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In The Temple – Paul Teaches Gentiles to Observe The Law Of Moses
(Acts 21:24, 21:28, 26:19-21)
This explanation of Holy Scripture will show you that the apostle Paul instructs both Jewish and Gentile believers in Messiah (Christ), to observe the Law of Moses (Torah).
This will be achieved by showing you that the apostle Paul brought believers who were originally born as Greeks into the temple of G-d to do a commandment (ritual) known as the Nazirite vow, a cleansing statute from the Law of Moses.
Only Jews are allowed in the temple, the penalty for a Gentile if they were in the temple was death (Acts 22:22).
This is why when the dear unbelieving Jews saw Paul in the temple with some believing Greeks, they had him beaten, put him on trial, made many accusations and sought to have him killed for this;
‘…“Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.”’
(Acts 22:22 ESV)
For reference, if the dear unbelieving Jews knew that if a Jew or a Gentile (e.g. a Greek) believes in Christ, that they are then deemed Israelites (Gal 6:15-16, Eph 2:13, 2:19-20); there would have been no issue or reason for violence in their minds.
Key Passage, Put Simply
This passage shows us that Christ (Messiah) instructed Paul to share the Gospel to the Jews and Gentiles, and that this also includes learning and upholding the Law of Moses (Torah);
Why does this verse mean believing Gentiles are also expected to observe the Torah, and how so?
Above, Acts 26:20-21 states that the Jews were trying to kill Paul because he was sharing the gospel with the Gentiles and telling them how they should repent and be ‘performing deeds’ in keeping with their repentance.
Previously in Acts 21:24 we see that the apostle Paul was encouraging the Gentiles to observe the actual commandments and statutes of the Law of Moses – in this case a ritual cleansing as per Torah Law, in the temple. This having the Gentiles observe the law of Moses (on this occasion in the temple), is the reason why Paul was seized (ref. Acts 26:19-21);
‘Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses… Then everyone will know… that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.‘
(Acts 21:24 NIV)
It is confirmed that these very ‘men’ that the apostle Paul went into the temple with were Gentiles in Acts 21:28, where just after he was found in the temple, he was seized – it says;
These Greek believers were likely a little more advanced in the faith, as opposed to other new Gentile believers who [in context] had just believed and were beginning to learn some initial statutes. This we will perhaps see a little later, as we read on – however with regard to the new believing Gentiles, here are those four initial things to abstain from again;
‘…those from the Gentiles who are turning to God,‘
(Acts 15:19 NASB)
‘…as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.”‘
(Acts 21:25 ESV)
A person can note that Holy Scripture confirms the elders also say that the apostle Paul lives in ‘…observance of the law.’ (Acts 21:25 ESV).
And what about Gentile believers?
Without malice, by citing (above) an actual account of how the apostle Paul encourages Gentile believers in Christ to uphold the Law of Moses – even in the temple -, it should assist a person in seeing that the context of the Gospel is not just simply; believing, repenting, and being baptised – but also learning and upholding the Law of Moses (Torah) with this faith.
The Law of Moses includes the famous Ten Commandments and the rest of His good ways (ref. Rom 7:12).
May the Holy G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you beyond maximum in His risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua HaMoshiach). Amen.