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Volume 25 - Page 6 of 190 Index | Zoom | |
had preached in the synagogue of Antioch, following much the same line as that of Peter
in Acts 2:, but with the distinctiveness peculiar to his ministry, to be noted in due
course; the Jews had turned away from his teaching, and he warned them that if they
persisted in their gainsaying and unrepentance a judgment would fall upon them which
would turn out to the greater blessing of the Gentile:--
"Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets:
Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work
which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you . . . . . It was
necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it
from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles,
that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth" (Acts 13: 40-47).
Here then is a passage that must be kept in mind as we read Acts 1: 8. There the Lord
gave one commandment, here He gives another; not because of any changeableness on
His part, but because of the failure of the people of Israel.
In Acts 1: 12 we have mentioned together, the mount called Olivet, and Jerusalem.
We have already seen that the ascension from the mount of Olives is intentionally
associated with the second coming, as prophesied in Zech. 14: 4. Jerusalem now
becomes the centre, and all that takes place in Acts chapters 2:-5: takes place there. And
although in the opening verse of chapter 6: we hear a new note, "the Grecians",
Jerusalem is still the centre as 6: 7 shows:--
"And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in
Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
The geography of the Acts is so important a matter that we must refrain from speaking
of the nationalities involved, and the sects and philosophies represented, until we are able
to give the subject something of the attention it deserves.
Samaria comes into notice in Acts 8:, and first in connection with the persecution
associated with Saul, which follows the same order as given in 1: 8:--
"And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at
Jerusalem: and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of JudŠa and
Samaria, except the apostles" (Acts 8: 1).
As the Lord had said in 1: 8, this scattering resulted in the spread of the witness. Nor
have we to trust human inference for this information, for in 11: 19 we read:--
"Now they that were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen
traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but Jews
We must return however to chapter 8:, for there we read of another witness, Philip,
who went down to Samaria and preached Christ unto them (8: 5). Jerusalem however
remains the centre, for the apostles which were at Jerusalem sent Peter and John down to