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Acts 28:1-31

 

“And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Mileta. 2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness:  for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. 5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly:  but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. 7 In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. 8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux:  to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid hands on him, and healed him. 9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: 10 who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary. 11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. 12 And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. 13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rehgium:  and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: 14 where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days:  and so we went toward Rome. 15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns:  whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. 16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard:  but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. 17 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. 18 Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. 20 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. 21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. 22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest:  for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. 23 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, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. 25 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, 26 saying,  Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 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, and I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. 30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”

 

Introduction

 

Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/teachinglibrary.asp?Book=44

 

“Acts chapter 28, a little fast review, Matt, you have the map? there we are, last week.  How many of you were not here last Sunday night?  Where were you?  Paul is finally making his journey to Rome, he starts in Caesarea, makes, he’s got Aristarchus and Luke all the way through, in fact Luke is with him all the way to the end of 2nd Timothy from here.  They make the journey up to Sidon, he’s [Paul’s] in the care of a Centurion named Julius, who will be our friend in heaven forever.  Then the boat, they let Paul share with the church here, Caesarea up to Sidon, about 67 miles.  And then from there, they make the journey north of Cyprus because of the winter season, and no doubt they had to tact back and forth through here, this journey from here down to Sidon and Caesarea normally would be five days or so, it may have taken them 20 or 30 days depending on this westerly wind that would blow this way, making it harder for them.  So they come up here, and they come to this port, Myra.  You see that? [https://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/acts_pauls_third_journey_and_rome.jpg] Myra, right there, Myra.  And at that port, which is a fairly large port, the Centurion then finds a grain ship from Alexandria, and that ship is on its way to Puteoli which is the largest commercial port in Italy [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozzuoli], here, it’s on its way to Puteoli.  So he takes Paul, there are other prisoners, probably headed to the Arena, to the animals, to fight with the gladiators.  Paul is under a particular care as a Roman citizen, because he’s made an appeal to see Caesar, and again they get on this Roman, this Egyptian ship from Alexandria, headed to Rome.  Now, I forgot to mention last week, Myra, right there, is famous for something else.  In the 3rd or 4th century the bishop there, his name was Nicholas.  In the local language they called him Sante, which is saint, Claas, which is a shortened form of Nicholas, Sante Claus, Saint Nick, he was martyred in the early 4th century under Diocletian’s persecutions.  But evidently a very saintly man.  Now I don’t know how his fame spread to the Netherlands, which really endeared him [the proto-Catholic church had something to do with that, which had come into the region since the time of Constantine, see https://unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm].  The interesting thing, is, supposedly he found a poor man, who was a member of the church, who had three daughters so poor he couldn’t even marry them, couldn’t afford a dowry for them, and the man was going to sell them into a brothel, into prostitution [this smells of Catholic legend, for one thing, if this poor man was a real Christian the thought of selling his daughters into a brothel would never have crossed his mind, this one needs some fact-checking if you ask me.], the family was impoverished, struggling.  So Nicholas went to his house at night, and hoped to be able to get into the front door, and put three small satchels of gold, this is the tradition [yah, that’s the trouble with traditions] for the daughters, so they could move on, each one of them could be married, the doors were locked, he couldn’t get in, so he went up on the roof and he lowered the three gold sacks down through the chimney, they were actually drying stockings by the fireplace in the house, there’s a whole history that goes with this [it takes more faith to believe in this than Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, if you ask me], and supposedly he let one down into each of those hanging on the fireplace, and the whole tradition we have of Saint Nicholas and so forth, comes from a bishop there in Myra, at the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th centuries.  So, that tradition, of course, Blitzen, Donner and Rudolph had nothing to do with it, but there’s a tradition that goes all the way back to Myra, to the church there [which was probably a proto-Roman catholic church by then, the Judeo-Christians churches of God of Paul’s day having been driven underground by then].  From Myra they get this grain ship [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis_(ship)], they begin to travel to Clauda, it is the time of the year when traveling is dangerous, they come down here to Crete from Clauda there down to Crete [https://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/acts_pauls_third_journey_and_rome.jpg], they’re there in Crete, and see that point there, that is Fair Havens.  Paul tells them that we should stay here at Fair Havens.  They want to go all the way to the end of the island here where there’s a port named Phoenix [called in Acts 27 Phenice] and stay there for the winter.  As they leave Fair Havens and get out to sea, they want to sail along the coast right there, they want to sail along the coast, there’s a southerly wind that blows softly, and all of a sudden this Nor’ Easter, this storm comes down from the north, they call it a Euroclydon, winds come down this way, and push them away from the island.  It’s a typhoon, they get caught in this, and then as they get pushed down, they had to take down the sail, they had to put frappings around the ship, and then they had to just let themselves be driven with the wind.  They were hoping they were headed in this direction, because off the coast of Libya there were numerous sandbars fairly far out into the ocean, and ships would get wrecked there, so they’re being driven in this direction, and we’re going to start here tonight in Malta, right there, we start here in Malta, that’s where we’re going to be, Mileta, Malta today, and then our journey will go up here to Syracuse, up to this Isthmus, this pass between Sicily and the foot of Italy [my submarine sailed through there, called the Straits of Messina] up to Puteoli, up to Three Taverns, up to Rome, you see it there, that will be our journey this evening…but we’re at this island tonight.  That’s where we are. 

