Home > Book of Acts, Christ's kingdom, Dispensationalism, The Gospel > J. A. Alexander on Acts 15:13-19

J. A. Alexander on Acts 15:13-19

December 6, 2012

In a comment on my recent post on Jack Kelley’s supernatural insight, dispensationalist Jerry Shugart claims that the comments of James in Acts 15:15-18 about Christ rebuilding the tabernacle of David refers to events that will occur only after the second coming. That notion is incorrect. James obviously applied the prophecy of Amos 9:11 to Christ building his church in the present age, and identified the tabernacle of David with the church. He said the prophecy refers to the Gentiles who were being brought into God’s family. The meaning of the passage was explained by J. A. Alexander as follows:

The essential meaning of the passage, therefore, is that the restoration of the kingdom of David was to be connected with the spiritual conquest of the Gentiles.

The following is Alexander’s commentary on Acts 15:13-19. [J. A. Alexander, The Acts of the Apostles explained. Vol. 2. (1857) pp. 79-84.

13. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men (and) brethren, hearken unto me:

Held their peace, were silent, ceased; the same verb that is used in the preceding verse. Answered, not merely spoke (see above, on 3,12. 5,8. 10,46), but responded to what Peter, Paul and Barnabas had just said; or replied to the question which had brought them together. James is supposed by many to be “James the brother of the Lord” (Gal. 1, 19), not one of the twelve, but an unbeliever (John 7, 5), till convinced by Christ’s appearing to him after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15, 7), surnamed the Just, and put to death by the Jews soon after the close of the New Testament history. There is however a strong presumption that the person holding so distinguished a position in the church at Jerusalem, while the Apostles still survived, was himself one of their number; and as James the son of Alpheus was probably a cousin of our Saviour (see above, on 1,13), he might be called his brother (Gal. 1,19) in strict accordance with biblical and oriental usage. (See Gen. 14, 16. 29, 12. 15. Rom. 1, 13. 9, 3. 1 Cor. 1, 1.) It is very possible that James resided in Jerusalem more constantly than any other of the twelve, and had special charge of the church there, not however as an ordinary pastor, much less as a diocesan bishop, but as a resident Apostle. (See above, on 12, 17, and below, on 21, 18.) Hearken unto me, or simply hear me, i. e. me too, or me also; hear what I, as well as they who have already spoken, have to say upon the subject. This request is very far from favouring the notion that James spoke with superior authority, or even as the president of the assembly.

14. 15. Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written:

Simeon, the Septuagint form of the Hebrew name, found also in 13, 1 above, and in Luke 2, 25. 34. 3, 30. Rev. 7, 7, and used by Peter himself in one of his epistles (2 Peter 1, 1.) The more usual form (Simon) is rather Greek than Hebrew; but both occur in Jewish books. Some have strangely supposed that James has reference here to the words of Simeon in Luke 2,80-32. At the first, or simply first, i. e. before Paul and Barnabas had preached to the Gentiles, thus deciding the whole question in advance (see above, on vs. 7-9.) Visited, or viewed, surveyed, with a view to choosing (see above, on 6, 3. 7, 23.) Gentiles, nations (see above, on vs. 3. 7. 12. A people, chosen people, church (see above, on 13,17. 24, 31.) For his name, i. e. to be called his people, or perhaps, to be founded on his name, or in reliance on it (see above, on 2, 38. 4, 17. 18. 5, 28. 40.) For his honour or glory is not expressed though necessarily implied. The whole verse refers to the important fact, alleged by Peter, that this direct reception of the Gentiles was no new thing introduced by Paul and Barnabas, but practised long before by Peter, with express divine approval. The fact thus historically proved James now shows to have been no afterthought or departure from the purpose previously revealed, but a part of the divine plan from the beginning, as attested by the Prophets, the inspired writers of the Old Testament, and more particularly those who were commissioned to predict the advent of Messiah (see above, on 3, 21. 24. 7, 62. 10, 43, 13, 27.)

