Moses as a prophet: The great burden he carried

The political conditions of Moses’ day were that the Land of Egypt produced a perfect background for this giant of a man, that during this time, the first great wave of anti-Semitism rolled through Israel. It is theorized that Exodus took place between 1290-1220 BC, which would be during the Judges era. (Other source notes it could have been earlier, such as 1446 BC around the time of the first Passover. That would place it before the Judges era starting in 1350 BC.) Rameses II has the most potential distinction of being Pharaoh of this oppression, and if that is the case, then the first date would be more plausible, because Rameses II ruled (1304-1237 BC). This is one area of archaeological evidence we wish to have, especially to prove to skeptics that the Biblical exodus actually happened.

The discussion on this matter was that because of the activities Rameses commonly imposed, it seems Exodus 13:17 refers to techniques commonly used by Rameses at this time, and it seemed to work best because of the sea peoples invasion per evidence, because in that verse, the trade/coastal routes were being used to commit justice by the Pharaoh’s hand (see “the way of the land of the Philistines” in 13:17). Thutmose III, a figure some thought over the Exodus has less evidence, because Thutmose created the largest Egyptian empire, but the Scripture does not allude to this fact, which would have been particularly prominent despite the inference. However, since the book of Exodus does not mention the Pharaoh’s names, we can efficiently decide which plausible evidence is most clear. Some of the other things to consider was that Moses was allowed to be taught about Yahweh, which means the ruler was unlikely to be tyrannical, at least toward religious freedom.

The social conditions of Moses’ day involved being born in the midst of a slave community, to which men did mandatory hard labor, family life continued even in oppression, and the Israelites overall lived as best as they could with some likeness of their early Fathers’ religion and reared their children as they had been raised. In the Egyptian court, luxury and ease would prevail, as it was an age of prosperity and albeit plenty in resources for them – while just a few short steps away, poverty and slavery was going on for God’s children.

Slave labor built huge structures to relieve the Egyptians of the stress of toil. Slaves would build great libraries and schools so the nobility could be equipped and supplied with more resources – and the Israelites meanwhile were still oppressed. Moses had a sample of both situations and knew of such misery, as he yearned of his own people. The finest educational system of their world gave him its best, and those 40 years in Egypt left an indelible mark upon Moses.

As for the religious conditions of Moses’ day, things were quite odd. We must believe that in the homes of the slaves in Egypt that some pious souls kept alive the fundamentals of the “old Faith of their Fathers.” When Moses began teaching about Yahweh, he found that they had a basis of the truth that he taught. However, people seemed ignorant of the deeper characteristics of God.

Among the Egyptians, there was an elaborate system of religious beliefs and observances, for religion was a big part of their life. Their temples were large and extravagantly furnished. They served many gods and vied with one another for the gifts of the multitudes who crowded the sanctuaries. Priests, ceremonies, and religious displays met the eye, and it was the golden age of Egyptian religion. Moses must have been a close student of all that passed before him.

Moses’ life is generally divided into three periods of 40 years:

  1. In Egypt for 40 years – Moses was born to godly parents, and was adopted into the family of Pharaoh. Being educated in all the arts and sciences of the Egyptian schools, he chose to attach himself to his own people, and was then forced to flee to save his own life.
  2. In the Wilderness for 40 years – Moses gained a wife, a home, and was then subjected to severe discipline in the desert. He learned firsthand about the land that he would one day lead his people through. After that, an important event occurred when God called him to go back to Egypt and begin his life’s work along with his brother Aaron.
  3. Leading the people through the Wilderness for 40 years – Moses obeyed God and rescued the Israelites from Egypt, saw God’s deliverance at the Red Sea, received the “Torah” at Sinai, taught and trained the people, lost his patience, and then fell into sin. Moses had repented and then preached in the plains of Moab – to which, he was then taken home to God without entering the Promised Land.

Personality

Moses was a powerful man physically, mentally, and spiritually. He had an ability to excite attention and admiration of all who looked upon him. Yet, he felt he needed Aaron, because he felt his speech was not adequate. He was known for such a vigorous social passion, to which is evidence through his life. He was unselfish in his leadership, for the Israelites consumed his life. He was so passionate in his devotion to Yahweh, to which he had a powerful faith in the Divine Plan of God. He was filled with righteous indignation and spiritual intensity, and this marks him as a true leader of men. Lastly, like the other prophets, he felt a pressure of the Hand of God – and his whole life was influenced by this awareness/consciousness – which brought him face-to-face with God.

