Footsteps of the Apostle Paul
A chronological overview of the Life and Ministry of the Apostle to the Gentiles that determined the history and culture of Western Civilization for the next 2000 years!
"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ...that I might preach him among the heathen (ethnos or nations) ..."
Galatians 1:11-12, 15-16
apostle_paul_chart 128.04 Kb
THE EARLY LIFE AND CONVERSION OF PAUL
Paul the Apostle, that great preacher of first century Christianity was God’s instrument used to bring the light of the gospel to the ‘Gentiles’ Isa. 42:6; Acts 9:15.
Approximately 700 years before the Apostle Paul appeared on the scene, that silver-tongued prophet Isaiah proclaimed that God’s people Israel would some day “sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles and the inhabitants thereof” Isa. 42:10. In His divine wisdom the Lord foresaw that Saul of Tarsus would best fulfill His plan to spread the Gospel of the resurrected Christ to all the known western world in order to reach His people with the story of redemption.
Born an Israelite of the dispersion which took place over six centuries before to a family of the tribe of Benjamin, speaking the Aramaic and Hebrew languages from childhood, an ardent student of Pharisaism and a strict follower of the Torah who made great advances in Judaism beyond many of his contemporaries. This is the man that later had a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ while on the road to Damascus. His life and mission was drastically changed and in turn eventually altered and determined the course of the development of Western Civilization and culture.
Much has been written concerning the missionary travels of this celebrated servant of Christ which started about fourteen years after his conversion. His travels before and after his missionary journeys has left many Bible students confused without a thorough knowledge of the extensive travel to regions of the west and his powerful impact upon the founding of the Western Christian Church. The purpose of outlining his pre- and post-missionary journeys is to give structure to the story of Paul’s life and help in the Bible students’ understanding of the events leading up to his public ministry and to grasp with greater significance why he went to the places he did and to have a greater appreciation of the defenses that he gave for his faith in the risen Lord of Glory.
HIS BIRTH IN TARSUS
Little is known of the birth and early childhood of Paul, then known as Saul. It is certain from the Scriptures that he was born in the City of Tarsus (Acts 22:3) located in the Roman province of Cilicia, now known as part of modern Turkey. Tarsus was a city that combined both the Roman and Greek worlds in that its politics was Roman and its culture was Greek, a place of education and commerce. This province of Cilicia was one of many places in which the Israelites had located during the dispersion. By right of birth in the Roman province of Cilicia, later on as Paul the Apostle, he would utilize his Roman citizenship in his defense (Acts 16:37-38; 22:25-29).
Saul, by racial ancestry was Israelitish, by citizenship was Roman, by religion a follower of Judaism, yet born and raised among Greek culture.
HIS TRAINING IN JERUSALEM
No doubt Saul left his home during his early adolescence and was taken to Jerusalem for his formal education in the most prominent rabbinical schools of that day. Among his teachers, young Saul had the privilege to be trained by Gamaliel, the most outstanding rabbi teacher of that time (Acts 22:3). Gamaliel was one of the most honorable and reputable Jewish rabbis during the days of the Apostles (Acts 5:34). He was the grandson of Hillel, the founder of the most influential rabbinical school of Judaism; Gamaliel was also the president of the Sanhedrin in succession of his father.
It was in this environment that Saul received his education in the religion of Judaism and became well versed in its dogma and apologetics. Sometime during his educational years it was instilled in him a fervent hatred for Christ and His followers and therefore became the perfect agent in the employment of the Sanhedrin against the Christians. No doubt, Saul made many such trips throughout the Roman world in his approximately thirty years in Jerusalem as he did in Acts 9:1-2 in arresting and testifying against the followers of Jesus Christ.
HIS CONVERSION NEAR DAMASCUS
In Acts 9:1-2 the writer is very clear to explain that Saul was yet practicing his anti-Christian work when he left Jerusalem under the authority of the High Priest. His purpose was to bring any person that he may happen to find “of this way” back to Jerusalem for prosecution. The writer Luke declares that Paul took the initiative to go to the High Priest and ask for authority to go to Damascus, Syria which is located 130 miles from Jerusalem, for the sole purpose of arresting the followers of Christ.
Then by divine sovereignty the Lord intervenes in Saul’s life and he is genuinely converted during that encounter with the Lord Jesus. Under the ministry of Ananias he is also healed and filled with the Holy Ghost. Saul immediately began preaching Christ in the synagogues of Damascus. It is uncertain how long he stayed there, but Luke uses two phrases to indicate a time element in regard to his duration in Damascus; ‘certain days’ (9:19) and ‘many days’ (9:23). It is uncertain when Saul’s name was changed to Paul, but we assume that the Lord informed him of this name change at the time of his conversion. The first reference in the sacred record to this name change was while Paul was ministering on the Isle of Cyprus during his first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-9).
No doubt Paul’s preaching was very convincing and disturbing to the Damascus Jews to the point where they desired to kill him. Therefore, the other Christian disciples assisted him in his escape by night (Acts 9:22-25; II Cor 11:32) that he may flee into Arabia.
THE MEDITERRANEAN TRAVELS OF PAUL
HIS STAY IN ARABIA
From the reading of the text in Acts 9:26-28 one would get the impression that Saul went directly from his escape at Damascus to Jerusalem. By his own admission he clarified the fact in his letter to the Galatians (1:16-17) that he “conferred not with flesh and blood” nor consulted with the Apostles in Jerusalem; but the Lord’s choice for him was to go to Arabia to be trained in the school of the Spirit in order that he might receive greater revelations concerning the mysteries of the Gospel of the glorified Christ.
Nowhere in the Scriptures does it indicate which part of the vast area of Arabia he went to, but we can safely assume it was somewhere east of Damascus. In the writings of Luke in the book of Acts, he omits any mention of Paul’s trip to Arabia.
At that time the area known as Arabia included the region governed by Aretas (II Cor. 11:32) which extended from Damascus and east of the Jordan River south to Edom with Petra as its capital.
HIS RETURN TO DAMASCUS
In the Galatian letter in 1:17-18 Paul clearly states that upon his return from Arabia he came back to the city of Damascus. Exactly how long Paul’s stay in Arabia lasted is not clear, but combined with his return visit to Damascus was a period of three years.
HIS VISIT TO JERUSALEM
Gal. 1:18-19 No doubt Paul thought it necessary to visit with the Apostles, therefore he made a trip to Jerusalem and visited with Peter for fifteen days. The only other Apostle that Paul visited was James the brother of our Lord.
During his visit to Jerusalem Paul tried to join himself to the disciples, but was faced with two obstacles. The disciples were afraid of him and they did not believe that he was a true disciple of the Lord (Acts 9:26). It is understandable why the disciples felt this way; either because the saints at Jerusalem had not known of Paul’s conversion three years before at Damascus or they did not believe the report of his conversion.
Thanks to Barnabas, the son of consolation, Paul was introduced to the Apostles (Acts 9:27) and proceeded to declare unto them the details of his conversion experience.
HIS ESCAPE TO CAESAREA
After Paul “spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Grecians” (Acts 9:29) at Jerusalem, he faced the second attempt on his life. By this time no doubt Paul was accepted as a true disciple of the Lord, therefore the brethren helped him escape to the city of Caesarea (Acts 9:30), which was located in the province of Samaria northwest of Jerusalem. This was not the city Caesarea Philippi of Mat. 16:13, but was another city located between Joppa and Mt. Carmel on the Mediterranean coast where Philip the Evangelist lived (Acts 21:8).
HIS VISIT TO REGIONS OF SYRIA
Gal 1:21 Upon Paul’s departure from Caesarea, Luke tells us in Acts 9:30 that he was sent forth to Tarsus. It would be logical to conclude on the basis of his route that on his way back home to Tarsus this is when he stopped by different cities and visited brethren in the Roman province of Syria. Paul referred to this in Galatians 1:21.
BACK HOME TO TARSUS
Acts 9:30 Paul’s reference to the region of Cilicia in Gal. 1:21, without a doubt corresponds to Luke’s reference to the city of Tarsus in Acts 9:30. It is reasonable to reach this conclusion being that Tarsus was located in the Roman region of Cilicia in what is now known as southern Turkey.
PAUL’S STAY AT ANTIOCH
Acts 11:25-26 After the persecution of the church at Jerusalem and the martyrdom of Stephen, the Gospel began to rapidly spread throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1).
When news of the acceptance of the Gospel by the Grecians of Antioch had reached the church at Jerusalem, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to verify the reports and he therefore was instrumental in increasing the number of converts there (Acts 11:19-24).
Paul was in his hometown of Tarsus for approximately three years while this Gospel expansion was taking place. When Barnabas, who had not forgotten Paul, realized that the church in Antioch had grown too big for him to handle alone, “departed for Tarsus, for to see Saul” (Acts 11:25). Paul returned with Barnabas to Antioch and remained a whole year with the church (Acts 11:26). The Antioch referred to here was the city in the Roman Province of Syria and not the one located in Asia Minor, which is modern Turkey.
RELIEF MISSION TO JERUSALEM
Acts 11:27-30 In response to the prophetic message of Agabus, a prophet from Jerusalem, concerning the coming of a great dearth, the Antioch church decided to send some relief to the saints in Jerusalem. This dearth took place during the days of Claudius Caesar who reigned between 41-54 AD (Acts 11:27-28).
Barnabas and Paul were the ones chosen to take the relief offering to the brethren at Jerusalem which was approximately eight years after Paul’s conversion.
PAUL RETURNS TO ANTIOCH
Acts 12:24-25 Upon the completion of their relief mission to Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul returned to the church at Antioch, Syria. While certain prophets and teachers were ministering to the Lord, the Holy Spirit spake and clearly indicated that Barnabas and Paul should be separated to the work of the ministry, to which they had been called (Acts 13:1-2).
PAUL’S FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY
Acts 13 and 14 From the city of Antioch, Syria, Paul and Barnabas with John Mark, launched their first missionary journey. They departed to Seleucia, Syria, a seaport on the Mediterranean coast and sailed to the island of Cyprus. They then went to many places in Asia Minor before returning to Antioch in Syria. They were gone for about four years between AD 45-49.
CHURCH COUNCIL AT JERUSALEM
Acts 15:1-34 Between Paul’s first and second missionary journeys, he and Barnabas were sent as delegates of the church at Antioch to the council at Jerusalem. Undoubtedly, it was this same trip to which Paul makes reference to in Gal. 2:1-14, because circumcision was the issue of contention in both the Acts and Galatian accounts. Upon a close examination, it is evident that both the Acts and Galatian texts are referring to the same event.
PAUL’S SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY
In Acts 15:35-18:22 is recorded the journey of Paul, Silas and Timothy on their preaching tour which covered approximately four years between AD 50-54. Their journey took them form Antioch, Syria to the Roman regions of Cilicia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia in modern Turkey, westward across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia, turned south into Greece, Achaia (southern Greece), sailed eastward across the Aegean Sea to Asia Minor, then to Samaria, Jerusalem and back home to Antioch, Syria.
It is very interesting and extremely significant to note that the Holy Spirit forbid the Apostle Paul and his companions from traveling further east into Asia and Bithynia. Instead, God divinely directed them by a dream to travel westward in answer to the Macedonian call (Acts 16:6-12).
The Roman province of Macedonia included the modern regions of northern Greece, parts of Bulgaria, Albania and southern Yugoslavia. Thus by divine directive God had ordained for the Gospel message to penetrate the European Continent.
PAUL’S THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY
In Acts 18:23-21:17 is recorded the journey of Paul, Timothy and others on their third preaching tour which covered approximately four years from AD. 54-58. Their journey took them from their home church in Antioch, Syria to retrace the steps which Paul had covered on his first two journeys.
Starting in the province of Syria by land route they visited many churches in the region of Asia Minor, on to Macedonia, and then returning by a land and sea route came to Caesarea, Samaria with their final stop in Jerusalem.
PAUL DEFENDS HIS FAITH
While Paul was at Jerusalem “the Jews which were of Asia” (Acts 21:27) saw him in the temple and forthwith made accusations against him. They said that Paul:
1. Taught all men everywhere, that is throughout the Roman world, against the people (the Jews)
2. He taught against the Law of Moses
3. He taught against this place (the temple)
4. He polluted the holy place by bringing non-Jews into the Temple (Acts 21:28)
From this incident in Jerusalem was sparked a furor of religious hatred, bitterness and conspiracies in which Paul would be required to give six different defenses for his faith in Christ. He made his formal public defenses before:
1. The angry mob in Jerusalem (Acts 22:1:24)
2. The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem (Acts 22:30-23:10)
3. Felix the Governor in Caesarea, Samaria (Acts 23:23-24:27)
Paul was sent to Felix by Claudius Lysia, the Roman procurator’s legate who was responsible for law and order in Jerusalem. Felix was the governor or procurator of Judea from AD 52-60 with headquarters in Caesarea. Paul was then kept in custody in Caesarea for two years (Acts 24:27).
4. Festus in Caesarea (Acts 25:1-27) Festus was the successor of Felix as the procurator of Judea beginning AD 60.
5. King Agrippa in Caesarea (Acts 26:1-32)
6. Caesar in Rome (Acts 23:11; 25:12; 27:24)
Even though there is no Biblical account of Paul’s defense before Caesar, without a doubt, it must have taken place because of the message of the angel of God given to him enroute to Rome saying, “fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar.” In Rome, Paul remained in his own hired house for two years (Acts 28:30).
