He left Jerusalem with letters from the Sanhedrin to arrest any who called upon the name of the Lord.
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
“Found” is the Greek word heyrisko which means, “to find by enquiry, thought, examination, scrutiny, observation, to find out by practice and experience.”1
“Bound” is the Greek word deo and it means “to bind, fasten with chains, to throw into chains.2
And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
God adds in the word “punished” in this verse. It is the Greek word timoreo, from the root time.
Helps Word-studies: timḗ (from tiō, "accord honor, pay respect") properly, perceived value; worth (literally, "price") especially as perceived honor – i.e., what has value in the eyes of the beholder; (figuratively) the value (weight, honor) willingly assigned to something.
In another teaching I told you the definition of timoreo is to avenge, and so it is. Looking to the root of timoreo brings in the aspect of honor. Paul was avenging the honor of the Temple, while placing no honor, no value on the life of those who see Jesus as the Christ.
This is a persecution; this is what it looks like! The group, or individual, being persecuted has no value. Their thoughts, their life itself is meaningless to those pursuing. Why? Because that group or that individual thinks differently. They will not “toe the line” of the persecutors.
What response can be given if you are the persecuted? God gives us that answer through Paul’s life. In Antioch of Pisidia, they pursued him to Iconium and Lystra. In Thessalonica they pursued him to Berea. In Corinth, Ephesus, and Jerusalem they developed plots to kill him.
Generally speaking, when there is a persecution the persecuted run and hide. But how did Paul respond to this persecution against him? He is speaking the words of God in love. Paul is showing no fear or animosity toward those who are pursuing.
Paul is under arrest right now because he willingly walked into the headquarters of those persecuting him, Jerusalem. Paul did not run and hide; he confronts them by boldly speaking the words of God and he does this without fear because he trusts God for any deliverance that might be necessary.
It was 150 miles from Jerusalem to Damascus. We have seen in the Book of Acts that Paul is capable of walking twenty miles in a day (Acts 20:13-14). But Paul was traveling with a group of men so their distance per day is unknown. We do not know how long this trip to Damascus is taking these men.
We do not know the speed of Paul’s travel, but we know his mindset.
And I punished them oft in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
But, as he approached Damascus, something unexpected, but marvelous happens.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
Even at noon, the light was greater than the brightness of the sun. There are those who refer to this as the shekinah glory of God. The problem is the word shekinah does not appear in the Bible.
“The word shekinah does not appear in the Bible, but the concept clearly does. The Jewish rabbis coined this extra-biblical expression, a form of a Hebrew word that literally means “he caused to dwell,” signifying that it was a divine visitation of the presence or dwelling of the Lord God on this earth.”3
When theology invents a word to express a concept, they “see” in the Bible, but the Bible never uses that word, we are on unstable ground that can promote a false doctrine. For example, the concept of Trinity, another word the Bible never uses.
“It is always tempting to dispatch the question of whether the Trinity is mentioned in the Bible with the brief answer: the word is not there, but the idea is. After all, any concordance proves the first claim; any catechism the second.”4
But catechisms are written by the same people that invented the word Trinity! In essence they are saying, “No, God never speaks of this concept, but take my word for it, God wanted us to add to His Word.”
All I am saying is, remember Eve.
Issues such as these are definitely worthy of study and even debate, but never blind acceptance.
“The Shechinah Glory is the visible manifestation of the presence of God. It is the majestic presence or manifestation of God in which He descends to dwell among men. Whenever the invisible God becomes visible, and whenever the omnipresence of God is localized, this is the Shechinah Glory.”5
Their emphasis with the bold letters.
Notice with this explanation of the shekinah glory of God there is no mention of rabbi’s inventing the word and no mention that it is not in the Bible. Rather, it is a statement of doctrine.
Eve added a word to what God had said in the Garden and that only succeeded in diminishing God’s Word.
O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
God dwells between the cherubim (cherubim is the plural of cherub, the “s” is an unnecessary addition of a publisher). The word “dwells” is yasab and means to permanently dwell.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
The word “placed” is the Hebrew word sakan and it means to dwell for a time, or to dwell temporarily. It is also used when God was on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:16), and when God was in the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:8), and when God was in the Temple (1 Kings 6:13). All of these places were temporary dwelling places, but God always dwells between the Cherubim.
My point, man does not need to invent words to describe God or to explain God. God gave us His Word to speak for Him. Our responsibility is to allow God’s Word to speak for itself. We need to control our minds to understand what God had holy men of God speak.
When this light appeared all the men fell to the ground. But Paul heard a voice speaking with him out of the light.
