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Chapter 7: The Conflict

Chapter 7
The Conflict

 

So far we have focused upon the bad figs described in Jeremiah 24. We must now look at the other tree of Judah, for this is of utmost importance in understanding the relationship of the Church with Judah and Israel. There are some who teach that a "Gentile Church" replaced Israel. Others teach that Christians ought to unite with the bad figs in order to fulfill Bible prophecy. Neither view is true.

Classic "replacement theology" as taught traditionally in the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant denominations is not biblically accurate. But neither is the view of their main opponents who advocate Messianic Judaism. We will show in this chapter that the good figs of Judah -namely, those Judahites who followed Jesus-formed the trunk of the "tree" of New Testament Christianity. This fig tree producing good fruits, following the King of Judah, retained the right to be called by the tribal name of Judah. They are the "true Jews," as it were.

We saw in Chapter Five that God saw the nation of Judah as a fig tree in Jer. 24. We saw also that the nation was actually divided into two groups of people-those whose fruits were very good, and those whose fruits were very bad. This is really no different from any other nation, for there is not a nation in the world that has all righteous people or all unrighteous people. But in the case of Judah it is a matter of divine separation into two distinct fig trees, because God intended to treat them differently. He intended to give Judah 's dominion mandate to those who produced good fruit, and at the same time He intended to disinherit those who produced bad fruit.

Jesus Himself produced good fruit. He was born of a Judahite mother, as proven in the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3. But as the King of Judah, He was more than just a fig branch that was producing good fruit. He was the tree itself. He was the trunk of the tree, to which were attached various branches that bore good fruit. Jesus said as much when He used a slightly different motif of the vine and branches. John 15:1-6 says,

1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit... 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

It is clear from this that only those who abide in Christ will bear the type of fruit that God is seeking. If one claims to be in Christ, but does not produce these fruits of the Kingdom, he is cut off. And " if anyone does not abide in Me," Jesus says, " he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. " Surely He had in mind those Judahites who had rejected Him as Messiah. Only a few days earlier, Jesus had cursed the fig tree, and the disciples had marveled that it had dried up by the following morning. He was saying, then, that the people who produced no fruit-or, as Jeremiah put it, those who produced only bad figs that could not be eaten-would be cut off.

This is precisely what happened. Judah split into two factions, or two "trees." Those who accepted Jesus as Messiah became the branches of the good fig tree. These were the inheritors of the dominion mandate given to Judah. Of these, Jesus said He would prune them in order that they would bring forth even more fruit.

Those who refused to accept Jesus as Messiah were cut off and are no longer inheritors of the dominion mandate. Jesus clearly said that there is no way that anyone can bear fruit apart from being attached to Christ.

Replacement Theology

A "Gentile Church" did NOT replace a "Jewish Church." The bad figs were simply cut off, and the good figs of Judah, who followed Jesus, the King of Judah, were left to carry the banner of the Judah Church. There was no replacement here, as Classic Roman Catholic theology has taught in the past. The promises to Abraham were never transferred from one people to another. The promises simply continued through the unbroken line of the good fig tree of Judah.

Replacement Theology teaches that the fig tree was rooted out and replaced by an apple tree. This did not happen. The truth is that there were two fig trees, one good and one bad. Both were of Judah. The bad fig tree was rooted out, and the good fig tree remained to carry on the Kingdom of God upon the earth. The good fig tree did not replace anything, because it was always there.

Likewise, it is not a "Jewish" Church, at least not in the way that people mean when they make that claim. It is certainly a Judahite fig tree; but those who make the claim that this is a "Jewish" Church usually say also that Christian believers are supposed to re-unite with Jews who are still cut off from Christ. In other words, they are attempting to re-unite the good fig tree with the bad fig tree. Nearly always, this movement teaches that the bad fig tree is still God's chosen nation.

The problem with this view is that it is a move to engraft the branches of good figs to the bad fig tree, rather than the other way around. That teaching would ultimately bring all Christians into Judaism, rather than bringing Jews to Christ. The fact is, the bad fig tree will NEVER bring forth fruit, for that was the nature of Jesus' curse (Matt. 21:19). The only solution is for the individual branches to be cut off from that dead fig tree and grafted to the only Tree that can give them life-Jesus Christ, the trunk of the good fig tree. As long as conversion to Christ is repugnant to a Jew, he is not a partaker of the dominion mandate of Judah, nor is he of that tribe in the sight of God, as we will prove shortly from Scripture.

