Book of Acts Chapter 20 - Christogenea Internet Radio 11-15-2013

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Book of Acts Chapter 20 - Christogenea Internet Radio 11-15-2013

In Acts chapter 19 we saw that Paul of Tarsus had spent nearly three years in Ephesus, which was the capital city of the Roman province of Asia. Paul was the founder of the Christian assemblies in Asia, where we saw in both Acts chapters 18 and 19 that there were only adherents to the teachings of John the Baptist who preceded him at Ephesus. That also helps to establish that, like many other prophecies of Scripture, in some respects the prophecy concerning John also fulfilled itself as a process, over considerable time, and not only during the years of John's baptism ministry. As we have seen with both Apollos and with the men of Ephesus, the ministry of John was still paving the way for Christ, well over thirty years after his death.

Ephesus would later be the home of the apostle John, after he was released from captivity on the isle of Patmos, and according to many early Christian writers it was the place from where he penned both his Gospel and the Revelation. However John's time in Ephesus follows Paul's sojourn there by nearly 40 years. In the Revelation, in the message to the assembly at Ephesus, Paul's ministry was given approbation by Christ Himself, since only that Gospel professed by Paul could have been the “first love” of the Ephesians, and by John's time they had gone astray.

Paul had planned to travel to Rome as early as his stay in Ephesus, where it is recorded in Acts chapter 19: “21 And as he completed these things, Paul was set in the Spirit passing through Makedonia and Achaia to go to Jerusalem, saying that after my being there it is necessary for me also to see Rome. 22 And sending into Makedonia two of those ministering with him, Timotheos and Erastos, he stayed for a time in Asia.” Paul certainly did accomplish these things, but not in the manner which he expected, since he did gothrough Greece once more, and on to Jerusalem as a free man, but from there he was later sent to Rome in chains. At this point, there cannot be much more than a year left to Paul's ministry, if that, before his arrest in Jerusalem.We shall continue with Acts chapter 20, where he is about to leave Ephesus, never to see the city again.

XX 1 And after the cessation of the tumult Paul sending after [A, D and the MT have “summoning”; the text follows א, B, and E] and encouraging [D has “giving much advice to]the students, saluting them departed to go into Makedonia.

Spending nearly three years in Ephesus, as he himself tells us in verse 31 of this chapter, in the aftermath of the trouble with the silversmiths Paul departs for one last visit to Greece. This is certainly the early part of the year 56 AD, and we cannot ascertain whether Paul was able to stay in Ephesus until the Pentecost of that year, as he had planned when he wrote his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:8) where he said “Now I will remain in Ephesos until the Pentecost, indeed a great and productive opportunity has been opened to me, and many are in opposition.”

Paul spoke about that opposition earlier in his epistle to the Corinthians where he saidIf like a man I have fought with beasts in Ephesos, what good is it to me if the dead are not raised?” (1 Corinthians 15:32). However that opposition seems to precede what had happened with Demetrius and the silversmiths which is described at the very end of Acts chapter 19, since there is no indication that Paul was in a hurry to leave Ephesus when he wrote the epistle, a circumstance which is certainly inferred here at the beginning of Acts chapter 20.

This Pentecost which Paul planned on spending in Ephesus seemed imminent when he wrote his epistle to the Corinthians, and therefore, since he must have taken some time traveling in Makedonia (Acts 20:2) and then spent three months in Greece (Acts 20:3), and then some additional time in travel while returning to Anatolia through Makedonia (Acts 20:3) and further tarrying in the Troad (Acts 20:5), it seems that another year must have transpired in the course of all these things, and that the Pentecost of Acts 20:16 must be the following Pentecost, a year beyond the one he had planned to spend in Ephesus. This is even more evident, since departing the Troad and stopping at Miletus, after Paul finally sails for Syria he spends a significant amount of time in various other places in Palestine before going to Jerusalem for the 57 AD Pentecost. That time is described in the opening verses of Acts chapter 21. The Pentecost of Acts 20:16 is certainly that of 57 AD, as we shall see from circumstances illustrated in the later chapters of Acts.

2 And passing through those parts and encouraging them [D has "consulting them"]with many words [or literally “much speech”, λόγος being singular] he went into Greece.