…I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
…and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
…and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
But the men with Paul did not hear what Paul was hearing.
And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
In Acts 22 the men with Paul “heard not” the voice and in Acts 9 they heard the voice, what is the difference?
A.T. Robertson, a grammarian, in Word Pictures of the New Testament had this to say, “But they heard not the voice...The accusative here may be used rather than the genitive as in Acts 22:7 to indicate that those with Paul did not understand what they heard (Acts 9:7) just as they beheld the light (Acts 22:9), but did not see Jesus (Acts 9:7). The difference in cases allows this distinction.”6
They heard a voice and even though it was in the Hebrew tongue, they could not understand what was said. The reason is simple. The message was for Paul and not them.
Both Acts 9 and Acts 22 only give us the beginning of the conversation between Jesus and Paul. But Acts 26 gives us additional information about what Jesus said.
To “kick against the pricks” is in reference to the goad used to motivate an ox who is plowing or pulling a cart. When the oxen would not move or moved in the wrong direction, a stick or pole, with a sharp point at the end, would be used to goad the animal along. When the animal disagreed, he would kick against the goad, against the prick.
Jesus is using this orientalism to say Paul was kicking against attempts to get him to change direction.
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
All accounts agree, with Acts 9 bringing in that this is not the first time Jesus has tried to get Paul to change direction when he speaks of kicking against the pricks (plural).
When were the other times Jesus tried to get Paul to change direction? I do not have that answer. Some have made educated guesses and they may be accurate. But the certainty of God’s Word does not substantiate any other attempt to have Paul change direction.
I have made my own educated guesses in other teachings, but since then God has been teaching me that educated guesses can simply be private interpretation that lead to false doctrine. It is a practice I am endeavoring to eliminate when I teach.
Jesus continues speaking to Paul in Acts 26.
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Neither Acts 22 nor Acts 9 carry this conversation between Jesus and Paul.
“For this purpose,” (in verse 16) begins with the Greek word eis. Eis is a preposition that shows the motion toward an object with the goal of reaching the object. The goal of Jesus is for Paul to become his minister, hyperetes and a witness, martus.
Why would Jesus need to make Paul a minister?
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Christ is the Head and we, the believers, are his Body. His hands and feet, his ambassadors.
1 Corinthians 12:18
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
The word “set” is the Greek word tithemi and it means to place. But in this verse, it has a suffix attached, ma.
Helps Word-studies: thélēma (from thélō, "to desire, wish") properly, a desire (wish), often referring to God's "preferred-will," i.e. His "best-offer" to people which can be accepted or rejected.
“The -ma suffix, focusing on the result hoped for with the particular desire (wish). (thélēma) is nearly always used of God, referring to His preferred-will. Occasionally it is used of man.”7
God sets a believer in a certain place in the Body of Christ because He knows every believer personally, He knows your heart, He knows what blesses you from the inside out.
There are things God has asked every believer to do in their walk with Him, like pray, renew your mind, walk in love, walk in wisdom. But there are things God is asking you to do personally because He knows your heart and your ability. There is not an unimportant member in the Body of Christ.
The event on the road to Damascus ends in Acts chapter 26 with the conversation between Jesus and Paul but continues in Acts 22 and Acts 9 with Paul in Damascus.
And I said, what shall I do, LORD? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Jesus told Paul to go into Damascus and he would learn more once he was in the city. The remainder of the journey took three days. I do not know if it took three days because that was how far they still needed to travel or because the men with Paul were now leading a blind man. But Paul appears to be walking since he was being led by the hand.
And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Now in Damascus there was a disciple whose name was Ananias, and he is about to have a conversation with his Lord.
Paul, being blind, is led to Damascus by the party of men who accompanied him from the High Priest. While Jesus begins to work with Ananias.
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
That reminds me of a young Samuel (1 Samuel 3:4-10).
1 Samuel 3:10
And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
The first key to hearing God, or a message from God, is listening to the written and spoken words He has already given. It is hard to hear a new message when you are ignoring previous messages. Ananias was a disciple. The Greek word is mathetes.
Helps Word-studies: mathēteúō (from mathētḗs, "disciple") to disciple, i.e. helping someone to progressively learn the Word of God to become a matured, growing disciple (literally, "a learner," a true Christ-follower); to train (develop) in the truths of Scripture and the lifestyle required, i.e. helping a believer learn to be a disciple of Christ in belief and practice, (mathētēs).
This tells us Ananias was knowledgeable of Old Testament scriptures and as in Acts 2, he was steadfast in the apostles doctrine.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Because of Ananias’ strength and growth in God’s Word, his Lord spoke with him and Ananias could recognize it as his Lord speaking.