The Good Fig Tree was "the Church"

The good fig tree attempted to remain in the old land for a time, but conflict soon forced most of them to flee for their lives into other parts of the Roman Empire. The book of Acts tells the story of this persecution. Even so, the fig tree grew rapidly. There were 3,000 converted on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41). Acts 2:47 says,

47 And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Again, in Acts 4:4, we read,

4 But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Again, in Acts 5:14, we read,

14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number.

Acts 6:7 says further,

7 And the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Each time other Judahites were converted, the good fig tree grew in strength. The disciples had great success, even though they did not hesitate to place responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus upon their own nation. The apostles did not believe that they ought to tread softly on this controversial issue. They preached boldly, and multitudes repented and followed Jesus Christ.

These multitudes of Judahites were "natural branches" of the fig tree. Yet they were cut off from the Kingdom tree, whose trunk was Jesus Christ, until they repented and placed their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. The good fig tree continued to grow, and soon the opposition in the temple became so alarmed that they began to seriously persecute the Church.

Yes, this good fig tree was THE CHURCH.

It was the inheritor of the dominion mandate given to Judah. It was not a "Gentile Church," as is often taught. It was a Judah Church and will always be a Judah Church.

The good figs from the Judah fig tree were soon scattered by persecution into all parts of the Roman Empire and beyond it. Wherever they went, they told the good news to those who would listen. They fed all nations with the good fruit from the tree and made many converts among non-Judahites. As these new converts came to Christ, they were then "grafted" as branches into that fig tree of Judah. Within a century, the Church (fig tree) began to bear many different types of fruit from all nations, with each branch obtaining its life from Jesus Christ. In fact, soon, the figs were outnumbered by the apples, pears, and apricots from the engrafted branches of other nations.

But in spite of the great variety of branches and fruit that the tree was bearing, it was still a Judah tree in its trunk. It never was a " Gentile Church," nor did a " Gentile Church " replace Judah. Judah simply divided into good and bad trees, with the good tree of Judah becoming the heir of the dominion mandate-and then this good Judah tree was opened up to receive branches from all other trees of the world.

God did NOT plant a new tree and call it the " Gentile Church." Instead, God took His fig tree and engrafted branches of apples, pears, apricots, and so on. Those new branches, though part of the fig tree, continue to bear other fruits. When people of other races are engrafted into this fig tree, they do not change their race or their genetics. They simply produce different types of fruit. God loves variety. And in the end, this tree will bear twelve kinds of fruit, as we read in Rev. 22:2,

2... And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

The Tree of Life is Jesus Christ, and it is made up of many branches-those who are in Christ, or part of His Body.

Those who rejected Jesus were, collectively, the corrupt fig tree that could only produce figs that were so bad that they could not be eaten. That corrupt fig tree lost its legal status as the tribe of Judah when they rejected the Messiah and usurped His throne, even as Absalom usurped the throne of his father, David. Even so, for the past 2,000 years a steady stream of Jews have repented and followed Jesus Christ. These have been grafted back into the good fig tree and-with the other believers-are joint heirs with Christ in the dominion mandate.

It is NOT the case, however, that Christian Jews have some special status toward God which allows them to rule above any others. Figs are not better than apples; they just have a different flavor. Neither are apples better than figs; they just have a different flavor.

But in order to understand this, we must look at the divine law to see what actually happened.

The Law of Pruning Trees

Deuteronomy 29 tells us that there were certain conditions by which individuals and even entire tribes of Israel might be cut off, or pruned from the Kingdom Tree. Deut. 29:18-21 says,

18 Lest there shall be among you a man or a woman, or family OR TRIBE, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; lest there shall be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. 19 And it shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, I have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry. 20 The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 Then the Lord will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law.

The idea that God might blot out one of the tribes of Israel is not new. There have been many Bible teachers who have suggested this is why the tribe of Dan is not mentioned in the listing of the tribes sealed in Revelation 7. While I do not believe that this was the reason for Dan's omission, that view does show that Bible teachers recognize the possibility that a tribe or a large portion of a tribe might be cut off from the Kingdom.

