THE CHASE BEGINS, FIRST PERSECUTIONS

Act 4:1

And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,

The leaders were troubled, offended and upset. Who where? The captain of the temple and the Sadducees. We see not the Pharisees but the other sect of the Saducees

Who was the “captiain of the temple”?

“Information in the OT about a captain of the temple is limited and is partly based on deduction. In Jeremiah 20:1 the priest, Pashhur, is referred to as the “chief officer in the house of the Lord,” or פָקִ֥יד נָגִ֖יד בְּבֵ֣ית יְהוָ֑ה. The text indicates that Pashhur had police powers to arrest prophets who got out of hand and to punish them. The same is true of Zephaniah the priest, who was concerned with “every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and collar” (Jer 29:26).”

Who were the Sadduces? “The aristocratic makeup of the Sadducees, together with their power in the Sanhedrin and their control of the high-priesthood, made it inevitable that their dominating interests should be political in nature. Their wealth and position on the one hand and on the other hand the fact that their power was delegated to them by the Rom. occupation, combine to account for the most outstanding trait of the Sadducees, their rigid conservatism. This conservatism, of course, was inevitably tempered by the dictates of the Romans. Since their political involvements were conditioned by their vested interests in the preservation of the status quo, it follows that they pursued policies designed to appease the governing authorities of Rome”

Because the were interested more in the status quo and keeping the Romans satisfied they were more vested in the political arena than the Pharisees who were more religious radicals, but for the wrong god.

Act 4:2

Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Notice that the most important subject was the resurrection from the dead. If they people believed this message, that one man over came death for ever and so all who followed him would also over come death, it was too dangerous

The rulers, being the Saduccees and Pharisees,  would lose their earthly control over the people. The people would be set free from all the sacrifices, all the rules and even the temple itself was lost to the Eternal Body of Christ. That is the temple Jesus promised to build in three days. The would be free from the fear of death since they would be resurrected. So, even the fear of death at the hands of the Romans lost its power. That is why they needed to squelch this good news that death itself was defeated when Jesus left that grave! But most of all Satan was very upset that people might be released from death and believe the Gospel to have eternal life.

The rest of this chapter unfolds their account like this

I. Peter and John are taken up, upon a warrant from the priests, and committed to jail (v. 1-4).

II. They are examined by a committee of the great sanhedrim (v. 5-7).

III. They bravely confess what they have done, and preach Christ to their persecutors (v. 8-12).

IV. Their persecutors, being unable to answer them, kept  silence, then threatening them if they go on to preach the gospel, and so dismiss them (v. 13-22).

V. Then the joined together to seek  God by prayer, for the further operations of the holy spirit which they had already experienced (v. 23-30).

VI. God owns them, both outwardly and inwardly, by manifest tokens of his presence with them (v. 31-33).

VII. The believers had their hearts knit together in holy love, and enlarged their love to the poor, and the church flourished more than ever, to the glory of Christ (v. 33-37).

Look at the damage the did to the enemies Empire. The stole away another five thousand souls to be placed into the Kingdom of God’s Son!

Act 4:4

Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand

Act 4:6

And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem

Annas was called the high priest by God because he acted as the Hight priest even after the Roman government replaced him and Caiaphas was the present “high priest” in title.

You see there are many “Johns” in the Bible and this was a man only mentioned here. Alexander was a relative of the high priest. The family of the high priest were involved and rulership is often determined by connections not worth.

Act 4:7

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?

Peter and John were kept all night in a cell and then brought to the court which was the Sanhedrin at their time. Jesus had prepared them what to do and they remembered.

Notice that here is an example how the people of Judea and the times took the meaning of “the name” It is synonymous with power or authority. When we use the name of Jesus we our not just using a magic word to get what we want. We are asking in the authority of all Jesus accomplished through the cross to the resurrection and through the ascension what our High priest is doing today. There is a lot to the name of Jesus!

They asked for it so the Holy spirit gave them the answer.

Jesus had warned his followers of the storms to come. It was directed at their generation. They had to spread the word around the entire world not just in Judea and Israel!

