Act 13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.


Act 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.


Act 13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.


First off I want to speak very generally by saying that understanding and appreciating the nature of the information that is set forth in the overall context of what is recorded from the end of Acts 7 and leading up to 13:48 is critical to properly understanding what the last part of verse 48 states, along with appreciating why God makes the statement there. Moreover it is especially important that the nature of the information that is set forth in the immediate context of chapter 13 leading up to the last part of verse 48 be understood and appreciated. For this specific information builds and develops in chapter 13, with the result that when it reaches the culmination of Paul’s preaching in Antioch of Pisidia this specific information more or less comes to a climax. And it is at this climactic point that God declares what He does in the end of verse 48. So then by this declaration at the end of verse 48 God caps off, so to speak, what He has been specifically testifying about in chapter 13, with the result that it should now be clearly understood and be a settled fact.


Act 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.


Act 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.


Act 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.


For this is the very context in which the statement is made, and so it is the very context in which God has designed for it to have meaning and be important to understand. The statement at the end of 13:48 is a declaratory statement by which God ‘seals the reality,’ so to speak, of something specific that He has been testifying to at this point in Acts 13. Now suffice it to say that by what God sets forth in chapters 13 and 14 He now specifically gives basic evidence and testimony to the fact that His new Gentile program is clearly a separate program from that of His program with Israel, and that it is a program that He is carrying out independent of (or apart from) Israel, as well as the fact that it is a program that He had purposed all along to usher in and carry out in response to Israel’s fall. To say this in a more colloquial way. Acts 13 and 14 give evidence to the fact that God is not ‘flying by the seat of his pants’ in having suspended His program with Israel and in having turned to the Gentiles. Instead He is doing the exact opposite. He is doing something He prepared for and provided for doing in advance.


Act 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.


Act 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.


Now as the information that specifically conveys these issues builds and develops in chapter 13, it eventually comes to the point where God through Paul pointedly testifies to the fact that His turning to the Gentiles is something that He had purposed to do all along, and that He wants the Gentiles to understand and appreciate this. And so when we ourselves are going through the book of Acts and come to this particular point in the effectual working of its overall testimony, this is the same issue that God wants us to recognize and acknowledge as well at this time. This particular issue is pointedly set forth after Paul and Barnabas specifically preach the word of God to the Gentiles as per verse 42. And as the account relates, when the Jews spoke against what Paul preached to the Gentiles and were “contradicting and blaspheming” it, he and Barnabas proclaimed what verses 46 and 47 set forth. Briefly and simply put, by what Paul says in verse 46 he first declared to the unbelieving Jews the issue of God turning to the Gentiles apart from them. Then by what he says in verse 47 Paul not only cites his Divine authorization for so dealing with the Gentiles, but he also makes it clear by the parallel nature of the citation’s Divine authorization that in turning to the Gentiles God has done something that He had planned and purposed to do all along. Then, as the first part of verse 48 goes on to say, “when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord.” The Gentiles, therefore, understood what Paul declared. They understood the reality of this particular “word of the Lord” regarding Paul’s Divine authorization for dealing with the Gentiles independent of (or apart from) Israel, and also for him to do so in fulfillment of the fact that God had purposed all along to deal with them as such. And in view of understanding this that Paul declared and proclaimed to them, they were “glad and glorified” this “word of the Lord.”


Act 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.


Act 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.


Act 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.


Now once again this is the very same thing that ought to be doctrinally understood by someone when he arrives at this particular point in the book of Acts. If someone has been benefiting from the effectual working of everything in the book of Acts up to now, then at this particular point what verses 46 and 47 say ought to have the same effectual impact upon him. Hence he too ought to clearly realize and understand that when God suspended His program with Israel and unexpectedly turned to the Gentiles and began dealing with them apart from Israel, He did so in accordance with the fact that He had purposed and planned to do so all along. Then, as I said before, to ‘seal the reality’ of this fact. God says at the end of verse 48, “and as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed.” And this is what this statement is. It is a ‘sealing type’ statement by which God further validates or confirms in no uncertain terms the truth of what has just been set forth. Therefore by stating that “as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed,” God confirms the fact that His turning to the Gentiles apart from Israel is not a capricious or impulsive act on His part. Rather He had planned for it and purposed it. For as He says these among the Gentiles that believed “were ordained unto eternal life.” Hence with this being the case God’s turning to the Gentiles was planned for in accordance with this ordaining. And also with this being the case, “as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed” the gospel that Paul preached in perfect harmony with this.


Act 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.


Act 14:24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.


Act 14:25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:


Act 14:26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.


Act 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.


Wherefore on the basis of this climactic statement at the end of verse 48 it is clear that God’s new Gentile program is not something that He brought in impulsively, or ‘on the spur of the moment,’ or as an afterthought, or by chance. Instead it was planned for and purposed in advance. And acknowledging this basis fact at this time is the designed effectual working of this statement as it stands in Acts 13:48. Now it is important to understand that by what God states He does not explain any of the mechanics belonging to this ordaining, or any ‘theological issues’ pertaining to it. Such is not His purpose in making the statement. Instead all He does is make the statement for the sake of its obvious meaning in its context. And by making it in the manner in which He does and where He does, my understanding is that God has clearly designed that its effectual working at this point in the book of Acts be that of sealing up and confirming in an unmistakable and undeniable way the truth of what His apostle to the Gentiles has just proclaimed in verse 47.

Keith Blades

Enjoy The Bible Ministries

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