Acts 15:16-20
Acts 15:16 (KJB)
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:
(Amos 9:11 KJV) In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: James now quotes from the prophet Amos as God states that He will once again become involved with His people. The day which is being spoken of here, is the day the Lord went to the cross. The nation of Israel was without a word from the Lord for over four hundred years and they had sunk into rank apostasy and had no testimony to the world, which is what is meant by being “fallen down.” Then when the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, He died for His people, the Elect of God, and out of the ruins of the spiritual fall of Israel, began to rise a new nation and that nation was built by God Himself. He would set it up and that would be the body of Christ. (Heb 11:10 KJV) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. The city of David was built by man’s hands but the city which Abraham looked for and only saw in faith, was the body of believers otherwise called a city. (Rev 21:2 KJV) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Acts 15:17 (KJB)
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.
(Amos 9:12 KJV) That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. The body of Christ would go worldwide and would not be limited to the single nation of Israel. The body of Christ would contain both Jews and Gentiles. All those who become saved will then be qualified to call upon the name of the Lord, since they will carry the name of the Lord. God is the one who orchestrated the cross, resurrected Jesus, and chose those He was going to save before the foundation of the world, and now He is applying the sacrifice of Christ to those named and will be His people until the last day. (1 Pet 2:10 KJV) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. The Gentiles had worshipped idols and were involved in pagan religions as is well taught in the Hebrew Scriptures but God will take from them as He will from Israel and make Himself a people for Himself. The body of Christ will become the people of God, which means outside of Christ, one cannot be a child of God.
Acts 15:18 (KJB)
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
Every work which God had planned from the beginning of time to the working out of those plans was all foreknown to God. Keep in mind that God is in eternity and outside of time, so everything in these few thousand years of existence is in the present time for God. There is a heresy which has been around for a while, although not widely accepted, called “Open Theism.” It is the belief that God learned as He went along. For example, they claim God did not know what Adam was going call the animals, so God waited until Adam called their names and then God knew their names. Ridiculous, isn’t it? This verse teaches us that God knows every work of His from the beginning of the world, which means He knew you were going to witness to the last person you did, or He knew the last person you gave a tract to, or He knew exactly that on April 26, 2012 I would be continuing my study on Acts with this verse.
Acts 15:19 (KJB)
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
James now gives his assessment concerning the situation that the Gentiles should not be troubled with the idea that keeping the law is necessary for salvation nor is being circumcised a requirement for salvation. James knew that salvation was by grace alone and therefore to add any type of work to salvation by grace would be a corruption of the Gospel of Grace and would make it a works-grace Gospel. To require a work would put them under the yoke of bondage of the law. (Gal 5:1 KJV) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Acts 15:20 (KJB)
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Instead what James wants to write the Gentiles is first, to abstain from pollution of idols, that is, to reject and eliminate all things associated with idols, such as the pagan feasts where drinking and sexual fornication would run rampant. Secondly, they were to give up all types of fornication, that included both heterosexual and homosexual. It also included giving up all kinds of spiritual fornication, that is, anytime anything associated with an idol is partaken of, it shows that a person has gone from worshipping the true God, back into the old lifestyle of pagan worship, even if it for just a meal or visiting old friends in the false religion. Christians are to remain aloof from any type of association with pagan idols. Thirdly, the last two are related. To maintain harmony in the church between Jewish believers and Gentile believers, they were to avoid things strangled and from blood. When something is strangled, the blood is not drained out of it and God had commanded Moses to not eat the blood in the flesh. (Deu 12:23 KJV) Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. (Lev 19:26 KJV) Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.