WHEN WE LEFT PAUL HE WAS BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN DEFENDING HIMSELF AGAINST SOME VAGUE CHARGES OF BLASPHEMY (ALTHOUGH THE ROMAN TRIBUNE WHO HAS CUSTODY OF PAUL STILL ISN’T SURE EXACTLY WHAT IT IS THAT
PAUL HAS SAID OR DONE THAT HAS SO MANY JEWS IN JERUSALEM IN SUCH A HOMICIDAL MOOD). WHY ARE THE JEWS IN SUCH A RAGE? WELL WHAT WE’RE SEEING HERE IS NOT ACTUALLY THE COMMON, EVERYDAY VARIETY OF TRADITIONAL JEWS WHO WANT TO TEAR PAUL TO SHREDS, BUT RATHER IT IS MEMBERS OF THE POLITICAL PARTY OR FACTION CALLED THE ZEALOTS.
THE ZEALOTS WERE JEWISH SUPER-NATIONALISTS (EXTREMELY FANATICAL IN THEIR LOYALTY AND DEVOTION TO YISHARAL - SO THEY HATED GENTILES WITH A PASSION, OPENLY PREACHED CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AND REVOLT AGAINST ROME, AND EXPECTED EVERY JEW TO OBSERVE THE JEWISH ORAL LAW DOWN TO THE LAST DETAIL AS PROOF OF THEIR LOYALTY TO THEIR JEWISH HERITAGE. AN EVEN MORE VIOLENT AND MURDEROUS FACTION CALLED THE SICARRI WERE AN OFFSHOOT OF THE ZEALOTS. YAHUSHA’S TRAITOROUS FOLLOWER JUDAS WAS A ZEALOT.
FIRST, PAUL IS BEING ACCUSED BY SOME JEWS OF TEACHING AGAINST CIRCUMCISION (FOR JEWS), WHICH IS CONSIDERED AS A CRIME AGAINST MOSES, AND THAT HE SPOKE AGAINST THE TRADITIONS.
SECOND IS THAT A PERSON ON PILGRIMAGE TO JERUSALEM FROM ASIA (FOR THE OCCASION OF PENTECOST) SAYS THAT PAUL SPOKE AGAINST THE TEMPLE EVEN BRINGING A GENTILE INTO THE TEMPLE AND DEFILING THE SACRED BUILDING AND ITS SET-APART GROUNDS.
ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURAL LAW OF MOSES, THERE IS NO DEATH PENALTY FOR TEACHING AGAINST CIRCUMCISION OR FOR NOT BEING CIRCUMCISED. AND SCRIPTURALLY SPEAKING IT IS NOT A CAPITAL CRIME TO BRING A GENTILE INTO THE TEMPLE COURTYARD AREA OR TO SPEAK AGAINST THE TEMPLE. BUT JEWISH ORAL LAW & TRADITION, (ESPECIALLY JUDEAN) HAD MADE IT A CAPITAL CRIME.
SO THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT PAUL HAD GREATLY IRRITATED THE SUPER NATIONALIST ZEALOTS (WHO WERE EASILY IRRITATED), AND THEY STIRRED UP MANY OTHER JEWS MOSTLY BECAUSE PAUL DUTIFULLY TOOK THE JEWISH MESSAGE OF A JEWISH MESSIAH WHO GAVE DELIVERANCE AND OFFERED IT TO THE HATED GENTILE NATIONS.
AND THE ZEALOTS’ RESPONSE TO MOST PROBLEMS THAT RAISED THEIR PASSIONS WAS TO KILL THE PERSON THEY DISAGREED WITH AND TO CHARACTERISE THE DEED AS THEIR PIOUS OBLIGATION AS DEFENDERS OF ALAHIM OR THE LAND. BUT IN REALITY THEY WERE NOT DEFENDING YAHUAH’S WORD AT ALL, THEY WERE DEFENDING JEWISH ORAL LAW, WHICH HAD BEEN FORMULATED IN THE INSTITUTION OF THE SYNAGOGUE. THEY WERE MORE DEFENDERS OF MAN-MADE CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS THAN ACTUAL SCRIPTURAL COMMANDMENTS.
AND THIS WAS BECAUSE THEY WERE FIRST AND FOREMOST, IN THESE UNBEARABLE DAYS OF OCCUPATION BY ROME, DEFENDERS OF JEWISHNESS AND ALL THAT IT ENTAILED. BUT PAUL WAS SEEN AS FRATERNISING WITH THE ENEMY, AND SO THAT MADE HIM A TARGET.
