Bound For What?

     Before we begin, I’d like to remind you that the apostles were inspired by God in 1) what they wrote (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and 2) what they said while on trial (Luke 12:11). The last 7
chapters of the book of Acts focus on Paul being arrested, tried, and placed
under house arrest. Have you ever wondered why Paul was
arrested? Think about that question as you read the following passages! Please
read them all carefully.


“Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from
here to the Gentiles.’ ” And
they listened to him until this word,
and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from
the earth, for he is not fit to live!”” (Acts 22:21-22).

“But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and
the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am
a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning
the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged
!”” (Acts
23:6).

“I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against
him deserving of death or chains” (Acts 23:29).

“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which
they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
I have hope in God, which they
themselves also accept, that there will
be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust
” (Acts
24:14-15).

“And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes,
earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this
hope’s sake
, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be
thought incredible by you that God
raises the dead
?” (Acts 26:6-8)

“…that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to
the Gentiles
.”” (Acts 26:23)

“For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you
and speak with you, because for the hope
of Israel I am bound with this chain.
“” (Acts 28:20)

“…meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a
door for the word, to speak the mystery
of Christ, for which I am also in chains
” (Colossians 4:3; cf. Ephesians
3:1; Ephesians 6:19-20).

     Let’s sum up the
above points! Paul was bound 1) for the mystery; that is, for Gentile inclusion
into the promises of Israel 2) the resurrection of the just and the unjust as
spoken of and promised in Moses and the Prophets – a hope that the twelve
tribes were currently laboring for 3) the hope of Israel 4) the gospel of
Christ 5) Questions concerning the Law of Moses. Now, consider this: none of these things are different from another!
All of them are talking about the same thing: the body of Christ. Allow me to demonstrate that from two of these
texts.
First, let’s notice Acts 26:23: “that the Christ would
suffer, that He would be the first to
rise from the dead
, and would proclaim
light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles
.”” (Acts 26:23). Paul’s
wording here is very significant; Jesus was the first to rise out from among the dead ones (ex anastaesos nekron). Many have speculated what it means for Jesus
to be the first to rise from the dead. Some have suggested that this means that
Jesus was the first to rise to never die again, and I would agree but for
different reasons. I believe the answer is found in Romans 6:9-11: “knowing
that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer
has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive
to God in Christ Jesus
our Lord” (Romans 6:9-11). What kind of death is
being discussed here? It is death of a spiritual nature. Paul’s audience had
not physically died; they had, through Jesus, died to sin and were to reckon
themselves alive with Christ. Luke worded it like this, “Now as they spoke to
the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon
them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the
dead
” (Acts 4:1-2).
     You see, the
Bible does not view Jesus separate from His people. While He was living under
the law, His life was a symbol of that Old Covenant temple, but when He died
and rose again, He laid the foundation for the heavenly temple not made with
hands (John 2:18-22). In this way, Jesus demonstrated Himself to be the
corporate Head of the body of His people. In Hosea 1, the scripture says, “Then
the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together,
And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel!” (Hosea 1:11; for Jezre-El [God sows] see
Hosea 2:23). Remember, though, that what is quickened is not what is sown (1
Corinthians 15:35-37). Israel was sown a natural body, but through the
resurrection of Christ as the first fruits, the harvest had arrived and the
spiritual body was being revealed (John 12:24)! On this wise, Hosea recorded,
“Come, and let us return to
the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days
He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we
may live in His sight
. Let us
know, Let us pursue the
knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will
come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3; cf. 1 Corinthians
15:4 – Hosea 6:1ff is the only OT
texts that mentions a third day resurrection). Several things: 1) notice the
corporate nature of this resurrection 2) the resurrection of Israel out of the
earth (see Hosea 2:23) is not divorced from the resurrection of Christ in time
or in manner 3) the resurrection was for the purpose of bringing Israel into
God’s sight (Psalm 16:11) 4) the coming of Christ to perform this duty takes
