When Paul and his companions arrive at
These brethren new of a problem that needed to be taken care of so they began to tell Paul about the thousands of Jews there that had believed but they were still Zealous for the law. Even though these people had obeyed the gospel that had not fully realized that Christianity had made the law of Moses inoperative. So they were still circumcising their children and observing many of the customs of the law. The problem was that it had been reported that Paul was teaching that Jews forsake Moses nor do any of the customs associated with the law. We know this to be untrue because Paul had Timothy circumcised in order not† to offend the Jews. Paul had not opposed observing certain aspects of the law as long as it wasnít done with the wrong intent as to be justified by it.
They knew that these Jews here would soon find out that Paul was here and it would cause a great deal of problems so they decided a way for Paul to remedy his reputation. They proposed that these 4 Hebrew men who had placed themselves under a vow should be identified with Paul. Paul was to pay their temple fee and to be purified with them. This would be done so that the Jews could see that the rumors were untrue about Paul speaking against associating with anything that had to do with the law. Paul agrees to this and the next day enters into the temple with the 4 Hebrews and is purified.
The pressing question becomes, Why would Paul submit to a purification which would appear to convey the† idea that Jesus blood was insufficient for cleansing a person when he knows the Mosaic law was obsolete. Many students of the bible have struggled with this and several views have been offered to explain it.
Another argument could be made
here from what Paul did. Some would say that this incident allows one today to
enter into Pagan worship in the mission field or to worship with denominations
Paul was minding his own business not harming anyone when
some Jews from
Now at this point I want to remind you that Paul had asked
the churchís in his Roman letter in the 15 chapter and 31 verse
to pray for him that he might delivered from the unbelieving Jews in
The Commander arrested Paul and began to interrogate the crowd. He wanted to know who this man was and what he had done? The crowd was loud and some answered one way and some another. The commander realized he wasnít going to find out the truth here so he sends Paul to the barracks. When they had reached the stairs the crowd had grown so violent the soldiers had to carry Paul for his safety. These people wanted Paul dead.
Starting in verse 37 of Acts 21 we once again see the strong character of Paul. You see they were about to take† Paul into the barracks away from this angry mob that wanted him dead. But, what does Paul do? He turns to the commander and speaks to him in Greek and persuades him to allow him to address this mob. I donít know about you, but if I had just barely escaped with my life from these people I would be more than happy to go down into the barracks. But not Paul. Paul took this moment not only to defend himself† but at the same time teach Jesus crucified.
Paul began speaking to the Jews in Hebrew telling them how
he was born a Jew and raised a Jew under the most strictest
sense. He told them that he use to persecute the Christians. He tells them how
he encountered Jesus on the road to
When Paul spoke of the Gentiles here the crowd went nuts again. They didnít think God would ever want anyone sent to the Gentiles. So once again they wanted Paul dead. They cried out and tore their cloths and through dust in the air. The commander has Paul taken into the barracks and was going to have him beaten so he could find out why these Jews were so mad at him. Since Paul spoke in Hebrew the Commander did not know what it was that Paul was saying so he wanted to find out one way or another. They strap Paul up and were getting ready to beat him when ask the guy. Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned? Once again Paul uses his Roman citizenship to his advantage. They unbound Paul but they were still scared because they had bound him.
The next day Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin council because the commander hope to learn why it was these Jews were so thirsty for Pauls blood. Paul began to speak but the high priest Ananias had some men strike Paul on the mouth. Paul rebukes Ananias without knowing that he was the high priest, but when he finds out he tells them that he did not know. After this he noticed that part of the crowd there was Pharisees and the other was Sadducees he cried out telling the crowd he was a Pharisee and son of Pharisee and the reason why he was being judged was because of the hope and resurrection of the dead.
This divided the crowd in half because the Sadducees believed that when you did your soul dies as well so there is no resurrection in their mind. However, the Pharisees believe that the righteous person soul when he dies is raised up again and sometimes even reenters another body. They believed that the unrighteous soul was kept under the earth. These two groups didnít like each other anyways so the began another big uproar and the Pharisees said that didnít find anything wrong with Paul and if an angle has spoken to Paul then they should not fight against God. The crowd went wild and the commander had his soldiers go down and get Paul before he got pulled to pieces and they† took him back to the barracks.
