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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ģ (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.




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1 "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you."


Act 22,1-22

(7d) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defend the word by preaching it Ė Paul thought he needed to go to Jerusalem to worship God and fellowship with the other apostles and relate his accomplishments. Jerusalem was the proverbial lionís den, ďthe city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to herÖĒ (Mat 23-37). There were a lot of people who tried to dissuade him from going, and when he got there, they tried to dissuade him from entering the temple, and when he insisted, they finally convinced him to take certain precautions, if possible to appease the Jews, but it didnít work. The Jews recognizing Paul, outraged at his presence in the temple, considered him a blasphemer of their religion. The Jews would have torn him to pieces had the officers not laid hands on him first and protected him from the angry mob. They were leading him to jail when he turned and asked if he could speak to the people in his defense, and the officers allowed it.

(44ka) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry in evangelism >> Fulfill your ministry through opposition Ė We are seeing the unfolding of Godís will in Paul when he went to Jerusalem, though it may not have been God initiating it. He worked with Paul, manipulating the circumstances and protecting His servant from harm in a tough spot and slowly turned the situation into an opportunity to administer the gospel of Christ. There is something about Jerusalem; it is the city that "kills the prophets and stones those sent to her!" (Lk 13-34), but it is also the place where prophets want to go. It has an attraction to faith, being the city of God; prophets want to evangelize the people who live there, and see the people turn from their unbelief and see the greatness of Godís glory return to that place. There may have been a hidden motive in Paul to go there, perhaps hoping he could somehow necessitate the return of Christ, if he could just strike a revival in Jerusalem and all Israel would be saved as it says in Rom 11,25-27, that or he had a martyr complex.

(148k) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Consumed by the gospel Ė Paul never missed an opportunity to communicate the gospel of Christ primarily to the Jews; also he never passed up an opportunity to communicate to his enemies that he was not afraid of them. No doubt Paulís great love and commitment to the Jews shielded his heart from fearing them; he disparately sought to bring them to the faith, yet his efforts were mostly in vain. Actually, Paulís abject failure to reach the Jew was partly due to the fact that he focused his ministry on the gentiles, which the Jews took as deeply offensive, because of a misinterpretation of their Mosaic Law, that the gentiles were like the swine they ate, but then the Jews rejected the gospel, so what was he to do? God never said in the Old Testament that Israel was better than the world, though he did warn them not to model after the nations, and the Jews mistook that as being inherently superior to the other nations, which is one reason the world hates the Jews. Paul's countrymen were people who worshipped God the way he did prior to his conversion to Christianity. He understood exactly how they thought and how important their religion was to them, so he offered his personal testimony, telling them that he was once a very zealous proponent of their religion and would do anything to protect his beliefs. Paul was a man after Godís own heart, and like King David he would do anything for the Lord, only instead of fighting physical battles, he fought spiritual ones.

Act 22,1-11

(42i) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Transformed >> Conform to the mind of Christ Ė Itís hard to know how many languages Paul knew; he went around the world preaching the gospel without the need of an ambassador; then he spoke to his own people and they were amazed. Paul was a savvy person, which makes this whole problem of spirituality that much more of a conundrum. Being slow of mind does not make anyone slow of heart. The intelligent are often more confident in what they believe, figuring their intelligence has led them wisely, but they donít understand that intelligence and wisdom are two different things. Slow people can have wisdom and intelligent people can be completely devoid of it. Jesusí statement is true, ďYou did not choose me, but I chose you.Ē The highly intelligent think they are in control, as though they could choose to believe in God if they wanted, because they have the mental capacity to manipulate ideas, but knowing God is not from the mind but from the heart. The heart and the mind are the difference between wisdom and intelligence, and after Paul met Christ on the road to Damascus, he had both. For this reason Paul was extremely effective in the word as an evangelist; he had the gift of gab; he could talk people to death (Act 20-9), and then afterward raise them from the dead. He could speak in various languages, whichever one they preferred, and the words he spoke were graced with truth from God. Paul had it all, but he realized that God had given it all to him. He knew that if he didnít have a simple faith in Jesus, he had nothing, and this was his message to the world.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

2-5 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said, 3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. 4 "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, 5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.


Act 22-2,3

(148d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage as an evangelist regarding the flesh -- These verses go with verses 22-29. Paul had a natural advantage being a Roman citizen, born in Tarsus of the province of Cilicia, being one of the many reasons God chose Paul to be the kingpin of Christianity. There may have been a hundred reasons for God choosing Paul, but His greatest reason was that he had a sincere heart for God. Paul used his Roman citizenship as a get-out-of-jail-free pass many times. He said in 2Cor 11-24 that he received 39 lashes five times from the Jews, so his Roman citizenship didnít work on the Jews, since they didnít respect the Romans, being they suffered under their rule, yet had he not been born Roman, he probably would have been killed years earlier.

Act 22,3-22

(191j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Set apart >> Set apart from the world Ė Paul was talking to people like his old self, like a drunk who gets saved and sober and goes back to the same bar and speaks to his former drinking buddies about Jesus; what kind of reception did he get? They gave him a hearing but nobody gave him an ear. We can have everything in common with certain people, but the moment we give our heart to Jesus, we become alien to them. We may as well have originated from another planet. On a spiritual level we have nothing in common with unbelievers, and the fact that they hate us speaks of this spiritual barrier. Paul was trying to reason with those who best described him prior to his conversion and they could not relate to him one iota. He believed virtually everything they believed; in fact he was a leader of their faith; he persecuted the Church when no one else dared. There were people present at that hearing with whom Paul conferred in condemning Christians to death, who knew him before his conversion, being blood brothers in martyring the saints, who gave Paul written instruction to bring Christian prisoners to be punished, and now they were ordering his death.

Act 22,3-5

(173k) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Manís Religion >> Deeds that are not initiated by God >> Traditions of men

(176a) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Misguided -- These verses go with verses 18-20. Paul was not the kind of person of Jesusí enemies. He was a young man somewhere studying to become a Pharisee while Jesus lived out His ministry, and then Paul came on the scene after His crucifixion, making everything He heard about Jesus to be hearsay. He never personally met the Lord in the flesh; had he seen Him, listened to His words and saw His miracles, he probably wouldnít have become the Christian hunter that he did. In contrast, the Pharisees and chief priests and those at His mock trial were reprobates. It didnít matter what amount of proof He presented to them, they were simply unwilling to objectively look at the evidence. There are many people just like them in the world today, some religious, some not. The reason Jesus never defended Himself at His trial was that it was useless. If He thought He could talk sense into them, He would have tried, but no one could. People who refuse to believe what they know is true are a stain on this world.

