Acts 1:4, 6 & 12-26
October 14, 1975
“and being assembled together with them” – some center margins have ‘eating together’. One of the
reasons I was so interested in this is I think he did the covenant of salt with them just before they left.
Remember he had said, “If I go away I’ll prepare a place for you and I will come back.” (Reference:
John 14:2-3) I think all these things he sealed with the covenant of salt. The Nestorian, the Jacobite,
the Murdock, the Estrangelo; they all read, “and when he ate bread with them.” You wonder how I
get the covenant of salt out of that. In the eating together with, the covenant of salt was used many
times. In the Old Testament you’d make an agreement with a man, and then instead of having an
attorney there to draw up the papers, you just sit down and eat together. The food would have salt in
it and that’s where the covenant of salt came in. “Eateth with me”, Jesus said, “shall lift his heel
against me.” (Reference: John 13:18) Remember that one about Judas? I believe Judas had taken the
covenant of salt and broke it and that’s why he committed suicide. If you and had taken the covenant
of salt and I broke it, you would have the right to see that I was executed but Judas just did it to
himself because he broke the covenant. In Oriental culture, not just biblically, but it was true in just
plain common people, whenever they made a deal, when they worked out some arrangement on some
business transaction, they’d just sit down and eat together. Sometimes they wouldn’t ever eat, they’d
just have a glass of buttermilk together and that had salt in it. The covenant was much greater than
the covenant of blood in the Bible; much greater in usage. I can understand this because in the pagan
field, blood letting for their god was common even to become so possessed and so fanatical in their
following of devil spirits that they’d cut their own throat and fall down with their throat sliced at the
alter at the foot of the god. You never read about a covenant of salt to devil spirits in the Word. You
do read about the blood covenant that they kept for their god.
“When they therefore were come together” – from the Nestorian, Jacobite and Estrangelo
manuscripts available to us, it literally reads, “Yet while they gathered together. All of this occurred
at that meal when they were eating together. I would call this ‘the last supper’. When do you think he
went up? Here they ate together. I do not believe it was breakfast. I do not believe it was the noon
meal. I believe it was the evening meal and they did it just before sunset and I think the ascension
was just then. I can’t prove it but it’s interesting. This would be at the close of a day, just before the
beginning of a new day because the beginning of a new day was Pentecost, with the coming of the
spirit bright and early. Jesus Christ said, when he died, said “It is finished”, but something was not
finished yet because he still spent forty days. Something still was not finished because, eight days
afterward, Pentecost. What I see in here is the ascension at the close of the day, taken up, and then
the coming of the spirit on the day of Pentecost at the first hour of prayer.
“mount called Olivet” – I believe this is the only place it’s translated ‘mount called Olivet’. It
basically is the Mount of Olives at other places. The old Estrangelo Aramaic reads, ‘the mount that
was called an olive garden’.
“a sabbath day’s journey” – A sabbath day’s journey as best we know was 6,164 feet. It’s 1.16745
Joshua 3:2-4 - They were to keep two thousand cubits between them and the ark of the covenant.
I’ve often wondered if that is where they got the idea of a sabbath day’s journey, the distance. One
time in the Old Testament, the ark had been stolen and they went to bring it back and it sort of
teetered and tottered on the wagon and I believe four men ran up to it to hold it so it wouldn’t topple
off of the wagon and all four died like that. There are a lot of interesting things like this that I retain
in my mind. I don’t know where to look for the answers. Maybe sometime we’ll run across it in some
piece of literature. These are things in the Word – Why? Because, I think spiritually God’s Word has
to have great respect. The Bible is not a book like any other book. It’s not like Shakespeare or Plato
and we are not to handle the Word of God deceitfully. I believe that you have to have that kind of
respect for the Word.
You can’t ever drive too deeply in your mind, the literal action on the Word of God – the literal
action on the Word of God – just literally doing it.
“Peter and James …” – It lists eleven. The only name missing is Judas Iscariot and that again I think
is the second great proof that he had just left their company previously. First of all in verse 11, “men
of Galilee”, here in verse 13, the listing of the eleven excluding Judas Iscariot.
“one accord” – I believe this is the first time that the word, one accord appears in Acts. It’s used a
number of times in the first several chapters of Acts.
“supplication” – One of the old texts uses ‘thanksgiving’. Many of the texts delete the word
“with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” – This has been a great
scripture of truth for us because verse 13 told us that the upper room was a place where these men
abode. That’s where they slept. No woman would be allowed in the sleeping quarters of men. No
man would be allowed in the sleeping quarters of women. Where they ‘continued with one accord’
could not have been in the upper room. It could have been in the Temple area. It could have been
some other place too, but not in the upper room.
Judges 4:15-22 – In verse 18, ‘turn in to me’ does not mean sexual relationship like the
concordances talk about. This is an oriental cultural thing. There is peace between these two rulers. It
says ‘houses’ that means whatever they’re over. There’s peace there and she being the queen, and the
king is gone therefore she has to take the initiative. Sisera can’t run up to her and say, “Honey can I
move in with you?” The culture wouldn’t allow that.
