ACTS OF THE APOSTLES CHAPTER 4
Acts 4:1: And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Acts 4:2: Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Acts 4:3: And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
This chapter is a continuation of what transpired in the previous chapter. The incident of the healing of the lame man at the gate of the temple was the main talking point that day. It was a wonderful opportunity to testify for the risen Messiah of Israel and to issue a call for repentance for the nation to usher in the time of refreshing and the restitution of all things. Before those amazed listeners were given a chance to respond to Peter’s sermon, the religious authorities interrupted the service. After all, the battleground took place on the territory of the religious establishment. This miraculous deliverance for the lame man caught the attention of the religious elites and brought them on a confrontational course with the apostles of Christ.
The clam down involved the entire religious body. The priests, the temple security and even the liberal Sadducees came together to confront the apostles. They were obviously grieved at the preaching of Jesus especially when the message concerned the resurrection of the King of the Jews rejected by the religious body. Moreover, it was the Pharisees and Sadducees who conspired together to deliver Jesus of Nazareth and put Him to death. These religious leaders were actually politicians in robes. Being politicians, what they feared most was the crowd. They needed a crowd to follow them but now the crowd was bought over by the followers of Jesus with demonstration of the power from heaven to authenticate their calling and claim. They thought with the death of Jesus who was gaining momentum in getting a huge following with His earthly ministry performing miracles to authenticate His claim of Who He was, would put a stop to the spread of the Jesus sect.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard they tried to cover up on the resurrection of the King of the Jews, the Lord’s apostles had started a new movement; in fact, it was a continuation of what the Lord had started and accomplished on the cross of Calvary. Of course, these religious leaders were grieved. With the lame man healed and a disturbance caused at the temple on their very front yard, this left them with no choice but to lay hands on the apostles. By then, it was already evening. The three in the afternoon prayer time at the temple was hijacked by the apostles and turned it into a healing and preaching service. This service lasted for about three hours and as it was already late to conduct an inquiry, they had the apostles arrested. This was the first incident where the apostles were arrested for preaching Christ. They were unlicensed preachers as far as the religious establishment was concerned.
Acts 4:4: Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
Though no invitation by the apostles was given, many turned to the Lord that day. The rude interruption of the service by the authority did not cause the listeners to disperse and flee for their lives. None was reported to be in fear of the crackdown by the temple officials and the security apparatus. In fact many believed in the Lord that day. Three thousands were saved on Pentecost and baptized in water. Many more were saved after that and the disciples fellowshipped from house to house. Now, a much bigger crowd got saved. Five thousands men believed what Peter preached that day. Jerusalem was in an upheaval. With such a huge crowd turning to the Lord from the foolishness of preaching by the apostles, no wonder the religious authority had to crackdown on the apostles preaching in the name of Jesus. As far as they were concerned, Jesus was supposed to be dead but the apostles and disciples of Christ were resurrecting on this matter claiming that they had seen the risen Messiah and they were now preaching about Jesus everywhere.
Despite the arrest of the apostles, those temple goers believed the miraculous healing of the lame man was the result of the faith in the name of Jesus. They believed Jesus was alive and was their Messiah. The only way out for the nation was to turn to Jesus their Messiah and the time of refreshing would come and the sins of the nation would be blotted out with the restitution of all things. So this Jesus movement was getting out of hand. Within a very short time after the ascension of Christ, more than eight thousands were converted unto the Lord. These five thousands did not get baptized in water for the remission of sin like the previous batch of converts on Pentecost. Yet, it was recorded here that they believed the message, the word preached by the apostle Peter. It was a transitional period where everyone was waiting for the return of the Messiah to usher in the Kingdom.
Acts 4:5: And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
Acts 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.
So the entire religious body assembled in the morning to convene a board of inquiry. All these family clans came together on the surface to perform a fact finding inquiry but the ultimate objective was to stop the spread of these fanatics preaching about a the resurrection of Jesus. They thought by spreading the rumours that the disciples of Christ stole His body would end the hopes of those who believed in Jesus and the people would return to the fold of the traditions of the elders. The same high priest was here that morning who led the tribunal that played a major role on the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was here again hoping to put a stop to the trouble stirred up by the disciples of Jesus. The anxiety brought upon these rulers and elders by what the apostles did threatening their positions in society must have caused quite a lot of unease to these leaders. They wasted no time to get down to business to bring an end to the spread of this cultic movement to draw the Jews away from their traditions.