In fact, we will show that the fig tree bearing bad figs was cut off in this manner and for the reason stated above. The other fig tree bearing good figs was the portion of Judah that accepted Jesus as the Messiah and adopted His attitude of submission to the Roman yoke that God had decreed for Judah. The reason given in Deut. 29:19 is: " he will boast, saying, I have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart. " In other words, such a person (or family, or tribe) will think that they are reconciled (at peace) with God, even though their hearts continue to be rebellious and stubborn.

This is a very accurate description of the bad fig tree, both in Jeremiah's day and in Jesus' day. They thought that they were doing the will of God by being zealous for their traditions and by performing all the rituals of the temple faithfully. They believed that to be rebellious against Rome was an act of obedience to God. They did not understand the laws of captivity or the laws of tribulation. Jesus did understand, and so he acted much like a friend to the Romans and never challenged their authority or right under God to rule over Judea.

The Laws of Sacrifice

The priests were most proud of their knowledge of the laws of sacrifice. They knew every detail about sacrificing sheep and oxen, but they did not know the Author of the laws of sacrifice. And so they violated this law in the worst way possible in that final Sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Lev. 17:3-5 says:

3 Any man from the house of Israel who slaughters an ox, or a lamb, or a goat in the camp, or who slaughters it outside the camp, 4 and has not brought it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, bloodguiltiness is to be reckoned to that man. He has shed blood and that man shall be cut off from among his people. 5 The reason is so that the sons of Israel may bring their SACRIFICES which they were sacrificing in the open field, that they may bring them in to the Lord, at the doorway of the tent of meeting to the priest, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the Lord.

Jesus was the Passover Lamb of God that was sacrificed for the sin of the world. He was crucified "outside the camp" (Lev. 17:3; Heb. 13:13) in order that He might also fulfill the law of the red heifer (Num. 19:3). The priests took Jesus to the top (skull, head) of the Mount of Olives, where David had made his sacrifice (2 Sam. 15:30-32). They even crucified Him on the right day-Passover- and He died at precisely the right hour of the day-the ninth hour-as the law specified (Ex. 12:6). So far, the priests did precisely what forms of the law commanded.

But the priests failed to apply the blood of that Sacrifice in the lawfully-prescribed manner. Insofar as Jesus was the Passover Lamb, they failed to apply His blood to their lintels (foreheads) and door posts (ears) of their "houses." Hence, God did not see the blood and "pass over" them (Ex. 12:13). They were not justified by faith in the blood of the Lamb.

Secondly, they did not sprinkle His blood upon the altars of their hearts, for they had no faith in His blood. For these people the sentence of the law applies, as written in Lev. 17:4, "He has shed blood and that man shall be cut off from among his people." In other words, that man shall be pruned from the fig tree of Judah for he has forfeited his legal status as a member of the tribe. Lev. 17:6 says,

6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of the Lord at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and offer up the fat in smoke as a soothing aroma to the Lord.

Even as our bodies are the temples of God, so also our hearts are the altar of the Lord. And so Heb. 10:22 explains this, saying,

22 Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

It was necessary in the plan of God that Jesus Christ be crucified and that He die as a Sacrifice for sin once for all. However, both the people and the priests were required to do something with the blood of every sacrifice. In Jesus' case, they were required to sprinkle His blood (figuratively) upon the altars of their hearts for their justification. This they did not do-except for those priests who accepted Him as the Messiah and came to see Him as the great Sacrifice for sin. Those who did accept Him remained on the Kingdom fig tree that bears good fruit unto God.

Who is a "Jew"?

The Church and Judah are the same entity. The Church is the "called-out" body of people, called out of the bad fig tree of Judaism to be grafted into the good fig tree of Jesus Christ. Although there are non-Judahites who have been grafted into this Judah Church, the Church itself is the legitimate tribe of Judah. The Apostle Paul makes this very clear in Rom. 2:28, 29,

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly [Greek: en phaneros, "in manifestation, or what is apparent"] ; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly [Greek: kruptos, "hidden"] ; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Here is Paul's definition of a Jew, and he defines it both negatively and positively. He tells us that there are two groups of people, each laying claim to being a Jew (Judean). The bad figs are "apparent" Jews (The Concordant Version), for they were recognized by men as Jews.