16. After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up.

These are not given as the words of more than one prophet, but as a specimen or single instance of the way in which the prophets, as a class, contemplate the vocation of the Gentiles. The quotation is made from the Septuagint version, even where it varies most from the original; not because the latter would not answer the Apostle’s purpose, but because he no doubt spoke in Greek, and therefore used the current version, without regard to its inaccuracies, as they did not interfere with the design of his quotation. The original passage is Amos 9, 11. 12. After these things, although not a literal translation of the Hebrew, conveys the same essential meaning, that of mere posteriority or subsequence. I will return is neither in the Hebrew nor the Septuagint, but supplied by the Apostle, in perfect keeping with the sense of both, as an introductory suggestion that the prophecy is one of restoration and returning favour. Some, with less probability, regard it as a Hebrew idiom for again (I will again rebuild), which would be singularly out of place in a translation when it is not found in the original. (As to the idiom in question, see above, on 7, 42.) Build again, or rebuild, answering to one Greek word. Tabernacle, tent, not put for house or dwelling in general, but for the meanest and least durable of human habitations, contrasted with a royal palace, to denote the low condition to which David’s family must be reduced before the prophecy could be fulfilled. The same change is elsewhere represented by a shoot springing from the root or stump of a prostrate tree (Isai. 11, 1.) The image here presented is not merely that of a tent, but of a fallen tent. Ruins, breaches, fragments, or remains. Set it up (or rather upright) is again a single word in Greek and might be rendered, re-erect.

17. That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is palled, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

The original is, that they may inherit (or possess) the remnant of Edom and all the nations. Edom is particularly named as a hereditary enemy of Israel, who had been subdued by David, but revolted under his successors. That it is merely used to represent the Gentiles, appears from the generic terms that follow. That the conquest here foretold is a spiritual one, is clear from the last clause, upon whom my name is called, which is often applied to Israel, as Jehovah’s consecrated or peculiar people. (See Deut. 28, 9. 10. Isai. 63, 19. Jer. 7, 10. 11. 14, 9, and compare Deut. 12, 6. Jer. 15, 16. 33, 2.) The essential meaning of the passage, therefore, is that the restoration of the kingdom of David was to be connected with the spiritual conquest of the Gentiles; and as such a subjugation is not merely passive, but involves the act of seeking after God, it is expressed sufficiently though not exactly in the Septuagint version here adopted. All these things is merely an amplification of the original expression (this.) All, however, is omitted in the oldest manuscripts and versions.

18. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

According to the received text, here translated, this verse expresses still more strongly and directly than v. 15, the important fact that the reception of the Gentiles into the church was no afterthought or innovation, but a part of the divine plan from the beginning. But as the greater part of this verse is very variously given in the manuscripts, and wholly wanting in several of the oldest, the modem critics have expunged it, leaving only the words, known from the beginning, which must then be read as the concluding words of the preceding sentence, saith the Lord, the (one) doing these things (which are or have been) known from the beginning. This is then a supplementary or exegetical clause added by the Apostle to the passage quoted, and perhaps on that account converted by transcribers into an independent proposition. Beginning of the world is a single word in Greek, the same that is used in 3, 25, and there explained as an indefinite or relative expression, sometimes denoting absolute eternity, sometimes endless existence, sometimes a particular period, age, or dispensation. Hence some would make it here equivalent to Peter’s phrase (from ancient days) in v. 7 above, i. e. from the first promulgation of the Gospel to the Gentiles. But there seems to be no sufficient reason, even if the shorter reading is adopted, for diluting or extenuating this expression, as its strongest sense is equally appropriate and far more striking. Thus saith the Lord who doeth these things, known (to himself as part of his own plan or purpose) from eternity. Or the verb and adjective may be connected, as in 7, 10, making these things known from the beginning of the world, or of the old dispensation, or of the prophetic ministry (see above, on 3, 21, and compare Luke 1, 70.)

19. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

Wherefore, because this mode of dealing with the Gentiles has been fully sanctioned by divine authority, and long ago predicted by the prophets. My sentence is, literally, I judge (as in the Rhemish version; Wiclif has, I deem), a common formula, by which the members of the Greek assemblies introduced the expression of their individual opinion, as appears from its repeated occurrence in Thucydides, with which may be compared the corresponding Latin phrase (sic censeo) of frequent use in Cicero’s orations. That James here settles the whole question by a decision ex cathedra, is as groundless an opinion as that Peter had already done so by his dictum. There is no trace in the narrative of any such superiority on either side. The whole proceeding is analogous to that which continually takes place in our own church-courts, when the roll is called to give the members present an opportunity of stating their judgment upon some important question. Even in Tyndale’s version, copied by King James’s Bible, sentence no doubt means opinion (sententia) not a final decision. That we trouble not, literally, not to trouble, or more emphatically, not to trouble in addition, i. e. besides (or over and above) the indispensable conditions of salvation, by imposing a gratuitous and supererogatory burden of mere ritual observance. (The same emphatic compound is used in the Septuagint version of Job 16, 3 Micah 6, 3.) Those from the Gentiles (literally, nations) turning unto God, i. e. from false gods to the true God (see above, on 14, 15.)

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  1. jerryshugart
    December 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    If Jame’s quote from Amos was intended to indicate things taking place at the present time then why in the world would He use language that speaks of a “future” time?:

    “AFTER THIS I WILL RETURN and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things” (Acts 1516).

    Alexander says:

    “The quotation is made from the Septuagint version, even where it varies most from the original.”

    I challenge anyone to quote any OT passage from any version of the Bible where the words “After this I will return” are found. The words were supplied by James and James alone. He placed the return of the Lord Jesus to earth to set up the tabernacle of David into the future.

    When we look at the following prophecies of Amos from the same chapter we read:

    “And I will bring again the captivity of my people …And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God”(Amos 9:14,15).

    The Lord says that the Jews will be planted in their land and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them. That is the same exact promise which God made to David:

    “Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David…I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime” (2 Sam.7:8,10).

    God promised David that He will plant the Israelites in a place of their own and will MOVE NO MORE.

    That did not happen in the first century, or anytime before. However, the Lord makes it plain that He will fulfill the promises which He made to David and He will not alter any of those promises:

    “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant…Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David” (Ps. 89:3,33-35).

    Since Doug’s eschatology has no place for a fulfillment of this promise concerning the land then he must somehow explain away the Lord’s solemn words that He will keep His promise to David. In the end He asserts that the Lord will alter His promise to David and will not keep His promise. He would rather cling to his dark eschatology even though it means that God lied to David. That is an example of just how far some are willing to go to cling to their discredited ideas!

  2. December 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    jerryshugart :

    If Jame’s quote from Amos was intended to indicate things taking place at the present time then why in the world would He use language that speaks of a “future” time?:

    “AFTER THIS I WILL RETURN and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things” (Acts 1516).

    Alexander says:

    “The quotation is made from the Septuagint version, even where it varies most from the original.”

    In the next sentence Alexander says: “The original passage is Amos 9, 11. 12. After these things, although not a literal translation of the Hebrew, conveys the same essential meaning, that of mere posteriority or subsequence. I will return is neither in the Hebrew nor the Septuagint, but supplied by the Apostle, in perfect keeping with the sense of both, as an introductory suggestion that the prophecy is one of restoration and returning favour.”

    Which leads me to wonder, what was the point of your “challenge” below?

    I challenge anyone to quote any OT passage from any version of the Bible where the words “After this I will return” are found. The words were supplied by James and James alone. He placed the return of the Lord Jesus to earth to set up the tabernacle of David into the future.

