Book of Acts Chapter 24 - Christogenea Internet Radio 12-27-2013

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Book of Acts Chapter 24 - Christogenea Internet Radio 12-27-2013

As we saw last week in Acts chapter 23, after a plot against Paul's life was revealed to the Roman military tribune, Paul is sent under arms and cloak of night to the residence of the Roman procurator in Caesareia. Upon his arrival there the procurator accepted Paul as his prisoner, when he declared that he would hear his case. This is in spite of the fact that Paul had not violated any Roman laws, but as the Roman commander had written to the governor, he found the Judaeans “accusing him concerning inquires of their law, and having not one accusation worthy of death or of bonds.

XXIV 1 And after five [A has “some”] days the high priest Hananias came down with some [the MT wants “some”] of the elders and a certain orator Tertullos, who appeared to the governor against Paul. 2 And upon his [B wants “his”] being called, Tertullos began to accuse him, saying: “Having obtained much peace on account of you, and reforms coming to this nation by your foresight, 3 in every way and in every place we approve, noble Phelix, with all gratitude.

Rather than reforms the Majority Text has accomplishments; or worthy deeds in the King James Version. The text of the Christogenea New Testament is in agreement with the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Laudianus (E).

Phelix, or Felix, is mentioned frequently by Josephus (i.e. Antiquities 20:137-196 [20:7-8], Wars 2:247-271), and he is also mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus (Annals of Imperial Rome, 12:53). He was the Roman procurator of Judaea from 52 until 59 AD, so the date here may be determined from Acts 24:27 to be about 57 A.D. As we explained briefly in our Acts chapter 23 presentation, Phelix, or by his full Latin name Marcus Antonius Felix, held this office until he was recalled to Rome before the end of his last term over a dispute between the Judaeans and the Syrians of Caesareia, whom Josephus also sometimes calls Greeks, in which Felix was accused of certain injustices.

The Roman historian Tacitus discusses the brother of this Felix, whose name was Marcus Antonius Pallas. Tacitus records certain proposals in the Roman Senate in the time of Claudius Caesar, which were made circa 52 AD, and attributes to Publius Scipio the remark that Pallas “should be given the nation's thanks because, though descended from Arcadian kings, he preferred the national interests to his antique lineage, and let himself be regarded as one of the emperor's servants” (Annals, 12:53) . So we see that Felix was indeed of noble lineage, however he was evidently not a very noble man.

After a short discussion of Pallas, Tacitus goes on to say that “Pallas' brother, the knight Antonius Felix, who was the governor of Judaea, showed less moderation. Backed by vast influence [a reference to his brother], he believed himself free to commit any crime” (Annals, 12:53). Josephus had said that Jerusalem was “filled with all sorts of impiety” on account of the deeds of Felix, in Antiquities Book 20, where among other things one particular crime stands out, where he described Felix's successful plot to have a band of robbers enter the city and murder a high priest named Jonathan, whom he had been at odds with. However after the deed was completed the robbers then immediately went on a rampage throughout the city, murdering many others, and Felix had to then resort to Roman arms to put down the ensuing disturbances (20:162-167 [20.8.5-6]).

Where Tertullos states that Felix brought “much peace” and reform to Judaea, he is merely being a sycophant and a flatterer. Luke only vaguely reveals the true nature of Felix at Acts 24:26, where he informs us that Felix is corrupt in being open to bribery. Most of the accounts in the book of Acts may be highly abbreviated, but they are absolutely historical. Continuing with the next part of Tertullos' discourse:

4 But in order that I do not hinder [A has “weary”; the text agrees with א, B, E, and the MT] you further, I exhort you in your fairness to hear us briefly. 5 For this man is found a pest and stirring up a sedition among all the Judaeans throughout the inhabited world, and a leader of the sect of the Nazoraians,

The Greek word λοιμός (3061), which appears in the New Testament only here and in Luke 21:11, is a pest here, but it is literally a plague.

These are the words of the orator brought by the Judaeans, where Paul is called “a leader of the sect of the Nazoraians”. This is nearly the same Greek word which appears in Josephus' account of Herod Agrippa I, where some years earlier, as Whiston translates it, he had “ordained that many of the Nazirites should have their heads shorn” (Antiquities 19:294 [19.6.1]).

