Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.
Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty he shall break down their altars, he... [More]
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For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.
This small commentary covers the first eight chapters of the book of Acts, up until the persecution that scattered the Jerusalem Church and the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch but prior to the conversion of Paul. I have called the book The Primal Church, to distinguish it from "the Early Church" (29-313AD) or the Apostolic Church (29-95AD) both of which are much longer time-spans. The dating of Acts 1-8 is a matter of much contention but the years 29-37 AD or so seem likely dates for the time period from Pentecost to the martyrdom of Stephen. In these chapters the gospel goes from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria, and finally with the Ethiopian eunuch "to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The Christians start off as loyal Jews but gradually are rejected by the Jewish Temple authorities until the tension erupts with the stoning of Stephen and the persecution that causes the disruption of the Jerusalem Church. At this point the Jewish authorities clearly no longer regarded Christians as truly Jewish, though undoubtedly many of the Christians still felt their Jewish heritage very deeply. Thus a new religion is born, a religion without a temple or a caste of priests, a religion that is wholly "from faith to faith" and which has as its central dynamic the name of Jesus of Nazareth.