The Acts—mis-education

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The Bible : The Acts of the Apostles 25:23-28
圣经(新约全书):史徒行传
CONFLICTS, MISEDUCATION AND POLLUTION OF
THE MIND, BODY AND SOUL

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CHAPTER 25

23. So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus’ command Paul was brought in.

24. And Festus said: “King Agrippa and all the men who are here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole assembly of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying out that he was not fit to live any longer.

25. “But when I found that he had committed nothing deserving of death, and that he himself had appealed to Augustus, I decided to send him.




















To arrive with “great pomp” was to arrive with such flourish that is unable  be denied attention from those present.

“Auditorium”, “commanders” and “prominent men of the city” are indicators of the seriousness of any matter, for all three to be used in combination suggests the size and severity of the matter called to attention is indeed not small.  The matter has been named as Paul.

The matter is that the Jews of two cities had protested against the continuation of Paul’s life i.e. they believe Paul’s life must end.

However, the matter and calling were investigated and Festus concluded, “he had committed nothing deserving of death” so he called to Augustus and brought the matter to him to contend with.

26. “I have nothing certain to write to my lord concerning him. Therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially before you. King Agrippa, so that after the examination has taken place I may have something to write.

27. “For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him.”









Festus reports that he had nothing of definition and certainty to report regarding the matter (Paul) and thus puts it before King Agrippa to generate further, deeper and greater attention to enable a report to be written.

Festus’ initiative dictates that he needs to be able to present a report of charges against Paul in order to present him in court.

CHAPTER 26

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

2. “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews.”

3. Especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which I have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.















King Agrippa encourages Paul to answer for himself, to hear Paul’s own point-of-view on the matter.

Paul is gracious and expresses his gratitude and appreciation of being heard by the King himself.  He feels greater ease since Agrippa is an “expert in all customs and questions which I have… “. 

He also politely asks for Agrippa’s listening patience in advance.

4. “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.

5. “They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

6. “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.













Paul explains his beginnings, his life’s background by starting with how he spent his younger days in Jerusalem at the knowledge of the Jews.

Paul called himself a “Pharisee”, which is a member of an ancient Judaism sect (opposed to the Sadducees) teaching strict observance of Jewish tradition as interpreted rabbinicaly and believing in life after death and in the coming of the Messiah, nowadays known as a hypocritical and self-righteous person.

He expresses, rather heavily, what he is due and promised: although he has yet to state it definitively.

7. “To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.

8. “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?

9. “Indeed, I myself though I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

Paul states he and all twelve of his tribes had been working terribly hard towards the promised result/ gift/ reward from God.

He stands accused by the Jews of believing in heresy, in fallacies. This is expressed in: “I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?”



















Paul says he has to do many things that go against Jesus.  Which implies that he does not action the words of Jesus (who is the son of God) as he only “earnestly serves God night and day” then he must struggle against the Jews who accuse him of wrong-doings.  Does Paul believe that the calling of Jesus and God are different when they are father and son? 

Well, the evidence up to now indicates that Paul is unable to receive information, sift, sort and filter to make good quality judgements for himself. 

So the Jews have put him under surveillance, to discover the worth and value of Paul’s life and actions. 

That is, he is given enough time and resources to grow, to mature to fruition in order to be judged.  It must also be learnt how he judges others… which indicates the nature (and thus qualities) of his mind, soul and being.

10. “This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.

11. “And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

12. “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests.
















Verse 10 is very worrying. It shows Paul’s state of judgement is very weak, poor and reliant — easily manipulated into wrongs and rights.

He appears to be beneath people, a sub-human. An unintentional consequence, according to God, hence their 12 tribes working towards an under-stated, unclaimed and unclarified ill-promise — repentance.

Paul instilled punishment — judging and actioning of the consequences of others — and encouraged outrage.  However, we know what a saint is and so why was he punishing saints?  This shows his ill-judgement of the poorest kind i.e. do not blame the advisor nor the commander nor commissioner.  Action lies in your hands.  No person is a true robot to be pre-programmed – that is either too lazy or too stupid.

13. “At midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.

14. “And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15. “So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.













16. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness of the things which you have seen and of the things which you I will yet reveal to you.

The very person whom Paul has been persecuting, Jesus, approached him while on his journey to offer Paul the title and job of minister.  This is a little suspicious… But Jesus offers a revelation.

17. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send to you,

18. To open their eyes, in order to turn them from the darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’









Jesus wishes for Paul to work on awakening the Jewish people and the Gentiles; and after this, Jesus will remove Paul from their harassment.

By awakening the people, it will enable them to receive the goodness of life.

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

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

21. “For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.

Paul continues by insisting he did not work against the vision of heaven, since he did as he was told: he wandered the lands to awaken the people and cause repentance.














But it was based on these works that the Jews tried to kill him. However, in 26:9 he states how he “must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” thus he contradicts himself.

What is more, Paul’s meanings seem to contradict his method and style of speech which arouses my suspicion that he may have been taught to express himself in order to be able to present himself fairly for judgement (for the sake of others).

I wonder what sort of eye-opener Jesus intended for the people and whether the result was what He and heaven intended.

Was this a trap for such a person?  What sort of person is Paul?

22. “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—

23. “That the Christ would suffer, that he would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

24. Now as he thus made his defence, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”

25. But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.























 

26. “For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.

27. “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

Paul has been proclaiming and speaking things on behalf of others, yet it appears (that not only is he ill of judgement but) he agrees that “the Christ would suffer” without so much doing anything about it he just wanders the lands repeating these words. 

He thus seeks support from the King and perhaps even reward for his “work”.  It seems that Paul is all repetition of others’ words and nothing else, yet he cannot see his own failings – stupid or lazy? 

He neither seeks to confirm (factually) the words nor action anything positive.  Paul only does what is easy, repetitive and programmable – it appears he offers nothing of himself that is of contributive value to anyone, let alone the wider community.

28. Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuades me to become a Chirstian.”

29. And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

30. When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them;

31. And when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains.”



















32. Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caeser.”

The subtle irony of Agrippa wanting now to become a Christian could easily be lost, but remember, Paul is said to be a Pharisee (a Jewish sect), not a Christian. 

Paul’s wanderings and proclamations as a ‘minister’ were those given to him by Jesus, but what does that mean? 

It also appears that Caeser was keen to keep this person in punishable condition, which is not the case of death and chains.

CHAPTER 27

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

2. So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.

3. And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.





















4. When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.

5. And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia we cam to Myra, a city of Lycia.

6. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.

It appears there are more people to seek eye-openings i.e. “they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regimen”.  The journey was long, but Paul was treated ‘kindly’, but giving Paul the liberty to see his friends means nothing – it is possible that Julius could not be bothered to care for Paul of his own accord.

7. When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.

8. Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

9. Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them.

10. Saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”

11. Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.


























12. And because the harbour was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbour of Crete opening toward the south-west and north-west, and winter there.Verse 11 tells us the ranking of Paul within Julius’ mind and eyes, despite having treated him ‘kindly’.  Verse 10 tells us that Paul is prone to blithering nonsensically based on no more than ‘feelings’ rather than higher-intelligence, fact and better judgement. 

The journey seems arduously long and to have it noted in detail, selected, edited and re-edited to then enter into  widely-distributed historical documentation two centuries later, seems telling. 

It is possible the journey was construed to be unnecessarily pro-longed to disadvantage the prisoners, hence Paul’s demoralised and depressive outburst – after all, Julius was a centurion who should have a number of tricks up his sleeve. 

In those days, many sea voyages were undertaken as part of trading exchanges, but such journeys were certainly undesirable and it is possible it was deemed something punishable individuals should undergo as well as the good men of  sea-faring professions.

Also, to have no preparation for such a long journey is a very poor situation and definitely undesirable in those days.

13. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete.

14. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.

15. So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.

16: And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty.

17. When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergrid the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.




















18. And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands.

Geez, if it was arduous to read, imagine what the actual journey was like.  Paul received enough ‘education’ to understand how poorly such a journey could make someone’s mind, body and spirit. 

Paul surely could understand how such journeys at sea puts one at a disadvantage.  Surely “death and chains” really were a greater mercy?

19. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands.

20. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.

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

22. “And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

23. “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve.























 

24. “Saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caeser; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’

Why would the writer attend such a journey?  Real life experience was necessary to be a true historian of the highest quality and such experiences were actually difficult to come by. 

To knowledgably use fitting words with fitting meanings was essential to the profession, as well as to be scientifically factual, accurately objective and  shrewdly observational to provide correct depiction of subtleties and detailed writings of significant discrepancies, similarities and states of situations for the sake of posterity over the ages that would, and could, cross time, culture and geography.

