Acts 25:19 But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
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.The new governor comes in
.festus replaces Felix
.The local court out of Jerusalem still had the plot!
.From Ceasarea to Jerusalem was about 60 miles- a 2 day trip back then
.Paul appeals- to Nero!
.Seneca the Stoic
.King Agrippa the 2nd- and Bernice the queen
.Wait- aren’t they brother and sister?
.Bernice is the oldest daughter of Agrippa the 1st- and Agrippa the 2nd is his son
.How they they be King and Queen?
.Can you solve this riddle?
.Homer- Iliad- Odyssey
TEACHING - Just a few notes- these past few chapters are simply covering Paul’s appeals thru the local court system [Sanhedrin] and going up the ladder to the top court of the land- Caesar of Rome.
The caesar at this time- is Nero- http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/nero
Nero was one of the worst persecutors of the early church- yet Paul took his case to him.
At this stage Nero was not ‘as bad’ as we know him to be later on.
He actually will martyr both Paul and Peter later on.
Yet at this stage of the game he was influenced by Seneca- a Stoic philosopher- https://dailystoic.com/seneca/
Though the Stoics were not considered Christians- they did indeed have moral elements to their teaching.
Self denial- stuff like that.
So it would not be strange for Paul to take his case to him.
Paul has been sitting in the ‘county jail’ for 2 years by now.
Governor Felix left office- and festus took his place.
So the case is reviewed by the new governor-
And after 2 years- the high priest at Jerusalem [the top judge in the county] still wants to kill Paul!
We see a lot of corruption in the system- and how those who hold seats of authority- positions the public should be able to respect- yet these same people are some of the most corrupt of the day.
Yet- we also see Festus- and in his dealings with Paul- he does what is right.
The local court out of Jerusalem wants Festus to bring Paul to them- so they could carry out the plot to kill Paul.
Paul is aware of the plot- for 2 years now.
And he appeals his case to Rome- and Festus takes the appeal.
I’ll add my past teaching below- but wanted to simply give this update-
NOTE- The regular PAST POSTS and VERSES section is still below- but I made this short post [below] last night- thinking I might do a daily ‘roll out’- But didn’t want to waist an entire post just for this- so I stuck it here- [More below] I also talked about a strange experience I had- it involved a person who was put to death last night in Texas [2 nights ago now] I talked about it on an upcoming teaching post- KINGS 13- but here’s the news link- http://www.kztv10.com/story/36586596/inmate-executed-for-beeville-prison-guards-death
His sister asked me to pray for him a few years ago- I did- Then she asked me to pray for her brother again- because he was on death row- again? Well it will be explained on the KINGS 13 post- I thought maybe his sister was wrong- she wasn’t. Most of my Bluff friends would know his sister- but I won’t mention her name here [If I do a roll out- I might mention it before the kings 13 post- there are a few issues I might want to talk about as well]. This was her 2nd brother- on death row.
PAST POSTS- [Past teaching that relates to this post- Acts 25- Verses below]
ACT 25- Festus hears the Jews at Jerusalem, they want him to bring Paul to Jerusalem. Festus goes back to Caesarea and asks Paul ‘why don’t you go back with me’? Paul appeals to Caesar! Of course going to Rome was part of the plan. Now King Agrippa [another one of the many ruling authorities that Rome had over the people!] comes to Caesarea and Festus tells him about Paul. Agrippa will get a strong word in the next chapter. Also the Jews come down from Jerusalem and accuse Paul of many things. I want to make a note here. In the area of apologetics, which we do a lot of, you need to be careful that you don’t jump on the bandwagon of unfounded accusations. There are and have been real doctrinal heresies that needed to be dealt with, but some of the apologists really get personal. Even calling family members degrading names! In Paul’s case he had accusations that were not true. He does defend himself against the false ones, but also admitted that he believes in Christ’s resurrection and that this is considered heresy among certain Jews. Paul’s main message was Christ and the resurrection! As we get ready to close our study in a few more days, I want to recap the importance of seeing Jesus and his fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets as the main message of the Apostles. This early teaching by the Apostles needs to be the ‘tradition’ if you will, once again. We [believers] have a tendency to delve deeply into all sorts of stuff. Paul will warn his spiritual sons ‘don’t get lost in endless genealogies and debates about the law’ and Hebrews says ‘it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace, not with meats [legalistic doctrines] which have been unprofitable to those who have gone that route’. Now, you guys know I believe in correct doctrine, and Paul wasn’t advocating ‘no doctrine’. But it is easy to get lost in endless debates that lead to nowhere. Ultimately our goal is to present every man perfect in Christ. Paul will stick with this message all the way to Rome!
