Acts 15 is a popular chapter for those who have delved into the topic of the Mosaic Law and its applicability to the Christian Church. The chapter tell us about the Jerusalem Council and the heated debates that took place concerning the Law and the Gentiles: are the Gentiles supposed to keep the whole law? Or are they rather supposed to keep just a few essential parts? After much debating, the Council finally issued a letter with the final resolution. Yet, something in the content of the letter reveals a very intriguing fact about the Council itself:
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers,
23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings.
24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions,
25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.
28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:
29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” [Acts 15:22-29 ESV]
The Holy Spirit was explicitly mentioned in the letter as one of the parties in the final agreement. This means that the Holy Spirit, somehow, was part of the discussion and probably had some weight and influence in the final resolution issued to the Gentiles.
Question: how did the Holy Spirit intervene in the Jerusalem Council? Through what means was the Holy Spirit able to express His opinion on the topics that were being discussed? We know from verse 28 that He certainly had some active role in the Council, but exactly how?