Not long ago, while discussing the book of Acts with friends, one man in our circle remarked that it would be nice to have the text of the sermons Paul delivered in the synagogues where he spoke so we could know what evidence he presented to the Jews that Yeshua is Messiah. Well, we do have the texts Paul used. They are called the Torah and the Prophets. As Yeshua said,
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (John 5:46-47 NASB)
All it takes is a little study of the Tanakh (Old Testament) to understand who Messiah is and what He is supposed to do. Moses, of course, provides the first clues:
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, “Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 13:1-6 NASB)
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, “Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.” The Lord said to me, “They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19 NASB)
From this we see that any prophet sent by God will speak nothing that contradicts the things that God commanded, and that Messiah will confirm the commandments of the Lord. Then there’s the breathtaking prophecy of Isaiah 53 which explains Messiah’s mission of redemption as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. No wonder Yeshua said He had not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to teach their correct meaning. And no wonder Paul was commissioned as the Apostle to the Gentiles. Who else but the star pupil of the greatest Torah teacher of the age would be qualified to explain to Gentiles why they should believe on Yeshua, and how to live once they did?
With that as an introduction, let me commend to your attention a new series by John and Sue Wyatt, Torah in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. This is a straightforward investigation of the book of Acts from the perspective that Yeshua and His apostles remained Torah-observant all their lives, just as God commanded through Moses and the Prophets. The first post, covering Acts 1-5, is reblogged below. The most compelling portion of this post is the Wyatt’s comparison of the traditional Christian interpretation of Acts 5 with a Hebraic perspective. Did the Apostles preach something that contradicted what Moses and the Prophets taught, or did their proclamation of Yeshua’s Messianic claims uphold the Torah? The answer to that question helps us understand exactly what Paul preached in the synagogues of Asia and Europe.