MY OLD POSTS-
The Iliad and Odyssey [Homer]
I want to cover some of the classics of Western Literature- when I do the philosophy and science stuff- the purpose is to show how God- and ‘religion’ are an inescapable thread that we see all thru out history- and in fact- the rise of what we call ‘intellectualism’ did indeed come from the Judaic/Christian tradition [for instance- the modern day university system did come from the Church].
Ok- lets start with what most believe to be the greatest work from antiquity- outside of the bible.
These are 2 poems by Homer- the Iliad and Odyssey.
These poems were written in the 8th century BCE- and cover the Trojan war- which most believe was a real war- that took place in the 12th-13th century BCE.
In Homers works we read about this epic battle.
The war starts with- once again- a ‘woman’ issue.
Prince Paris of Troy steals Helen of Greece- from her husband King Menelaus [king of Sparta].
The Greeks- led by Achilles- lay siege to Troy.
In Homers telling of the event- the Greeks are actually defending the honor of marriage- and are carrying out a just retribution against an unjust act.
Sort of the same themes we read in scripture- when the sons of Jacob defended the honor of their sister Dinah- when she was treated unjustly by the pagan nation that took her- forcefully- to be the wife of a kings son.
The brothers meted out justice- by tricking these pagans to get circumcised- then- while recovering ‘from surgery’- the sons went in and wiped out the city- to their fathers dismay!
In the story- Achilles is a warrior- who displays extreme violence- and also the human traits of a man who acts out of selfish motives.
At one point in the war- he removes himself from battle- because he feels his honor was betrayed.
The only thing that brings him back is the killing of his close friend Patroclus- by Hector.
Achilles leads the Greeks to victory- and reflects the struggle between living a long life- or dying young- yet dying for a just cause.
One of the more famous quotes form Homer’s Poems- attributed to Achilles- is ‘I carry 2 sorts of destiny to the day of my death. Either, if I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans, my return home is gone, but my glory shall be everlasting; but if I return home to the beloved land of my fathers, the excellence of my glory is gone, but there will be a long life- left for me, and my end in death will not come to me quickly.’
There has been some debate over the historicity of the war itself.
Some scholars believe it was Myth [I’ll get to this in a moment].
That is- they believe the war itself was not true- but a sort of Oral Tradition- that encompasses the reality of the human condition- and that Homers Poems are simply mythological ways to reveal the true condition of man.
Yet- much like the debate that took place in the 19th century German universities- over the ‘Myth’ of the bible- later on- the rise of what we now call Archaeology [because of the Industrial revolution- a new field arose- men started digging up the ground- for the primary purpose of extracting materials from the earth- and at this time we also discovered ‘lost worlds’- that is we could actually trace cities and lands that were once deemed fake].
So- as with Homers Troy- and bible lands- these archaeologists did indeed find Cities that matched the stories.
In 1870 the German Archaeologist Schliemann discovered remains that seemed to find the city of Troy- the area is known today as modern day Turkey.
This same thing happened with the bible- we did indeed find historical evidence that seemed to back up the historicity of the stories we find in the bible.
As a matter of fact- a famous doubter of the bible embarked on a search- to prove the bible was ‘myth’ yet- after researching carefully the historical names and places we read about in the book of Acts- he came to believe that the book of Acts- written by both an historian and doctor [Luke] was the most historically accurate writing that came from the first century [Acts has lots of names of political figures- court proceedings- stuff like that- and when doing research like this- it is quite easy to debunk the historical reality of a fake work- but- when these names and places were researched- from actual historical records dating back to the first century- it was amazing how the pieces fit].