Acts 4:7: And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
Were they really interested about the miraculous healing and wished to become disciples of Christ? Do they indeed wish to know the source of the power concerning the miraculous healing the day before and try to acquire this power as well? Would these proud and self-conceited rulers and priests be willing to sit under the feet of these unlearned apostles to learn of Christ? These people in high places who had no power to heal and had not done anything for the lame man at the temple all those years must be feeling very lame in front of the apostles and the crowd who witness the healing. If they were so good and so close and faithful to God, why did they not heal the lame man? Did they take pity upon this lame man who sat at the gate of the temple all those years?
They were behaving like the rich man in Luke 16 who could care less if poor Lazarus live or die. They did not mind the lame man remaining lame outside the temple gate even for the rest of his life but the moment this lame man was healed and instead of rejoicing with him and praising God, they took offence. The healing became an issue. Instead of questioning their own impotency in carrying out their temple duties that could do nothing for the lame man, they persecuted those who were doing the will of God. Nice people they were.
This episode also exposed their powerlessness and their vulnerability as elders and rulers of the people. Were they really concerned about the welfare of the people of Israel or were they more interested in preserving their own status and livelihood living under a foreign power? The moment they felt their positions were threatened the liberals and the fundamentalists joined hands in persecuting those who tell the truth like it was that the Messiah Jesus would be coming back to rule over them. These hypocrites were not there to find out the truth. They had already made up their minds and closed their ears on what the apostles had to tell them.
Acts 4:8: Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
Acts 4:9: If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
Acts 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.
Once again, the apostle Peter, the straight talker, wasted no time and went straight to the point. He was not interested in debating with these self-conceited rulers on the finer points of the law for he was a practitioner of the law like his Master. He was not a politician like these hypocrites in high places. He recognized who these people were and addressed them as such as the rulers and elders of the people. While the Lord was on earth, He promised these apostles that they would one day sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
Meanwhile Peter might be put lower in the sight of these rulers, he did not feel the least intimidated. Peter was not a graduate of some schools teaching him how to speak using human wisdom to get out of a tricky situation to save his own skin. He was definitely not a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming trying to win sympathy and understanding from these inquirers who had power to cause him harm. Peter was not there that day to persuade these people in authority to see things his way.
Instead he went straight to the point to accuse these people in authority for crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ. But Peter did not stop there. He emphasized that God had raised Jesus from the dead and it was by Christ who made that impotent man whole. Peter did not make allowance for these rulers to maneuver concerning the crucifixion of Christ and he did not leave room for himself either in order to get out of this tricky situation unscathed. Having spent a night in jail did not cause him to lose sleep and worry over this court hearing. He put his foot down firmly and squared off with those murderers of their Messiah. This confrontation was threatening to turn ugly as Peter did not give face to these politicians in robes.
Peter also called the healing of the lame man a good deed. Why would these rulers find fault with a good deed? Should not they be rejoicing like the rest of the temple goers? What good deeds had these rulers done for the people? Were they ashamed of their own inability to do good and incompetence in getting close to God and possessing powers like the apostles of Christ to heal the sick? Did they have something to hide? Were they covering up their own impotency as far as healing poor miserable men was concerned? Were they trying to hide their own indifference to the sufferings of their own country men and were happy with their own status as puppet rulers authorized by a foreign power?
Peter had backed these rulers and elders into a corner with his accusation. It was like David against Goliath taking the battle into the enemies’ court. Peter feared none but God in doing God’s will come what may, good or bad. After all how could these mere mortals threatened men who had witnessed the power of the resurrection and saw their Lord ascending back into heaven. Peter and the rest could not wait to hasten the day of the second coming of their Messiah and what harm could these religious hypocrites do to them!
Acts 4:11: This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Acts 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.
Peter continued his diatribe against these murderers of the Messiah who refused to repent. He accused these rulers who were supposed to be builders of the nation but they rejected the stone who turned out to be the head corner stone of Israel. These men in high places were too comfortable all these years ruling over the people since they returned from Babylonian bondage. They have been living under foreign powers for years and the former glory of the Kingdom of Israel was nowhere in sight. They were indeed looking for a Messiah but a Messiah whom they would approve and could control basing on a Book of the Law they could hardly understand. When the Messiah showed up they could not recognize Him though they were supposed to be teachers of the Law and having spent years on the Book, they were so blind as to reject Christ.