 

A Poisonous Snake Bites Paul, Nothing Bad Happens, God Brings The Gospel To All Of Malta Through Paul

 

We begin in chapter 28, as they have come ashore on boards and those that were able to swim swam into land, and it says “And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.” (verse 1) here in King James, it’s Malta.  It’s been 14 days, they’ve been driven 500 miles, to an appointment, we’re going to see that, by the winds.  The island is about 17 miles long and about 9 miles broad, and it says there was a barbarous people there.  Now when it says that, these are not people with a bone through their nose, looking to put them in a big pot and make dinner out of them.  Barbarous to them [the Romans] was anybody who didn’t speak Greek or Latin.  And Paul may have known some dialects that were spoken there, but it just calls them here in our text “a barbarous people.”  Melita, the name was given by the Phoenicians, it’s interesting, the Canaanite form of the word means “Refuge.”  So they end up on this island, and it says it was a barbarous people there, Luke says “And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness:” that means they showed them a lot, “for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.” (verse 2) these guys are wet, it’s cold, it’s October, they get up on the beach, the locals there, very hospitable, there are 276 of them [the survivors], they make evidently a huge fire, the people are standing around it, we don’t know whether it was under a rock ledge or some environment where they get a little bit of shelter.  But they’re there making this fire, and it says “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.” (verse 3) I like this, the apostle goes right to work here, he’s not standing around, he’s working, he’s gathering sticks with the rest of them, ‘and he laid them on the fire,’ it says “there came a viper out of the heat,” doctor Luke notes, and he uses the word that speaks of a venomous, poisonous snake, “there came a viper out of the heat,” now Paul, you know he’s got this problem with his eyes, he’s Mr. Magoo, he’s picking up sticks, ‘Funny looking stick,’ and he put it on there, and the snake may have been in partial hibernation because of the cold, that serpent would wake up rather quickly in the fire though.  And it says that he came out of the heat “and fastened on his hand.”  So as Paul’s there by the fire, he puts the sticks in, the snake comes out and strikes him on the hand and is hanging, injecting its venom into Paul’s hand, and it says “And when the barbarians” these local people that lived there “saw the venomous  beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.” (verse 4)  So, in their conscience, they look at this and think ‘Well, the gods are against this guy, this guy is guilty of something.’  You know, people always ask ‘What about the guy on the island?’  You know, when you’re preaching Christ to somebody, telling them ‘they need to made a decision, you need to accept Jesus,’ their comeback is always ‘Well what about the guy on the island?’ like they care about the guy on the island, the guy on the island is just a loophole to them, because they’re hoping if the guy on the island has an out, they have an out because of the pressure you’re putting on them when you’re sharing Christ with them.  Well Paul says in 1st Corinthians 5, what do we have to do to judge those that are without, it’s not our responsibility, our responsibility is to judge those that are within, God will judge those that are without.  But here we see these people, with no knowledge of the True God, yet they have a conscience, they have a sense of righteousness, what’s right and what’s wrong.  They see this man that they’ve never seen before, throw this bundle of sticks on the fire, they see everybody shivering, they’re cold, they’ve escaped the sea, they must think it’s miraculous, all 276 people have lived, and all of a sudden this venomous snake lunges out of the fire and grabs ahold of Paul’s hand, and they start to say ‘Aha, God must be dealing with this guy, he must be a murderer, he’s gonna be killed, he must be a murderer,’ and there’s a sense of justice amongst the guy on the island, God will deal with that.  Again, I remember in the trial with O.J., when all that was taking place, it’s an aside, it was in interview with, and I never remember the lawyer’s name, he’s got long hair, he looks like a Hippie, wears this buckskin, you know, he looks like Jeremiah Johnson and he’s a famous lawyer.  And they were interviewing him, and he said ‘Don’t worry,’ they’re talking about whether O.J. was guilty or not, and he said ‘Amongst lawyers, trial lawyers that try murderers, he said, we have a saying,’ and Larry King said ‘Nobody gets away with the BIG ONE.’  He said ‘What are you talking about?’ he said ‘It’s just kind of uncanny, we watch people, if they commit murder, and their lawyer gets them off,’ he said, ‘it’s just strange, within a year, two, three, they end up in a car wreck, they end up with a disease, they end up in prison for something else,’ and so he said ‘there’s a saying amongst trial lawyers, ‘Nobody gets away with the BIG ONE.’  Just like the guy on the island, there’s a sense of either some other justice that’s higher than the court system.  So these guys say ‘This guy must be a murderer, no doubt, for this to happen, he’s escaped the sea, now vengeance is not going to suffer him to live.’  “And he” Paul “shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.” (verse 5)  Gotta love Paul, don’t you.  He didn’t say ‘Oh boy, I wonder if this is an endangered species?’  He shook that critter into the fire, stinking snake, I don’t blame him.  And look, it’s a poisonous animal, but the Lord had appeared to Paul back in Acts 23:11 and said ‘You’re going to go testify before Caesar,’ in the middle of the storm the angel comes and says ‘you’re going to go testify before Caesar,’ so Paul’s thinking ‘Oey vey, everything else is going on, the Euroclydon, being driven through the ocean, that snake ain’t going to stop me if I survived all that,’ so he just shakes this thing into the fire, crispy critter, and it says “he felt no harm.”  You remember in the end of Mark’s Gospel the Lord said ‘These signs will follow those that believe, if they drink any poison or they get bit by a serpent, it won’t affect them,’ here’s Paul in the midst of God’s business, on an island, no anti-venom, he’s there and he gets bit, and no harm came to him.  He says “Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly:  but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.” (verse 6)  never mind, he’s not a murderer, he’s a god.’  You know, you can’t live your life to please people, that just becomes so obvious in Scripture, one day they’re yelling Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord, and a few days later they’re yelling Crucify him!  Crucify him!  Here they’re saying ‘This guy’s no good, a murderer, look what’s happened,’ and then they watch him, they say ‘Look at this, he’s going to start to swell up, he's not going to be able to breathe, he’s going to fall down and do this for awhile, then he’s going to kick the bucket.’  