    The words “after this I will return” cited by James do not support the claims of dispensationalism. Maybe they were part of the translation he possessed. Many variants existed in the past, that have since disappeared. Neither do these words support the claims of Jack Kelley, who says this was the first mention of a gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel’s 70 weeks. Such claims are absurd.

    When we look at the following prophecies of Amos from the same chapter we read:

    “And I will bring again the captivity of my people …And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God”(Amos 9:14,15).

    The Lord says that the Jews will be planted in their land and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them. That is the same exact promise which God made to David:

    “Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David…I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime” (2 Sam.7:8,10).

    God promised David that He will plant the Israelites in a place of their own and will MOVE NO MORE.

    These prophecies, considered in the light of the Gospel, and interpreted after the manner of the apostles, allude to an eternal inheritance. The land of Canaan was a mere shadow and a type of a “better land.” [Heb. 11:16] The “better land” is one which is lasting; earthly things will pass away.

    That did not happen in the first century, or anytime before. However, the Lord makes it plain that He will fulfill the promises which He made to David and He will not alter any of those promises:

    “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant…Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David” (Ps. 89:3,33-35).

    Why would God need to alter any of his words?

    Isaiah said,

    Isaiah 55:6-12
    Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
    Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
    For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
    So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
    For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

    It would be ludicrous to say, in a woodenly literal manner, that mountains and hills will literally sing, and trees will literally clap their hands. Literal mountains don’t have the necessary musical talent, and literal trees don’t have hands. But the mountains of prophecy are figurative. They represent promises of God, and blessings, and covenants. These are the subjects of many hymns and songs. The trees are symbolic too. David said the godly are like trees planted by the rivers of water; [Psa. 1:3] the ungodly are like chaff.

    The land in prophecy also has a higher spiritual meaning. To be brought back to the land means reconciliation to God, and being freed from captivity to flawed beliefs and interpretations, and dwelling in the knowledge of God. These promises are eternal.

    Since Doug’s eschatology has no place for a fulfillment of this promise concerning the land then he must somehow explain away the Lord’s solemn words that He will keep His promise to David. In the end He asserts that the Lord will alter His promise to David and will not keep His promise. He would rather cling to his dark eschatology even though it means that God lied to David. That is an example of just how far some are willing to go to cling to their discredited ideas!

    Captivity to flawed interpretations such as dispensationalism, contrasts with the knowledge of God, and dwelling in the “better land,” where Christ is king. His kingdom is a kingdom of light, and freedom.

  3. jerryshugart
    December 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Doug, you said:

    “In the next sentence Alexander says: “The original passage is Amos 9, 11. 12. After these things, although not a literal translation of the Hebrew, conveys the same essential meaning, that of mere posteriority or subsequence. I will return is neither in the Hebrew nor the Septuagint, but supplied by the Apostle, in perfect keeping with the sense of both, as an introductory suggestion that the prophecy is one of restoration and returning favour.”

    Yes, the words “After this I will return” were supplied by James and James alone. He took a passage from the OT that speaks of an uncertain time period (“In that day”) and changed it to make it more specific, especially in regard to the time when James quoted that verse. Here is the verse from the Greek Old Testament:

    “IN THAT DAY will I raise up again the tabernacle of David that is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up…That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who does all these things.” (Amos 9:11-12; Septuigant ).

    Since James KNEW that the passage which will be fulfilled “in that day” would not be fulfilled until the return of Christ to the earth he placed it in the future:

    “AFTER THIS I WILL RETURN, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things” (Acts 1516).

    According to your dumbing down of the Scriptures James thought that it was already being fulfilled but yet he placed its fulfillment in the future.

    You throw your reason to the wind and imagine the strangest things and then you are surprised when others are unwiilling to follow your dumbing down of the Scriptures. You also say:

    “The land in prophecy also has a higher spiritual meaning.”