Moses’ Theology

Moses had a theology of “God’s Will” – to which, excelled beyond most men, because he comprehended that “God is a God with a purpose.” God has a Will for Man, has a Will for the world, and especially a remarkable Will for Israel. Moses believed that God’s Will unfolded moment-by-moment and developed his character with each passing day. Moses believed that God was a being of moral character with ethical standards, and believed that He wanted His People to mirror His ethical nature. He knew God had a distinct personality, and Moses represented Yahweh as respecting human personality. He felt God’s compassion as He cared for His People – whether they were in slavery, bondage, in the Wilderness, etc. He was so faithful as to deliver them from bondage and lead them tenderly across the Wilderness. He was even so good as to teach them through the prophets, and loved them with an undying love. Moses knew God was a “covenant-keeping God” who had the right to expect His own chosen ones to keep their part of the covenant.

Miriam and Aaron were siblings of Moses. While Miriam normally didn’t speak, Aaron was especially true to his brother by helping him accomplish God’s Will, especially going with Moses to convince Pharaoh to release God’s People from bondage. They both undoubtedly stuck close to Moses for a good portion of his life.

Burning Bush

In Chapter three of Exodus, we see many things that Moses was involved. Moses kept the flock of Jethro, who was his father-in-law, a priest in the land of Midian. He kept the flock on the backside of the desert and near the Mountain of God, near Horeb. He did not know that he would lead millions of people through this Wilderness in the very area of the Mountain of God. In 3:2, he was called by God in the burning bush experience, and was told that God had seen the oppression of the Egyptians. He heard their cry and came to deliver them. God sent Moses then to go to Pharaoh to speak on His behalf to free the people. God gave him methods of doing so, with a promised consequence to Pharaoh for reluctance. Moses responded and went with Aaron to do so!

Overall

The roots of divine sovereignty, divine holiness, and divine love were foundational stones to which the Prophets reared the Temple of Faith – the pinnacle of which was Jesus of Nazareth! Moses contained such attributes, which would inspire future fathers to model a temple to support worship unto God, and if Moses was able to model this for Man and have them pass it down through the generations, that’s greatly awesome and wonderful to witness.

Moses in comparison to Jesus Christ

MosesJesus Christ
The prayer of Moses healed Miriam of Leprosy (Numbers 12:10-13).Jesus cleansed a leper (Matthew 8:2-3).
Children were killed by Pharaoh during the birth of Moses (Exodus 1:22).Children were killed by King Herod in Bethlehem during Jesus’ Birth (Matthew 2:16).
God promised a prophet like Moses would be raised up (Deuteronomy 18:15).Jesus is the prophet of promise from God, but definitely greater than Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6).
As the voice of God sounded, a cloud overshadowed Moses, Aaron, and Miriam (Numbers 12:5-8).As God’s Voice sounded, a cloud had overshadowed Peter, James, and John while they were with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-5).
Divided the red sea to get across.Walked on the water to transcend.
Moses was to flee his birthplace because of Pharaoh’s persecution (Exodus 2:15).Jesus and family fled their native land because Herod was persecuting people (Matthew 2:14).
Moses was able to return to his birthplace after Pharaoh died (Exodus 4:19).Jesus was able to return to His birthplace after Herod had died (Matthew 2:20-21).
Moses prayed over the miracle of Manna and Quails (Exodus 16:1; Numbers 11:31).Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fish two times (Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39).
Moses led Israel to the Promised Land (even though Moses could not cross the border because he sinned)(Numbers 20:1-13).Jesus Christ fully obeyed God and brought people into Paradise (Luke 23:43).
Moses chose 12 messengers – one from each Tribe. Hoshea is renamed Joshua, one of Moses’ closest associates (Numbers 13:2-16).Jesus chose 12 disciples (later known as apostles) who would judge Israel’s 12 Tribes. Simon is renamed Peter, one of Jesus’ closest associates (Matthew 16:17-19; Mark 3:16-17).
Moses was on the mountain of blessing to receive the Commandments (Exodus 19:20; Deuteronomy 6:5-25).Jesus was on the mount as He gave the Beatitudes sermon and His Commandments (law of love)(Matthew 5:1-12).