(182f) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Three causes of interpreting Scripture falsely >> Because they do not understand the Scriptures -- These verses go with verses 18-20

Act 22-3,4

(176e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Zeal without knowledge (Spirit w/o the word) >> Devotion without direction

Act 22,4-8

(136ha) Temple >> Your spirit is the temple of God >> Body of Christ consists of individual members >> We are chosen members of Christ

Act 22-4,5

(164b) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Entertaining demons by persecuting the Church

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

6-9 "But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, 7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' 8 "And I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.' 9 "And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.


Act 22,6-20

(193e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance >> Testimony of Paulís life Ė Had Paulís experience on the road to Damascus not still had an impact on him, he most likely would not have mentioned it. This was his testimony relaying the things he saw and heard, verifying this single moment of Godís glorious presence and the word from His Spirit that forever changed him, verifying too that this experience turned the world upside down for Jesus through him. The world we see today still feels the reverberations of that moment. Paul did more to bring the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the nations than all the evangelist of his time put together, and he did more to clarify the Scriptures, writing his epistles that we read in the New Testament. He taught us the theology of grace and the replacement of old covenant law with the Spirit. A single moment was responsible for all this. Therefore, imagine heaven, the power of His kingdom, not just experiencing a single moment, but living there as our new home for all eternity! What changes are in store for us?

Act 22,6-9

(112b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesusí light overcomes darkness >> The light of His power -- These verses go with verse 14. The analogy of light in the Bible is defined as Truth in the presence of God, which is another way of referring to the interplay between the Holy Spirit and the word of God. Paul said that those who accompanied him either didn't hear or didn't understand the voice who spoke with him. This goes back to various incidences in other passages of the New Testament when someone would see a light but not hear a voice and be unaffected, or hear a voice and see no form and be equally unaffected (Jn 12-29), but those who both saw and heard the voice of God were forever changed (Mat 17,1-6). That is, one without the other is useless. In other words, the Spirit without the word is just a lot of hoopla, and the word without the Spirit is just inkblots on a page, but together we discover that God is dynamic and able to change peopleís lives from the inside-out. It is like chemistry, two chemicals separated from each other are inactive, but when combined react with each other to create a whole new substance, sometimes generating a violent reaction as at Pentecost, a violent, rushing wind of the anointing.

(117i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Seeing visions -- These verses go with verses 17,18. Ironically, the first thing that happens when someone finally sees the light is to go blind, blind to his former self. Suddenly Paul no longer understood what he was thinking before he met Jesus. God will send someone to us to speak words of grace so we understand what changes are transpiring in us that allows God to work in us and we regain our sight, but we see the world in a whole new light. Ananias was the first Christian Paul saw with his new pair of eyes, and the words he spoke further opened his eyes to the reality of God. He could also now hear, for seeing and hearing are the same in the Kingdom of God. Paulís companions saw the light but it didnít blind them, why? They looked away, and because they looked away they could not hear the voice. Paul was a man of sincerity; he really wanted to know the truth at any cost, even at the risk of losing his sight. He was willing to go blind looking intently into the light in order to hear the purpose and meaning of this heavenly visit.

Act 22-6

(215i) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> The Kingdom of Heaven appears suddenly >> Without warning >> God brings His kingdom to pass in its time

Act 22-9

(168i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world has deaf ears to God >> Deaf to the word of God from a lack of understanding

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

10-15 "And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.' 11 "But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus. 12 "A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing near said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very time I looked up at him. 14 "And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 15 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.


Act 22-10

(220d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Predestination >> Divine appointments

Act 22-11

(57c) Paradox >> Opposites >> Vision impairs sight, but the blind can see

(112h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Light exposes sin >> Light reveals hidden deeds

(237k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> Transferred from darkness to light

Act 22,12-15

(205ka) Salvation >> Salvation is based on Godís promises >> Faith versus works >> The faith of God versus the faith of men >> Faith versus the law >> The work of faith versus the works of the law Ė Ananias was devout by the standard of the law, but he was also a Christian. This was the kind of Christianity that existed back then. It was really Paul who changed Christianity to be what it is today. The transition of being weaned from the law wasn't complete until Paul came along and demonstrated through the Scriptures that God had replaced the law with the anointing that He bestows on us as we obey the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, who works in conjunction with His word. That is, through Godís help Paul was able to understand that we are saved by grace through faith and not through the works of the law. During the days of Ananias, Christianity embraced both grace and works of the law, which was not wrong or evil, but Paul knew that after his demise, people would attempt to replace a faith-based relationship with a law-based religion. Note also the message of his ministry, it was the experience he had with God on the road to Damascus, which produced faith in God that transcended the faith of men.

Act 22-14

(71g) Authority >> Ordained by God >> Ordained by His sovereign will >> God chooses you

(112b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesusí light overcomes darkness >> The light of His power -- This verse goes with verses 6-9

(219d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> The elect >> God transforms the world into the Church >> God chooses to speak to whomever He wishes

(245j) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Manifestation of Godís righteous judgment >> Manifestation of Godís authority

Act 22-15

(144c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The Church Bears Witness of Jesus >> Having fellowship with Him

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

16&17 'Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.' 17 "It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,


Act 22-16

(103e) Thy kingdom come >> Purifying process >> Godís cleansing power >> cleansing of baptism Ė Baptism was big back then, and it still is today, but it seemed to mean more to them than it does to us. On one extreme, there are some denominations of Christianity that see baptism as having the power to save the human soul, but more commonly on the other extreme there are denominations that see baptism as a mere ceremony. The early church, however, saw baptism balanced between these two extremes, more than a ceremony but having no power to save. God would never place His power in a ceremony, because then even the wicked could get baptized and gain access to eternal life. The one who sees baptism as more than a ceremony says that it must be accompanied by faith, but the Bible says that faith itself is what God has chosen to imbue his power to save. What then is baptism? Here we see Ananias saying through the Holy Spirit that baptism washes away our sins, showing the profound imagery of its multi-layered significance, referring to the Holy Spirit and represented by water. He comes to dwell in us when we are born-again, and God commands us to let His inner presence manifest in the world, and this manifestation is the anointing, defined as an outward demonstration of an inward work. The purpose of the indwelling Holy Spirit is to cleanse us from sin that we have already committed, while baptism represents cleansing the outer man and protecting us from committing sin.

