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Hast God cast away His people Israel?
pp. 165 - 171
Last time we asked such questions as: to whom were the signs a witness? To whom
were the displays of power a testimony? And we also asked why were there so many
wonders exhibited during the Acts period? We can answer such questions as these only
if the Acts of the Apostles is seen in its proper context in God's plan and purpose.
The theme of the book is summed up in the question recorded in Acts 1: 6:
"When they therefore were come together, they asked Him, saying, Lord wilt Thou at
this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?".
Readers who think that the Jew was set aside by God at the cross may find this
question perplexing. A careful reading of the book of Acts reveals that the Jew had not
been set aside but was still there, right in the centre of events. In God's sight, that nation
was still very much alive.
The word Israel or Israelite occurs some 21 times in the Acts of the Apostles and a
further 21 in the epistles written during the Acts period but it occurs only twice in those
seven written after the close of the Acts dispensation--(namely Ephesians, Philippians,
Colossians, I and II Timothy, Titus, Philemon). These two references are:
Eph. 2: 12--where the Gentiles are reminded that in times past they were "aliens from
the commonwealth of Israel".
Phil. 3: 5--where Paul describes himself as "of the stock of Israel".
The last reference, Phil. 3: 5, also contains the only occurrence of the word Hebrew
in the seven epistles written after Acts 28: 28. There Paul describes himself as "a
Hebrew of the Hebrews".
We see a similar pattern with the words Jew, Jews, Jewish, etc. These occur some 81
times in Acts, 29 times in the epistles of the Acts period but again, only twice in those
seven post Acts period epistles. The two references are:
Col. 3: 11--where the Colossians are reminded that "there is neither Greek nor Jew".
Titus 1: 14--where Titus is warned against "giving heed to Jewish fables".
Thus the book of the Acts is full of the Jews, the people of Israel--as well as being
full of mercies! This people had crucified their Messiah and they were held responsible
for that deed. Peter, speaking to the Jews, said:
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, Whom ye (the Jews) slew and hanged on a
tree" (Acts 5: 30).
Again, in Acts 10: 39, Peter said: