In Peter’s view, who and what were the people who would partner with the Spirit of God in the new Israel? Peter, like Paul, had never lost hope that Israel would be delivered from foreign domination and re-emerge as a new godly people. Very similar to the Babylonian captivity, God was using the Gentiles to awaken and to chastise the Jews for their role in God’s everlasting promise. Paul echoed this hope in his letter to the Romans and so did Peter in his writings from Babylon (Rome).
Redefiningn Paul's Job: #12 During the four years in Roman custody and almost a year on the sea, Paul was not treated as a criminal, but as a valuable political and religious hostage in an explosive situation between Rome and Jerusalem. Paul used this time to preach and to write his letters to the Churches. … Continue reading Restoring God’s Image and Likeness in Man
The Holy Spirit brought Peter back from an embarrassing fall to be the leader, who opened the door to God’s kingdom for the Gentiles and the world. I do know that the Holy Spirit also brought me back from a life that was going in the wrong direction, which required a dramatic change and adjustment so that I could become a servant of men and God. Imagine what he could do for you if you decide to partner with the Holy Spirit of the Lord? Those that did, after Pentecost, propelled the kingdom of God into the world.
The Bible speaks of a time when the "Presence" or "Spirit of God" will no longer be noticed. Faith in God will be replaced with faith in a prosperous economy and in a secularized human knowledge. We are experiencing similar trends in the twenty-first century and have so for a long time. In Noah’s days only one person hung on to his faith in God. During the post-Davidic time, God, Himself, had preserved seven thousand men. Jesus, the Immanuel (God with us), envisioned a godless time when evil will dominate humanity and the world. Jesus, in particular, drew attention to the days of Noah and Lot:
Paul’s influence in Christianity was far more than monumental. Without Paul's impact and without his contribution, Christianity may have been just another religious Jewish sect like that of the Qumran community. Paul’s religious journey began at the feet of Gamaliel, and not on the road to Damascus, when Christ revealed himself to Saul. Paul was brought up in the strictest tradition of the fathers. He described himself, “I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in the city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day” (Acts 22:3).
While Saul was learning to become Paul, Peter, to stay out of jail, left Jerusalem and decided to visit some godly people in Lydda. There the Holy Spirit used Peter to heal a man called Aeneas and therefore he attracted many to become disciples of Jesus. The town of Joppa was near and it already had disciples. Two men were dispatched to bring Peter to Joppa. While Peter resided with Simon the tanner, the Holy Spirit used him to raise up Tabitha and prepare his heart to receive the Gentiles.
The Lord, Christ, did not return to Zion. And Paul did revise his view on “The Second Coming.” However, Paul first had to learn how to pastor his flocks from his lengthy prison term. God’s Spirit cannot be imprisoned, neither can God’s Words and God’s Message. Paul accomplished more in prison than he did as a traveling evangelist. The enemies of the Gospel could incarcerate Paul, the apostle and the pastor of the church, but the enemies could not stop his writings. Paul's literary work became the source that sustained the Christians for centuries. The pen became even mightier than the Apostle’s presence.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:18-19).
The eviction of Adam and Eve from Eden did not end their relationship with God. They had God with them without knowing it. God’s Spirit was in them, regardless of their ill behavior. Every time a human being is conceived, the Spirit of God gives life to a new birth, regardless of how that being will structure his or her life. The fact that we breathe and live is evidence that the Creator God continues to procreate, and allows life to prosper in the world, in spite of the evil forces, which seek to control and to deplete life.
The Jews endeavored to stop Paul from preaching Christ. They also wanted to stop Paul from reaching Rome. The Jews had taken on God by refusing to be God’s messengers. So, God enlisted the Romans to transport Paul to Rome. And while Paul was on the way, he was allowed to visit, to strengthen, and to encourage the churches. Paul consulted the Scriptures. And the Scriptures pointed to the Gentiles as God’s upcoming believers and as God’s missionaries. To Hosea, the Lord said: