ACTS

Background to the Book of Acts – The book of Acts has traditionally been called the Acts of the Apostles and this can be a bit confusing because the contents is not about all the apostles, but primarily on the life of Peter (Chapters 1-12) and Paul (Chapters 13-28) – Rather than a history book it is more in line with a biography – Luke gives a record of the life [of Jesus] and events of the early Church for a period of about sixty to sixty five years {About 35 years of Early Church History: The Ascension of Jesus Christ from Mount Olivet, Jerusalem in about 33 A.D. – The Jerusalem Council [1st Church Council] in about 50 A.D. (Acts 15) – until just before the Martyrdom of the Apostle Paul in Rome in about 67 A.D.}

The gospels end with the great commission. (Matthew 28:19-20). "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age." The book of Acts opens with instructions to the Disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. These instructions become the theme of the book of Acts and give us a clue to how the spread of Christianity would take place. The purpose of Acts is to show the spread of the Gospel throughout the then known world. 'But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem , and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.' (Acts 1:1-8). The disciples were to be witnesses. In the first twelve chapters the focus is on the Gospel going forth under Peters direction in Jerusalem. There the ministry was directed mainly among the Jews in Jerusalem. Then the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul is stressed in his missionary activities outside of the boarders of Israel. He is known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. -- Jerusalem: Chapter 1-7: Jewish Christian Church which covers about the first fifteen years. Peter is the central character during this period which centers around Jerusalem. -- Judea and Samaria: Chapter 8-12: Gentile Christian Church takes in the next twenty-five years. Paul is the central character during this period which centers around Antioch. Paul takes the gospel to the Gentiles. Ends of the Earth: Chapter 13-28: Consolidation of the Church covers the last thirty years to the close of this period. John is the central character during this period which centers around Ephesus {though not really mentioned in the Book of Acts}. [link]

Footsteps of Paul (Photos)

According to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul made three separate missionary journeys and a journey to Rome. The biblical narrative ends there, but tradition has it that he was martyred in Rome around 67 AD. On the other hand, it is also possible that he was released in Rome following his appeal, and continued his missionary work in various places. Fortunately for modern travelers interested in biblical sites, Paul traveled in some of the most beautiful places around the Mediterranean! Below is an illustrated index of the 11 Footsteps of Paul profiled on Sacred Destinations so far. For photo credits, please see corresponding articles. ... Paul in Rome: According to early tradition, Paul was imprisoned in Rome in 53-62 AD and again in 64 AD. While in Rome he wrote the New Testament books of Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. According to the 4th-century historian Eusebius, he (Paul) was beheaded in Rome in 67 AD. [link]

A Chronological Study of Paul’s Ministry

Why is Chronology Important? Chronology is the study of the sequence of events in an historical text, and the comparison of those events with other known events from other sources. The Bible is an historical document, and part of assessing the value of any historical narrative is the study of Chronology. When events in the Bible line up with known dates confirmed outside the Bible, is suggests a high level of reliability in the biblical text. Also, some areas of doctrine are based on chronological assertions, as we shall see in the case of Gal. 2. This outline explains in shortened form how scholars date the events in the ministry of Paul. A more complete study of this process is available in Jack Finnegan, A Handbook of Biblical Chronology. -- Sequential Outline of the Movements of Paul by Major Periods: The first step in studying chronology is to assemble a sequence of events along with all chronological notes. In other words, a narrator will say, "for over two years" or "in time for the Passover." These notes, when assembled, form a time chain, often with some missing spots. Here are the important events for Paul's ministry: [link]

The Apostle [Paul] by John Pollock (Book – Paperback)

Product Description: Pollock brings Paul and his amazing story freshly alive, making it possible for you to know Paul much as Luke or Timothy did as they traveled with him. As you turn the pages, you'll sense Paul's motives, his aims and priorities what mattered to him and what he was willing to die for. [link]

Paul: The Emissary (DVD)

Product Description: How did the fiercest opponent of Christianity become one of its greatest advocates? This dramatic video shows you Paul's powerful conversion on the Damascus road, and his transformation from an angry zealot bent on exterminating the church into a messenger willing to pay any price---even death---to bring the message of salvation to the world. Paul's life changed the ancient world and still confronts our world today! Approx. 54 minutes. [link]

Peter and Paul (DVD)

Product Description: Follow these two very different yet highly influential men over three world-changing decades. Beginning with the crucifixion, you'll see Paul on the road to Damascus, witness the day Peter met Paul in Jerusalem, and watch them clash later over Jewish law. Anthony Hopkins and Robert Foxworth star in this epic network television mini-series about early Christianity. Approx. 194 minutes. [link]

A.D. – The stunning sequel to Jesus of Nazareth – (DVD)

Product Description: The stunning sequel to Jesus of Nazareth, this captivating epic vividly re-creates the turbulent years following the crucifixion of Christ. Witness the growth of the fledgling church, from Peter's first bold sermon at Pentecost to the martyrdom of Paul. Filmed on location in the Middle East and Europe with an all-star cast. Includes a 12-session on-disk study guide. Two DVDs, 6 hours total. Abridged Edition. [link]

Acts – Matthew, John & Acts, 6-DVD Set The Visual Bible Series (DVD)

Product Description: Journey back to first-century Palestine [Israel] and witness the extraordinary events that changed the world! Meet Matthew and John as they reflect on the events they witnessed as Jesus' disciples. Travel with Luke as he shares the struggles and triumphs of the early church. Shot on location, these vivid portrayals are adapted word-for-word from Scripture. Closed-captioned. Six DVDs, approx. 13 hours total. [link]

Acts 1 – Luke a Gentile Physician-Doctor [a Greek background], historian, companion to the Apostle Paul, eyewitness and early Christian Church recorder/reporter continues his Ministry to the Christian Church with his follow up to the Gospel of Luke in his second and final Book of the Bible the Book of Acts — ‘Acts 1:1-3 The former treatise [Gospel of Luke] {A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject. – Wiki.com} have I [Luke] made [written], O Theophilus, *of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which He [Jesus] was taken up [Ascension at Mount Olivet, Jerusalem], after that **He [Jesus] through the Holy Ghost had given Commandments [Directions] unto the Apostles whom He had chosen: To whom also He [Jesus] shewed Himself alive [Resurrection] after His Passion [Passion to reunite God and mankind – Cross and Resurrection] **by many infallible [irrefutable] proofs, being seen [eyewitness] of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God …’

Acts 1:4-14 And, [Jesus] being assembled together with them [on the Mount of Olives - at the Ascension of Jesus], Commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for **the promise of the Father [to send the Comforter - the Holy Spirit as a companion], which, saith He, ye have heard of Me [John 14:6]. For John [the Baptist] truly baptized with water; but ye [already baptized by Jesus, with the Firstfruits of the Spirit (John 20:22) - Christians] shall be baptized [by the Father] with the Holy Ghost [for comfort, wisdom, truth, empowerment, etc. to be a witness of Jesus Christ to the world] not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, *wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel [from Rome]? And He said unto them, It is not for you (Christians) [before Pentecost] to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. ***But ye [Christians] shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. **And when He [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their [visible] sight. **And while they looked stedfastly [for His return] toward Heaven as He went up, behold, two men [Angels] stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, **why stand ye gazing up into Heaven [at this spot on Mount Olivet]? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven {but when Jesus visibly returns to Mount Olivet it will be to the Jews not the Church - the Church will already be in Heaven}. Then [departed Mount Olivet] returned they unto Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room [in the upper room - where the Passover, Last Supper was eaten], where abode [lived] both [Apostles and Disciples (brethren)] {Apostles} Peter, and James [brother of John], and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James [son of Alphaeus]. These all continued with one accord [combined purpose] *in prayer and supplication, with the women, *and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His {Disciples} brethren [Christians]. The Promise of the Father is to send the Comforter and the empower [the Holy Spirit] to those who acknowledge Jesus [John 14:16]. The Promise of Jesus is to give eternal life [John 14:6] to all that come to Him. - John 14:6-21 Jesus saith unto him [Apostle - Thomas], ***I [Jesus] Am *the Way, *the Truth, and *the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. ... If ye love Me, keep My Commandments [instructions]. And I will pray the Father, and He [Father] shall give you another (along with Jesus) Comforter [Holy Spirit], that He [Holy Spirit] may abide with you [eternally] forever; Even the [Holy] Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him [Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit] not, neither knoweth Him [God]: but ye know Him; for He [God] dwelleth with you, ***and shall be in you [Firstfruits - Resurrection Day - birth of the Christian Church]. I [Jesus] will not leave you comfortless: I [Jesus] will come to you [Resurrection]. Yet a little while [death on the cross], and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me [Resurrection]: **because I live, ye shall live also. At that [Resurrection] day ye shall know that I Am in My Father, and ye in Me, **and I [Firstfruits] in you. He that hath My Commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father [who will baptize with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit], and I will love him, and **will manifest [show] Myself [Jesus] to him [Christian].

Acts 2 – The Christian Church already individually (Luke 24:31) [by faith in the cross and resurrection of Jesus] having the ‘born again’ Firstfruits of the Spirit of Jesus – The Church corporately (all in one group) receives the ‘experience’ the promised Baptism of the Father the Comfort and empowerment of the Holy Spirit – Note: At Pentecost The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the entire world [John 16:8] – With Pentecost [empowerment for the Church, conviction for the world] comes the Baptism of Persecution (Fire) for the Church — ‘Acts 2:1-5 And when the Day of Pentecost [lit. 50 days – after the Feast of Firstfruits] [5th Levitical Feast – Leviticus 23:16] was fully come, they [Christians] were all with one accord in one place [in the upper room]. And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire [refinement, trials, persecution], and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled [empowered] with the Holy Ghost, and [experientially] began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, ***out of [representing] every Nation under Heaven.’ – ‘John 16:7 Nevertheless I [Jesus] tell you the Truth; It is expedient for you that I go away [back to Heaven]: for if I go not away, the Comforter [Holy Spirit] will not come unto you [at Pentecost]; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He [Holy Spirit] is come, ***He will reprove the *world [Pentecost is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the entire world] of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me [Jesus]; Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more [after the Ascension]; Of judgment, because the prince of this world [Satan – Devil] is judged.’

Acts 2:14-21 But Peter, standing up with the Eleven [Apostles - Judas has committed suicide], lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, *be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour [9:00 A.M.] of the day. **But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel [Joel 2:28-32]; And it shall come to pass in the Last Days [days since - The Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to Jerusalem], saith God, I will pour out of My [Holy] Spirit *upon all flesh [the entire world]: and your [Jewish, Christian and Gentile - *the entire world] sons and your daughters shall prophesy [at times everyone (inside and outside of the Church) speaks for a prophetic truth about God, however (outside of the Church) it is often a corrupted message i.e. New Age message (Acts 16:17-18)], and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants [Christians] and on My handmaidens [men and women] I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy: [including all days - even the days of Tribulation and Great Tribulation] And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke [Tribulation]: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood [Great Tribulation], *before that Great and Notable Day of the Lord come [2nd Coming of Jesus]: ***And it shall come to pass [at any day, at any time, at any moment, Last Days, Church Age, Tribulation, Great Tribulation], that *whosoever [any person] shall call [at any time] on the Name [Jesus] of the Lord [that person] shall be Saved. - Pentecost, empowerment, witness and persecution: In the few days before Pentecost the Christian Church gathered in the Jewish Temple and worshiped Jesus [Luke 24:53] without any incidents because the Church was without the [external upon] witness of the Holy Spirit. With Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit upon the entire world, upon every individual and with the empowerment of the Christian Church by the Holy Spirit and now all of mankind with the increased presence of God among mankind the conflict between man and God has dramatically increased and the Christian Church is at the forefront of man's conflict with God. With Pentecost the desire for mankind to either accept or reject the Ministry of Jesus Christ has been heightened and those who reject God do so in a more violent manner. - Note: The Baptism of Fire (persecution) upon the Christian is a baptism directly enacted by Jesus [Matthew 3:11] therefore Jesus controls all aspects and intensities of the persecution (Baptism of Fire) in the life of each Christian. To receive the Baptism of Fire from Jesus is to be given the opportunity to grow in faith and trust in Jesus and it is to be trusted enough by Jesus to be able to endure in the Christian faith while continuing to be a witness of Jesus. - Also Note: With Pentecost and the global outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all mankind [since the blood, cross and death of Jesus - the blood of Jesus has cleansed the entire world (Acts 10:15) - the world [system] is now a clean - however [unclean from within] unsaved mankind is working overtime to corrupt what Jesus has cleansed upon] with the Holy Spirit upon all mankind Christianity and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ that Christianity represents is not a philosophy nor just an idea of a select few but Christianity is the living Spirit, Blood and Word - Testimony of God and therefore because Christianity is a living Spirit that unsaved mankind then physically reacts out of proportion [sometimes in strong denial, rejection, even dangerously, etc.] to the Spiritual calling on their life by God in Jesus Christ.