ACTS .23 PAUL'S BEEN TAKEN BEFORE THE HIGH COUNCIL SANHEDRIN :
1Paul looked intently at the council members and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with a clear conscience before YAHUSHA. I have always done what I thought was right.” 2Ananias, the high priest, was there, and when he heard this, he told the men who were standing near Paul to hit him in the mouth. TO SHAME HIM, FOR IN THE MIDDLE EAST THEN, AS NOW, A MALE BEING STRUCK ON THE FACE CAUSED HIM TO LOSE HIS HONOUR - AN EXTREMELY SERIOUS AND VOLATILE MATTER IN ORIENTAL SOCIETY.
3Paul said to Ananias, “You better watch out, cause’ YAHUSHA will hit you too! You’re like a dirty wall that’s been white-washed. You sit there and judge me, using the Law of Moses. But you are telling them to hit me, which is also against the same Law.”
4The men standing near Paul said to him, “Are you sure you wanna insult Alahim’s High Priest like that?”
5Paul said, “O’ Brothers, I didn’t know he was the High Priest, for the Scriptures say, ‘You mustn’t speak evil about the ruler of your people.’(EX 22:28)
PAUL IS BEING SARCASTIC - THIS A BATTLE OF WITS! HE’S LETTING THE HIGH PRIEST KNOW THAT HE CERTAINLY DOESN’T BEHAVE LIKE A RULER (OR SOMEONE IN AUTHORITY) SO HOW WOULD ANYONE KNOW HE WAS THE HIGH PRIEST? AND THE SARCASM IS THE FACT THAT EVERYONE OF COURSE KNEW WHO THE HIGH PREST WAS BECAUSE OF THE WAY HE WAS DRESSED!! PAUL WAS ONLY BEING PAUL - SOMEONE WHO WAS HARSH AND SARCASTIC ON OCCASION AND FELT NO GUILT FOR IT DUE TO HIS ACCUSER’S BEHAVIOUR.
19 THE HIGH PRIEST QUESTIONED YAHUSHA ABOUT HIS FOLLOWERS AND ABOUT WHAT HE TAUGHT. 20 YAHUSHA ANSWERED, "I HAVE SPOKEN QUITE OPENLY TO EVERYONE; I HAVE ALWAYS TAUGHT IN A SYNAGOGUE OR IN THE TEMPLE WHERE ALL JEWS MEET TOGETHER, AND I HAVE SAID NOTHING IN SECRET; 21 SO WHY ARE YOU QUESTIONING ME? QUESTION THE ONES WHO HEARD WHAT I SAID TO THEM; LOOK, THEY KNOW WHAT I SAID." 22 AT THESE WORDS, ONE OF THE GUARDS STANDING BY SLAPPED YAHUSHA IN THE FACE AND SAID, "THIS IS HOW YOU TALK TO THE HIGH PRIEST ?” 23 YAHUSHA ANSWERED HIM, "IF I SAID SOMETHING WRONG, STATE PUBLICLY WHAT WAS WRONG; BUT IF I WAS RIGHT, WHY ARE YOU HITTING ME?"
SO YAHUSHA, SPEAKING TO THE HIGH PRIEST, CERTAINLY HAD SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT BEING UNJUSTLY STRUCK. AND (LIKE PAUL) HE WAS STRUCK ON THE FACE, WHICH WAS INTENDED TO SHAME HIM. NOTICE THAT YAHUSHA DOESN’T APPEAR TO HAVE SAID ANYTHING AGAINST THE HIGH PRIEST ANYMORE THAN PAUL DID.
YAHUSHA MERELY ASKED WHY THEY WERE QUESTIONING HIM, WHILE PAUL ONLY STATED HIS OWN GOOD JEWISH CHARACTER. BUT IN BOTH CASES THIS WAS SEEN AS AN AFFRONT TO THE HIGH PRIEST. YAHUSHA WAS DEALING WITH CAIAPHAS AND PAUL WAS DEALING WITH ANANIAS, THE 8TH HIGH PRIEST TO FOLLOW CAIAPHAS. BOTH MEN WERE ILLEGITIMATE HIGH PRIESTS; THEY WERE NOT OF THE PROPER LINEAGE. THEY WERE WEALTHY AND HAD PAID LARGE SUMS OF MONEY TO THE ROMAN AUTHORITIES FOR THEIR POSITIONS. THEY WERE ARISTOCRATS, SADDUCEES, THE HIGHEST CLASS OF SOCIETY WHO SAW THEMSELVES AS ENTITLED AND FAR BETTER THAN COMMON JEWS. SO FOR YAHUSHA AND NOW PAUL TO SAY ANYTHING BEFORE THEM OR TO THEM WAS AN AFFRONT. AND ALTHOUGH IT WOULDN’T HOLD TRUE FOR YAHUSHA, PAUL WAS A PHARISEE; A DIRECT COMPETITOR AND ANTAGONIST TO THE SADDUCEES. THEY INHERENTLY DIDN’T LIKE ONE ANOTHER. SO AFTER PAUL IS HIT ON HIS MOUTH HE SPONTANEOUSLY SPEWS AN INSULT TOWARDS THIS ILLEGITIMATE HIGH PRIEST ANANIAS CALLING HIM A WHITEWASHED WALL; A FAKE, A PHONY.