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street, which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth. And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Revelation always comes from God, for He is all-knowing and knows the end from the beginning. But Jesus is the one who accomplished God’s Will; therefore, God works all things through Jesus, for it is the Church of God that Jesus is building through Israel (Matthew 16:18 and Acts 2:47).
God is the Author and Jesus is the agent of God.
What does that mean?
It means the words are God’s words and Jesus is carrying the message he was given to deliver.
And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
The Greek word translated “sent” is apostello.
Helps Word-studies: apostéllō (from apó, "away from" and stéllō, "send") properly, send away, i.e. commission; (passive) "sent on a defined mission by a superior."
God is the Author of the message (John 1:1-2) and Jesus, as a sent one, was God’s agent to carry the message. The prefix apo intensifies the word stello putting the emphasis on the source, the sender of the message.
It was verse ten that told us Ananias received his message in a vision. Vision is the Greek word horama, the same word used in Acts 2 when Peter is quoting Joel. The only difference between the two words is this, Acts 9 is the neuter noun and Acts 2 is the feminine noun.
Horama is to see a vision in your mind, while optanomai is to see a vision with your eyes. Ananias received a spiritual vision in his mind and Paul, on the Damascus road, received a vision he could see with the eyes, optanomai.
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared [optanomai] unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent [apostello] me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Also notice we are not speaking of an apostle, or someone the apostles ordained; Ananias is a simple disciple.
There are a few more things we want to consider in these verses.
Notice also more was said on the road to Damascus between Jesus and Paul then we have handled so far. Go back again and read verse twelve of chapter nine. The conversation between Jesus and Paul that we have read from Acts 26, says nothing about a man named Ananias coming in and placing a hand on Paul.
Jesus told Ananias that Paul saw in a vision a man name Ananias pacing a hand on him to receive his sight. The word vision is once again the word horama, a vision seen in the mind. Paul is blind as he is led to Damascus but Jesus is showing him a mental vision of Ananias coming in and ministering to him.
The Word of God is amazing when we give it the time to lay all of its cards on the table.
When Jesus finished telling Ananias what he wants Ananias to do, Ananias has some thoughts of his own,
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
Once you realize that the Adversary has been shaping human nature for the last six thousand years it is easy to understand why man spends so much time questioning the methods, means, and motives of God. The Adversary has taught man his lack of respect for God and his lack of integrity for God’s words.
How could Ananias entertain the thought Jesus would send him into a situation whereby Paul would harm Ananias.
If you have questions about something God has asked you to do, go back to the source and let your concerns be expressed. That includes something God has asked you to do in His Word. It is His book. It is also revelation. If you need to know how, then ask. If you need to know why, then ask.
Ananias took his concerns back to Jesus.
But the Lord said unto him, go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
So, Ananias obeyed the revelation and went to meet Paul.
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Was Paul baptized with water?
Remember, there are five words used for baptize, the Greek word used here is baptizo which refers to identification in baptism. Old Testament Israel was baptizo to Moses when they crossed the Red Sea (I Corinthians 10:2). Those baptizo with water are identified with John. Here Paul is identified with his Lord.
So, what is the difference between the baptism for the Revealing Administration and the Administration of Grace?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The Greek word translated “remission” is aphesis which means forgiveness of sins. However, there are certain contexts when the best translation is remission.
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Believers in the Revealing Administration are baptized with identification in Jesus Christ.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
The text reads, “baptized into Christ Jesus.”
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Those who believe in the Administration of Grace are identified with Christ Jesus, our Ascended Lord who sits at the right hand of God, who is the Head of the Body of Christ. Those in the Revealing Administration who believe are identified in the man Jesus, the returning King, and Christ, who will restore all things.
“Wash away” thy sins is apolouo in the Greek. It is in the aorist tense. Aorist tense means a one time action that has already happened.
This is the present tense justification Paul taught in Acts 13:39 for those who believe in the Administration of Grace. While other administrations are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ before their sins are removed. It is a present tense reality in the Administration of Grace.
The meeting on the Damascus road between Jesus and Paul is the beginning of the transition into the Administration of Grace.
1. G2147 - heyriskō - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (blueletterbible.org)
2. G1210 - deō - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (blueletterbible.org)
3. What is the Shekinah glory? | GotQuestions.org
4. s the “Trinity” in the Bible? | Zondervan Academic
5. Shekinah Glory - The Abiding Presence of God Explained (biblestudytools.com)
6. Acts 22 Commentary - Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament (truthaccordingtoscripture.com)
7. Strong's Greek: 2307. θέλημα (theléma) -- will (biblehub.com)
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