The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

Sections of the Apostolic Writings
The Gospels and Acts • The “Pauline” Letters • General Letters • End Times

Introduction to the Gospels (Good News of the Kingdom) and Acts
Mattityahu (Matthew)  •  Mordichai (Mark)  •  Lukas (Luke)  • Yochanan (John)
Crucifixion Week Chronology3-Year Harmony of the Gospels1-Year Harmony of the Gospels  
Hitgalut (Revelation)  •  P’yilut HaShliyakim (Acts of the Emissaries)  •  The Chosen (Video Series)

Acts Index
Chapters:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14
15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28

P’yilut HaSh'liakim
The Acts of the Emissaries

~ 15 ~

The Dispute in Antioch

1Some men came down from Y'hudah and taught the brothers,[1a] “Unless you are circumcised in accordance with the custom of Moshe, you can’t be saved.”[1b] 2When Sha'ul and Bar-Nabba had a major disagreement with them, they appointed Sha'ul and Bar-Nabba, plus a few others, to go up to Yerushalayim to the ShliachimEmissaries, Apostles[2a] and ZakenimElders about this question.[2b] 3Having been sent on their way by the assembly, they passed through both Phoenicia and ShomronSamaria, describing in detail how the Goyim were being converted, and causing great among the brothers. 4When they arrived at Yerushalayim, they were received by the assembly,  the Shliachim, and the Zakenim, and they reported everything that God had done with them.

5But some members of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to direct them to keep the Torah of Moshe.”

The Jerusalem Council

6The Shliachim and the Zakenim came together to consider this matter. 7After much discussion, Kefa stood and said to them, “Brothers, you know that a good while ago God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Goyim should hear the word of the Good News, and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them Ruach HaKodesh,[8] just like He did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10So why do you now want to test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the talmidm which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?[10] 11But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Yeshua,[11] just as they are.”

12All the multitude kept silence, and they listened to Bar-Nabba and Sha'ul reporting what signs and wonders God had done among the nations through them.

Ya'akov’s Decision

13After they were silent, Ya'akov answered, “Brothers, listen to me. 14Shim`on has reported how God first visited the nations, to take out of them a people for his name. 15This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written,

16‘When that day comes I will return.
I will rebuild the fallen sukkah of David.
I will rebuild its ruins.
I will set it up,
17That the rest of men may seek after the Lord;
All the Goyim who are called by My name,
Says ADONAI, Who does all these things.[17]
18All his works are known to God from eternity.’[18]

19“Therefore, it is my position that we don’t trouble those who are turning to God from among the Goyim, 20but that we write to them that they abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.[20] For Moshe from generations of old has in every city those who teach him, being read in the synagogues every Shabbat.”[21]

The Hilachic Decision Sent

22Then it seemed good to the Shliachim and the Zakenim, as well as the whole assembly, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antich with Sha'ul and Bar-Nabba, Y'hudah Bar-Sabba, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. 23They sent this letter with them:

“From The Shliachim and the brothers who are Zakenim, 

To the brothers among the Goyim in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings. 24Since we have heard that some who of our number, to whom we gave no such authorization, have troubled you with their words, unsettling your souls, telling you that you must be circumcised and keep the Torah,  25we have come to agreement, and it seemed only right for us to us to select some men and send them to you with our beloved Bar-Nabba and Sha'ul, 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 27We have therefore sent Y'hudah and Silas, who will tell you the same things vernally. 28It seemed good to Ruach HaKodesh — and to us —  to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things: 29that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality; if you keep yourselves from thest things, you will do well. Farewell.”

30So, when they were sent off, they came to Antioch, and having assembled the congregation, they delivered the letter. 31When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32Y'hudah and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers with many words, and strengthened them. 33After they had spent some time there, they were sent back with greetings from the brothers to the Shliachim. 34[34] 35But Sha'ul and Bar-Nabba stayed in Antioch, along with many others, teaching and proclaiming the word of the Lord.