Mar 13:10

And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

Off course the devil would not give them permission and the leaders of the nations where in his pocket until they heard and believed the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. Until then they were still the servants of Satan and did his bidding.

Mar 13:9

But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.

Mar 13:12

Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.

Mar 13:11

But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

When Peter spoke and answered these evil lost men he spoke prophecy.  The holy spirit gave him the right words to say here in Acts 4 as Jesus had told Peter.

He followed no script other than God’s. He did not have to do marketing research or search engine optimizatio, Peter just got out of the way and let the Spirit rip!

Act 4:8

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

Act 4:9

If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole

God now was speaking in love to these lost men. The asked by what authority they did this miracle? Well they got the answer.

The did not disrespect them and I’m sure they had reason to fear them. But the spoke the words of life to them anyways.

1Pe 3:15

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

When we allow the holy spirit to speak through us, we can give the right answer for our hope and that is what Peter did here. The needed and answer and Peter gave them the reason “Jesus is the Ressurection!”

Act 4:10

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

You may have killed Him. Peter convicted them, they priests and false religion, of killing their Lord. But they could not stop him from being raised from death and they could not stop God from healing this lame man.

Psa 118:22

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

The builders knew the words of the prophets like David but they did not want to believe them. They wanted to sing  “I did my way”

Act 4:12

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

How is that for an answer?

Act 4:13

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.

Act 4:14

And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Act 4:15

But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

They could have believed like thousands of other Jews did already., But no they refuse eternal life for their positions of earthly power. The refuse the inheritance God wanted to give them as Esau did for just a bowl of hot soup! Perhaps many of them had the blood of Esau at least Herod was genetically. Annas and his son sold their souls for business with their oppressors in Rome.

Jesus had foreseen and warned Peter that this day would come and it did.  He told his followers that they would deliver them to the “councils” and the same exact word is used. Synhedron.

“he Sanhedrin, the great council at Jerusalem, consisting of the seventy one members, viz. scribes, elders, prominent members of the high priestly families and the high priest, the president of the assembly.”

So these people continued to put their fingers into their spiritual ears and sing la la la. Some people do not believe because they are just ignorant and need more information.  But others chose to deny the truth because they already think they have what the need and then still die for ever. Others leaned and leave ignorance to be born again into eternal life.

So these fools got together to make a plan that God had already planned for. The threatened them. And there is no fear in love, therefore this motivation will not stop love. Perfect love casts out fear. Peter continued to allow the Holy spirit or the spirit of Christ to speak boldly.

God tells us not to cause chaos and work with the governments of men. But when men tell us to disobey God we must disobey men not GOD!

Act 4:19

But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye

That is a good question to ask the religious who say they represent God in the temple.

In the next chapter the Sadducees who had their wealth to think about did not care to here Gods words.  “La la la la!” but they tried to stop Peter and the sent one again. No way.

Even after they were thrown in prison again in Acts 5 an angel of the Lord released them!

“Act 5:20

Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

Even though the government said “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?”

The disobeyed their government and obeyed God again!

Act 5:29

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

And so try as they may the rulers and religious leaders of Judea could not stop the words of this LIFE to spread around the entire world? And so it did because these followers refused to obey man made institutions over the Holy Spirit.

There may be time we will be called to disobey government rules If they are against the words of life, against love and against God. We must follow the wisdom of the holy spirit in our own individual conscience and no one else.

But as the early Christians, we cannot pick up a sword. Jesus taugh that violence is not the answer. Revolutions only revolve into bigger revolutions. But we like Jesus can sacrifice and pay the consequences without fear knowing that God always has us in His hand.  They devil can send his minions to get us.  But there are angels that minister to us and open prison doors and send us to all the places we must go.  They can chase us full speed in their persecution.  Our persecution is to chase after those evil fools with the weapon of love and kindness. We will never be touched as Jesus never was until it was His time to go.  And when our time comes to die, and it will for ever man., it will be the right time to go home.

Be wise as serpents  but harmless as dove

you can chase us but you cannot have us until God says we are done!

Be wise as serpents  but harmless as dove! That was how Jesus sent His follows out to the world and keep speaking LOVE

you can chase us but you cannot have us until God says we are done!

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