Peter and the other apostles understood that Jew and Gentile were one under Christ and all are saved by God’s grace through faith, not by the law.
Every single person that claims to keep the law of Moses and advocates it must be kept fails. Because the very parameters within the law keep it from being kept without the temple, without the Levitical priesthood, and if even practicing Jews in Israel can keep less than 300, the dilemma becomes if one is required according to God in the law—to keep ALL of it– or face the curses for not and there is no verse anywhere in there to allow not keeping it ALL if one is bound to it—all those saying they keep it are lying–and breaking another commandment—so please before accusing, consider the implications.
Because Paul, Peter, Silas, Barnabas and other Jewish believers gave witness they could be with the Gentiles and not live as a Jew. Because Christ delivered the final sacrifice and removed the law out of the way so all people would have equal access based on the very basic reality that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The law made no one righteous–and no one or no sacrifice or works can make us clean or acceptable to God, except through Christ, who can make us clean. Acts 15 tells that those Jewish believers who were commanding that new believers be circumcised and keep the law of Moses—-were subverting the souls of those they told, according to the apostle James and the other apostles and elders of the churches.
Act 15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
1) to pack up baggage in order to carry it away to another place
1a) to move one’s furniture (when setting out for some other place)
2) of an enemy
2a) dismantling, plundering
3) of a place
3a) to overthrow, ravage destroy towns lands etc.
4) to turn away violently from a right state, to unsettle, subvert
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G303 (in the sense of reversal) and a derivative of G4632
So to say those in Christ must be circumcised and keep the law is destroying their souls. That’s quite a burden to acquire and have on judgment day.
Peter said the Gentiles were no different than Jewish believers, and were made clean by faith in Christ, which is the true circumcision of the heart, not the body. He then asked why did any of them expect to put the yoke on Gentiles that the fathers couldn’t bear—and which they–the Jewish believers including the apostles– couldn’t bear. Notice that–it was meaning those from the time of Moses to then, and they as Jews were not able to bear that yoke; no one could keep it perfectly. So why expect Gentiles to?
Peter went so far as to say this concerning Jews and Gentiles, “… put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples…”
In other words, who did they think they were to challenge and try to change the message and Truth of the Gospel and the New Covenant, and try to burden new believers with the yoke that was taken away with Christ dying on the cross. And the truth that faith from Christ causes circumcision of the heart, and cleanses that which was unclean. For all. Jew and Gentile. There aren’t 2 different gospels and 2 different ways to live for Christ.
What was the yoke in question? What was being discussed? Circumcision and commanding the keeping of the law of Moses. That was the yoke the fathers nor they could bear.
The yoke was not something else as some try to say. Many Messianics and Hebrew Roots proponents like to say that the yoke was the “oral law”. But “fathers” in that text is defined as the fathers of Israel, meaning ancestors to those at Mt Sinai where the law was given to the children of Israel. The contrast of the burden of that yoke that Peter said the fathers nor they could bear, is found with Jesus saying,
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The yoke of the law was not on Abraham, but on Moses and the people of the covenant. Paul encouraged against being caught up in trying to keep the law of Moses by comparing it to being entangled with the “yoke of bondage.”
Galatians 5:1-4 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
People who advocate the keeping of the law of Moses, are trying to be justified by the law, which they can’t keep. Therefore, they are fallen from grace, according to the Scriptures. Anything believers do is to be for the glory of God and sharing the gospel. That is what the apostle Paul exemplified. Circumcision, as part of the discussed issues, did not come from the law of Moses, but was given to Abraham, after the promise was given to him by God and before he was circumcised. So that all those who walked by faith could be heirs of the promise. Circumcision became part of the continuing covenant with Abraham under the Mosaic law, but the promise had nothing to do with the law of Moses, other than to point to Christ and be a shadow of what was to come.
Act 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
Act 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Act 13:40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
Act 13:41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.