Has the American Church fallen asleep? We have to spread the gospel to Jews and the Gentiles, but some of us are fearful of spreading the FULL gospel, settling for avoiding important parts of the gospel that all people, including the children of Judah, need to hear. There is a reason that the New Testament explains in detail the persecution of the early church, because it is this persecution that led to the spreading of the faith. By the blood of the saints, the Church grew like flowers, using that blood as fertilizer. Because the persecution of the early church is a vital key to understanding all of the gospel and bible prophecy, let’s all examine them in the spirit of love, love for all of mankind, Jew and Gentile alike.
Our Savior Jesus Christ told us repeatedly that He had to be rejected by the chief leaders (builders) of the children of Judah:
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner” – Matthew 21:42 (KJV)
Notice in Luke 17:25 that Jesus equates these “builders” with ”this generation”:
“But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.”
So we see that the builders (mainly Pharisees, but also Scribes, Sadducees) are the same as “this generation,” meaning they lead a certain era of religious practices and beliefs of Judah that extended from that time until the present – hence, the reference to “this generation.” Of course, by identifying this generation or era as being mostly under the Pharisee-led system (“yeast of the Pharisees”), Jesus is not establishing any hatred of Jews at all, for He Himself is the branch of David, King of the Jews (and all Israel). Instead, Jesus was establishing a long-prophesied, humble kingdom of love that rejects materialism, which is the love of money. But unfortunately, some of the Judaic leaders of Jerusalem embraced the love of money, and the Pharisee system added new law elements that embraced this love of money. For instance, in Matthew 23:16-17, the Pharisees added gold worship to the temple oath, which Jesus condemned sharply. In fact, the entire chapter is focused on Jesus condemning the Jewish leaders for many elements of their system and corrupt behavior, calling them a “generation of vipers” (verse 33) and again He refers to them as “this generation” (verse 36).
But why are many Christian church leaders in America afraid to follow the voice of their Master Shepherd? Are they scared of losing their church mortgages, their salaries, their respected positions in their communities? Remember that Jesus did not come to bring peace but a sword!
Again, it is important to note that Jesus introduced a gospel of love and not hate. This means that we are to love our enemies, whether they be hypocrites who sit in church every Sunday yet don’t practice the Word, or non Christian Jews and Gentiles who we may disagree with but can peacefully co-exist with as neighbors in peace.
Back to the gospel of Jesus and the anti-Christian response.
Temptation of Jesus
Where did the love of money in the Pharisees come from? To understand the answer, we have to look again at the temptation of Jesus, which is not well understood by some Christian leaders. When Satan tempted Jesus for 40 days – which paralleled the 40 years the Moses led the blind, stiff-necked Israelites in the desert after leaving Egypt – Jesus was not at all on the brink of giving in to Satan as some have taught in churches. He was giving us a glimpse of the temptation presented to the leaders of Judah. In Matthew 4, we see that Satan twice tempts Jesus to embrace magic and sorcery by first asking that Jesus turn a stone into bread, and then asking Jesus to jump from the highest point of the temple. Jesus of course rejected both, but magic and sorcery were embraced by most spiritual leaders of Judah as the rest of the New Testament would explain, especially Revelation 17 and 18. Even today, the world is under the spell of the “yeast of the Pharisees” which is why much of the world is blind to the truth about world affairs in our time.
Finally, and most importantly, Satan shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, offering them to Jesus if only He, the Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would bow down and worship him (since Satan wants to be like God anyway). And of course, Jesus, who was there at the beginning of the world and created it with His Father (“let us make man in OUR image”), rejected and dismissed Satan.
But the leadership structure of Judah accepted it! How do we know that? Jesus gave us a parable in Matthew 21:33-46:
33Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
45And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
46But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
As you can see, even the Jewish leaders knew He identified them the thieves who want to steal His inheritance, which consists of all the kingdoms of the earth.