place in two stages: the early and latter rains; that is, to fulfill the spring
(Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost) and fall (Trumpets,
Atonement, Booths; cf. Leviticus 23) feast days (see Luke 21:20-22; Colossians
2:16-17; Hebrews 9:28-10:1).  
     Jesus’s
resurrection out from among the dead ones was for the purpose of shining light
(read:  giving life as opposed to the
shadow of death; Luke 1:78-79) to both Jew and Gentile. It was this idea that
neither the Pharisees nor the Sadducees could accept. While the Pharisees had a
hope for Israel, they would not listen to Paul concerning the Gentile inclusion
into those promises. Light, in their view, was limited to Israel, but God makes
it abundantly clear that the light of life is for all. “In Him was life, and
the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). One way to demonstrate this is to
show the solidarity between the resurrection of the just, the kingdom of God,
and the light of life. In Luke 14, Jesus says, “And you will be blessed,
because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of
the just” (Luke 14:14). The Jews, understanding the correlation between the
resurrection of the just and the kingdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 15:50),
said, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (Luke
14:15). Jesus takes this opportunity to teach the parable of the great supper
(Luke 14:15-24; cf. Matthew 22:1-14). This great supper motif is found
throughout scripture and is inextricably tied to the resurrection of the just
and the coming of the mountain of God – the kingdom (see Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah
25:6-8; Matthew 8:11; Revelation 19:7-9). 
The kingdom of God is a kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13; 1 John 2:8;
Revelation 21:23-25). The Old Testament prophets wrote about these things as
Peter says, “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched
carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what,
or what manner of time, the Spirit
of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow
(1 Peter 1:10-11).
     Secondly, let’s
notice Acts 26:6-8: “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes,
earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this
hope’s sake
, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be
thought incredible by you that God
raises the dead
?” (Acts 26:6-8). We see from this passage that the
resurrection of the dead was an Old
Covenant promise
made to Old
Covenant Israel after the flesh
. If it is the case that Old Covenant Israel
has been taken out of the way without her promises being fulfilled, then the
Old Covenant, and the New Covenant that it confirms through types, shadows, and
prophecies, stands null and void. Paul’s hope, Peter’s hope, Israel’s hope, and
the Gentiles’ hope were all based off of those Old Covenant promises. If that Old Covenant was annulled without
its promises being realized, then the promises and condemnations therein were
nullified as well!
Jesus came to the earth not to take away those promises
and give new ones, but to serve as confirmation for all of the promises made
all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Paul said, “Now I say that Jesus Christ
has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers,
and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
“FOR THIS REASON I WILL CONFESS TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND SING TO
YOUR NAME.”” (Romans 15:8-9). Does that sound familiar? Is that not what
we just discussed? Through obeying the gospel, the Gentiles became partakers of
the promises made to Old Covenant Israel – not a new set of hopes and promises
divorced from passages such as Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 25:8, and Hosea 13:14.
Speaking of this, Paul wrote, “It pleased them indeed, and they are their
debtors. For if the Gentiles have been
partakers of their spiritual things
, their duty is also to minister
to them in material things” (Romans 15:27). This is why the Judaizers were so
insistent upon the Gentiles keeping Torah. Their reasoning was that if the
Gentiles were going to be partakers of their Old Covenant promises, then they
would have to meet the conditions of the Law. If the New Covenant was based off
of totally separate promises, prophecies, hopes, and expectations from that of
Old Covenant Israel, then there would have been no pressure from the Jews to
keep the law.
     In order for
someone to prove that the promises have yet to be realized and that the Old Covenant has vanished away, they would have
to demonstrate that Paul did not base his doctrine of the resurrection off of
the Old Covenant promises! This, however, is impossible to do because he stated
over and over, “The very reason I am bound is because of my preaching that the
Gentiles will be fellow partakers in our resurrection promises and the hope of
Israel that is being realized through Jesus’ first fruits resurrection and the
preaching of the death-abolishing gospel!” (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10). 
     “So let no one
judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or
sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the [body] is of Christ”
(Colossians 2:16-17). The Old Covenant finds its fulfillment not in individual bodies, but in the body of Christ. It is for this
reason that Paul was bound.

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