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Tag Archives: Judaism

From Persecutor to Preacher

Conversion of Paul

from Google Images

Paul persecuted the nascent Church, because he believed that the fact Jesus was crucified indicated both he and his message were cursed by heaven (Deuteronomy 21:23). One might conclude that not only was he responsible for Stephen’s death, but that he was also behind the first persecution of the Church (Acts 7:58-60; 8:1, 3). As a result of the posture Paul assumed toward believers in Jesus, he became the Jewish authorities’ go-to person to get the job done concerning putting down this new Jewish movement (Acts 9:1-2). He excelled where others failed (Galatians 1:14). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2015 in Galatians

 

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Don’t Call Common What God Has Cleansed!

With the persecution against the Hellenistic believers ended and Paul sent home to Tarsus, God used this time to introduce the disciples to the idea that he had cleansed the gentiles (Acts 10). A man named Cornelius had seen a vision from God and sent for Peter who was staying at Joppa with Simon the tanner. God prepared Peter for what was about to occur by giving him a vision of unclean animals and telling him to kill and eat. It was unlawful for a kosher Jew to eat what was ceremonially unclean, so Peter understandably refused, but Jesus told Peter that he should not call common what God has cleansed. The ceremonial laws of Moses often depicted a spiritual principle. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Paul

 

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Saul in Damascus

Luke divides Saul’s visit to Damascus into a few days in Acts 9:19 and into “many days” of preaching and debating with those having an opposing point of view concerning Jesus in Acts 9:20-23. Luke doesn’t mention Saul’s time in Arabia, but Saul claims he spent over two years there (Galatians 1:18), before returning to Jerusalem three years after he originally left for Damascus and this two-plus-year period comes between verses 19 and 20 in Acts 9. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Paul, Theology

 

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Paul on the Damascus Road

Have you ever stopped to consider the astonishing suddenness of the great persecutor of the Church of God becoming the great Apostle of Jesus Christ? Paul had been making havoc with the body of believers in Judea (Acts 8:3). After about a year and a half after Stephen’s death, Paul sought extraditions orders from the high priest to arrest believers of the Way in Damascus and bring them back to Jerusalem for trial (Acts 9:1-2). He and a few others from the elders probably traveled with a caravan going north following the Jordan River. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Paul

 

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Saul the Persecutor of the Way

Did you ever wonder what it was like in Judea just after Stephen was martyred? The persecution was leveled at the liberal branch of the Way—the Hellenist believers, but this doesn’t mean other believers escaped. The Apostles were beaten in Acts 5 for preaching the Gospel and this would have been no different. When the persecution broke out, Saul entered house after house dragging off both men and women to prison and to appear before the council (Acts 8:3). Many scattered throughout Judea and Samaria and along the coast of the Mediterranean (Acts 8:1) Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Paul, Stephen

 

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Who Were the Men From James?

At first when Paul tells us that men from James arrived in Antioch and drew Peter and Barnabas away from the table fellowship of Jewish and Gentile believers (Galatians 2:11-13), one thinks that James actually sent these men, but it is something he specifically denied in Acts 15. I think we should probably understand the phrase as being equal to “…men from the Jerusalem church.” James seems to have been the acknowledged leader of the Jerusalem community of believers by this time, which was after the expulsion of the Apostles under the Agrippa persecution of the early 40s CE (Acts 12). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology

 

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The Persecution Under Agrippa I

Luke tells us in Acts 12:3 that Herod (Agrippa I) executed James, the son of Zebedee, with a sword. The problem is Luke never tells us why. He simply records the event. So, what prompted Herod to lift up his hand against certain disciples? Can we know? I don’t think it is possible to know with certainty, but I do believe we can come close to the truth by interpreting wisely some of what we find in Luke’s record. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Acts of the Apostles, Chronology

 

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