The Harlot in Roman Empire at that time (Beast in Rome, Harlot in Jerusalem)
As you notice from Matthew 21:45-6, the Jewish leaders wanted to arrest and kill Jesus, but were afraid of the average Jewish public who actually admired Jesus. Notice they wanted to kill Jesus. Does this not sound familiar? Let’s look at Revelation 17:
6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus
Since this “woman” – Mystery Babylon the Great – is drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus, then it is logical to assume that she would get her first blood drink from the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus Christ. He even indicates this when He reminds us in John 15:
18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you
20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you
So Jesus was the First Martyr, which means the Harlot of Babylon got her first drink from the blood of Jesus. And the humans who wanted Jesus blood were the jealous Jewish leaders, which makes them the leading human agents of Mystery Babylon the Great. And they are the Harlot, then who is the Beast upon which the Harlot rides? That would beast would be the Roman Empire. The seat of the Harlot was in Jerusalem, and the seat of the Beast was in Rome. So why was she not called Mystery Jerusalem the Great? Or even Rome the Great? Because she was born in Babylon, in the beginning of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 2 provides an outline of the Harlot riding the Beasts of Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and East-West Nations (Iron-Clay Feet kingdoms) today. Even under Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon at that time issued an order for the best looking, smartest young Jews to be his top advisers, which means they mixed their counsel with magic and sorcery like the Chaldean advisors (Daniel 1). Only Daniel and his friends did not adopt magic and sorcery into their advisories. So from the kingdom of Babylon until the rise of the kingdom of Rome, the Mystery Harlot was perfecting her witchcraft, reaching its pinnacle under Rome. Thus, Jesus had to come at that right moment, when she was on the brink, to give her one last chance to repent.
And by the way, this mysterious harlot became a harlot when her “Husband” divorced her, as Ezekiel explains in chapter 23: Aholibah, who was more corrupt in her whoredoms than her sister Aholah (the 10 tribes of Israel). The Lord grew tired of her whoredoms which started when she was in Egypt and even manifest among the Assyrians. Thus, Jesus is coming again to marry His VIRGIN Bride, the Church of Israel, with members of the 12 tribes of Israel present (144,000). His return is also similar to when Joseph returned to his 12 brothers who betrayed him out of jealousy like the Parable of the Tenants, the patriarchs of Israel.
So to quickly recap, we see the Harlot of Babylon is in Jerusalem and looking for a reason to kill Jesus by pressuring her beast (Rome) to do the killing. Let’s list the verses that deal with the attempt to arrest and kill Jesus.
Matthew 2. King Herod orders the massacre of Jewish boys under 2 years of age in an attempt to kill Jesus
Matthew 9:3. The Scribes falsely accuse Jesus of blasphemy
Matthew 9:11-13. The Pharisees don’t like Jesus associating with outcasts
Matthew 10:16-33. Jesus warns the 12 apostles about being whipped “in their synagogues” and other persecutions.
Matthew 10:34-9. Jesus says He did not come to bring peace; be prepared to lose your lives “for my sake.”
Matthew 11:16-9. Jesus criticizes “this generation” for inconsistency in their false allegations.
Matthew 12:24 Pharisees accuse Jesus of demon worship by alleging He asks demons to cast out other demons.
Matthew 12:38 The Scribes and Pharisees demand Jesus show them a sign as proof He’s the Messiah.
Matthew 12:43-5. Jesus associates pattern of increased demonic possession with “this evil generation.”
Matthew 13:24 Jesus teaches the Parable of the Weeds, which is a thinly veiled warning to the Jewish leaders that the time will come when the Lord will separate the weeds (followers of the harlot, Babylon the Great) from the wheat (the Universal Church) and burn the weeds up.
Matthew 15:3 Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for violating the spirit of the commandments of God with their godless traditions.
Matthew 16:1-12. The Pharisees and Sadducees again tempted Jesus to show them a sign. Jesus calls them “hypocrites” and “a wicked and adulterous generation.” He then warns “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” which is their religious-legal doctrine which is now centered on the Talmud and related texts. Leaven (yeast) symbolizes arrogance and pride that grows to the point that the Jewish leaders think they are God and that all Gentiles must bow and be enslaved to them the way that Nebuchadnezzar was made to bow low and crawl like an animal.
Matthew 16:21. “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
Matthew 17: 22-3. “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.”
Matthew 19:3-9. The Pharisees try to trick Jesus regarding divorce and the nature of marriage between a man and a woman.