No fear in love; We Christians are sons of God | 1 John commentary

This first letter of John’s, written between 85-95 A.D., is one of a few letters by the apostle John. Overall, there are no greetings in this book, so it is unclear as to who this letter is addressed – however, we can safely assume he is addressing Christians, nonetheless. John presents a defensive against false teaching. He does this by instructing truth and righteousness.

John begins the letter by talking about the Word of Life being made to manifest eternal life into God’s people. He also explains, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” He first addresses an issue in verse 8, where he says, “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” He goes on to say, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Next, John declares that Jesus Christ is our advocate, and that we should keep His commandments. That is, we should love one another, but not the world. We should not love the world, because the spirit of the antichrist dwells in the world. John warns the audience of those who deny the Son, Jesus Christ, and for His people to not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

Now, in chapter three, John puts out a couple ways Christians can classify themselves as children. To be children of God, it is important to be saved, as His people are under the “Spirit of adoption,” according to Romans 8:15. Also, in Romans 8:16, it says “the spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” After this, John identifies the children of Satan as those who disobey or transgress the law. It says in verse 8 that those who commit sin are of the devil, since the devil sinned from the beginning. The Father sent the Son to destroy the works of the devil. Now, John speaks again of the children of God and who they are. They are ones who practice righteousness, do not commit sin, and that they love one another.

Next, we learn several valuable things from John. One of them is that if you hate your brother, you’re a murderer – and no murderer has eternal life. In addition, whatever we ask, we shall receive from Him, because of keeping His commandments. We learn in the next chapter that “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Next, John instructs that love be of God, because God is love. If we love on another, God dwells in us. We learn several other things about love. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear” (4:18a). We learn throughout 1 John that God loved us before we loved Him. Also, that it’s because God loved us that we love Him.

In chapter five, John instructs about faith being so important, that the victory we have being born of God, we use to overcome the world by faith. It is because of our faith in Jesus Christ that we overcome the world. John acknowledges the trinity in verse 7 and 8, before stating that we have life through God’s Son. John then declares why he wrote this letter in verse 13, “that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” He then gives his audience assurance that “if we ask anything according to His Will, He heareth us.”

John then gives his final testimonies and instructions. We can be sure that we are of God, and we know the Son of God is come and given us understanding that we are in Him. He testifies in 5:20b, “this is the true God, and eternal life.” His final warning is to “keep yourselves from idols.” A lot of what John was hitting at is that the world is a slave to evil and wickedness, and that we must remain in Him, if we have hopes of surviving spiritually and being children of God.

Lessons and other notes from John

In the opening words, John states certain facts about Christ that are good to know: He is the eternal God who became a real man through incarnation. John mentions that few have seen Him, heard Him, or touched Him. He explains what God is like, as it pertains to His incarnation as Jesus Christ, that He is light, which means He is holy, true, pure, and glorious. Darkness cannot co-exist with light, so there is no darkness in God. People can enjoy fellowship with God, who is perfectly holy in every way!

John mentions it, so people can know God’s majesty (for John experienced it firsthand and just cannot get enough of it – he’s in so much awe that he talks about it a lot), and that people will stop misunderstanding Jesus as a false one and stop misunderstanding God as a hateful, angry God. God is impressing upon people to live good lives, and loves people much. He gives assurance of forgiveness, and John wants them to know that. John is the best one to give us a great example of who God is, which repeats after Jesus – not because Jesus was unsuccessful, it’s just people didn’t accept Christ very well. However, Jesus was intentional on giving us a good picture of who the Father was, what He was like, etc. so people would quit misunderstanding Him. John continued this, and kept proclaiming God’s Love and Kingdom so that people would understand and know that His Holiness can be imputed upon us and give us a new hope and outlook on a life of love.

The anointing that we have received of Him abides in us! The indwelling Spirit confirms the truth of Christ to us – for we know that the Spirit bears witness of Christ (1 John 5:6). Believers will learn then to reject teaching of the deceivers, and know that they have been taught, therefore, they do not need any new (false) teachers to come and give them anymore teaching (albeit false). He teaches us all things and we don’t have a thing to worry about. John is telling us that all that we need to know is in the writings of the past, and that no further things are necessary to teach us. He believes it is sufficient that the Spirit leads us into all truth as it was said to be doing anyway!