This stay in Rome is considered by many scholars to have been Paul’s first Roman imprisonment. It was during this time that he wrote his four prison epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon in approximately AD 63.
THE PERIOD BETWEEN PAUL’S TWO ROMAN IMPRISONMENTS AD. 63-67
In II Tim. 4:16-17 it is generally regarded that Paul was referring to his release from Roman imprisonment when he said that he “was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” After his release by the Roman authorities Paul spent approximately four or five years traveling to the “Land of the Gentiles” and visiting such places as Crete (Tit. 1:5), Nicopolis (Tit. 3:12), Troas (II Tim. 4:13), Miletus and Corinth (II Tim. 4:20). From what he told the Jews of Rome in Acts 28:28 is clear indication that Paul had future intentions to travel and preach to the Gentiles after his release from his Roman imprisonment. He wrote the Pastoral Epistles of I Timothy and Titus in AD 67 during this time.
It was during this period of release that would have been the most opportune time for Paul to travel to such places as Spain as he expressed his desire to do so in Romans. 15:24, 28, Gaul, which later became known as France and on to Ludgate Hill which is the present site of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England. It is very clear from the message of the prophet Isaiah that the Gospel would reach the isles that belonged to the Gentiles (Isa. 42:1:12). From hence we derive the term, “Isles of the Gentiles.”
As far fetched as it may appear to some Christians, it is extremely reasonable to accept the probability that the first century apostles of Christ preached the Gospel in the land of Britain. The highly respectable British scholar, Adam Clarke (1762-1832) who was three time president of the Methodist Conference of Great Britain made the following commentary under his Matthew 24:14 entry. In his quote, Clarke even enlists the erudite Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1768 and author of the treatise Dissertations On The Prophecies. Concerning the Apostolic propagation of the Gospel, Clarke said; “And the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world. Perhaps no more is meant here than the Roman Empire. However, we are under no necessity to restrain the phrase to the Roman empire, as previously to the destruction of Jerusalem, the Gospel was not only preached in the lesser Asia, and Greece, and Italy, the greatest theatres of action then in the world; but was likewise propagated as far north as SCYTHIA; as far south as ETHIOPIA; as far east as PARTHIA and India; and as far west as Spain and Britain. On this point Bishop Newton goes on to say, That there is some probability that the Gospel was preached in the British nations by St. Simon the apostle; that there is much greater probability that it was preached here by St. Paul; and that there is an absolute certainty that it was planted here in the times of the apostles, before the destruction of Jerusalem." Taken from "The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" by Adam Clarke, LL.D, F.S.A., Vol. 1, Mtt. 24:14, page 229
Additional evidence is found in The International Dictionary of the Christian Church; J.D. Douglas, General Editor; Zondervan Publishing House, 1978. Under the entry Celtic Church it states;
“The church which existed in parts of the British Isles before the mission of Augustine (597) and which maintained its independence for some time in competition with the Anglo Roman Church. . . by the fourth century it was sufficiently organized to send representatives to the Synod of Arles (314) and the Council of Arminum (359). “
The prominent Presbyterian pastor and Bible expositor, Matthew Henry made reference to the rapid expansion of the Gospel in his commentary on Matthew 24:27. “As the lightning comes out of the east, so shall the coming of the Son of man be. It spread far and wide, and that quickly and irresistibly, like the lightning, which comes, suppose, out of the east (Christ is said to ascend from the east), and lighteneth to the west. Gospel light rose with the sun, and went with the same, so that the beams of it reached to the ends of the earth. Though it was fought against, it could never be cooped up in a desert, or in a secret place, as the seducers were; but by this, according to Gamaliel rule, proved itself to be of God, that it could not be overthrown, Acts. v. 38:39. How soon did the gospel lightning reach this island of Great Britain! Tertullian, who wrote in the second century, takes notice of it, The fastnesses of Britain, though inaccessible to the Romans were occupied by Jesus Christ. This was the Lord’s doing.”
The Christian exodus from Jerusalem in AD 35-36 due to severe persecution, referred to in Acts 8:1, without doubt extended to as far north as Britain. One of the gross errors commonly accepted by misinformed people today is that the land of Britain prior to the arrival of the Roman Catholic missionary, Augustine, in AD 597 was totally pagan without any vestige of Christianity. In his book, The Drama of the Lost Disciples, George F. Jowett quotes Eusebius of Caesarea ,AD 265-340, in his Demonstratio Evangelica as saying; “the Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the isles called the Britannic Isles.” pg 80.