Here is recorded the unmistakable and uncompromising truth to these rulers and in fact applicable to all people on planet earth that salvation is found in none other person other than on the Lord Jesus Christ. No one else and none other name under heaven could save anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ whom these rulers and elders murdered whom God had raised from the dead. What the Lord Jesus told His disciples years ago rang out loud and clear.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
If there was any other way to go to the Father other than Jesus, the sufferings of Christ on the cross of Calvary would be a mockery. Would these rulers of the people be moved with the testimony of Peter testifying of the resurrection of Christ before them?
Acts 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.
Acts 4:14: And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
These bunch of religious elites indeed looked down on those whom they disapproved. Of course, Peter and John were not graduates from their seminaries. This Messiah approving body of course rejected these graduates from the school of Jesus who taught the disciples of Christ to be doers and not just hearers of God’s words with demonstration of power from heaven. The disciples of Christ were not like these graduates of the religious apostates who just looked at others through tainted lens of hypocrisy and self-righteousness who were powerless in the face of infirmities, devils possession and death defying faith in the God of Israel.
What else could these murderers of their Messiah do other than marveled and concluded that Peter and John were unlearned and ignorant men having been with Jesus? But these unlearned and ignorant seminary rejects could do what these professors of distinct institution could not do. Peter and John could perform healing while these religious elites could only talk about healing perhaps sometimes in the distant future.
They did not mind the lame man lying at the temple gate all these years and even till this lame man died outside the temple but the moment this lame man could walk, they imprisoned him with the apostles. What crime had he committed? Was it a crime to be healed? Is was not even a Sabbath day they objected so much about healing during the Lord’s earthly ministry. The imprisonment of the lame man was indeed shameful when they could not heal the man with all their credentials and puffed up head knowledge concerning the Law given to them.
So what else could they say? The lame man was indeed healed. They knew this was not a conspiracy that the apostles brought a man faking to be lame to the temple and then put on a show of healing this man to get a following after them. With evidence clearly against them, they could only attribute the boldness of the apostles for being with Jesus whom they considered a heretic and having put to death and determined what they should do to these erring Jews who had been brainwashed by Jesus.
Acts 4:15: But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
Acts 4:16: Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
Acts 4:17: But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
Acts 4:18: And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
So the court went into recess and the council members had a private discussion on how to deal with the apostles of Christ. Whenever the council is mentioned in the Book of Acts, there is only one objective, which is to prosecute and persecute believers in Christ. These men assembled together to put Christ to death and they continued to go after the Lord’s servants. The inquiry turned out to be rather short as Peter had always been a straight talker and the testimony of Peter left them with no room to compromise. They could not deny that the miracle was genuine and even in their own words admitted that it was a notable miracles and all of Jerusalem knew about it. Such news spread fast though it was not the Internet age.
Since they could not deny the miraculous healing of the lame man, the next best move would be to threaten the apostles. They feared this incident and the preaching in the name of Jesus would spread to other people. They were really running out of options. If they had their ways they would have brought trumped up charges against Peter and John and bought witnesses to testify against them. These corrupt leaders were well known for their wickedness. They paid Judas Iscariot to betray Christ. They tried to get wicked men to testify against the Lord and even bribed their ways out of the resurrection of Christ that scandalized their kangaroo court judgment on their Messiah. They thought by putting Christ to death would end His movement but He came back to life. Trying to cover up on the resurrection proved to be even more difficult than putting Christ to death as Peter took the battle to their territory and preached about this risen Messiah.
They would be overjoyed had they managed to wriggle themselves out of this incident by charging the apostles for conspiracy trying to destabilize their rule over the people of Israel. If they could bring sedition charges against the apostles, they surely would. Unfortunately they could do nothing about what had happened. Hence they threatened the apostles not to preach to anyone in the name of Jesus anymore. This was the best option for now as there was really nothing else they could do. Of course they hoped this would stop the spread of the Jesus sect and they could continue with their rule over the people of Israel unchallenged.
Acts 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.
Acts 4:20: For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
As expected the apostles did not give up an inch in this fight. They knew the Lord was on their side and they also knew these religious leaders were indeed powerless and hopeless. They disregarded their threat and turned the table on them by questioning them whether they should obey them or God. This religious body was supposed to be representatives of God’s priests and scribes to the people and of course they knew everyone should obey God rather than men. But God had abandoned them and they were only left with a form over substance in their worship of the God of Israel.