There are two different Greek words which are both said by Strong in his dictionary to mean “of Nazareth”: Ναζαρηνός (3479), which is always Nazarene in the Christogenea New Testament, and Ναζωραῖος (3480), which is always Nazoraian. While the two Greek forms of the word have the same meaning, the distinction between them was purposely maintained in that translation. The King James Version often translates either word as “of Nazareth”, and Ναζαρηνός may be the more proper of the two forms for that. Thayer does not put “of Nazareth” in his definition for Ναζωραῖος. According to the Moulton-Geden Concordance to the Greek Testament, which some manuscripts may differ from, Ναζαρηνός is found in Mark 1:24, 10:47, 14:67, 16:6 and Luke 4:34 and 24:19, while Ναζωραῖος is found in Matthew 2:23 and 26:71, Luke 18:37, John 18:5 and 7, and 19:19 and Acts 2:22, 3:6, 4:10, 6:14, 22:8, 24:5, and 26:9. As they are used throughout the New Testament, the two forms are clearly synonymous.

In the manuscripts of Josephus, however, we find a third form, where the word is evidently spelled Ναζιραῖος. It is this form which is used in the Septuagint of the Old Testament Nazirites, the special priesthood ordained by Yahweh in Numbers chapter 6. However [according to both the Hatch and Redpath Concordance to the Septuagint and the BibleWorks version 8 software program] in the Septuagint Greek it only appears in the books of Judges, 1 Maccabees and Lamentations. In Numbers chapter 6 and elsewhere the Septuagint the translators rendered the original Hebrew term literally, as “he who has vowed” or “he taking a vow” or even as “consecrated ones”, indicating one who has taken a vow of separation, or in other phrases similar to these.

Here it is evident that the sect of Christians was called Nazoraians by the Judaeans of the first century, as Josephus also referred to them in that one place describing the acts of Herod Agrippa I, which can only be a reference to Christians in Judaea. This usage does not refer to the Old Testament Nazirites, as the followers of Christ had little to do with the sort of vow taken by them, which is described in Numbers chapter 6. Rather, Christians were called Nazarenes (or Nazoraians) because they were followers of Yahshua the Nazoraian, or Jesus of Nazareth. [In our Acts Chapter 2 presentation, we explained how Yahshua's being called after the name for the town of Nazareth, a word derived from a Hebrew word for branch, helped fulfill prophecies in Isaiah and Zechariah that He would indeed be called the Branch.]

The first century Judaeans had apparently shunned the words for Christ and Christian, because if they had used them, then by that very use they would have been admitting that Yahshua was indeed the Anointed One, the expected Hebrew Messiah, as the Greek word for christ is the equivalent of the meaning of the Hebrew word for messiah. Regardless of this, and some may think it rather surprising, Luke does record Herod Agrippa II as having used the term Christian in Acts chapter 26. As it appears in Josephus in Book 18 of his Antiquities, where he mentions the “sect of Christians”, and also in Book 15 of Tacitus' Annals of Imperial Rome, where he relates that Christians were punished by Nero, it is clear that others besides the apostles were indeed referring to the followers of Yahshua (Jesus) of Nazareth as Christians, even if the Judaeans who rejected the Messiah would not use the term. However an examination of the character of Herod Agrippa II reveals that he himself did not take the Judaean religion seriously, although he was certainly not a candidate for Christianity.

Once again, continuing with the last part of Tertullos' discourse:

6 who also attempted to profane the temple and whom we took hold of, 8 from whom you yourself should be able, examining him concerning all these things, to discover that which we accuse him of.” 9 And the Judaeans also joined in alleging these things to be so.

Here there is an interpolation which appears in the King James Version. The Codex Laudianus, along with some, but not all of the manuscripts which represent the Majority Text, have the following lengthy addition inserted after the end of verse 6, which appears in the King James Version as the end of a longer verse 6, all of verse 7 and the beginning of a longer verse 8. It may be read: “and according to our law we desired to judge him, but Lusias the commander arriving with much force had taken him from our hands ordering his accusers to come to you”; the reading found in the Christogenea New Testament agrees with the texts of the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), and Vaticanus (B), and other later manuscripts and papyri, as well as another portion of those manuscripts which represent the Majority Text. The text at the end of 24:6, all of 24:7 and the first part of 24:8 in the King James Version are clearly an interpolation, but one which dates to as early as the 5th century AD since it exists in the Codex Laudianus (E).

That Paul “attempted to profane the temple” was an accusation which was never established. As we had explained several times in this presentation of Acts, inscriptions placed around the temple at Judaea warned in Greek that any non-Judaean (ostensibly referring to non-Judaeans in the religious sense, meaning those who were not circumcised) who was caught entering into it was liable in death. In Acts chapter 21 Luke makes a parenthetical remark, where at verse 29 he wrote “For they had seen before with him [Paul] in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.”