6Paul knew that half the men in the council meeting were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees. So he shouted, “My brothers, I’m a Pharisee myself and my father was a Pharisee also! I'm only on trial here today because I believe that people will rise from the dead.” 7When Paul said this, a big argument started between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the whole council was divided. 8(The Sadducees don’t believe in resurrection after death, nor Angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in both.) 9All these Jews began shouting louder and louder. Some of the Scribes (who were also Pharisees) stood up and argued, “We find nothing wrong with this man. Maybe an Angel or a Spirit really did speak to him.” 10The argument turned into a fight, and the Commander was afraid that the Jews would tear Paul to pieces. So he told the soldiers to go down and take Paul away from these Jews and put him in the army building.
NOW THE CLEVER PAUL CHANGES TACTICS - HIS SARCASM TURNS TO ARTFUL CALCULATION. HAVING SERVED ON THE SANHEDRIN IN SOME CAPACITY IN THE PAST, HE KNOWS HOW THEY WORK AND HOW THEY THINK. AND HE IS WELL AWARE OF THE HATRED BETWEEN THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES. SO HE ANNOUNCES HIMSELF AS A PHARISEE AND THROWS OUT THE HOT-BUTTON TOPIC OF RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, LIKE A PIECE OF RAW MEAT INTO A DEN OF STARVING LIONS. IN FACT HE FRAMES THE PERSECUTION HE IS UNDERGOING ON THIS VERY ISSUE.
1CORINTHIANS 15:16-17 (CONCERNING THE RESURRECTION , PAUL SAYS:)
16"FOR IF THE DEAD ARE NOT RAISED, THEN THE MESSIAH HAS NOT BEEN RAISED EITHER, 17AND IF THE MESSIAH HAS NOT BEEN RAISED, YOUR TRUST IS USELESS, AND YOU ARE STILL IN YOUR SINS".
PAUL'S THEOLOGICAL WARFARE NOW REPLACED WHATEVER RATIONAL INVESTIGATION LYSIAS WAS HOPING FOR AND NOW HE HAS AN UNFIXABLE MESS ON HIS HANDS; AND WHEN THAT HAPPENS THERE’S ONLY ONE SOLUTION:
GIVE IT TO YOUR BOSS !!
11The next night the Master YAHUSHA came and stood by Paul, saying, “Be brave My Son! You have told people in Jerusalem about Me. Now you must do the same again, and be My witness in Rome.”
12The next morning some of the Jews conspired to kill Paul, vowing that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed him. 13There were more than 40 of them who made this plan. 14They went and talked to the Chief Priests and the Jewish Elders, saying,
“We have vowed not to eat or drink until we’ve killed Paul. 15So this is what we want you to do: Send a message to the Commander from you and the high council. Tell him you want him to bring Paul out to you. Say that you want to ask him more questions. Then we will be waiting in ambush, to kill him while he’s on the way here.”
16But Paul’s nephew (his sister’s son) heard about this plan, went to the army building and told Paul. 17Then Paul called one of the army officers and said to him, “Take this young man to the Commander, for he’s got a message for him.” 18So the army officer brought Paul’s nephew to the Commander. The officer said, “The prisoner Paul asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to tell you.” 19The Commander led the young man to a place where they could be alone. The Commander asked, “What do you want to tell me?” 20The young man said, “Some Jews have decided to ask you to bring Paul down to their council meeting tomorrow. They want you to think that they plan to ask Paul more questions. 21But don’t believe them! More than 40 of them are hiding in ambush, waiting to kill him. They have all vowed not to eat or drink until they’ve killed him. Now they’re just waiting for you to approve.” 22The Commander sent the young man away, telling him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have told me about their plan.”