It must have taken Paul at least a couple of months to sail from Ephesus to Makedonia, and then to travel once again through to Greece visiting each of the assemblies.

Writing what we now know as his second epistle to the Corinthians, in chapter 1 Paul talks of the affliction which he had suffered in Asia, which must refer to the events in Ephesus recorded in Acts chapter 19. He had also discussed his initial travel plans, where he had hoped first to go to Corinth and then to Makedonia, and then on to Judaea from Makedonia and through Corinth once again, at 2 Corinthians 1:15-16, plans which were later altered. At the end of that chapter Paul explains why he changed his plans: “23 Now I appeal to Yahweh as a witness upon my soul, that sparing you I had not yet come to Korinth.”

Paul then wrote in chapter 2 of the same epistle “12 Now coming to Troas [or the Troad] in regard to the good message of the Anointed, and an opportunity being opened to me by the Prince, 13 I had no rest in my Spirit, with my not finding Titos my brother; then taking leave of them, I had gone out into Makedonia.Therefore we see that Paul left Ephesus on foot, traveling to the Troad to cross the sea into Makedonia from there, rather than leaving Ephesus by sea.

The context of the balance of 2 Corinthians, which is readily evident especially from chapter 8 and onward, shows that Paul had recently been in Macedonia and was planning on coming to Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 8 Paul discusses the collection for the poor in Jerusalem, how diligent the Macedonians had been in their charity, and how he anticipates that the Corinthians would be the same. He looks forward to seeing them throughout the epistle. Therefore, it is absolutely certain that Paul must have written his epistle now known as 2 Corinthians as he was traveling from Makedonia through Greece, as Luke describes here, and before reaching Corinth.

As an aside, in the last chapter of 2 Corinthians Paul writes “1 This is the third time I am coming to you. 'In the mouth of two witnesses, even three, shall every matter be established.' 2 I have said beforehand and I forewarn, while being present the second time and being absent now, (to those who have failed before and to all the rest,) that if I come perhaps in that I will not again be sparing.” Whenever Paul was in Corinth a second time cannot be told from Scripture. Paul is recorded as having left Corinth after his long first sojourn there in Acts 18:18, and traveling through Syria and Anatolia as far as Ephesus where he stayed for three years. Luke opens Acts chapter 19 by stating that “1 And it came to pass, with Apollos being in Korinth, Paul had passed through the highlands to come down into Ephesos...” and Luke does not record Paul's ever leaving Ephesus until this time, in the opening verse of Acts chapter 20. It is only possible that Paul made a voyage to visit Corinth at that time, towards the beginning of his stay in Ephesus, for which Apollos is mentioned but where Luke did not record it. That would explain how Paul was so familiar with the ministry of Apollos in Corinth as he displayed when he wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians while he was in Ephesus.

It also seems that Paul wrote his first epistle to Timothy while he was here in Greece, after he had departed from Ephesus and traveled through Makedonia. Paul wrote at 1 Timothy 1:3 that “3 Just as I, traveling into Makedonia, had summoned you to remain in Ephesos that you should command some not to teach errors”. The epistle makes no indication of anything subsequent to Paul's sojourn in Greece here at this point, and there is no indication of anything that he suffered in Jerusalem which led to his arrest. Therefore this time spent here in Greece is the most likely candidate for the time of his having written that epistle.

3 And spending [literally “doing”] three months, there being a plot against him by the Judaeans, being about to set sail for Suria he became knowledgeable, for which to return through Makedonia.

The Codex Bezae (D) has the end of this verse to read “ the Judaeans, he desired to set sail for Syria. And the Spirit said to him to return through Makedonia.”

Whether departing for Syria from Corinth or from the Troad, in either event Paul may have stopped at Miletus from where he summoned the elders of the assemblies of Ephesus for the discourse which is recorded here at the end of Acts chapter 20. However Paul's stopping in the Troad evidently afforded him the opportunity to do something else before going on to Jerusalem: for this is almost certainly where the epistle to the Romans was written.

