Understanding – Acts 21:15 - 33

        Question; Why did the Apostle Paul enter the Temple willing to do a blood sacrifice to show the Jews that he kept the law, when Jesus Christ had already offered Himself as the final sacrifice to fulfill the law and to end all blood sacrifices?!

        First a little historical background…

Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected in 32 A.D. or C.E.
Acts chapter 21 is approximately 59 – 60 A.D.
James -- half-brother to Jesus and ‘chief’ bishop or elder of the Jerusalem "church" -- is killed by a mob, in 62 A.D.
Jerusalem’s civil war -- Jew vs. Gentile -- was in 62 A.D.
The Jewish wars began in 66 A.D.
The Apostle Paul is executed at Rome in approximately 68 A.D.
General Titus with a Roman army decimated the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

        As we can clearly see, at the time of Acts chapter 21; Jerusalem is a quaking, smoking volcano!!

        Before we can move on, let us quickly review a couple of things to make certain that we are on the same page.

        The book of Acts is a book of transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament and it covers the time period between the Gospels and the Epistles.

        The book of Acts is mostly about showing us HOW the Church grew from its initial existence, by giving us the ‘illustrated history’ of its development.

        Though the book of Acts was written by Inspiration of the Holy Spirit and contains some good doctrine, it is to be viewed as an historical book concerning some of the ACTS, of some of the Apostles and elders in the transition – whether right or wrong.

        For irrefutable doctrine we must go to the Epistles, not the book of Acts.

        To help make sense of Acts chapter 21 and all the characters involved, we must begin at Acts chapter 4. Being very brief, we will pick-out specific instances that increased the pressure on this city. We’ll do this so as to gain empathy with Jerusalem, to help to understand what Paul happened into. Which James and the others were dealing with, that ultimately culminated in the complete destruction of the Temple and the resultant Diaspora!

        Chapter 4 – Peter and John were called before the Council, which included the high priest and his entourage. A lame man had been healed in the Temple and about 5,000 were Born-Again.

        Verse 21 – "So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done."

        The Council would have punished them further, BUT – the majority of the people were not on the Council’s side…at THAT time. (But they would work on it!!)

        Chapter 5 – Many were Saved and multitudes were healed. The high priest and his entourage were filled with indignation and imprisoned the Apostles.

        But the angel of the Lord let them out of prison and told them to go and preach in the Temple.

        When the Council assembled and summoned the "prisoners", they found them NOT in the prison - but in the Temple! So the Council sent officers to bring the Apostles before the Council. THEN having heard them, decided to slay them!

        BUT, the respected professor of the Pharisees, Dr.Gamaliel (5:34) who had taught this Council their heresies – stood up. He stated that they ought to let this go for awhile to see if the work of the Apostles; be of man or of God. To Gamaliel the Council agreed. So they then beat the Apostles and ordered them again; to not speak in the name of Jesus – then let them go.

        Chapter 6 – at verse 7, we find - "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."

        Now… many priests are starting to defect! And obviously when a priest defects – he takes many of the congregation with him.

        At verse 8, we see Alexandrians and others disputing with Stephen. Then they "suborned" (secretly paid) men to stir-up the people and say lies about Stephen’s message.

        So then Stephen was brought before the Council and liars were brought forth to testify against him.

        But herein is the KEY to understanding the situation that was developing in Jerusalem…

"And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us."
– Acts 6:13 - 14

        While fitting these 2 verses into the puzzle we call the book of Acts, we can safely come to the following conclusion…

        You can have or keep the majority of the people in Jerusalem unconcerned IF; you preach that Jesus was the Messiah, within the confines of the Old Testament. But woe to that man who challenges the superiority of Moses, Hebrews, Israel, the Law, circumcision or the Temple!! (As we shall see later, James had completely given in to this and seemed to promote it.)

        For the Hebrews at this time in history had been born, bred, and breathed for centuries; that they were a superior race – the chosen people of God Himself! The religious reich had taught them that the law was superior to all else, and that the breaking of it in any point could possibly cost you Heaven itself.

        Now think about it; HOW do you make logical sense with people like this?! It would be similar to attempting to use logic to make sense of the equality of all races, to a convention of white supremists about the black race, prior to 1960!! You would NEVER have made it off the property alive…and neither did Stephen (!)…

"Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen…"
– Acts 7:57 - 59A

        With Steven’s death, Satan gained a measure of control. The Council had finally gotten the majority on THEIR side. So now that they had their machine fired up and running, they were going to plow under as much Christianity as they could…

"And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."
– Acts 8:1 - 3

        You can see just how absolutely hardened these Hebrews were in their belief system, by what it took for God Himself to bring Saul-Paul to the understanding of the Truth.