Matthew 20: 18-9. “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” [Note: The Harlot (Jerusalem) turns Jesus over to the Beast (Gentiles)]
Matthew 21:23-46. Jewish leaders in the temple that Jesus entered interrupt His teaching, demanding to know by what authority He was teaching. Jesus outwits them, and they are dumbfounded as to a reply. Jesus then exposes their ultimate plot to kill Him and take His inheritance, at which they (chief priests and Pharisees) try to arrest and kill Him, but the crowd He was teaching to made them nervous because they adored Jesus like an ancient prophet, so they didn’t do it.
Matthew 22:15-46. The Pharisees and Sadducees try to use all of their powers of deception to trick Jesus into saying the wrong words. The Pharisees first try to trip Him up regarding paying taxes to Rome, then the Sadducees try to trick Him regarding marriage and the resurrection, then finally the Pharisees come back again to trip Him up regarding the Law. The three waves of deception failed miserably in front of everyone, so the Jewish leaders gave up.
Matthew 23: 12-39. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
“Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
“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. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
“Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Matthew 24:1-2. Jesus prophecies that not one stone of the Temple in Jerusalem will be left intact; they will be thrown down, which is why the Wailing Wall is grossly misunderstood as there was nothing left of the temple.
Matthew 26:2-5. “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.” The rest of Matt. 26 deals with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot and the plot of the jealous Jewish leaders to kill Him.
Matthew 26:59-68. “Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
“But Jesus held his peace.
“And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
“Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
“Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye?
“They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”
1When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
2And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
3Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
7And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.
8Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
9Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;
10And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.
11And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
12And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
15Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
20But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
21The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
22Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
23And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
29And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
30And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
31And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
33And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
35And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
36And sitting down they watched him there;
37And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
39And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
40And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
41Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
42He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
43He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
44The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
48And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
49The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
50Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
54Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
55And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
56Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.
57When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathæa, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
58He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
61And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
62Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Matthew 28. Jesus rises from the dead. “11Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”
Acts 2:13. Some of the devout Jews in Jerusalem mocked the apostles as they spoke in tongues, calling them drunk.
Acts 2:22. Peter reminds the Jews in Jerusalem that they witnessed Jesus work miracles and wonders “approved by God.”
Acts 2:32-3. Peter testifies to the Jews in Jerusalem that Jesus is risen from the dead.
Acts 3:11-20. Peter reminds the Jewish leaders that they pressured Pilate to crucify even when Pilate wanted to let Him go:
“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
Acts 4. Despite Peter’s eloquent teaching about Jesus, the Jewish leaders (namely the priests, temple captain and Sadducees) arrested and jailed the apostles for preaching “through Jesus the resurrection from the dead,” holding them overnight. In the morning, more Jewish leaders got involved (namely the rulers, scribes, Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest leadership structure). They interrogate the apostles about the authority by which they preached:
“8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.”
Acts 5. After more and more Jews were converting to the Christian faith in great numbers each day, the high priest and some Sadducees became angry and put the apostles in prison. But the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, instructing the apostles to go preach in the temple. The next morning, the high priest summoned the prison guards to bring the apostles to answer to the council, but the guards had to explain that the apostles were gone, despite being under tight surveillance. The Jewish leaders were concerned how this might play out with the Jewish public. When word came back to this council that the apostles were preaching in the temple, the Jewish leaders had them peacefully arrested so as not to arouse the Jewish crowd that admired the apostles – the Jewish leaders feared the Jewish public might stone them to death if they harmed the apostles. So behind privately away from the public, the Jewish leaders criticized the apostles harshly.
“29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
“33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
“34 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; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
“40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”
Acts 6. Stephen does great wonders and miracles as he preached to the Jews and Gentiles in Jerusalem. Many joined the faith, which angered the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem. “9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceased not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.”
Acts 7. The high priest in Jerusalem interrogated Stephen regarding the false witnesses in Acts 6, asking if the allegations against him were true. Stephen gives a detailed, eloquent response, describing the spiritual lineage of Jesus going all the way back to Abraham. Then the Holy Spirit prompted Stephen to make a bold accusation against the Jewish leaders that would anger them enough to violently murder Stephen themselves:
“51 Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, [demons greatly hate the name of Jesus Christ, so when they cry out (Acts 8:7), their human hosts cry out] And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Acts 8:1. Saul, who would later become Paul, agreed with the murdering of Stephen. Notice that no one was arrested or put in prison by the Romans for Stephen’s murder. Saul would go on to mastermind a great persecution against the Early Church.
