The prophet Bilam (Balaam) is not an isolated individual, an anomaly in Scripture. He was not the first or last emissary to the Gentiles. God did not leave them without guidance. Bilam is a foreshadowing of the ministry of Saul of Tarsus, aka the apostle Paul, whose experience on the road to Damascus echoes the account in the Torah reading בָּלָק Balak of Bilam’s experience with a “recalcitrant” she-donkey.
God will put a trial on the nations who do not come to the Great Ingathering, i.e., the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles). God told Israel to bring in their laborers to Sukkot — even the “stranger,” or foreigner. So this among God’s appointments with mankind is not just for the House of Yehudah (Judah) or the House of Israel. God wants to “harvest” the peoples of the world into a new reality without sin and death.
At the beginning of a chapter with three parables about God’s seeking to bring back to the Kingdom of God those who are “lost,” Yeshua demonstrated how God makes the “unholy” “holy.”
What looks at first to be a dry exchange between kings Solomon and Hiram about the temple building project take on deeper significance via prophecies in chiastic literary structure.
Paul had been attacked by those in the temple who thought he had brought uncircumcised believers from the nations inside while he was bringing four Nazarite vow-takers into the temple at the end of their time. The Roman commander in Yerushalayim pulled Paul out of the melee, and Paul received permission to address the crowd. The gathering quietly listened to his talk until he mention that the “Righteous One,” i.e. Messiah, had sent Paul to give the good news of God to the nations.
Acts 15 recounts a “watershed” moment among believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) — should believers among the nations be allowed into the assembly of Israel and how. These events didn’t happen in a vacuum. Events from Acts 1–14 — Peter’s encounter with Cornelius and Paul’s first tour of Asia Minor — led to this momentous ruling by the elders.
In part 2 of the discussion, the importance of the passage from Amos 9 of restoration of a tabernacle for all believers is revealed. The Yerushalayim council ruled that we mustn’t "trouble" new believers as they learn Torah. Continue reading Acts 15 — to circumcise new believers or not to circumcise, to hassle them on Torah or not to hassle
The vision of Acts 10, repeated in Acts 11, has been misinterpreted for millennia, in part because many people reading the text fail to see the vision of the animals in the context of Peter’s later meeting with Cornelius and the conversion of Cornelius household to the Gospel and God’s gift of the Holy Spirit upon Cornelius. Many Christians see the vision of the animals on the sheet as simply a change in dietary laws. The focus on physical food rather than upon the spiritual reality of God’s call of both Jews and Gentiles to believe in the one and only Messiah Yeshua becomes lost when this vision is interpreted out of context.