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cocoon02Acts 28 Part 6

We were considering Acts 28:28, one of the most pivotal verses of the Bible, and the one that announces the second great change in the New Testament. We discussed the word “salvation,” which is actually an adjective, and indicates the “salvation-bringing message.” We discussed the word “sent,” which is the verb form of apostle, “apostled,” and means “authorized.” We discussed the word “Gentiles,” which means simply “nations.” Finally, we discussed the word “hear,” which has to do with comprehending, and means that the message would get through to them. Therefore, we finished with the following translation, as suggested by our studies, and by Otis Sellers in his Revised Version.

Be it known therefore unto you that the salvation-bringing message of God is now authorized (made freely available) unto the nations, and it will get through to them.

Now we are ready to continue our examination of this extremely important verse.

Acts 28:28: What Was the Change?

Now this verse is an expression of a great change in the history of the New Testament. Yet to really get this, we need to discover what that change was, and what the former conditions were that now were changed. If the salvation-bringing message of God was only just then authorized to the nations, whom was it authorized to before then? For only when we understand this can we understand the great change that took place here. Read the rest of this entry »

leverandfulcrum02Acts 28 Part 5

28. “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”

Now we come to a verse that I believe to be one of the most important passages in the entire New Testament. I have long been convinced that Acts 28:28 marks a very significant dispensational boundary line. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it marks a second great turning point in the flow of history as it is recorded in the New Testament. When Paul made this momentous declaration, many things changed. Things that were true before were suddenly true no longer. Things that were not true before suddenly became true, and have been that way ever since. While not everything changed, for there certainly were things that carried through, enough things changed to mark this as a most important pivotal moment. My entire understanding of Scripture, as well as my understanding of God’s work today and of my own place in it, is predicated upon the important truth that is revealed by God through Paul in this passage.

Now since I believe that this verse is so pivotal, it is clear that it is deserving of the most careful study. If this statement is so far-reaching and momentous, we must discover what the great change is that God brought about by these few, succinct words. In order to determine its significance, first we must determine exactly what it was that Paul said. In other words, we must be sure that we have the proper translation. Then, we must discover what he meant by what he said. In other words, we must be sure that we have the proper interpretation. But we can never interpret it rightly until we have translated it rightly. Read the rest of this entry »

Acts 28 Part 4

We were considering Acts 28:26-27, which passage quotes the important prophecy of Isaiah 6:9-10. This passage is not just quoted here, however, but is quoted in many other places in the New Testament. We will now consider the other quotations of this passage, in order to help us understand why it is quotes here in Acts 28, and what its quotation here is all about.

This passage is the last time chronologically that this important prophecy of Isaiah 6:9-10 was quoted in the New Testament, but it has already been quoted multiple times before in the New Testament. First, we see the passage quoted by our Lord in Matthew 13, when the disciples asked Him the why He had started speaking to the people in parables.

10. And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

It seems that the disciples are confused. The Lord had previously been speaking plainly to the people, giving His teaching. Now, however, He is giving it in parables. They wonder why the change, and why He has started doing this. Read the rest of this entry »

blindness02Acts 28 Part 3

25. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers,

It seems that much discussion must have gone on between those who were persuaded and those who disbelieved. As each side became solidified in these two opinions, it became clear that further discussion was not going to bring them into harmony regarding this. It has probably been a long day at this point, and these men prepare to depart from Paul’s house. The Companion Bible suggests that this literally means “were being sent away,” and suggests that the chief men who did not believe broke up the group and dismissed them, fearing lest others should also be persuaded. At any rate, their meeting with Paul ends now. As they go, however, Paul has one last thing to say to them, and Luke has recorded for us this final, momentous proclamation of Paul here.

Paul turns their minds to Scripture, acknowledging the truth of what the Holy Spirit spoke through Isaiah the prophet to their fathers. Paul could certainly call them that, for both he and the men who had been meeting with him this day are descendants of the very same people Isaiah prophesied to in his day. The phrase “the Holy Spirit” here is “to pneuma to hagion” in Greek, or “the Spirit the Holy.” As we have discussed before, this means this is a reference to the Person of the Holy Spirit, and so speaks to us of the inspiration of Scripture. Though Isaiah was the one who spoke and wrong these words, the reality is that the Holy Spirit was the One Who spoke through him. These words were not the prophet’s own, but were the very words of God. Read the rest of this entry »

Acts 28 Part 2

12. And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days.

They land next at Syracuse, a large port city on the island of Sicily, which is just off the tip of Italy. The name “Syracuse” means “A Syrian Hearing.” This city still bears this name today. They stay at this port town for three days.

13. From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli,

From Syracuse, they circle around Sicily, and arrive at Rhegium on the very “toe” of Italy. Rhegium means “Breach,” perhaps referring to where the land is “breached” by the water to keep Italy from connecting to Sicily, turning Sicily into an island. The modern city is named “Reggio.” They wait one day here until the south wind blows, and they ride it north up the western coast of Italy. The next day, they reach Puteoli, another harbor town on the western shore of Italy. Puteoli means “Sulphurous Springs,” so some, at least, of the water of this town was not the best. The city there is now called “Pozzuoli,” according to the Companion Bible. Read the rest of this entry »

campfire03Acts 28

1. Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.

