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17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.’ 18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.

 

15:17

So that the rest of mankind [Gentiles] may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.’

Continuing the allusion to Amos 9, James quoted Amos 9:12 to show that all the “rest of mankind” may seek the Lord. He added that God would include Gentiles in the Davidic kingdom. The Old Testament establishes God’s intent to save Gentiles. God’s plan to save Gentiles was no novelty (Ro 15:8-12). Gentiles are a new people, no mere addition to the nation Israel.

God will rebuild the fallen tabernacle of David so that Gentiles will “seek the LORD.” He will restore the nation Israel in a future day.

15:18

“Known to God from eternity are all His works.

The words of this verse are the last of the quote from Amos 9:11-12. God was well aware of the events of Acts 15 from eternity past. The purpose of restoring Davidic rule was not only to bless Israel but that “the rest of humanity may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord.”

Verse 18 may be an allusion to Isaiah 45:21, placing emphasis on the Amos quote.

PRINCIPLE:

Gentile salvation is by grace alone.

APPLICATION:

The Messianic kingdom has not yet come; it rests entirely in the future. Amos’s prediction remains today in the future to the church. The church and Israel are two different entities.

The idea of this verse is that Gentile inclusion in God’s plan is in harmony with Gentile inclusion in the Millennial kingdom. Fulfillment of the Amos prediction is still future from the church age. The church does not replace Israel in prophecy. God has a distinct purpose for the church and a different purpose for Israel.

The apostles’ speeches concluded that the salvation of the Gentiles is by grace alone. Keeping the law is not a requirement for salvation. Legalists were not to undermine those saved by grace.

 The church is not a replacement for Israel. God still has a purpose for the nation Israel. The claim that the Messianic kingdom came because of Amos’s quote is not justified. There was an inference from the Amos quote that God had a future for Gentiles, but not that Gentile inclusion in the body of Christ was the prophecy.

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