    Of course it can have a higher spiritual meaning but that does not mean in every case it does. Of course the land which God gave Jacob is a land that has existed on earth for centuries and it is land which exists on the earth at the present time. So no matter how much you want the land which God gave to Jacob to have a higher spiritual meaning it still refers to land which exists upon the earth. Here we see that the King will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever:

    “And He said unto me, son of man, the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places” (Ez.43:7).

    Here the Lord Jesus says that He will “dwell in the midst of the children of Israel”. That fits perfectly with another prophecy from the same book of Ezekiel:

    “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servantï…and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore” (Ez.37:25,26).

    From this we know that the Lord Jesus will dwell for ever with the children of Israel in the LAND TAT GOD GAVE JACOB!!!

    That destroys your carefully constructed myth that the Lord Jesus will never reign as King on the earth. You also asked:

    “Why would God need to alter any of his words?”

    He would never do such a thing but if we are to believe your dark schemes He did in fact alter the following promise which He made to David:

    “Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David…I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime” (2 Sam.7:8,10).

    Of course common sense dictates that the “place” where the Lord will plant the Israelites is land upon the earth. We know that is true because of the expression “move no more.” Of course the Israelites were never moved from a place in heaven so it is impossible that the phrase “move no more” can be referring to any other place than land upon the earth.

    Since that verse was never fulfilled in the first century or anytime since then we know that it will indeed happen in the future since God promised it would happen. But since your eschatology has no place for this verse being fulfilled in the future then you must admit that God altered the promise in regard to the land which He made unto David and according to your view God lied to David. Unfortunately, that does not bother you at all!

  4. December 7, 2012 at 10:14 am

    jerryshugart :

    You throw your reason to the wind and imagine the strangest things and then you are surprised when others are unwiilling to follow your dumbing down of the Scriptures. You also say:

    “The land in prophecy also has a higher spiritual meaning.”

    Of course it can have a higher spiritual meaning but that does not mean in every case it does. Of course the land which God gave Jacob is a land that has existed on earth for centuries and it is land which exists on the earth at the present time. So no matter how much you want the land which God gave to Jacob to have a higher spiritual meaning it still refers to land which exists upon the earth. Here we see that the King will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever:

    “And He said unto me, son of man, the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places” (Ez.43:7).

    Here the Lord Jesus says that He will “dwell in the midst of the children of Israel”. That fits perfectly with another prophecy from the same book of Ezekiel:

    “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servantï…and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore” (Ez.37:25,26).

    From this we know that the Lord Jesus will dwell for ever with the children of Israel in the LAND TAT GOD GAVE JACOB!!!

    That destroys your carefully constructed myth that the Lord Jesus will never reign as King on the earth.

    Jesus said, in his conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” [John 4:21-24]

    The time when the earthly Jerusalem was to be a sacred place has now passed. That city was a shadow of the eternal, heavenly city.

    Dispensationalists misunderstand the OT prophecies, because they view them in the manner of unbelieving Jews, who according to Paul are blinded. Many sneer at idea that they have a higher “spiritual” meaning, which in many cases was demonstrated by the interpretations the apostles applied to them in the New Testament. Dispensationalists much prefer the idea of a visible, earthy kingdom, in defiance of the words of Jesus in John 4:21-24. They also deny the present reign of Christ in the throne of David.

    And, they evade difficult questions that challenge and discredit their views, as you have done repeatedly in regard to the prophecy of Isaiah 2:1-3. Here, the prophet shows that mount Zion and Jerusalem would be established in the top of the mountains. In many previous responses I have explained this, and showed that because Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus ascended to the throne of his Father, prophecies about Jerusalem and mount Zion, and the promises, apply to the heavenly city, the church. This discredits the dispensational interpretation. But this is ignored in your responses. Evidently you are unwilling to reveal your position, whether it is that the mountain represents the nation of Israel, or if it means that mount Zion is literally raised up by some tectonic means.

    Responses repeating the same arguments tend to become a bit tedious, so replies repeating the same arguments may be edited or deleted, or else this blog may become drowned in spam, as often happens in other forums.

  5. jerryshugart
    December 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

    So according to you the land which God gave Jacob is not on the earth?

    And even though James spoke of the prophecies of Amos being fulfilled after the return of Christ to the earth you say that they were being fulfilled then.

    You have a bad disease and it is called unbelief!

  6. December 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    jerryshugart :

    So according to you the land which God gave Jacob is not on the earth?

    During his life, Jacob dwelt in the land of Canaan, after he returned from Syria, but later, he went to Egypt where he died. He did not possess the land in a literal sense during his lifetime. The same is true of Abraham and Isaac. They were strangers in it.

    In the resurrection, how likely is it, that Jacob will be herding cattle and sheep in the land of Canaan? Even if he inherited the whole land, (which was also promised to Abraham and Isaac, and to all Israel in later prophecies) it is hard to imagine why he would need to possess it, and remain in it. But Jacob realized there was a higher meaning attached to the promise. When he was promised the land he had a dream of a ladder reaching to heaven, with angels ascending and descending. This must have suggested a clue to the meaning of the land. It was a place where God’s revelations would be given to man. Over the centuries, many revelations were given there, and others given elsewhere were often about the land. So Jacob, when he blessed his son Joseph, said: “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” [Gen. 49:26] The blessings he received had a lofty, spiritual significance, and they were eternal. So he connected them with high mountains. This reveals the symbolic significance of mountains in prophecy; they represent blessings, promises, and covenants. The land represents the knowledge of God. This was the spiritual meaning of the land promise. Jesus said Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be in his kingdom.

    And even though James spoke of the prophecies of Amos being fulfilled after the return of Christ to the earth you say that they were being fulfilled then.

    You have a bad disease and it is called unbelief!

    Acts 15:6-8
    And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
    And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
    And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us;
    And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

    This refers to the gift of the Spirit to Cornelius and his family, when they were visited by Peter.

    Acts 15:13-17
    And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
    Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
    And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
    After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
    That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

    James applied Amos 9:11 to the conversion of Cornelius that Peter described, and the spread of the Gospel among the Gentiles, not to events yet to come in the future. Imbibing too much dispensational wine seems to have distorted your perception of the Scripture.

  7. jerryshugart
    December 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Doug, you continue to refuse to use your brain. According to your mindless ideas James applied the fulfullment of the prophecies from the book of Amos to the future. That is why he placed their fulfillment at the return of the Lord Jesus:

    “AFTER THIS I WILL RETURN, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things” (Acts 1516).

    You still have not told us why James would quote these words to decide whether or not the Gentiles were to keep the law and be circumcised. Here is the reason but I am sure that it is WAY ABOVE your meager understanding:

    There were some in the Jerusalem church who believed that the Gentile believers should be required to be circumcised and to keep the law of Moses. In other words, some believed that the Gentiles should be members of the commonwealth of Israel. However, James quoted Amos in order to demonstrate that when the Lord Jesus returns there will be Gentiles being saved as Gentiles:

    “After this I will return…that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called”. Therefore it was decided that the Gentile believers did not have to be circumcised and did not have to keep the law (Acts 15:24-29).

    Now to the land. I asked you the following question and you refused to answer it:

    “So according to you the land which God gave Jacob is not on the earth?”

    Of course I can understand why you refuse to answer because the Scriptures reveal that the Lord will dwell with the children of Israel in the land which God gave Jacob. First we see that the Lord Jesus will will be set up His sanctuary in the “midst” of the children of Israel:

    “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Ez.37:27,28).

    Then we see that the children of Israel will dwell for ever in the land which God gave Jacob:

    “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever” (Ezek.37:25).

    Of course you can trick your mind into believing that the land God gave Jacob is in heaven!

    Your dark ideas are nothing but fables:

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim.4:2-4).

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