“And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
The Verdict of the Jerusalem Council
This passage tells us that a Jerusalem council led by the apostles was organized to discuss “this question … this matter” of “circumcision” and “the law of Moses” (Acts 15:1, 2, 5).
The Church decided that the Gentiles were “saved … through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15: 11). And thus they did not need to be circumcised. Yet, to avoid offending the Jews, they were given certain restrictions. The James said, “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood” (Verses 19, 20).
Did the Jerusalem Council Do Away With the Sabbath?
The Sabbath itself was not debated or even discussed in the Jerusalem Council. It is important to note that in Acts 15:21 believing Gentiles were still worshiping with the Jews in their synagogues “every Sabbath day.” Thus, showing that the “Sabbath day” was not abrogated by the Jerusalem council. Rather, it was reiterated without dissent as the biblical day of worship for both Jews and Gentiles.
For more on the Sabbath, please check (Lessons 91-102) of the Bible Lessons.
In His service,