Acts 9. Saul gets written authority to persecute the church in Damascus, targeting those preaching “The Way” of Jesus Christ to the synagogues there. On his way to Damascus with his entourage, Saul is blinded by the light of Jesus. As Jesus spoke to Saul, none of Saul’s fellows saw who was speaking to Saul, but only heard the voice. Note that Saul’s encounter with the blinding light of Jesus parallels the blinding light spoken of in Revelation that those in Jerusalem will see when He returns, and they will acknowledge Him then, just like Saul the murderer did.
Acts 9:13-6. Ananias reminds the Lord of the great persecution Saul spearheaded against the saints in Jerusalem:
“Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Acts 9:20-30. Saul’s reputation for persecuting the saints in Jerusalem was well known when he first began preaching in favor of Jesus Christ:
“And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
“But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
“And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.”
Acts 10. Peter testifies that the prophets of the Old Testament were referring to Jesus Christ as the One who will free us from our sins.
Acts 11. The Jewish Christians in Judea who were circumcised got mad at Peter for accepting Gentiles as Christians. But Peter convinced them otherwise and all was well.
Acts 12. King Herod murders a Christian saint, James the brother of John. “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.” But the Lord sent His angel to free Peter. And when Herod learned that Peter was not in his prison, he ordered the guards executed. But not long after, the Lord executed him for blasphemy.
Acts 13:6-12. Jewish sorcerer and false prophet Bar-jesus aka Elymas resisted Paul’s attempt to preach to national deputy Sergius Paulus. Paul confronts him and he is blinded at the command of Paul’s condemnation.
Acts 13. Paul addresses the Jewish leaders regarding the mission of Jesus Christ:
“26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. 28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. 30 But God raised him from the dead.” Paul calls them “despisers” (verse 41). As Paul was preaching, the numbers of listeners grew tremendously and the Jews became jealous:
“44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.”
Acts 14. Jewish and later the Gentile unbelievers do a full blown attack of the apostles because a large number of Jews and Gentiles became believers:
“1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. 2But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. 3Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 6They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 7And there they preached the gospel…”
“19And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 20Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”
Acts 15. Church leaders had a disagreement about circumcision, so the leaders in Jerusalem assembled with Paul and Barnabas to discuss this. Those who had come up in the Pharisee sect were emphatic that Gentiles should also be circumcised. Peter was the tie-breaker because he had the vision of the Gentiles and reminded them of that.
Acts 16. Paul and Silas are followed for many days buy a demon possessed woman with a spirit of divination and soothsaying and her Roman masters. She is a pest, crying out every day repeatedly, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation!” Eventually, Paul would become very frustrated by her crying out, and turned towards her and cast the demon out of her for good. Her masters made a sizable income from her demon, so when they saw her demonic talent was gone, they became angry and persecuted Paul and Silas:
“19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
“25And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.”
“37But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.”
Acts 17. Paul and Silas preach in the Jewish synagogue at Thessalonica, and the gathering included Gentiles as well. A great number of Gentiles and leading women of the city became believers, and this made the unbelieving Jewish leaders jealous:
“5But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; 7Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Cæsar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. 8And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
“ 9And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.
“10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
“13But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. 14And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.”
Acts 18. Claudius kicks all Jews out of Rome. Paul preaches at the synagogue at Corinth, to Jews and Gentiles who became believers. Some Jews opposed him and blasphemed. So Paul tore his clothing and decided to preach to the Gentiles only. But Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and his family became believers in Corinth. The Lord convinces Paul to stay and preach in Corinth for a year and a half longer. At some point, some Jews plotted against Paul and dragged him before Gallio, Deputy of Achaia. Gallio dismisses their lawsuit as frivolous. “17Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.”
Acts 19. Some reject Paul’s message in a synagogue, saying evil things. Also many Ephesians who worshipped the cult of the goddess Diana were stirred up against Paul for preaching against her worship. “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” they cried out in a riotous protest. Mny did not know he was a Jew, so when they found out, many protested even louder for about 2 hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”
“35 And when the town clerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? 36Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. 37For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. 38Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. 39But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. 40For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. 41And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.”