(246j) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of Godís kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Outward demonstration of an inward work

Act 22,17-22

(185c) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Mystery of lawlessness >> Having no grounds for your hate >> Hating the Church without a cause Ė To unbelievers we are aliens from another world. We are the enemy, just like so many science-fiction movies that depict an alien spacecraft landing on the earth, and they come strolling out of their spacecraft and into a borage of gunfire without inquiry. We just assume they are the bad guys just because they are different. So it is with Christianity; believers in Jesus are a threat to the world. Just as Paul saw the light, so we shine the light in their eyes to show that they are hiding from God. The light reveals that they are separated from God, so when we are born again, those who once knew us can no longer relate, and they do not believe that God actually dwells in us. Who then can be saved? Jesus said in Mat 19-26, ďWith men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.Ē It is impossible to lead anyone to Jesus whom God is not drawing to Himself. God does ninety percent of the reaching-out and man does the rest by simply receiving Him, and the transformation occurs within the human soul and slowly overtakes darkness in the personís life.

Act 22-17,18

(117i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Seeing visions -- These verses go with verses 6-9

18-23 and I saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.' 19 "And I said, 'Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. 20 'And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.' 21 "And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'" 22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!" 23 And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air,


Act 22,18-22

(199j) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Unwilling to receive Christ >> Rejecting Christ as the Messiah Ė Paulís testimony was his experience on the road to Damascus, where he saw a light and heard a voice saying two things to him: ďI Am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,Ē and, ďI will send you far away to the gentiles.Ē Both of these statements fell like toxic rain on the ears of his listeners. When Paul mentioned the gentiles, the Jews became irate. It would be one thing if the Jews clamored to believe in Jesus and shutting out the gentiles, but itís another thing to reject the gospel and hinder the gentiles from believing it. They couldnít have it both ways; either they would receive the gospel or Paul would take it to the gentiles, and their resistance led to their own demise. Including the gentiles in the faith brought out the Jewish wrath, making them jealous of what they detested. They just wanted the gospel to go away, and the name of Jesus to disappear.

(201a) Denying Christ >> Whoever is not with Jesus is against him >> He is against Christ who does not receive Him >> Whoever does not receive Godís word is against Christ Ė Paul is about to place a gigantic rebuke on those who would not receive his testimony. They personally knew Paul, so when he revealed to them that he now believes in Jesus, he expected them to respect his opinion or at least listen to his testimony, but God said that the spiritual realm does not work that way. When we come to believe in Jesus, He inwardly transforms us, and this inner change makes us different by nature, and when we try to describe what God is doing in our lives, the words are unrecognizable. When we come to Jesus, we scarcely meet their criteria of being human, but in reality, we who believe in Jesus are more human than those who do not believe. 

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 22,18-20

(176a) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Misguided -- These verses go with verses 3-5

(182f) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Three causes of interpreting Scripture falsely >> Because they do not understand the Scriptures -- These verses go with verses 3-5

Act 22,21-29

(28d) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God protects the Church through the world Ė The commander intended to torture Paul with a whip to ascertain why the people so violently reacted to him, but he could have just asked him. Paul had the Jews on one side who were led by demons, and the Roman commander on the other, party to bloodthirsty heathens, yet God was able to protect him from his enemies on both sides, so he might continue carrying the gospel into the world.

Act 22-21,22

(24i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Jews are envious of the gospel Ė The Jews listened to Paul until he used the word ďgentiles,Ē and then they wanted to kill him. They didnít want Jesus, and they didnít want the gentiles to have Him either. How do you win with people like that? If you try to give them what is theirs, they reject it, but if you try to give it to someone else, they hate you for it. Isnít that the kind of no-win situation the devil devises? Many Jews believed in Jesus, who testify against those who don't. These were the caliber of people who had Jesus crucified; they believed the same things and operated by the same principles. Those who fight against the gospel will receive the strictest judgment, for anyone who would attempt to stop the gospel is fighting against God. They were the epitome of arrogance, who would touch the apple of Godís eye, led by satanic delusion. Paul was once one of them with one glaring difference; he was sincerely wrong, whereas these people were insincerely wrong. The Jews who hated Paul for converting to Christianity were content with their hollow religion, one that their fathers never obeyed. Not even they obeyed the religion that they claimed was so important to them.

Act 22-21

(211b) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> God gives the Gentiles Israelís place

(222c) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> God does not entrust his treasures to dogs >> Do not invest yourself in dogs Ė It says that the Jews were unwilling to let Paul live, proving that God was right in sparing him from a fruitless ministry trying the reach the Jews with their own gospel. Every missionary should consider the openness of the people they are attempting to reach before entering the field. If the people have a reputation of rejecting the things of God, it would seem a bad idea to invest your life in them. It is better to focus on a people "producing the fruit of it" (Mat 21-43), so our time and efforts are better spent winning souls to Christ. Admittedly, some have sown seeds and others have reaped the harvest, but this was not what God told Paul to do. Jesus said that the harvest was already prepared and the seeds had already been sown through the many centuries of influence that the old covenant had on the nations surrounding Israel. In fact, the foreign nations believed in God more than Israel did, so that in 70 AD when the disciples fled from Jerusalem and were scattered in the surrounding regions through persecution and started preaching Jesus to people, they found a rich harvest of souls, and the Church quickly grew. People wanted what Israel had, a God who cared about them and loved them and bothered to give them His gospel, and the gentiles obeyed Him more than Israel, and they longed to please God. The gentiles had no knowledge of what God thought of them, until the gospel invited them to share in the inheritance of Israel. The nations realized God loved them as much as He loved Israel, which is what they always wanted, and they immediately latched onto the gospel, and the harvest was plentiful. Israel thought they would play hardball with God, and He threw them a curve and passed over them as in the days of Moses, only instead of passing over them with the curse He intended for Egypt, He passed over them with the blessing of Christ. God wanted to include Israel first and foremost, but they would not have it. Israel learned that God didnít need them to believe in Him. If anyone wants to play hardball with God, beware. He passes over certain individuals to get to those who will believe in Him. God loves us and wants us, but He doesnít need us.

