Class Notes: 5/1/2022

The book of Romans part 46; Paul's reversionism placed him in chains part 2

In our verse by verse study of Romans we just completed Rom 1:10 with the expanded translation: "Always in my prayers when offering a petition, that if somehow now at last I will succeed by the will of God in coming face to face with you all."

This verse brought us to a couple of side trips so we did a brief study of the categorical doctrine of prayer, we looked at the doctrine of God's will and today continuing our study of Paul's reversionism where he rejected God's directive will and operated in God's permissive will to pursue his own agenda that God ultimately stopped with his overruling will.

Our passage in Rom 1:10; tells us that it was God's will for Paul to go to Rome. Rom 15:24; tells us that he was not to stay in Rome because his ultimate destination was Spain.

When we stopped last time Paul was outside of God's directive will in Jerusalem and had just been placed in chains by the Roman Tribute Claudius Lysius who permitted Paul to speak to the mob that was trying to kill him under God's overruling will.

We were noting Paul's speech that is recorded in Acts 22; where we find the second reference to Paul's conversion experience on the road to Damascus:

Acts 22:3; I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today.

This verse provides a lot of biographical information about Paul and when compared with other passages we learn that Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia.

Tarsus was a cultural and economic center during Roman rule and Paul describes himself and his hometown in Acts 21:39; "I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city ..."

Tarsus was the capital of the province of Cilicia and for a while was the residence of Marc Antony.

Strabo, writing in about 19AD, tells us of its inhabitants' enthusiasm for learning, and especially for philosophy. He says, Tarsus surpassed Athens and Alexandria and every other university town.

On what occasion and for what service Roman citizenship had been conferred on one of Paul's ancestors we do not know we only know, that before Paul's birth his father was a Roman citizen so Paul was born a Roman citizen.

We learn also from Acts 22:3; that Paul studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, who was highly respected by the Jews because of his knowledge of the Law.

Paul goes on to describe how as a Pharisee himself armed with credentials from the high priest he had sought out and brought to trial any who were of "The Way", that was how they referred to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

He then tells his Jewish audience the events that not only changed his mind about persecuting Christians but also resulted in his own conversion but his sentimentality for his people also leads to his disobedience to God and results in God using the Romans' divine establishment policies to restrain him for his own safety.

Acts 22:6; "And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,
v 7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'
v 8 "And I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.'"

Following Paul's conversion he eventually returned to Jerusalem where in a trance he received a prophecy from the Lord that he should have remembered and obeyed before he decided to return to Jerusalem.

Acts 22:17; "And it came about when I returned to Jerusalem (following his conversion in Acts 9) and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,

v 18 and I saw Him (Jesus Christ in a Christophany) saying to me, 'Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.'
v 19; "And I said, 'Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You.

Acts 22:20; "And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.'
v 21 "And the Lord said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'"

Acts 22:22; NET And they listened to him until he said this and then they raised their voices and shouted, "Away with this man from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!

Tribune Claudius was watching all of this and he decided that things were about to get out of control so he had Paul taken into the barracks and determined to get to the bottom of the controversy by scourging Paul until he confessed his wrongdoing. Acts 22:24;

Under Roman law a Roman citizen may not be scourged therefore Paul realized that the Tribune was unaware of his citizenship. He told the centurion who was preparing to scourge him of this and the centurion told Claudius. Acts 22:25-27;

Acts 22:27; Tribune Claudius came and said to Paul, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" And Paul said, "Yes."
v 28 And the tribune answered, I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money." And Paul said, "But I was actually born a citizen."

Acts 22:29; Therefore, those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.

Roman citizenship had many privileges and one of them was that citizens were exempt from cross-examination under torture. Roman law required that in a trial of Roman citizen a precise procedure must be followed. There had to be a formal indictment of charges and penalties, a formal accusation, and a formal hearing before a Roman official and his advisors.

A verbal claim of Roman citizenship was generally accepted at face value because the papers that validated a person's citizenship were kept in the family archives so they were not usually carried in person and the penalty for falsifying documents or making false claims of citizenship was very severe and often included being put to death.

Since Paul was a Roman citizen, before formal charges could be sent to Rome, the commander had to know what charges were.

Tribune Claudius, wanted to avoid this and have the Jews resolve what appeared to him to be a Jewish problem without his interference so he released Paul to the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews, so it could make its own judicial ruling.

The Sanhedrin was the supreme native court that Rome continued to allow to function in Judea under its aegis. The Sanhedrin dealt with all local judicial matter, that the Roman procurator did not want to deal with.

In the case of the Jews, the Sanhedrin was the final court of appeal for questions connected with the Mosaic Law because the Romans didn't care.
If and when the Sanhedrin pronounced a sentence of death ratification by the Roman procurator was required. This is why Jesus had to be brought before Pilot before He was crucified.

The Roman authorities reserved the right to take over at any time, and proceed independently. Further, the procurator, or even the tribune of the cohorts stationed in Jerusalem could act independently

We see Tribune Claudius exercise his authority by convening the Sanhedrin in Acts 22:30; But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why Paul had been accused by the Jews, Claudius released Paul and ordered the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.

In his defense before the Sanhedrin Paul uses his knowledge of the conflicting theology between the Pharisees and Sadducees to disrupt the court and render it feckless.

Acts 23:6; But perceiving that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Sanhedrin, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!"
v 7 And as he said this, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.

Acts 23:8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
v 9 And there arose a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, "We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"

Acts 23:10; And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

Paul knew that if he addressed the issue of the Mosaic Law the united Sanhedrin would convict him of the crime of blasphemy that carried the death penalty.

As a Pharisee, Paul knew that the composition of the Sanhedrin consisted of many Pharisees and its opposition party, the Sadducees. Paul knew that there was an intractable theological divide between these two parties, that, if exploited, would create chaos and guarantee the dismissal of his case.

He therefore presents the idea that what he is really being tried for is his belief in the resurrection of the dead.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were denominations within Judaism.

The Pharisees held to extreme exactness in the keeping of the Mosaic Law. They had developed through oral tradition a set of rules that must be followed in order to remain orthodox. Salvation depended upon the precise observation of the Law through the exacting execution of its rituals. Although the Pharisees were unbelievers they did accurately believe in the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels.

The Sadducees were a more liberal denomination. They did not believe in angels, the working of miracles, or the concept of the resurrection body.

As a Pharisee Paul knew if he personally aligned himself with the Pharisees' belief in the resurrection of the dead that they would be bound to support him since they would defend their position before the Sadducees.

This is exactly what occurred. When disruption broke out in the Sanhedrin, Tribune Claudius intervened, which he had the authority to do, and sequestered Paul in the military barracks to protect him from the Jews.

The very next night, the Lord revealed Himself to Paul in a Christophany. What the Lord says indicates that Paul had rebounded and the overruling will of God had delivered him from the sin unto death.

Acts 23:11; But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at this side and said, "Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also."

Paul is now in the hands of the Roman authorities, Gentiles, just as Agabus had prophesied in Caesarea.

We also see here how Jesus Christ controls history with His overruling will by using the laws of divine establishment as expressed in Roman law to overrule the Jewish court and prevent the mob from murdering Paul.

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