4 And there followed along with him Sopatros of Purros [the MT wants “Purros”, the text follows א, A, B, D, and E] Beroia, and the Thessalonikeans Aristarchos and Sekoundos, and Gaios of Derbe [D has “Doubria”] and Timotheos, and the Asians [D has “Ephesians”] Tuchikos and Trophimos.

The Codices Alexandrinus (A), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text begin this verse: “And there followed along with him as far as Asia...”; The Codex Bezae (D) begins it: “So upon his being about to go out as far as Asia...”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Vaticanus (B).

5 And these going ahead waited for us in the Troad, 6 but we sailed out from Philippos after the days of unleavened bread and we came to them in the Troad after five days, where we spent seven days.

Luke seems to have been separated from Paul for quite some time. It is evident that they parted ways where at Acts 16:40 and 17:1 it is recorded that Paul and Silas departed from Philippi after being released from jail, while leaving Luke behind. Here once again, for the first time since Acts chapter 16, Luke writes in the first person where it is evident that he meets Paul in the Troad, and that he came from Philippi in order to do so. This is at least seven years, and perhaps a little longer, after the time when Paul and Luke first arrived in Philippi, as it is described in Acts chapter 16.

Comparing the names of the men who were here with Paul to those men who were with him when the epistle to the Romans was written, who are listed from Romans 16:21, and seeing Timothy, Luke, Sosipatros [who is called only Sopatros here in Acts] and Gaios in the list along with several men from the province of Asia, it is certain that the epistle to the Romans was indeed written here, and especially after reading Paul's words in Romans chapter 15, where the narrative matches this circumstance precisely. In that chapter of Romans Paul expresses a desire to visit Rome, and he says “22 On which account I also had often been hindered in coming to you. 23 But now, no longer having a place in these regions, and having a longing to come to you for many years, 24 perhaps as I journey into Spain; therefore I expect to be passing across to see you, and by you to be escorted there, if however of you first I am somewhat satisfied. 25 But now I travel to Jerusalem, in service to the saints; 26 they of Makedonia and Achaia had been glad to make a certain contribution for the needy of the saints who are in Jerusalem. [this was the subject of 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9] 27 Indeed they were well pleased and their debtors they are; for if the Nations share with them in the things of the Spirit, then they are obliged to minister to them in the things of the flesh. 28 Now this being accomplished, and this profit having been assured to them, I will depart by you towards Spain.

All of this coordinates perfectly with the circumstances here in Acts, and with the circumstances at the writing of Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians. For he wrote that epistle some months before this one, as he was departing Makedonia for Achaia and was about to visit Corinth for the last time, and departing Achaia back through Makedonia he is now in the Troad writing the epistle to the Romans, en route to Jerusalem with the gifts from those assemblies which he would deliver to the saints there. That this is a purpose of his traveling to Jerusalem at this time is further verified in Acts 24:17, where after being arrested Paul had professed that his purpose for going to Jerusalem was, in part, where he explains that “after many years I came making acts of charity and offerings to my nation”.

Paul therefore wrote his epistle to the Romans here in the Troad, and there is great poetic irony in that, because the Romans themselves had migrated to Italy from the Troad, 1,200 years before.

The Codex Bezae D has Eutuchos rather than Tychicus in verse 4, evidently confusing the often-mentioned Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; II Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12) for the young man who will be mentioned here in verse 9.

TheTychicus (Tuchikos) who is mentioned here later delivered Paul's epistle to the Ephesians from Rome where it was written (Ephesians 6:21, 24). Aristarchus was arrested and sent to Rome with Paul (Acts 27:2, Colossians 4:10, Philemon 24). It is clear from the narrative of Acts that Luke was with Paul the entire time he was under arrest as far as Rome, and Timothy was also arrested with Paul, but was released before Paul was sent to Rome (Hebrews 13:23). Trophimus appears to have been with Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 21:29), but then it is said in 2 Timothy that he was left behind sick in Miletus, so there is some confusion there. (2 Timothy was written several years after Paul had last been in Miletus, and therefore the two accounts are difficult to reconcile.)In any event, we see many of these men were later in bondage with Paul, a fact which is often overlooked.