In our presentation of Acts chapter 21, we established that it was quite unlikely that Paul had been seen in the city with Trophimus on this journey to Jerusalem. And in fact, while Trophimus was among those who departed from the Troad with Paul, Paul explains in 2 Timothy 4:20 that he had left Trophimus behind in Ephesus, since he was sick, and therefore Trophimus could not have accompanied Paul to Jerusalem.

It is much more likely, that the men who knew Paul from Asia, certainly referring to Ephesus where Paul had just recently spent three years, had seen Paul in Jerusalem with Trophimus on an earlier occasion, a trip which was unrecorded in Acts. It seems certain that Judaeans commonly made the trip from Ephesus to Jerusalem at the times of the feasts, and therefore Trophimus may have accompanied Paul to the city at an earlier feast. The fact is, that if Trophimus were caught in the temple with Paul on this trip, he would have been arrested and tried, the Judaeans would have had firm proof of Paul's having defiled the temple, these closing chapters of Acts may have read quite differently, and Paul's comments at 2 Timothy 4:20 would not exist.

It is evident, in later statements made by Luke and by Paul, that both Timothy and Aristarchus were at some point arrested and imprisoned along with him. However the exact circumstances of their arrests are not known. Timothy, however, was circumcised, and the record concerning Aristarchus is unclear in that regard. However if Aristarchus was uncircumcised and with Paul in the temple, we would not see either the reference to Trophimus at Acts 21:29, or the word “attempted” here at Acts 24:6. Once again, these chapters of Acts would have had to reflect a different account.

10 And Paul responded, the governor indicating for him to speak: “Knowing of your being judge for this nation many years, cheerfully do I answer the things concerning myself,

The Codex Laudianus (E) has “a righteous judge”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), and Vaticanus (B). Later Greek manuscripts are divided. The Majority Text has “more cheerfully”, which the King James version follows. The text here agrees with the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Laudianus (E).

Unlike the oration of Tertullos on behalf of the Judaeans, Paul does not flatter Felix but rather opens his defense only by stating a matter of fact. Furthermore, Luke's record reflects that Paul's eloquence of speech is by no means inferior to the rhetorician.

11 of which you are able to discover since there are not more than twelve days with me from which I went up into Jerusalem for worshipping.

From this statement we know how long since his arrival that Paul had been in Jerusalem. It is evident from many places in the New Testament, and especially in Luke, that days were always counted inclusively. The time may be counted from when Paul first entered the city (Acts 21:17), and he went to see James the following day (Acts 21:18). Paul began the purification ritual the day after that (Acts 21:26), which would have been the first day of a seven-day ritual. Then Paul was arrested “when the seven days were almost ended” (Acts 21:27). If “almost” meant 5 days, allowing that estimate as a conjecture, then Paul was arrested on the 7th day of his time in Jerusalem. Add another day for his appearance before the counsel (Acts 22:30) and yet one more in the Roman fortress in Jerusalem (Acts 23:11-12), and that night, the end of his ninth day in Jerusalem, Paul departed for his trip to Caesareia which began the night of the tenth day, and that trip being 75 miles took at least two full days to complete. In that manner Paul said it was “not more than twelve days” since he arrived in Jerusalem. That also helps to establish our assertions concerning Trophimus the Ephesian, which we made while presenting Acts chapter 21, that the men from Asia had not time nor occasion to see Paul with Trophimus in Jerusalem on this trip, so it may have been some earlier trip which Luke referred to, which was not recorded in Acts. Another possibility not yet raised here, is that they may only have imagined Trophimus to have been with Paul here in Jerusalem in the first place, knowing him from Asia, and therefore simply invented the accusation in that respect as well.

12 And neither finding me in the temple arguing with anyone or making a gathering of a crowd, not in the assembly halls nor throughout the city, 13 neither are they able to prove to you the things which they now accuse me of.

The word for gathering is literally a halting, being ἐπίστασις (which Strong does not list), the Majority Text has ἐπισύστασις (1999), which is “a gathering against, a riotous meeting” (Liddell & Scott), which the King James Version translates as a “raising up”. The text of the Christogenea New Testament agrees with the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Laudianus (E).

14 But I profess this to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, thusly I serve the God of the fathers, believing in all things throughout the law and which are written in the prophets,

Felix, having a wife who was an Edomite Jewess of the family of Herod, and having been procurator of Judaea for at least five years by this time, must have already been at least somewhat familiar with the religious arguments among the Judaeans.

