The Significance of “To the Jew First” (2 of 2) [OT Prophecy – 2]

All Scripture quotations are from the 1901 American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

 

To read part 1 of 2, click here.

 

This is a highly significant passage, perhaps the most important passage in the NT as it relates to Israel and the Kingdom of Christ in the Church era of the New Covenant:

Acts 2:29-36:

29 Brethren, I may say unto you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne; 31 he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear. 34 For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.

Before we get directly into our text, we first need to back up to the beginning of the book of Acts:

Acts 1:1-8

1 The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, 2 until the day in which he was received up, after that he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 to whom he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God: 4 and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me: 5 for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence. 6 They therefore, when they were come together, asked him, saying, Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within His own authority. 8 But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Note that Luke mentions the fact that Jesus spoke to His Apostles about the kingdom of God after His resurrection. Also note that right before Jesus ascended back to the Father, they asked Him about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.

Many believe that Jesus didn’t answer the Apostles question. However, I think the evidence reveals otherwise. Notice that after each mention of the “kingdom,” the Holy Spirit (the promise of the Father) is also mentioned in the same context. I believe this gives us a clue about the Kingdom of God.

Before I go any further, I want to address the meaning of the “Kingdom of God.” I believe the Kingdom of God is a general term that refers to one of the various forms of God’s Kingdom: The spiritual Kingdom we enter into upon regeneration, the Kingdom of Heaven (Heaven), the Kingdom of Christ, and the Eternal Kingdom (of the new heaven and new earth). Context (and perhaps other passages) must determine which kingdom the speaker/writer is specifically referring to. It’s not our purpose to do a detailed study of the various forms of the Kingdom of God. Our focus is specifically on the Kingdom of Christ (Messiah), which is what the Apostles were asking Jesus about, for it was the kingdom of the Messiah that the Jews were all looking forward to, and still do today.

Returning to our discussion, I believe that Jesus, in Acts 1, is giving us a clue about the Kingdom of Christ, that it’s directly related to the baptism in the Holy Spirit which occurred on the Day of Pentecost. I don’t believe Jesus was side-stepping their question, I believe He was revealing the form in which His kingdom would appear. At this point, the spiritual eyes of the Apostles were not yet fully opened. That wouldn’t happen until Pentecost. Some may object to that idea by pointing out what Luke said in the following passage:

Luke 24:44-49

44 And he said unto them, These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their mind, that they might understand the scriptures; 46 and he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 Ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high.

It’s true that Jesus opened their minds of understanding at this point (before His ascension), but it seems clear that their understanding was limited to the basic truths about Christ and what He came to do. Notice that in verse 49 Jesus refers to the “promise of the Father” that they were to receive, which occurred on the Day of Pentecost. It wasn’t until that day that their minds would be opened to a much wider revelation regarding spiritual matters, as Jesus Himself confirms:

John 14:25-26

25 These things have I spoken unto you, while yet abiding with you. 26 But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.

John 16:7-14

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. 8 And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; 11 of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you.

From the words of Jesus Himself, it’s clear that His disciples would not receive the Holy Spirit until after He had ascended back to the Father. It’s also clear that the receiving of the Spirit would occur on the Day of Pentecost, for He told them to tarry in the city of Jerusalem for the “promise of the Father” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4l; Acts 2:1-4). Therefore, it’s further clear that before Jesus ascended, and before Pentecost, the disciple’s understanding regarding spiritual matters was still very limited in scope.

The point is, even though Jesus spoke to His Apostles about “things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3), they still didn’t fully understand what Jesus was teaching them at that time. That understanding wasn’t given until Pentecost.

Important note: Pentecost was about more than simply receiving power to witness. It was about receiving the Holy Spirit Himself. Jesus told His disciples that He would come to them, and He did so in the Person of the Holy Spirit. At that point, they were also baptized into the body of Christ, which is the Church (1 Cor 12:13). The Church came into existence at that time. The disciples were given power to witness (through both their words and life) because they now had the Holy Spirit dwelling them and were united with Christ spiritually. Christ’s kingdom could now be expanded throughout the world in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I believe the establishment of the New Covenant should be understood as a series of events, rather than a single event. I believe those events are as follows: the ministry of John the Baptist; the baptism of Jesus; the ministry of Jesus; death and resurrection and ascension of Christ; the tearing of the temple curtain; the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost; the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in AD 70. However, the Church itself began on Pentecost, and is the Kingdom of Christ (I wrote a series regarding the Kingdom of Christ, and I encourage you to read through that series). The destruction of Jerusalem and its temple would be the final outward sign to Israel that the Messiah’s kingdom had come (Matt 16:28), that the prophecies had been fulfilled.