Act 22,22-29

(62i) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Taking advantage of the circumstances

(148d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage as an evangelist regarding the flesh -- These verses go with verses 2&3. Paul had a natural advantage as an evangelist, being a Roman citizen. Had Paul reported that these men scourged him, a Roman citizen, the Romans would have come and done the same to them. It was interesting that Paul waited until the very last moment to tell them about his citizenship to project the full effect of this statement onto them. Had he told them earlier, it may have given them time to think about it, but waiting to the last minute required them to reverse their actions and gave them only one recourse to release him, so it was wise of Paul to wait. Everything he did in effort to gain an advantage was to further the gospel of Christ. He not only wanted to tell the common folk about Jesus; he was also willing to evangelize officials and heads of state and leaders of countries that they might be saved, but just as much that they would stop persecuting Christians.

Act 22,22-25

(18d) Sin >> False Judgment lacks evidence >> Undefined charges -- These verses go with verse 30

Act 22,22-24

(122c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in God to keep the Church

Act 22-22

(25d) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Murder is the way of the world

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

24-30 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way. 25 But when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?" 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman." 27 The commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And he said, "Yes." 28 The commander answered, "I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen." 29 Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains. 30 But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.


Act 22,24-30

(97h) Thy kingdom come >> Attention >> Facing the direction of Godís will >> Focusing your attention on what matters to you Ė Paul told the officer that he was a Roman citizen, but the centurion didnít ask for any credentials. Nowadays he would have had to present papers, which has replaced the simple handshake or an oath. Paper-like materials were very rare and valuable back then, and so all transactions were conveyed by word of mouth. A personís word was his honor, even though Paul had a tremendous incentive to lie about his citizenship. Claiming to be Roman is just what a criminal would have said in his situation, so why did they believe him? They must have suspected he was innocent, or at least it was within reason, considering the religious zealots who accused him. Today the general public lies as a way of life, and for this reason we need papers on everything, though they can fairly easily be forged or overturned in court with the right lawyer. The fact that we use papers to tell the truth makes people feel they can lie all the more, being that it has devalued their word, further replaced by electronic signals. The world was just as corrupt then as it is now, only in different ways, suggesting that sin is like a bubble in a rug; push it down and the bubble simply it pops up somewhere else. For example, Paul lived in a very violent world, but people didn't lie; in contrast, we suppress all forms of violence but have become a caldron of pathological liars. Moreover, we are failing to suppress our lust for violence, and so we are quickly surpassing the darkness of Paulís day.

(192f) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Gain by losing >> Waiting for God to do it His way >> Lose your rights to gain His vindication Ė In the same way that Paul suffered persecution, the Church should have showed the same patience and endured ill-treatment from the world, instead of searching for a solution and compromising its convictions. Paul was probably not very interested in seeing these governors and rulers and commanders get saved; rather, his main concern was for them to become more sympathetic toward Christians and letting them live in peace. The worst thing that could happen to Christianity is that it become recognized by the world as an entity of the state as it happened in the third century with Catholicism. Christians were heatedly persecuted before that, their crops and houses burned, their land confiscated; they were hunted like dogs, starving and homeless, until Constantine saw his vision of a cross and made Christianity the official religion of Rome, marking the beginning of Christianityís assimilation into the world. Persecuting Christians was now illegal, which sounds good, but the negative repercussions far outweighed the benefits. Christ wanted His church to be separate from the world, but that didn't last long; after Constantine, Christianity became humanized so that Christ was no longer head of His church. The world is at enmity with God, so anybody who gets saved becomes separate from the world as an entity of the Church, but when the Church integrated into the world, the line between them disappeared. The world and the Church have become one, and Christianity has been reduced to believing a set of doctrines, and unity within the body of Christ no longer exists. These were the very things that made Christianity worthwhile in this life. Now, if we want to be Christian we must join a church that knows nothing about unity and accept doctrines that have little or nothing to do with the Scriptures, but if we want to obey Jesus Christ, we must suffer alone. Essentially, we have traded persecution for a hollowed-out version of Christianity. If true revival ever returns to the Church, it will ultimately separate the Church from the world again, and once that happens, persecution will return, because being separate sends an offensive message that there is something wrong with the world: people are sinners in need of a savior.

Act 22-24

(96o) Thy kingdom come >> Having a negative attitude about sin >> Having an abusive attitude Ė Instead of simply asking Paul why the Jews were accusing him, they were going to string him up and whip him to the end of his life, because they loved violence. Whatever answer he gave after his beating they would believe, even though it is a proven fact that torture is not an effective way to ascertain the truth. After Paul said he was Roman, the commander never questioned his answer, so why were they going to whip him if they were willing to believe what he said? They were bloodthirsty barbarians, looking for a reason to brutalize somebody! This actually worked in Paulís favor, for it led to a meeting where everyone gathered around him and asked about his faith; this is what they should have done in the first place. There was no mention that any of these people got saved, yet Paul loved to preach the gospel to authority figures, because he knew it would lead to a more sympathetic relationship between governments and Christians.

Act 22,25-29

(84e) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Boasting >> It needs to be said and no one is saying it >> boasting of my weaknesses

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Act 22-25

(148c) Natural advantage as an evangelist (Key verse)

(214c) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Godís timing >> Godís timing transcends our comprehension >> Godís time line gives the wicked just enough rope to hang himself

Act 22-28,29

(95f) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having a cooperative attitude >> Cooperating with each other

Act 22-29

(215k) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> Working quickly

Act 22-30

(18d) Sin >> False Judgment lacks evidence >> Undefined charges -- This verse goes with verses 22-30






Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ģ (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.



KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

1&2 Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, "Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day." 2 The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. 