Acts 20. Some Jews waited to ambush Paul on his way to Syria. Paul seems to foretell his death as he plans a trip to Jerusalem.
Acts 21. Some believers beg Paul in the spirit not to go to Jerusalem. “10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judæa a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus said the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owned this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 12And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 14And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.”
“27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, 28Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. 29(For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) 30And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.
“ 31And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.
“33Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. 34And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. 35And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.36For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.”
Acts 22. As Paul speaks to the angry Jewish crowd that wants to kill him, he speaks in Hebrew, testifying about his own story, how even the Jewish high priest knew that he, as Saul, greatly persecuted the church everywhere:
“3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, 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. 4And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5As 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. 6And 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…”
“17And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; 18And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
“21And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
“ 22And 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. 23And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, 24The 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. 25And 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?
“26When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. 27Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. 28And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. 29Then 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. 30On 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.
Acts 23. Paul is interrogated by the Jewish council. The high priest Ananias orders Paul slapped on the mouth. A plot is then hatched to kill Paul:
“6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were 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. 7And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. 8For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. 9And 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. 10And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should 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.
“ 11And 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.
“12And 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. 13And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. 14And 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.
“15Now 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.
“16And when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
“17Then 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. 18So 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.
“19Then 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?
“20And 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. 21But 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. 22So 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.
“23And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Cæsarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; 24And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor. 25And he wrote a letter after this manner:
“26Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.
“27This 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. 28And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:
“29Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds. 30And 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. 31Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:
“33Who, when they came to Cæsarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him. 34And 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.”
Acts 24. Ananias the high priest and the other elders accuse Paul of many false things to the Governor. Paul defends himself. Felix keeps Paul in prison for 2 years, periodically expecting a bribe when he summoned Paul to him. But eventually, since Paul did not bribe him, and since the Jews were very favorable to him to keeping Paul in prison, Felix left him in prison.
Acts 25. At some point, the Jews want Paul released by Porcius Festus to travel to Jerusalem. They plotted to kill him along the way:
“1 Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Cæsarea to Jerusalem. 2Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, 3And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. 4But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Cæsarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither. 5Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him. 6And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Cæsarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
“ 7And 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.8While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Cæsar, have I offended any thing at all. 9But 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?
“10Then said Paul, I stand at Cæsar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. 11For 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 Cæsar.
“12Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Cæsar? unto Cæsar shalt thou go.
“13And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Cæsarea to salute Festus. 14And 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:
“15About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. 16To 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. 17Therefore, 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. 18Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
“1 9But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.20And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. 21But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Cæsar. 22Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him. 23And 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.
“24And 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. 25But 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.
“26Of 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. 27For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.”
Acts 26. Paul again defends himself, recounting his life’s story, including persecutions from the Jews in the temple.
Acts 28.Paul speaks to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem about the gospel. Some agree, some disagree:
“25And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
“ 27For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.
“30And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”
Romans 1. God’s “ Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” This is the main stumbling block for the House of Judah.
Romans 2. “9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11For there is no respect of persons with God. 12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;”
“28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
Romans 3. “1What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
“…for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;”
“10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
“14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17And the way of peace have they not known:
18There is no fear of God before their eyes.
“19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
“29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:”
There are forces today who slowly are forcing the American church to live as if they were Jews, fighting to keep Christian practices out of government and schools and public areas:
Galatians 2:14 (KJV)
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Romans 9:24 (KJV)
Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Romans 10:12 (KJV)
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
1 Corinthians 1:23 (KJV)
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1 Corinthians 10:32 (KJV)
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
2 Corinthians 11:24. Paul tells the Corinthians how he receive 39 stripes (whips) from the Jews. He also describes to the Galations how he persecuted the Church (Galatians 1:13). He also reminded the Thessalonians how they suffered persecution of their own countrymen and of the Jews (1 Thessalonians 2:14).
Galatians 3:28 (KJV)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Revelation 2:9 (KJV)
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Revelation 3:9 (KJV)
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy [Philadelphia Church’s] feet, and to know that I have loved thee.