        In Acts chapter 9 as Saul–Paul was on the road to Damascus (Syria), Jesus Christ had to supernaturally come upon him in a very unique way. Jesus blinded him, driving him face first to the ground. Then speaking DIRECTLY to him [in Hebrew, Acts 26:14 – not Aramaic]. Jesus then made him to be blind for 3 days… to break-down his pride and evaluate it all!

        As we saw back in Acts 8:1, God protected the Apostles at that time so Saul-Paul nor anyone else could get at them. But then a few years after Paul had been Born-Again, Paul came to Jerusalem from Antioch.

        And as Paul was in town (Jerusalem) with Barnabas to bring relief unto the brethren because of the great dearth - which was prophecied by the prophet Agabus (11:28). Herod killed the Apostle James, the brother of John with the sword.

        So at this point, the rest of the Apostles knew that God had lifted His hand of complete protection. And that their time could be around the next corner.

        Now that we have reviewed a few instances in the book of Acts prior to chapter 21, we have an understanding of the pressure that was brewing in the city of Jerusalem.

        So let us now go and find out what was going on with the Apostle Paul prior to his showing up in the city of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 21.

        We must begin at Acts 19:21, where Paul decided to go to Jerusalem…

"After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome."
– Acts 19:21

        Here we see that "Paul purposed in the spirit… to go to Jerusalem". Most importantly notice that -- spirit -- is a small – s – NOT a capital – S. Therefore it was Paul who decided this, NOT the Holy Spirit!

        But to better understand what was going on at this exact moment in Paul’s life, we must go to the book of Romans; which Paul had written at this time...

"Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem ... When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints"
– Romans 15: 24 - 31

        We can see here very clearly what factors entered into Paul’s decision to go to Jerusalem. He had contributions from Achaia and Macedonia that he wanted to personally deliver to Jerusalem.

        Now let us go back to the book of Acts to see the next mention of Jerusalem…

"For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost."
– Acts 20: 16

        We see another factor, Paul wanted to be there to celebrate Pentecost. But the next mention of Jerusalem is extremely interesting…

"And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me."

– Acts 20:22 - 23

        Notice that the word -- spirit -- is another smalls, clearly meaning that it is Paul’s spirit. But especially notice that God – the Holy Spirit or in this case Holy Ghost, is beginning to warn Paul – not to go! Paul has obviously convinced himself to go to Jerusalem. I really believe that the reason His name - Holy Ghost - is used, at least in this instance, is to very clearly differentiate the Holy Spirit - from Paul's spirit.

        Checking out the next mention of Jerusalem is a real mind blower!

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

        NOTICE the word -- Spirit -- it is a capitalS. This means it is the Holy Spirit, NOT Paul’s spirit or even the spirit of any of the disciples there at Tyre. God flat-out gave Paul a severe warning not to go…yet Paul went anyway!

        This would be Paul’s 5th recorded trip to Jerusalem. Then when he came to Caesarea, approximately 55 miles from Jerusalem (5 is the number of death, and by death came grace)…

"And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 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."
– Acts 21:10 – 11

        I seem to remember back in the Old Testament, a real familiar phrase, "Thus saith the Lord". I also seem to remember that when that phrase was invoked by one of God's prophets, great and terrible things were about to happen. And woe to whosoever it was against, or went against it!!

        The Holy Spirit sent Agabus to Paul with a final warning. Paul is oblivious to the warnings of the Holy Spirit, ever since he made up his own mind to go to Jerusalem! It is very plain to see that it was NOT God’s will for Paul to go to Jerusalem. Paul is not only resisting God’s will, but he totally ignores it! WHY?!

        Did Jesus Christ EVER sin when he walked on this Earth? Absolutely NOT (!!), not even once! Did King David or Moses ever sin? Yes they did, and God has it written down in the Old Testament.

        Did Peter or Paul ever sin? Yes, and it is recorded in the New Testament – and Paul is on a roll that won’t quit… till he is in chains.

        Paul had this unshakable resolve that HE had to go to Jerusalem. One of the reasons was his obvious determination to deliver in person the contribution. I would think that Paul could have given the contribution to Agabus or Phillip to take to Jerusalem. Then Paul could have went on to Rome, as God wanted him to.

        Paul could have written a report of all that the Lord Jesus Christ had accomplished through Paul’s ministry throughout Europe and Asia. Paul could have sent this report with them also…but no, on we go to Jerusalem!

18

And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
19
And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
20
And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
21
And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
22
What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
– Acts 21:18 - 22

        Notice especially that verse 20 has not a period; "they glorified the Lord, and said unto him,". You would think that they were going to say something positive about what Paul had just declared unto them.

        But no (!), they launched without a period or break straight into a rebuke of Paul’s ministry to the Jews. I would assume that James is the spokesman, for James is the only name mentioned and he was also the one running things in Jerusalem.

        So James turned immediately from Paul’s missionary adventures and successes in world evangelism, especially to the Gentiles -- to -- criticism that Paul did not teach the Jews to continue to follow the customs and traditions of the Elders. Including blood sacrifices, as we shall soon see.

        James states directly to Paul, "seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law…". Since James was the chief bishop or elder in Jerusalem – WHAT was he teaching these people and WHY?!

        Then in verse 22 James states, "What is it therefore?" This is a stern rebuke at Paul which in today’s venacular would be, "What is it with you (?), no wonder you are attacked everywhere you go!"

        To get another glimpse of the teaching of James, let us go briefly to the book of Galatians…

       
"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?… I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
– Galatians 2:11-14 and 21

        Especially notice the words, "before that certain came from James".

        My take on this portion of Galatians is that Peter believed same as Paul. Because if you remember the vision that Peter had 3 consecutive times in Acts chapter 10, then he immediately went to Caesarea to preach before the household of Cornelius, the Roman Centurian. Then the Holy Ghost fell on them and the door to the Gentiles was opened…

"And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them"
– Acts 11:1 - 4

        Peter had evidenced that he properly understood the Word of God. But, I believe Peter was afraid word would get back to James, and he didn't want to start something by going against what was being taught in Jerusalem. Also, as to these "believers" who had just come from Jerusalem; did Peter not want to start sowing discord or destroy their faith?

        But now Paul on the other hand, was NOT afraid of any quarrels having to do with Truth and the Gospel. Paul rebuked Peter directly, and all those that followed this dissimulation – indirectly. I am also certain that this rebuke got back to James, and there had to have been discussion about it.

        Let us take a brief moment here to discuss the book of James…

        Many or most people will say that this same James - the half-brother of Jesus wrote the book of James. But I firmly believe that James -the brother of John, wrote the book.

        Yes James was killed in Acts chapter 12, but that was several years after the Resurrection. James was also part of Jesus’ inner circle of 3 (Peter, James, and John) among the Apostles. And James definitely seems to have been the 1st New Testament book that was written and circulated. When you read the book of James, it fits the "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17) image of James - the brother of John. Rather than the compromisings of this James,who is running things in Jerusalem.

        We also know that Peter and John had much significance upon the New Testament church, and I firmly believe that James significance was the book of James.

        So…going back to Acts chapter 21, WHY did not Paul rebuke James in a similar manner as he did Peter?!

        Then Paul should have left town -- immediately -- and headed on to Rome, to where he was supposed to be heading!

        But this is why at the beginning of this article, I started out by trying to give you a feel for what it was like in Jerusalem at this time. It was a smoking, quaking volcano!

        The Civil War (Jew -vs- Gentile) would begin in a couple years and James would be murdered by a mob. Then 6 years from now the Jewish Wars would ‘officially’ begin. Then 4 years of the Jewish War would end with the Temple decimated and Jerusalem destroyed.

        Then the Edomites (Idumeans – Mark 3:8) in the surrounding areas of Israel, would be allowed to move in by the Roman government to occupy the land. This was their reward for helping the Romans to dispense with their Jewish "problem"…

"As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD."
– Ezekiel 35:15

        Today, in the 21st Century we know them as: the Palestinians. And yes, God has targeted them for destruction.

        Now back to Paul in the 1st century…

        Therefore, WHY did Paul not rebuke James to his face, and WHY did Paul not leave? Excellent questions!!

        For one thing, it seems that real Christians were intimidated by James – because he was the Lord’s natural half-brother. They probably in their minds regarded him as if he were Jesus in a symbolic sorta way. They may have also in their minds been afraid that if they went against James, ‘big brother’ might back him up. Remember previously that Peter went against what he knew to be right in Antioch, for when "certain came from James" - Peter cowered! Now here, Paul goes against what he knows to be right!

        I also personally believe that Paul saw with his eyes, and felt with his heart, what it was all coming down to in Jerusalem. Then as James had already said, "many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law". These "believing Jews" were fanatical about the Law, so how could Paul ever straighten out the heresy of James and his thousands of compromisers?!

