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Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 23

"Paul's Defense Before the High Priest, and Comfort from the Lord."


Acts 23:1 "And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, "men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day."

Paul's life was spared from the mob the day prior by the Roman centurian, and now the following day this Roman officer has sent Paul down before the Sanhedrin to face his accusers. Then Paul looked at those men of the council of the Sanhedrin, and told them that he was satisfied that he had fulfilled the law very well.

Acts 23:2 "And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth."

Here we have the third person in the book of Acts named Ananias. This is the very religious high priest, looking and hearing Paul speak, command those standing by Paul to slap him on the mouth. This Ananias is suppose to be the high priest of God, which was a lie. Ananias was not appointed by God, but he was appointed by a Roman governor to serve Rome from the position of the high priest. This Ananias cared nothing for the law, nor did he respect the law of Moses.

This Ananias was the son of Nedebaeus, and he was murdered by a band of the Sicarii some years after this session with Paul. Ananias was caught in an aqueduct where he was hiding out to conceal himself and there he was killed. [Josephus, Ant. XX. v. 2; vi. 2; ix. 2; Wars, II. xvii. 9.]

Remember that the name "Ananias" means "Whom God has graciously given". Lets take a close look again at all three of these men named Ananias. The first was Ananias that lied to the Holy Spirit; from Acts 5:3 "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?" He was a liar even to the Father. He tried to fool God, thinking that God could not read His mind but just with the thought of deception. God killed both Ananias and his wife for their deceiving of the Holy Ghost.

The second Ananias was a servant of the living God. When Paul was laying blind in Damascus, this Ananias was given a vision and went to him to heal his sight, and teach him of Jesus Christ. This Ananias was the one that baptized Paul and started him on his journey back to Jerusalem.

And now we have this third Ananias, who claimed a high religious position, but obviously he is not of God. The lesson to each of us in this matter, is that you cannot trust a man by what he calls himself. Trust him only by the fruit that he brings forth. The fruit of the first Ananias was that he was a liar, and you couldn't trust him. This third Ananias is a so-called super preacher, and he was as fake as a three dollar bill. His fruit was that of a murderer, and just opposite to what he is suppose to be.

The high priest is suppose to be an expert in the law, and we see from Deuteronomy 25:1,2 that their should be no beating of any man until after he has been tried and found guilty under the law. In Paul's case, before Paul had ever been tried or spoke in his defense, this Ananias shows us the jerk that he is, when he orders Paul smitten right from the beginning. Ananias was suppose to be the chief religious person.

The fruit of the second Ananias was his service that he gave to God, trusting God when all good sense appeared to be against it. The second Ananias followed God's instruction, even when it looked like his life would be in danger. Acts 9:13 "Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to Thy saints at Jerusalem:"

Acts 23:3 "Then said Paul unto him, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?"

Paul let this Ananias have it, he told him you sit there to judge me by the law when you don't even know the law. You order me smitten, which is contrary to the law. Paul called Ananias "a whited wall" and this is the same Hebrew idiom insult in which Jesus used against the Kenites in Matthew 23:27. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."

These Kenite Jews are nothing but whitewash, and under the first rain their color will show them into what they really are. Do you think Paul said this in a gentle manner to this fake priest? I think not, he said it to where every person of that Sanhedrin understood exactly what Paul meant. Friend, righteousness is filled with righteous indignation when someone insults your common sense and tries to make you as a Christian a second class citizen. You are to stand your ground and protect your rights, for the Kenite religious minds and types will take them religious rights from you if you let them.

The only time you turn the other cheek is when you are teaching or telling others of Christ, and they become offended and slap you, then you turn the other cheek for the sake of Christ. In most cases it is your fault anyway for the striking, by the manner that you presented Christ to them. But if someone come up and slaps you for no reason at all, then it become time to love your enemy by correcting him in his manner.

We are to love our children also, but when our children misbehave there is a time of correction. If you love your child you are going to correct the child, and this applies also to the enemy. If you love the enemy you are also going to correct him. On a national level nations go to war to correct their enemies, and that is God's way of being rightous. Use a little common sense in standing up for your rights.

Acts 23:4 "And they that stood by said, "Revilest thou God's high priest?"

Those clowns that were going to hit Paul turned to him and said to him; "Are you going to talk to the high priest that way"

Acts 23:5 "Then said Paul, "I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, `Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.' "

Paul answered them, "I can't tell that he is a high priest, in the fact that he doesn't know the law." Paul is telling them that he may be your priest and I follow the law, and I would never speak evil of any ruler of the people. To me he is no ruler. Paul called Ananias a whitewash and this is the most insulting thing one could call a religious person. You are telling them that they are living a lie, and what is in their heart is of the devil, even though the pretend to be of God. We know that is exactly what a Kenite is.

Acts 23:6 "But when Paul preceived that the one part of Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question."