23Then the Commander called two army officers, saying to them, “I need some men to go to Caesarea. Get 200 soldiers ready. Also, get 70 soldiers on horses and 200 men to carry spears. Be ready to leave at nine o’clock tonight. 24Get some horses for Paul to ride so that he can be taken to Governor Felix safely.” 25The Commander wrote a letter that said: 26From Claudius Lysias, to the Most Honorable Governor Felix. Greetings: 27Some Jews had taken this man and planned to kill him. But I learned that he is a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and rescued him. 28I wanted to know why they were accusing him. So I brought him before their council meeting. 29This is what I learned: The Jews said this man did some things that were wrong. But these charges were about their own Jewish Laws, and there was nothing worthy of jail or death. 30I was told that some of the Jews were making a plan to kill him. So I decided to send him to you. I also told those Jews to tell you what they have against him.
31The soldiers did what they were told. They got Paul and took him to the city of Antipatris that night. 32The next day the soldiers on horses went with Paul to Caesarea, but the other soldiers and the spearmen went back to the army building in Jerusalem. 33The soldiers on horses entered Caesarea, gave the letter to Governor Felix, and then turned Paul over to him.
34The Governor read the letter and asked Paul, “What country are you from?”The Governor learned that Paul was from Cilicia. 35The Governor said, “I will hear your case when the Jews who are accusing you come here too.” Then the Governor gave orders for Paul to be kept in the palace built by Herod.
PAUL IS ONCE AGAIN UNDER ATTACK FROM FELLOW JEWS WHO THINK THAT HE HAS BECOME A TRAITOR TO JUDAISM, OR TO BE MORE PRECISE, A TRAITOR TO HIS JEWISHNESS. TERMS LIKE 'JUDAISM' AND 'JEWISHNESS' CAN BE CHALLENGING TO PRECISELY DEFINE. IN ANCIENT JUDAISM, ALL THE SECTS MAINTAINED THE COMMON BELIEF THAT YAHUAH WAS THEIR ONLY ALAHIM - BUT AFTER THAT THERE WERE MANY NUANCES AND VARIATIONS THAT LED TO SEVERAL SECTS OF JUDAISM BEING FORMED.
SO WE SEE THAT THE RELIGION OF THE JEWS, JUDAISM (AS IT WAS EVENTUALLY LABELED) WAS MERELY ONE OF SEVERAL NECESSARY ELEMENTS OF ONE’S LIFE THAT SERVED TO IDENTIFY YOU, AND QUALIFY YOU, AS A JEW. RELIGION WAS ONLY ONE PART OF WHAT MADE A JEW - A JEW; THERE WERE SEVERAL OTHER CULTURAL PARTS. GENERALLY SPEAKING, REMOVE OR RENOUNCE ANY OF THESE PARTS AND YOUR JEWISHNESS WOULD BE QUESTIONED.
SO WHERE DID THE RELIGION OF THE JEWS IN THE FIRST CENTURY (JUDAISM) COME FROM? IT WAS NOT TAKEN FROM THE SCRIPTURE; YOU’LL NEVER FIND THE WORD “SYNAGOGUE” OR FIND THEIR LITURGICAL PRACTICES IN THE OLD BLOOD-COVENANT WRITINGS. RATHER JUDAISM WAS A NEW PHENOMENON, A PRODUCT OF THE SYNAGOGUE SYSTEM, A NEW MAN-MADE SYSTEM, WHICH RESULTED FROM THE UNPLEASANT CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE BABYLONIAN EXILE OF 600 B.C THAT LEFT THE JEWS LIVING IN FOREIGN LANDS, SPIRITUALLY ADRIFT WITHOUT THEIR TEMPLE OR PRIESTHOOD. PRIOR TO THEIR EXILE IT WAS THE TEMPLE SYSTEM THAT HAD FORMED THEIR AUTHORISED PRAISE AND SACRIFICE STRUCTURE AND WAS THE FOCAL POINT OF THEIR SPIRITUAL LIFE. BUT NOW, WITHOUT THAT TEMPLE AND PRIESTHOOD, THEIR STRUCTURE WAS DEFUNCT.
