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ACTS 15. THE “APOSTOLIC COUNCIL” OF JERUSALEM

2021-02-27T09:03:34+00:00

[15:1-35]. The "Apostolic Council". The two most quoted chapters of Acts are Acts 2 (birth of the church at Pentecost) and this one (supposed "deliverance" of the Church from the law of Moses). It is therefore necessary to be very careful now, both because the way of understanding this chapter 15 influences the vision of the whole New Testament, and because we will propose an often-contrasting reading to the most indorsed ones. The problem the apostles began facing was with «some men [who had] come down from Judea», who were teaching the brothers that «unless [they] are circumcised according to the custom [...]

ACTS 15. THE “APOSTOLIC COUNCIL” OF JERUSALEM2021-02-27T09:03:34+00:00

DOES MATTHEW MISREPRESENT THE PROPHECIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT?

2021-02-27T09:03:39+00:00

Chap. 3.4. DOES MATTHEW MISREPRESENT THE PROPHECIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT? (1:22-23) First of all, it is necessary to clarify what we mean by prophecy, because sometimes scholars know things that then they neglect to clearly expose to a wider audience. A true prophecy, in the sense that is commonly given to this word, is when an unlikely event is announced in advance, publicly and clearly, the occurrence of which can then later be checked. For example, the statement ‘in the future it will rain’ is not a prophecy, because it is expressed imprecisely and it is a probable event. It [...]

DOES MATTHEW MISREPRESENT THE PROPHECIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT?2021-02-27T09:03:39+00:00

NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THE KINGDOM WITH THE PARABLES

2021-02-05T16:07:12+00:00

INTRODUCTION TO PART IV The common message of John and of Jesus was: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (3:2; 4:17; 10:7). So many people had shown enthusiasm for John and for Jesus, but the repentance of the ruling class had not happened, while that of the crowd had turned out to be superficial and temporary. The kingdom of God could have been inaugurated anyway, on the basis of the 120 disciples who remained until the end with Jesus (Acts 1:15), but a similar choice was made by God with the Flood, after which he promised not to [...]

NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THE KINGDOM WITH THE PARABLES2021-02-05T16:07:12+00:00

ACTS 13. BEGINNING OF BARNABAS AND PAUL’ MISSIONARY WORK

2021-02-05T15:58:59+00:00

[13:1-13]. «The Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.». In listing the five principal church leaders of Antioch, Luke places Barnabas first, while Saul is last. Even if he is appointed last, it was clear to me that Paul was the most important personality. Writing these notes, however, forced me not to neglect the details, including the reversal of appointment order that will follow (i.e., Paul before Barnabas, see below Further Insight no. 5). We have already mentioned that Luke uses the Hebrew name of Saul as long as the context remains [...]

ACTS 13. BEGINNING OF BARNABAS AND PAUL’ MISSIONARY WORK2021-02-05T15:58:59+00:00

THE ‘KINGDOM OF HEAVEN’ AS THE ‘FIFTH KINGDOM’ OF DANIEL

2021-02-27T09:03:54+00:00

2.THE ‘KINGDOM OF HEAVEN’ AS THE ‘FIFTH KINGDOM’ OF DANIEL For an overall summary of the book of Daniel we refer to the one presented in Summary of the OT (chap.23). Here we recall the vision of Daniel ‘of the four beasts’ and that of the ‘son of man’, to which we have already alluded (chap.2/5). In Daniel 7:17-18 it is written: “The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever”. ‘Holy’, in biblical language, means ‘belonging to God’, ‘set [...]

THE ‘KINGDOM OF HEAVEN’ AS THE ‘FIFTH KINGDOM’ OF DANIEL2021-02-27T09:03:54+00:00

ACTS 12. HEROD: A “SMALL ANTICHRIST” JUDGED BY GOD

2021-02-27T09:04:39+00:00

The previous chapter ends with a flash on Agabus which is strongly reminiscent of some "raids" of the Old Testament prophets (e.g., 2 Chr 11:2-4). The "Old Testament" climate continues in this chapter 12, where God shows that he has not ceased to exercise control over political authorities, even if sometimes his choices are not easy to understand. The chapter seems to interrupt Luke’s "filigree drawing", because events that are relevant are introduced, but they have little to do with the story of Paul (which is close to Luke’s heart). It can be discerned that Luke considers this chapter as a parenthesis, [...]

ACTS 12. HEROD: A “SMALL ANTICHRIST” JUDGED BY GOD2021-02-27T09:04:39+00:00

ACTS 11. ANTIOCH, THE FIRST CHURCH OF UNCIRCUMCISED

2021-02-27T09:04:35+00:00

[11:1-18]. «The circumcision party criticised him ... But Peter began and explained it to them». It may seem that this section contains unnecessary repetitions, but the importance of a fact is also the way it is relayed. Therefore, even if its content was more or less seen in the previous chapter, it is necessary to grasp some other aspect. The episode of Cornelius aroused a vast echo precisely in what, at that time, was the heart of Christianity: that is, Judea and its capital Jerusalem, where the twelve apostles had their base. The "circumcision party" who contested Peter cannot be separated from the [...]

ACTS 11. ANTIOCH, THE FIRST CHURCH OF UNCIRCUMCISED2021-02-27T09:04:35+00:00

ACTS 10. CORNELIUS, THE FIRST UNCIRCUMCISED TO BE BAPTIZED

2021-02-27T09:04:33+00:00

[10:1-33]. The Hebrew Peter forced to appear as a Pagan. Peter was in Joppa without being accompanied by other apostles, since they are not mentioned and since he remained there for «many days» (9:43): this would have facilitated his journey to Caesarea, a city also on the coast and well connected with Joppa (about 50 km). The story told here revolves around Cornelius, chosen by God not by chance. Cornelius was a Roman centurion, an army officer in charge of a hundred soldiers, who actively operated in the region with authority. This allowed him to interact deeply with the Jewish environment in which [...]

ACTS 10. CORNELIUS, THE FIRST UNCIRCUMCISED TO BE BAPTIZED2021-02-27T09:04:33+00:00

ACTS 9. CONVERSION OF SAUL. HEALINGS THROUGH PETER  

2021-01-09T12:51:09+00:00

[9:1-22]. Saul meets Jesus. Let’s begin with a statement that seems clearly false: «Paul never persecuted Christians and, after his conversion, it was more dangerous for them than before». To realise why this statement can be considered true, you have to pay attention to the beginning of the part we are dealing with: «But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem». (vv. 1-2). The difficulty of understanding comes [...]

ACTS 9. CONVERSION OF SAUL. HEALINGS THROUGH PETER  2021-01-09T12:51:09+00:00

ACTS 8. FLIGHT FROM JERUSALEM. PHILIP IN SAMARIA AND ELSEWHERE

2021-02-27T09:04:20+00:00

[8:1-3]. «They were all scattered ... except the apostles». Not only did Saul approve of Stephen’s killing, but he employed himself to «ravage» the Church, dragging believers into prison (v. 3); he fully participated in a «great persecution» that dispersed almost all, given that only the apostles remained in Jerusalem (8:1,14,25): why this attachment of the apostles to Jerusalem? The question is evidently "un-Jewish". Let us briefly say that this was the city where God had declared that he would live «forever» (1 Kings 8:13) and Jesus himself had said: «It cannot be that a prophet dies outside Jerusalem» (Luke 13:33). Certainly, Jesus had [...]

ACTS 8. FLIGHT FROM JERUSALEM. PHILIP IN SAMARIA AND ELSEWHERE2021-02-27T09:04:20+00:00
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