Act 23,1-5

(1a) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God and people by respecting their authority Ė These verses go with verses 28,29. Paul started badmouthing a man for ordering him to be struck in the face, until he discovered that he was Israel's high priest. After learning about his position, Paul's tone instantly changed. Later in the chapter, he was rewarded for respecting his leaders in verses 28 and 29, where it says they found no charges against him deserving death, though his enemies considered him a "real pest" (Act 24-5). Paul had not committed any crime that could be defined by their law. The lesson here is, being innocent of all evil glorifies God, offends no one and keeps the windows of opportunity open for ministry. See also: Respect authority; Act 23,3-5; 73d

(80f) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word to learn the ways of God >> Understanding His will

(155c) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> Conscience >> Having a good conscience >> Conscience testifies that we obey Godís law Ė Paul wasnít lying when he said, ďI have lived with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this point.Ē He wasnít just talking about after his conversion, but even before that; when he was dragging Christians to their death, he thought he was doing the right thing. He was convinced that Christians were wrong and were a threat to Judaism and needed to be expunged. Had Paul known the Truth and rejected it in favor of his prior beliefs, God would not have chosen him to carry the gospel to the nations, for God canít use people who live against their conscience. They can repent of it, but it is more like trying to repent of where you have built a city. See also: Conscience; Act 23-1; 232l

(166e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Nature Of Manís Wisdom >> Manís wisdom is fixed on gaining personal advantage Ė Paul once was a Pharisee who worked for the high priest, but since his conversion he lost touch with Israel and their religious institution to the point that he didnít even know who was high priest that year. We would think that the garb he wore would have identified him, but apparently he wasnít wearing it. The high priest wanted nothing to do with the new covenant, because it meant terminating his prestigious position; he was not open to this knowledge, because he loved his authority and power. There was no longer need for a high priest anymore, since Jesus assumed his role as Great High Priest in heaven, interceding for the people at the Father's right hand. Israel was a theocracy; their religion was also their politics. God through Moses gave them a government that doubled as their religion, and the days of Paul and the early church existed at the very tail end of it; the new covenant replaced it after the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD, which was just a few years down the road from this passage. Had the high priest listened to Paul, things probably would have gone smoother for him, but as it was he was probably hunted like a dog and captured by the Romans and thrown in prison if not killed, just like he hunted the Apostle Paul.

(175l) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Lack of knowledge -- These verses go with verse 8

Act 23,1-3

(179c) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy >> Jesus rebukes the Pharisees >> The world runs into the Church to escape Godís judgment

Act 23-1

(232l) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Seek the essence of his kingdom >> Seeking the truth Ė People who live against their conscience as a way of life often have destroyed it to such a degree that they canít even get saved, let alone become the greatest evangelist the world has ever known. They are the ones who believe there is no Truth as Pilate asked Jesus before he released Him to be crucified. ďWhat is Truth?Ē (Jn 18-38), being a rhetorical question, implying that such a concept either does not exist or the human mind cannot attain it. He was speaking for himself because he had destroyed his conscience far back as he could remember as a prerequisite to being a political leader of a corrupt society. We hear it a lot these days that man's truth is relative, true only to the person who believes it, whereas universal Truth is unattainable, a figment of the human imagination, but they are a society of reprobates who believe this, incapable of understanding the greater Truth beyond their personal belief system. People like Pilate donít think it is possible to know God, saying ďThere is no reality, just perceptionĒ (Dr. Phil). In contrast, Godís Truth is everyone's reality, whether they believe it or not. Manís truth is more in line with the devilís truth, a mere invention of the mind, but if we trade our truth for Godís Truth, it will set us free. Paul even before his conversion didnít live against his conscience, and God respected him for that even though he didnít know the Truth. A person who doesnít know God but lives by a clear conscience has hope, but the person who lives against his conscience will violate Godís Truth in the same manner. See also: Conscience; Act 23-5; 27d

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3-5 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?" 4 But the bystanders said, "Do you revile God's high priest? 5 And Paul said, "I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.' "


Act 23,3-5

(73d) Authority >> Respect Positions Of Authority >> In the Church Ė Paul called his persecutor a name who ordered him to be struck before he learned that he was high priest, but after he learned of his authority, he quickly back-stepped. We too must respect authority in the Church, even among those who are abusive and ignorant, not using their positions to glorify God. There are other ways of dealing with problems in the Church than disrespecting their authority. We will not reach anybody or convince them of anything by offending them, so it is better to stay with the facts. Those who persecute us, Jesus said to love and pray for them, but what did Paul do? He called his persecutor a "whitewashed wall". Was that in violation of Jesusí commandment to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? Was Paul's statement based on love? He told the high priest the truth that one day God will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites if he doesnít repent of his unbelief. To love our enemies means we should tell them the truth the way they need to hear it, just like Paul did. What he said came from anger and contempt, not from love, yet this is no indication that he hated him. To warn somebody about Godís judgment does not mean we hate him; rather, it means just the opposite, that if he doesnít repent, he may find himself in a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, and that is no place even for our worst enemies. See also: Respect authority; Act 23,1-5; 1a

Act 23-5

(27d) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Knowledge can bring a curse if you donít walk in it Ė Paul respected the position of high priest, not particularly the man who occupied the office or the manner in which he practiced his religion, and as Paul recanted his statement, he exposed the high priest and those around him, establishing a contrast between himself who walked according to his conscience and his enemies who were not bound by such concerns. It is not against the law to live according to conscience, yet it is common for people to live contrary to their convictions, though it is never a good idea, and Paul indicated this to his enemies rebuking them for their hypocrisy. Paul complained that the man had him struck for reasons that violated the same laws he was using to prosecute him, though not knowing he was high priest, and once he realized this, he quickly backpedaled. Verse five defines conscience and provides an example of Paul serving his conscience when he said, ďI was unaware, brethren, that he was high priest,Ē meaning that conscience is based on knowledge, like the original sin in the Garden of Eden when they ate the forbidden fruit, knowing it was evil. Had God not told Adam it was sin, it would not have been sin to eat of it. This defines the nature of sin, doing what we know is wrong. Therefore, our conscience defines sin, which is why some people destroy their conscience, thinking that if they eliminate their conscience the things they do are no longer sinful, and in their own minds they become invincible, like a god. This is the mindset of a psychopath! What does God do to people like this? He plays along with them and says, ĎOkay, I will judge you for only one sin, that of destroying your conscience,í and then assigns them a place in hell of possibly the greatest torment with those who have done the same. See also: Conscience; Act 23,1-5; 155c

6&7 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!" 7 As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 


