The study before last (Vol 4, No 47) documented the incident when the Chief Priests and Elders, along with 40 men who had taken an oath not to eat or drink until they killed Paul came to Caesarea from Jerusalem to accuse him before the Roman Governor Felix. They brought a spokesman named Tertullus to state the charges, Acts 23:12 - 3512 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.
13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
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.
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.
16 And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
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.
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.
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?
20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
21 But do not thou yield 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.
22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.
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;
24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.
25 And he wrote a letter after this manner:
26 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.
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.
28 And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:
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.
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.
31 Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.
32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:
33 Who, when they came to Caesarea and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.
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;
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.
and Acts 24:1 - 41 And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.
2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,
3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.
; that Paul: 1) was pestilent. The Greek word translated “pestilent” is only found two other places in the New Testament (NT) where it is translated “plague.” So, their claim was that Paul was a plague; 2) that he had caused sedition among all the Jews throughout the world; sedition means dissension, insurrection or uproar; 3) that he was the ringleader of the Nazarene sect. The only other place in the NT “Nazarene” appears is in Matthew 2:2323 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
where it states Jesus was a Nazarene, so here it refers to those who followed Jesus; 4) that Paul had profaned the Temple, profane meaning to desecrate, Acts 24:5 - 65 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.
. Paul did preach the Lord Jesus Christ, as revealed to him. However, the other 3 charges were unfounded. To understand why these men were bent on destroying Paul and his ministry I submit that Satan was behind their efforts. Jesus told the Pharisees they were of their father the Devil, John 8:4444 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
, and the Devil is the Prince and Power of the Air who works in the children of disobedience, Ephesians 2:22 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
. Thus, the religious leaders attempting to kill Paul were the children of disobedience; and they did so because Paul taught that the Lord Jesus Christ was God and the only way anyone can be saved is through His finished work on the cross.
Felix gave Paul an opportunity to defend himself and Paul said he had arrived in Jerusalem just 12 days prior bringing an offering of money to the Saints there, Acts 24:10 - 1710 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:
11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.
17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
. (That offering came from the believers in Asia and the Corinthian church, 1 Corinthians 16:1 - 41 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
.) Paul pointed out that the Jews from Asia who found him in the Temple and accused him of sedition among Jews throughout the world were not present to testify against him. And, the accusers who were present had stated no case of evil he had done except he had talked about the resurrection of the dead, Acts 24:18 - 2118 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.
19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.
20 Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council,
21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.
. After Felix heard Paul’s statement, he told the accusers he would wait for Chief Roman Captain Lysias to arrive in Caesarea and give testimony about the uprising in Jerusalem for which Paul was blamed. Paul was held for some days when Felix and his Jewish wife Drusilla called for Paul, Acts 24:2222 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
- 2422 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.
24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
a. (Drusilla was the daughter of Herod Agrippa I, and had left her first husband, Azizus, king of Emesa to marry Felix.) It was probably through her that Felix had gained his knowledge of "that Way," as mentioned in Acts 24:22.
Paul told Felix and Drusilla about “the faith in Christ,” Acts 24:2424 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
b, (note this is the 6th occurrence of the phrase “the faith” in Acts; see Vol 4, No 15). Paul went on to explain righteousness, self-control and the judgement to come, at which Felix trembled with fear and told Paul he would call for him later when convenient. Felix subsequently called for Paul a number of times but not necessarily to talk about the faith in Christ but about obtaining a bribe from Paul so he could release him. Paul didn’t go for it and Felix left him in custody for two years to placate the Jews who accused him and until Porcius Festus replaced Felix as Governor of Judea, Acts 24:25 - 2725 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
When Festus became Governor, he traveled to Jerusalem where the Chief Priest asked a favor; to have Paul brought to Jerusalem so assassins could kill him on the way, Acts 25:1 - 31 Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
3 And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
. Festus told them he was going to Caesarea and anyone in Jerusalem who wanted to accuse Paul could go there and do so. Ten days later, Festus traveled to Caesarea and called for Paul to be brought before him, Acts 25:4 - 64 But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
5 Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.
6 And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
. The Jews lodged many false complaints against Paul who answered that he had done nothing against the Law of Moses, the Temple, or Caesar. Festus, wanting to ingratiate himself with the Jewish leaders, asked Paul if he would go to Jerusalem to be judged on these matters, Acts 25:7 - 97 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
. Paul told Festus he knew he had done nothing wrong toward the Jews but if he had done anything worthy of death, he would take that punishment, but he would not be delivered to the Jews for judgment and he appealed to Caesar. Festus conferred with the council (not the Jewish leaders but with Rome’s chief officers there to advise him) and then told Paul he would be sent to Caesar on appeal, Acts 25:10 - 1210 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
Some days later, King Agrippa, and Bernice came to visit Governor Festus in Caesarea, Acts 25:1313 And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.
. (According to Commentaries, King Agrippa was the second son of King Herod who persecuted believers in Jerusalem, had the Apostle James killed and imprisoned the Apostle Peter, Acts 12:1 - 51 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
; the same one who allowed himself to be called a god in Caesarea, so was struck by an Angel of the Lord and died a horrible death, being eaten by worms, Acts 12:19 - 2319 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.
20 And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country.
21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
. Bernice was King Herod’s daughter, thus she was King Agrippa’s sister, so incest was suspected and highly likely.) Festus told Agrippa about Paul and the accusations against him concerning the Jew’s religion and Jesus, who Festus said was dead, but Paul claimed was alive. Festus told Agrippa and Bernice that Paul had appealed to Augustus so he had kept him until he could be sent there. Agrippa told Festus he wanted to hear what Paul had to say, Acts 25:14 - 2214 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
15 About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
17 Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
18 Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
19 But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
20 And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
The next day King Agrippa, Bernice and the Chief men of the City gathered, and Festus introduced Paul with the accusations the Jews in Jerusalem had lodged, demanding his death. Festus said he could not find Paul had done anything worthy of death, but Paul had appealed to Augustus Caesar, so he was sending him (to Rome). However, he didn’t know what to write to Caesar, because he found no crime for which Paul was accused. Therefore, he brought Paul before Agrippa at this time so he might provide something to write as the reason Paul was appealing to Caesar, Acts 25:23 - 2723 And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.
24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
. When Agrippa gave Paul permission to speak Paul recognized Agrippa as an expert in Jewish customs and questions and said he would answer all the accusations the Jews made against him. Paul said any Jew who had known him from his youth, if they would testify, would say he lived obediently in the strictest sect of their religion, that of a Pharisee. Acts 26:1 - 51 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
. Paul testified:
• he was being judged on the very hope of Israel, based on God’s promise and which the 12 Tribes of Israel had served ever since, Acts 26:6 - 76 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers:
7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
• asking, why would it be incredible (unbelievable) that God was able to raise the dead? Acts 26:88 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
• how he, like the Chief Priests, had believed it was right when he participated in persecuting, imprisoning and putting to death Jews in other cities who believed in Jesus Acts 26:9 - 129 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
• how he was commissioned by the Chief Priests to travel to Damascus to persecute Jews there but while in route, Jesus appeared to him in a very bright light and told him he was actually persecuting Him (Jesus). At that time, Jesus appointed him His minister/servant to testify to Jews and Gentiles about what he had seen and turn them from darkness to light; from the power of Satan to God and to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among all who are sanctified (set aside) by the faith that is in Jesus Christ, Acts 26:13 - 1813 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
• he had been obedient to that heavenly vision and had witnessed in Damascus, Jerusalem, throughout Judea and to the Gentiles that they should repent and turn to God with works for repentance. And it was because of this that the Jews caught him in the Temple and tried to kill him, Acts 26:19 - 2119 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
• that with the help of God he had continued witnessing to all about what Moses and the Prophets said would happen, which was that Christ would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead and thus bring light to Jews and Gentiles, Acts 26:22 - 2322 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
Festus interrupted Paul and loudly said too much learning had made him mad (crazy, Greek mania-G3110), Acts 26:2424 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
. Paul answered that he was not mad, but spoke the truth with soundness of mind and Festus had to know these things because they were not done in secret, Acts 26:25 - 2625 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
. (Remember Paul was testifying to King Agrippa when Governor Festus interrupted, and Paul answered him.) The 37th and 38th occurrences of the word “believe” in Acts are found as Paul continues talking to: “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, this man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.” Acts 26:27 - 3227 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
It’s difficult to say whether Agrippa was being sarcastic when he said Paul had almost persuaded him to be a Christian, or whether he truly meant it. In his testimony to King Agrippa and those with him, Paul covered the same way to salvation that he had written to the Corinthians, that is to believe that Christ died, that He was buried and rose again, all according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 41 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
. Unless Agrippa, Bernice or Festus later believed that Gospel, and there is nothing in Scripture to indicate they did, we won’t be seeing them when we are taken to heaven when the Lord Jesus Christ comes for us, but they won’t have an excuse that they didn’t hear the Gospel that saves.