And they watch him, and watch him, and watch him, and nothing happens, Paul’s warming his hands, he’s talking to them, and then they said ‘Well, he’s not a murderer, he’s a god, we were wrong.’  Only two categories here.  They changed their minds and said ‘O no, he’s a god.’  Now this is setting the stage for the Gospel to be, if you’re determined to serve Christ, to lay your hands out and do something for someone else, to be a witness, you know Satan is going to attack you, it’s just the way it goes.  And yet the Lord uses those things to set the stage for a presentation of the Gospel.  It says “In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.” (verse 7)  And I’m assuming in that language that was neither Greek nor Latin, it's the word of “governor,” because again, I can’t imagine any mom giving that name to her son.  ‘Look at him Honey, he’s cute, what should we call him?  I always liked Publius, he looks like a little Publius,’ it probably just means governor.  He’s the chief man on the island “who received us” it says, and notice “and lodged us three days courteously.”  ‘Honey, 276 people are coming over for dinner tonight, would you make a few extra things?’  He brings them into his palace, place there, 276 of them, and Paul says ‘he was courteous to us, he took care of us for three days, we were there with him three days.’  “And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux:  to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.” (verse 8)  Seems to be instantaneously, so God goes to great lengths to see people saved, this man’s father has a high fever that seems to be ongoing, and is bleeding, has a bloody dysentery infection.  There’s still on Malta today, just free information, in the goat milk there, there is still an infection that gets in the bowels, a form of dysentery, and it can still be fatal today.  And evidently, it's something akin to that.  Now there’s no more, by the way, poisonous snakes on Malta, the tradition is that there were so many converts when Paul was there, the church was so on fire and so excited, that anywhere they saw one of those, they just killed it, because they knew it was the one that bit Paul.  This same snake is still in Sicily today, you can go there and still get bit by one of these, but no longer in Malta.  That’s just free information, like Sante Claus.  So he’s laying there, he’s no doubt dying, he’s worsening, Publius is the governor, he has to be at a decent age, and this is his father, who would be considered elderly, and Paul lays his hands on him and prays for him, and he is healed instantaneously it indicates.  “So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:” the King James says this, the Greek says “When this was done, the rest, which had diseases in the island came, and were healed.”  It seems to indicate “all,” the rest of the sick people in the island.  Now the island is only 17 miles by 9 miles, there ain’t anything to do there, there’s no sports, no HiDef television, nothing to do, so anything that happens spreads rather quickly [i.e. you can just imagine how quickly the corona virus would spread across Malta].  So word spreads across the island, people were superstitious, ‘Hey, Publius’ dad, he’s better, he was healed, these people, shipwrecked, washed in by the ocean, God spared them, not a single one of them was lost, and Publius showed some hospitality to them, and the man prayed, and a miracle took place and Publius’ dad, Publia, remember him?’  ‘Oh ya,’ so they start to come, it says “the rest,” they bring the rest of the sick people on the island of Malta to Paul and to his party there, and it says ‘they came, and they were healed.’  Paul had been driven 500 miles in a storm to get to these people.  When the angel came and stood on the deck with him, saying ‘Fear not, Paul,’ there’s two “must’s” here, ‘you must be brought before Caesar, and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee,’ Acts 27:24, ‘therefore he says to them Be of good cheer, for I believe God, that it shall be even as he told me.  Howbeit’ here’s the second “must,” ‘we must be cast upon a certain island.’  Part of this is “we must be cast upon a specific,” not just any island, “a particular island.”  Paul realizes part of this whole plan is, ‘We’re gonna end up somewhere very specific, God wants us to be thrown on this island.’  So Paul is throwing all of his heart into this, realizing ‘Lord, this is where you wanted us to be, Lord, this is what you wanted us to do.  You know, the serpent didn’t hurt me, and all these people that live here, the locals are open, we got to share the Gospel with them, Lord, the Publius, the governor of the island was gracious, no doubt because they had a Centurion with them, they had Roman soldiers with them.’  And Malta has been a part of the Roman government since about four centuries BC, Malta, was granted that position.  So, no doubt, there’s extra hospitality shown, and then when Paul prays for his father word is spreading quickly, you know, the snake-bite guy, they guy that heals Publius’ dad, and all of the sick people on the island are brought, and it indicates that they were all healed, and no doubt all heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul never healed without preaching.  So you have to imagine this incredible revival that must have taken place at this place, God’s timing, God’s driving this ship 500 miles, they didn’t know where they were going, no sun, no moon, no stars, no sextant, they had to strike sail, they had to frap the ship, and they let it be driven by the storm, to this destination, to these people who God loved.  What about the guy on the island?  Paul said ‘Don’t ask my about the guy on the island, last time somebody asked me that, I got caught in a Euroclydon, God drove me 500 miles in a hurricane to the guy on the island!  He loves the guy on the island.’  And it says here as these people on the island are healed, it says “Who also” the locals “honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.” (verse 10)  No doubt out of great thankfulness, they brought to them supplies, they brought to them garments and so forth.  and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary” they gave them all of the things they needed to finish their journey.  “And after three months” so this is going on for quite awhile, after they get to the house of Publius, we’re assuming we’re in the beginning of March somewhere, “And after three months we departed” here it is again “in a ship of Alexandria,” and Paul’s not telling them this time ‘You know, I don’t feel good about this, we shouldn’t do this,’ they get right on this one, “which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.” (verse 11)  Castor and Pollux were the sons of Zeus, and you’ve seen on ancient ships how they have a bust or two faces on the front, Castor and Pollux were on the front, and those who sailed the seas were superstitious and felt that they would have protection, and he says those were the signs on the front [bow] of this ship. 

 

Paul’s Journey Continues Up The Italian Peninsula

 

“And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.” (verse 12)  you can see on the map, where they come up into Sicily, to Syracuse, that’s an 80-mile journey by sea, from Malta [https://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/acts_pauls_third_journey_and_rome.jpg].  He says, “And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.  And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rehgium:” that’s 70 miles, you can see from Syracuse up to that top corner of Sicily, Rehgium right there, right at the toe of Italy, that’s 70 more miles by sea [through the Straits of Messina, which Rehgium is on the upper Italian side of the Straits, which my submarine sailed through], heading north “and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:” (verse 13)  Now that’s 180 miles they made in two days [that’s 90 miles a day, that’s really booking, 3.75 knots per hour for a large Alexandrian grain ship], you see it from the top of Sicily there at the toe of Italy, all the way up to Puteoli.  Puteoli is the main port in Italy, the main port of call, the main port of commerce, particularly all of the grain from Alexandria would come there and unload.  [Puteoli is a seaport about 7 miles north up the coast from Naples harbour, Naples now being the major naval base for NATO, it has been a naval base since Romans times, which must have included Puteoli, and even as recently during WWII, Naples was first a major naval base for the German navy, and then right after it for the U.S. Navy and allies, and has remained so ever since then.  Naples, Napoli is a real sailortown, like Corinth was, and my submarine was tied up at Naples for awhile during our Med cruise.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozzuoli  and https://holylandphotos.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/puteoli-italy-paul-stayed-here-for-a-week-on-his-way-to-rome/ technically Puteoli is part of the District of Naples]  So it says there that we came to Puteoli, Paul says, Luke says “Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days:  and so we went toward Rome.” (verse 14)  They found believers.  So they stayed in Puteoli seven days with the local believers that were there.  We don’t know whether they were from Pentecost that had gotten saved and spread there and a church began [it is widely believed that the early church of God started up in Rome right after that Pentecost in Acts 2].  We don’t know whether this is fruit of Paul’s ministry through the Mediterranean world amongst the Gentiles, but how encouraging it must have been when they came to Puteoli, they found believers there, and asked Paul to stay with them seven days, and evidently Julius, and I believe Julius is a believer by the way now.  Imagine, he started out in Caesarea with Paul seven months before this, traveled over a thousand miles by sea, didn’t notice him much, didn’t listen to him at first, but finally Paul was calling the shots, that they were going to be cast upon an island, ‘God told me, sent his angel to talk to me, we’re going to lose the ship, we’re all going to be saved.’  Exactly as Paul told him those things went, one at a time.  And then when the soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners, it says that Julius the Centurion stopped them.  At that time he must have been under tremendous conviction.  They come ashore on the island, he watches Paul bitten by a poisonous snake, no effect.  He gets to the house of Publius and he sees his father healed, miraculously, and then he sees something he never dreamed, Julius, all of the sick people on the entire island start to be brought over the next few months to the house of Publius, where miracle after miracle after miracle takes place in front of his eyes.  So when they get to Puteoli, the believers come and say ‘Can Paul stay with us for seven days?’ and Julius says ‘Sure, sure.’  Imagine what he listened to there.  We’re assuming most of them had never seen Paul, the great apostle, they knew about him, he was there, imagine the questions they asked him, the things they asked him about Jerusalem and about Israel, what was happening there, about the journey, and how the Lord had spoken to him, and  that the Lord told him he needed to go to Rome and testify before Caesar.  Just imagine what he explained to them of doctrine.  He’d written 1st and 2nd Corinthians by now, he’s written I believe the Book of Hebrews by now, he’s written the Book of Romans by now [I don’t think the early Church was sharing Paul’s Epistles with each other yet, except where they were neighboring churches and Paul asked them to, so these believers in Puteoli probably had only read his Epistle to the Romans, sent to Rome].  So, remarkable time, he tarried with them seven days, and then he says “and so we went toward Rome.” (verse 14b)  And it’s a good journey from Puteoli [Naples] all the way up to Rome, you see that, it’s over 100 miles from Puteoli up to Rome, and they’re walking, they’re no longer aboard the ship.  And it says “And from thence, when the brethren heard us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns:  whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.” [I heard an older Australian or British pastor give a sermon on Acts 28 and he humourously commented about this verse, because there is a British or Australian beer or ale named Courage, and his remark was that after this grueling voyage, he comes upon this tavern called The Three Taverns, and took a pint of Courage.  I’m sure that’s what all the sailors did when they offloaded at Puteoli.]  So they come down, you see The Three Inns is there, they come down, the Appian Way was the road they were traveling on from Puteoli up to Rome, the Appian Way, the famous paved roads, in Rome they had street lights at night, lit up, they were free from bandits, it tells us in Galatians that Jesus came in the fullness of time, there was a single language throughout the Romans world, Greek, which God decided the New Testament would be written in, the means of travel, commerce and communication were all established.  It was the fullness of time, it was the right time, that the Gospel would spread westward, and so it has.  Look, the Incas, they arose, and they died away, the Aztecs arose, they died away, Chinese dynasties arose, they died away.  But Daniel had a prophecy, when he talked to Nebuchadnezzar, he said the Gentile world powers will flow this way, ‘You are the head of gold, O Nebuchadnezzar, you will be succeeded by the Medo-Persian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire will be succeeded by the Grecian Empire, the Grecian Empire will flow into the Roman Empire, all of that, civilization will flow westward in a succession of Gentile world empires, bringing us of course to the last days and the re-emergence of some form of a Roman Empire’ [see https://unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm].  So Paul is coming out to the capital of the world, he’s coming to the capital of the world, and he is moving north up the Appian Way, from Puteoli up to The Three Taverns, and it says “they came to meet us as far as Appii forum,” a specific place on the Appian Way about 43 miles from Rome, and then to The Three Taverns, which is about 30 miles from Rome itself, “whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.”  Now these are the brethren from Rome.  Remember, the Roman Epistle is already written.  If you read chapter 16, in Romans, he names person after person after person that he knows.  He asked them to receive Phoebe, he starts out that way, and then he talks about believers who he knows in Rome.  So, evidently, when he first comes to Puteoli, we’re not sure how many of the believers he knew.  As he moves north the Roman Christians had heard about him, they begin to head south and they intercept Paul on the Appian Way and go with him as far as Three Taverns, and it says that he was encouraged when he saw them, I believe that he knew some of them, many of them are named again in Romans chapter 16, and it says when Paul saw them he took courage, and verse 16 says, “And when we came to Rome,” he came to Rome, this is 32 years after Acts chapter 1, when Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until you’re endued with power, to give witness to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth.  Paul now stands at the world capital, the population of Rome at this time was a little bit over 1 million, Philadelphia is a million and a half, so try to imagine this metropolis, approximately the size of Philadelphia, with bridges, with stadiums, with the link.  Now everything we have here they have there, in fact the cry of Rome now under Nero, they said there were two cries, there was a cry for bread, and a cry for the Circus, all people cared about is give me enough food to live on, and let me into the Arena, to see the gladiators, actually were the two cries of Rome.  Interesting.  Because Rome was in decadence by this point in time, it was disintegrating, and Paul the great apostle now it just says “he came to Rome,” how remarkable.  “And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard:  but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.” (verse 16)  the captain of the guard” this is of the Praetorian Guard, these prisoners no doubt then were taken, some of them to be gladiators, some of them to fight with gladiators, some of them to be fed to the beasts.  butit says “was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.”allowed” because he was a Roman citizen, “he was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.”  No doubt Julius, whose a member of this Roman guard, he was part of the royal guard it’s told to us in Acts 27:1, knows these soldiers, knows this Praetorian captain of the guard.  And what was it like this day, for Julius and Paul, to say good-bye to each other?  What was it like for them to look into one another’s eyes, with all they had been through?  brothers, what was it like for Julius to look into the face of this man, who by now had filled him with wonder?  this great apostle, this huge, huge personality stuffed in this little body.  What was it like for Julius to look into his eyes, say brother Paul, I’ve talked to my friends here, they’re going to look out for you”? “Can we get on our knees and pray before I go?  I’ll never forget these seven months, the storm, the journey, your God, the miracles, the serpent, the healings, the journey, how my life has been transformed.”  I just can’t imagine what it was like.  You’ll get to ask him soon, I think he’s going to be in heaven [kingdom of heaven, which ends up on earth, cf. Revelation 21:1-23], ‘Hey Julius, what was it like saying good-bye to Paul there in chapter 28?’ 