Paul's accusers consider Christianity to be a sect, or heresy (αἵρεσις, 139), however Paul insists that Christianity is the Way, literally the road or the path, which is according to the Hebrew prophets, the Law of Moses, and the patriarchs. Of course, the tares could never understand as much, and the Gospel was supposed to divide them from the Wheat. Today it does not divide, because Christians themselves have gone out of the Way, and the Word of God is obfuscated by His enemies.

Ignatius of Antioch, born circa 35 AD, was by tradition said to be the third bishop of Antioch, after Peter and Euodius, according to the fourth century Christian writer Eusebius, who was also a “bishop” of Caesareia – this very town where this trial is taking place here in Acts. The tradition probably oversimplifies the facts, but Ignatius was nevertheless a very early Christian leader. Other early traditions state that he was a disciple of the apostle John. Several of his epistles survive. In The Epistle to the Magnesians, Ignatius wrote that It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believeth might be gathered together to God." Judaism is clearly a corruption of the Law, the prophets, and the Way of the patriarchs. Judaism is a corruption of pre-Christ Christianity, and its evils cannot be sufficiently denounced. Ignatius, and at least some other early Christians, fully understood that. The Jews today are attempting to convince Christians once again, that Christianity is only a sect of Judaism – and once again the sheep are being eaten by wolves. Rather, Judaism is a corruption of Christianity, and it is Judaism which is the “sect”.

15 having hope in God, which also they themselves expect, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

At the end of verse 15, after the word for resurrection the Codex Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text interpolate “of the dead”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C).

This, of course, leads to the question, who is resurrected? Are non-Adamic peoples resurrected? First, Isaiah 45:25 states that “In Yahweh shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Therefore Paul of Tarsus states that “All Israel shall be saved”. Yet we see in Daniel 12:1-2, in part that “... at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Likewise, Paul explains in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 that “14 If the work of anyone who has built remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If the work of anyone burns completely, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be preserved, although consequently through fire.” Yet all of Israel is justified, and therefore all of Israel are included in the resurrection of the just. In several places in the Gospel, Christ mentions the “resurrection of the just”, but does not mention the unjust in that context.

The words of Christ from John chapter 5: “26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, thusly also He has given the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And He has given authority to Him to make judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not be astonished at this, because the hour comes in which all those in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and they shall go forth: those having done good things to a resurrection of life, but those having practiced wicked things to a resurrection of judgment.” Where the King James Version has damnation at the end of John 5:29, rather than judgment, some may take this to mean that the children of Israel could be damned. Yet Christ said in Matthew chapter 7, and Luke chapter 6, that “ 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Likewise, Paul said in Romans chapter4 , quoting the 32nd Psalm: “7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

As Paul said in 1 Timothy chapter 5, “24 The errors of some men are manifest beforehand, going ahead to judgment, but others then follow after. 25 In like manner also are the good works manifest, and those being otherwise are not able to be concealed.”

The children of Yahweh God, knowing that their sins are forgiven and that they indeed have eternal life, should all the more want to be obedient to the Word of Yahweh their God. Knowing that life is eternal, one does not want to be found without a reward, which would indeed lead to everlasting contempt. Our brethren shall not be judged with the judgment of men, but with the judgment of God. The reasonings of men are lies.

Paul explains this blanket forgiveness of sin in a different manner in Romans chapter 5, where he says (paraphrasing the Christogenea New Testament because the word “sin” will be employed here in order to simplify the illustration): “12 For this reason, just as by one man sin entered into the Society, and by that sin death, and in that manner death has passed to all men, on account that all have sinned: 13 (for until the law sin was in the Society; but sin was not accounted, there not being law; 14 but death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned resembling the transgression of Adam, who is an image of the future. 15 But should not, as was the transgression, in that manner also be the favor? Indeed if in the transgression of one many die, much greater is the favor of Yahweh, and the gift in favor, which is of the one man Yahshua Christ, in which many have great advantage. 16 And not then by one having sinned is the gift? Indeed the fact is that judgment of a single one is for condemnation, but the favor is from many transgressions into a judgment of acquittal. 17 For if in the transgression of one, death has taken reign through that one, much more is the advantage of the favor, and the gift of justice they are receiving, in life they will reign through the one, Yahshua Christ.) 18 So then, as that one transgression is for all men for a sentence of condemnation, in this manner then through one decision of judgment for all men is for a judgment of life. ”

Christ further tells us, as Paul agrees in that passage of Romans chapter 5, that other Adamic peoples shall be in the resurrection as well, and they shall join in the condemnation of the wicked, where He says, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 11: “31 The queen of the south shall arise in the judgment with the men of this race and shall condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, a greater than Solomon is here! 32 The men of the Ninevites shall be resurrected in the judgment with this race and shall condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Ionah, and behold, a greater than Ionah is here!”