Jowett also gives the following quotes as additional evidence of the first century arrival and acceptance of the Gospel in Britain. “The erudite Bishop Ussher writes in his Brittannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates: ‘The British national church was founded AD 36, 160 years before heathen Rome confessed Christianity.’” “Christianity was privately confessed elsewhere, but the first nation that proclaimed it as their religion and called it Christian, after the name of Christ, was Britain.” Sabellus AD 250, pg 81.
In the third century, Origen wrote; “The power of our Lord is with those who in Britain are separated from our coast.” The well known St. Jerome in AD 378 wrote: “From India to Britain all nations resound with the death and resurrection of Christ.” pg 81.
John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople, in AD 402 commented in his, Sermo De Utilit; “The British Isles which are beyond the sea, and which lay in the ocean, have received virtue of the Word. Churches are there found and altars erected. . .though thou shouldst go to the ocean, to the British Isles, there thou shouldst hear all men everywhere discoursing matters out of the Scriptures, with another voice indeed, but not another faith, with a different tongue, but the same judgment.” From The Drama of the Lost Disciples by George F. Jowett, pg 81.
In his Consilia, Sir Henry Spelman wrote; “We have abundant evidence that this Britain of ours received the faith and that from the disciples of Christ Himself, soon after the crucifixion.” For further evidence, Jowett adds the statement of Guildas, AD 520, from his De Exidio Brittannioe; “We certainly know that Christ, the True Son, offered His light, the knowledge of His precepts to our island in the last year of Tiberius Caesar.” Pg 81.
Archeologist and Bible scholar E. Raymond Capt, in his book, The Traditions of Glastonbury quotes several ancient historians as evidence that Joseph of Arimathea and his associates were the first to bring the Gospel message to Britain in the year AD 37.
During the years AD 63-67 between Paul’s two Roman imprisonments, he would have made his journey into Spain and Britain. Jowett records in his book a statement by the Greek theologian, historian and Bishop of Cyrrhus, Theodoret AD 390-458, “Saint Paul brought salvation to the isles in the ocean.” pg 197.
A more specific reference to Paul in Britain was made by Capellus in his History of the Apostles. “I know scarcely of one author from the time of the fathers downward who does not maintain that St. Paul, after his liberation, preached in every country of the West, in Europe, Britain included.” pg 196.
It would not be by coincidence that during Paul’s stay in Rome, he would be associated with members of a British Royal family. They would include Pudens, Linus and Claudia referred to in II Timothy 4:21. In his book, St. Paul in Britain, R.W. Morgan (1815-1889) refers to Linus as being the first Bishop of Rome. Morgan quotes the church father Irenaeus (A.D.180) as saying, “The Apostles having founded and built up the church at Rome committed the ministry of its supervision to Linus. This is the Linus mentioned by Paul in his Epistle to Timothy.”
Possibly through this connection, the great Apostle received his entrance into Britain. On page 107 in his book, Morgan cites the testimony of Greek theologian and historian, Theodoretus in A.D. 435 as saying: “Paul, liberated from his first captivity at Rome, preached the Gospel to the Britons and others in the West. Our fishermen and publicans not only persuaded the Romans and their tributaries to acknowledge the Crucified and His Laws, but the Britons also and the Cimbri (Cymry).”
Apostle Paul’s statue in Malta
Two of the most well known statues of the Apostle Paul in memory of his presence and ministry are in Malta and London, England. The statue on the island of Malta, ancient Melita, is a memorial of the event which took place as recorded in Acts 28. The other famous memorial statue is located on the grounds of St. Paul’s Cathedral which may well mark the place where Paul preached on Ludgate Hill. The language in which Paul would have preached would have been the common and well known Greek or Hebrew which was similar to the Cymric language of the Britains. It is reasonable to believe that St. Paul did make his journey into Spain and even into Gaul, which is modern day France. Then crossing the English Channel, he and his companions would have landed on the shores of southern England.
There is a document, the Sonnini Manuscript also known as the “Long Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles” which contains the account of St. Paul’s journey to Spain and Britain. It purports to be the conclusion to the Book of Acts contained in the New Testament. Originally written in Greek, this manuscript was translated by C.S. Sonnini. It was found in the archives of Constantinople and presented to him by the Sultan Abdoul Achmet. Tradition has it that Paul and his companions landed near the modern city of Sandwich in Kent, on the southern coast of England.
“And Paul, full of the blessings of Christ, and abounding in the spirit, departed out of Rome, determining to go into Spain, for he had a long time proposed to journey thitherward, and was minded also to go from thence to Britain.
