaiah 2:2—4; 9:6—7; Jeremiah 23:5—6).

The Messiah that Israel is waiting for today is expected to come in great power and glory. He will wipe out Israel’s enemies, regather Jews from the nations and rule from the temple in Jerusalem. It will be a time of great blessing for Israel. They see the Messiah as a human put in that position by God. The rabbis today speak of waiting for the Messiah and feel that the time of his coming is very soon. Some conservative Jews even hold the election of Trump as a precursor of the coming of their Messiah.

The Messiah that Peter is speaking of is the same Messiah Israel is waiting for today. However, God is not dealing with Israel as a nation any longer. The Messiah will not come in this Dispensation of Grace because God put that program on hold when Israel refused to believe. This event is recorded in Acts 7 when Israel stoned Stephen as the spokesman for the Holy Spirit. However, Israel is still in the forefront of God’s Kingdom program as Peter preaches to the nation of Israel about the coming Messiah.

Moses, a type of Christ (verses 22—23)

In Deuteronomy 18, Moses, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, wrote a prophetic passage about the coming Messiah. Moses is comparing himself as leader of Israel with a future leader of Israel. This is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel. This is looking into the future when Christ is ruling over Israel during the Millennial Kingdom. This prophecy was used in Peter’s sermon to give Israel hope in seeing the Messiah come to save Israel. All they would have to do is believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Peter was telling Israel that the man Moses spoke of was Jesus Christ, and now He had come and was rejected. As Moses led Israel out of bondage, Jesus Christ will lead Israel out of physical and spiritual bondage going into the Kingdom. Those who do not heed the words of this prophet (the Messiah) will be cut off from Israel. Peter is warning them that those who cut off the Messiah will be cut off themselves if they don’t repent.

Announced by all the prophets (verse 24)

Peter then pulls up the testimony of the prophets of the Old Testament. Israel not only rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, they were also rejecting the testimony of Moses and all the prophets. In other words, when they rejected Jesus Christ, Israel was disregarding everything written in the Law and the Prophets. These prophets all spoke about the events that were now happening right before their eyes concerning the day of Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit. Peter was basically rubbing their nose in all the evidence that proved Jesus was the Messiah. It would be impossible for them to deny that Jesus was the Messiah if they took an honest look at the facts.

Peter then closely connects them with the prophets and with the covenant God made with Israel at Mount Sinai by telling them it was promised that God would bless all the families of the earth through Israel, a reference to the first coming of Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:18; Galatians 3:8). It should again be obvious that Peter is not talking to any Gentile. Everything said concerns promises made to Israel. Those who see the Church, the Body of Christ in these passages are looking ahead at the future revelation of the Mystery and merging this information into things given only to Israel under the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

You first (verse 26)

Israel was given preeminence, as seen by this verse. God actually elevated Israel to be a special servant used by God to reveal Himself to the world. Israel had many advantages because of this position. According to Romans 9:4—5 they had the adoption, they were the keepers of the glory of God (God dwelt among them), they had the covenants and the Law and the promises. If anyone wanted to come to God, they would have to do it through Israel. It was impossible to come to God outside of Israel. This was a huge advantage to Israel. Being a chosen servant of God mean that God would eventually reveal Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ through the nation of Israel.

A careful reading of this verse shows Peter only talking about God’s relationship with Israel. God was sent to bless Israel, not the rest of the world. Why is it that preachers and teachers today use Peter’s plan of salvation in Acts 2 (repent and be baptized) when he is only addressing Israel and purposefully ignoring the Gentile world? Peters’s message is not relevant to Gentiles. People read into Scripture what they want by adding their own narrative between the lines. We need to be careful to make sure we don’t put more into Scripture than is actually there. Being biblical is not enough when studying Scripture, we must also be dispensational. This is why 2 Timothy 2:15 does not just say we must study God’s word, we must do it rightly divided. This way we will not take what is written for Israel and apply it for ourselves, any more than we would read about Noah and go out and build an ark.

Peter finishes up with a plea for Israel to turn away from their iniquities. Literally, they were to repent from their wickedness. In context, it is referring to the evilness of putting the Son of Man to death by the hands of wicked men (Acts 2:23). Israel was told to turn from the sin of killing the Messiah, to change what they thought of Him.