Act 23,6-11

(122k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness in adverse circumstances >> Go in places of adversity Ė This was a huge risk that Paul took, going to Jerusalem, and it no doubt would have cost him his life without back-to-back miracles from God. When we look at the testimony that Paul gave, what exactly did he accomplish? He gave his testimony that Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, but his greatest testimony was his audacity to come to the camp of his enemies and show his face in Jerusalem. This was extremely intimidating to the Jews who hated him; he communicated the message that he was not afraid of them and that nothing they did would ever stop him, short of killing him, and they couldnít even do that. coming to Jerusalem conveyed that this gospel was going forward regardless of any and all their efforts to stop it. His boldness spoke volumes about his level of faith and commitment to the cause of Christ. A person can sincerely believe and be sincerely wrong, but not to the degree of Paulís faith. It caused his enemies to stop at some point and wonder if these things were actually true, if only in their bed at night. They werenít going to risk their lives for what they believed.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 23,6-10

(62i) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Taking advantage of the circumstances Ė After Paul threw this statement of the resurrection between the Pharisees and Sadducees like a bone between two dogs, suddenly the Pharisees changed their tune saying, ďMaybe Paul had seen an angel.Ē Fact is, the Pharisees didnít really open their minds or believe what they were saying; they just said that to protect their own beliefs and to win an argument against the Sadducees. Everybody has a tendency to think in terms of on and off or black and white. Before Paul made this comment, they were ready to kill him because of what he said, but after his comment, they were ready to confess that everything Paul preached was potentially true, in order to defend their beliefs from the Sadducees. The gospel that Paul preached was not that different from what the Pharisees believed, so why did they hate him so much? Close-mindedness and jealousy certainly played a part.

(63b) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Righteous deception >> Church deceive their enemies

(65d) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Jesus brings division >> He divides a society along itís natural fault lines Ė This is an example of God causing division. Usually this is the devilís department, but this was a strategic move on Paul's part, who was very familiar with the belief systems of both parties. Paul wasnít on trial for committing a crime, but would find himself in a Roman courtyard for what he believed, and when some of the Roman governors discovered that he was on trial for his beliefs about God, they wouldnít even hear his case, since he had committed no crime, yet they kept him in prison. The Romans found Jewish law and the particulars of their religion odious and irrelevant to their secular court. To the Romans it was not illegal for people to have any belief the wanted about God, but to the Jews, believing the wrong thing was a crime, punishable by death! They were trying to get rid of Paul because his influence was threatening the Jewish establishment.

(75h) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Being manipulative >> Controlling people in the dark >> Through hidden motives

(97h) Thy kingdom come >> Attention >> Facing the direction of Godís will >> Focusing your attention on what matters to you

(148e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage of the public eye

(175g) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Evading the heart of the matter Ė The Pharisees were extreme zealots about their beliefs, having the philosophy that if anyone contradicted them, they were automatically wrong. This is the antithesis of open-mindedness, and it is by no means an effective way to seek truth. In fact, this manner of guarding the truth is the worst possible system, in that if the truth were somehow compromised, the system has no way of correcting itself. All knowledge evolves; there is no way to stop it. The Bible is a snapshot of the truth taken soon after Pentecost, so we can use it as our lighthouse, an unmovable point in a sea of ideas. We have no choice but to develop beliefs about the Bible called doctrines, yet we are to maintain the Bible as our standard. However, problems arise when people use their belief systems as their standard instead of Scripture; this is how denominations start, being what has happened to Christianity over the centuries. Fortunately we still have the Bible, and we can go back to it and regain our bearings, but the trend is to slowly move away from what we first believed and ultimately embrace something else. In theory we are to draw closer to the truth the longer we believe it, but that takes vigilance and commitment. The norm, unfortunately, is to drift from the truth, and this is what happened to Israel over the centuries, even though they had a lighthouse as a reference point in the Old Testament. The Jews and Pharisees drifted so far off course that when Jesus arrived and gave them an accurate depiction of the truth, they did not recognize it as coming from their Old Testament, hence they didnít recognize Him as their Messiah. They should have stayed with the Scriptures and abandoned their self-made religion.

(179e) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Stir up the crowd >> Stir up the crowd for a godly motive Ė Everything came to a head that day while in Jerusalem; Paul was in a tight spot. He had been evangelizing and preaching the gospel for a long time, trying to reach the Jews, and the only thing he was able to accomplish was to embitter them against him, though some were saved, even many of the Pharisees, mostly through Peterís ministry. Paul had a deep commitment to his fellow countrymen and colleagues the Jewish Pharisees, many of whom he personally knew and loved with an endless devotion and was willing to risk his own life to see at least some of them saved, and this is partly what brought him to Jerusalem at the risk of being strung-up by a mob. Just when it seemed all was lost, yet seeing that the crowd was a mixture of Pharisees and Sadducees who could not agree on anything, Paul devised a quick solution; he yelled that he was ďon trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead.Ē Paul used the same tactics his enemies used against him in effort to hinder the gospel (Act 19,23-32). He simply proclaimed his faith to the eclectic assembly to see what kind of disorder he could generate, and it accomplished his goal; it took the focus off himself. These religious zealots began arguing among one another, and the Pharisees amazingly commented that Paul might have been right about some of the things he was saying, dramatically embracing a near opposite position they held just seconds earlier. Suddenly they became open-minded the moment the Sadducees attacked their belief system. The Sadducees didnít believe in the resurrection, angels or spirits; extract these three elements from the gospel and we would have a New Testament about five pages long, meaning the Sadducees didnít believe anything. How could they have a religion that had no beliefs? Yet, this is a fair statement about them. Modern-day Judaism bears a close resemblance to them.

Act 23,6-8

(20cb) Sin >> Nature of sin >> Unbelief >> Having a mind that is unable to receive >> Religion doesn't know how to believe in God

(39c) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death >> Preaching the resurrection

Act 23-6

(75b) Thy kingdom come >> Motives of the heart >> Good motives >> Motives for doing the will of God

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8-11 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, "We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?" 10 And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks. 11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, "Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also." 


Act 23-8

(86f) Thy kingdom come >> Belief >> Mental ascent (believing a set of facts) Ė Paul announced he was a Pharisee, and then proceeded to tell the crowd that he believed in the resurrection from the dead. This put all the Pharisees on his side, and pitted them against the Sadducees, who didnít believe in the resurrection, angels or spirits (what is left to believe?). The Sadducees obviously believe there is a God, but if there is no such a thing as a spirit, then neither there is a spiritual realm to them, and if no spirit realm, then there is only a natural realm, so they had a secular belief system. They cared only about the Law of Moses, the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch). Other than that, they didnít have a strong faith in the Old Testament, which taught about spiritual things. The Sadducees rejected much about the Old Testament, being fringe believers.