7 And on the first day of the week upon our gathering to break bread Paul conversed with them, being about to leave the next day, his speech extended until midnight. 8 And there were many dormers in the upper room where we were gathered.

The phrase “first day of the week” is literally “the first of the Sabbaths”, the way in which the weeks were expressed since in Greek there was no word for week as we know it.

Here something unusual was done, and the Codex Bezae (D) was followed. That codex has ὑπολάμπαδες, which is rendered as dormers, rather than λαμπάδες, which is in all of the other manuscripts and which is literally lamps. The word ὑπολαμπάς is an architectural term described in the 9th edition of the Liddell & Scott Greek-English Lexicon as “part of a στοά, possessing ἐπιστύλια, δοκοί, παραστάδες, a roof, and tiles”. Now a στοά is a sort of roofed colonnade, cloister, portico, or other chamber; an ἐπιστύλιον is an architrave, the lintel atop pillars or the molding around doors or windows; δοκοί are beams, and παραστάδες are “doorposts, pilasters” (Liddell & Scott). The setting being an upper room, or attic, the word certainly describes an opening to the outside, containing windows (θυρίς, 2376, verse 9), and therefore I have rendered it as dormer. This seems to fit the context much better than lamps, which are expected to be present in any ancient building where people are awake at night, and would hardly be worthy of mention.

9 And there was a certain young man named Eutuchos sitting by the window, being weighed down in deep sleep. Upon Paul’s conversing further, weighed down by sleep he fell down from the third story [from a word which literally means having three roofs]and was taken for dead. 10 But going down Paul fell upon him and embracing him said “Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.”

The name Eutuchos, perhaps not so coincidentally, means fortunate. The word rendered life is from ψυχή (5590), and may have been rendered as soul, as opposed to πνεῦμα (4151) which is usually spirit.

While in the Christogenea New Testament the verb αἴρω (142) is rendered rather metaphorically, it is literally to take up or raise up, while it has many other uses in various contexts. In any case, the miraculous nature of the young man's recovery after such a disastrous fall is not diminished.

11 Then going up and breaking bread and eating and talking at length until dawn, thusly he departed.

Literally “tasting”, γεύομαι (1089) is often metaphorically to eat, and so it is here. The entire phrase may have been rendered “eating and keeping company for considerable time until dawn”, the verb rendered as talking here being a form of ὁμιλέω (3656), which is “to be in company with, consort with hold converse with...” (Liddell & Scott).

[While it is entirely conjectural, one may imagine Luke, having not seen Paul in some time, busily catching up on his notes in preparation for the writing of this very Book of Acts, while Paul may well have spoken all night because he was dictating the epistle to the Romans, written by Tertios (Romans 16:22).]

12 And they brought [D has “And upon saluting them he brought] the youth alive and were comforted without measure. 13 Then we going ahead by ship set sail for Assos, there going to pick up Paul. For thusly making arrangements he himself was going to walk.

The Codices Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text have “going forth by ship”; the Codex Bezae (D) has “going down to the ship”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Ephraemi Syri (C). The phrase to pick up is literally to take up Paul, this time the verb is ἀναλαμβάνω (353). Assos was a port city on the southerly side of a peninsula which by land was just over twenty miles from Troas, on the northerly side of the same peninsula. The distance sailed by sea was at least as far as fifty miles. This was not a race, as it was likely that the ship had an exchange of freight and would be laid over for several hours, if not overnight. Of course we are not informed of Paul's reason for walking, but he had traversed the Troad earlier in his ministry, for instance in Acts chapter 16 while traveling from Galatia en route to Makedonia.

14 And as he met with us in Assos, picking him up we went to Mitulene. 15 And from there sailing off the next day we arrived opposite Chios, and on the next came by to Samos, then [D and the MT want “then”] on the following we came into Miletos.

The Codex Vaticanus has “and in the evening came by to Samos”; the Codex Bezae (D) and theMajority Text, which varies slightly, have “and on the next came by to Samos and abiding in Trugulion”; the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Laudianus (E). In all cases the phrase renderedon the next is inferred from the context, but literally it is only on another.