The reality and mystery of deity robed in flesh: This is God incarnate as the person of Jesus Christ – to which, we have fellowship and relationship with the Father. We see in 1 John 1:2 this explained, “For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.”

How to test spirits to see if they are of God:

  • Try the spirits whether they are of God
  • Know the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God
  • Every spirit that doesn’t confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is NOT of God!
  • He that knows God hears us. He that doesn’t know Him doesn’t hear us

It seems also that there are many evil spirits that attempt to influence us with lies about our faith, and telling us that we aren’t good enough for God. People teach wrongly about Christ, however, we don’t have to worry, because God’s Spirit is in us and will lead us into all truth. God’s People would rather listen to His Truth!

The dividing wall between Jews & Gentiles: The wall of partition has always been the “wall” between Jews and Gentiles – which still ‘seems’ prevalent today. In Christ, however, there is no longer a distinction between Jews and Gentiles, for all who believe are God’s People. All have equal status, and the New Temple is where all of our spirits dwell. It is built around and built into Christ, and therefore, there is no wall to Jesus, even if people define a wall.

What about those false teachers? The false teachers claim that knowledge is all-important, and that behavior doesn’t matter. John, however, contradicts this, point out that sinning breaks God’s Law. If people deliberately sin, they don’t know God, nor do they know Christ who takes away sin. John is not saying that Christians cannot sin; however, they should not sin as they like. There are many failures and mistakes, but sinning habitually should not occur. The behavior of people shows whether they belong to Christ or to the world/evil. You cannot belong to both, because they are opposed to each other. If you are a true Christian, you will have divine power that will fight evil so you don’t sin. Therefore, the admonition given is to stop the sin.

False teachers were everywhere creating problems, and this didn’t help, because people did not feel free to learn. John had to give them plenty of admonition to reject false teachings and know whether the spirits are of God or not. True Christians are self-disciplined (keeping away from sin) and obedient to God’s commands. His way of taking us on a journey to remind us of the love of God through living in the light, knowing the enemies of Christ, living a life of love overall, and the assurance of eternal life helped me a lot to understand the beautiful depth of the Lord’s Love!

James believed in a real relationship with God | James commentary

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote his letter around 60 A.D. or earlier, which aims to encourage Jewish believers outside of Jerusalem (“the tribes scattered abroad”), especially those who have suffered through persecution, as well as to provide instruction so they can work out their faith in righteousness and godly living. Therefore, James wants believers to view trials as an opportunity for spiritual growth. James provides practical wisdom for the Christian life, and shows how we can do well unto others.

Now, James starts out introducing himself as a servant of God and Jesus, and gives his first encouragement in the next verse to “count it all joy when ye fall in divers temptations,” and then, “…the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Believers should have a right relationship with God – one that bears fruit and that is full of love. Then, we learn that if one lacks wisdom – to ask of God – and God will give it. In addition, those believers should ask in faith without doubt, and that “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

Next, James talks about temptation. For starters, temptation is not of God, but that man “is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” When lust occurs and is conceived, it brings forth sin. Moreover, when sin finishes, it brings forth death. James also teaches that every good and perfect gift is from the Father, who gives us the Word of Truth so believers are made first fruits. James moves on in his instruction that believers should be quick to listen and slow to speak (as the proverb instructs). In addition, those believers should be doers of the Word, not just hearers.

In chapter 2, James goes on to talk about faith. For those that say they have faith, but do not have works – then the faith is dead. Therefore, there is no evidence of devotion to Christ, if you do not have faith with works. True faith must be able to be endured. By works, a man is justified. Therefore, faith is true when works evidence it. Then, James talks about the tongue and how it can get believers in trouble and cause strife and confusion. Now, James warns about a slew of problems that believers can face. One of them is greed, which is stated as lusts. Lust is equivalent to a strong desire, so this type of greed is more about general lusts, not just money or sexual desires.

Another problem he warns about is being friends with the world. Instead, believers should draw nigh to God, cleanse their hands, purify their hearts, and humble themselves before God. Next, he warns about speaking evil (slander), before talking about depending only on God. Finally, he warns against rich men, whose riches are corrupted. Also, that those who are rich have a lustful attitude, and don’t use it for the glory of God or to help people. They just live in pleasure. James moves on to give them final encouragement and instructions. He tells the believers to have patience when they suffer in persecution, to pray for the sick and afflicted with the prayer of faith. Lastly, James states if anyone errs, then believers should do what they can to turn the erred person back to God.