Not only is all of Israel saved, but the other branches of the Adamic race are also preserved in the Judgment. In this manner Paul said again, in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The promises to Israel are important, however, because nearly, if not all, true Adamic people surviving these last days are of the children of Israel, which is evident in Scripture and History. The other Genesis 10 nations have all either been overrun with aliens, or commingled with the tribes of Israel in fulfillment of other prophecies. However Paul also spoke in Hebrews chapter 6 “of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” The reward which we seek, or our lack of reward, is certainly that eternal judgment, and we being Christians, having the instruction of Christ, should live our lives in consideration of that, seeking to do good.

As for the wicked, among whom must be those people who Yahshua Christ describes the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South as arising in the resurrection and condemning: as they are presented in the Gospel of Luke, in chapter 11, Christ uttered those words in connection with that race of people who are responsible for the blood of all the prophets, “from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias”, and the children of Adam cannot be held responsible for the blood of Abel.

We are told by the apostle Jude that “...the messengers not having kept their first dominion but having forsaken their own habitation are kept under darkness in everlasting bindings for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). Peter corroborates this where he says: “Yahweh did not spare the messengers who had done wrong but having cast them into Tartaros into a pit of darkness [or chains of darkness, depending upon which manuscript is followed] He had delivered them being kept for judgment” (2 Peter 2).

In 1 Peter chapter 3 we see these words: “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison”, and Peter's reference is to the spirits of those Adamic people who died in the flood of Noah, who were at least as evil than any Adamic people of today. Along these same lines, Paul said elsewhere in Romans chapter 5 that “6 Indeed when we were feeble, Christ at the appointed time died for the impious. 7 Though scarcely for the benefit of the upright will one die: for the benefit of the noble perhaps one then dares to die; 8 but Yahweh introduces His own love to us, because we, yet being wrongdoers, Christ had died for our benefit. 9 Still more then, being deemed worthy now by His blood, will we be preserved by Him from wrath. 10 Therefore if we being odious were reconciled to Yahweh through the death of His Son, still more, being reconciled will we be preserved in His life.” Therefore by the reference to the judgment of the unjust, Paul seems to have referred to the judgment of Adamic men, Israelite and non-Israelite, who led impious lives in their alienation from God, before the reconciliation which is in Christ.

The angels which left their first estate are awaiting judgment, but not necessarily resurrection. If we understand the references to “chains of darkness” as a metaphor for the race-mixed bodies of the races which they made for themselves, in their fall having mixed their seed with the seed of beasts, the only judgment they await is the Lake of Fire. Evidently that includes that race of men who rejected Christ in Judaea [distinguished from the Israelite Judaeans who had gone along with them], from whom today's Jews are descended, as Christ also tells us in Luke chapter 11 and in John chapter 8 that they did not originate with Him, and that Cain was their father, who was a murderer from the beginning. These are those whom the apostle John in his first epistle tells us are born of the world, and not of God. They are all destined for the Lake of Fire, because they are plants which Yahweh did not plant, being born of the world.

All of the Adamic race shall be resurrected, and shall have eternal life, but many shall have no reward, who Daniel says shall awaken “to shame and everlasting contempt.” That does not mean, however, that any resurrected Adamic souls shall face eternal suffering in fire and brimstone, an image which is a Roman Catholic deception, and which the Pharisees had before them. The Lake of Fire is not for them, but for the “devil and his angels”.

These prophecies of the Resurrection are not to be confused with all of the eschatological statements concerning the Israelite nations and the non-Adamic races, or the judgment of this world at the wedding feast of the Lamb described in Revelation chapter 19, which is the gathering of the sheep and goat nations found in Matthew chapter 25, and the gathering of nations against Israel in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. This is also commensurate with the parable of the Wheat and the Tares found in Matthew chapter 13, the prophecy concerning the nations to which Israel was scattered found in Jeremiah 30:11 and 46:28, and also in Obadiah 15-16.