Traveling down the western coast of Anatolia, Mitylene was a city on the island of Lesbos, on the side which faced the coast of Anatolia. Chios was another island south of Lesbos, and Samos was an island south of Chios and parallel to the bay leading in to Ephesus. Miletus, a very ancient city, was only about thirty miles south of Ephesus as birds fly, but because of the geography of the land, it must have been at least twice as far by foot.

Strabo relates the founding of Miletus in ancient times by the Cretans under Sarpedon, who was said to be a brother of the famous king Minos, and that it was occupied by Carians. He is said to have come from Miletus in Crete, a city no longer extant in Strabo's own time. As we saw while presenting Acts chapter 16, the famous pagan temple at Delphi was said to have received its priesthood from men of Crete. Strabo said “Not only the Carians, who in earlier times were islanders, but also the Leleges, as they say, became mainlanders with the aid of the Cretans, who founded, among other places, Miletus, having taken Sarpedon from the Cretan Miletus as founder; and they settled the Termilae in the country which is now called Lycia; and they say that these settlers were brought to Crete by Sarpedon, a brother of Minos....” Elsewhere Strabo debates the identification of the Leleges with the Carians, but explains that they inhabited the same territory together, and also that Leleges inhabited a part of the Troad, from which they were driven after Troy’s fall (Geography, 7.7.2 , 12.8.5, 14.1.3). Carians including men from Miletus, as well as Lycians, are mentioned by Homer in his list of Troy’s defenders (Iliad, Book 2).

Miletus was one of those cities taken by the Ionians in the 9th and 8th centuries BC. Herodotus explained that the Ionians who settled in the conquered Miletus “brought no wives with them”, but “married Carian girls”. Perhaps the city’s most famous citizen, the “Greek” philosopher Thales who lived in the late 7th and early 6th centuries B.C., one of the so-called “seven sages” of ancient Greece, was by Herodotus said to be “a man of Miletus, of Phoenician descent” (Histories 1.146, 170). Throughout his Geography Strabo recounts the many colonies later founded by the Milesians, including colonies on the Danube River and along the shores of the Black Sea. In other sources the Milesians were said to also have settled in Spain, and also in Ireland sometime after the Tuatha de Danaan, or the tribe of Dan, the Danaans.

16 For Paul decided to sail past Ephesos in order that it would not happen for him to waste time in Asia. For he hastened, if it would be possible for him, to be in Jerusalem at the day of the Pentecost. 17 And from Miletos sending to Ephesos he called for the elders of the assembly.

Paul had spent three years in Ephesus, and is now absent for at least a year. A stop there would have necessitated a reunion for which he did not want to spend time. Therefore he only called for the elders of the assembly there to see him in Miletus, however it still must have taken a day or two for a messenger to reach Ephesus, and at least that much longer for those elders to respond by coming. This circumstance informs us that the assembly at Ephesus must have become quite large.

18 And as they came to him he said to them: “You know from the first day from which I set foot in Asia, how I had been at all times with you, 19 serving the Prince with all humility and tears and trials befalling me by the plots of the Judaeans, 20 how I withheld nothing of advantage, for which not to report to you and to teach you publicly and at each house, 21 affirming both to Judaeans and to Greeks repentance to Yahweh and faith in our Prince Yahshua.

Here it is evident that some of the men whom Paul is addressing must have been those whom he first met in Ephesus, where he says “from the first day”. Therefore it is very likely that some of these men were those from among the first twelve that he had met, those men who were disciples of John the Baptist, as we see in the opening verses of Acts chapter 19. The circumstances outlined here in Paul's testimony to the Ephesians demonstrate that it was indeed he who had brought the Gospel to Ephesus, and therefore his teaching was indeed the “first love” which the assembly of Ephesus later departed from, for which Yahshua chastised them in the Revelation.

22 And now behold, I having been bound by the Spirit go into Jerusalem not knowing the things which shall meet me in her, 23 but that the Holy Spirit in each city [D has “throughout every city”]affirmed to me saying that bonds and tribulations await me.