Verse 22, in my mind, suggests Paul is a bit loopy: how can there be loss of ship but not of life?  In the open sea and at that time, it would be impossible to survive without significant survival knowledge and resources which they clearly did not have.

25. “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.

26. “However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

27. Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land.

28. And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it.

29. Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.





















30. And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretence of putting out anchors from the prow.

31. Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”

32. Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.

Verse 30 is also strange in that the sailors needed to act “under pretence” – for what purpose?

Not one person wants to pay heed to Paul, not even the soldiers.

33. And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing.

34. “Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.”

35. And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.

36. Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.

37. And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.





















How does anyone on-board an arduously long sea-faring journey go without food for 14 days? 

Was is that Paul was the only one to go a fortnight without food and thus he assumed (or was made to assume) that everyone was doing the same?

How is “not a hair will fall from the head of any of you” a sign of good health or successful survival?  It implies that Paul has received a mis-education and as proof of his innate lesser qualities he repeats and believes easily – he is lazily gullible.

Verse 35 suggests Paul has been encouraged to look like a loopy fool while showing appreciation to God – appreciation to God is with discretion and even at that time was known as a prayer or grace.

Verse 36 suggests that the morale of the 276 people on the boat received a boost after Paul’s precarious state of mind surfaced and showcased itself – an indication of the people’s view of Paul, people who had only met him on this journey.

38. So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.

39. When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible.

40. And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder-ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.

41. But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.




















42. And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape.

43. But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land.

44. And the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

It seems Paul has become the centurion’s favourite, perhaps needing and wanting to keep him in a punishable condition to present to Caeser to allow Caeser’s eyes to open too.

CHAPTER 28

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

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

3. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

4. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”




















5. But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

6. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

Either the Maltese were playing with Paul or they themselves are a knife short of a full cutlery set.  The coming and goings, the positives and negatives all add up to a polluted environment of mixed messages which would further push a person’s mind into a quandary – a significant punishing process.

7. In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days.

8. And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.

9. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.

10. They also honoured us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.

















11. After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island.

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

11. After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island.

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

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

14. Where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome.

15. And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

16. Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.





















17. And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

18. “Who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.

They seem to enjoy leaving Paul in a quandary.  To be in such flustered and uncertain state was surely also part of the punishment process?  A centurion, no less, was looking after proceedings.  The threat of immediate death or no death hanging over Paul’s head should be hell on earth, no?

19. “But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caeser, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation.

20. “For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

21. Then they said to him, “We neither received letters form Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you.

22. “But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”


















23. So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

24. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.

It’s almost unbelievable that Paul speaks so long-windily on so little food – what a consumption of energy!  Thus, the wardens continue to lure Paul to speak more…

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

26. “Saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive;

27. For the hearts of this people have grown dull.. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” ’

















Verse 26 is suspicious, since when is true teaching oblivious to the student?

Perhaps people are now listening to meanings with their hearts, rather than purely hearing words with their ears; seeing with their hearts rather than their eyes; and perceiving with their mind-sets rather than their eye-sight; understanding with their knowledge rather than their hearts. 

That is, people had moved on from the flesh, the physical and the one-dimensional.  They were now on the higher ground of mentality, attitude and better nature: the significance of subtle differences. 

Paul’s healing of others involved Paul showing himself to the people, who would then understand further, clearer and deeper Paul’s nature and his unfitness as a person of this world.

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

29. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.

30. Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him.

31. Preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.























The Jews were probably disputing what to do with such a lesser, unfit breed – a significant example to learn from and open the eyes of the people, someone to expel and exile, someone to terminate or someone to put into chains?

Verse 30 may insinuate that Paul was not worthy of ownership, and he had no rights to refuse anybody who appeared at his door i.e. he was obliged to entertain all.

Paul’s larynx and flesh was consumed to preach and perhaps even filter those who would listen.  How is it possible that people would not investigate nor question the miracles of Lord Jesus Christ?

No one approached Paul in advance for any purpose: neither to warn, remind, regulate nor update. 

Paul was mis-educated, polluted, contaminated, used, exploited, endured, tolerated and then let to be consumed for the good of others.  Unbeknown to him, he was being punished for eternity.  He was a lesser breed: no right to ownership, no right to refuse and he received no favour of intervention nor interference.

—- End of the Acts of Apostles —-

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