The Trojan War is found in many works of Greek literature- and art.
But the most comprehensive account comes from Homer’s 2 poems.
Now- in Homer’s poems there are obvious references to Mythology- Goddesses- Golden apples- the Greek gods intervening in the affairs of men.
So yeah- we see that there are obvious mythological aspects to the work.
Yet- the ancient Geeks did indeed believe the war itself was a real war that took place at around the 12th century BCE.
Some believe that Homer never actually wrote the poems- but that he told the stories- like Oral Tradition- and they were later written down by others.
Sort of like the classic- Paradise Lost- by John Milton. Milton was blind- and told the story to his daughters [oral tradition] and the actual work was penned by those who heard it.
Jesus himself used this method- he never wrote a book- or letter in the New Testament- yet the gospels were compiled by his men after his death.
We read about this when Luke [who I mentioned above] gives the reason for his documenting stuff in the book of Acts [read Acts chapter one].
Luke also wrote his gospel a few years after the death and resurrection of Christ.
So- some believe the same thing happened with Homer- those who heard him tell the story multiple times- simply put it together later on.
Most scholars believe that Homer did indeed write the poems- and that the famous Trojan War was a real historical event.
Last year- when in North Bergen- my atheist friend Daniel said he watched a PBS show- and he said ‘even a priest said the bible was Myth’.
I explained to Daniel that when the more liberal scholars use this term [like in the writings of Bultman] that they do not mean ‘fake’- like Greek Mythology.
But they mean that some of the stories in the gospels might be a compilation of the many Oral teachings of Jesus- and they were put together as one story [some think the Sermon on the Mount was actually multiple teachings Jesus did- and they were compiled into one event].
Now- when I explained this to Daniel- he said ‘see- even you believe it was Myth’.
I told Daniel that no- I do not hold to this theory [not 100%] but that I was simply telling him that even those who use the term Myth- when talking about Theology- they do not mean Myth- as in fake.
So- I find it interesting that both the New testament- and Homers poems- got the same scrutiny.
In these poems we do indeed see the condition of man- which Homer depicts as one of constant war- not peace.
The letter of James in the New Testament says- James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Homers poems are considered by some to be the beginning of the great works of Western literature- of which there are many.
The great writer C.S. Lewis- who rejected Christianity for many years- later became a believer.
He attributed his conversion to the fact that he could not escape the reality of the Church- or Christian themes- found in all the fields of study.
Whether it was the classics- or history- philosophy.
He said every were he read- studied- he could not escape this scarlet thread that ran thru out all the fields of knowledge.
Yeah- in the end- his thirst for knowledge- his intellectual search- led him to the Cross.
Jesus- in a way- was a 1st century Achilles- he battled the forces of darkness- for the honor of a woman- the Bride- the church.
He- Like Achilles- chose a just death- for a just cause.
There’s a prophecy in the Old Testament- it speaks of Christ ‘the zeal of thine house has eaten me up’.
Jesus was a righteous warrior- a prophet, priest and king- and he had a zeal for the church- that far exceeded anything we find in Homers poems.
The Epicureans and the Stoics.
The Epicureans were an early form of what we call Hedonism today- the idea that pleasure is the principle purpose of man.
The Stoics believed in ‘stoicism’ that man should have no emotional response to pain or pleasure- that’s why we call people today ‘Stoics’- when they seem to not be moved by anything.
Ok- that’s it for now- might make some comments tonight- but I’m getting ready to fly out soon- and trying to wind down before I leave.
If I don’t write tonight- I’ll talk again when in North Bergen- God bless you all.
HERACLITUS- Ok- lets pick up on my philosophy stuff.
Heraclitus lived in the 6th/5th century BC. – He was from Ephesus and his key thought was Ever Present Change.
That is he saw everything as being in a state of continual flux- one of his famous sayings was ‘No man ever steps into the same river twice’.