So then, while limited in their understanding regarding the Kingdom of Christ before His ascension and before Pentecost, Peter gives evidence that their eyes of understanding about it was now fully opened on that day.

Interpretation of Acts 2:29-36

Returning to our primary text, what we’re seeing on the Day of Pentecost is the beginning of the Church, which is the Kingdom of Christ, as Peter himself reveals in Acts 2:29-36. While Peter didn’t have complete understanding of the Kingdom of Christ before Pentecost, he most certainly understood it now, having received the Holy Spirit. We’ll go through this passage verse by verse. However, I would encourage you to read all of Acts 1 and 2 so you’ll see the context in which this part of Peter’s sermon is given:

29 Brethren, I may say unto you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne;

When “David” is mentioned in the NT, it often has to do with the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:10-17; 1 Ki 2:33,45; 1 Ki 9:5; 1 Chr 17:11-14; 2 Chr 6:16; Is 9:7; Jer 23:5; Jer 30:9), where the coming Messiah sits upon the throne of David in His kingdom (Mk 11;10; Lu 1:32; Jn 7:42; Acts 15:16-17).

[We’ll take a close look at some of those OT passages/prophecies regarding the Davidic Covenant in another post. In this post we’re focused on Peter’s interpretation of those OT passages.]

The Jews were looking for their Messiah (and still are today) to come and set up His kingdom where He would reign from the throne of David as their King. Peter is referring to that kingdom here. He begins to reveal at this point that Jesus is, in fact, upon His throne now.

32 This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses.

33 Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.

Peter continues and declares to all the Jews present that Jesus is at the “right hand of God” now, referring to the throne that Jesus sits upon. Notice that, again, for the third time, that the kingdom is associated with the “promise of the Holy Spirit” (we already discussed the first two times). In other words, having received the Holy Spirit, and having been baptized into the body of Christ (the Church), Jesus now sits upon His throne, in His kingdom — which is His Church. Confirmation of this interpretation follows:

34 For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.

This statement by Peter is highly significant, as it’s a parallel passage with a text that I covered in my series regarding the Kingdom of Christ, which is 1 Corinthians 15. Compare what Peter says here in Acts with what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ’s, at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be abolished is death.

If you haven’t read my post on that passage of Scripture yet, I encourage you to do so here, as both Peter and Paul confirm that the Kingdom of Christ is now, that Jesus is reigning as King now (Col 1:13). A close examination of both of these passages reveals that the Church of Christ and the Kingdom of Christ are one and the same – which is a spiritual kingdom.

The Jews were looking for an earthly kingdom where their Messiah would rule from the throne of David. Peter, now having an accurate understanding of that kingdom, is revealing to them what was revealed to him:

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.

Peter wants “all the house of Israel” to know that “God has made him both Lord and Christ (Messiah).” In other words, Peter was informing them that Jesus is their Messiah, the one that Israel had been waiting for, that He is their King, and that He’s ruling now in His kingdom. He’s letting them know that their understanding of the Messiah’s kingdom was inaccurate. Peter was, thus, giving them the correct interpretation of all those OT prophecies.

Discussion

So we see that from day one, Peter explains the meaning of the prophesied kingdom, the kingdom of their Messiah. It’s also important to understand that this kingdom relates to the land promises, as well, for the Jews understood the kingdom to be in the land of Israel, particularly in Jerusalem…..and that it would last “forever.” This is the “restored kingdom” they all looked forward to, and still do today. However, since Christ’s kingdom has its ultimate form in the eternal kingdom of the “new heaven and new earth” (Rev 21:1-2), the land that was promised to Israel is the land of the new earth, which is the “new Jerusalem.” The fact that the OT says that it will last forever, is proof enough that it can’t possibly refer to any kingdom of this world, for it’s all temporary and will be destroyed someday. It’s only the new Jerusalem that will last forever on the new earth. Thus, the land that was promised in the OT was merely a type and shadow of a land of far greater worth. When one thinks about it, the idea of a promised land that pertains to this sinful world, is not a very good deal. What God promised Israel was actually something far beyond their imagination and far more wonderful.

