Here is some of that meeting:
"While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: 'Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.' Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question." (Acts 15:1-2)
There is the set up.
The discussion goes back-and-forth for a while. Finally, Peter stands up. He starts talking about how in place after place Gentiles are being saved. He goes on to say that they are being saved not by obeying the laws of Moses, but by grace through faith in Jesus.
"God made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 15:9-11)
Peter speaks. Paul and Barnabas speak. Everybody gets their say. Finally it is time for a decision. The leader of the church in Jerusalem is the half brother of Jesus. His name is James. James stands up, and says, "The Bible says XYZ, and that settles the debate.
Here's how that went down.
"When they had finished, James stood and said, "Brothers and sisters, listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written: 'Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, so that the rest of humanity might seek the LORD, including the Gentiles—all those I have called to be mine. The LORD has spoken...'" (Acts 15:13-17).
I won't read all of it, but that's all it takes to settle the argument. The conclusion is NO. That's what James says, and that's what all the leaders of early Christianity agreed with. No, you don't have to obey the laws of Moses to be saved. You don't have to become a Jew. No, Gentiles don't have to be circumcised to be saved.
But what I want to focus on is the verse that James quoted. He quoted this verse, and the argument was over. What did he say? He literally quoted the prophet Amos.
He was quoting Amos 9:11-13:
"'In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory. And Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine.' The LORD has spoken, and he will do these things." (Amos 9:11-12)
Honestly, I look at that and wonder how on earth that quote from Amos would ever settle an argument about circumcision 800 years later.
How does that happen?
First we have to understand The House of David.
God says he will restore the fallen house of David. He says that in the book of Amos. James quotes that in the book of Acts. What does this mean?
David was the teenage shepherd in the Bible. He was the one who toppled the giant Goliath. He went on to become the greatest king in the history of Israel.
But there are three gigantic truths connected with King David.
The first one is that from David's royal line (the house of David) will come a king that will rule the world. This is the Savior and Messiah and King that the world is waiting for... which is Jesus.
So the kingship of David represents The Coming of the Savior.
The second gigantic truth is that the kingship of David was not a kingship based on any principle or idea of law.
Above all else, the kingship of David represents The Rule and Reign of Grace.
The third gigantic truth is that all the nations, Gentiles as well as Jews, would be united under the Savior's rule and reign of grace.
So the kingship of David also represents The Welcoming of Outsiders Into the Family of Faith.
So saying the "House of David" is a shortcut way of saying three things:
Savior, Grace, Everyone's Welcome.