They could not perform miracles like the apostles and they had to rely on human means to challenge the apostles of Christ. The people were watching this spiritual fight and these rulers were losing members everyday and just the day before, they lost another five thousand souls to the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. They must be feeling desperate and at their wits end on how to stamp the flow of followers from their grip. Unfortunately, the apostles of Christ were not politicians trying to carve up a sphere of influence to live peacefully with them where the Pharisees and Sadducees though disagreed on doctrines yet they coexisted together and even came together to put down this threat from the apostles and disciples of Christ drawing away members from their midst. So Peter and John told them in their face that they cannot obey them but God. How could they stop preaching in the name of Jesus where they had seen their risen Messiah went back to heaven! They could not wait for the Lord to return or to be with the Lord if they were given a choice. This threat was really empty threat as far as they were concerned as Peter also later wrote.
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)
If these men had seen the majesty of the Lord, what mere mortals could threaten them! It must be too funny for words when these priests and scribes utter those powerless threats.
Acts 4:21: So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
Acts 4:22: For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
These leaders still thought they were somebody when they were actually nobody before the apostles of the Lord. Had they wanted to know the true and living God, they would have to sit under the feet of these apostles of Christ. Had these wicked religious rulers had they ways, they would have punished the apostles for what they did. But the people of Israel glorified God for what the Lord had done to the poor lame man. Why the contrast in response to the healing of this lame man by the rulers? Was healing a lame man a crime that deserved punishment? Why did the rulers want to punish the apostles? They were powerless to face up to the apostles in words and in deeds for the God of Israel and the people of Israel. What a shame for trying to punish someone who did good and to deliver this lame man from his wretched condition?
So it was revealed here that this lame man was over forty years old. If this lame man were a young man, these wicked religious rulers would have bullied him like they did to the blind young man in John chapter 9. The wickedness of these rulers was indeed very great. This lame man had probably been begging at the temple gate for decades and instead of being thankful to the apostles for healing him, they persecuted the healers when they could not heal the man themselves. The poor lame man was suffering for so long and when he was healed, he became a threat to the security of the religious order. They had to imprison the lame man who had just found the joy of walking with the apostles for a court hearing. They would prefer this lame man remained lame and so they continued with their lame outward piety but inward rottenness only to be exposed by the servants of the Most High God.
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matthew 23:1-7)
The Lord had indeed taught the disciples well to recognize these religious rulers for who they really were. So why should they fear these powerless, corrupt and wicked men who sat in high places. Thus threats or brides would not work on the apostles to stop them from preaching in the name of Jesus and testifying of His glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven.
Acts 4:23: And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
Acts 4:24: And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Acts 4:25: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
Acts 4:26: The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Acts 4:27: For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Acts 4:28: For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Acts 4:29: And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
Acts 4:30: By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
The unity of the apostles and disciples in the early church was very precious in the sight of God and men. When Peter and John were released, they reported the matter to their company so that they may encourage and comfort one another in the Lord. Doing the Lord’s work will definitely encounter opposition and during such times of persecution, prayer support from the brethren would be most appropriate and necessary. No believers should work in secret hoping to reap a handsome reward by not telling other believers what they are doing. When persecution from the enemies comes along, it would be hard to withstand the fiery darts of the evil one.
So when the apostles and disciples heard about the arrest and the threats, instead of retreating to safety, they committed the matter to the Lord in prayer. For the Lord had assured the disciples of His presence during such times of dire need.
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:18-20)
These faithful men of God acknowledged the true and living God as the Creator God. They were taught in the Scriptures concerning those enemies gathered against the Lord. It is a biblical fact that all the kings and rulers of this world are against the Lord and these rulers in Israel are no exception.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (1 John 5:19)
So when those rulers and elders of Israel were gathered against Christ, it was not surprising. All this was already foretold in the Scriptures according to the foreknowledge of God. As such, when the Son of God came into the world, the whole world ganged up against Him. Hence, these rulers and elders were now persecuting the servants of the living God as the Lord already told them.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:22-25)
Therefore, the servants of God should expect persecution. The disciple is indeed not above his Master. These disciples of Christ would be persecuted from cities to cities in Israel. They were promised the Son of man would come back to end the persecution. Under such circumstances where the persecution of the apostles had already started with the healing of the lame man, nothing would be more appropriate than committing themselves to the Lord in prayer and waiting upon Him. What these servants of the Lord wanted was the Lord to look upon them and pay attention to the threatening of these enemies of the cross. They desired boldness from the Lord to speak the God’s words in spite of the threats from the rulers and elders. They wished the Lord would continue to magnify Himself with signs and wonders in His name like the days of old during the time of Moses to confirm His servants and His work for the nation.
