Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Acts of the Apostles
"Paul's Imprisonment, and Defense in Jerusalem, and the Events Following."
Acts 22:1 "Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I made now unto you."
So we see that Paul was delivered up, and for the past year Paul was on the vow to deliver up his message to the mob that is gathered in Jerusalem. Remember that the whole purpose for this book of Acts is to let Christians to know how the Apostles got around and through the problems of this life, while delivering the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Word of God.
Paul is now ready to deliver that message, and he is addressing his fellow Israelites in the court yard of the temple. God's Word prepares us for the unknown things that may arise, and helps us overcome those difficulties. Though these men had never accepted the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, they still held to every letter of the law. There was an exception to this, in that James and the other Apostles had decided that the Gentiles did not need to follow the laws that pertained to the blood sacrifices, and those laws also included Circumcision.
In the last chapter we saw that this mob was stirred up by some Kenites from Asia, and as this mob pulled Paul from the temple and started beating on him, the Roman guards saw what was happening, and had come to put down the actions of the mob. As they were taking Paul up the steps in bonds and chains, Paul asked the guards if he could speak to the crowd, and they allowed him to do so. So Paul is facing this mob of people, and they quited down when Paul started to speak to them in pure Hebrew. It was a surprise for them to hear Paul speaking in Hebrew. Paul spoke many languages beside the Hebrew and the Greek, and he spoke more tongues then most could speak. So Paul was up on the stairway, and the mob below.
It is written in Mark 13, and Matthew 24 that this is an example of what we can expect in our generation. There will be some Christains that will be delivered up before the Antichrist and his religious leaders, and they also will be expected to give answer for their beliefs. They will be asked why they refuse to accept and worship the "instead of Christ" [Satan] and the image of his religious system. At that time it will be the Holy Spirit also that will protect and speak through them, as recorded in Mark 13:11. This will be done so that the message of the Gospel will go out before the world in from of the synagogue of Satan.
So this is a type of what will happen, and it is ordered and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. Paul is on trial, and he is speaking on his own defense in Jerusalem.
Acts 22:2 "(And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)"
When the people heard this defense coming out of Paul's mouth that was suppose to be destroying the law, it took them by surprise. By Paul defending himself in the pure Hebrew tongue meant that Paul was one of their own.
Acts 22:3 "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilcia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day."
Lets make it very clear that Paul was not of the tribe of Judah, but of Benjamin. Paul makes this clear in Romans 11:1; "I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." But the term "Jew" as used here is "ioudaus" which means "from the land of Judah". He was born in Tarsus, in what would be Turkey of today, however Paul attended school in the city of Jerusalem as a youth, and resided there.
We remember Gamaliel from Acts 5:34, when he gave his warning to the Sanhedrin when they wanted to kill Peter. Gamaliel stood up an spoke on Peters behalf. "Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;" In this action by Gamaliel, Peter's life was spared.
Now Paul let it be know some twenty years after that speech given to the Sanhedrin that he was educated under Gamaliel in the law of Moses. Paul is telling these men hearing him that he was once sold out to the cause just like they are this day.
Acts 22:4 "And I persucuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women."
Paul is telling them that he knew the law of the torah, and when people violated that law I went after them. The "way" spoken of here is the "Christian way". I went to get those christians, men and women alike and persecuted them to their death. Friend, if you think your a bad sinner, Paul is standing before these men and confessing that he took part in murdering Christians. In the beginning of Paul's young life there were none worse, yet God changed his entire life. Paul's free will was to kill Christians, but as one of God's elect, the Spirit of God placed God's love in him and he now preached with the same determination. This confession is what is getting the crowds attention for their intent is also murdering Christians.
Acts 22:5 "As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished."
Paul is telling them, you go over there to the high priest's office and you will find in the records that I was once a champion of the people in binding Christians and bringing them to trial in Jerusalem. There wasn't one elder that did not know me, and I carried letters to brethren in Damascus authorizing me to bring back Christians from there.
Acts 22:6 "And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me."
Acts 22:7 "And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?' "
Paul was knocked to the ground by this light from Jesus Christ. Paul persecuted Jesus Christ every time he touched a Christian. When you touch another Christian, you touch Christ. This was quite an altar call from God when He blinded Paul right there on the road to Damascus. What was Paul's free will? Did Paul say I'm all for you Jesus? No, Paul said I want to kill those Christians. Yet Paul will in the end write most of the New Testament.
God has a destiny for some, because of what happened at Satan's fall in the first earth age. There were some that stood firm against the Antichrist, and God destined them in this flesh age to do a service for Him. This is why Paul stated in Ephesians 1:4 "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." The foundation of this earth age started at the fall of Satan, when God destroyed this earth and all life forms in it. This is not the flood of Noah's time, but the ruin that occured between Genesis 1:1, and 1:2. It was then that God's elect were chosen.
Ephesians 1:5 "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will." The souls of the elect of God were predestinated for an purpose way back then, before the waters were parted and flesh man ever came into existance. Those souls of the elect were adopted by God back then, and set apart for God's purposes. Though all souls of mankind have free will, some like Paul, and possible you are part of God's elect.