The Codex Bezae (D) adds “in Jerusalem” to the end of the passage here, however Paul does not receive an explicit warning in relation to Jerusalem until the prophecy of Hagabos described in Acts chapter 21 where we read “10 And upon abiding many days there came down from Judaea a certain prophet named Hagabos, 11 and coming to us and taking Paul’s belt, binding his own feet and hands said 'Thus says the Holy Spirit: the man whose belt this is, thusly the Judaeans in Jerusalem shall bind and they shall deliver him into the hands of the heathens.'” However being persecuted everywhere he went, as the records of Acts clearly relate, Paul did understand that his arrest and possible execution were imminent and that is what he expresses here. It would be natural for him to be most concerned about going to Jerusalem, above all other cities. Jerusalem, and not Rome, was the source of Christian persecution from the beginning, and as it has been cited here often, early Christian writers such as Tertullian and Minucius Felix blamed the Jews for the persecution of Christians by the Romans as well, that the Jews were the instigators.

From our March, 2012 commentary on 1 Peter chapter 3:

The ancient Roman historian Tacitus claimed that Christians were “notoriously depraved”, had “anti-social tendencies” and were persecuted for being “incendiary” (Annals, 14, 15). The later Christian bishop Tertullian tells us that the jews fashioned all sorts of false allegations against Christians, so far even as ritual infanticide (Apology, 8). The Christian apologist Minucius Felix said that Christians were accused of worshipping monsters, devouring infants, and holding incestuous feasts, and, referring to those enemies of Christ, he said that “the demons were for ever setting fables afloat without either investigation or proof” (Octavius, 28). [Sounds like the same old Jewish tales later told of Czarist Russia and Nazi Germany as well.]

24 But not of any account do I make life valuable for myself, that I shall complete my course [C, E and the MT add “with joy”] and the service which I received from Prince Yahshua to affirm [D interpolates “to Judaeans and Greeks”] the good message of the favor of Yahweh. 25 And now behold, I know that no longer shall you see my face, all of you among whom I passed proclaiming the Kingdom [D interpolates “of Yahshua”, E and the MT “of God”].

As we have seen in Acts chapters 14 and 17, while Paul did not proclaim the favor or Kingdom of God to the Lycaonians or to the Athenians, since they were not Israel, he did speak to them within the terms of the wider Adamic covenants which are found in the Old Testament scriptures. However the favor, or grace, of God was prophesied exclusively for the children of Israel, as it is found in Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 2: “Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.” Furthermore, the promise of the Kingdom of God was made only concerning Israel, and this too is often mentioned in the prophets. For instance, in Hosea chapter 13 Yahweh said through the prophet: “ 9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. 10 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities?” Again, long after the old Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were destroyed, Yahweh said in Zechariah chapter 9: “9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

Therefore since these promises were made only to the children of Israel, Paul proclaimed the favor and the Kingdom of Yahweh God only to the dispersions of Israel. These are the people to whom Paul delivered the Gospel of Christ, and their restoration to the favor of Yahweh their God brings about the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, as we see that even the apostles anticipated in Acts chapter 1, where it is written: “6 So then they who were gathered asked Him, saying 'Prince, then at this time shall You restore the Kingdom to Israel?' ” Right to the very end, in the last verse of the Book of Acts, Luke records that Paul sat in Rome under house arrest “Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” This is the anticipation that the children of Israel has in Christ, it is exclusive to them, and it is the only Gospel which Paul taught. Om Acts 26:7 Paul said such hope was for “our twelve tribes”, meaning the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.

26 On which account I testify to you on this day today that I am clean from the blood of all. 27 For I have not withheld, for which not to report all of the will of Yahweh to you.

Again, non-Israelites have no part in the Word of God, and Paul would have had no right to report the Word of Yahweh to them, as we see in Psalm 147: “19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.” Yet Paul's epistles show again and again the knowledge which he had, that he was bringing the Gospel of Christ to the long-dispersed tribes of Israel.

28 You take heed for yourselves and for all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit appointed you overseers to tend to the assembly of Yahweh, which He preserved for Himself by His own blood.

The Codices Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), Bezae (D) and Laudianus (E) all have “assembly of the Lord”; the Majority Text, which the King James Version does not follow in this instance, has “of the Lord and of God”; the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Vaticanus (B), which with the passage that follows explicitly assert that Christ is God. Passages such as these certainly reflect the dispute over the divinity of Christ which we see amongst early Christians, or perhaps between early Christians and early pseudo-Christians.

