Thursday, November 8, 2012

Aquila and Priscilla

Where Do Aquila and Priscilla Fit In?

Acts 18 tells us that Aquila and Priscilla were Jews.  They were also prominent laborers in Paul’s mystery doctrine.  Assuming that they were a part of the Jewish prophetic program prior to Paul’s revelation, does this mean that they were part of the church the body of Christ or the Little Flock?  The transitional stage between prophecy and mystery is confusing.

You are right; the book of Acts in particular is confusing because of its transitional nature, and also because of its cycling format (which we also see in the book of Revelation and even in parts of Genesis). For example, Acts 10 takes place right at the time of Paul’s salvation in Acts 9.  So, was Cornelius in the body of Christ or the kingdom church?  God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33); but God wrote his scriptures to be studied.  You have to be a workman.

2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The scriptures also need to be rightly divided.  You have to understand the book of Acts from a Pauline, dispensational perspective.

Ephesians 3:2
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

You have to understand that Acts is written to the Jews (during that time of transition) and its terminology and focus are Jewish: it is written from a Jewish perspective.  You do see Paul circumcising and baptizing during the infancy of the body of Christ.

Acts 16:3
Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

Acts 19:3-5
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 15 shows the Jerusalem council from the Jewish perspective; but, our perspective as gentiles in the body of Christ is evident in Galatians 2.

Galatians 2:7-9
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

You wrote in your email that to be a part of the Little Flock during the transitional period, one had to be a part of the Jewish (law-keeping) program and a believer in Christ as the Jewish Messiah prior to Paul’s ministry.  Exactly!  You said it perfectly.  That is what would identify someone as a member of the Little Flock—the Jewish believing remnant (Luke 12:32).  The main thing was that they had to know Jesus Christ as their Messiah.  That is what made the difference.  All the Jews were under the Law.  They were steeped in the Law from birth; that was part of their culture.  It is the same with Islam today.  If someone is born into Islam it is just part of their culture.  But what separated a Jew and made them a member of the Little Flock was belief that Jesus was Messiah.

John 20:31
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 2:36
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

But this is prior to Paul’s revelation of the mystery.

Romans 16:25
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

You wrote, “Given that Aquila and Pricilla were devoted followers of Paul’s Mystery doctrine we can infer that they, although being Jews like Paul, had not accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah prior to the dispensation of Grace.”  That is how I see it. 

Acts can be confusing because of the transitional nature; but we in the age of grace have more clarity now nearly 2,000 years since the infancy stage of the body of Christ.  God changed the program; but there was a gradual diminishing of Israel’s program while Paul’s ministry was increasing.  So there was an overlap of the two programs. 

The transition in the book of Acts is similar to the process of moving from one house to another. There are some days of transition in which you have access to and the use of both houses.
That is similar to the transition between Israel’s prophecy program and the dispensation of grace.  God had been doing one thing with Israel for 1,500 years under the Law.  But now there is a new program that began with Paul’s salvation.  The Jewish leaders of the Little Flock (Peter, James, John and others) had to learn about it over time from Paul, and also from witnessing what God was doing and seeing that his dealing with them was diminishing.

Romans 11:12
Now if the fall of them [Israel] be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

So there was a transition period and, therefore, there will be some confusion if you don’t rightly divide the word.

Notice that the account of Aquila and Pricilla says that they lately come from Italy.

Acts 18:2
And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

That is significant. They had been away from Jerusalem.  That tells me that they were not privy to everything that had been happening, and that they had not trusted Jesus as their Messiah.  They heard about Jesus as Messiah from Paul; and not just that he was Messiah, but that it is faith in the cross of Christ that saves them – the gospel of grace.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Acts 20:24
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Therefore, we can assume that they did not trust Jesus as their Messiah prior to Paul’s salvation, so therefore they were not members of the kingdom church; rather they were members of the body of Christ with Paul because they heard the preaching of the cross from Paul.

No comments:

Post a Comment