The good figs were the real Jews, though their identity was hidden, or not so well known to the general public. The apparent Jews were those who followed the Judaism of the day. The hidden Jews were those whose hearts were right with God. The apparent Jews laid claim to their tribal status and covenant status with God by means of physical circumcision. The hidden Jews laid claim to their tribal status and covenant status with God by means of the heart circumcision.

In other words, just because unbelieving Jews were able to retain the name of Judah (usually in its shortened form, "Jew"), this did not mean that they were really Jews at all. From the perspective of the Christians (including Paul) the unbelieving Jews had been cut off from their people and no longer had the right before God to call themselves Jews. Only those Judahites who accepted the Mediator of the New Covenant, the King of Judah, the Custodian of the tribal name, could lawfully claim to be Judahites (i.e., Judeans, or Jews).

The "tribeship" was resident in the prince of the tribe. If a member of a tribe decided to go to another part of the world and establish his own tribe or nation, he could not legally claim to be the legitimate representative of the tribe from which he came. Likewise, if a man of, say, the tribe of Judah were "cut off from among his people," or exiled for some major violation of the law, he could not claim to be the legitimate representative of the tribe of Judah.

Even so, Jesus was the King of Judah, not only by right of lineage, but also by right of His actions. And thus, the tribal name went with Jesus and those who followed Him. It did not remain with those who revolted against Him and killed Him in order to seize upon His inheritance. It was the majority of the people, led by the chief priests, who were in revolt and who lost their status in the tribe of Judah. But because they had usurped the throne, they were able to convince the world that they were still the "true Jews." And thus, the name "Jew" has continued to be applied-in the eyes of men-to the bad fig tree that rejected the King of Judah and usurped the throne and the name of Judah.

By the end of the first century, John the Revelator says in Revelation 2:9,

9 I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

He repeats this idea in Rev. 3:9, saying,

9 Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie-behold, I will make them to come and bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you.

It is strange that in the past few decades Messianic Judaism has promoted this idea that the true Jews (followers of Jesus, King of Judah) ought to be grafted to the dead fig tree that God cut off nearly 2,000 years ago for its lawlessness. The basic error of Messianic Judaism is that they want to replace the good figs with the bad figs. This is their brand of replacement theology. They call the bad figs "God's chosen people," and then attempt to identify with their religious practices as a ploy to induce some of them to accept Christ.

That is like drinking with drunkards in order to induce them to stop drinking.

The apostles would have rolled over in their graves. Never did they attempt to get Christians to return to the old brand of Judaism. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote entire gospels refuting such an idea. There is no life in the religion of Judaism, for it has rejected-and continues to reject-the only One in whom is Life. One cannot force it to become Christianized by converting to Judaism. To try to bring Judaism back to life by swarming its ranks with Christians is a fallacy of the first order.

The book of Hebrews was written to show that, as Christians, we have something better than Judaism has to offer. We have a better covenant, a better priesthood, a better temple, and better sacrifices. To revert back to the old rabbinic traditions of Judaism, by which they made void the law of God, is an apostasy for which there is no excuse.

As we have already shown, the glory of God departed first from Shiloh, and later from Jerusalem. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the glory of God came to rest upon a new temple in a New Jerusalem. Whether the Jewish Zionists succeed or not in their plan to build the third temple in Jerusalem, it makes no difference. The glory of God has already been there-and has departed. Ichabod has already been written on that place. He has already forsaken it "as Shiloh " (Jer. 7:14). Furthermore, the glory of God has moved to a better temple made up of living stones and built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20).

He does NOT intend to move again into buildings made of wood and stone, no matter how great its architecture might be.

The Early Church

The temple leaders in Jerusalem began to persecute the Christian believers very soon after they crucified Jesus. In Acts 4:1-3 we read of the beginnings of persecution, after Peter and John had healed the lame man at the very gate of the temple. We read,

1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening.

The next day Peter gave testimony before the high priest that the man had been healed by the power of the risen Christ. His testimony is the foundation of a Christian's testimony before all Jews even today. We read in Acts 4:8-12,

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers and elders of the people, 9 if we are on trial today for the benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 He is the Stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.