The verb περιποιέω (4046) is “to make to remain over and above, to keep safe, preserve...II. [and in the] Medium [Voice it is] to keep or save for oneself...” (Liddell & Scott). Therefore here being in the Medium Voice (where properly the initiator and the recipient of the action are the same) and in the appropriate tense and number it is “He preserved for Himself”. While this rendering of the verb is emphatic, the idea is nevertheless expressed in the text with the words “with His own blood”. Therefore we see in the better manuscripts, in this one instance, that Paul pronounces for Christ to be God. That Yahweh preserved Israel for Himself with his sacrifice on their behalf is expressed in many of the sayings of the prophets.

Isaiah 41: “14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”

Jeremiah 50: “33 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go. 34 Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.”

Psalm 44: “ 4 Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob. 5 Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. 7 But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

Luke 1: “ 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear”. There is no difference in the scope of the prophecies between the Old and the New Testaments, and anyone who attempts to make such an assertion fits into the next statement which we see here from Paul:

29 I know [B has “Because I know”; E and the MT “For this I know”] that after my departure oppressive wolves shall come in to you, not being sparing of the sheep!

From John chapter 10: “11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

In Matthew 13 He said “he not gathering with Me scatters”, and Yahshua only came to gather the sheep. Anyone attempting to gather anything other than Israelites to the sheepfold is scattering the sheep!

30 And from among you men shall arise speaking distortions for which to draw away[D has “to turn away”] the students after themselves.

Following all of the other manuscripts., the NA27 (along with the recently published NA28) here has “And of them from among you”; here the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codex Vaticanus (B).

Note that in either case, there is a distinction between the wolves who enter in from outside, and those who arise to commit error from within the assembly itself.

From Galatians 2: “4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage”.

31 On which account you be alert, remembering that for three years night and day I did not stop with tears admonishing every one [D and E add “of you”]. 32 And now I commit you to Yahweh [B has “to the Prince”; the text follows , A, C, D, E, and the MT] and to the Word of His favor, which is able to build and to give the inheritance which is in all those being sanctified.

Jeremiah 33: “ 7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.”

Ezekiel 37: “ 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: 23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.”

33 I have lusted after no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that my needs and those who were with me were supported by these hands. 35 I have shown all things to you, that laboring thusly it is necessary to assist those who are feeble, and to remember the words of Prince Yahshua, that He said ‘It is blessed to give rather than to receive.’”

Paul worked for his own bread whenever he could, yet often his needs were met by the various assemblies when he could not, as he himself professes in his epistles, for instance at 2 Corinthians chapter 11.

There is no record of any statement by Yahshua in the gospel accounts that survive to us, that “It is blessed to give rather than to receive.” The NA27 notes a few similar statements, such as the Wisdom of Sirach, 4:31 where it states “31 Let not thine hand be stretched out to receive, and shut when thou shouldest repay.”

Matthew 5:7: “Blessed are those having mercy [by giving], because they shall be mercied [in being rewarded from God].”

The NA27 also notes a statement by the Greek historian Thucydides, who comparing the Thracians to the Persians says “For they had a custom, which also was general to all Thrace contrary to that of the kingdom of Persia, to receive rather than to give; and it was there a greater shame to be asked and deny than to ask and go without.” (The Peloponnesian War, 2.97.4) Hobbes' famous translation is not clear enough here, however Thucydides is telling us that the Thracians made requests without shame, since there was no shame in having one's requests denied, whereas the Persians were not so greedy.

36 And saying these things upon his kneeling with all of them he prayed. 37 And there was considerable weeping by all and falling upon the neck of Paul kissing him, 38 being distressed especially by the word which he spoke, that no longer are they going to see his face. And they escorted him to the ship.

Paul was right, he never returned to Greece. Rather, he was arrested in Jerusalem, sent to Rome, and ultimately executed by Nero. There is no validity to the so-called “lost” chapter of Acts, and there is no historical verification for the British-Israel claim that Paul was freed from Rome and preached in Britain. It is all pure poppycock, to use a term of their own.

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