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Thursday: Tyre and Caesarea — 9 Comments

  1. It wasn't an easy road for Apostle Paul, but knowing His fate, He was willing to tread the thorny path Jesus trod. I qoute “Never before had the apostle approached Jerusalem with so sad a heart. He knew that he would find few friends and many enemies. He was nearing the city which had rejected and slain the Son of God and over which now hung the threatenings of divine wrath.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pages 397, 398.
    For the sake of Jesus and the Gospel, can we like Paul knowing fully well the danger that awaits us forge ahead? or are we going to retreat? "yeah its easier said than done." Not an easy decision but God help us stand for Him come rain come sunshine come what maybe.

    Amen!(11)
  2. How can we know when to heed the advice of our Christian brothers and sisters, and when to continue with our plans? They sounded convincing to me, especially Agabus.

    Amen!(6)
    • The soul that is yoked with Jesus will hear only one voice. Agabus only foretold what would happen, and never said "don't go Paul!". Paul's faith in God was being tested(remember Job?), and if we stop listening to that One Voice, our faith will become unbelief. We must know that Voice for ourselves, and "let no man deceive" us.

      Amen!(7)
  3. The prophecy of Agabus, how to receive it? Should Paul take this as a warning against his plans or does he continue with the conviction that propelled him forward to a fateful outcome? What would be the purpose of going forward if imprisonment was to be the result? Only God can bring all things to work together for good, and obedience must overrule all fearfulness of persecution. Jesus knew the cross was before Him. The 3 Hebrews knew the fiery furnace was their destination before the music was played on the plain of Dura. Daniel knew the lion's den was to be his abode without fail. Did any of these turn from their course? Should we when threats arise?

    In this sinful world, righteousness will be repaid with persecution. Isn't this what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes? So expect it. Faith is the victory, not unbelief.

    The question is: “How can we” move forward as Paul did while knowing what most likely awaits the acts of faithfulness? What compelled Paul, or the 3 Hebrews, or Daniel, or Christ? Love and obedience to God before life itself is the only answer. If we don't know God as we may know Him, we will most likely work to preserve ourselves rather than walk by faith and obedience. Look at how God was glorified in every case. Look how God overrules and reveals Himself to those who otherwise might never behold His glory and power to save. Faith and self-preservation cannot dwell together any more than light and dark can occupy the same time/place.

    Amen!(21)
  4. It was not God’s will that the circumstances that led to Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem should have occurred. Agabus’ prophecy was descriptive not prescriptive, meaning the events foretold did not have to occur. The comparison to Jesus’s approach to Jerusalem leading to the passion events is appropriate but there are key differences between Jesus’ and Paul’s capture. Jesus’s passion events were divinely appointed but the events surrounding Paul’s capture were not. In fact, Paul ministry as a free man was prematurely cut short not by his determination to go to Jerusalem and participate in the holy festival events but by the poor calculations on his part and that of the apostles that led them to persuade Paul and his companions to shave their heads and to conveniently revert to some of the Jewish ceremonial practices they had previously deemed unnecessary, but now undertook to appease the Jews.

    While there’s no question surrounding Paul’s bravery and faithfulness even amidst threats to his own life, I think the lesson here is that we do need to recognize that often times God does speak through the collective counsel of his people, and that there are times when he requires us to face danger, and times when we are called to avoid danger.

    Whether Paul had chosen to avoid or face the danger in Jerusalem, God’s purpose would still have ultimately prevailed. Paul did eventually accomplish his objective of going to Rome but of course, he did not expect to go as a ward of Caesar.

    Amen!(5)
  5. Hi Chris

    Would you mind expanding on what you mean by the term “divinely appointed”? Are you meaning prescriptive?

    Thanks

    Amen!(1)
    • Hi Phil:

      Yes, Jesus’ death was divinely appointed in that it was prescribed by the God Head (of which Jesus is a member). Jesus’ death was a requirement (prescriptive) and the timing and location accorded with God’s providence. It’s important to note that on multiple occasions Jesus did avoid putting Himself in danger in order to ensure that His ministry remained on track. He would have avoided Calvary if He could, and indeed He requested an exemption. However, the plan of salvation (for which His death was essential) was re-affirmed to Him by the Father directly and indirectly through Moses, Elijah, and an angel a short time before His death. Upon conferring with His Father He was resolved to go through with the ‘appointment’

      Luke and John provide some insights:

      ‘And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.’ Luke 9:30-31.

      ‘And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.’
      Luke 22:41-42

      ‘Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him’
      John 18:10-12.

      In this discussion about divine appointment in regard to Jesus’ suffering and death at Calvary, a crucial distinction should be noted. That is, while God had pre-determined Jesus’ death, He did not ‘appoint’ or ordained certain pivotal circumstances around Jesus’s suffering and death. For example, even though it was prophesied, God did not ordain or sanction Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, or Jesus rejection and persecution by the Jews.

      God’s purpose ultimately prevailed even as it did in Paul’s situation.

      Amen!(3)
  6. Thanks Chris, for your insights and input on this issue. I for one do not feel that the Apostle Paul's last and final journey to Jerusalem that ended in his martyrdom, was God's original will for him. Acts 21:4 is very clear to me that the Holy Spirit was communicating to Paul, through the believers there, that he should not go to Jerusalem. Paul was a very determined type person and he just did not want to be swayed from his original purpose to go to Jerusalem as he had planned and already possibly half way or more into that journey. In some ways this reminds me of Moses when he was told to speak to THE ROCK and he struck it instead. Though Moses made a mistake here he was not kept from entering God's eternal inheritance for him. And while Pauls' choice here might not have been as crucial as Moses' or even a mistake per se, yet I feel that God was giving Paul a choice to not end his ministry for him here on earth as early as this last journey to Jerusalem ended up making it so. And God may have wanted Paul to end his days here on earth with a natural death like the Apostle John.

    Amen!(0)

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