Sha'ul and Bar-Nabba Separate

36Some time later Sha'ul said to Bar-Nabba, “Let’s return and visit our brothers in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, to see how they are doing.” 37Bar-Nabba wanted to take Yochanan Marcus with them also. 38but Sha'ul didn’t think that it was a good idea to take with them someone who had left them in Pamphylia, and didn’t stay with them to do the work. 39Then the disagreement grew so sharp that they separated from each other. Bar-Nabba took Yochanan Marcus with him, and sailed away to Kypros, 40but Sha'ul chose Silas and left, after the brothers had committed them to the grace of ADONAI. 41He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the assemblies.

Chapter 16


 1a. The word for “brothers” here and where the context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.” [RETURN]

 1b. Before the Jerusalem Council’s decision, most of the Jewish Believers assumed that  Yeshua’s sacrifice provided salvation only for natural-born Jews and Prostelites. For a Goy (Gentile) to become a Jewish prostelite one would have to undergo a formal “conversion” process which involved foreswaring all prior religious affiliation or conviction, being circumcised for men, taking a Hebrew name, undergoing tevilah (immersion), and entering a process of Torah study. This was called being “born again” (as a Jew). Following this “conversion” they were considered Jews, no longer Gentiles. Before Cornelius, no Gentile had come to faith in Messiah and it was assumed this would always be the case. [RETURN]

 2a. The ShliachimEmissaries, Apostles and other Zakenim in Jerusalem served as the Beit Din for the Messianic Community. All matters of Messianic halakhah had to be decided there. [RETURN]

 2b. See my extended comments on this chapter HERE. [RETURN]

  8. Ruach HaKodesh is not given to anyone who has not truly come to saving faith. [RETURN]

10. Kefa was not refering to God’s loving instruction, Torah, as a burden. However, those who were insisting on “circumcision” for the new Believers were also expecting them to conform to the entire “Traditions of the Elders,” the thousands of man-made additional rules, or so-called “fences” that had beed added to the 613 mitzvot (commandments) of Torah. These extra rules were burdensom indeed. [RETURN]

11.  TR adds “Messiah.” Kefa was pointing out that faith in Messiah, not obedience to Torah, is what provides salvation. [RETURN]

17. Amos 9:11-12 [RETURN]

18. Isaiah 45:21 [RETURN]

20. Please note very carefully that these conditions are almost exactly the same as the conditions that had always been expected of the God-Fearers:

“But of the stranger it was expected that he would forego the worship of idols (Leviticus 20-2; Ezekiel 14:7) and the practise [sic.] of sorcery, incest, or other abominations [which include fornication] (Leviticus 18:26), and that he would refrain from eating blood (Leviticus 17:10), from working on Sabbath (Exodus 10:10; 23:12), from eating leavened bread on Pesach (Exodus 12:19), and from violating Yom ha-Kippurim [Yom Kippur] (Lev. xvi. 29).”[98] [Compare Acts 15:28-29] (“Gentile,”  Jewish Encyclopedia, accessed 4 November 2019)

In short, Ya`akov declared on behalf of the Council that the Goyim would be accepted into fellowship in exactly the same way that Goyim had always been accepted into fellowship — simply by acting in a manner that the Jewish people considered the “minimum requirements” for any civilized person. [RETURN]

21. Then Ya`akov added a comment that, in my opinion, has almost always been misinterpreted by Bible commentators who fail to recognize the historical fact that early Messianic Judaism was part and parcel of the synagogue: just as newly-born ethnic Jews are given an extended time under the weeklt teaching of Moshe to learn what Torah expects of them, so would the newly “born-again” be given that same opportunity. The Goyim are not excused from following Torah, they are simply given time to learn Torah. [RETURN]

34. Some manuscripts add: “But it seemed good to Silas to stay there.” [RETURN]

Originally posted on Friday, 1 May 2020

Page last updated on Thursday, 21 January 2021 04:15 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return