Paul is standing before the Sanhedrin, and they are all screaming for his blood. Paul knows that he is in trouble, but he also knows that the Roman's are looking down on the Sanhedrin from their crows nest in the northeast corner. Paul has just called their high priest, this Kenite leader a nobody.

Paul looked around the Sanhedren, and he saw men of both the Sadducees and Pharisees. These two groups were divided when it came to the belief of the resurrection of the soul following death. Paul was about to split the group and turn each of them against each other. Thus he made this statement, and the split was made. Paul used common sense, and the knowledge that was know to him.

The Pharisees believed in angels, and that their was life after death, while the Sadducees believed that once you died, that was the end of the existance of the soul. The Saduccees believed that you lived life only once, that the life entered at birth and ended when the heart stopped and you lived your life to the fullest while you had it. So Paul is going to use Christianity itself to cause the split.

Acts 23:7 "And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided."

The Pharisees accepted the fact that there were angels and that one struck him down on the road from Damamcus, and that there is a resurrection of the dead. On the other hand the Sadducees never believed one word that Paul spoke. Paul has turned the focus of the dissension away from himself and on to each other.

There is a time when God's elect will be delivered up and you are not to premeditate at that time what you shall say before the Antichrist or his system, but you are to allow the Holy Spirit will speak through you. This is spoken of in Mark 13:11. The time that this will happen will be when the Antichrist is sitting in the synagogue of Satan [his temple] in Jerusalem. This is a type of what is happening here with Paul, only the delivering up is to Rome, and not to Jerusalem.

Acts 23:8 "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both."

It is important to note here is that when you ever under pressure by a group, it is helpful to note the religious beliefs of those in the group. Then use common sense in exerting pressures to divide those that are coming against you.

Acts 23:9 "And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees part arose and strove, saying, "We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God."

When ever you have two religious factions stirred up, things get loud and angry. These scribes were of the Pharisees group spoke in a tone of voice to present themselves as the authority. They stood up immediately and defended Paul's statement. They believed in the statement Paul made concerning angels and spirits, and the life after death, and they found no fault in Paul. This is the typical Pharisee position, and they will not argue against their own beliefs. If Paul claimed this, then it was not their right to judge.

Acts 23:10 "And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul shoud have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle."

This Roman soldier that sent Paul to the Sanhedrin saw that it was getting violent down there in the meeting room. He feared for Paul's life, now that he knew that Paul was a Roman citizen.

Acts 23:11 "And the night following the Lord stood by him and said, "Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome."

Rome was the government of the world system that existed at that time, and that is why it will be used as a type of the one worldism that will exist in the end times. The thought that is given here is the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is a promise that Jesus gave to Paul, that he will live to bear witness also at Rome. That is the purpose of Paul's deliverance, to bear witness, and that is why God's elect will also be delivered up in our generation, to bear witness before the synagogues of Satan. Jesus assured Paul that he would not die in Jerusalem, but that he would go to Rome and witness there.

Acts 23:12 "And when it was day, certain of the jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul."

This binding was under a curse, and not a blessing. We saw from the previous verse that the Lord has just Paul that he was going to Rome, and now these forty men have placed a curse on their heads, defiling the promise of God. These men have just pronounced their own death sentence on their heads through starvation, if they keep their vow.

Acts 23:13 "And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy."

Forty in biblical numerics stands for probation, and what the Lord is trying to get our attention to, is that when we walk amongst the enemy in this earth age, we are on probation. Even though you walk amongst these people, God promised he will take care of you. You will have the victory.

Acts 23:14 "And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, "We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul."

Every one of the forty is either a liar, or they will be dead, and their "binding" vow is with a curse on their own head. What a group of losers these religious types are, the pledge is the plotting of murderer, and the chief priest and elders go right along with them. Many of these priests and elders took part in the murder plot to kill Christ some twenty years prior, and their methods haven't changed

Acts 23:15 "Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him."

The murder plot is for the chief priest to call for Paul's presence before the council in the morning, and there will be forty of these Kenites ready to prounce on Paul and kill him. As this plotting was taking place, Paul's nephew was standing by and overheard what the plot was. God arranges for people to be a certain places at certain times, and the things of God are not things of chance, but they are appointed times.

Acts 23:16 "And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.

This is one of the few places in the Bible that we see other members of Paul's family. In as much as Paul was schooled in Jerusalem, there were relatives there. Notice that what man intends for harm, God uses for good. God will use the curse that these men have placed upon themselves, as the thing that will start Paul on his journey to Rome. God's plan always uses the stupidity of man, and his curses man places on himself to promote God's perfect plan. Paul will go to Rome.

Acts 23:17 "Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, "Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him."

Acts 23:18 "So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, "Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee."

Remember back when these men had Paul in bounds and chains and on the rack ready to beat him? These men are in trouble already, and they don't want the charges to get any deeper against them. Paul was a citizen of Rome, and they must see to it that he gets a fair trial before anything else is done to him. Though there are charges against Paul by the Jews, there are none under Roman law, there is a potential charge that Paul could bring over the chief captain's head. From this point on, the Army is going to see that Paul is real happy.