Acts 3 – The early Christian Church continually Worshiped and Served Jesus Christ even after His bodily Ascension back into Heaven – As a part of their Christian Devotion to Jesus their lives and the lives of those around them were dramatically altered being transformed by the Holy Spirit to conform within the Kingdom of God — ‘Acts 3:1-9 Now Peter and John went up together into the Temple at the hour of prayer [Christians went to the Temple only to pray and perform certain services but no longer to sacrifice (a lamb) as Jesus is our eternal sacrifice], being the ninth hour [3:00 P.M.]. And a certain man lame [unable to walk] from his mother’s womb [physical birth] was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the Temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms (gifts) of them that entered into the Temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the Temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us [make eye contact]. And he gave heed unto them [looked them in the eye], expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said [worldly wealth], Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have [Heavenly wealth] give I thee: *In the Name [at Jesus’ bidding] of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he [Peter] took him by the right hand [Christian fellowship], and lifted him up [cross and resurrection of Jesus]: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood [new life – resurrection], and walked [Christian walk], and entered with them [into fellowship] into the Temple [to pray to God], walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God …’

Acts 3:10-26 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the Temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he *answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? ***The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of [Pontius] Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer [Barabbas] to be granted unto you; And killed [Jesus] **the Prince of life, whom God hath raised [resurrection] from the dead; **whereof we are witnesses. And His Name [Jesus] *through faith [cross and resurrection] in His Name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him [Jesus] hath given him [lame man] this perfect [complete] soundness [health] in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it [crucified Jesus], as did also your rulers. *But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth *of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. ***Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He [Father] shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [Jesus] *Whom the heaven must receive [remain] {this is where the concept of the Church Rapture emerges as Jesus is to remain in Heaven and not to come physically to the earth until the end of the Book of Revelation and His 2nd Coming to the Jews, Jesus will have gathered His Christian Church together unto Himself in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) avoiding coming to earth until later} until the times of restitution [end of the Book of Revelation] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His Holy Prophets since the world began. **For Moses truly said (Deuteronomy 18:15) unto the fathers, A Prophet [who is God] shall the Lord your God raise up [resurrection] unto you of your brethren, [a leader of the people of Israel] like unto me [Moses]; Him [Jesus] shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet [Jesus], shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the Prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. *Ye [redeemed of God] are the Children of the Prophets, and of the Covenant which God made with our fathers, **saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed [Jesus] shall all the Kindreds [Ethnicity] of the earth be Blessed. Unto you [Jews] first(,) God, having raised up [resurrection] His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you [Jews, first], in turning away every one of you from his iniquities [inability to have a real meaningful relationship with God]. - The Apostles Peter and John demonstrate to the people both in their life and in their preaching that the Spiritual nature of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ though it has only partially arrived [Firstfruits] for mankind the partial Kingdom of Jesus Christ fully Triumphs over and supersedes the current fallen physical realm and predicament of mankind.

Acts 4 – The Gospel of God in Jesus Christ has begun to be Preached (Proclaimed) to mankind first to the Jews in Jerusalem then to the mixed multitude [Jews and gentiles] in Samaria [the ancient (O.T.) Kingdom of Northern Israel] and ultimately to all the Gentiles of the world — ‘Acts 4:1-4 And as they [Apostles] spake unto the people, the Priests, and the Captain [of the guard] of the Temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, *Being grieved [since Pentecost Christianity is a perceivable Spirit that men either rejoice in or are grieved by] that they taught the people, *and preached through Jesus *the resurrection [of just humans] from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide [lit. close of a regular day – G2703]. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men [converts to Christianity] was about five thousand.’

Acts 4:5-31 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the High Priest [the Jewish appointed High Priest], and Caiaphas [the Roman appointed High Priest], and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred [Levitical Tribe] of the High Priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? *Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost [the continuing empowerment and witness of Pentecost], said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole [lit. Salvation]; **Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised [resurrection] from the dead, even *by Him [Jesus] doth this man stand here before you whole. *This [Jesus] is the stone which was set at nought [aside - not used] of you [Temple] builders (Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22), which is become the head of the corner. *Neither is there Salvation in any other: ***for there is none other Name under Heaven ***given among men, ***whereby we must be Saved [eternal resurrection life in Jesus]. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned [unschooled in ministry] and ignorant men [tradesmen], they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this Name [Jesus]. And they called them, *and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the Name of Jesus. **But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. *For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man [who was healed] was above forty years old [an adult], on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they [Christians] heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, **and said, *Lord, thou art God, *which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against thy Holy Child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the Name of thy Holy Child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, *and they [Christians] spake the word of God with boldness. - Now the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ has been removed from the religious institutions and the Gospel News is to be brought directly to the people of the world directly from the Children of God.

Acts 5 – With the presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit people are able to Trust and discern the Truth of Christianity and as a result the Christian Church realizes an enormous, explosive, unprecedented exponential growth in numbers of participants — ‘Acts 5:14 And [Christian] believers were the more added to the Lord [Jesus Christ], multitudes both of men and women.’

Acts 5:17-42 Then the High Priest [Annas] rose up, and all they that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees [liberal sect of Judaism (Democrats) - Pharisees are the conservative sect (Republicans)], and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. *But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, **and said, Go, stand and speak *in the Temple [speak to the inner spirit of man] to the people all the words of this [eternal resurrection] life. And when they heard that, they entered into the Temple early in the morning, and taught. But the High Priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council [Sanhedrin - Jewish Supreme Court] together, and all the senate of the children of Israel and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the [Jewish] officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the High Priest and the Captain [of the guard] of the Temple and the Chief Priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the Temple, and Teaching the people. Then went the Captain with the Officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the Council: and the High Priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this [Jesus] Name? and, ***behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your *doctrine, and intend to bring this man's [Jesus'] blood upon us. **Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, **We ought to obey God [Jesus] rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince [Son] and a Saviour, *for to give repentance to Israel, **and forgiveness of sins. ***And we are His witnesses of these things; ***and so is also ***the Holy Ghost, *whom God hath given [in comfort, wisdom and empowerment] to them that obey Him. *When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, *and took counsel to slay [kill] them. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named *Gamaliel [the Apostle Paul's teacher - Paul was a Pharisee], a doctor [teacher] of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the Apostles forth a little space [in another room]; And said unto them [Jewish Council], Ye men of Israel, *take heed [from God - pray first] to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas [a false christ], boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, *and [God] brought [it] to nought. After this man rose up Judas [false christ] of Galilee in the days of the taxing [about the time of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem], and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed [by God]. *And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: *for if this counsel or this work [of the Apostles] be of men [acting in the Name of God], it will come to nought: **But if it [ministry of the Apostles] be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. And to him *they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and *beaten them, *they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go {they somewhat agreed}. And they [Apostles] departed from the presence of the Council, *rejoicing that they were counted worthy [by Jesus] to suffer shame for His Name. And daily in the Temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. - Note: The famous teacher Gamaliel [his writings are still with us today - quoted in the Talmud] is who the Apostle Paul as a boy and as a young man received his instruction in the Torah (Bible) from before Paul (Saul) became a Christian. - [Gamaliel, also called Gamaliel I or Gamaliel the Elder was a first century authority on Jewish law who appears in the Acts of the Apostles. In Christian tradition, he was later considered to be a Christian saint (Saint Gamaliel). In Judaism he is a respected authority quoted in the Talmud referred to as Rabban Gamliel. - Wiki.com] (The title "Rabban," was borne only by presidents of the highest religious council, first prefixed to the name of Gamaliel - http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com).

Wikipedia.org – Gamaliel: However, there is no other record [than the writings of the Apostle Paul] of Gamaliel ever having taught in public, although the Talmud does describe Gamaliel as teaching a student who displayed impudence (The quality of being offensively bold – answers.com) in learning, which a few scholars identify as a possible reference to [the Apostle] Paul

As Rabban: In the Talmud, seven leaders of Hillel's school of thought, of which Gamaliel was the first, are given the title Rabban (master), a rabbinic title given to the Head of the Sanhedrin; although it is not doubted that Gamaliel genuinely held a senior position, whether he actually held this highest position has been disputed. Gamaliel holds a reputation in the Mishnah for being one of the greatest teachers in all the annals of Judaism: Since Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died, there has been no more reverence for the law, and purity and piety died out at the same time Gamaliel's authority on questions of religious law is suggested by two Mishnaic anecdotes, in which the king and queen ask for his advice about rituals; the identity of the king and queen in question is not given, but is generally thought to either be King Herod Agrippa I and his wife Cypris, or King Herod Agrippa II and his sister Berenice. However, as classical rabbinical literature always contrasts the school of Hillel to that of Shammai, and only presents the collective opinions of each of these opposing schools of thought - without mentioning the individual nuances and opinions of the rabbis within them - these texts do not portray Gamaliel as being knowledgeable about the Jewish scriptures, nor do they portray him as a teacher. For this reason, Gamaliel is not listed as part of the chain of individuals who perpetuated the Mishnaic tradition; instead, the chain is listed as passing directly from Hillel to Johanan ben Zakkai. Nevertheless, the Mishnah still mentions Gamaliel's authorship of a few legal ordinances on the subjects of community welfare and conjugal rights. He argued that the law should protect women during divorce, and that, for the purpose of re-marriage, a single witness was sufficient evidence for the death of a husband. The Mishnah also contains a saying it attributes to 'Gamaliel', though it is vague in this case about which particular 'Gamaliel' it means; the saying itself concerns religious scruples: Obtain a teacher for yourself, keep yourself [on religious questions] far from doubt, and only infrequently give a tithe using general valuation. Various pieces of classical rabbinic literature additionally mention that Gamaliel sent out three epistles, designed as notifications of new religious rulings, and which portray Gamaliel as the head of the Jewish body for religious-law. Two of these three were sent, respectively, to the inhabitants of Galilee and the Darom (southern Judea), and were on the subject of the Levite Tithe. The third epistle was sent to the Jews of the Diaspora, and argued for the introduction of an intercalary month. Since the Hillel school of thought is presented collectively, there are very few other teachings which are clearly identifiable as Gamaliel's; there is only a somewhat cryptic dictum, comparing his students to classes of fish: A ritually impure fish: one who has memorized everything by study, but has no understanding, and is the son of poor parents A ritually pure fish: one who has learnt and understood everything, and is the son of rich parents A fish from the Jordan River: one who has learnt everything, but doesn't know how to respond A fish from the Mediterranean: one who has learnt everything, and knows how to respond. -- Influence on the Christian Apostles: The author of Acts of the Apostles introduces Gamaliel as a Pharisee and celebrated scholar of the Mosaic Law. In this passage, Saint Peter and the other apostles are described as being prosecuted by the Sanhedrin for continuing to preach the Gospel, despite the Jewish authorities having previously prohibited it; the passage describes Gamaliel as presenting an argument against killing the apostles, reminding the Sanhedrin about previous revolts, which had been based on beliefs that individuals such as Theudas and Judas of Galilee were the prophesied messiah, and which had collapsed quickly after the deaths of those individuals. According to Acts, his authority with his contemporaries was so great that they accepted his advice, regardless of how unwelcome it was; Gamaliel's concluding argument to them had been that: if [the Gospel] be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it; lest perhaps ye be found even to fight against God. The Book of Acts later goes on to describe Paul of Tarsus recounting that he was educated at the feet of Gamaliel about Jewish religious law, although no details are given about which teachings Paul adopted from Gamaliel - and hence how much Gamaliel influenced aspects of Christianity. However, there is no other record of Gamaliel ever having taught in public, although the Talmud does describe Gamaliel as teaching a student who displayed impudence in learning, which a few scholars identify as a possible reference to Paul. Helmut Koester, Professor of Divinity and of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University, is doubtful that Paul studied under this famous rabbi, arguing that there is a marked contrast in the tolerance that Gamaliel is said to have expressed about Christianity, in contrast to the "murderous rage" against Christians that Paul is described as having prior to his conversion. [link]

The Apostle Paul – When Paul became a Christian, his very thorough [Jewish] education was enormously helpful – He was able to assimilate Christian doctrines rapidly and relate them accurately to the Scripture teaching he had received – From his education, both from Gamaliel and in the desert [Saudi Arabia] from the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul developed a divine viewpoint attitude toward human history – *Paul knew that the existence of God [by the Holy Spirit since Pentecost] can easily be perceived by anyone, *that man can become aware of God, *but that many men’s deliberate sin halted this good beginning [after becoming aware of God] by [continued] immoral activities which accompanied their [past] idolatry

The Apostle Paul - The apostle Paul was one of the most famous citizens of the Roman Empire and without question one of the most influential individuals in history. He was used by the Lord in his missionary and evangelistic activities to set in motion a great deal of the organization known as the Christian Church, the Body of Christ on earth, to the extent that billions of human beings have been directly or indirectly affected by his ministry. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote the foundation documents for the Christian way of life, the Word of God which has changed the lives of millions. -- Paul's Education: Paul was educated by his mother until the age of five. From age five to ten he studied with his father in the Hebrew scriptures and traditional writings. At the same time, being a Roman citizen and living in a Greek and Roman environment, he received a thorough education in the Greek language, history, and culture. He was sent to Jerusalem at about the age of ten to attend the rabbinical school of Gamaliel, who was the son of Simeon the son of Hillel. Gamaliel was a most eminent rabbi who was mentioned both in the Talmud and in the New Testament (Acts 5:24-40; 22:3). Gamaliel was called Rabban - one of only seven teachers so called. He was a Pharisee, but he rose above party prejudice. He composed a prayer against the Christian "heretics". He lived and died a Jew. At this time, Herod was dead, and the Romans had complete control of Judea, hence, there was Roman money, language, and culture. The Jews, therefore, were inclined to cling more closely to their religion as the center of unity. [Refer to the topic: Judean History] There were two great rabbinical schools, those of Hillel and Schammai. Hillel, the grandfather of Gamaliel, held that tradition was superior to the Law. The school of Schammai despised traditionalists, especially when there teachings clashed with the writings of Moses. The religious school of Gamaliel (Hillel) was chiefly oral and usually had a prejudice against any book but Scripture. They used a system of Scriptural exegesis, and Josephus in his writings expressed the wish to have such a power of exegesis. When school was in session, learned men met and discussed scriptures, gave various interpretations, suggested illustrations, and quoted precedents. The students were encouraged to question, doubt, even contradict. -- When Paul became a Christian, his very thorough education was enormously helpful. He was able to assimilate Christian doctrines rapidly and relate them accurately to the Scripture teaching he had received. From his education, both from Gamaliel and in the desert from the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul developed a divine viewpoint attitude toward human history. Paul knew that the existence of God can easily be perceived by anyone, that man can become aware of God, but that many men's deliberate sin halted this good beginning by immoral activities which accompanied their idolatry. Therefore, Paul had an intense hatred of idolatry of any kind. Paul's teaching shows that the only reality is God. Idolatry distorts man's conception of the world and external nature. Idolatry is the enemy of mankind. Paul knew the law of growth of human nature. As a Roman, Tarsian, Hebrew, and culturally Greek, he knew of the many distortions of the life of his society. As a nation becomes unhealthy, development is halted. Societies errors as to the nature of God and the true relation of God to man prevented nations from getting rid of their besetting evil. The books of Acts is the chief authoritative record for the ministries of Paul and the other apostles. For a brief outline of Paul's ministry, see the Chronological Table of Paul's Ministry. The most thorough, accurate, and interesting secular work on Paul is The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, by Conybeare and Howson. [link]

JewishEncyclopedia.com – GAMALIEL I: Son of Simon and grandson of Hillel: according to a tannaitic tradition (Shab.15a), he [Gamaliel] was their successor as nasi and first president of the Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem – The apostle Paul prides himself on having sat at the feet of Gamaliel

His Correspondence: Son of Simon and grandson of Hillel: according to a tannaitic tradition (Shab.15a), he was their successor as nasi and first president of the Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem. Although the reliability of this tradition, especially as regards the title of "nasi," has been justly disputed, it is nevertheless a fact beyond all doubt that in the second third of the first century Gamaliel (of whose father, Simon, nothing beyond his name is known) occupied a leading position in the highest court, the great council of Jerusalem, and that, as a member of that court, he received the cognomen "Ha-Zaen." Like his grandfather, Hillel, he was the originator of many legal ordinances with a view to the "tiun ha-'olam" (= "improvement of the world": Gi. iv. 1-3; comp. also Yeb. xvi. 7; R. H. ii. 5). Gamaliel appears as the head of the legal-religious body in the three epistles which he at one time dictated to the secretary Johanan (account of Judah b. 'Illai: Tosef., Sanh. ii. 6; Sanh. 11b; Yer. Sanh. 18d; Yer. Ma'as. Sh. 56c). Two of these letters went to the inhabitants of Galilee and of the Darom (southern Palestine), and had reference to the tithes; the third letter was written for the Jews of the Diaspora, and gave notice of an intercalary month which Gamaliel and his colleagues had decided upon. That part of the Temple territory-a "stairway of the Temple mount"-where Gamaliel dictated these letters is also the place where he once ordered the removal of a Targum to Job-the oldest written Targum of which anything is known (report of an eye-witness to Gamaliel II., grandson of Gamaliel I.: Tosef., Shab. xiii. 2; Shab. 115a; Yer. Shab. 15a). -- His Relative Position: Gamaliel appears also as a prominent member of the Sanhedrin in the account given in Acts (v. 34 et seq.), where he is called a "Pharisee" and a "doctor of the law "much honored by the people. He is there made to speak in favor of the disciples of Jesus, who were threatened with death (v. 38-39): "For if this counselor this work be of men, it will come to naught: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it." He is also shown to be a legal-religious authority by the two anecdotes (Pes. 88b) in which "the king and the queen" (Agrippa I. and his wife Kypris; according to Büchler, "Das Synhedrion in Jerusalem," p. 129, Agrippa II. and his sister Berenice) go to him with questions about the ritual. Tradition does not represent Gamaliel as learned in the Scriptures, nor as a teacher, because the school of Hillel, whose head he undoubtedly was, always appears collectively in its controversies with the school of Shammai, and the individual scholars and their opinions are not mentioned. Hence Gamaliel is omitted in the chain of tradition as given in the Mishnah (Abot i., ii.), while Johanan b. Zakkai is mentioned as the next one who continued the tradition after Hillel and Shammai. Gamaliel's name is seldom mentioned in halakic tradition. The tradition that illustrates the importance of Johanan b. Zakkai with the words, "When lie died the glory of wisdom [scholarship] ceased," characterizes also the importance of Gamaliel I. by saying: "When he died the honor [outward respect] of the Torah ceased, and purity and piety became extinct" (Soah xv: 18). -- His Classification of His Pupils: Gamaliel, as it appears, did most toward establish-. ing the honor in which the house of Hillel was held, and which secured to it a preeminent position within Palestinian Judaism soon after the destruction of the- Temple. The title "Rabban," which, in the learned hierarchy until post-Hadrianic times, was borne only by presidents of the highest religious council, was. first prefixed to the name of Gamaliel. That Gamaliel ever taught in public is known, curiously enough, only from the Acts of the Apostles, where (xxii. 3) the apostle Paul prides himself on having sat at the feet of Gamaliel. [link]

Acts 6 – The early Christian Church and Church leaders in Jerusalem learn to handle the continual controversies and conflicts that arise both from within the Christian Church and from outside the Church — ‘Acts 6:1-7 And in those [early Church in Jerusalem] days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians [Greek Jews] against the Hebrews [Israel Jews], because their widows were neglected [not on the list] in the daily [food giving] ministration. Then the Twelve [the Eleven plus Matthias the (temporary) replacement for Judas – Paul in all likeliness became the Twelfth Apostle permanently replacing Judas] called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the [study and preaching] word of God, and serve tables [distribute food]. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this [charity] business. But we [leaders] will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word [Bible]. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a [Greek – Jewish convert] proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the Apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the [Levitical Temple] Priests were obedient [converts] to the [Christian] faith. – Note: The Grecian Christians issued the complaint and the early Church (primarily Hebrew) responded not in a compromise but by selecting all seven of the appointed charity workers from the Grecian group. The Greek [Greece the 5th Kingdom of the world – Revelation 17:10] nation ruled over Israel for about 200 years [336 B.C. – 149 B.C.] before Rome began to rule over Israel and the Greek culture was deeply implanted into Jewish society in Israel.’

Acts 6:8-15 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain [Greek - Helenistic Jews] of the Synagogue, which is called the Synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the [Holy] Spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him [Stephen], and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this Holy place [Temple], and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place [Temple], and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, *looking stedfastly on him, saw [observed] his face [with the presence of the Holy Spirit upon him] as it had been the face of an angel [in the very presence of God]. - Stephen living enough in the presence of God to become loving enough to witness to the people around him becomes bold enough to die for the Christian faith and becomes the first Christian martyr.

Acts 7 – Stephen under arrest for blasphemy and on trial for his life in Jerusalem – Stephen uses as his defense the known fact that nearly every single prophet of importance to Israel throughout the history of Israel the people of Israel have first rejected the true Prophet before they ultimately accepted them and their ministry as being of God – Stephen is saying that Jesus was obviously God in the flesh though many people refused to believe it but then rejecting the true Prophets of God is the track record of mankind when it comes to interactions between man and God – Mankind has a propensity to reject the true interaction with God while at the same time embrace the false prophets of the world — ‘Acts 7:52-53 Which of the [true] Prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them [true Prophets] which shewed before [prophesied] of the coming of the Just One [Jesus Christ]; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers [their Jewish forefathers put to death the true prophets but they managed to go a step further and put to death the Messiah, Jesus the one prophesied about]: Who have received the law [the image of Jesus] by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it [because the law revealed the nature of Jesus].’

Acts 7:52-60 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One [Messiah]; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law [Divinely] by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart [enraged in their soul], and they gnashed on him with their teeth. *But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, *looked up stedfastly *into heaven, *and saw the glory of God, *and Jesus *standing [Jesus is standing as the Melchizedek High Priest ready to receive into Heaven the acceptable offering of the sacrifice and life of Stephen] on the right hand of God, And said, **Behold, I see the Heavens opened, and the Son of Man [Jesus] standing on the right hand of God [Father]. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city [outside the city limits, probably at the dump], and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul [later the Apostle Paul] {Note: Saul (the Apostle Paul) although perfectly within his rights did not throw a stone himself - Paul was not the violent aggressor that the secular world wants to portray}. And they [not Saul] stoned Stephen, ***calling upon God, and **saying [as Jesus said from His cross (Luke 23:46)], Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. *And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge [as Jesus had said from His cross (Luke 23:34)]. And when he had said this, he fell asleep [to the Christian death is as harmless as sleep and often in the Bible death is referred to simply as a [harmless] sleep for those who are saved and will awake in Heaven]. - Note: Normally in the Bible Jesus is represented as seated [enthroned]at the right hand of the Father Matthew 26:64)however Stephen describes Jesus as standing - standing is a part of the office of the High Priest - sitting is a part of the office of the King. Jesus preforms all three offices of God as King of the Universe, High Priest [Melchizedek] and True Prophet. The Christian Stephen lived his life with Jesus as his example, he preached his life with Jesus as his example and in his death (sleep) he departed with Jesus as his example and as such Stephen saw Jesus standing in Heaven and was received directly into Heaven receiving what the Apostle Paul would call the martyrs death the "better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35).

wikipedia.org – St. Stephen’s Day [December 26th]: Commemorates Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr

St. Stephen's Day, or the Feast of St. Stephen, is a Christian Saint's day celebrated on 26 December in the Western Church and 27 December in the Eastern Church. Many Eastern Orthodox churches adhere to the Julian calendar and mark St. Stephen's Day on 27 December according to that calendar, which places it on January 9 according to the Gregorian calendar used in secular (and Western) contexts. It commemorates St Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr. -- Protomartyr (Greek "first" + "martyr") is a term for the first Christian martyr in a country. Alternatively, the phrase the Protomartyr (with no other qualification of country or region) can mean Saint Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian church. -- See also: Boxing Day [day after Christiams] - The name derives from the English tradition giving seasonal gifts (in the form of a "Christmas box") to less wealthy people. In the United Kingdom this was later extended to various workpeople such as laborers, servants, tradespeople and postal workers. ... Boxing Day is traditionally celebrated on 26 December, St. Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas Day. Unlike St. Stephen's Day, Boxing Day is a secular holiday and is not always on 26 December: the public holiday is generally moved to the following Monday if 26 December is a Saturday. If 25 December is a Saturday then both the Monday and Tuesday may be public holidays. However the date of observance of Boxing Day varies between countries. In Ireland - when it was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland - the UK's Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the feast day of St Stephen as a non-moveable public holiday on 26 December. Since Partition, the name "Boxing Day" is used only by the authorities in Northern Ireland (which remained part of the United Kingdom). Their Boxing Day is a moveable public holiday in line with the rest of the United Kingdom. The Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971 established "Boxing Day" as a public holiday in Scotland. In the Australian state of South Australia, 26 December is a public holiday known as Proclamation Day. -- Calendar: In the countries that observe this holiday, 26 December is commonly referred to both as Boxing Day and as St. Stephen's Day, no matter what day of the week it occurs. However, in some countries, holidays falling on Saturday or Sunday are observed on the next weekday. Boxing Day cannot be on a Sunday, that day being the officially recognized day of worship, so traditionally it was the next working day of the week following Christmas Day, (i.e. any day from Monday to Saturday). In recent times this tradition has been either forgotten or ignored. Most people consider 26 December to be Boxing Day even when it falls on a Sunday. The last year 26 December was called Christmas Sunday in the United Kingdom and Canada was 1993. The next time the date fell on a Sunday (1999), it was known as Boxing Day. If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, then Monday 28 December is declared a bank or public holiday. In the United Kingdom and some other countries, this is accomplished by Royal Proclamation. In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday that is always celebrated on 26 December. As with most statutory holidays in Canada, if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given in the following week. If Boxing Day falls on a Sunday then Christmas Day would be on a Saturday, so in countries where these are both bank or public holiday, the Statutory Holiday for Christmas is moved to Monday December 27 and the Statutory Holiday for Boxing Day is moved to Tuesday December 28. If Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, then Boxing Day is on Monday 26 December, and no Royal Proclamation is required. In such a circumstance, a 'substitute bank holiday in the place of Christmas Day' is declared for Tuesday 27 December, so the Boxing Day holiday occurs before the substitute Christmas holiday. [link]

Acts 8 – The early Christian Church begins to experience wide scale opposition and persecution — ‘Acts 8:1-3 And Saul [later the Apostle Paul] was consenting unto his [Stephen’s] death. *And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they [Christians – Disciples] were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, *except the Apostles [Apostle means ‘sent out’ at this point in the Church the Disciples basically fled while the Apostles remained calm]. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to *prison [early Christians in Jerusalem were primarily sent to prison for a short time].’

Acts 8:4-25 Therefore they [Christian - Disciples] that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the [Gospel] Word. Then Philip [one of the seven servants as was Stephen] went down to the city of Samaria [ancient capital of Northern Israel], and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon [the Sourcer - Warlock], which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. *But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, *they were baptized, both men and women. *Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God [but not yet the actual Kingdom of God], they sent unto them *Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost [Jesus instructed that the Christian Church would expand orderly and with the participation of Peter (Matthew 16:17-19) the leading Apostle]: For as yet He [Holy Spirit] was fallen upon none of them [Pentecost empowerment]: only they were baptized [Firstfruits] in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they [Peter, John] their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost [i.e. the 2nd Pentecost of the Church "Samaritans" - with the 3rd Pentecost household of Cornelius (Acts 10) Romans-Gentiles yet to come]. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given {actually a new mission field was opened up}, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. **But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee [Peter did not consider Simon the Sourcer to be saved], because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. *Thou [unsaved] hast neither part nor lot in this matter: *for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. *Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. *For I perceive [discern] that thou art in the gall of bitterness [against Jews and Christians], and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon [unwilling to go to God himself], and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. And they, when they had testified and preached the Word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Gospel in many villages [in the now open mission field] of the Samaritans. - The spread of Christianity being a work of God ordained in the Holy Spirit was spread only through the opening of opportunities by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9 – The Pharisee Saul of Tarsus while traveling the road to Damascus experiences a divine encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ of Nazareth and instantly converts to Christianity eventually becoming the Apostle Paul the permanent 12th Apostle (replacing Judas), the leader and human standard for putting forth Christian doctrine and the writer of the majority of the Holy Bible’s New Testament — ‘Acts 9:1-4 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the [Christian] disciples of the Lord, went unto the High Priest, And desired of him letters [of authority] to Damascus to the Synagogues, that if he found any of this way [Christianity], whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. *And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: *and suddenly there shined round about him *a light from Heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?’