James encompasses a perspective that believers should be wholly focused on God, without lust and confusion. People should follow God’s direction by depending on Him and walking in faith. If people do this, they can begin to do His Will for their lives.

Lessons from James and other facts

Two of the Apostles had the name, James. The less known one was James the son of Alphaeus (as we see in Matthew 10:3, “Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus.”). Then, the other Apostle James was the elder brother of the Apostle John (as we see in Matthew 10:2, “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother.”).

Next, there was James the brother of Jesus. This man was not an Apostle, but rather, he called himself a servant of God, as we see in his book, the Book of James. His relation with Jesus is obvious in Matthew 13:55-56, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” This is also proof that Mary and Joseph had relations after Jesus was birthed, to produce more sons and daughters. However, Jesus was Mary’s first son, as we see in Matthew 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” 1:20, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” 1:25, “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” In addition to note: Isaiah had prophesied this birth, and spoke that it would be a virgin who would birth the Messiah in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

The apostle James was humbling himself in Scripture, because he said that he is a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ – which is acknowledging that his own brother is of highest regard to him. To acknowledge himself as only a servant, and not the brother of Jesus Christ (even though he is) was a very humble move, because he could have used that “fame” to promote himself, but clearly chose not. There is no other info on him, either, which means that he was truly a humble servant at heart, hoping to relay the things of God!

Instead of teaching only the Law of Moses, the Scribes and Pharisees added a bunch of laws of their own. They seemed to have wanted to make a display of their religious devotion by wearing decorations large on their “long clothing” of God’s Law written on them. It seemed that they also wanted to be recognized and quickly took the most important seats, “the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts.” They would also try to appear even more religious with their long prayers, but yet, they took advantage of and oppressed the poor, “devour widows’ houses.” They will be in greater damnation, however. They seemed to focus on the minor details of the law, but ignored the most important teachings of it. Jesus had to have known that they were going about it all wrong.

What does James have to say about all this? Well, they fail his test of genuine faith badly, as we see in James 1:26-27, for he says, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” People are instructed to: 1. Have a bridled tongue, 2. Visit the fatherless and widows, and 3. Keep self unspotted from the world. The Scribes and Pharisees noted in Mark 12:38-40 go around speaking loudly with salutations, refuse to visit the widows (they take advantage of the poor), and they try to make themselves appear important by wearing long clothing with lots of writing of God’s Law, getting the best seat in the house, and praying loudly to get people to notice how “holy” they are. All of these things the Scribes and Pharisees do, Jesus did not like. Truly religious people are those who control their speech, and express their own faith in acts of kindness.

James warns his readers and the people that they shouldn’t be too hasty in being teachers, because if they instruct others and fail themselves, they will receive greater judgment – which places teachers in danger, because they can’t avoid such mistakes. However, if a person can control their tongue, they can control their whole self, and be able to teach well without envying and strife.

In Luke 12:48, we see that all are guilty of wrongdoing and will be punished, but the one who had more knowledge of his master’s will (God’s Will) will be punished more severely. Everyone shall be accountable to God, and He expects more of those who have more knowledge.

David would acknowledge his sin to God, and confess. He then had the assurance of forgiveness from God. He also prays that troubles would not come nigh unto him, and he is assured of the Lord’s safekeeping. David says to trust in the Lord, for many sorrows shall come, but He will lead us to rejoicing. James teaches that if you have committed sins, you shall be forgiven – just as David prayed and confessed his sins, he was forgiven. If you pray for others’ suffering, your prayer will avail, for the prayer shall save the sick and the Lord will raise him up.

It seems that James had a gift of love and teaching, that he could minister out of a servant heart, and therefore, do God’s Will. Christians were so devoted to the Law, that James wanted to unbind them and bring them to the truth of God’s grace and love, so they realize that love is the fulfilling of the Law. Loving your enemies is very important, as Jesus taught, and James was major teacher in this.

Through his teachings, James radically taught to love your enemies, and that includes being careful not to judge others, sticking to God’s Will, praying for others, and keep up the faith so it changes the thinking and behavior. Christians should live positively for God, even in an ungodly society, and be able to do His Will; sacrificing their own desires. James was so devoted to encouraging others in their trials and difficulties that God is with them and answering their prayers, that we can learn to put our faith into practice instead of going through the motions, to avoid worldly ambitions and to focus on God’s desires, and then a call to be patient and to pray.