Again, from the very beginning, Peter informs them and explains to them that the events regarding Christ and the events of Pentecost, was the time of their fulfillment as a nation and as a people. It’s not what they were expecting, so Peter had to give them the understanding that they lacked. This is why it was “necessary” that they be given the message of Christ “first.”

Peter wrote two books of the NT, but in neither book did he mention an earthly kingdom. But what is his focus? It’s on the Church (1 Pe 2:1-10) and the eternal kingdom (2 Pe 1:11; 2 Pe 3:10-13,18). In Acts he reveals the Church to be the kingdom of Christ, and in 1 Peter he reveals the Church to be the new Israel in Christ as a spiritual nation.

And lest we get the dispensational idea that this fulfillment for Israel means that Gentile believers join them in all the promises of an “earthly kingdom,” Paul snuffs out that idea with the following revelation:

Ephesians 2:13-16:

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, 15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; 16 and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

What Paul is explaining in this passage, is that this “one new man,” this “one body,” is not simply a combining of Jews and Gentiles, but an entirely new creation of a new people. We are all one in Christ, where there is no Jew or Gentile, but a brand new entity, a brand new organism. Together we are heirs to all the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Note what Sam Storms says about this passage (from his book “Kingdom Come”):

Quote:

By “new man” Paul means the Christian community in its corporate identity, the Church. This new man is not simply an amalgam of the old in which the best of Judaism and the best of the Gentile world are combined. This is a completely new creation in which distinctives of Jewishness and Gentileness are irrelevant. Thus, as Lincoln says, “they have not just been brought into a mutual relationship, but have been made one in a unity where both are no longer what they previously were (cf. vv. 15, 16, 18). In accomplishing this, Christ has transcended one of the fundamental divisions of the first-century world.” Therefore, it’s not as though Gentiles are transformed into Jews or Jews into Gentiles. Rather “the resulting new humanity transcends the two old entities, even though unbelieving Israel and disobedient Gentiles continue to exist.

Unquote

Again Sam Storms:

Quote:

The “one new man,” i.e., the Church, in which both believing Jews and believing Gentiles were united by the blood of Christ, was heir to all the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The dispensational idea that in the age to come Israel would hold privileged status and be the unique focus of God’s eschatological activity and blessing was ruled out by this passage.

Unquote

Both Peter and Paul were Jews. Both were Apostles. Both contributed to the NT Scriptures. Both spoke about Israel and the Church. Both talked about the kingdom of Christ. But neither of them confirmed the idea of a future earthly, millennial kingdom. On the contrary, they provided a new revelation about its true identity. They both provided a new revelation about the identity of Israel in the Christian era. If an earthly kingdom is something they still looked forward to, wouldn’t they have talked about it while discussing these matters, knowing that they knew how central a coming Messiah and a coming kingdom was in the religion and culture of Israel? It’s completely reasonable that they would have. But the reality is they, instead, provided a new revelation about the true identity of Israel in Christ and of His kingdom. It should be obvious that this would be the first misunderstanding that the Apostles and prophets would need to clear up as Jewish Christian leaders. As believing Jews, clearing up misconceptions regarding Israel in the plan of God, would, quite understandably, be their primary mission to the Jews of that day. This is something every new Jewish believer would have to be taught. Peter and Paul did that. I think only someone with a positional bias would fail to see this, for they went out of their way to describe these things. It only makes sense that their purpose was to explain the OT Scriptures/prophecies to them so that there would be no confusion.

The fact that this confusion still exists today is not the fault of Peter or Paul. They did their part. The failure is on the part of Bible teachers who are so entrenched in the OT that they’re unable or unwilling to see the light of NT revelation, which provides a new understanding of Israel and the Kingdom of Christ. Their positional bias forces them to make assumptions about both when they read the NT, rather than accepting the more natural reading and understanding that it provides. The fact that dispensational premillennialists share basically the same understanding regarding the promises and prophecies regarding Israel and the Messiah’s kingdom, with unbelieving unregenerate Jews, should be a red flag to them. The only real difference between the two is, that unbelieving Jews don’t accept Jesus as their Messiah. However, dispensational premillennialists believe that will change someday. Why is it that they don’t, instead, allow the Apostles and believing Jews of the beginning years of Christianity – when they were living in the midst of all the course-changing events surrounding Christ, Israel, and the Church – to provide the necessary understanding? Who are we to believe? Unbelieving unregenerate Jews? Or believing, born-again Jews, such as the Apostles of Christ? The answer is obvious.