Acts 9:5-22 And he [Saul] said, ***Who [Father, Son Jesus or Holy Spirit] art thou, Lord? *And the Lord said, *I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks [the prodding of God to become a Christian]. And *he trembling and astonished *said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice [but unable to hear the words (Acts 22:9)], but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. *And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And *there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord [Jesus] in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord [Jesus]. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive [through confirmation] his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy Saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy Name. *But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: *for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My Name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house [of Judas]; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. *And immediately there fell from his eyes [Jewish blindness (Romans 11:7)] as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, *and arose, *and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. *And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, *that He [Jesus] is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this Name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the Chief Priests? But Saul increased the more in strength [Holy Spirit empowerment], and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving [Biblically] that this [Jesus] is very Christ. - Saul of Tarsus had a Divine encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ and instantly Saul rejected his past and embraced his future realizing the high calling on his life in Jesus Christ. Note: Saul of Tarsus heard the voice of God from Heaven and in one of the great moments of mankind proclaimed "Who art thou, Lord?" Saul knew instantly that God was speaking to Him and he knew just as instantly that God consisted of the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit just as all of the Christian Disciples had been claiming and teaching all along. Saul of Tarsus [later the Apostle Paul] grasped and seized his moment of destiny with God in the same way that other great men of God had been able to grasp the enormity of their encounter with the living God of Heaven and earth. Saul understood his moment with God just as much as Abraham understood his moment with God when Abraham on the Mount of Sacrifice (Genesis 22:8-14) declared "Abraham said, my son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together ... And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the Mount of the LORD it shall be seen." King David understanding the greatness of his Divine moment with God at the Holy entrance of God into His Holy city Jerusalem King David worshiped God not as a King of men but simply as a man of God stripped naked and worshiping in the presence of the Holy God of Israel (2 Samuel 6:14). The Prophet Isaiah grasping the moment (Isaiah 37:14-35) that both the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of God were about to be conquered by the invading Assyrian army, Isaiah rushed into the Temple of God and among the Holy Scrolls spread the letter of defeat before God in the Temple and in a prayer of intercession saved the city of Jerusalem, the Temple and the people of God from the impending attack. The Apostle Peter seized his moment of Divine destiny and Preached to the gathered crowd at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). Saul of Tarsus after hearing the voice of God would rise from the ground and without any disputing or questioning of God's providence and unlike Moses (Exodus 4:10), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:9) the new convert Saul would immediately set his life to fulfill God's calling on his life and with his life as a living sacrifice to God [God the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit] Saul became Paul the Apostle and fulfilled one of the greatest destinies presented by God to a worshiping mankind.

Acts 10 – Acts Chapter 10 – The birth of the Gentile Christian Church — ‘Acts 10:1-7 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a Centurion [soldier – company commander] of the band [unit] called the Italian band, A devout [Gentile] man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the [Jewish and Gentile] people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour [3:00 pm] of the day an Angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he [Angel] said unto him, *Thy prayers and thine alms [giving] are come up for a memorial [eternal remembrance] before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is [Apostle] Peter He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he [Peter] shall [open the doors for the Christian Church to now receive Gentile members] tell thee what thou oughtest to do. …’

Acts 10:7-48 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour ... And the voice [of God] spake unto him [Peter] again the second time, *What God hath cleansed [with His blood on the cross], that call not thou common [unclean]. ... Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. ... Now therefore are we all here present [back at the house of Cornelious in Caesarea] before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee [Peter] of God. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons [Jew or Gentile]: But **in every Nation he that feareth Him [God], and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the Children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all: That Word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea [Israel], and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; *How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. **And we are witnesses of all things which He [Jesus] did both in the land of the Jews, and in [Holy Week] Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed Him openly [visibly]; ***Not to all the people [only Christians (Firstfruits) those haven received the born again' Spirit of Jesus witnessed the Resurrection of Jesus], but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us [Apostles], who did eat and drink [feasting] with Him after He rose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick [living] and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that *through His Name *whosoever believeth in Him *shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, ***the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word [the 3rd and final ethnic Pentecost globally opening the Christian Church to Gentiles]. And they of the circumcision [Jewish Christians] which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid [Baptism] water, that these should not be Baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? *And he commanded them to be Baptized in the Name of the Lord [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit]. Then *prayed [communicated] they him to tarry certain days. - Note: By this time in history with the move of the Holy Spirit to allow Gentiles into the Christian this is about 48 A.D. with the cross, resurrection and Pentecost occurring in about 33 A.D. the Christian Church has been firmly established and is about 15 years old when Gentiles are brought into Christian Fellowship with God. The as a result of Gentiles coming directly into the Christian Church in about 51 A.D. the Christian Church will have its first council the Council of Jerusalem to decide the validity and positioning of Gentiles in the already well-established Christian Church. The decision will be that Gentiles who have also been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ are to be welcomed into the Christian Church as full and equal members in the one universal Church body of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

Acts 11 – The Christian Church in Jerusalem is told by Peter that he was instructed by God to go to Caesarea to preach to the Gentiles and that the Holy Spirit had descended upon the Gentiles and that now through the acceptance of God the Gentiles are converting from Paganism and are now entering into their true Church of God — ‘Acts 11:1-4 And the Apostles and brethren [disciples] that were in Judaea [Israel – Jerusalem] heard that the Gentiles had also received the Word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision [Jewish Christians] contended [argued] with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat [fellowship] with them. But Peter rehearsed the matter [how it was intended by God] from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, …’

Acts 11:19-30 Now they [Jewish Christians] which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians [Gentiles], preaching the Lord Jesus. *And the hand of the Lord was [also] with them: and a great number [of Gentiles] believed, and turned unto the Lord [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit]. Then tidings [news] of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas [Mark's Uncle - Gospel of Mark], that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, *and had seen the Grace of God [among the Gentiles], *was glad, and **exhorted [encouraged] them all [Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians], that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit]. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. *Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul [Apostle Paul]: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that *a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and *taught much people. *And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. *And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth [famine] throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of [Roman Emperor] Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea [Israel]: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. - The early Christian Church exercised great diversity in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Every person within the congregation participated and contributed in some acceptable form or fashion. Barnabas encouraged the people, Saul (Paul) taught the people, others as watchmen prophesied coming events while everyone contributed to the welfare of the grater Christian Church mainly at that time in Jerusalem. - Note: The book of Acts mentions several local prophets and prophecies that at local in scope, composed mainly of events of concern to that day, location or situation. The Book of Acts in regards to Church prophecy seems to be recording a transition the transition from the Old Testament Office of Prophet [given to only a select few] for example Isaiah to the New Testament Gift of Prophecy [given and available at times to every Christian] for example Agabus and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9).

Acts 11 (Part 2) - The early Christian Church in Jerusalem The early Christian Church in Jerusalem was an important witness and an important part of all the things that Jesus did and taught in His earthly Ministry especially regarding the events of Holy Week including the cross, resurrection and 40 days later the Ascension of Jesus back into Heaven from Mount Olivet (near Jerusalem). However the early Church leaders in Jerusalem actually seemed early on to begin to hinder the broader plans and purposes of God that He has for His entire bride of Jesus Christ the Christian Church. The Christian Church in Jerusalem suffered a disproportionate amount of hardships compared to other early Christian Churches including several rather sever famines and eventually in 70 A.D. with the rest of Jerusalem the Christian Church in Jerusalem [what was left of it] ceased to exist and now for almost 2,000 years of Christian Church history there has been no Jerusalem centered leadership for the Christian Church a function that for all practical purposes has emanated from Rome and Catholicism. The Book of Revelation (Revelation 2:5) reveals how Jesus is determined to remove His presence from individual Churches and denominations that cease to be a work of God and instead become a humanistic work of man [glorifying pastors] much as the functioning of the Church in Jerusalem appeared to be. Today in modern Christianity we have a very similar set of circumstances in the Evangelical Church where the leaders, pastors, teachers and organizations of Evangelical Christianity have ceased [or have severely curtailed] to represent God and are now more inclined to represent the agendas and councils of men and as a result the modern broad-based current Evangelical system seems to have come under the judgment of God. This immediately brings up two important points. 1. We as individual Christians do not want to be trapped into a judgment that is upon an unfaithful segment of the Christian Church and therefore we should scatter [like the disciples from Jerusalem] from among the Evangelical establishment so as not to hinder the corrective work of God and by doing so becoming a partaker of their justly deserved plagues. 2. It is notable that God will first judge His Church (1 Peter 4:17) before the great and terrible Revelation judgment of the entire earth and so it seems that Evangelical Christianity is being judged and removed and with a severe judgment upon the Church the global judgment of Revelation may not be far behind. [If many particularly major Evangelical ministries start collapsing and dissolving *consider that primarily it is a judgment from God and do not even consider assisting them either financially or emotionally (to enable them to remain unrepentant) in what will probably be a much lamented and very public time for them but instead come outside of a system that has become corrupted by men and worship God outside the gates of the past Evangelical-Jerusalem failed Church system. - Note: It seems that modern day Evangelical Christians are at the same place where early Jerusalem Christians found themselves just prior to 70 A.D. where they were at one time a part of something that for a moment was unique and spectacular but had failed to move along with the broad-based and determined plans of God so therefore their system was to be upended by God and being in a system that was more of men than of God many of the early disciples in Jerusalem chose to vacate the Jerusalem Church and by doing so saved themselves from much hardship [even from destruction] and were therefore much more able to continue on with their lives and the lives of their family in a much better unhindered and untangled environment and were able with pure hearts to lift up clean and simple hands in complete worship and adoration to God.

Acts 12 – The Apostle James the representative of [and Apostle to] the redeemed group of Martyred Saints of Revelation is himself Martyred — ‘Acts 12:1-2 Now about that time Herod [Antipas] the king [the son of King Herod the Great of Matthew 2:1] stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.’ Note: Jesus only allowed the Disciples Peter, John and James [each representing a distinct group of redeemed – saved people] to witness and participate at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1) and in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33) while the other disciples were excluded.’ – Peter the Apostle representing the Jews (Galatians 2:7), the Disciple John representing the Christian Church (Revelation 4:1) and James the Apostle representing the Martyred Saints of Revelation (Acts 12:2) – John and James were brothers as the Christian Church and the future [primarily Gentile] Martyred Saints of Revelation (Revelation 6:9) are brothers (Revelation 13:7) but are not the same group – The 144,000 (Revelation 7:4) Jewish witnesses of Revelation are also Martyred (Revelation 14:1) during the tribulation period.

The death of Herod Antipas (who put John the Baptist to death) - Herod the Tetrarch (Matthew 14:1): Acts 12:20 And Herod was highly displeased with them [the cities] of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration [speech] unto them. *And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. *And immediately the angel of the Lord smote [stricken] him [Herod], **because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and [five days later] gave up the ghost. *But the Word of God grew and multiplied. And Barnabas and Saul [Apostle Paul] returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry [delivering contributions], and took with them John [Mark John - writer of the Gospel of Mark - nephew of Barnabas], whose surname was Mark.

Jewish historian Josephus (Born: 37 AD – Died: 100 AD) on the Death of Herod [Antipas] (Born: 20 BC – Died: 39 AD) – when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly [infection from worms] for five days, he departed this life

Josephus on the Death of Herod: By Nathan Busenitz - In Acts 12:20-24, Luke records the remarkable account of the death of Herod Agrippa I (who reigned from A.D. 37-44). Below is the same event described by the historian Josephus. It's fascinating stuff. "Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the city Caesarea. . . . . There he exhibited shows in honor of the emperor. . . . On the second day of the festival, Herod put on a garment made wholly of silver, and of a truly wonderful contexture, and came into the theater early in the morning; at which time the silver of his garment was illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun's rays upon it. It shone out after a surprising manner, and was so resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him. At that moment, his flatterers cried out . . . that he was a god; and they added, 'Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature.' Upon this the king did neither rebuke them, nor reject their impious flattery. But as he presently afterward looked up, he saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and he fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, 'I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept of what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner.' After he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad that he would certainly die in a little time. But the multitude presently sat in sackcloth, with their wives and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king's recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, he could not himself forbear weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign." (Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 19.343-350). [link]

Herod Antipas who put John the Baptist to death, son of Herod the Great – was Born: 20 BC – Died: 39 AD – Cause of death: unspecified [infected with worms]

Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great by the Samaritan Malthace, and full brother of Archelaus, received as his share of his father's dominions the provinces of Galilee and Peraea, with the title of tetrarch. Like his father, Antipas had a turn for architecture: he rebuilt and fortified the town of Sepphoris in Galilee; he also fortified Betharamptha in Peraea, and called it Julias after the wife of the emperor. Above all he founded the important town of Tiberias on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee, with institutions of a distinctly Greek character. He reigned 4 BC to 39 AD. In the gospels he is mentioned as Herod. He it was who was called a "fox" by Christ (Luke 13:32). He is erroneously spoken of as a king in Mark 6:14. It was to him that Jesus Christ was sent by Pilate to be tried. But it is in connection with his wife Herodias that he is best known, and it was through her that his misfortunes arose. He was married first of all to a daughter of Aretas, the Arabian king; but, making the acquaintance of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (not the tetrarch), during a visit to Rome, he was fascinated by her and arranged to marry her. Meantime his Arabian wife discovered the plan and escaped to her father, who made war on Herod, and completely defeated his army. John the Baptist condemned his marriage with Herodias, and in consequence was put to death in the way described in the gospels and in Josephus. When Herodias's brother Agrippa was appointed king by Caligula, she was determined to see her husband attain to an equal eminence, and persuaded him, though naturally of a quiet and unambitious temperament, to make the journey to Rome to crave a crown from the emperor. Agrippa, however, managed to influence Caligula against him. Antipas was deprived of his dominions and banished to Lyons, Herodias voluntarily sharing his exile. [link]

Herod the Great (Matthew 2:1) [Father of Herod Antapas] – This revised chronology dates the capture of Jerusalem to 43 B.C., the rebuilding of the Temple to 32 B.C., and Herod’s death to 8 B.C. – Some of the evidence for this revised chronology is summarized below

Herod the great captured Jerusalem for the Romans in the first century B.C. He rebuilt the Second Temple of Jerusalem, the Temple where Christ later taught. Herod tried to kill the Christ-Child, by killing the male children 2 years of age or younger in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. Not long before his own death, Herod put to death about forty Jews who studied at the Temple, "and that very night there was an eclipse of the moon." Biblical chronologists generally date the capture of Jerusalem by Herod to 37 B.C., the rebuilding of the Temple as beginning in 20 B.C., and Herod's death to either 4 B.C. or 1 B.C. This revised chronology dates the capture of Jerusalem to 43 B.C., the rebuilding of the Temple to 32 B.C., and Herod's death to 8 B.C. Some of the evidence for this revised chronology is summarized below. For details and references, please see chapter 12 of the book. 1. According to Josephus, the year in which Herod captured Jerusalem was both a Sabbatical year (which must include the summer before the capture of the city) and a year in which Tishri 10 fell in September. To determine the year of the capture of Jerusalem, we must take both these factors into consideration. Notice, in the Table above, that the usual date for the capture of Jerusalem is ruled out, because Tishri 10 did not fall in September in that year. So far, we have three possible dates for the capture of Jerusalem: 44 B.C., 43 B.C. and 36 B.C. Examining the length of Herod's reign and the year of his death will help us decide between them. [link]

Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:2) – Eusebius quoted some early Apocryphal (the general term ‘Apocryphal’ is usually applied to the books that were considered by the Church as useful, but not divinely inspired – wiki.com) accounts which he did not name, that said Pilate suffered misfortune in the reign of Caligula (AD 37-41), was exiled to Gaul (present day France and Belgium) and eventually committed suicide there in Vienne – There is an old tradition linking the birthplace of Pilate with the small village of Bisenti, Samnite territory, in today’s Abruzzo region of Central Italy. There are ruins of a Roman house known as “The House of Pilate” – [Eusebius born 263 AD – died 339 AD – became the Bishop of Caesarea [home of Cornelius (48 A.D.) – Acts 10:1], in Palestine (Israel), about the year 314 A.D. – wiki.com]

Etymology of the name Pilatus: There are several possible origins for the cognomen Pilatus. A commonly accepted one is that it means "skilled with the javelin". The pilum (= javelin) was five feet of wooden shaft and two feet of tapered iron. When the point penetrated a shield, the shaft would bend and hang down, thus rendering it impossible to throw back. Another definite origin of Pilatus was the name given to a hat worn by the devotees of the Dioskouroi. The Castorian cult was well established throughout the empire and persisted well into the 5th Century AD particularly among the Dacian and Sarmatian soldiers throughout the frontiers of the empire. The name Pileatus was used as a cognomen by the descendants of Burebista of Dacia whose descendants are known to have been soldiers who were stationed in Judea, Britain, Spain, Gaul, and Germany. -- Birth, life and death in legend: Pilate's date and place of birth are unknown. An 1899 article in the New York Times references a Scottish legend that Pilate's father was an ambassador to the Caledonians and that he was born in Fortingall in Glen Lyon, Perthshire; this legend is quite common in Highland Perthshire. The 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Pilate said that Pontius suggested a Samnite origin-among the Pontii-and his cognomen Pileatus, if it derived from the pileus or cap of liberty, implied that he was either descended from, or had been himself a freedman. It is also commonly believed that the name 'Pontius' implies that he was descended from Gaius Pontius, the Samnite General. One tradition relates that he married Claudia Procula, daughter of illegitimate birth to Julia, Augustus' only natural offspring and adopted by Tiberius who had previously been married to Julia. Eusebius quoted some early apocryphal accounts which he did not name, that said Pilate suffered misfortune in the reign of Caligula (AD 37-41), was exiled to Gaul and eventually committed suicide there in Vienne. There is an old tradition linking the birthplace of Pilate with the small village of Bisenti, Samnite territory, in today's Abruzzo region of Central Italy. There are ruins of a Roman house known as "The House of Pilate."  [link]

Acts 13 – The Missionary efforts of the Christian Church primarily to Gentiles begins with Saul [Apostle Paul] and Barnabas being sent out (Apostle) by the Holy Spirit on the first of three Missionary trips undertaken by the Apostle Paul and recorded in the book of Acts — ‘Acts 13:1-4 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen [a childhood friend of Herod], which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul [Apostle Paul]. ***As they ministered to the Lord [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit], and fasted, *the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the [Missionary] work whereunto I have called them. And when they [Church fellowship] had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, *being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia [in modern Syria]; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.’ – Note: Where Jesus is the head and authority of the Christian Church it is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit that is in charge of gathering, assembling and orchestrating the Christian Church into becoming the one assembled Bride of Jesus Christ.

Acts 13:43-52 Now when the [Jewish synagogue] (redeemed - Jewish redemption) congregation was [concluded for the Saturday] broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next Sabbath day [Saturday] came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God [for salvation] should first have been spoken to you [Jews the redeemed of God]: but seeing ye put it [Salvation] from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life [here and now], lo, *we turn to the Gentiles. *For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for *salvation [eternal life] unto the ends of the earth. *And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them [evicted] out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. - Note: What is being offered to the Jews is salvation. The [observant obedient - Synagogue] Jews are already redeemed (in the presence of God) and for the redeemed Jews salvation comes *after death. Jesus is offering Salvation [eternal life] here and now. The Gentiles [us]do not have redemption as the observant Jews do, some Gentiles are (saved) in that their conscience was a witness to them that there is a God but they were saved (also after death) not directly knowing God and not being in the presence of God as the redeemed Jews are. Gentiles who become Christians receive instantly both the Redemption (without sin in the presence of God) and Salvation (eternal life). Where the Jews have Jewish redemption and eventually (after death) eternal life (Salvation) a redeemed Jew can become a Christian and then also receive Salvation already having redemption but the Gentiles coming into the Christian Church only have the option of Salvation and with Christian Salvation comes redemption.

PAUL [the Apostle] has been called the greatest Christian who ever lived

PAUL has been called the greatest Christian who ever lived. He also suffered greatly for the name of Jesus Christ. When Paul defended his calling to the Church, he defined suffering as a major proof of his spiritual office. 'I have worked much harder,' he insisted, 'been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again' (2 Corinthians 11:23). Strength in Weakness: But Paul's many trials did not deter him from living the Christian life. Neither did they restrict his preaching the gospel. To the contrary, suffering seemed to impel Paul to even greater spiritual service. The apostle Paul said something remarkable about his adversities: 'For Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:10). We shouldn't, however, think of Paul as bigger than life or an indestructible superman. There were times when the tremendous hardships he confronted were far beyond his human endurance. After suffering one rather malicious incident of persecution, Paul admitted he and his companions 'despaired even of life' (2 Corinthians 1:8). But Paul had faith in the living God to see him through his trial. 'On him we have set our hope,' wrote Paul, 'that he will continue to deliver us' (verse 10). But as Paul's life demonstrates, God usually delivers us out of troubles we are already in, not necessarily from troubles before they begin. Yet, as we must, Paul was able to rise above all his many afflictions. How did he do it? And how can we surmount our trials and troubles? Paul certainly didn't overcome by his own strength or will. He never took personal credit for being able to bear his painfully heavy cross. He attributed his spiritual muscle to its true source - Jesus Christ. Paul said: 'I can do everything through him who gives me strength' (Philippians 4:13). He exulted, not in his own will and courage, but in the power of Christ in him. By his example we know that we, too, have access to the same spiritual power and courage. [link]

Seleucia [near Antioch (Syria)] – Seleucia was the seaport from which Paul and Barnabas left [from the Church in Antioch] with John Mark [Mark who the departed from the mission at Pamphylia] for their first missionary journey (in approximately 49 A.D.) (Photos)

Seleucus I Nicator of Syria founded Seleucia Pieria in 301 B.C. as a port for his capital in Antioch. The city became one of the "Syrian Tetrapolis," designed to promote Hellenistic culture in Syria. It was then an important political, military, and economic game piece in the Ptolemaic-Seleucid wars. In 63 B.C. Rome made Seleucia a free city and then in 70 A.D. made it the base for the imperial fleet. ... see Acts 13:4). Part of the ancient (manmade) harbor can still be seen, although it has since silted up. This harbor caused continual problems and required frequent maintenance. ... Titus' Tunnel: A stream which led into the harbor was so threatening during the flood season that the Romans built a water channel north of the city to divert it. Legionaries, sailors, and Judean prisoners provided the work for the project. Titus' tunnel, as it is called today, cuts through the solid rock of the mountain in two places. ... Vespasian Inscription: The tunnel is dated based on two inscriptions. The inscription shown here was dedicated to Vespasian and Titus, so construction of the tunnel probably began in 70 A.D. However it was not finished until the second century. [link]

Map of Paul’s First [of Three] Missionary Journeys – [Paul made a fourth documented trip – as prisoner in his first visit to Rome] – This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey around 48 AD (Map – List of Bible Verses)

This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey. Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were sent on a mission from the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. They had been gone for a year and a half planting churches and appointing elders. They had traveled approximately 1,250 miles. When they [Paul and Barnabas] returned they reported to the Church [in Antioch and later in Jerusalem] all that had happened.  [link

Acts 14 – The first Missionary Journey continues and the Apostles [Paul and Barnabas] continue to experience and to witness firsthand both the events of miraculous conversions to Christianity from some and from others outright hostile opposition against Christianity — ‘Acts 14:3-7 Long time therefore abode [in the city of Iconium] they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave Testimony unto the Word of His [Jesus’] Grace, and granted [miraculous] signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the Apostles. And when there was *an assault made *both of the *Gentiles, and also of the *Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, They were aware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: And there they [also] preached the gospel.’

The first Missionary Journey is successfully concluded: Acts 14:21-28 And when they had preached the gospel to that city [Derbe], and had taught many, they **returned again to Lystra [where Paul was taken outside the city and stoned to death - and also where the Disciple Timothy (1st and 2nd Timothy) was from who joined Paul on the 2nd Missionary Journey], and to Iconium, and Antioch (Pisidia)[now modern central Turkey], **Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia [where Mark left them and the Missionary Journey (a journey Mark was not originally called by the Holy Spirit to be a part of) and went back to Jerusalem]. And when they had preached the Word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: And thence sailed to Antioch (Syria - now modern costal Turkey) [North of Israel - near the port of Seluecia where they originally left from], from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church [in Antioch] together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples.

Ancient Syrian Antioch (Modern Antakya in Turkey): Seventeen ancient cities in present day Turkey were named Antioch but only two are remembered today in a historical sense – One is modern day Antakya (located in ancient Syria) and the other is Antioch in Pisidia (Central Turkey)

Overview: A city of southern Turkey on the Orontes River near the Mediterranean Sea. Seventeen ancient cities in present day Turkey were named Antioch but only two are remembered today in a historical sense. One is modern day Antakya (located in ancient Syria) and the other is Antioch in Pisidia ... The plain of Antioch was occupied from the Neolithic onwards but the city itself was not founded until 300 B.C. by the Greek General Seleucus I after the death of Alexander the Great. Antioch was one of the two capitals of the Parthian Empire and was populated by indigenous groups and Greek colonists. It became a Roman city in 64 B.C. and was made the administrative capital of the Roman Province of Syria. [link]

Acts 15 – The 1st Church Council takes place about 52 A.D. at the Church in Jerusalem – The 1st Church Council was specifically in regard to the major number of Gentiles that were now joining the Christian Church daily [predominantly through Missionary efforts] and whether or not the Gentiles would have to be circumcised and observe any of the Jewish customs or take part in any of the established laws of Moses — ‘Acts 15:6 And the Apostles and [Church] Elders [including James the ½ brother of Jesus] came together for to consider of this matter.’

Acts 15:6-22 And the Apostles and Elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing [arguing], [Apostle] Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago [Cornelius and his household at Caesarea] God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, *giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, **purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke [law of Moses] upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? **But we believe that through the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we [Jews who are Redeemed] shall be Saved, even as they [Gentiles who are now being Saved - Salvation]. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James [the ½ brother of Jesus - Church leader in Jerusalem] answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon [Apostle Peter] hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, ***to take out of them a [Christian] people for His Name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After [Gentile Christian Church] this I [Messiah] will return [2nd Coming], and will build again the Tabernacle [House - Dwelling] of [the Throne of King] David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That [during the Christian Church Age] the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My Name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. ***Known unto God are all His works ***from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God [those who have the Holy Spirit]: But that we write unto them, *that they abstain from pollutions of [Gentile] idols, and from [Gentile] fornication, and from things strangled [Jewish law], and from blood [Jewish law]. **For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him [abstain from idols and fornication because it is un-Christian, abstain from unclean food and blood only if it offends the local Jewish population], being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole Church [in Jerusalem], to send chosen men of their own company to [the Church in] Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren ... - Note: The early Church recognized that God was active in calling Gentiles into His Christian Church and they also recognized that the Gentiles would have to conduct their new life in a manner consistent with Biblical Christianity and finally they concluded that it is important for Christians not to openly offend those that have remained Jewish. Also Note: All food including blood is now clean because the eternal blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed the world. Eating animal blood and probably human blood if it were obtained in a legal manner does not make a person unclean. Satan has devised a scheme that the world is unclean however it is not. It is unprofitable to do questionable things and germs and disease might be involved but if someone for example drank pig blood thinking it is an evil act the act itself is not but the intentions of their heart might be. - Some cultures eat blood foods and if the Jews are simply notified that it is a custom and not a slight on Moses then they are free to eat their blood food of course not offering any of it to a devout Jewish person because that would be terribly offensive. The 1st Church council was saying to the Gentiles to have our Christian Gentile liberties but also to be mindful and respectful of the [Redeemed] Jews who do still follow the laws of Moses. [article link]

Acts 15 (Part 2) – Christian Church Councils – All of the Church Councils throughout history have dealt specifically with the issues of God’s Redemptive and Salvation plan for mankind and in light of God’s plan for mankind the councils have also attempt to explain who God is to mankind – A Note of Encouragement: Participation in the blog Bible Study has been going extraordinarily well since the start of the study and it continues as one of the most active projects on the Basic Christian website. I’m encouraged and blessed daily by the numbers of people who are so actively studying the Bible and seeking a direct relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Continue with prayer, study and fellowship! Continue the good work in Jesus Christ!