James emphasizes what daily Christianity should look like, and that’s why many have called this a manual for Christians, because it packs so much wisdom into concise statements, and is catered to the early Christians who needed to learn how to be more Christlike and get away from the Law. He appears to talk a lot about OT wisdom, prophets, and other truths in the OT – but then, he bathes them in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teachings to show people what was old, and that it has now become new.

The measure of a true Christian is by expressing love through everything that they do, and showing people, that God is real by setting an example. James advocated and demonstrated an example of love, and even poured out other examples to show us that love is the only way that works, and that is what Jesus has been saying all along.

Many people miss what Jesus has been saying all along, because they’re too focused on the OT teachings and worried about the wrath of God, instead of looking upon Jesus, who told us that we fulfill the Law through the Great Commandment. It is because of Him that we have peace, joy, love, and righteousness. These are all parts of the Kingdom of God, and we have inherited them because of the work of Christ. He reasonably provided a way for us to enter into the Kingdom of God, even though that we are imperfect.

James, Paul, and Peter were just a few of the many that have tried to pry new Christians away from the Jewish ways, and other blasphemies of God – and help transform them into new creatures in Christ. That is, ones that become lovers of God and of men, and actually serve from a genuine heart; putting faith into practice. What a marvelous revelation of His love, just through the Book of James. James pressed that people would pry their minds out of the world’s desires, and focus only on God’s desires and Will, because it is best. God’s Will is Jesus, and Jesus is the truest expression of love, no doubt about it!

Paul begins ministry, Antioch responds well | Acts 13-14

Scripture: Acts chapters 13-14

Commentary: The Church at Antioch is talked about first in Chapter 13, as we see it is the first Gentile Church – and it is also the first church to send off missionaries to distant places. They sent off two of the best leaders, Barnabas and Saul (now to be called Paul). They were committed to doing God’s work. Therefore, Barnabas and Paul took John Mark with them, who assisted them. They all sailed for Cyprus and immediately began preaching in the Synagogues. After this, they went west for Paphos, preaching the Gospel all around. Their preaching even resulted in the ruler of the Island to believe, even if the magician in the land persuaded him otherwise.

Then, they arrive at Perga, and John Mark left the other two and returned to Jerusalem. Paul saw failure in John Mark on this situation. However, from Perga, Paul and Barnabas went north to Galatia, and visited Antioch – some call this Pisidian Antioch, because it isn’t the same one as Antioch, Syria. They preached in the Synagogue, and the preaching was similar to Peter and Stephen’s. He outlined the history of Israel, and then showed them about the promised Savior who had come in the person of Jesus Christ. Even though the Jews in Jerusalem rejected and killed Jesus, God raised Him from the dead to show people that He truly was The Messiah, Son of David.

Those who repented and believed on Him would be forgiven. That next week, almost the entire population locally in Pisidian Antioch came to the Synagogue to hear them preach. The Jews boiled in anger about this and feared that the missionaries were taking their Gentile converts by offering them an easier religion – one promising Salvation through faith with no regard for Jewish Law.

Paul and Barnabas, however, stated that it was God’s Plan for Israel to carry out His Message of Salvation to the Gentiles. If the Jews didn’t accept Salvation, then they couldn’t preach it to the Gentiles or do God’s Will. Therefore, Paul and Barnabas turned from the Jews, and then offered Salvation to the Gentiles directly. Angering the Jews even more, they were driven away from the city. The converts, however, spread the Gospel through the nation and kept going with the work.

As we move on to chapter 14, we see Paul and Barnabas go to Iconium, where they did similar things as in Antioch. It was a similar situation, that once salvation grew/conversion grew, the Jewish people became angry and drove them away from the city. As they moved on, they healed a crippled man in Lystra, and people thought they were two of the Greek gods – therefore, the people prepared an offering for them. After doing some work in Lystra, the Jewish people stirred up trouble, and Paul was almost killed.

Then, they move to Derbe, where another Church was founded. They returned to cities where they were once persecuted, but they wanted to strengthen the churches, and therefore, they appointed elders. After a short time in Perga, they returned to the Church that sent them out. They gave thanks to God for the work He’d done through them for the Gentiles.