Christianity is the completed form of the Jewish religion (Judaism). God’s plan for Israel evolved. It had two phases. The first phase was Israel under the Old Covenant. When Jesus arrived on the scene, it was the transition stage to the second phase, which was Israel under the New Covenant. On the Day of Pentecost, the Jewish religion was in complete form. It was a new beginning for them. It was the end of Israel as an ethnic, physical nation, and the beginning of a spiritual nation in Christ — which is His Church. This was always in view in the OT prophecies. To become a spiritual nation in Christ is their glory, even though they didn’t realize it at the time — something they share with dispensationalists.

In the beginning of the Church and the Church era, the Jews essentially owned it. The message about Christ and the teachings of the Christian faith was theirs to spread to the rest of the world, because God’s plan for Israel expanded to the rest of the world. It was believing Jews that He used to begin that process, for Israel was now in their completed form, and Jewish believers were what is termed today as, “completed Jews” in Christ — although I believe that those who refer to themselves as “completed Jews” today are ordinarily dispensationalists, who are looking for an earthly, millennial kingdom.

The believing Jews in the days of the Apostles discovered that their true identity was in Christ and His Church, and it was their mission to spread the truth of their faith to the rest of the world, because it included all people. The idea that Israel still awaits completion, is nonsense. If believing Israel hadn’t found their completion in Christ – who is Head of the Church and for whom Christ died (Eph 5:25) – what in the world was it that they were experiencing in the days of Christ and the beginning years of the gospel/Christian era? Are we to believe that there is yet another phase for Israel to be fulfilled? If that’s the case, then the message they proclaimed in the beginning of the Church era was incomplete. We need to emphasize the point that it was believing Jews that God used to establish Christianity.

Think about that! It was believing Jews who established the Christian faith, with all its doctrines. That includes most of the NT Scriptures. This was their message, and their message to the rest of the world! The message of true Jews (those of the faith of Abraham) was the message of Christ and His Church. If there was still an earthly kingdom yet to be fulfilled for the nation of Israel, would they not have included that in their message? Would that message not stand out in the NT Scriptures? It’s unreasonable to think otherwise. Actually, they did include it in their message, but it was in the form of Christ and His Church. The message that the believing Jews preached in the early days of Christianity, was the same message they preached to both Jews and Gentiles — for in Christ we are all one new people and share the same blessings in Christ.

In the beginning of the Christian era, if there was still an earthly kingdom yet to come, if there was a separate plan for Israel apart from the Church (as dispensationalists teach), then I believe there would have been a need to provide separate Scriptures to the Jews that explain the OT prophecies regarding Israel and God’s future plan for them in a manner that is different than how it’s explained in the NT……because the NT Scriptures (written mostly by believing Jews), is addressed to both groups of believers – Jews and Gentiles – which do not clearly present a future earthly kingdom. The “thousand years” of Revelation 20, doesn’t provide a good enough case for such a kingdom, because this is mentioned in a book that is filled with symbolism. On the other hand, a very strong case can be made for the idea that the thousand years spoken of in Revelation is merely symbolic. I’ve made such a case for that in my commentary on Revelation; you can read about that here. I also devote an entire series to the Kingdom of Christ, and there I demonstrate that not only does it not teach a coming millennial kingdom, but it doesn’t even make room for it. That idea has to be forced into the Scriptures.

If the Jewish believers and Apostles and writers of the NT in the early years of the Christian era, didn’t understand the Kingdom of Christ to be His Church, as a spiritual kingdom, then they didn’t do a very good job of explaining it as a future earthly kingdom. As it is, they would need different Scriptures written just for the nation of Israel, providing explanation in the context of Christ and what He came to do for them. But where are they? Where are those Scriptures? Other than the NT, all that we can point to is the OT. But the obvious truth is, all we need are the NT Scriptures to explain the OT Scriptures. Did Jesus and the writers of the NT not refer to and interpret those Scriptures? Was Israel not the primary focus during the time of Christ and His Apostles and the beginning of the Church? Of course they were! Therefore, the idea that they were not experiencing the fulfillment of God’s complete plan for them during this monumental time in Israel’s history, is contrary to sound reasoning. Of all people, it was the Apostles of Christ and the Jewish believers in general (who were experiencing all the events of that critical transitional period from OC to NC), who were the most qualified to explain what was going on in those days. This is what Peter did on the Day of Pentecost. This is what Paul did in his writings. This is what the NT does overall. The NT sheds the needed light on the OT. Without the NT Scriptures, there’s no way we can properly understand the OT promises and prophecies regarding Israel and God’s plan for them. To give priority to the OT over the NT is a grave mistake. It’s critical that we allow the NT interpret the OT. It’s all-important that we place ourselves in the sandals of the Jewish believers in the days of Christ and His Apostles.