Where Yahweh says in Obadiah 15-16 that all of the heathens shall be as though they had never been, that may certainly be equated to the fate of the Goat nations of Matthew chapter 25: “15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” This is the destruction of all those nations who have gathered against the children of Israel at the last days, who are gathered against the children of Israel by Satan (the Edomite Jew), as described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 and in Revelation chapter 20, which now includes virtually all, if not all, of the world's non-Adamic peoples. If they are the flood which “the serpent cast out of his mouth” as they are described in Revelation chapter 12, then their origin is with the serpent, the fallen angels, the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” of Genesis chapter 2. Yahweh God did not create them, and therefore they cannot survive His judgment.

If at Yahweh's Day of Vengeance the heathen nations “shall be as though they had not been”, that leaves little room to imagine that, not having the Spirit of God which was bestowed upon the Adamic race, they could possibly be resurrected. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that resurrection is for the Adamic race, and that resurrection is possible through the Spirit of Yahweh which is bestowed upon that race. Therefore Yahweh states in Jeremiah chapter 30: “11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” He makes another very similar statement in Jeremiah chapter 46.

In the end, the goat nations, the tares, the devil, all of the fallen angels (and all of their earthly descendants are indeed devils), the Beast, the False Prophet, Hell and Death all go into the Lake of Fire. The Beast, the False Prophet, Hell and Death cannot be cleaned up. This is not a cleansing fire, except in the sense that it purges from Yahweh's creation all of the bastards and the sinful results of the fall of man, while Yahweh preserves only those whom He had created. The Spirits of those of the Adamic race who were created by Yahweh God shall indeed survive, with or without a reward for their works. As the apostle John says in his first epistle: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” If your seed remains in you, you are of His “kind after kind” creation, and you shall indeed have eternal life. If you are of the Adamic race, you were written into the Book of Life, which must be the Holy Bible, the Word of Life. Let none of Yahweh's enemies deceive you otherwise.

16 And in this do I exercise myself: to have [the MT has “having”] a conscience void of offense before Yahweh and men continually.

As the apostle Peter explains in his first epistle that it is “Not a putting away of the filth of the flesh but a demand of a good conscience for Yahweh, through the resurrection of Yahshua Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). This is the true Christian Baptism, immersing ourselves in the death of Christ we are cleansed in His Word (Romans chapter 6).

17 And after many years I came making acts of charity and offerings to my nation,

Paul had first brought charity from the Christian assembly in Antioch to the poor of the saints at Jerusalem as it is recorded in Acts chapter 11 [Acts 11:29-30, I think during the podcast I said Acts 13, making the remark from memory it was inaccurate]. And here Paul reflects upon the reason why he came to Jerusalem, as he had written beforehand in his 2nd epistle to the Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9, which was written a year before this time as he was about to spend three months in Greece, and also in Romans chapter 15, which was written only a few months before this time, as he tarried in the Troad before stopping in Miletus on his way to Jerusalem.

18 among which they found me being purified in the temple, not with a crowd nor with a tumult. 19 But certain Judaeans from Asia, whom it had been necessary to have present before you and to make accusation if they should have anything against me, 20 or they themselves must speak of any unrighteousness they found upon my standing before the council, 21 whether concerning this one utterance which I cried out standing among them, that ‘concerning the resurrection of the dead I am judged by you today.’”

The Judaeans never brought any witnesses against Paul, but only an orator, a lawyer. They also expected Paul to convict himself if he testified, where Tertullos said “from whom you yourself should be able, examining him concerning all these things, to discover that which we accuse him of”. However Paul did not convict himself, and after his defense, even the corrupt Felix could not support the cause of the Judaeans. At the close of Paul's apology, he once again used the wedge of a hope in a resurrection to cause agitation among the Judaeans.

22 And [the MT has “and hearing these things”] Phelix adjourned them, knowing more precisely the things concerning the Way he said “When Lusias the commander comes down, I shall decide the things against you,” 23 appointing the centurion to keep him, and to have license, and not to forbid anyone of his acquaintances to assist him.

Lusias the commander is, of course, the Roman military tribune who sent Paul to Caesareia to Felix in the first place. Evidently Felix was stalling for time, since he never made any such decision. In verse 23, the phrase “of his acquaintances” is literally “anyone of those of his own”, an idiom which Liddell & Scott explain in their definition of the Greek word ἴδιος (2398). The Majority Text has the end of the verse to read “to assist or to come to him.” The text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Laudianus (E).

24 And after some days, Phelix arriving with his wife Drousilla who is a Judaean, sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Yahshua [A and C want “Yahshua”; the text followsא, B, and E].