(175l) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Lack of knowledge -- This verse goes with verses 1-5

Act 23-9

(176i) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Zeal without knowledge (Spirit w/o the word) >> Passion without principles

Act 23-10

(58a) Paradox >> Opposites >> World takes the Kingdom of God by force

Act 23-11

(6c) Responsibility >> Advocate Godís cause >> Jesusí yoke of evangelism

(7e) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> God defends His own word

(106o) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Purpose of hearing from God >> God ordains our calling

(139e) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Encouraged by the word of God

(144b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The Church bears witness of Jesus >> It bears witness of the cross

(148a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Solemnly testify about the grace of God

(247h) Priorities >> Godís priorities >> Godís interests >> God is interested in the gospel -- This verse goes with verses 31-35. As we know, Catholicism started in Rome, which is where Paul was headed, so Paul had something to do with the formation of Catholicism. Had Paul not gone to Rome and witnessed to this world empire, Catholicism may not have gotten started in Rome. It happened that various leaders within the Roman Empire (Constantine) became convinced of the gospel on some level, whether he developed a saving faith in Jesus is unclear, and then mandated Christianity as the official religion throughout the Roman Empire. Thus, Christianity became an institution that the world acknowledged and accepted, in spite of the fact that the Church should remain separate from the world. Not only did Paulís advantage being born a Roman citizen in province of Cilicia deliver him from death, it also gave him a hearing, an open door to convey the gospel to Roman governors, who held influence over the whole world at the time. There lies a great irony in the disparity between the scriptural account Paulís life and the historical account of manís religion, being that Paul had by far the greatest influence on Rome, yet the Roman Catholic Church raised up the apostle Peter as the icon of their faith and almost completely ignored Paul by comparison.

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12-15 When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who formed this plot. 14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, "We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul 15 "Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place."


Act 23,12-24

(2e) Responsibility >> Keep your commitments >> it is better not to vow at all Ė This oath these forty men took the Bible calls a curse. Prior to the written document the oath was an oral agreement between parties that was good as a legal document, which was contingent upon the honesty and integrity of the people involved. The signed, legal document has replaced the oath, because people too often didn't keep their word. People in biblical times took the oath (or promise) very seriously, so if anyone made an oath, they were required to make good on it, just like we are required to carry out the obligations of a signed, legal document. When Jesus said that it was better not to vow at all, he was telling us to be careful what we sign. Amazingly, the Old Testament did not command a designated consequence for breaking an oath, no stoning, no cutting-off from the people, etc. However, the general consequence of oath breaking when it became rampant was national slavery; Israel lost their place and their nation to the Babylonians. So, what is the collective consequence of oath breaking? Whole nations are removed! What would happen if America went back to the oath? People lie as a manner of speaking. The signed document replacing the oath can be seen as a sign of the last days, for when lying has become so common that no one can be trusted, it is game over. Actually the oath has been used as a legal state between parties until about 150 years ago. When a nation becomes deceitful, it is already too late for that country to repent.

(26l) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Curse >> Deeds that return to the doer >> Words of your mouth Ė These forty men who put themselves under an oath to kill Paul did not challenge this garrison of soldiers that safely escorted him to Antipathies, but were forced to break their vow. A personís oath was so significant in earlier days that it was considered a curse if they didnít fulfill it. The signed legal document has completely bypassed the whole concept of honesty and integrity that is required of a person who takes an oath. The signed, legal document has become a requirement in order for civilization to advance, because people can no longer be trusted at their word. Therefore, the signed legal document is a curse unto itself for any society or civilization that uses it as a substitute for integrity.

(29a) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> Delivered from our persecutors

Act 23,12-22

(21k) Sin >> Premeditated murder

(25c) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Murdering for prestige Ė These Jews wanted to kill Paul for the notoriety of being his murderers, so they would become heroes in the eyes of their peers. They werenít interested in how God felt about them; they only valued the opinion of their fellow man, which was the very thing that Paul fought in society; he promoted being Christ-minded and resisted a worldly perspective. He sought to win people to the Kingdom of Heaven and convince them that Godís opinion of us is far more important than our opinion of each other.

(180f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Wolves steal, kill and destroy >> Killing the sheep

(181f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Lawlessness >> Having no regard for the law >> Forsaking the law Ė In the days of Israel leading to the Babylonian captivity, society had degraded to such an extent that the oath had become invalid from a lack of integrity, which made civilization as they knew it impossible. Every other aspect of their lives disintegrated, their lying, deceptive ways necessitated their impending doom. Prior to the Babylonian captivity there may not have been any direct consequences for breaking an oath, but there were general consequences for being a society of liars and allowing civilization to degrade. We are living in days like that. Generally, we canít trust those we donít know, because people lie at the drop of a hat; their word means nothing to them. Such was the case with these forty men who bound themselves to an oath to kill Paul before they ate another bite of food. They probably didnít starve to death, but instead lost respect among their countrymen. For this reason Jesus said it was better not to vow at all, echoing Solomonís wisdom. They could have made an attempt on Paulís life without vowing to kill him, but they made the vow to increase the stakes, thus increasing their determination. The vow said, ĎWe either kill Paul or our own lives are worthless.í The vow transformed their desire to kill Paul into a mission they had to fulfill. They hated Paul enough to put themselves under a curse.

Act 23,12-16

(46c) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Subjecting your flesh >> Knowledge is our weapon -- These verses go with verse 22

Act 23,12-15

(163f) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the word of God >> Used to destroy the mouthpiece of God

(251c) Priorities >> Godís prerequisites >> Making plans >> Making evil plans

Act 23-12

(85k) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Better not to say anything >> Words will make you obligated Ė An oath back then was considered binding, just like when we sign legal papers today, they can bind us to our decisions. We can sign our life away through documents, representing our oath that can put us in situations where we lose everything. The signed document became popular in our culture from people reneging on their oaths, or else denying that their oath pertained to certain conditions to which they had agreed. These papers can be concisely written and brought to court where they are made to stick. In Paul's day, people stuck to their word more than they do now; their word was their bond. According to their oath, then, these Jews who failed to kill Paul could never eat again. The Bible calls the oath (or promise) a curse. They cursed their own lives when they made an oath they could not keep. They fell under a self-imposed curse according to the old covenant, but the curse just as well remains on the liar in the new covenant. The Bible describes what happens to a liar, and the description is a very long list of consequences. Since they were trying to kill Paul, this indicated they were lowlifes, probably having ruined their word years prior to this along with their reputations, suggesting they had nothing much to lose, like the terrorists of today.

