Acts 5:31-36
Acts 5:31 (KJB)
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
(Mark 14:62-63 KJV) And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. {63} Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Jesus witnessed before the High Priest that they would see the Son of Man at the right hand of power and this they would have remembered because it was these words upon which the High Priest rent his clothes. In Scripture, the right hand is representative of the power of God, this is seen in both the Old and New Testaments. (Psa 20:6 KJV) Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Jesus was also called the Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:6 KJV) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. The leaders of Israel would have been familiar with that passage.
(Isa 43:11 KJV) I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
(Luke 2:11 KJV) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
In Isaiah 43:11, the Lord is called the Saviour and in Luke 2:11, the Saviour which came into the world was the Lord Jesus Christ. So they would have also been familiar with the Isaiah passage and tied in with the Luke passage, Christ was the only one who could have fulfilled both passages.
Christ being the Saviour had come to give repentance and forgiveness to those Elect in Israel who were to be saved. (2 Tim 2:25 KJV) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; God is the one who grants repentance which is a synonym for salvation. This verse is not stating that the Lord Jesus Christ is limiting salvation to the physical nation of Israel because with His sacrifice complete and the gospel now going to the world, the name “Israel” has now been widened to describe all those who are saved. The name “Israel” means “Prince with God.” Those who are saved in Christ are called “Princes” or “Princesses” because we are children of the King. Those who are unsaved are not real Israel because they are children of the Devil.
(Phil 3:3 KJV) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
(Rom 2:28-29 KJV) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: {29} But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
(Gal 6:15-16 KJV) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. {16} And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
The Bible calls the true believers, the born again Christians, the Israel of God, the true circumcision, and true Israel.
Acts 5:32 (KJB)
And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
The Apostles did not hear these things from second hand information but they were eyewitnesses to all that happened in the last three and half years. Not only were the Apostles eyewitnesses to these things but also the Holy Ghost who now indwelled them and brought to mind all the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the law it was required that to make a case against someone, two or three witnesses were necessary. Here we have a multitude of witnesses concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and not only human witnesses but God the Father gave the Holy Ghost to those whom He saved. This means that the testimony for Jesus was both divine and earthly, which would have been sufficient to validate all His claims and ministry. The miracles which were done by the Apostles validated the fact that they were indwelled by the Holy Spirit and that God was confirming and endorsing their ministries. So they were not only witnesses to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, they themselves had the witness of God the Father indwelling them.
Acts 5:33 (KJB)
When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
Cut - Furious
The mindset of this council had not changed one bit toward the Lord Jesus Christ. When they heard the Apostles testifying on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ, Satan continued to stir up their rank hatred and all that was on their mind was how they could slay them. This was how they treated the Lord Jesus Christ, all they wanted was Him to be slain so the status quo would continue. They were not the least bit concerned about the spiritual welfare of the people of Israel, only their own wealth and status and they wanted nothing to interfere with that. Peter had mentioned to them forgiveness of sin and repentance. They must have taken that to mean that Peter was holding them directly responsible for the death of Christ and they took issue with that.
Acts 5:34 (KJB)
Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
A little space - For a short while
Once the mob mentality takes over, reason goes out the door and normally the consequences of such actions are disastrous. Since they were not allowed to put anyone to death without the approval of the Romans, much suspicion would have been brought upon them if they had desired to have this whole band put to death. The consequences could have been devastating for them. Gamaliel was a member of the Sanhedrin and he had a good reputation among the people. In fact, Saul of Tarsus had studied under Gamaliel. (Acts 22:3 KJV) I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. He must have had much influence since he commanded that the Apostles were to be taken out for a while until they further discuss the matter.
Acts 5:35 (KJB)
And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
Take heed - Be careful
Gamaliel started addressing the council. The words “take heed” are one word in the Greek and is in the Imperative Mood making it a command. He was not making a suggestion because he remembers what happened less than two months ago as they had the same mindset toward the Lord Jesus Christ. He wanted them to check their intentions and not to deal with these men with a mob mentality. When Christ stood before the Sanhedrin, it was not a full 70 and probably Gamaliel was not present at that time. He did not want a repeat situation from two months ago.
Acts 5:36 (KJB)
For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
If one wants to get a group back to logical thinking, then a quick history lesson might get people back into reality. The name “Theudas” means “false teacher.” Apparently this man had set himself up to be some kind of radical teacher which led his students in some kind of revolt. There is much speculation about who this man was. Josephus mentions a man named Theudas but the timing of his existence and mention does not confirm the timeline of the Bible. If Gamaliel mentioned him, then this man would have had to exist before 33 A.D. That does not really matter because Gamaliel is now stating that this man had drawn to himself about four hundred men and they were probably freedom fighters. He had boasted Himself to be a somebody but the Apostles were not boasting in themselves but in Christ. This man was slain and those who were with him were scattered to the wind and his movement came to nothing.