Believing Jews today shouldn’t explain God’s plan for Israel or the NT Scriptures according to Dispensationalism. The early believing Jews are the pattern for them. Explanation must be provided through the eyes of those first believers in Christ who were experiencing all the course-changing events of their day. Dispensationalists in general must set their theology aside and simply try to see what they did. The Jewish Apostles and prophets had a perspective that we can’t relate to. Their front seat perspective must be given top priority if we’re going to correctly understand the events surrounding Israel and the Church of their day. They understood the relationship between Israel and the Church, so we must pay careful attention to what they say about both in the NT. We must pay close attention to how they relate the two. We must not forget that the writers of the NT were often addressing believing Jews, and so they would need to teach them in manner that would answer their questions about God’s plan for them as Jewish believers, who had a common understanding (misunderstanding) of the OT promises and prophecies relating to them. How the writers of the NT explained it and how dispensationalists explain it, are not the same.

If the message to the Jews was anything other than Christ and His Church, it’s not recorded in the NT. But the fact is, it was mostly believing Jews who gave us the NT Scriptures, who were leaders of Christ’s Church. Their message to Israel was the same message to the Gentiles. The message they proclaimed is different from the message of Dispensationalism. Again, they would have needed additional Scriptures to present the same message that dispensationalists do today. It’s not the same message that the Jewish Apostles and prophets taught. And what was (is) that message they preached to the Jews? It was that we are all one in Christ, that we are a whole new people, a new creation in Christ as His people and as His Church. The Jews and Gentiles received the same message. Again, if there was a different plan for Israel apart from the Church, it’s not recorded by the believing Apostles and prophets, who would have had the proper understanding. What we learn in the NT is that Israel has its fulfillment and continuation in Christ and His Church. That’s it. There is no more.

The idea that the OT reveals something that the NT doesn’t, would be out of harmony. There is harmony between all elements of truth. Jesus Himself said that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, which represents the entire OT Scriptures. Jesus, as the Word Himself, has given the completed revelation regarding Israel in the form of the NT Scriptures, which are all about Him and His Church. It was His Jewish Apostles that He trained and commissioned to spread His gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. Is it not justifiable to conclude that if Jesus had a separate plan for Israel apart from His Church, He would have given that plan and message to His Apostles, whom He chose to establish and lead His people? Let’s be clear, God has always had but one people, not two. It’s our union with Christ and His Church that makes us one people.

Conclusion

Dispensational Premillennialism expands and distorts the message the Apostles proclaimed. They have sided with unbelieving Jews in proclaiming an earthly, Jewish kingdom that is still to come. However, Peter revealed the true nature of that kingdom at the very time the prophecies regarding Israel were being fulfilled (Pentecost). He knew that the earthly kingdom which the Jews looked forward to would be a major deal and a major question in the minds of the believing Jews of his day, so he dealt with that issue at the very time that kingdom was being inaugurated — in its true form. Peter most certainly revealed to “all the house of Israel” (Acts 2:36) that Jesus was the Messiah and that He was already ruling from His throne at the right hand of the Father. He revealed that that was the kingdom they were all looking forward to. It’s the Church that is Christ’s kingdom, which consists of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles. That’s why they could proclaim the same message to both groups. The Apostles and prophets of that day understood that both groups of believers are all one in Christ, that we share the same spiritual benefits in Christ, that together we are complete in Him, and one body in Him — which is His Church.

Under the Old Covenant, Israel was the focus of God. It was to and through Israel and His prophets that He spoke and carried out His will in the world. It was to Israel that He gave His commandments and revealed His will. It was through Israel that salvation to the world was provided, for it was through Israel that Christ came. When Jesus entered the world and began His ministry, they were still under the Old Covenant. God’s primary focus was still on the nation of Israel, and Jesus Himself was focused primarily on Israel. On the Day of Pentecost, the focus was still primarily on Israel, for all the prophecies regarding Israel were fulfilled on that day. The became a spiritual nation and a spiritual kingdom on that day, in the form of the Church. Therefore, the Jews were the first in line to receive the gospel message…..and they were first in line to deliver the gospel message. Initially it was their message to the rest of the world. That is the significance of “to the Jew first.”