For he had heard in Phoenicia that certain of the children of Israel, about the time of the Assyrian captivity, had escaped by sea to “the Isles afar off” as spoken by the Prophet and called by the Romans, Britain.
And the Lord commanded the gospel to be preached far hence to the Gentiles, and to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
And no man hindered Paul; for he testified boldly of Jesus before the tribunes and among the people; and he took with him certain of the brethren which abode with him at Rome, and they took shipping at Ostrium and having the winds fair, were brought safely into a haven of Spain.
And much people were gathered together from the towns and villages, and the hill country; for they had heard of the conversion of the Apostles, and the many miracles which he had wrought.
And Paul preached mightily in Spain, and great multitudes believed and were converted, for they perceived he was an apostle sent from God.
And they departed out of Spain, and Paul and his company finding a ship to Armorica sailing unto Britain, they were therein, and passing along the South Coast, they reached a port called Raphinus.
Now when it was voiced abroad that the Apostle had landed on their coast, great multitudes of the inhabitants met him, and they treated Paul courteously and he entered in at the east gate of their city, and lodged in the house of an Hebrew and one of his own nation.
And on the morrow he came and stood upon Mount Lud and the people thronged at the gate, and assembled in the Broadway, and he preached Christ unto them, and they believed the Word and the testimony of Jesus.
And Paul abode in his lodgings three months confirming in the faith and preaching Christ continually.
And after these things Paul and his brethren departed from Raphinus and sailed unto Atium in Gaul [France].
The Sonnini Manuscript vv. 1-9, 14, 15
A cathedral dedicated to St. Paul has stood at this site since 604. After the Great Fire of London in 1666, the cathedral was redesigned by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1710.
Brith = covenant + ish = man British = covenant man
Brith = covenant + ain = land Britain = covenant land
PAUL’S SECOND ROMAN IMPRISONMENT
Paul was again arrested by the Roman authorities in AD 67-68 and was returned to Rome for a second imprisonment. It was during this time that he wrote the second epistle to Timothy and indicated his willingness for imminent departure from this mortal life (II Tim. 4:6-8). The most accepted tradition puts the death of this beloved Apostle to the Gentiles as taking place along the Ostian Way outside of the city of Rome, Italy. He was beheaded on the order of the Roman Emperor Nero in AD 68.
Thus, it is very clear to see from the direction in which the Apostle Paul traveled, the people to whom he preached and being “forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia” (Acts 16:6); that God in His foreknowledge and wisdom had pre-determined that Christianity should take root in the West. Traditionally, for almost two millenniums the Christian religion has been the central focus of western culture and the guiding light in western man’s expansion. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Promised Messiah to God’s Old Testament people Israel, has been at the forefront in the establishment of the nations founded by the Western European Caucasian people. This being providentially designed and controlled by the Almighty to fulfill His promise to “make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-13).
It is therefore profoundly evident that our God has controlled the historical events of the centuries to bring about His supreme purpose and the establishment of the soon coming Messianic Kingdom on earth.
VITRIOLIC JEWISH ATTACKS AGAINST PAUL
Throughout the sacred account of the lives and ministry of the first century apostles of our Lord as recorded in the Book of Acts, is also recorded the numerous amount of severe opposition they had to endure. Most of the opposition and persecution they endured was from the sects of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the leaders and driving force of first century Judaism. Early on in the ministry of the Apostle Paul, soon after his life changing conversion on the road to Damascus, the Jews took counsel to kill him. This chosen servant of Christ, straightway began to “preach Christ in the synagogues, that he is the son of God . . . [he] confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the very Christ” Acts 9:20, 22.
Luke plainly records the reaction of the Jewish leadership to the convincing words of the newly converted apostle and defector from Judaism. “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him” Acts 9:23-24. This opposition to Paul lasted throughout his ministry until he was finally martyred in Rome by Nero. The modern day Jewish successors of the early church persecutors are seemingly undeterred in their hatred of Paul and his revelatory message of Jesus Christ.
Below are various quotes from The Jewish Encyclopedia Vol. XI, Isidore Singer, Ph.D., projector and managing editor; KTAV Publishing House, Inc. New York 2, NY; n.d. This encyclopedia was “prepared by more than four hundred scholars and specialists” under the direction of an editorial board which clearly indicates that it’s the common consent of modern Jewish intelligentsia.