Once again, the corrupt NIV, NASB and NKJV changed the “holy child Jesus” to “holy servant Jesus”. These scholars without fail downgrade the Son of God to the servant of God. Miracles are not performed in the name of any servant but in the name of the Son of God, God’s holy child. Did Moses perform any signs and wonders in the name of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob? Did Paul perform miracles in the name of Peter, James or John? Nowhere in the Bible were there signs and wonders done in the name of any servants of God but only in the name of God, namely the Son of God, God’s holy child. Such simple Bible truth is simply too profound for high-minded and self-conceited scholars.
Acts 4:31: And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
With such attitudes and postures in prayers, God was indeed honoured and well pleased. As a result, God granted His servants’ prayers with outward acknowledgement of His approval on them. How often did places shake when God’s servants prayed to Him? But this occasion was special where persecution against the servants of Christ had begun as it was foretold and an outward acknowledgement from the Lord would indeed be encouraging. These apostles and disciples were already baptized with the Holy Ghost on Pentecost and now they were recorded to be filled with the Holy Ghost. The result of such a filling of these vessels of the Lord was boldness in speaking God’s words by these faithful servants of Christ.
Those threats issued by the rulers and elders fell on deaf ears. The servants of the Lord defied these powerless religious rulers and continued to preach about the risen Messiah. The healing of the lame man at the temple provoked the religious establishment to clam down on these apostles and disciples of Christ. They were going nowhere with their empty threats in the face of these Spirit filled servants of the God preaching Christ and Christ crucified. The name of Jesus continued to be heard in Jerusalem despite order from the rulers of the people. Soon the whole nation would be moved and these priests and scribes and elders would have to respond whether they would recognize Jesus as their Messiah.
Acts 4:32: And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
Acts 4:33: And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
Acts 4:34: Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
Acts 4:35: And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Acts 4:36: And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
Acts 4:37: Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
During those exciting times where signs and wonders were done in the name of Jesus by the apostles of Christ and the persecution they faced, those believers were of one heart and one mind in the following the Lord. The Kingdom would appear anytime soon and the exaltation of the nation would be at hand. Material possessions became a non-issue for them. Local currencies issued by Caesar would soon be replaced under a different regime. The coins of Caesar would be as valuable as the Japanese Banana Notes after World war Two. The coming glorious Kingdom would not need those poor and beggarly elements of the former old kingdom under the power of Satan. Hence, the believers had all things in common in preparation of the soon appearing of the Kingdom where the Messiah would come back to establish.
Under such extraordinary times, manifestation of power on the apostles were recorded where these servants were faithful witnesses of the resurrection of Christ and great grace were upon them. The adjective “great” is found many times in the Book of Acts. This book recorded great power, great grace, great fear, great joy and many other great things and indeed these servants of God were having a great time. These believers were earnestly expecting the return of the King of the Jews and they were living selfless lives keeping the precepts of the Law.
And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. (Leviticus 23:22; 25:35)
If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. (Deuteronomy 15:7,8,11)
No one compelled them to live that way and no church leaders preached about giving and tithing but they just practiced naturally what they believed was right according to the spirit of the Law. Indeed their salvation did not depend on their giving but their salvation in the Messiah resulted in their giving voluntarily without compulsion or peer pressure. They wanted God to be honoured and received all the glory by their outward act of loving their neighbours as themselves.
So all those wealth were brought to the apostles but the apostles did not benefit from these gifts by enriching themselves. Recorded here was the redistribution of wealth where equality might be achieved. People always complained that the rich became richer while the poor became poorer. After all, how much can one eat and how big a bed could one sleep on? How big a house does one need and how much money does one need to keep his body and soul together? They went back to their basics and doing first things first. All the needs of the believers were met and none was struggling to stay alive before the King’s arrival to set up the Kingdom. Everyone was excited about the prospect to meeting the coming Messiah and everyday was a day nearer to glory. Those were the days where the disciples and apostles were living in earnest expectation of seeing their King coming back from heaven for the restitution of all things.
One such great man was mentioned to have sold his properties to follow the King of the Jews. This man was from the tribe of Levi but he was not one of those priests and scribes who rejected the Messiah. The grace of God could indeed reach all those whose hearts were not hardened against the truth revealed from heaven through the servants of the living God. The name of this man Barnabas was indeed a son of consolation to many for his selfless life. He went on to do great things for the Lord as the drama of the acts of the apostles continued with more excitement with the turning of the pages of sacred Scriptures given by inspiration of God that we might also receive comfort waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ like these disciples of old.
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