He is called the Weeping Philosopher- sort of like the prophet Jeremiah in the bible- also called the Weeping Prophet.
Heraclitus is known for his concept of the Logos- the Word- or thought/reason.
Now- this aspect of his thought plays a role in the development of the Christian understanding of Christ himself- in our New Testaments [written in Greek] Jesus is indeed referred to as the Logos- or Word of God.
The Greek philosophers understanding of the Logos was not the same as the Christian view- mainly expressed thru the writings of John [The gospel- the 3 epistles- and Revelation].
But- some see the Greek view as a precursor to Christ.
In the work of one of the early church fathers- Hippolytus ‘The Refutation of all Heresies’ he attacks Heraclitus view of the Logos as an early form of heresy.
The apologist Justin Martyr is more gracious- he [Like Ulrich Zwingli- the great Swiss reformer of the 16th century] viewed the early Geek thinkers as ‘pre- Christian’ or ‘Christians before Christ’.
Though many reject this view- yet there is some scripture to back it up.
The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Romans that if the Gentiles [non-Jews] do by nature the things contained in the law- then they are justified in God’s sight.
Of course these things are debatable- but I add this to show you that some great Christian thinkers did indeed view the early Greek thinkers- who did live by a moral code- as being right in God’s eyes.
And the bible does teach a theme that we will be judged according to the amount of light [understanding] that we had at the time.
I should note that Plato [one of the 3 titans that arose after Heraclitus- from the city/state of Athens] disagreed with Heraclitus on all things being in a state of constant change.
When [if?] we get to Socrates- Plato and Aristotle- I’ll try and cover the ways they advanced- built upon- the thought of the pre Socratic thinkers.
As a side note- the most famous student of Aristotle- who was the most famous student of Plato- who was the most famous student of Socrates- was Alexander the Great.
This goes to show you how great an influence Greek philosophy had on the ancient world.
A few nuggets from Heraclitus- ‘all things come to pass in accordance with this Logos’ ‘follow the common’ ‘not having their own judgment’.
Recently I covered Acts chapter 2- and we see some of these ideas in the early Christian movement.
The first Christians did ‘follow the common’ they sold their goods- and had ‘all things common’ [communal lifestyle].
The apostle Paul teaches the early church to all ‘speak the same thing- that there be no divisions among you’.
And the New Testament also says the scripture should not be given to Private Interpretation- meaning- ‘not having your own personal judgment’.
All in all- we do indeed see a sort of pre Christian thought in the pre Socratic thinkers- they did indeed speak of the Divine- God- though there understanding of him was not the same as the Christian church.
In a sense- Heraclitus idea that in life- the only ‘constant’ is the fact that there is no constant- that life itself is made up of an ongoing journey- we live day by day- not ever knowing what ‘the next day will bring forth’- Jesus.
Yeah- the man had some good points- the later Stoics would consider Heraclitus as the father of their movement.
And in the study of Philosophy- the Stoics- who had a good run from a few years before the Common Era- were overtaken in the 4th century [as the main influential philosophy of the time] by some new and lasting philosophy- started by a man named Jesus Christ- who his followers claimed rose from the dead.
Yeah- this New Way was called Christianity- and this philosophy has endured now for over 2 thousand years.
VERSES- [These are the verses I talked about on the video- Acts 25- Links to all my sites below]
Acts 25:1 Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
Acts 25:2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
Acts 25:3 And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
Acts 25:4 But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
Acts 25:5 Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.
Acts 25:6 And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
Acts 25:7 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
Acts 25:8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
Acts 25:9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
Acts 25:10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
Acts 25:11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
Acts 25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
Acts 25:13 And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.
Acts 25:14 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
Acts 25:15 About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
Acts 25:16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
Acts 25:17 Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
Acts 25:18 Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
Acts 25:19 But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
Acts 25:20 And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
Acts 25:21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
Acts 25:22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
Acts 25:23 And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus’ commandment Paul was brought forth.
Acts 25:24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
Acts 25:25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
Acts 25:26 Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
Acts 25:27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
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