Wait, did he say 2 years?

Acts 24
24 And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” 26 Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, [g]that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.

27 But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

So Felix thought Paul would give him money to release him. However, Paul never gave him money. So after two years Paul was still in the captivity of the Romans and Festus took over for Felix.  Felix did not have a good track record with the Jews so that is why he left Paul bound.
So for two years he kept calling and talking to Paul. This seems kinda odd. I will do some digging on this later. If anyone has any thoughts, post them up.

 

 

Felix

Acts 24
22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.” 23 So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.

So Felix now has more knowledge about the Way, who they are and what they believe. So he pauses the proceedings. He is going to wait for Lysias before he judges. Maybe to keep the peace?

I find it interesting that Felix, who is said to be a TERRIBLE person who has crucified many people, gives Paul freedom and privilege.
This MUST be favor from God. For the annoyance of this trial, Felix could have easily put Paul on lock down.

Paul’s Trial (Some History)

I found a really cool website with a fun breakdown of what was going on at the trial. So I will post some excerpts here. If you have a second go and read the entire article. I am going to continue to read it as we progress through this trial.

https://gracevalley.org/sermon/pauls-defense-before-felix/

Who is Felix the Judge:
According to the historian Tacitus, Felix was a master of cruelty and lust, who exercised the powers of a king with the spirit of a slave. The period in which he governed Judea, 52-59 A.D., was characterized by severe unrest and uprisings. During his reign Felix crucified thousands of people and was thoroughly hated by the Jews. As one given to power, glory, and pleasure, Felix would do anything to amass wealth for himself.

Felix was married to a young woman named Drusilla, who was nineteen years old at the time of Paul’s trial. Drusilla and Felix had one son, Agrippa, who perished when Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. at Pompeii. In A.D. 57, when she was nineteen, along with her husband Felix, Drusilla heard the gospel from the mouth of the apostle Paul.

The Prosecution:
Ananias-the greedy, cruel, violent man who was high priest at that time.
Tertullus, who was a professional orator, trained in Roman law and well-versed in Latin. Probably a Jew from the Diaspora, Tertullus was the spin doctor of his time.

The Prosecutions Argument:
Tertullus began his prosecution of Paul by flattering Felix in an attempt to get into his good graces. As we read his words, we notice that whatever Tertullus said of Felix was the exact opposite of the truth we know about Felix from history. For example, in Acts 24:2 Tertullus said, “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you. . . .” This was a lie, as we said before. Felix’s reign was characterized by unrest and uprisings. Tertullus continued, “and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation.” This was another lie. Felix was not a reformer. Tertullus continued, “Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude.” These were all lies from the lips of the lawyer Tertullus.

The Lies against Paul:
1. Troublemaker of the Roman world.
2. Ringleader of the Nazarene sect.
3. Desecrator of the temple.

Not only that, as a spin doctor, Tertullus said in verse 6, “So we seized him.” This was also a false statement. They had seized Paul in the temple, dragged him out, closed the gates, and were beating him to death when the commander rescued him.

Paul’s Defense:
In Acts 24:10 we read, “When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied. . . .” Notice, Paul did not engage in flattery as he addressed the wicked, cruel judge, Felix. He simply stated the facts. Paul began, “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation. . . .” This was true. Felix had been governing Judea since 52 and it was now 57 A.D. Paul continued, “so I gladly make my defense.”

Now it’s Paul’s turn!

Acts 24
10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection [e]of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

Paul’s defense:
I have only been in Jerusalem for 12 days.
I was not in the temple arguing.
I was not in the synagogue.
I was not in the city.

I worships the same God that my accusers accept.

Something interesting that I read in a commentary:
Mark 13: 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, [d]or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

It was the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul. We do not have to conjure up what to say in a time of need. The Lord will give it to us!

The Trial Begins!

Acts 24
Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.