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16-30 But the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, "Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him." 18 So he took him and led him to the commander and said, "Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you." 19 The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, "What is it that you have to report to me? 20 And he said, "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. 21 "So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you. 22 So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, "Tell no one that you have notified me of these things." 23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, "Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen." 24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. 25 And he wrote a letter having this form: 26 "Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings. 27 "When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 "And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Council; 29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but under no accusation deserving death or imprisonment. 30 "When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to bring charges against him before you." 


Act 23,16-22

(14m) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers fill in the gaps >> They are always there when you need them Ė Paul was in jail not knowing that a conspiracy was forming against him, making this boyís act of bravery literally a Godsend that would result in saving his life. Not wanting the message to be lost in translation, Paul refused to entrust the information with the centurion, who may or may not have forwarded the message, but instructed him to take the boy directly to his superior officer, in essence going over the jailerís head. God has commanded us to trust Him, not to trust people we donít know. Sending the boy to the commander by authority of the centurion was a wise move, because this gave credibility to the boyís story in the eyes of the commander. Paul was endowed with many gifts, including wisdom to understand the ways the world. It served him well many times, as Jesus said, ďbe shrewd as serpents and innocent as dovesĒ (Mat 10-16).

(29h) Gift of God >> God is on our side >> He fights our battles for us

(131a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependent on each other to do the will of God

(180ca) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Be shrewd as wolves and more innocent than they appear >> Fighting off wolves with a clever innocence >> Being more clever than their sin

Act 23-22

(46c) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Subjecting your flesh >> Knowledge is our weapon Ė This verse goes with verses 12-16

(62e) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Keep your mouth shut

(85j) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Better not to say anything >> Shut up!

(89e) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Wisdom is sometimes best unspoken

Act 23-23,24

(7c) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defending the word of God >> Protecting the men who carry the gospel Ė These verses go along with verses 33-35. 

Act 23,25-27

(148d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage as an evangelist regarding the flesh -- These verses go with verse 35. Had it not been for Paulís Roman citizenship, his missionary journeys would have been cut short. As it was, he was born in Tarsus, the capital city in the Roman province of Cecilia. The fact that Paul was born there gave him Roman citizenship for life, and he treated it like a ticket that he frequently used as a missionary to escape trouble for the Lordís sake, and in that sense the Lord used his Roman citizenship, and by that we can say that part of the reason God chose Paul was because of his Roman citizenship. Of course there were many other desirable qualities that Paul had as a missionary, evangelist, apostle and leader of Godís Church, perhaps the greatest of these being his tenaciousness; he did not know the word "quit". His citizenship gave him authority as a citizen of the nation that held the world in tyranny, and for anyone to torture and imprison a Roman citizen who had committed no crime would call down wrath of Rome. To avoid this people bent over backwards to protect Paul (Act 22,24-30).

Act 23,28-30

(90g) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> Had they kept the law, they would not have persecuted the Church Ė Paulís enemies accused him of breaking not Roman law but Jewish law, so their point was moot in the mind of any Roman judge. The complaint of the Jews was that Paul asserted Jesus to be the Christ, but this had no relevance to the Romans. The issue that Paul took with them was rooted in their prophets. The Law and the prophets are often spoken together, and usually gentile governors knew nothing and cared nothing about their writings, but the Jews based their hope on them.

Act 23-28,29

(1a) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God and people by respecting their authority Ė These verses go with verses 1-5.  

(18c) Sin >> False Judgment lacks evidence >> Charges not defined as crimes >> Accusing Paul without formal charges

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

31-35 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks. 33 When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 When he had read it, he asked from what province he was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, "I will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also," giving orders for him to be kept in Herod's Praetorium.


Act 23,31-35

(247h) Priorities >> Godís priorities >> Godís interests >> God is interested in the gospel Ė These verses go with verse 11. God wanted Paul to witness to Rome, though knowing it would ultimately result in institutionalizing the gospel after it had fallen into the hands of established world leaders, initiating the formation of the Roman Catholic Church, which would do more harm than good to the gospel overall. Perhaps Godís thinking was that this way at least His gospel would become widely known throughout the world and many people would make up their own minds and be saved, as Paul said in Phi 1-18, ďWhat then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.Ē There were misconceptions of the gospel and people were preaching them, but it was better this than that the gospel should fall silent altogether. God would rather people heard misconceptions of the gospel than for it to be unheard and unknown in the world. We can always iron out the details later; we just want people to hear about Jesus and believe in Him for eternal life. God would rather have His gospel widely distributed by a worldly government than for it to be hidden under a bushel known to none. It was not that God thought they might do well, but that they might influence society to do so, and that the peasants themselves over whom they ruled would obey the gospel and be saved. Bringing the gospel to Rome was like hooking it to a megaphone and preaching it in a loudspeaker for many people to hear as opposed to only a few. God didnít want His gospel institutionalized; He only wanted it to become available to all and for all to hear and believe in Jesus for eternal life.

Act 23,33-35

(7c) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defending the word of God >> Protecting the men who carry the gospel Ė These verses go along with verses 23&24. Another way of saying "Herodís praetorian" is "The governorís official residence." Paul was literally given the royal treatment. Usually, he was beaten for doing the will of God, but this time he was treated like a king and sent to live in the governorís mansion. Obviously, the justice department did not take Paulís accusers very seriously, especially since there were no official charges filed against him. This is reminiscent of a favorite passage in Proverbs 30-28, "The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings' palaces." Paul was acting as God's lizard for whom He was manipulating the circumstances to get him a stay in the king's palace as a perk for conveying the gospel to those who would ultimately send it throughout the world in the coming centuries. 

(231d) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> Godís grace is the mystery of godliness >> Having favor with God is a mystery

Act 23-35

(32f) Gift of God >> Father will honor you if you die to self >> In His service

(33j) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> God serves His people who serve Him >> He treats His people with special care

(148d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage as an evangelist regarding the flesh -- This verse goes with verses 25-27

(228a) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Comforted >> God comforts you in times of adversity >> He comforts you in your suffering

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