Felix, or perhaps his wife, seems to be curious here, and this is not describing any official business. Here it may be enlightening to discuss the background of this Drusilla, who she was and how she came to be the wife of a nobleman of the Roman equestrian rank who was himself descended from Greek kings. From Josephus' Antiquities, Book 18 [18:132-133]: “ 132 Agrippa [meaning Herod Agrippa I, whose death is recorded in Acts chapter 12,] had by Cypros two sons and three daughters, which daughters were named Bernice [who apparently lived in an incestuous relationship with her brother Herod Agrippa II, whom we shall see in his company in Acts chapter 25], Mariamne, and Drusilla [who is the wife of Felix here]; but the names of the sons were Agrippa [Herod Agrippa II, who we shall see in Acts chapter 25] and Drusus, of which Drusus died before he came to the years of puberty; 133 but their father, Agrippa, was brought up with his other brothers, Herod [meaning Herod Antipas] and Aristobulus, for these were also the sons of the son of Herod the Great by Bernice; but Bernice was the daughter of Costobarus and of Salome, who was Herod's sister.” Here we see just a glimpse of the confused and inbred line of the family of Herod the Edomite. The first Herod's son married his own first cousin. Uncle-niece marriages also occurred several times in this family, among many other offenses.

From Josephus' Antiquities, Book 19 [19:354]: “ 354 And thus did King Agrippa depart this life. But he left behind him a son, Agrippa by name, a youth in the seventeenth year of his age, and three daughters; one of which, Bernice, was married to Herod, his father's brother, and was sixteen years old; the other two, Mariamne and Drusilla, were still virgins; the former was ten years old, and Drusilla six.” Therefore according to Josephus Drusilla was 6 years old in 44 AD, the year that her father, Herod Agrippa I, died being “eaten by worms” as we see in Acts 12:23. Drusilla is therefore only about 19 years of age here in 57 AD. Her husband Felix, the Roman procurator, is generally estimated to have been born no later than 10 AD, and therefore he was apparently at least 28 years older than this Drusilla.

From Josephus, Antiquities, Book 20 [20:139-145]: “139 And when Agrippa [Herod Agrippa II] had received these countries as the gift of Caesar [which is a reference to the dominions of his dead uncle], he gave his sister Drusilla [this Drusilla of Acts 24:24] in marriage to Azizus, king of Emesa, upon his consent to be circumcised; for Epiphanes, the son of King Antiochus, had refused to marry her, because, after he had promised her father formerly to come over to the Judaean religion, he would not now perform that promise. [Emesa was a Syrian city north of Damascus and about two-thirds of the distance to Hamath in northern Syria.] 140 He also gave Mariamne [his sister] in marriage to Archelaus, the son of Helcias, to whom she had formerly been betrothed by Agrippa her father; from which marriage was derived a daughter, whose name was Bernice. 141 But for the marriage of Drusilla with Azizus, it was in no long time afterward dissolved, upon the following occasion: 142 While Felix was procurator of Judea, he saw this Drusilla, and fell in love with her; for she did indeed exceed all other women in beauty; and he sent to her a person whose name was Simon, one of his friends; a Judaean he was, and by birth a Cypriot, and one who pretended to be a magician [it is very tempting to identify this Simon with that Simon Magus of Acts chapter 8]; and endeavoured to persuade her to forsake her present husband, and marry him; and promised that if she would not refuse him, he would make her a happy woman. 143 Accordingly, she acted ill, and, because she was desirous to avoid her sister Bernice's envy, for she was very ill treated by her on account of her beauty, was prevailed upon to transgress the laws of her forefathers [she was an Edomite pretending to the religion of the Judaeans], and to marry Felix; and when he had had a son by her, he named him Agrippa. 144 But after what manner that young man, with his wife, perished at the conflagration of the mountain Vesuvius, in the days of Titus Caesar, shall be related hereafter. [Drusilla was also said to have died in the volcano.] 145 But as for Bernice, she lived a widow a long while after the death of Herod, [Herod Antipas, the king of Chalcis and the brother of Herod Agrippa I], who was both her husband and her uncle. But, when the report went that she had sexual intercourse with her brother, (Agrippa junior,) she persuaded Polemo, who was king of Cilicia, to be circumcised, and to marry her, as supposing that by this means she should prove those calumnies upon her to be false; 146 and Polemo was prevailed upon, and that chiefly on account of her riches. Yet did not this matrimony endure long; but Bernice left Polemo, and, as was said, with impure intentions. So he forsook at once this matrimony and the Judaean religion.” It must be said, that Flavius Josephus had a personal friendship with Herod Agrippa II, and therefore he knew much of the family history in this manner. It is also evident from many of these passages, the extent to which the Edomite usurpers in Judaea had intermarried with noble families of the surrounding nations.