A brief background note on the blog Bible Study and a summary of Redemption and Salvation: The Bible is about the Redemption and Salvation plan of God for mankind therefore the blog Bible Study is attempting to be about the Redemption and Salvation of mankind in examining the predetermined plan of God in Jesus Christ for mankind. - Summary: Adam and his wife [later named Eve] were both a part of the original creation of God and were both created possessing Redemption [in the visible, perceivable presence of God] and Salvation [eternal life]. With the fall of Adam and Eve by disobedience to God that directly resulted in sin against God then Adam and Eve lost their Redemption and Salvation and as a result of not having Redemption and Salvation they were then unable to pass along Redemption and Salvation to any of their descendants including us at our present day. The very children of Adam and Eve were without God in any form except in the brief [redemptive] knowledge of God that their parents Adam and Eve were able tell them about from their experiences and for a few corrective and punitive [redemptive] measures from God. It seems we fail to realize how complete the sin separation was for mankind and how devastating the results were. Adam and Eve were a part of the original creation of God and then their immediate children [Cain, Abel, Seth, etc.] composed a group of individuals separated from God but were able through the instructions of their parents to follow substitutional sacrificial practices. This group highly separated from God consisting of individuals and families were known as the 'sacrificing righteous Gentiles' a group of disorganized individuals that encompassed the highly personally [self] esteemed Job and it finally the system spun completely out of control and came to an end in the folly of Balaam the last of the sacrificing Gentiles. God chose the man Abram (Abraham) and his wife Sarai (Sarah) from among the sacrificing Gentiles to become the father of the Jewish Nation of further redeemed of God. Jewish Redemption was to bring mankind through the laws, customs and representation of God into a more direct and more Redeemed presence of God [as an example for all of mankind] than any of mankind had previously been since the fall of mankind. God Redeemed the Jewish Nation of Israel through Covenants (Promises), Laws (Society), Kings (representation of God), Priests (access for the people to God), Prophets (access from God to the people) all a direct representation of the one coming Jesus Christ the Messiah of all mankind. With the now accomplished Redemption and Salvation for all mankind in the Messiah Jesus Christ the finalized Christian Salvation and Redemption provided in the Virgin birth, atoning Redemption blood and eternal Salvation resurrection life of Jesus Christ is the completed work of God among mankind however not everyone is yet at the completed Christian work of God in mankind. The work of God in convicting Gentiles [in remote areas who have not heard the Gospel] through their conscience about the Holy God and through the enormity and splendor of God's creation continues. Also the Redemption of the Jewish people and Nation of Israel continues and soon another group of Redeemed the End Time Martyred Saints of Revelation will be established and quickly joined by the Redeemed 144,000 [Jewish Firstfruits (Revelation 14:4), Jews who acknowledge Jesus and remain Jewish] Jewish Witnesses of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Then after the return of Jesus Christ and during His 1,000 year Righteous Kingdom reign here on earth there will be another group of Redeemed 'Millennial Saints' to continue to fulfill and establish the Redemption and Salvation plan of God in Jesus Christ existing for all of mankind throughout every age and into all of eternity.

The Council of Jerusalem Acts 15:6-31 (Approx. 52 A.D.): where we read of the first General Church Council – A serious question of doctrine arose, and “the apostles and the presbyters came together to consider this matter” – The decree of the Council of Jerusalem went on, then, to establish a binding obligation upon all Christians in the local churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: “that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality” (Acts 15:29) – Did the local churches bristle at this imposition of doctrine and practice from the ecclesiastical leadership of the whole Church? Not at all, but rather they “rejoiced over its encouragement” (Acts 15:31) {The 50 A.D. Jerusalem Council decision was yes, Gentiles can become Christians and then simple directions and reminders were given so that the new Gentile Christians would not offend God. The food (abstain from eating blood) decision was given so that Christians would not offend the Jews. Christians can eat any food however God is still protecting the Jews and He does not want them offended by others even Christians. Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them (Jews) that preach (law) him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.}

The Council of Jerusalem: We may prove this quite readily by turning to Acts 15:6-31, where we read of the first General Church Council. A serious question of doctrine arose, and "the apostles and the presbyters came together to consider this matter" (Acts 15:6). After hearing the arguments and testimony of Peter, Paul and Barnabas, the leader of the Council, James [half brother of Jesus, writer of the book of James], then passed a decree with the words, "Therefore I judge" (Acts 15:19, 'dio ego krino'). This passage describes no truly democratic process, but rather it describes submission to the judgment of a central ecclesiastical authority [an authority completely submitted to Jesus Christ]. -- After receiving the judgment of James, "it pleased the apostles and presbyters together with the whole Church" (Acts 15:22: 'apostolois kai tois presbyterois syn hole ekklesia') to dispatch delegates with a letter promulgating the decree of the Council. The council then drafted a letter in the name of "the apostles and the brother-presbyters" (Acts 15:23: 'hoi apostoloi kai hoi presbyteroi adelphoi'). This phrasing, and especially the apposition of 'presbyteroi' and 'adelphoi', is quite precise in establishing the authority of the decision of the Council in the office of the ministers who serve and lead the Church, as opposed to a democratic process. -- Does the phrase "whole Church" here refer to the universal Church, or merely to the entirety of the congregation at Jerusalem. Recalling that the leadership of the Council was comprised of the apostles who were planting local churches in the Hellenistic world, delegates of the Hellenistic churches, and the presbyters of the church at Jerusalem, we can only rightly conclude that they spoke in the name of the universal Church. Indeed, the letter explicitly states that the authors speak in the authority of the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28); since Paul tells us that it is by one Spirit that we were baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13) which is Christ (1 Cor. 12:27) and over which Christ is the head (1 Eph. 1:22-23), when Luke writes in Acts 15:22 of the leadership of the whole Church assenting to the decree of James which is binding on all Gentile Christians, he is necessarily speaking of the Church in its universal or catholic sense. -- The Council then sent the letter to the local churches in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. This letter remarks that the false doctrine which the council repudiated was in fact discernibly false because "we gave no such commandments" (Acts 15:24). Hence, the Bible tells us that right doctrine is subject to the discernment of the leadership of the whole Church. The decree of the Council of Jerusalem went on, then, to establish a binding obligation upon all Christians in the local churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: "that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality" (Acts 15:29). Did the local churches bristle at this imposition of doctrine and practice from the ecclesiastical leadership of the whole Church? Not at all, but rather they "rejoiced over its encouragement" (Acts 15:31). Clearly, the Bible itself sets a precedent for the government of the universal Church by means of General Councils. [link]

wikipedia.org: First Council of Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 AD – The First Council of Nicaea is commonly regarded to have been the first Ecumenical [representing the whole Christian Church] council of the Christian Church [that is if neglecting the Council of Jerusalem in 52 AD] – Most significantly, it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Creed of Nicaea

History: The purpose of a creed is to act as a yardstick of correct belief. The creeds of Christianity have been drawn up at times of conflict about doctrine: acceptance or rejection of a creed served to distinguish believers and deniers of a particular doctrine or set of doctrines. For that reason a creed was called in Greek a word that meant half of a broken object which, when placed together with the other half, verified the bearer's identity. The Greek word passed through Latin "symbolum" into English "symbol", which only later took on the meaning of an outward sign of something. The Nicene Creed was adopted in the face of the Arian controversy. Arius, a Libyan preacher, had declared that although Jesus Christ was divine, God had actually created him, and there was a time when he was not. This made Jesus less than the Father and contradicted the doctrine of the Trinity. Arius's teaching provoked a serious crisis. The Nicene Creed of 325 explicitly affirms the divinity of Jesus, applying to him the term "God". The 381 version speaks of the Holy Spirit as worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son. The Athanasian Creed describes in much greater detail the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Apostles' Creed, not formulated in reaction to Arianism, makes no explicit statements about the divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit, but, in the view of many who use it, the doctrine is implicit in it. [link]

Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. – Constantinople Creed of 381 A.D.

First Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day He rose again, ascended into heaven; From thence he shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. -- First Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.) We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (eons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick (living) and the dead; *whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. [link]

4 Great Church Councils Part 1 & 2 (Mp3s) {Note: The Council of Jerusalem Acts 15:6-31 (Approx. 52 A.D.) is the original and first Christian Church Council. All of the later Church Councils are modeled after the first Jerusalem Council.}

Excellent!!!  [link]

The Bible and The Creeds – Sermon Series: An Introduction to the Creeds (Mp3s)

Brian Borgman is the founding pastor of Grace Community Church. He earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Biola University (La Mirada, CA), a Master of Divinity from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary (Portland, OR) and a Doctor of Ministry from Westminster Seminary (Escondido, CA). [link]

Book of Common Prayer (1662) – “I believe there is no Liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety than the Common Prayer of the Church of England” John Wesley (PDF)

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England (you can download it by clicking the picture to the left or the link below) is still technically the only "official" prayer book of the Church of England, the mother church (for the moment at least) of the Anglican Communion. It itself is the result of more than a century of liturgical development through a turbulent time in British history. Its literary and theological influence is immense; this alone makes it an important document. [link]

Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) – Downloadable Documents (Doc)

The Westminster Catechism was completed in 1647 by the Westminster Assembly and continues to serve as part of the doctrinal standards of many Presbyterian churches. [link]

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) – Downloadable Documents (PDF)

In 1643, during a period of civil war, the English "Long Parliament" (under the control of Presbyterian Puritans) convened an Assembly of Divines (mostly Puritan ministers, including a few influential Scottish commissioners) at Westminster Abbey in London. Their task was to advise Parliament on how to bring the Church of England into greater conformity with the Church of Scotland and the Continental Reformed churches. The Westminster Assembly produced documents on doctrine, church government, and worship that have largely defined Presbyterianism down to this day. These documents included a Confession of Faith (1646), a Larger Catechism (1647), and a Shorter Catechism (1647), often collectively called "the Westminster standards." Parliamentary efforts to reconstitute the established Church of England along Presbyterian lines were soon thwarted by the rise to power of Cromwell (who favored Independency) and the expulsion of Presbyterians from Parliament in 1648, and then the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, which quickly led to the reinstitution of Episcopacy and the suppression of Puritanism. -- But things were different in Scotland. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland adopted the Confession of Faith in 1647 and the Catechisms in 1648. The Scottish Parliament ratified them in 1649 and again (after a time of political and religious strife) in 1690. The Presbyterian character of the Church of Scotland was safeguarded when Scotland and England were united under one crown in 1707. Numerous Presbyterian bodies have been formed since then, both in the United Kingdom and around the world, and they have always been constituted on the basis of the Westminster standards (although declension from them has sometimes followed). -- When the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was formed in 1788, it adopted the Westminster standards, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures. However, it revised chapters 20.4, 23.3, and 31.2 of the Confession, basically removing the civil magistrate (i.e., the state) from involvement in ecclesiastical matters. [link]

The Westminster Confession of Faith 1648 – The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) and its related documents are the greatest of all the creeds of the Christian church (Mp3s)

"As truly as in the cases of the Nicene and Chalcedonian formularies, the Westminster Standards mark an epoch in the history of human reflection on the truths of the gospel--an epoch in the attainment and registry of doctrinal truth; and as truly in the one case as in the other the statements they give of the truths that fall in their sphere are scientifically final. All attempts at restatement must either repeat their definitions or fall away from the purity of their conceptions or the justness of their language." (Benjamin B. Warfield, "The Significance of the Westminster Standards as a Creed," 1897). [link]

Historic Baptist Documents – Confessions, Catechisms, Creeds

Many contemporaries have a deep-seated suspicion of catechisms. In our own Baptist denomination, many would consider the words "Baptist catechism" as mutually exclusive. A popular misconception is that catechisms are used in times and places where inadequate views of conversion predominate or the fires of evangelism have long since turned to white ash. If the Bible is preached, they continue, no catechism is necessary; catechisms tend to produce mere intellectual assent where true heart religion is absent. This concern reflects a healthy interest for the experiential side of true Christianity. Concern for conversion and fervor, however, should never diminish one's commitment to the individual truths of Christianity nor the necessity of teaching them in a full and coherent manner.~An Encouragement to Use Catechisms, Tom Nettles. [link]

Acts 16 – The Apostle Paul departs for his 2nd of three Missionary Journeys – Barnabas and Paul have divided company so Paul takes Silas on his second journey — ‘Acts 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, *with many others also. And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again [on a 2nd Missionary Journey] and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them [Mark] John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. *And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder [split] one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren [fellow Christians] unto the grace of God. And [starting] he went through Syria and Cilicia [local existing Churches], confirming the Churches.’

Acts 16:1-4 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra [where Paul was stoned to death on the first trip]: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus [Timothy, 1st and 2nd Timothy], the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess [Jewish], and believed; but his father was a Greek [Gentile]: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. **Him [Timothy, ½ Jewish - ½ Gentile] would Paul have to go forth with him; *and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek [but that his mother was Jewish so Timothy should have been circumcised as an infant - Paul was trying to right a previous wrong - and most importantly Paul was trying to find a way for Christianity and Judaism to exist side by side an effort that will almost get Paul killed and will lead to his arrest and being sent to Rome]. And as they [Paul, Silas, Timothy and soon Luke (Acts 16:11)] went through the cities, *they delivered them the decrees [New Testament writings - book of James - probably Gospel of Matthew - and possibly the Didache (extra-Biblical material)] for to keep, that were ordained of the Apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. ... Acts 16:5-10 And so were the Churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of *Galatia [book of Galatians], **and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia [even though the Holy Spirit had previously directed the Apostle Peter to open up Christianity to all ethnicities there are still barriers that remain in preaching and spreading the Gospel], After they were come [diverted] to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not [again more barriers and another closed door]. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. *And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a [contact] man of Macedonia, and prayed [asked] him, saying, Come over into Macedonia [Greece], and help us. And after he had seen the vision, *immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us [the door was open] for to preach the gospel unto them. ... Acts 16:16-32 And it came to pass [in the city of Philippi, later the book (letter) of Philippians], as we went to prayer, a certain damsel [young lady] *possessed with a spirit of divination [lit. python] [knowledge of Satan's plans or intentions for people, always bondage, usually false hope and often evil - i.e. tragedy, death, illness] met us, which brought her masters much gain [money] by soothsaying [fortunetelling]: *The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation {she has the Holy Spirit of God upon here (since Pentecost - Acts 2:17) and an conflicting evil spirit inside of her}. And this did she many days [Paul took a while to assess and discern the spirits at work through and around her] {not outright confusion but a grey (foggy) area of Christianity and of the world - the events of the world and of the spiritual realm are not always just black and white and we do need to pray and to exercise and use Biblical discernment}. **But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit [of divination], I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her [stop possessing her]. And he came out the same hour [hour - with concern, patience and discernment]. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains [the evil spirit] was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates [city officials], saying, These men, being Jews [early Christianity until Rome's edict was still considered a sect of Judaism], do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner [most escape proof part of the] prison, *and made their feet fast in the stocks [wooden handcuffs]. ***And at midnight [the darkest hour] Paul and Silas *prayed, *and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great [actual] earthquake [God intervened], so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled [escaped]. *But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here [we value your life and have not fled]. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas [grateful they did not flee], And brought them out, **and said, Sirs, what must I do to be Saved? **And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house [Christianity is available to everyone, male, female, young, old, etc.]. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. - The life changing message of Christianity continues to be given to a grateful mankind!