Remember what God said of Paul in Acts 9:15? "But the Lord said unto him, go thy way for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." Paul didn't volunteer for this job, until after God struck him down. Sometime if one of you end up somewhere and you don't know how you ended up in this trouble, God also has His hand on you.
Acts 22:8 "And I answered, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And He said unto me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, Whom thou persecutest.' "
In the Greek, Paul answered, Who are you sir?
Acts 22:9 "And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of Him That spake to me."
You may think there is a conflict between this verse and Acts 9:7, but in the Greek there is no controversy. Acts 9:7 states "And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man." So we must go back to the Greek to get the original meaning. The word "hearing" in verse 9:7 in the Greek is "phone" and this is expressed by the word "voice". The Greek word phone is in the genitive case here, and in the accusative case in Acts 9:4. In other words it was just a noise like a voice that could not be understood, but they could see the light. What ever it was, it was a divine intervention.
Acts 22:10 "And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said unto me, `Arise and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.'"
This was Jesus Christ Himself speaking. There are some that are predestined to do a certain mission for God, and on the other end, there are many that have free will to follow Him of their own choice. However there are some that do not even know what to pray for in God's over all plan, therefore God says, I intercede in your life. Romans 8:27 "And He That searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according the the will of God. That is what happened here, for Christ interceded in the life of Paul, and Paul had no choise in the matter, because Paul was a chosen vessel.
Acts 22:11 "And when I could not see for the glory of the light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus."
Paul was blinded from the bright light, and had to be led into Damascus by the hand.
Acts 22:12 "And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,"
This was the second man in the book of Acts named Ananias. Remember the first Ananias and his wife Sapphira were struck dead for lying to the Spirit of God, and trying to deceive Him as we read in Acts 5:5 "And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost:". This second Anaias was a man that knew the law and followed it well, and was well as being known even to those living in Judaea. The name "Ananias" means "whom God has graciously given", and this shows in the Hebrew that God has given certain ones to serve. That right has been earned in the first earth age. All souls come from God, and entered the embryo in the womb at conception. They were not manufactured then, but God created each soul at some point in time before the beginning of this earth age.
Acts 22:13 "Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, `Brother Saul, receive thy sight.' And the same hour I looked up upon him."
This is Ananias speaking to Paul.
Acts 22:14 "And he said, `The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth."
Paul did not volunteer of what God had for him to do, God had chosen Paul to know the will of the Father, and to see and hear the voice of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the "Just One". Paul did hear the voice of Jesus in a very striking way.
Acts 22:15 "For thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard."
Paul was not only a witness to those he saw and preached to face to face, but through his writings in his letters to the different churches, Paul is also a witness to us today. He is witnessing to us through Romans and both Corinthians letters, through Ephesians and all the other books, as the Holy Spirit of Christ reveals those written words to our understanding.
Acts 22:16 "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' "
Acts 22:17 "And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;"
During prayer time in the temple, Paul had a vision. God was dealing with Paul.
Acts 22:18 "And saw Him saying unto me, `Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning Me.' "
Of course the religious leaders in Jerusalem had refused the teachings of Jesus Christ in person, and they would not receive the words of Paul concering Jesus Christ also. We see here the start of Paul's destiny, to carry the message of the Gospel [good news] of Jesus Christ to the rest of the children of Israel [the ten tribes of the house of Israel] as well as to the kings, and the Gentiles nations.
Acts 22:19 "And I said, `Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on Thee:"
Paul was telling God here, You want me to go and teach the Christians, and I have a reputation in all areas of persecuting them. Even though Paul killed and bound Christians Christ still sent Paul to teach.
The message within this verse is that God can change and use any person that He choses. God can change the heart and mind of a man or woman. This is comforting to remember as we pray for one of our loved ones that is living in sin, and set int their ways. God can change people's lives, but it is for you to set the example.
Acts 22:20 "And when the blood of Thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the rainment of them that slew him.' "
Remember that Paul is standing on the stairway, looking down on a mob of people that want his blood and his life. He is talking in the pure Hebrew tongue and giving the account of his transformation for a killer, into a servent of God. Paul is reminding those people of that story of the sermon and death of Stephen that we read of in Acts 7. Paul is letting them know that I was one of those that took part in the stoning of that great man of God, Stephen.
Acts 22:21 "And He said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.'
This statement takes all the doubt out of your faith. Paul knew that he was chosen by God, and sent to far lands to preach and teach the Word of God. Paul was preaching and teaching the early Christians from the Word of God, and that Word is what you and I call the Old Testament. As Paul taught and set up churches, many times Paul had to send letters back to those early Christians to correct errors of understanding, and those letters were kept, and given to other churches. Those many letters formed into what we use today as our study guide even in this generation. We call that collection of letters of instruction the New Testament. The works of Paul has guided the world in all generation for the past two thousand years.
Acts 22:22 "And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live."
In the Greek, it reads, "They gave him audience until this word." When Paul said the word "Gentiles", things started happening, and the crowd became a mob again. Friend this is the polite way of saying, "kill him". Here Paul gave this great testimony, and the crowd is screaming for Paul's life. It doesn't matter how great the sermon was, if the Kenites don't believe in Jesus Christ, it doesn't matter what is said, they wanted his blood.