The people whom Paul had to face here, Felix and Drusilla, and then later Agrippa II and Berenice, were a collection of wanton adulterers, cradle-robbers and incestuous Jewish perverts. While only Felix was actually of noble birth, he was nevertheless a very corrupt man, who even went so far as to pilfer a teen-aged bride from her first husband. It is only by the hand of Yahweh God that Paul could have ever even made it to Rome.

25 And upon his arguing concerning righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Phelix becoming fearful responded “You have to go now, but taking time [E has “at a convenient time”] I shall call you back,”

Felix with his wife Drusilla had called upon Paul and asked to hear about the Christian faith. Understanding Felix's character as it is described by Josephus, it is little wonder that Felix became fearful hearing such things.

26 at the same time also hoping that money would be given him [B wants “him”] by Paul, on which account also sending for him more often he conversed with him.

After the words for “by Paul”, the Majority Text interpolates the phrase “that he may release him”. The text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Laudianus (E).

In accord with the testimonies concerning Felix' character which were recorded by both Josephus and Tacitus, we see here that Felix also sought bribes, yet money was one thing Paul that could not offer.

27 Then upon the completion of two years, Porkios Phestos received the succession from Phelix, and desiring to bestow a favor upon the Judaeans, Phelix left Paul bound.

Luke never describes how or why Festus replaced Felix, which is demonstrative of just how abbreviated a manner the accounts in Acts are written. From Josephus, Wars of the Judaeans 2:266-270 (2.13.7): “266 There was also another disturbance at Caesarea--those Judaeans who were mixed with the Syrians that lived there, rising a tumult against them. The Judaeans pretended that the city was theirs, and said that he who built it was a Judaean, meaning King Herod. The Syrians confessed also that its builder was a Judaean; but they still said, however, that the city was a Greek city; for that he who set up statues and temples in it could not design it for Judaeans. 267 On which account both parties had a contest with one another; and this contest increased so much, that it came at last to arms, and the bolder sort of them marched out to fight; for the elders of the Judaeans were not able to put a stop to their own people that were disposed to be tumultuous, and the Greeks thought it a shame for them to be overcome by the Judaeans. 268 Now these Judaeans exceeded the others in riches and strength of body; but the Greek side had the advantage of assistance from the soldiers; for the greatest part of the Roman garrison was raised out of Syria; and being thus related to the Syrian part, they were ready to assist it. 269 However, the governors of the city were concerned to keep all quiet, and whenever they caught those who were most for fighting on either side, they punished them with stripes and bonds. Yet did not the sufferings of those who were caught frighten the remainder, or make them desist; but they were still more and more exasperated, and deeper engaged in the sedition. 270 And when Felix came once into the market place, and commanded the Judaeans, when they had beaten the Syrians, to go their ways, and threatened them if they would not, and they would not obey him, he sent his soldiers out upon them, and slew a great many of them, upon which it happened that what they had was plundered. And as the sedition still continued, he chose out the most eminent men on both sides as ambassadors to Nero, to argue about their various privileges.”

From Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Judaeans, Book 20: “182 Now, when Porcius Festus was sent as successor to Felix by Nero, the principal of the Judaean inhabitants of Caesarea went up to Rome to accuse Felix; and he had certainly been punished, unless Nero had yielded to the importunate solicitations of his brother Pallas, who was at that time had in the greatest honour by him.” Because he sent ambassadors to Rome to settle this dispute, his own actions came to light and he himself was recalled. We have already seen earlier, that Felix' brother Pallas was a very influential man in Rome. Josephus was certainly chagrined that Felix was never punished.

There are three rather certain historical events which allow us to determine the chronology of much of the Book of Acts. The first is the death of Herod Agrippa I in 44 AD, by which we may determine the timing of the events of Acts chapter 12, and the murder of James the son of Zebedee. The second is the discovery of the Gallio Inscription, recording a letter from Claudius Caesar which was discovered at Delphi, which dates the proconsulship of Gallio in Achaea, and by which we can then determine the date of Paul's trial there as having occurred in 51 AD, and by which we can also roughly determine the timing of the Edict of Claudius which is also mentioned in that chapter of Acts. The third is the end of the term of Felix as procurator of Judaea, which occurred when he was recalled to Rome in 59 AD, when Festus assumed his position. From this we know that Paul was most likely arrested in 57 AD. These three events, along with some of Paul's own statements, such as those found in Galatians chapters 1 and 2, help us arrive a a fairly conclusive chronology of the events described in Acts.

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