Lets read Acts 23:11. This is
significant because we can watch how Gods providence makes sure Paul makes it
Paulís nephew just happed to be in the right place at the
right time and heard this devious plot. He goes to Paul and tells him what had
heard. Paul sends him to the commander for him† to inform him as well. The commander
listens to the boy and believes and tells him not to tell anyone that he had
has told him of the plot of†
the Jews. The commander swings into action. He has 2 centurions
prepare 200 soldiers, 70 horse men, and 200 spearmen to take Paul to
The commander had written a† letter to Felix explaining Paulís situation and how the Jews were after him because of their own law. He also states that he didnít find any charges against Paul worthy of death or chains. Felix said he would hear Paul after his accuser showed up and in the mean time Paul was kept in Herodís Praetorian. This would have been one of Herodís great Palaces.
Felix name meant happy. You see Felix used to be a slave but
he had been liberated by Claudius Caesar. It was at this time he received his
name Felix. His original name was Antonius Claudius.
Claudius appointed him procurator of
Five days latter Ananias the high priest and the elders along with an attorney or orator named Tertullus came to before Felix to bring evidence against Paul. Tertullus starts buttering Felix up with all kinds of flattery telling him how the Jews are so glad he is the ruler there and how they have enjoyed so much peace under his rule. Then they make their accusations starting at ACTS 24:5-9. Now its Pauls turn to give his response. We will see that Paul will be polite to the governor but he will not use flattery like Tertullus did. Let us read Pauls response starting in vrs 10.
Vrs 10 Felix had been the ruler for the last 7 years.
Vrs 11. 5 of these days were spent there under Felix.
Vrs 12-13 These Jews didnít have any proof of what they were accusing Paul of
Vrs 14 Paul understood that the OT taught about Christ and that Jesus had fulfilled the prophecies written about the coming Messiah. He was still worshiping the same God but with an understand of Jesus crucified.
Vrs 15 Again, we see another verse that teaches the just and the unjust shall be raised once again going against the rapture theory
Vrs 16 Even when Paul was trying to destroy Christianity he had a clear conscience toward God because he thought he was doing a God a favor. Once he learned about Christ he began teaching to everyone and everywhere so that his conscience would be clear before God.
17-20 Paul came in peace and had brought the money from the
gentiles to help the Jews in
21. If you remember this is what split the Sadducees and the Pharisees in half. Paul was teaching about the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
22. Here we see that Felix had some knowledge about Christianity. At this point he knew that Paul was being accused by the Jewish law which a Roman Governor really had no dealings with. If you will remember the Jews had drug Paul before Gallio in Acts 18:14-15 during his 2nd missionary Journey where he told them he wanted nothing to do with the judgment of the Jewish law. So Felix puts his decision off for now.
23 Felix basically makes Paul a trustee. He has many privileges but he still confined to one spot.
24 Apparently quite a bit of time had passed by and perhaps it was Drusilla that urged her husband to hear the words of the apostle since she was a Jew. They wanted to hear more about the faith in Christ which would be the gospel system.
25 We do not know what Paul tells Felix and his wife here
but we can see that he did teach† them about Righteousness. This would of dealt with why Christ had to die for man and the great
love and mercy God has for man. Righteousness is revealed in the gospel. Rom
1:16-17. Righteousness also implies obedience to the commands of God. Ps
119:172. Felix would not of taken to kindly to
this since he wasnít accustomed to submitting to anyoneís authority except
He taught them about Self control. Paul here would of taught them that one should exercise self-control based off the will of God. Again, this would not go over well with Felix and his† wife who were entangled in adultery, and lust for money and power.
He taught them about the judgment to come. He no doubt told them how that when Jesus comes again that everyone will be judged for what they have done and how each is will receive their reward. Some will go heaven will others will be cast into hell. We see that Pauls words made Felix afraid yet it wasnít enough to convert him to Christianity. He puts it off and doesnít want to talk about it anymore for now. He wants to talk about again at some other time. There are a lot Felixs out there in the world. So many times when you begin to show people what the bible actually says about becoming or being a Christian they will give you a similar response as Felix did here. They will say lets talk about that another time or have to go right now maybe we will talk about it latter. I still see the devil smiling ear to ear when people respond this way not wanting to deal with the true word of God today.
26. Felix new that Paul had brought money with him to
Festus had a meeting with the high priest and chief men
After some days had passed by King Agrippa and Bernice a
brother sister team,†
Festus tells King Agrippa about Paulís case. How the Jews were accusing him of things to do with their law. Festus was at a loss because he really didnít know what to do with Paul because none of these accusations these† Jews† were making had little to do with Roman law. This really got King Agrippas curiosity up and so he tells Festus that he will hear Paulís words tomorrow. Read Acts 25:23-27.
Agrippa is ready to hear from Paul and tells him to speak. Read 26.
It is quite amazing the detail we have of the political
actions in the