For the sake of simplicity, in this post (and likely others), since to Peter were given the “keys of the Kingdom” (Mat 16:19), when I refer to Peter, it is in respect to the twelve (all of them) and what they were instructed to preach to Israel during Christs earthly ministry. Paul stands alone as the sole Apostle to the heathen (Gal 2:9) for Christs heavenly ministry, post ascension.
What then did a Jewish man like Peter (or any Jew in time past) have to do to be “saved”? Since the ministry of Christ to Israel began with John the Baptist (John 1:6-7), and since John was a great prophet (Luke 7:28), what did he first instruct those of Israel to do? John bared prophetic witness of the coming Messiah first and foremost, that the one to come after him was THE Christ (John 1:15), and to make straight the way of the Lord (John 1:23). In other words, wake up Israel, that which was promised since the world began has arrived! Repent (of your sins) for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mat 3:2). Those who believed what John said were straight away baptized with water (Mat 3:6).
What did Jesus Himself instruct Peter to teach the nation?
Mat 4:17… “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Mat 10:7… “And as ye go, preach, saying The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Mark 16:15-16… “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Jesus and John the Baptist then, are in accord.
Let’s fast forward past the cross and see what Peter is preaching to the Jews gathered from all nations at Pentecost, the feast of weeks. Peter preaches a scathing murder indictment (Acts 2:22-24 – “wicked hands have crucified and slain”) and all who believed were distraught and asked “what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
Acts 2:38… “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
The giving of the Holy Ghost with power was Gods sign of affirmation, that these were in fact inside the will of God and thus “saved”. They believed and subsequently did what God required of them. It seems that all are on the same page then; John, Jesus and Peter, as Peter is doing exactly what Jesus commanded him. There are a few additional requirements (post salvation belief) throughout the 4 accounts of Christs earthly ministry (note: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are four accounts of a single gospel, the gospel of the circumcision (Kingdom), but not today’s gospel of grace. Calling these books “the four gospels” as if they told of the gospel you and I need to hear, is tragically misleading as you will prayerfully soon understand.).
In Matthew 24:13-14… Christ adds a requirement while clearly speaking the same things. “But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” So now these believers must endure to “the end”… the end of what? The end of the great tribulation, that period of time known as “Jacob’s trouble” and “Daniels 70’th week” during which the wrath of God is poured out on unbelieving Israel and an unbelieving world. Jesus return to earth to set up “His Kingdom Come” arrives after this time of near ultimate destruction as prophesied in Joel, which Peter references. Does Peters testimony agree with this?
Acts 3:19-21… “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.“
Examine what these words are saying… 1) repent and be converted. Why? 2) that your sins may be blotted out. When? 3) when the times of refreshing SHALL come (future). From what? 4) from the presence of the Lord (who is now up in heaven). Until when? 5) until the time of restitution of all things when Christ shall come again. So… from the time of these believers conversion to belief in Christ the Messiah, they must “endure” till the time of restitution of all things, or Christs second coming (after Gods wrath is poured out), for their sins to be blotted out. Their sins are blotted out at the second coming. What then is “remission” of sin as that is what transpired in Acts 2:38? Remission is temporary; not yet “blotted out” but the punishment is abated. They “believed” and are now made fit to “endure”. This is NOT what you have been taught but is this what the words clearly say? If we are to be honest, yes, that is what they say.
Jesus placed even more stringent conditions on believing Israel. As from the beginning, Israel had a covenant agreement with God. They agreed to follow Gods commandments that they might attain unto righteousness. Knowing the hearts of men (and to really put the screws to the same) Jesus “doubles down” on the law, thus…
Matthew 5:27-28… “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Not only do these men have to physically abstain from non-marital sexual relations with women, they have sinned if they even think about it! Is there a man alive in this world today whose mind is completely free from such thoughts? Show me one; and I’ll show you one liar. Not only is the keeping of the law (all the law) physical, it is now in the realm of conscious thought. Their consciences had to be as pure as their deeds. Is yours?
Jesus also commanded His believers to sell all that they had and give alms. The rich ruler asks the Lord, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” The Lord answers with a list of commandments to which the ruler replies; “All these have I kept from my youth up.” What was Christ’s answer to him?
Luke 18:22… “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”
Then to “follow Christ” as most professing Christians believe they are engaged in doing, one must have sold out completely. “But Jesus was just making a special point to this one person”, you protest. Scripture replies: Following Peters first sermon where he exhorts the listeners to repent and be baptized: those that did; what did they do next?
Acts 2:44-45… “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; AND SOLD THEIR POSSESSIONS AND GOODS, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” This is Divinely instituted communism in the Acts 2 church and this is the way to follow Christ in this world. Quite clearly, you, dear reader, are not following Christ as He commanded His followers to follow Him. That is because you are NOT a member of the Acts 2 church which was the Jewish Temple. How could and why would these believers do this? As they were to go unto all the world preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, all their physical needs were to be miraculously provided them. As the “desert Jews” received manna and the “multitudes” received bread and fish, these men had NOTHING physical (or even spiritual) to worry about.
Luke 9:2-3… “And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And he said unto them, Take NOTHING for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.”
Luke 12:22… “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.”
Mark 13:11… “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.”
These believers were baptized BY Jesus Christ WITH the Holy Ghost and were given vast Heavenly supernatural power. They could heal the sick, give sight to the blind, make the lame to walk, speak any and all languages and raise the dead; because they had Holy Ghost power as Jesus did and gave them. This is the fulfillment of prophesy (Isa 35:6). They could even live in complete harmony with one another as they were all empowered in the same way. This is HARDLY the world as it exists today. We can’t even get along with our natural brothers and sisters, not to mention others who are not “like” us…
Something has changed, and drastically at that (if we are honestly reading scripture)… As we have seen already (Gal 2:9), Peter agreed with Paul the he would NOT go unto all the world preaching the Kingdom at hand, but stay in Jerusalem and allow Paul to take his place to the heathen nations. Did Paul then preach the Kingdom as denominational churches maintain? Scripture demonstrates a resounding NO.
Next post : “Paul… following grace.“