 

Paul Immediately Starts Communicating With The Jewish Leadership In Rome

 

“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.” (verse 17) Now he doesn’t waste any time, he’s chained to a soldier, around the clock, probably every six hours the shift changes, he asked them ‘Hey, am I allowed to talk,’ they say ‘Yes, you’re allowed to have guests, you’re allowed to talk to people.’  So in no time he found a way to communicate with the leading Jews in Rome.  He calls the chief 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.”  I’m sure he doesn’t give a lot of details, because he’s chained to a Roman soldier right there.  Claudius had driven the Jews from Rome, when Nero came to power a number of years before this, he gave permission to the Jews to return to Rome.  So there is a healthy Jewish population back in Rome at this point in time.  And he called these Jewish leaders together and said ‘I didn’t do anything, I’ve been delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans,’ “Who, when they examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.” (verse 18)  “But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.” (verse 19)  ‘I don’t have anything against Israel or the Jews,’but “For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you:  because that for the hope of Israel” who is Jesus, the Messiah “I am bound with this chain.” (verse 20)  And again, Paul, as he writes to the Philippians calls himself “the prisoner of the Lord,” he was never the prisoner of Rome.  He was the prisoner of the Lord, as far as he was concerned Rome was chained to him and couldn’t get away.  He had a Roman audience every day.  ‘For the hope of Israel, the Messiah, am I bound with this chain.’  “And they said unto him,” Paul “We neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake of any harm of thee.” (verse 21)  Now what happened to the letters?  I’m assuming that in the shipwreck, those letters that were probably sent from Judea accusing him were destroyed and disappeared with the ship.  They said We haven’t gotten any letters, no official communication has come, neither has anyone been dispatched to come and give us this kind of news, so we haven’t heard anything against you.’  “But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest:  for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.” (verse 22)  and that’s what they considered it [Christianity], a sect of Judaism, this offshoot, “we know that every where it is spoken against.”  ‘So we want to hear from you what this is all about.’  They know he was in the School of Gamaliel, they know he was a rabbi.  And it says “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, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” (verse 23)  So Paul assembles all of the Jewish leaders of the capital of the world, what an exciting day this must have been for Paul.  Because they’re coming saying ‘We didn’t hear anything, we don’t have anything against you.’  And Paul must be thinking ‘Oh baby, this is an open door, I got ‘em now.’  So they appoint a certain day, he collects them all, and he’s got Romans listening to this, “there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” (verse 23b-c)  What a Bible study that must have been, I would love to have that on an MP3 [for a Bible study version of what material Paul covered, see https://unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm].  Opening up all the Scripture from the law of Moses through the prophets, expounding, explaining, persuading,

 

A Nearly 2,000 Year Long Period Of Judgment Was About To Come Upon The Jews & Jewish Nation

 

And you have to understand, this is 7 years before 70AD, there is still an open door, though the Gospel had gone to the Gentiles, Paul had spoken to the Jews in Jerusalem, saying ‘seeing you refuse, the Gospel is going to the Gentile world,’ and yet Paul had written Romans chapter 9 through 11, that is sitting in the back of his mind (cf. https://unityinchrist.com/romans/romans9-11.htm).  The Holy Spirit had moved him to write those things.  He said ‘Has God cast off his ancient people Israel?  God forbid,’ that God still had a place for them.  Paul would say to the Gentile churches not to be haughty or puffed up, he said, ‘because you’ve been grafted in, you’re a wild olive branch, you’ve been grafted into Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles are gathered in,’ and then he said ‘and then all of Israel shall be saved’ (all of spiritual Israel).  You know, it’s interesting, when you study, there’s a lot of great scholars, that write just great commentaries on Romans, many of them are Reformed and I’m thankful for them, chapters 1 through 8, they hopscotch around a little on 9 and 10 because they like predestination and election, but they crash and burn in chapter 11, they just don’t know what to do with it, because it is such a profound chapter.  Listen to me carefully, God is not finished with his ancient people Israel.  If you’re confused about it go home and turn on the television.  There has never been a people, driven out of their land for 2,000 years, that have then recoalesced and become a nation again.  They have kept their language, they have kept their traditions, Moses said, not knowing, but prophetically by God to the children of Israel the night they came out of Egypt, ‘That you shall keep this Feast from generation to generation,’ and they’re still keeping the Passover Feast, the Seder, it hasn’t changed.  [Comment:  and the Judeo churches of God that Paul raised up, and that continued under John the apostle in Asia Minor and for awhile throughout the Roman Empire, what were they like? (seehttps://unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm)  On the other hand it was these very Jews, in Jerusalem and in Rome, the Jewish religious leadership, that rejected the witness of Paul and all of the Judeo-Christian churches of God for forty years, from 30AD to 70AD, and after that, God judged the Jewish nation which continued to reject the Gospel witness of these early Judeo-Christian churches and God’s apostles.  God gave them 40 years, and then judgment came in 70AD, and then complete final judgment came in 135AD, right up until 1948, as Pastor Joe pointed out, a nation reborn after 2,000 years dispersed to the nations (see https://unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1a.htm and scroll to “the Bar Kochba Revolt.”)]  He’s called “the God of Israel” 203 times in the Bible.  How can you get rid of that?  “Israel” the word, mentioned in the Bible somewhere around 2,000 times, more than the word “Christ” and the word “Messiah.”  And God still has a plan for his ancient people.  I encourage you to get up to the prophecy conference that we’re going to have here, because that’s going to be one of the main themes at the conference, that God still has a covenant with his people, and they are still in the midst of what’s happening in the world today, and he will still deal with them, and he will rule from Jerusalem.  I’m so thankful when the Lord comes and sets up his kingdom, and there won’t be a beltway, there’ll be a Highway, but not a beltway.  It won’t be in Washington, it won’t be in Moscow, it’s going to be in Jerusalem, and a Highway will be there, it’s the Highway of Holiness, the redeemed shall walk there.  [For some of those prophecies, see these links: https://unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation1.html and https://unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/MillennialKingdomofGod.pdf and https://unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/Book%20of%20Isaiah.pdf and https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zechariah/Zechariah4.htm and for the whole shebang, see https://unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html]  What a day, what a day that’s coming.  So, Paul here convincing them, talking to them, challenging them, knowing that God still had a plan for his ancient people, what a Bible study it must have been.  And look at verse 24, it’s interesting as we’re coming to the end of the Book of Acts the Holy Spirit put this before us, because it is still true today, “And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.” (verse 24)  Still, the only two categories in the world today, those who believe and those who believe not.  That’s all there is, interesting.  “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,” the idea is calloused, it’s hardened, notice this, it’s the heart of the people, not the intellect, faith is a matter of the heart, not of the mind “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, and I should heal them.” (verses 25-27)  And as we get to the Book of Romans, F.F. Bruce said Paul’s theology was clearly the  trichotomy of man, that man was body, soul and spirit, not a dichotomy, a trichotomy.  It’s with the heart, the deepest part of man, which would be the spiritual part of man, it’s there that man embraces faith and exercises it, “for the heart” the Holy Spirit says “of this people is waxed calloused, hardened, 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, and I should heal them.” (verses 27)  Isaiah chapter 6, verses 9 and 10 quoted seven times in the New Testament, very interesting.  I remember years ago, watching a Billy Graham Crusade, and they had Joanie Erikson Petata come out and open the crusade and address the people before Billy Graham came out, and she sat in her wheelchair, and she said “You know, I know that you look at me and perceive me as being handicapped,” and she said “and there’s difficulty in my circumstances, as a quadriplegic,” but she said “In the final analysis I am not handicapped, this has become my pulpit.”  She said “I would never trade that away.”  She said “The thing that breaks my heart” she said to these 60,000 people in this arena, “that many of you tonight are handicapped, you have eyes, but you don’t see, you have ears, but you don’t hear, lest the truth of God should come into your life and you should be born anew.”  And it was so profound, you know, when she was done Billy Graham was kind of an anticlimax that night, it was so powerful and it was so heartfelt and it was so anointed of the Holy Spirit.  And look, you have friends, I have friends, parents sometimes, brothers and sisters and relatives, people we work with, we love, we go to school with, and we explain the Gospel, and we do a great job, we make things incredibly clear, and it’s like trying to penetrate granite, you know, it just is not going anywhere.  And we look and we think ‘What in the world is the problem?’  Well it’s this here, and again Paul says in 2nd Corinthians ‘that the god of this world has blinded the minds of those that don’t believe, lest they should see the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ.’  It’s the same thing, they have eyes, but they don’t see, have ears but they don’t hear, and their heart is dull, they refuse to believe.  Interesting, seven times in the New Testament.  He says to them then, “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” (verse 28)  Paul had already written that they, the Gentiles, will be the wild olive branch that’s grafted in.  “And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.” (verse 29) and notice this, “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,” (verse 30)