But for her to take the initiative and come out to meet him and say to him, “Turn in unto me and fear
not” is right on. It has nothing to do with anything but the culture. In verse 18 it says ‘she covered
him with a mantle’. That’s the second great truth. She covered him with that mantle to indicate that
she would protect him from the enemy at all cost because her husband, the king and the king who
was the head of Sisera were buddy-buddies. Their houses were at peace and they were working
together. He asked her for water. She didn’t give him water. She gave him buttermilk, the covenant
of salt. Firstly, she asks him to come in. Secondly she puts the mantle over him. Thirdly she gives the
covenant of salt to him. He’s scared to death. Barak is following, right? The man’s life is at stake.
She is doing everything in her culture and background to make him realize that she will protect his
life and die for him before anybody else will touch him. If someone kills the queen, Barak’s going to
have a little problem because the other king’s going to get to fighting. He told her to stand in the door
of the tent. Look at the unbelief in that man’s mind. He knew that if she stood at the door of the tent,
no man would pass by her into the tent because she was the queen and if anyone would shove to the
side, then there’d be another war. The ‘nail’ in verse 21 means a stake. The concordances label Jael
as a liar, deceitful, a murderer, all that stuff. They just don’t understand Oriental culture. Sisera had
broken the covenant with her and when you break the covenant you die. “Her” in verse 22 is the key.
The tents were divided into rooms. No man but her husband would be allowed in her sleeping
quarters – “her”. Sisera knew that if he could get on her side of the tent, nobody would be allowed
there to find him. That’s why she put the stake through his head. He had broken every covenant.
The upper room was where they abode so no woman would be allowed in there.
“one accord” – means unity of purpose. Like tonight we’re of one accord, Unity of purpose. The
purpose is a work on the book of Acts together, studying the book of Acts. ‘One accord’ does not
mean that we all have the same renewed mind perception. Why I hit this is that later, on the day of
Pentecost, they were of one accord and the teaching is that until you all spiritually get to that same
level you never receive the fullness of the holy spirit to speak in tongues or as they put it “He will
never posses you so you can speak in tongues.
“in prayer” – it does say they were praying all the time but during that period of time between the
ascension and the day of Pentecost, sometime in there they must have been in one accord in prayer.
Luke 24:52-53 - It doesn’t say they were continuously in the temple, they were continually. That
means sporadically. They were in the temple when they were supposed to be, or when they should be
or could be. For those deeply committed spiritual souls there were five hours of prayer; the first, the
third, the sixth, the ninth and the twelfth. The first corresponds to our 6 am, the third to 9 am, the
sixth to 12 noon, the ninth to 3 pm, the twelfth to 6 pm. In Acts the “one accord, in prayer” I believe
fits into the pattern of the hours of prayer and therefore they met at the place where women were
allowed to meet with men and that would be in the temple area. It’s interesting Mary the mother of
Jesus was there and his brethren.
“in those days” – between the ascension and Pentecost while they were tarrying in Jerusalem
“disciples” – many of the texts read ‘brethren’
“number” – is translated in some texts ‘crowd’
“about an hundred and twenty” – This is a goodly number when you consider the crucifixion, when
you consider everything that occurred in Jerusalem and this number included all men. The women
were in addition to this because the women were never numbered. When they counted the children of
Israel, for instance, just the men were counted then it says plus women and children. If the proportion
was then what it is now it would be about five women to one man. It’s not the day of Pentecost.
Everybody teaches that the holy spirit on the day of Pentecost came to people in the upper room and
there were 120 present. “About” 120 is not 120. The upper room is where they slept.
“the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake” – Who’s mouth? – David’s. Who’s vocabulary? –
David’s. But it is God’s Word.
“took” – ‘arrested’ is the text.
“with” – or ‘among’
“had” - omit
“obtained part of this ministry” – Had he believed God he could have gone back to Jerusalem and if
he had have been at the same place the other eleven are going to be, he would have received. That’s
why he only received part of the ministry.
Verses 18 and 19 are a parenthesis. I t is not a parenthesis in your Bible but it’s a parenthesis
according to the truth of God’s Word because a parenthesis is a legitimate insertion by way of
explanation which adds nothing to the truth only it elucidates it, it clarifies it, it magnifies, it adds
oomph to the truth that’s stated in a deeper exploratory way. You could read on from the end of verse
17 directly to the beginning of verse 20.
“bishoprick” – or ‘overseer’s responsibility’ This is simply an office position. In Roman Catholicism
the Pope is a priest. That’s the highest office in Roman Catholicism. The Arch Bishop is a priest. The
Cardinal is a priest. The highest you can go is to be a priest. The rest are offices of responsibility.
That’s all. ‘Bishop’ is Greek. In the Hebrew in the Old Testament it is ‘elder’.
“take” – lambano
“his habitation” – his responsibility, his place of life, his life
“purchased” – means provided for himself. He bought it. This same word translated ‘purchased’ is
translated ‘provided in Matthew 10:9.