SO THE LEADERS AMONG THE EXILED JEWS DEVISED AN ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM THAT EVENTUALLY CAME TO BE KNOWN AS JUDAISM (JEWS WERE PEOPLE FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH....THEREFORE THE TERM JUDAH-ISM....THE RELIGION OF JUDAH). JUDAISM INCORPORATED MANY FAMILIAR ELEMENTS OF THE ORIGINAL, TORAH-DEFINED SYSTEM THAT DEPENDED ON THE TEMPLE; A SYSTEM THAT AT MT. SINAI YAHUAH HAD DEFINED AND COMMANDED TO APPLY TO ALL 12 TRIBES OF YISHARAL. HOWEVER THIS NEWLY MODIFIED JEWISH RELIGION DROPPED MANY OF THE ELEMENTS OF THEIR FORMER BELIEF THAT SEEMED IMPRACTICAL (IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE) CONSIDERING THEIR SITUATION, BEGINNING WITH HOW AND WHERE WORSHIP OCCURRED. MOST IMPORTANTLY JUDAISM ADDED NEW PRACTICES TO COMPENSATE FOR THE LACK OF THE TEMPLE AND PRIESTHOOD (AND THUS THEIR INABILITY TO SACRIFICE TO ATONE FOR THEIR SINS), BUT ALSO BECAUSE THIS MODIFIED RELIGION WAS MEANT TO APPLY PRIMARILY TO THE SURVIVORS OF THE BABYLONIAN EXILE: JUDAH....THE JEWS, AND NOT NECESSARILY TO THEIR BROTHER TRIBES THAT HAD LONG AGO EXPERIENCED THEIR OWN EXILE FROM WHICH THEY HAD NEVER RETURNED. SO ESPECIALLY AS CONCERNED JEWS WHO FREELY CHOSE TO REMAIN IN FOREIGN LANDS (DIASPORA JEWS), INSTEAD OF EVENTUALLY RETURNING TO THE SET-APART LAND, WHAT IT MEANT TO BE JEWISH WASN’T THE SAME AS COMPARED TO WHAT IT MEANT BEFORE THE EXILE. AND FOR THOSE FERVENT JEWS WHO DID RETURN TO THE SET-APART LAND, JEWISHNESS MEANT SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN HOW THE DIASPORA JEWS VIEWED IT. THUS SET-APART LAND JEWS AND DIASPORA JEWS WERE ALWAYS AT ODDS WITH ONE ANOTHER OVER THE QUESTION OF WHAT IS A JEW? OR, TO SAY IT A BIT DIFFERENTLY: WHAT CONSTITUTES A UNIVERSALLY RECOGNISED AND ACCEPTED JEWISHNESS AMONG PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS JEWS?
SO BASICALLY THE MOB WAS VERY UPSET ABOUT PAUL IN A GENERAL WAY. WAS PAUL STILL A REAL JEW? WAS PAUL SPEAKING AND TEACHING AGAINST FAMILIAR, COMFORTABLE, TRADITIONAL JEWISHNESS? MIGHT PAUL BE TRYING TO REDEFINE JEWISHNESS (A NEVER ENDING MATTER AMONG JEWS, ANYWAY)? WAS PAUL TURNING HIS BACK ON HIS JEWISH HERITAGE ALTOGETHER AND BECOMING A GENTILE, AND URGING OTHER JEWS TO CAVE IN AND DO THE SAME? OR HAD PAUL EXPERIENCED A NEW HEART AND SPIRIT AND WAS NOW LOOKING TO HIS TRUE HERITAGE IN YAHUSHA'S NEW COMMONWEALTH & REIGN ?
YAHUSHA'S LIVING WORD IS HEARD TODAY ON THE BABBLING LIPS OF ENGLISH (AND INDEED EVERY LANGUAGE) FOR HIS NEW COVENANT BEHAVIOUR TRANSCENDS ALL CULTURE & LANGUAGE FOR THE BRIDE HE WANTS TODAY ARE THOSE WHO WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH FROM A NEW HEART & NEW SPIRIT !
"YAHUSHA said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s House a place of business.” Later His followers remembered that it was written (by King David),
“My Zeal for Your house will consume me.”
"So My anger will be spent and I will satisfy My wrath on them, and I will be appeased - then they will know that
I, YAHUAH, have spoken in My Zeal when I have
spent all My wrath upon them".
"For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the Fellowship of YAHUSHA beyond measure and tried to destroy it, and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my peers among my countrymen, being more extremely Zealous for my ancestral traditions".
1 CORINTHIANS 14:12
"So also you, since you are Zealous for spiritual gifts, seek to overflow and abound with encouragement for YAHUSHA'S Bridal Fellowship". WHO KNEW ENCOURAGEMENT WAS A SPIRITUAL GIFT ??