Now Paul, his companions, the Romans soldiers, the prisoners, the captain and crew of the vessel, and any other passengers that were on board have all escaped safely to land, just like the Lord said they would. Arriving on shore, they learn that the island is called Malta, no doubt from the natives who come out to meet them. In Greek, the name is actually “Melita,” and means “Honey.” Most agree that this is the modern island Malta, which is why the New King James has changed it to “Malta.” The place traditionally called “St. Paul’s Bay” meets all the conditions for the scene of the shipwreck given in Scripture, and so is probably the very place talked about here in Acts.

2. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.

The natives come to help them, and show them unusual kindness, much to their credit. They do this by kindling a fire and making them all welcome to come and warm themselves at it. The weather that drove them here has not changed, and the cold rain is still falling. This warm and cheery fire must have been most welcome to these waterlogged and bedraggled survivors of the shipwreck. Read the rest of this entry »

lifepres02Acts 27 Continued

21. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.

Now a long time has passed since they first were caught in this storm, and during this time the men on board the ship have been doing much fasting. Perhaps it is the extreme rolling and tossing of the ship in the wind and the waves, or perhaps it is how busy they have been trying to keep afloat, or perhaps it is their great fear for their lives, but the sailors and passengers have simply not been eating. This does not necessarily mean they have not eaten anything, but they have been fasting for much of this time. Now, Paul sees that it is necessary for him to step in and say something, and this he does.

Now Paul reminds them of his advice to them before they sailed away from Crete. He had warned them not to do this, and that the loss would be great, but they had not listened to him. Now as we know no one likes someone who says “I told you so,” but Paul is not just saying this to rub it in that he was right and they were wrong. He is saying this for a very important purpose. He is about to instruct them what to do, and so these men need to realize that his advice is sound, and learn to trust his word. The best way for them to do this is to remember that he was right before. That is why Paul brings this up here, not just to say “I told you so.” Read the rest of this entry »

boatwater02Acts 27

1. And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.

The plans now come together for Paul to sail to Italy to appear before Caesar. He will be traveling with a number of other prisoners, for travel was difficult at that time, and of course Rome wouldn’t go to all the trouble of planning a trip just to transport one prisoner at a time. Yet from this verse we also learn that Paul will not be traveling alone, but will have at least one of his band of closest followers traveling with him. For here we see the pronouns change, and Luke tells us it was decided that “we” should sail to Italy. So it is clear that Luke is going to accompany Paul on his journey to appear before Caesar.

Now how this was accomplished is hard to say. Some have suggested that Luke bound himself to Paul as a slave, and that Rome would have paid for Paul to have a slave accompany him. The likelihood of this I cannot comment upon, but we have also seen from some comments earlier that there is a good chance that Paul had come upon a considerable inheritance at this time. It could well be that Paul is paying the expenses for Luke to accompany him to Rome. There is no particular reason to think that Rome must have been paying the way for both of them.

So Paul and the other prisoners are delivered to a centurion (or commander of a hundred soldiers) named Julius. He was of the Augustan Regiment, which is probably what is otherwise known as the Praetorian Guard. When first established, they were the first Roman soldiers allowed to be stationed in Rome, and were the personal bodyguard of Caesar Augustus, remaining completely loyal to him. However, upon his death, they remained in Rome as the Emperor’s bodyguard, but also worked for their own political ends. The centurions of this Regiment were powerful, and so this Julius was no insignificant soldier. Read the rest of this entry »

grave03Acts 26 Continued

19. “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

Paul now assures King Agrippa that he did not disobey this heavenly vision. One might have expected him to, considering the hatred he had borne to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ before this time. Yet he completely turned around at this time, and obeyed the orders he had received from the Lord.

20. but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

Paul specifies how he had obeyed. He had done this first of all by declaring his message in Damascus, the city in which he currently found himself. Later, he proclaimed this message in Jerusalem. From there, he spread to declaring it throughout all the region of Judea. Finally, he went out and proclaimed it to the nations, even as the Lord had commanded him. This is interesting, for we have no record of Paul proclaiming throughout all the region of Judea, yet here he testifies to the fact that he did this, and we have no reason to doubt his testimony. Since in Galatians 1:22, we know he did not meet the ekklesias of Judea face-to-face during his first visit to Jerusalem, this must have taken place during his second visit to Jerusalem in Acts 11:30 and 12:25. This could not have been during his third visit there in Acts 15, for by then he had already been proclaiming to the nations.

Now Paul reveals what he declared in these places. First of all, he told them to repent. Yet this is the bad translation we have talked about previously in Acts of the Greek word metanoeo, which means to submit. Paul’s message was that they should submit and turn to God, and that the result of this should be that they will do works befitting those who are submissive. Read the rest of this entry »

Acts 26

1. Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.”
So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself:

Now Agrippa speaks up and talks to Paul directly, telling him that he is permitted to speak for himself. This was permitted in Roman trials, but this was not necessarily an official trial, but a hearing of Paul brought about at Agrippa’s request. Apparently Agrippa feels that he should let Paul know what is expected of him. Perhaps, too, he wishes to take charge a bit, reminding Festus that this interview was supposed to be for his benefit, not for Festus’ benefit.

At any rate, Paul does not waste the opportunity he is given to speak. First he stretches out his hand, which was an indication that he had something important to say. Then, he takes Agrippa up on what he said, and answers for himself. Read the rest of this entry »