Under the entry “Saul of Tarsus” are direct quotes expressing Jewish sentiment toward the beloved Apostle Paul. “The actual founder of the Christian Church as opposed to Judaism; born before 10 C.E.; died after 63. The records containing the views and opinions of the opponents of Paul and Paulinism are no longer in existence; and the history of the early Church has been colored by the writers of the 2nd century, who were anxious to suppress or smooth over the controversies of the preceding period, as is shown in the Acts of the Apostles and also by the fact that the Epistles ascribed to Paul as has been proved by modern critics, are partly spurious (Galatians, Ephesians, I and II Timothy, Titus, and others) and partly interpolated.” By interpolation these scholars mean that some of Paul’s New Testament books have been altered, enlarged or corrupted, thus denying divine inspiration. These scholars go on to state that Paul was “not a Hebrew scholar, but a Hellenist.”
They continue saying, “Nor is there any indication in Paul’s writings or arguments that he had received the rabbinical training ascribed to him by Christian writers, ancient and modern; least of all could he have acted or written as he did had he been, as is alleged (Acts 22:3), the disciple of Gamaliel I., the mild Hillelite. His quotations from Scripture, which are all taken, directly or from memory, from the Greek version, betray no familiarity with the original Hebrew text.”
“Since his Jewish birth is stated in the preceding words ‘of the stock of Israel’ – he was, if any of the Epistles that bear his name are really his, entirely an Hellenist in thought and sentiment . . . His whole state of mind shows the influence of the theosophic or Gnostic lore of Alexandria . . . Hence his strange belief in supernatural powers, in fatalism, in speaking in tongues . . . in mysteries or sacraments – a term borrowed solely from heathen rites.”
In their insulting denial of the principle of the divine revelation of Jesus Christ to Paul, these editors blatantly claim his visions were a result of his “epilepsy.” What a blasphemous accusation against Paul by these modern day Jewish ‘scholars’ proving their unbelief of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as proclaimed by this beloved Apostle.
“There is throughout Paul’s writings an irrational or pathological element which could not but repel the disciples of the Rabbis. Possibly his pessimistic mood was the result of his physical condition; for he suffered from an illness which affected both body and mind. He speaks of it as ‘a thorn in the flesh,’ and as a heavy stroke by ‘a messenger or Satan.’ (II Cor. 12:7), which often caused him to realize his utter helplessness, and made him an object of pity and horror (Galatians 4:13). It was, as Krenkel has convincingly shown, epilepsy,
called by the Greeks ‘the holy disease,’ which frequently put him into a state of ecstasy, a frame of mind that may have greatly impressed some of his Gentile hearers, but could not but frighten away and estrange from him the Jew, whose God is
above all, the God of reason.”
The editors judged Paul’s nature as ranging from “a fiery temper, impulsive and impassioned in the extreme, of ever changing moods, now exulting in boundless joy and now sorely depressed and gloomy.” They accused Paul of having “the conception of a new faith, half pagan and half Jewish. . .” These and many more statements by the editors prove with intrinsic evidence their dislike of Paul as a person and their defamation of his teachings which were based upon divine revelation witnessing to the deity of Jesus Christ.
The above quotes were taken from page 79.
THE ANCESTRY OF THE APOSTLE PAUL
One of the most confusing and misunderstood concepts among many Bible students is the definition of the word ‘Jew.’ Most Christian believers today equate the word ‘Jew’ with Israel, Israelite and Hebrew. The word ‘Jew’ has mistakenly become the generic term to refer to all twelve tribes of Jacob/Israel. Even though just one son was called Judah, whose descendants could rightfully be called Jews, most Bible students still wrongfully refer to all Israelites as Jews. They even go further in their error when they refer to Judah’s father Jacob as a Jew. Their ignorance extends even further when they refer to Judah’s great grandfather Abraham as a Jew. If Abraham was a Jew, of which he was not, because he was a Hebrew, then his father Terah had to be a Jew. Then Terah’s ancestry had to be Jews all the way back to Adam. This would make the whole Adamic race Jewish, which included all the people of the nations listed in Genesis chapters 5, 10 and 11.
When referring to Abraham as a Jew, this would make him a descendant of his own son Isaac’s yet unborn grandson Judah. If Abraham was a Jew, then his son Isaac would be a Jew, which would be the father of two Jewish sons, named Jacob and Esau. This would be a biological impossibility. Therefore, being that Abraham was not a Jew, his son Isaac was not a Jew. Isaac fathered his two sons who also were not Jewish. Isaac’s two sons, Jacob and Esau were Hebrews just like their father and grandfather. Esau was definitely not Jewish, neither was his brother Jacob. This word ‘Jew’ as a contraction of the name Judah, had not even come into being until hundreds of years later.