 

Paul’s Prayer Request He’s Sending To The Churches As He’s Chained In Rome

 

Now he’s about 60-years-old at this time, he had been remember in Caesarea for two years.  Now waiting again to see Caesar, he’s about two whole years, during this time he writes Ephesians, he writes Philippians, he writes Colossians, he writes Philemon.  Ephesians, interesting, it says this, Paul asks them to pray, and he says “and pray for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds, and therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.”  He’s asking the Ephesians, that great church at Ephesus to pray for him as he’s in this two years in this hired house, but chained there in the city of Rome.  When he writes to the Philippians, again, he says “But I would that you should understand brethren, that the things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel, so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places.  And many of the brethren in the Lord waxing confident by my bonds, my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.  Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also of good will.  The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add to my bonds, and the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel, what then not withstanding in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice…” and I don’t care, I’m here, word has spread,’ and when he finishes, he says “the saints in Rome greet thee, especially those of Caesar’s household.”  He was making converts, man, he was grinding them out there in Caesar’s palace.  And he said ‘Look,’ to this Philippian church that he loved, ‘this has happened to the furtherance of the gospel,’ he said ‘there are some preaching of contention of Christ, I have guards that are chained to me for six hours, and all they do is listen to me share Christ with people, and then they go back to the barracks and say ‘This guy Paul’s driving me nuts, it’s your shift, I’m glad to get away from him, I’m chained to him, he ain’t chained to me,’ and another guard’s listening, saying ‘Ya, ya, people out there with broken hearts, broken lives, you know sin makes a mess,’ and one guy’s sitting there listening, his wife just left him, or his son just died, he’s got tears running down his face, because this guy’s saying ‘this nutty guy talks about a God in heaven who loves us, he sent his son, and if we give our lives to him, that he’ll bear us up and forgive us,’ and this guy’s breaking up.  Paul says ‘Look, some are preaching out of contention, some are preaching out of sincerity, I could care less, the most important thing is Christ is being preached, the Word is going forth.’  What an attitude he was here for two years in Rome, waiting to see Caesar.