“field” – chorion – property
“reward of iniquity” – This has been interpreted by Bible scholars and teachers as the 30 pieces of
silver that Judas was paid by the religious echelon for betraying the Lord Jesus Christ to them. This
cannot be true as we shall see from Matthew. It could have been 30 pieces of silver because the
‘reward’ is the ‘wages’ of sin or wrong doing. It is possible that this money could have come from
John 12:6. Judas had great natural ability. Jesus made him treasurer of the organization of the twelve
apostles and Jesus Christ is not stupid. When it came to real spiritual depth Judas was not in that
inner circle. When it came to real spiritual depth, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John. The
jealousy tendency was there. At one point they were arguing about who was going to be greatest in
the kingdom. Jesus Christ loved all twelve apostles. He didn’t love Peter or James or John any more
than he loved the rest. I do not believe Jesus Christ played favorites. I do not believe that any man of
God has a right to play favorites or should play favorites. Don’t let the old devil get you hooked up
on that stuff; “I like him but I don’t like her.” Or “I like her but I don’t like him.” If they’re born
again of God’s spirit then you treat them like it. Yet there will be times when you have to take “Peter
and James and John.” There shouldn’t be any jealousy, any bitterness or any resentment. The wages
of iniquity have to be the money he stole out of the purse. None of the other apostles bought any
property. He bought the property with stolen money. That’s why it’s called the reward of iniquity.
“in the midst” – is deleted
“all” – is deleted
“his bowels gushed out” – Hanging was like impaling yourself on a sharp instrument like a sword or
a piece of wood that had been sharpened like a spear. That’s why his bowels gushed out.
“all the dwellers” – has to be all without distinction. I often wonder who the all includes. It was
probably front page news. It brings disgrace upon Jesus Christ.
“field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama” – ‘proper tongue’-own tongue or in the vernacular
Matthew 27:3-8 - The thirty pieces of silver that he had received for betraying the Lord Jesus
Christ, Judas brings back after the betrayal to the chief priests and elders. If he’s going to bring these
thirty pieces of silver back then he can’t use those thirty pieces of silver to buy his own property. The
reward of iniquity of Acts 1 cannot be the thirty pieces of silver. Thirty pieces of silver is the lowest
amount that you were allowed to pay for a slave. That’s all Judas got for the Lord Jesus Christ. One
would think he could have negotiated a greater price than that. When the chief priests and elders
wanted Judas’ help and they wanted to solicit his cooperation, then he was a good guy. When it was
all over with and he felt badly about it, he knew he had betrayed the innocent blood.
He wanted to give back the thirty pieces of silver and the fellows said, ‘stick it, man’ – “What’s it to
us? You take care of it.” He could not have killed himself at this time because this is shortly after the
betrayal. In Acts we know he was still there on the day of the ascension. So, whatever it means in
verse 5 ‘hanged himself’ could not mean that he died at that time. In verse 6 the chief priests said ‘it
was unlawful to put the thirty pieces of silver into the treasury because it is the price of blood’. There
was nothing unlawful about negotiating for somebody’s life whom you want to crucify and give the
‘old Mafia treatment’ to. Nothing unlawful about that, but to take the money back, that was unlawful.
What a bunch of cop-outs and these are the top religious leaders. Look at the irony of that. In verse 7
the word ‘bought’ as it’s used in the text means ‘to make a deliberate decision to go to the public
market place where things are sold. The Greek word for ‘field’ here is agros, not ‘property as in
Acts. They deliberately bought a ‘potter’s field’ to bury ‘strangers’ or ‘foreigners’, people who are
not of the same religious persuasion as you. They bury them in potter’s fields. If you were too poor to
be buried anyplace, this is a place where you could be buried. Many cemeteries today still have a
potter’s field. In verse 8 it was called ‘The field (agros) of blood (hemetos)’. Not then but later on
when they found out what happened to the thirty pieces of silver.
When you allow Matthew to speak for itself and allow Acts to speak for itself, there is no
contradiction. This takes all the confusion out and allows the Word to fit like a hand in a glove.
“appointed” – one text reads made to stand. Another text reads nominated.
“whether” – ‘if either’
“take” – lambano
“by transgression fell” – literally – transgressed.
“his own place” – it does not say ‘hell’. It says ‘own place’ Why everybody wants him to go to hell, I
don’t know. Verse18 says he, falling headlong burst asunder at a field he had purchased with ‘the
reward of iniquity’ – ‘his own place’.
“lots” – vote – ballot
“lot” – vote – ballot
“fell upon” – was for
“he was numbered with the eleven apostles” – eleven plus one make twelve and it’s still not the day
of Pentecost. I would like to believe it was the night before the fullness, but I cannot say. The reason
I like to think in terms of this is because this is the last thing that’s recorded happening before the day
of Pentecost fully came; the replacement of Judas by Matthias. The next record is the record of the
day of Pentecost.