2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and [a]prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight, 3 we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. 4 Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your [b]courtesy, a few words from us. 5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, [c]and wanted to judge him according to our law. 7 But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, 8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.” 9 And the Jews also [d]assented, maintaining that these things were so.

So it begins.
We now meet Tertullus. He was an “orator” (Acts 24:1), a lawyer for the era.
Tertullus [Tûrtŭl'lus]—derived from Tertius, and meaning, liar or impostor. A Roman advocate employed by the Jewish authorities to prosecute Paul before Felix, the Roman Governor or Procurator

In a Roman court, it was customary for orators to start with flattery to win the favor of the judge. In this case, however, Tertullus’ flattery may also have been made and/or received with a veiled threat against the fragile peace in the region, should Felix not side with the Jews.

Next he levels his accusation against Paul. The only accusation I could find is that Pauls creates dissension and he TRIED to profane the temple.

Fix-it Felix

Acts 23
31 Then the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they left the horsemen to go on with him, and returned to the barracks. 33 When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 And when the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s [e]Praetorium.

So all those who took an oath to kill Paul, will now probably go hungry. As for Paul, he is now in the care of Felix. He has been put in Herod’s tent, and he is awaiting his accusers.
So Felix did not want to hear from Paul, until he could hear both parties.

I want to stress, this is only possible because of Paul’s citizenship.

Off to Felix we go!

Acts 23
23 And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter in the following manner:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To the most excellent governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that [d]the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him.

Farewell.

Oh how this commander has changed his attitude. In the beginning it was “we are going to beat Paul to find out what wrong he has done.” Now the commander states, “I rescued him having learned that he was a Roman.”

It is very important to note that Paul’s Roman citizenship is the key to everything here. It is the most important aspect of his current situation. Without it, there would be no second part to this story. Paul would probably already be dead.

Under Oath, but not that smart.

Acts 23
16 So when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their ambush, he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to say to you.”

19 Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside, and asked privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”

20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask that you bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more fully about him. 21 But do not yield to them, for more than forty of them lie in wait for him, men who have bound themselves by an oath that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you.”

22 So the commander let the young man depart, and commanded him, “Tell no one that you have revealed these things to me.”

NEVER create an evil oath when there are little ears around. Kids can’t keep secrets. Also, you never know who is listening!

So Paul’s nephew heard about the plan and warned Paul. Lucky for Paul the commander was not involved or they would have killed Paul’s nephew and Paul that day.

Now that’s dedication

Acts 23
12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. 14 They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you [c]tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”

So this plot to kill Paul included the chief priests and the elders. Everyone is dirty.
They took an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed Paul. This oath seems unnecessary. Just kill Paul if that is your desire.

Something else I noticed, is the plan isn’t until tomorrow. So all today they will NOT eat, or drink.  That means they have a full day to be angry, and ready to end Paul quickly so they can eat and drink and be merry.

Be of Good Cheer

Acts 23:11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, [b]“Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

I wanted to take a day and just discuss this since Josh was kind enough to point it out :)

I believe that even if we don’t follow the perfect path God has chosen for us, God will still tell us to take courage. God will come alongside us and say, I have a new plan. Take courage I want you to do this new task.

So in my opinion this doesn’t persuade me one way or the other.
Not let me clarify by saying there is a lot to Paul. There is a lot to the path he chose. Comparing his arrest to Jesus, you see glaring differences. These differences I cannot reconcile and it leaves me wanting to study more and find out way.

I want to know why apostles and prophets who were not strangers to persecution and death, told Paul not to go to Jerusalem. And if we back track, to Acts 19 This was not the first time they told Paul NOT to go somewhere, remember this:
Acts 19:30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.

It almost seems Paul is a pinch reckless. All this makes me want to study more. It is clear that Paul loved the Lord and did the work of his Father. However, to pretend that he made no mistakes on the path to glory seems a bit of a stretch.
Thanks for hearing me out. This is all my opinion, and I am open for good discourse. As always thank you for reading!