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​Acts 21

The Road to Rome
Part III

Acts 21:1-3
And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.

They have been hopping along the coast because it was to early in the year to be sailing in the open sea of the Mediterranean. The regular sailing season on the Mediterranean Sea is from mid-May to October. Otherwise, sailing outside of these times and you have a risk of violent storms.

Acts 21:4
And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

In Corinth, in Macedonia, in Troas nothing was said by the believers about Paul going to Jerusalem. At Miletus the leaders said nothing about being “bound in the spirit” nor going to Jerusalem because they were still processing the thought that they would never see Paul again.

Acts 20:38
Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

But now, in Tyre believers tell Paul not to set a foot in Jerusalem.

The word “who” is plural, therefore more than one disciple is telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem. The word “said” is in the imperfect tense, therefore it is better understood as, they kept telling Paul. The words “that he should go up” is the word epibaino1  which means set a foot on.

The sense of this verse is, “And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: multiple disciples kept telling Paul through God’s gift of holy spirit that he should not set a foot in Jerusalem.” 

God’s Word shows us no response from Paul.

How could they tell Paul, through God’s gift of holy spirit, not to set a foot in Jerusalem?

1 Corinthians 12:7
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

The word “manifestation” is phanerosis in the Greek. Phanerosis means, “to make visible or known, whether by words or deeds.”2 

Then in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 the individual ways of making the spirit visible or known are listed. The obvious manifestation of making the spirit visible or known in this case is by word of knowledge. Therefore, more than one disciple received a word of knowledge from God to tell Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem. But Paul did not receive it since he continues to move toward Jerusalem.

Acts 21:5-6
And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

Paul has not set foot in Jerusalem, but he is continuing down the road toward Jerusalem.

Acts 21:7-9
And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

What did they prophecy? We do not know, God did not say. But there are unique differences between the manifestation of prophecy in the Revealing Administration and the Administration of Grace.

Acts 21:8 tells us Philip was one of the seven chosen to help with the twelve apostles.

Acts 6:3
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Acts 6:5
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

Why give us this piece of information about Philip?

It identifies Philip as a follower of the doctrine given to the twelve apostles pertaining to Israel and the Revealing Administration. The prophecy spoken of in Joel and fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, as declared by Peter, is different than the manifestation of prophecy operated in the Administration of Grace.

Consider the prophecy of Elizabeth and then Mary while both were still pregnant.

Luke 1:41-45
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Notice this prophecy from Elizabeth has in it elements of the future. First, Elizabeth is filled with holy spirit, then she begins to prophesy. No one has yet told her Mary is pregnant, but she knows. Mary has not spoken of her visit from the angel, but Elizabeth knows it is her Lord in Mary’s womb. Elizabeth knows Mary has believed. Then, Elizabeth declares what Mary was told will come to pass.

Then Mary responds with prophecy.

Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Mary begins by prophesying that all generations (future) shall call her blessed. Then she brings forth words of comfort, and edification, and encouragement.

Mary and Elizabeth are living in the Law Administration when this event takes place. The spirit by which Mary and Elizabeth prophesy is only with them for that event. The difference between this manifestation of prophecy and prophecy in the Revealing Administration is that in the Revealing Administration the gift of God’s spirit, once received will remain with them for their life time.

Later, when John the Baptist is born, his father Zacharias prophesies with elements about the future in his prophecy. (Luke 1:67-79

So, what does this tell us about Philip’s four daughters prophesying? It does not tell us what they said, however it tells us their manifestation of prophecy can tell Paul about something in the future, as in, going to Jerusalem.

In the Administration of Grace, the manifestation of prophecy is not for speaking of things in the future, unless it is already declared in God’s Word.

1 Corinthians 14:3
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Edification is the Greek word oikodome, which means instruction that builds a person up.3 
Exhortation is the Greek word paraklesis, to call to one’s side, to encourage.4
Comfort is the Greek word paramuthia, which means to call another near to encourage with tender words.5

The manifestation of prophecy in the Administration of Grace is for building up, and for encouraging, and comforting with tender words. In the Administration of Grace, the manifestation of prophecy has nothing to do with speaking of unknown things about the future.

All of this is to say, the daughters of Philip could have said something about going to Jerusalem, but we do not know what they said because God did not tell us.

Acts 21:10
And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

Now we are not dealing with the manifestation of prophecy, but the office, the ministry of a prophet.

Acts 21:11
And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

The words of God, through the ministry of the prophet Agabus are very clear. Do not go to Jerusalem, you will be arrested and turned over to the Gentiles. 

Acts 21:12
And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

The word “we” is in the first person and refers to Luke and those traveling with Paul. They have heard enough to know Paul should not go to Jerusalem. Plus, the believers in Caesarea, having heard enough all besought Paul (parakaleo - to call to one’s side, to encourage; imperfect tense meaning they kept encouraging him) not to go up (anabaino – step or set foot) upon Jerusalem.

Every believer in Caesarea is repeatedly telling Paul not to set a foot in Jerusalem! When emotions are in the back seat, they add fuel (passion and enthusiasm) to your fire. When emotions are in the front seat, meaning they are in control, they silence the Truth, that is why your mind does not hear the Truth when it is spoken. Emotions that are in control come with a full set of rationalizations.

How can this happen to the Apostle Paul?

Recall once again the mission of Timothy in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 4:16-17
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

Become imitators of me. If that was the end of the statement then we are in a lot of trouble because Paul is just a man. Thankfully, God was not finished speaking. God adds, “my ways in Christ.” In other words we do not need to imitate the way Paul wore his toga, or how he liked his coffee, or his manner of speech. The word “ways” is the Greek word hodos and it means a literal road or path. But when used figuratively, as it is in 1 Corinthians 4:17, it refers to a person’s actions, conduct, a way of life.

Do not imitate Paul the man, imitate Paul, the child of God and his way of life in Christ. 

Leaders are just men or women. They have the same gift of God’s holy spirit as every child of God. That gift of holy spirit has the same manifestation of holy spirit as every child of God. They have the same need as every child of God to renew the mind. A leader has not received an extra scoop of grace, a leader has not received an extra manifestation of the spirit, a leader does not get a boost for the brain to make renewed mind easier. A leader is a man or a woman who has a heart to serve.

Acts 21:13
Then Paul answered, what mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

A commitment that is willing to give his life sounds admirable. But that is not the commitment God is looking for from His children.

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

We looked at this verse in the last teaching, but I never touched on the words “reasonable service.” Reasonable service is logiken latreian in the Greek. Logikos has logos as its root and means agreeable to reason, to logic.6  Latreia is only used of service to God, referring to the priesthood of the Old Testament, consider Hebrews chapter nine. Latreia is to perform a sacred service to God.7  Sacred service is a better translation.

What is the sacred service a child of God can perform? 

Renew your mind, so that you stand by the side of God, as a living sacrifice. Living for and with God, this is our sacred service. 

The only life a child of God is willing to give over to death is our sin nature.

Romans 6:11
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If Paul were to die in Jerusalem it would not be for the name of the Lord. He would die because of a failure to obey the will of his Lord. Our Father is a God of Love and Life.

Acts 21:14
And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

In the text it reads, “The Lord’s will be done.” The Lord’s will has been clearly stated by the disciples in Tyre and by those traveling with Paul, and by the believers living in Caesarea, and by Agabus the prophet; do not set a foot in Jerusalem. But Paul is not hearing the will of his Lord. As we have seen since Ephesus, where Paul had determined in his own mind to go to Jerusalem, he is not listening.

Acts 21:15-16
And after those days we took up our carriages [they packed their bags] and went up to Jerusalem. There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Without a doubt Paul is going to Jerusalem against the will of his Lord.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These two verses in Romans form a figure of speech called a merism. A merism describes the whole of a thing by naming some of its parts.

Neither death, nor life represent human existence or experience; nor angels, principalities, powers represent the devilish supernatural; things present, nor things to come represent human time; nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature [any created thing] represent all the godly supernatural; shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. 

In going to Jerusalem Paul is outside of the will of God. However, God still loves Paul, he is God’s teknon. Just as God still loves you when you make a mistake. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, we are His teknon.

God never walks away from any one of His children.

​1. The Stephen’s Text has anabaino and the Critical Greek Text has epibaino.
2. G5319 - phaneroō - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (
3. HELPS Word-studies, Strong's Greek: 3619. οἰκοδομή (the act of) building, a building (
4. HELPS Word-studies, Strong's Greek: 3874. paraklésis a calling to one's aid, i.e. encouragement, comfort (
5. HELPS Word-studies, Strong's Greek: 3889. (paramuthia) encouragement, exhortation, comfort (
6. G3050 - logikos - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (
7. G2999 - latreia - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (

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A Journey through the Book of Acts