The Didache [lit. The Teachings] – The Didache is also called the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” – It was possibly written around 65 – 80 A.D. {possibly 52 A.D. about the time of the letter from the 1st Church Council in Jerusalem} and is supposed to be what the twelve apostles taught to the Gentiles concerning life and death, church order, fasting, baptism, prayer, etc. – There is debate as to its authenticity – The work is cited by Eusebius who lived from 260 – 341 [A.D.] and Athanasius (293-373 A.D.) It seems to be referenced by Origen who lived from 185-254 [A.D.] – In the Didache, 16:2-3 is quoted in the Epistle of Barnabbas in 4:9, or vice versa – The Epistle of Barnabbas was [possibly] written in 130-131 A.D. – The Didache is not (purely) inspired {extra-Biblical}, but is valuable as an early church document

A total of 16 Chapters: CHAPTER 1 1:1 There are two paths, one of life and one of death, and the difference is great between the two paths. 1:2 Now the path of life is this -- first, thou shalt love the God who made thee, thy neighbor as thyself, and all things that thou wouldest not should be done unto thee, do not thou unto another. 1:3 And the doctrine of these maxims is as follows. Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies. Fast on behalf of those that persecute you; for what thank is there if ye love them that love you? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? But do ye love them that hate you, and ye will not have an enemy. 1:4 Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If anyone give thee a blow on thy right cheek, turn unto him the other also, and thou shalt be perfect; if any one compel thee to go a mile, go with him two; if a man take away thy cloak, give him thy coat also; if a man take from thee what is thine, ask not for it again, for neither art thou able to do so. 1:5 Give to everyone that asketh of thee, and ask not again; for the Father wishes that from his own gifts there should be given to all. Blessed is he who giveth according to the commandment, for he is free from guilt; but woe unto him that receiveth. For if a man receive being in need, he shall be free from guilt; but he who receiveth when not in need, shall pay a penalty as to why he received and for what purpose; and when he is in tribulation he shall be examined concerning the things that he has done, and shall not depart thence until he has paid the last farthing. 1:6 For of a truth it has been said on these matters, let thy almsgiving abide in thy hands until thou knowest to whom thou hast given. CHAPTER 2 2:1 But the second commandment of the teaching is this. 2:2 Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not corrupt youth; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use soothsaying; thou shalt not practice sorcery; thou shalt not kill a child by abortion, neither shalt thou slay it when born; thou shalt not covet the goods of thy neighbour; 2:3 thou shalt not commit perjury; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not speak evil; thou shalt not bear malice; 2:4 thou shalt not be double-minded or double-tongued, for to be double tongued is the snare of death. 2:5 Thy speech shall not be false or empty, but concerned with action. 2:6 Thou shalt not be covetous, or rapacious, or hypocritical, or malicious, or proud; thou shalt not take up an evil design against thy neighbour; 2:7 thou shalt not hate any man, but some thou shalt confute, concerning some thou shalt pray, and some thou shalt love beyond thine own soul. CHAPTER 3 3:1 My child, fly from everything that is evil, and from everything that is like to it. 3:2 Be not wrathful, for wrath leadeth unto slaughter; be not jealous, or contentious, or quarrelsome, for from all these things slaughter ensues. 3:3 My child, be not lustful, for lust leadeth unto fornication; be not a filthy talker; be not a lifter up of the eye, for from all these things come adulteries. 3:4 My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leadeth to idolatry, nor a user of spells, nor an astrologer, nor a travelling purifier, nor wish to see these things, for from all these things idolatry ariseth. 3:5 My child, be not a liar, for lying leadeth unto theft; be not covetous or conceited, for from all these things thefts arise. 3:6 My child, be not a murmurer, since it leadeth unto blasphemy; be not self-willed or evil-minded, for from all these things blasphemies are produced; 3:7 but be thou meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth; 3:8 be thou longsuffering, and compassionate, and harmless, and peaceable, and good, and fearing alway the words that thou hast heard. 3:9 Thou shalt not exalt thyself, neither shalt thou put boldness into thy soul. Thy soul shall not be joined unto the lofty, but thou shalt walk with the just and humble. 3:10 Accept the things that happen to thee as good, knowing that without God nothing happens. CHAPTER 4 4:1 My child, thou shalt remember both night and day him that speaketh unto thee the Word of God; thou shalt honour him as thou dost the Lord, for where the teaching of the Lord is given, there is the Lord; 4:2 thou shalt seek out day by day the favour of the saints, that thou mayest rest in their words; 4:3 thou shalt not desire schism, but shalt set at peace them that contend; thou shalt judge righteously; thou shalt not accept the person of any one to convict him of transgression; 4:4 thou shalt not doubt whether a thing shall be or not. 4:5 Be not a stretcher out of thy hand to receive, and a drawer of it back in giving. 4:6 If thou hast, give by means of thy hands a redemption for thy sins. 4:7 Thou shalt not doubt to give, neither shalt thou murmur when giving; for thou shouldest know who is the fair recompenser of the reward. 4:8 Thou shalt not turn away from him that is in need, but shalt share with thy brother in all things, and shalt not say that things are thine own; for if ye are partners in what is immortal, how much more in what is mortal? 4:9 Thou shalt not remove thine heart from thy son or from thy daughter, but from their youth shalt teach them the fear of God. 4:10 Thou shalt not command with bitterness thy servant or thy handmaid, who hope in the same God as thyself, lest they fear not in consequence the God who is over both; for he cometh not to call with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit hath prepared. 4:11 And do ye servants submit yourselves to your masters with reverence and fear, as being the type of God. 4:12 Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy and everything that is not pleasing to God; 4:13 thou shalt not abandon the commandments of the Lord, but shalt guard that which thou hast received, neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom; 4:14 thou shalt confess thy transgressions in the Church, and shalt not come unto prayer with an evil conscience. This is the path of life. ... [link]

Acts 17 – The 2nd Missionary Journey continues to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ into further reaches of mankind — ‘Acts 17:1-4 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica [1st and 2nd Thessalonians], where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days *reasoned {now the Book of Hebrews} with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and *risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ [Messiah]. And some of them believed …’

Paul's sermon in Athens Greece at the Mars Hill outdoor Auditorium: Acts 17:16-34 Now while Paul waited for them [Silas and Timothy] at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. *Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, *and in the market daily with them [Gentiles] that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans [pleasure seekers - food, wine, music, sex, adventure, etc.], and of the Stoicks (Stoicism) [pleasure deniers - no emotions, submit the body to the mind, overcome all obstacles in life with no emotions], encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because *he [Paul] preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. *And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus [Mars' Hill], saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, **Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are *too *superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I [starting with God's creation] unto you. God that made [created] the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord [owner - authority] of Heaven and earth, **dwelleth not in temples made with hands; *Neither is worshipped with men's hands [abilities, accomplishments], as though He [God] needed anything [for His existence from man], seeing He [God] giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; **And hath made of one blood [Adam and Eve] *all Nations of men [everyone] for to dwell on all the face of the earth, *and hath determined the times [generations] before appointed, and the bounds [city, state, nation - Limits] of their habitation; [restrictions] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel [with their conscious] after Him, and find Him, though he be not far from every one of us [God is always close]: ***For in Him [in God's created realms] we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own [Greek] poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit] is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. **And the times of this ignorance [before Pentecost] God winked at [allowed mankind to rebel]; ***but now [after the cross, resurrection, Pentecost] commandeth all men everywhere to repent [in the Church age]: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Son of Man] whom He hath ordained; whereof ***He hath given assurance unto all men, ***in that he hath raised [resurrection] Him [Jesus - Son of God - Son of Man] from the dead. *And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, *some mocked: and *others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. *Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed [became Christians]: *among the which was *Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named *Damaris, *and others with them.

Areopagus (Mars Hill), Athens [Greece] – The Areopagus or Mars Hill is a bare marble hill next to the Acropolis in Athens – It is especially popular with travelers for its connections with a speech made by Paul the Apostle (Photos)

History: In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, like the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership derived from those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 462 BC, Ephialtes put through reforms which deprived the Areopagus of almost all its functions except that of a murder tribunal. In classical times, the Areopagus functioned as the chief homicide court of Athens. At the foot of the Areopagus was a temple dedicated to the Erinyes, where murderers could find sanctuary. -- In the Bible: The Areopagus, like most city-state institutions, continued to function in Roman times, and it was then that the Apostle Paul delivered his famous speech about the identity of "the Unknown God." According to the biblical account (Acts 17) ... [link]

Acts 18 – The eventful, far reaching and highly successful 2nd Missionary Journey of the Apostle Paul concludes as Paul visits the seaport city of Corinth in Greece and then after a brief visit to Ephesus [in modern Turkey] he quickly makes his way back to the Church at Antioch hoping first to make it to Jerusalem in time to celebrate the Passover [Holy Week] in Jerusalem – After a very short visit in Jerusalem possibly during Holy Week [it’s not mentioned if Paul made it in time] and then on to Antioch and after spending a short time in Antioch he soon departed for his 3rd and final Missionary Journey — ‘Acts 18:9-10 Then [while in Corinth] spake the Lord [Jesus] to Paul in the night by a vision, *Be not afraid [of persecution], but speak, and hold not thy peace: *For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.’

Acts 18:18-23 And Paul after this [put on trial before Gallio] tarried [stayed] there [at Corinth] yet a good while [longer], and then took his leave of the brethren, and [beginning to conclude the 2nd Missionary Journey] sailed thence [in the direction] into Syria [back to Antioch], *and with him Priscilla and Aquila [friends from Corinth]; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a [Nazarite] vow. And he came to [the Church in] Ephesus [in the modern day Nation of Turkey], and left them [Priscilla and Aquila] there [in Church]: but he himself entered into the Synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they [Christians] desired him to tarry [stay] longer time with them, he consented not; But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast {Passover?} that cometh in Jerusalem [now Holy Week]: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. And when he had landed at Caesarea [an ancient seaport in Turkey - not Caesarea Philippi in Israel near Mount Hermon], and gone up, and saluted the church [in Jerusalem], he went down to Antioch. [--- End of the 2nd Missionary Journey] And after he had spent some time there [Antioch], he departed [--- Start of Paul's 3rd and probably final Missionary Journey (though disputed - there might have been a fourth Missionary Journey after Paul was released from prison in Rome)], and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. - The second Missionary Journey concludes and the Apostle Paul now with a permanent passion [and even a fever] for Missionary life shortly begins another Missionary Journey.

Drive Thru History :: Ancient Greece – A TV Series DVD Promo (YouTube)

In the first episode Dave hops on a car ferry and ends up where you could once find the Oracle at Delphi. After some weird fun Dave looks at the origin of the Olympics, follows the conquests of Alexander the Great, and begins a look at the Apostle Paul. It's in this episode, Drive Thru History presents what is perhaps the most thorough, yet condensed, (about 15 minutes) story of Paul's missionary journeys ever produced for television. In Athens, Dave will take you to the Acropolis and the Parthenon and provides a quick lesson in Greek philosophy learning about Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. In the last episode Dave visits the ruins of ancient Corinth. He examines the decadence of the Corinthians during the Roman era. Corinth sits near an isthmus, and you will see why understanding the geography of Corinth was so important to understanding the people of Corinth. Lastly, Dave will examine the Apostle Paul's life in Corinth and his writings to the church there-writings that forever changed history. Visit the Drive Thru History Website: http://www.drivethruhistory.com. [link]

Acts 19 – With the 3rd Mission Journey the Apostle Paul makes more of a concerted effort to clean up loosened doctrines that are still around, to deepen and instruct the disciples in the correct Church doctrines of Jesus Christ and to strengthen the faith of the new leaders and new disciples by having a faith based solely on the living resurrected Jesus Christ — ‘Acts 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.’ – ‘Acts 19:21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed *in the Spirit, [that later] when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia [Greece], to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.’

Acts 19:1-7 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos [a disciple from Alexandria, Egypt - he was a disciple of an early disciple of John the Baptist] was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John [the Baptist] verily baptized with the baptism of repentance [renewed heart], saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him [Jesus] which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. *When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. ... Acts 19:13-20 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed. - Other people even Jewish people were trying to use the Name of Jesus to command evil spirits however Jesus is not a Name to be thrown around like an incantation instead Jesus is the Name above every name and in His name He is to be worshiped!

Acts 20 – By the 3rd Missionary Journey of the Apostle Paul the Christian Church much as we know it today [with weekly Sunday worship] was firmly established and in operation throughout most of the Roman world — ‘Acts 20:7-11 And upon the first day of the week [Sunday], when the disciples came together to break bread [regular Christian Church day], Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. … When he [injured man was healed] therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and [Paul] talked a long while, even till [the] break of day [sunrise], so he [Paul then] departed.’

Acts 20:16-38 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. And *from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the Church. *And when they were come to him, he said unto them [a farewell sermon], Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: *And how I kept back nothing [all Christian doctrines were publically taught] that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you [every doctrine], and have taught you publickly (publically), and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, **so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. *Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. **Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock [Christian Church], over the which the *Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the ***Church of God, ***which He [Jesus] ***hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous *wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His Grace, *which is able to build you up, and to give you an *inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He [Jesus] said, *It is more blessed to give than to receive. And when he [Paul] had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship [to continue on his way to Jerusalem].

Urbana Invite Videos – Urbana is intended for anyone interested in missions – It’s our prayer that Urbana 09 will be an eye-opening, life-transforming, commitment-producing call to join God’s mission (Video – Downloads)

Urbana 09 is intended for anyone interested in missions. The target audience is college-aged women and men between the ages of 18 and 30. But every Urbana draws people from all over North America who want to learn more about global realities, current missions issues, and their place in God's mission. ... Register here at http://www.urbana09.org. A minimum $100 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit must accompany your registration. The remaining balance should be paid by credit card, e-check, or check by December 15, 2009. [link]

Acts 21 – The Apostle Paul goes once again to the Church in Jerusalem and once again the Apostle Paul attempts to reconcile Christianity with Judaism and this time the events are disastrous and nearly fatal for the Apostle as Paul ends up arrested and in the custody of Rome no longer a freeman but a prisoner of Rome — ‘Acts 21:4 And finding disciples, we tarried there [in Tyre] seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, *that he should not go up to Jerusalem.’ – Note: Christian laity prophecy, those exercising the gift of prophecy [forth telling] often simplify and under complicate the prophecy message they are intended to give. The many disciples who prophesied to the Apostle Paul did so in oversimplified black and white terms [don’t go to Jerusalem]. The Apostle Paul correctly identified the prophesies as more complex and as a warning from the Holy Spirit, intending that Paul should go to Jerusalem but not to go there unprepared for the unsuspected and disasters events that were about to occur mainly the wholesale and universal rejection of Paul’s Gospel message by his Jewish brethren in Jerusalem.