Acts 23:19 "Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, "What is that thou hast to tell me?"

The chief captain took the lad by the hand and went over to the corner, and the captain asked the boy what he had to say?

Acts 23:20 "And he said, "The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as thought they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly."

"More perfectly" means that they had found some new evidance to question Paul on.

Acts 23:21 "But do not thou yeild unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee."

The boy has revealed the entire plan to kill Paul, and told the Captain that the plan is set and ready to go. The priest is ready to give the call, and the forty men are set on the path to the court room, and upon the arrival of Paul, he will be killed.

Acts 23:22 "So the chief captain them let the young man depart, and charged him, "See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me."

When you see each detail of Paul's life, you can see the hand of God in every move to protect him. This can also apply in your life, to show you the hand of God directing you through the trial in your life.

Acts 23:23 "And he called unto him two centurions, saying, "Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;"

Paul will have quite an escort here for this trip to the coast to Caesarea. There is no way that forty men would come against Paul with this number of men around him. God did the arrangment of this. Paul is leaving Jerusalem with four hundred and seventy soldiers to protect him. Paul is going first class and it didn't cost the religious community one thing.

Acts 23:24 "And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him save unto Feliz the governor."

Paul is going to have a horse to ride on, and be brought before the governor himself. This is going first class at the expense of the taxpayer.

Acts 23:25 "And he wrote a letter after this manner:"

This letter will be presented to Felix the Governor at the arrival of Paul

Acts 23:26 "Claudius Lysias unto the ost excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting."

Acts 23:27 "This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman."

This word "Jews" as is used here is "ioudaus" in the Greek, and is in reference to people living in the land of Judaea, and not to the tribe of Judah. It is the Kenites that are stirring the trouble, and not Judah.

Acts 23:28 "And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:"

What is interesting here is that Claudius Lysias never did understand why those Kenite Jews hated Paul so much that they wanted to kill him. That is why Claudius sent Paul before the Sanhedrin, to find out what the problem was so that charges could be brought. Every time Paul opened his mouth, and spoke in Hebrew those people went mad. Claudius just didn't understand religions of the people that were around him.

In the world today, if you went to the middle east and saw the rioting and terrorism going on by both sides you could be in serious trouble. There is religious war and persecution going on very deeply and you have to understand the beliefs to understand the causes. Without that understanding there simply is no nutural ground for peace in the middle east. This is why the stage is being set for the coming of Satan, the Antichrist and his fallen angels to bring the supernatural powers into being to give a world peace. This time will be very shortly.

Revelation 12:7 "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels," This war is taking place now, getting ready for the final five months of this earth age.

Revelation 12:8 "And prevailed not, neither was there place found any more in heaven."

Once Satan, the Antichrist is kicked out, he will never return as you accuser before the throne of God, for he will be upon the earth deceiving all the people of the earth, except those with the seal [Word of God] in their minds.

Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

Did you notice the many names of the devil? Satan the devil played the role of the old serpent from the garden of Eden to deceive Eve, the devil is his the role of death, and Satan as the deceiver deceiving the whole world.

Acts 23:29 "Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds."

Claudius has figured out Paul's problem with them has something to do with their religion, and traditions, but there was no charge that I could bring before him under the Roman law that deserved Paul's death. The Romans controlled the world, and thus that allowed religious freedom to all religions.

Acts 23:30 "And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell."

What this means is that what ever charges that are brought against Paul will not be given in Jerusalem, but in Caesarea, in Felix's court room. Anyone that makes charges will have to make the same ride that Paul made in the night.

Acts 23:31 "Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris."

"Antipatris" was Herod's father, and this little town on the coast was named after him.

Acts 23:32 "On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:"

Acts 23:33 "Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him."

Paul arrived in Caesarea at the government capital, and the letter of Claudius Lysias arrived with him to allow Paul to address the Governor. Remember way back in Acts 9:15 "But the Lord said unto him [the second Ananias], "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 is starting his journey to speak before many kings, as well as the children of the house of Israel.

Acts 23:34 "And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;"

Cilicia is a Roman province, and that made Paul a Roman citizen by birth.

Acts 23:35 ""I will hear thee," said he, "when thine accusers are also come." And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall."

So we see that the third Ananias will have to come to Caesarea to make any charges before a nuteral court of Felix the Governor. This is Paul first leg on his journey back to Rome, where God will have Paul witness before Ceasar himself.

Why is this important? Paul will accomplish what God wishes done. It is important to see this as we come to the close of this earth age of the flesh. Our Heavenly Father is in control and you can allow your faith to become strong because we will have the victory over the enemy. God knows our troubles, and when it is needed His help is on the way. God is manouvering these people to bring Paul before the kings and rulers, and Paul will give the Gospel of Christ where he goes. To this time there still is no charge that has been brought against Paul.

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