In II Kings 16:1-6 is the historical account of a military conflict involving the three nations of Judah, Israel and Syria. Rezin, king of Syria and Pekah, king of Israel went up to Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah, to conquer it. They were unsuccessful in their efforts to overcome the army of Ahaz, the Judean king. As a side result of this battle the king of Syria recovered the city of Elath that had previously been conquered by the Jews. He then proceeded to drive the Jews from that city. The significant information this whole account tells us is that the Jews and the army of Israel were on opposite sides of this battle. This means that the Israelites were not known as Jews, but only the people of Judah were called Jews. This is the first mention of the word ‘Jews’ in the Holy Scriptures, which was approximately one thousand years after the birth of Judah, son of Jacob. This should be evidence enough to every intellectually honest student that the term ‘Jew’ never did nor presently refers to all the family of Israel.
With these facts in mind, it is easy to see how blatant this egregious error has become. In fact, it has moved from the harmless category of error to the most damaging category of heresy. Heresy is the perversion of knowledge. It has clouded the minds of so many Bible teachers that a whole system of prophetic theology has been built upon this false premise. It is a theological castle of crumbling sand.
The foregoing clarification of the difference between the terms Israel and Jew was necessary in order to understand the true identity of the Apostle Paul. It is common for many Bible students to call Paul a Jew, because of his statements in Acts 21:39 and 22:3. But there is a big difference between being born a biological Jew and having acquired Jewishness by learning.
In his Philippian letter, Paul again identifies himself as being a member of the racial family tree of the Hebrews (Phil.3:5). He said he was “an Hebrews of the Hebrews” to stress the fact that he could prove his family lineage all the way back to Eber, the ancestor of Abraham (Gen. 11:16). Eber was the descendant of Shem through whom came all the people known as Hebrews (Gen. 10:21). Abraham was called a Hebrew in Genesis 14:13.
By biological descendancy, Paul identifies himself as a Hebrew, an Israelite and of the seed of Abraham (II Cor. 11:22). The word ‘seed’ (Strong’s # 4690) in this text means ‘sperma’ or male sperm. It is very obvious that Paul is referring to his literal racial bloodline. In his right to boast, Paul declares that he was of the stock of Israel (II Cor. 11:22; Phil. 3:5). By this he means that he was born of the literal earthly family of Jacob/Israel. The word ‘stock’ (Strong’s #1085) means ‘offspring or kindred.’ He then narrows his ancestry to the tribe of Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob/Israel (Phil. 3:5).
Paul goes on to say that he was a Pharisee as touching the Law (Phil. 3:5-6). Being a Pharisee was not a racial or biological designation, but a member of a religious sect. As a member of this religious sect he was very zealous, persecuting the body of Christ. As far as his righteousness was concerned, he was blameless in obedience in his law-keeping. When writing to the church of Galatia, Paul recalls his “conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion.” This word ‘conversation’ denoted his membership and manner of life as a member of the religion of Judaism. He also stated that he “profited in the Jews’ religion” (Gal. 1:13-14). In other words, he excelled in his learning and zeal to obey even above many of his companions.
In Acts 26:4-5, Paul clearly declares that from his youth, he publicly lived a life according to the strict rules of the religion of the Pharisees. That religion was Judaism, which would make Paul a Jew by religion only, but not by his bloodline. In his defense before the mob, Paul declares that he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. He was taught according to the law of the fathers in religious and cultural matters (Acts 22:3). Paul was a Jew by acquired learning, trained by the famous Rabbi Gamaliel in the ‘school of Hillel.’
Therefore, the Apostle Paul, before his Christian conversion, was a Jew only by religion. He was not even born in nor was his family home in the land of Judea, but in the city of Tarsus in the region of Cilicia in Asia Minor. By his bloodline he was a Hebrew and an Israelite of the Tribe of Benjamin.
It is interesting to note that Paul, in his letter to the saints at Rome mentioned some of his natural relatives. “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me” (Rom. 16:11) “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine” (Rom. 16:13). Do these references imply a natural or spiritual relationship?
Concerning Rufus and his mother, we are inclined toward a natural relationship. In the Gospel context, a spiritual mother would be one who was instrumental in leading one to Christ. Paul’s conversion was affected by Christ Himself, without any human instrument.
Paul’s use of the word ‘kinsmen’ denotes that he had natural relatives living in Rome and was a part of the body of believers in that city.
Paul affirms the source of his revelations as being directly from Jesus Christ. A denial of Paul’s Gospel is also a denial of the deity of Jesus Christ.