 

The Book Of Acts Hasn’t Ended Yet

 

He “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.” (verses 30b-31)  Let’s look at the way this Book ends, “preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence,” the King James says “no man forbidding him” in the Greek this reads “teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence unhinderedly.”  That’s the way the Book of Acts ends, “unhinderedly.”  The testimony has gone from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth, it ends with the word unhindered, the testimony of Jesus Christ, that’s because chapter 29 of the Book of Acts is right here, tonight, the story is not over, it continues.  Because it spread from Rome into Saxony, to England, the revivals, the remarkable things that took place with the lives of so many Huss and Waldensians (see https://unityinchrist.com/history/revivals3.htm and https://unityinchrist.com/history/revivals4.htm), Luther and Calvin and Whitfield (and George Mueller and William Brewster), the Book is still being written in heaven, and here, you know.  The great revivals, Jonathan Edwards’ church, the Great Awakening, they say his church grew by 300 people in a year.  We see that, just the chapters are not yet written, but it’s still continuing.  In fact, Jonathan Edwards watched George Whitfield and thought it was the beginning of the Millennium, and becomes the father of American post-Millennialism, he thought the Millennium was beginning then, he said if this spreads around the world it’s the beginning of the Kingdom, there was so much power and so much wonder and so many people being saved in the Great Awakening that Jonathan Edwards mistakenly thought that it was the beginning of the Millennium.  So here we are, tonight, unhindered, unhindered.  There are some countries in the world where they’re hindered, you and I tonight are still unhindered.  I don’t know how long that will last, I’m not sure how long that will last.  In Canada, to teach Romans chapter 1, where we’re going next, is considered “hate speech.”  James Dobson can’t have a tower or Focus On The Family in Canada.  I have friends that are Calvary Chapel pastors who have gone there to speak in churches, who have signed a disclaimer that they can’t make any comments against anybody’s sexual preference, that is hate speech and they can’t let that come out of their mouth as they stand in a pulpit in Canada.  James Dobson has transmitters on the border, in the United States, right on the border of Canada and broadcasts into Canada, but he can’t have a station there.  We still have tremendous freedom here, still unhindered, we should get on our knees every day and pray for our President, pray for his wife, his daughters, pray for that mother-in-law in the White House with him, she’s a believer [sermon given while Barak Obama was President of the United States], pray for her, man, that God lights her up.  Just, we should pray, we have tremendous freedom still, all of us, and we should make good use of it.  Amen?  Ask for decisions from your friends, tell them the Truth, do not be ashamed.  In Romans the 1st chapter the first thing he’s going to say, ‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.’  I know all you’re going to remember tonight is Santa Claus, I just know that, I shouldn’t have told that story.  Let’s have the musicians come and we’ll sing a last song, let’s stand together, and let’s pray.  54 times in our study, from Acts chapter 1, we’ve heard of the Holy Spirit, 54 times, certainly it is the Holy Spirit of God that drove that Church, and without him and his work in our hearts and in our fellowship, we are dead in the water, we will never have an impact in this city or in our families, or in this community.  So our prayer also should constantly be ‘Lord, fill us afresh with your Spirit, pour out your Holy Spirit here in our fellowship in Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia.’  And I don’t care whether you’re a cessationists, or an uncessationist, you can have all the titles you want, if you got it, great, if you ain’t got it, get it.  The point is, let’s be filled.  As we studied through the Book of Acts there were fresh fillings, they were filled the Day of Pentecost, and this is Peter in chapter 4 to address them, and it says ‘he was filled,’ and the condition is there, ‘freshly, right there,’ and then in chapter 4, verse 31, they were praying ‘Lord, give us boldness,’ and it says ‘as they’re praying, they were all filled and the place was shaken,’ that’s the same class condition, they were filled afresh, right there.  So the one thing we’ve learned in the Book of Acts is free refills, that is the Father’s joy.  And a Spirit-filled Christian is not a title, it’s a condition, because you and I have known too many Christians who claim to be Spirit-filled, jabbering in tongues and living in sin at the same time, it’s unacceptable.  The Holy Ghost with power should transform our lives, set us free from that old life and empower us.  And certainly spiritual gifts are important.  Again, Moody was asked by a woman in his church, “If we’re filled by the Spirit, why do you always ask God to fill you afresh?”  he said, “I leak.”  My experience, I leak, every day, seek the Lord for a fresh filling of his Spirit, every day seek the Lord for a fresh empowering, every day say ‘Lord, let this be the day, like in the Book of Acts, I’m not ashamed to share with my friends, I’ve been withholding, been a little reticent, give me boldness, let me be your witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Lord to the uttermost parts of the earth, enliven me, empower me Lord, with your Holy Spirit, to be your witness.’  Amen?  Let’s pray…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Acts 28:1-31, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links:

 

audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/teachinglibrary.asp?Book=44

 

Paul lands in Puteoli, where is that?  see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozzuoli  and https://holylandphotos.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/puteoli-italy-paul-stayed-here-for-a-week-on-his-way-to-rome/

 

What were these Alexandrian grain ships like?  seehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis_(ship)

 

What were the Gentile world empires God ordained to rule over the world after Judea ceased being a kingdom with a king?  https://unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm

 

From 70AD to 135AD the Jews & Jewish nation go into a nearly 2,000 year period of judgment, but God is not finished with Israel or the Jews.  See https://unityinchrist.com/romans/romans9-11.htm and https://unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm and https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zechariah/Zechariah4.htm and https://unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1a.htm (and scroll to “the Bar Kochba Revolt”)

 

 

 

The Book of Acts continues, see what will probably be included in God’s heavenly ledger:  https://unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm

       

 

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