Few people questioned Peter's words until recently. Then, in the name of having better relations with Judaism, various Christian leaders first began to blame the Romans for the crucifixion, denying the Scriptures that the Sacrifice had to be made by the Levitical priests alone in order to be acceptable to God. Then more recently, various Christian leaders began to think that Jews are actually saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ. I myself first saw this view written in Billy Graham's "My Answer" column in the 1960's, although I doubt that this was written by Mr. Graham himself. It was too far out of character for him to have written it personally.

The article said that gentiles are saved by grace through faith in Christ, while Jews are saved by the law. But if that were the case, then no Jew could ever be saved, for there is none righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10). Not a single Jew has ever been perfect before the law his entire life, unless, perhaps, he died very early in life. I myself would never make salvation for a Jew to be such a hopeless cause. At any rate, when we read the book of Acts, we find Jews everywhere being saved by faith in Jesus Christ. I would like to ask these other so-called Bible teachers to tell me the date that this requirement for salvation changed.

Just for the record, let me state that I believe what Peter said is still true: " There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."

The reaction of the Jewish leaders to Peter's statement set the pattern for Judaism that has been followed to this day. We find it in Acts 4:14-18,

14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15 But when they had ordered them to go aside out of the Council, they began to confer with one another, 16 saying, What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to any man in this name. 18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

In other words, they were fully aware of the miracle of healing that had taken place in front of the temple. This was undeniable. But they did not want to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and so they resorted to "damage control." These same leaders were also fully aware that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead-but they did not want to follow Him anyway. They preferred a lie. Matt. 28:11-15 says,

11 Now while they were on their way, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and counseled together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, You are to say, His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep. 14 And if this should come to the governor's ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble. 15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed, and this story was widely spread among the Jews and is to this day.

Thus, it is no surprise that the leaders of the people continued to reject Jesus Christ even though a lame man had been healed by His power at the very gate of the temple. Their reaction to this good deed was to command the disciples to stop teaching in the name of Jesus. They refused to stop, and many sick were healed (Acts 5:15, 16). The high priest, then, filled with jealousy, put the apostles into the jail (Acts 5:18). But the angel released them, and the apostles continued preaching boldly.

It really began to alarm them when they found that they could not even keep the apostles in prison, because the angels would release them. I mean, who was God to go against their legal decisions? So they arrested the apostles again. But Peter told them in no uncertain terms the problem and the solution to that problem. Acts 5:30-32 says,

30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom YOU had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.

This made them really angry, and they would have attempted to kill the apostles, except that Gamaliel counseled against it. Even so, Acts 5:40 says,

40 And they took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them to speak no more in the name of Jesus, and then released them.

In Acts 6 and 7 the conflict intensified with the stoning of Stephen. This marked the day of the formal outbreak of persecution against the Christian company of good figs. We read in Acts 8:1-5,

1 And Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him [Stephen] to death. And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles... 4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 And Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.

Soon most were driven from the land of Judea into other parts of the Roman Empire. In this manner they fulfilled Jeremiah's description of the basket of good figs, who were the people who submitted to God and who went into captivity-originally to Babylon, but now into the Roman Empire.

This is the history of the early Church. It was a Church of good figs, not of bad figs. The bad figs were jealous of the good figs and refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, even though great signs and miracles were done among them. Yet in the eyes of God, these believers carried the dominion mandate of Judah. They were the true Jews, for they carried the tribal name of Judah and its calling.

The good figs did not consider anyone-Jew or otherwise-to be in a saving covenant with God apart from Jesus Christ. They boldly preached repentance, telling the people that they had to repent of the rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah in order to be saved. That message has not changed, even if modern theologians say it has. The Bible is still the Word of God, even if the traditions of men contradict it.

Furthermore, let it be clearly understood that the conflict did not begin with Jesus persecuting the bad figs. It began with the bad figs persecuting and crucifying Jesus. After the day of Pentecost, the conflict did not begin with the Christians persecuting the Jews. It began with the chief priests of the temple persecuting the Christians. It was only later, as Christians lost the glow of Pentecost, that carnally-minded Christians began to fight back and to persecute the Jews. They were wrong in doing this. Christians ought to have a higher standard than that. While we might expect the Jewish leaders to be "cut to the quick" (Acts 5:33) by the call to repentance, and we might expect them to react with anger, we ought not to see this same carnality manifested in those who claim to follow Jesus' example. Christians, too, have much repentance to do.