Acts 21:17-24 And when *we [Luke was among the disciples with Paul in Jerusalem] were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James [½ brother of Jesus - leader of the Church in Jerusalem - book of James]; and all the elders were present. And when he [Paul] had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his Ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law [of Moses]: And they are informed [misinformed] of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude [Christians in Jerusalem] must needs come together [be in agreement regarding the customs and laws of Moses for Jewish Christians]: for they [Jewish Christians] will hear that thou art come. **Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men [Jewish Christians] which have a [Temple] vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them [at the Temple], **and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: **and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law [of Moses]. - The Apostle Paul arrived in Jerusalem and with the advanced knowledge of Paul's pending arrival the Christian Church in Jerusalem just happened to have four men who were in dire need of a Temple ritual service and of someone to accompany them in their ritual Temple Service. The Christian leaders in Jerusalem being concerned for their own customs didn't even bother to ask Paul what his message was but instead insisted that Paul participate in their customs regardless of any circumstances that might occur. The Apostle Paul attempted to appease the Church in Jerusalem and while following and participating in their manmade localized customs disaster ensued.

Acts 22 – The Apostle Paul complies with the desires of the leaders of the Christian Church in Jerusalem – The results are a disaster as once in the Temple area Jews of Asia [modern Turkey] recognized Paul and immediately sought to kill him – Being arrested by the Roman authorities the Apostle Paul requested to speak to the crowd of Jews – The Jews of Jerusalem [many previously friends of Paul (Saul)] completely rejected the Apostle and more disheartening refused even to hear his message in its entirety — ‘Acts 22:24 The chief [Roman] Captain commanded him [Paul] to be brought into the castle [into the jail cell], and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he [Rome] might know wherefore they [Jews] cried so against him [Paul].’ – Note: Even though the Apostle Paul was unexpectedly imprisoned in a Roman jail and facing death with charges of treason and riotousness the disciples who accompanied Paul used their precious time in Jerusalem wisely. Luke used the time to research and to write his Gospel of Luke while Paul even though in jail he used the time to write his letter to his Jewish Christian brethren in Jerusalem his book of Hebrews.

Acts 22:25-30 And as they [Roman guards] bound him [Paul] with thongs [leather ropes], Paul said unto the Centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and un-condemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman [citizen]. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him [Paul], Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea (yes). And the chief captain answered, With a great sum [money] obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born [Paul has family that can come to his defense in the Roman courts]. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined [scourged] him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. On the morrow [next day], because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the [Jewish] Chief Priests and all their Council (Jewish Supreme Court) [Sanhedrin] to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them. - The Apostle Paul, the disciples, the Church in Jerusalem, the Jews, the Romans and all the world are trying to initiate their plan to get things to go their way by bringing in their customs, preferences, laws, rituals and their order however everyone is about to find out that there is a new plan being established in the universe and that it is not the plans and desires of man but instead the predetermined purposes and plans of God in Jesus Christ.

Acts 23 – Paul goes on trial both in Jewish and Roman courts – Ultimately in Rome Paul is acquitted and released from prison – However after a brief period of freedom in Rome Paul was rearrested, being a well-known Christian leader and during the continued persecution of Nero the Apostle Paul was put to death while in his second prison stay – A short time late the Apostle Peter was also executed in Rome during the same persecution of Christians by Caesar Nero — ‘Acts 23:1-5 And Paul, earnestly beholding the [Sanhedrin] Council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good *conscience before God until this day. And the High Priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him [Paul] on the mouth [being struck Paul becomes a type of Jesus (John 18:22)]. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for [because] sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to [against] the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? *Then said Paul, I wist (lit. perceived) not, brethren, that he was the high priest [Paul is saying that the only High Priest is Jesus Christ]: for it is written [Exodus 22:28], Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.’

The letter (epistle) that accompanied Paul written by the Chief army Captain of Rome in Jerusalem to the Roman Governor Felix in Caesarea: Acts 23:25-35 And he [Roman army Captain] wrote a letter (epistle) after this manner: [army Captain] Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent Governor Felix sendeth greeting. This man [Paul] was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood {well actually later} that he was a Roman. And when I would have known [uncertain of their accusations] the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council [to clarify their charges against him]: Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds. And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee [clearly] what they had against him. Farewell [end of letter]. Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris. On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned [the foot soldiers] to the castle [back in Jerusalem]: Who, when they [the horse soldiers] came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle (letter) to the Governor [Felix], presented Paul also before him. And when the Governor had read the letter, he asked [why do I have to deal with this mess] of what province he was. And when he understood that he [Paul] was of Cilicia [Tarsus of Cilicia]; I will hear thee, said he, *when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall. - The Apostle Paul entered the often clear but sometimes murky Roman judicial system. Paul was kept in prison in Caesarea and not forwarded to Rome in the hopes of Governor Felix that Paul would pay him a large bribe or ransom to obtain his freedom (Acts 24:26) but the Apostle Paul had been told in a vision that this was to take Paul to Rome to testify of Jesus in Rome so the Paul didn't even consider paying money for his release.

Acts 24 – The Apostle Paul would now spend over two years’ time in jail in Caesarea – The Apostle Paul having already written the book of Hebrews [while in jail in Jerusalem] could have written his famous ‘confinement’ (prison) Epistles [the Bible books – Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians] while in jail in Caesarea though Church tradition holds that the four Epistles were written by Paul while under house arrest in Rome after having left Caesarea and having traveled by ship to Rome — ‘Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius (Procurator) [High Roman official – 2nd in command to the Emperor – wiki.com] Festus came into [Governor] Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound [in jail]. – Note: Besides the four common Prison Epistles of Paul the book of Hebrews is a prison Epistle [Hebrews 13:19] (from Paul’s imprisonment in Jerusalem) and the book of 2nd Timothy [2nd Timothy 1:8] is a prison Epistle from Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome and was written possibly just days before Paul was executed as a prisoner of Rome

Acts 24:24-27 And after certain days, when [Governor] Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he [Paul] reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come *Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that [bribe] money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius (Procurator) Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound. - The Apostle Paul navigates the many and varied ramifications of being a prisoner of not only of Rome and Jerusalem but also of the many and varied administrative officials of the Roman Empire.

The Epistles of Paul by C.I. Scofield – The Two Silences: Two periods in the life of Paul after his conversion are passed over in a silence which is itself significant–the journey into Arabia, from which the Apostle returned in full possession of the Gospel explanation as set forth in Galatians and Romans; and the two silent years in prison in Caesarea, between his arrest in the Temple at Jerusalem and his deportation to Rome – It seems most congruous [harmonious] with the events of Paul’s life to suppose that these great revelations [Paul’s Epistle books of the Bible] came during the silent years at Caesarea–often spoken of as wasted

The Two Silences: Two periods in the life of Paul after his conversion are passed over in a silence which is itself significant--the journey into Arabia, from which the Apostle returned in full possession of the Gospel explanation as set forth in Galatians and Romans; and the two silent years in prison in Caesarea, between his arrest in the temple at Jerusalem and his deportation to Rome. It was inevitable that a trained intellect like that of Paul, a convinced believer in Mosasism, and, until his conversion on the Damascus road, an eager opponent of Christianity, must seek the underlying principles of the Gospel. Immediately after his conversion he preached Jesus as the Messiah; but the relation of the Gospel to the Law, and, in a lesser degree, of the great Jewish promises, needed clear adjustment if Christianity was to be a reasonable faith, and not a mere dogma. In Arabia Paul sought and found that adjustment through revelation by the Spirit. Out of it came the doctrinal explanation of salvation by grace through faith, wholly apart from the law, embodied in Galatians and Romans. But the Gospel brings the believer into great relationships--to the Father, to other believers, to Christ, and to the future purposes of God. It is not only a salvation from sin and the consequences of sin, but into an amazing place in the Divine counsels. Furthermore, the new thing, the church in its various aspects and junctions, demanded clear revelation. And these are the chief themes of the Epistles written by Paul from Rome, and commonly called the Prison Epistles--Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians. It is contrary to the method of inspiration, as explained by Paul himself, to suppose that these crowning revelations were made apart from deep meditation, demanding quietness, and earnest seeking. It seems most congruous with the events of Paul's life to suppose that these great revelations came during the silent years at Caesarea--often spoken of as wasted. - Article from Scofield Reference Notes (1917) (Public Domain) For over 90 years people have relied on this reference work in their daily study of God's Word. Written originally in 1909, C. I. Scofield's intent was to provide a concise but complete tool that would meet the need of someone just beginning to read the Bible. [link]

Acts 25 – The Apostle Paul famously appeals his case to Caesar and Procurator Festus [now interim Governor for Felix] famously unaware of the Spiritual matters that the case involves grants Paul’s appeal and agrees to send Paul on to Rome to be tried by Caesar himself — ‘Acts 25:10-12 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. *I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, *answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.’

Acts 25:24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man [Paul], about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. *But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus [Caesar], I have determined to send him. [But] Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord [Caesar]. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, *I might have somewhat to write [in an epistle to Rome]. For it seemeth to me unreasonable [and unlawful] to send a prisoner [to Rome], and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him. - Festus found himself in a predicament of having an extremely hot button issue on his hands. An issue that was not going to resolve itself or go away by itself and after several attempts Festus was still unable to grasp or understand the exact nuances and the nature of the differences of the event that was creating such a great and catastrophic disturbance in Jerusalem.

Acts 26 – The Apostle Paul gives his Testimony to King Agrippa, the King’s wife Bernice and to Festus – While the Apostle Paul is speaking – Festus then has his famous ‘I didn’t know Christianity was about that’ moment and in a loud outburst Festus publically challenges what he sees as the absurdity of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ — ‘Acts 26:1-2 Then [King] Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself …’

Acts 26:21-32 21 For these [preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Messiah to the world] causes the Jews caught me in the Temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God [not of Rome, the Roman Captain], *I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ [Messiah] should suffer, and that He should be *the first *that should ***rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. **And as he thus spake for himself, Festus [came undone and] said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art [crazy] beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but **speak forth the Words of Truth and soberness. For the king [Agrippa] knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; ***for this thing [cross and resurrection of Jesus] was not done in a [secret] corner. King Agrippa, *believest thou the prophets? I know (lit. perceive) that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a *Christian. **And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds [chains]. And when he had thus spoken, the King rose up, and the Governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man [Paul] doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty [freed], if he had not appealed unto Caesar. - Festus has his famous 'I didn't know Christianity was about that' moment. Festus had though that Jesus was just some guy that some people though he was dead and some other people though he was alive because they had seen him and that the confusion and the controversy was over whether or not the man was dead or alive. When Festus realized that the controversy is about the Lord Jesus Christ who is God in the flesh and was killed before the eyes of many and was buried in a sealed, stone tomb but then Resurrected back to life three days later to interact with and to be witnessed by many eyewitnesses then Festus realizing that he was being told of spiritual life overcoming the physical death of mankind and of eternal life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the human as the doctrine of Christianity, for the moment at least Festus had gone beyond the scope of what he was capable of retaining and Festus publically could hear no more of the concept of Christianity. Did Festus later come to grips with and understand the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and himself become a Christian, we don't know at least not at the moment.

Acts 27 – The Apostle Paul is finally sent on to Rome and after surviving a major shipwreck will eventually make it into Rome — ‘Acts 27:1-2 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy [and go to Rome the capital city of Italy], they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a Centurion of [Caesar] Augustus’ band [unit]. And entering into a ship of [the city of] Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.’

Acts 27:13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. **For there stood by me this night the Angel of God, *whose I am, *and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, *lo, God hath given [with] thee [to safety] all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island [the island of Malta]. - The Apostle Paul is shipwrecked onto the mysterious island of Malta.

Acts 28 – The Apostle Paul finally arrives in Rome and discovers that no charges have been forwarded from Jerusalem to Rome — ‘Acts 28:16-21 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered [allowed] to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea [Israel] concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.’

The book of Acts concludes: Acts 28:22-31 But we [Jews of Rome] desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect [Christianity], we know that everywhere it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the Kingdom of God [God's perceivable (discernible) presence on earth - the Kingdom of Heaven, the eternal Visible Kingdom of God], persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some [Jews] believed the things which were spoken, and some [Jews] believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted [become Christians], and I should heal [lit. make whole - Salvation] them. Be it known therefore unto you, that *the Salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. - Note: The redemption of the Jews is not disputed by the Apostle Paul or by anyone what is at issue is the Salvation of the Jews. The Jews as redeemed are a part of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven and receive their Salvation later in the Kingdom of Heaven while the Christians are a part of the Kingdom of God on earth and we receive our Salvation [eternal life] while still on the earth having received the 'born again' - 'born from above' Spirit given by Jesus Christ. As is presented through the interaction of the Apostle Paul with his own Jewish brethren the difference between Jewish redemption and Christian salvation is immense and though both groups [Jews and Christians] are redeemed by God, the one and only God, the differences are still vast. Therefore historically and Biblically Jews and Christians are two distinct groups of People, however Jesus as the firstborn of the Resurrection receives both the Jews and the Christian Gentiles and with Jesus receiving as His firstborn [double portion] both the Jews and the Gentiles it is imperative that the Jews and the Gentiles assist each other at a certain level or at least it is imperative that the Christians give every bit of understanding, compassion and consideration to the "Jewish Sect" in order to please God and to fulfill our Biblical demands as given in alms from the House of Cornelius to the decrees of the 1st Church Council in Jerusalem and as they are presented throughout the entire Bible in both the Old and New Testaments of God.

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