Acts 22:23 "And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,"
This is the sign of a true mob as they demonstrate their anger and frustration as the rip off their clothes and throw dirt into the air.
Acts 22:24 "The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him."
As the mab started to riot the chief captain of the Roman guards demanded that Paul be brought into the castle immediately, to the north west corner. What was being said by Paul was stated in the Hebrew, and the Romans did not understand the Hebrew tongue. This captian was going to get to the bottom of this even if it meant scorging Paul. The Romans were going to beat the truth out of Paul to find out what has caused these religious leaders and others to become so insanely mad. When Paul opened his mouth those Kenite Jews went crazy and these Romans felt that Paul must have done something wrong.
Acts 22:25 "And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?"
Now pay attention to what Paul is saying here. As they are tying Paul up to the scourging rack with the thongs, Paul looked over to the centurian that was incharge of the beating, and said; "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?" Paul is telling them, I am a Roman citizen and I haven't been tried yet, and you are tying and binding me to this rack.
Roman law forbidded a Roman citizen to be bound and beaten, and that authority could only be given by Caesar himself. This was a terrible thing for an officer to do to a Roman citizen, and the Officer knew that he was in trouble. Paul was a Roman citizen through his father, and his mother was a hellenist. We will see in verse 28 that Paul didn't buy his citizenship, but that he was "free born", which meant that he was a full fledged Roman that that could not be removed from him.
The moral to this is that biblically, you should know who your are. You should also know the people around you and what their faiths are also.
Acts 22:26 "When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, "Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman."
This centurian is reminding his superior officer that he has already given an order, and watch out what you are going to do, for this man is a Roman. These officers know the Roman law, and what it meant to beat a Roman citizen without a trial. A man could lose his commission, and be jailed for doing such a thing.
Acts 22:27 "Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, "Tell me, art thou a Roman?" He said, "Yea". "
Acts 22:28 "And the chief captain answered, "With a great sum obtained I this freedom." And Paul said, "But I was free born." "
After the chief captain asked Paul if he was a Roman and Paul answered yes, the captain told Paul of the great sum of money that he had paid to obtain his citizenship. Paul answered the captain, "But I was free born." This made it all the worse for this captain, though he paid a great sum for his citizenship, and his command, he could lose it all should Paul's binding come before the proper authorities.
Acts 22:29 "Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him."
Immediately this chief captain left Paul, and went to his superior officer with the news. This man knew that what he had done was against the Roman law that he was to uphold, and he was rightly afraid.
Friend, why is it important that you know who you are? Because at the appearance of Satan, the "instead of Christ" [Antichrist], God's final instructions given to Satan is found in Revelation 9:4 "And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, biether any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads."
Your brain is in your forehead, and the seal of God is His Word, so to have the seal of God in your forehead is to have all the promises of God's holy Word in your mind. In verse one, Satan [the star that fell] is given the key, or authority to go to the bottomless pit and release all the fallen angels, and Satan shall come to the earth with them, in our generation. We are living in the final generation, and upon his arrival the only way that you will not be deceived and take Satan's mark, is by having the seal of God in your mind.
God's Word instructs us that He has instructed Satan to leave God's sealed elect alone. This is why we can be assured, as it is written in Luke 21:18 "But there shall not an hair of your head perish." You are given power over Satan and all his realm, and it doesn't matter what is happening around you, that protection by the Holy Spirit of God is there, but you are expected to know that authority and use it when it becomes necessary.
Luke 10:19 "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy:and nothing by any means hurt you."
Luke 10:20 "Notwithstanding in this in this rejoice not, that the sprits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because you names are written in heaven."
The "serpents" are the Kenites, the offspring on earth, through Satan's son Cain, while the "scorpions" are are the fallen angels, whether in spirit form now, or visible upon the sounding of the fifth trumpet, as recorded in Revelation 9. God has given you authority over all of these demonic forces, however what good is power if you don't know how to use it?
Paul knew the power that he had in the Roman law, and that the forces that would harm him were subject to certain limits. Paul then reminded those forces of the laws that they were bound to, and their fear of that law gave Paul protection. God has warned Satan, the Kenites, and the fallen angels that certain people were off limits to their deception, and stinging, and when you have the seal of God in your mind, that gives you the power when they come against you. The only tool that Satan has anyway is deception, and his lying wonders, however when someone has God's Word sealed in their mind, Satan can't deceive them anyway.
That is why it is important for you to know who you are during this time of deliverence at the last hour. That hour is upon us now, and that hour has been shortened from three and a half months to a five month period of time, as recorded in Revelation 9:5, 10.
Acts 22:30 "On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them."
It is Roman law that Paul had to be tried by his own peers, that is to say those making the accusation. It had to be a fair trial. This Chief Captain is responsible for keeping the peace in and around the temple. This peace is shattered when those of the temple want this man's blood. This captain wants to find out for certainty what that reason is, so he sends Paul down to be tried. Not only will Paul be on trial here, but he will be tried in a higher court later.
It is important of understand Paul's defense that is given in the next chapter.
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