        Paul may have thought of…

"For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
– I Corinthians 9:19 - 22

And /or…

"Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."
– I Corinthians 10:32 - 33

        Others could be; Romans 9:3-5, Romans 11:14, Romans 14:12-21, etc.

        But Paul would have been taking these passages out of their proper context and application. But Paul is just a man.

        The most important thing to remember here, is that Paul came to Jerusalem against the will of God. THEREFORE, Paul was making any decisions that he made in Jerusalem WITHOUT the leading of the Holy Spirit! Paul also had "quenched the Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5:19) therefore the Holy Spirit remained silent.

        The lesson the Holy Spirit is teaching us here in the book of Acts is this; whenever we venture outside the will of God, the decisions we make are our own – NOT GOD’S! Another lesson is that you can not be bold in the Word nor in the Lord, without the Holy Spirit to give you that boldness (Acts 4:31). One can be brash and obnoxious, but that just means that God is not with them.

        No matter how spiritual one may seem or how many times God may have used us; when the Holy Spirit warns not to do something – we have got to listen and be obedient, for disaster can happen around the very next corner.

        These failings can happen to the best of us; it happened to the Apostle Paul. And now it gets worse…

23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
– Acts 21:23 - 25

        Here is further proof to condemn the teachings of James. He already had 4 "believing" Jews who were following the Old Testament Law in utilizing the Old Testament priests in the Old Testament Temple! In 8 days they would be involved in the performance of the blood sacrifices of animals – one of which is a sin offering!!

        To better understand what was going on here, turn to the book of Numbers 6:1- 21. Read about the law of the Nazarite vow.

        Why Paul did not leave when he was being asked to do this is beyond me. Except that the Holy Spirit was being silent and not communicating to Paul, because Paul had tuned Him out.

        It seems that the other Apostles had already left, for they are not mentioned directly or indirectly. It just says in verse 18, "James; and all the elders were present." No Peter, John, Apostles, etc. My guess is that they had left James to his own devices. Jerusalem was in spiraling turmoil!

        In verse 27 we have a reference to the Council at Jerusalem and the letter sent out by them to the Gentiles, as found in Acts chapter 15. But that letter just states in essence that they are not going to extend Hebrew/Jewish rituals to Gentile believers.

        But NOTHING was stated about the obsolescence of the law, nor that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of many of those things. Especially not mentioned is that when a Hebrew became Born-Again, that they were to stop ALL participation in blood sacrifices.

        When you study James, the man who was half-brother to Jesus; it becomes obviously apparent that James did NOT understand how the New Testament Church and the Old Testament Hebrew Covenants were supposed to work or harmonize. In fact it almost seems that he chooses to not understand their significance.

        Now things get REALLY ugly…

26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,
28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
29 (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)
30 And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.
31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.
33 Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.

– Acts 21:26 - 33

        UNFATHOMABLE – Paul follows James’ advice!?

        The lesson that the Holy Spirit is teaching here is this; when man is not being obedient to God - the Holy Spirit, he will THEN follow his flesh, and be obedient to it. Or, he will follow another man or men -- who claim to be spiritual, and some even have degrees -- but they are not following the Holy Spirit either.

        Jesus taught His disciples to learn from and rely on the Holy Spirit, just as they had learned from and relied on Him. If you have any doubt, go back and read John, chapters 14 – 16 and Acts chapter 1.

        The religious leaders of all stripes whom Jesus had to fight and battle in His days on this Earth, now proudly call themselves - Dr. These ego-centric Dr.'s are so full of themselves that they have no use for the Holy Spirit. But since He is mentioned in The Bible, they attempt to de-spiritualize Him and will only give Him lip service. Same as Jesus said that they did unto the Father...

"... Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Matthew 15:6 - 9

        This is why in this 21st century we are so deeply enmeshed in this Age of Apostasy - also known as the Biblical End-Times. Every group and denomination wants to point fingers at everyone else, but it permeates the TBN crowd, the World Council of Churches crowd, and even engulfs the "fundamental" Baptist crowd.

        Today Satan rules and reigns in the bible colleges and most all churches. But this was prophesied by Jesus in the gospels and by Peter and Paul in the Epistles.

        How did this happen?! It happened when believers did as Paul had done here and ignored the Holy Spirit as the Teacher. God does not fight for supremacy in people's lives, but Satan and his demons do! When we quench the Holy Spirit in our lives (as Paul did in going to Jerusalem), He goes silent because we are not seeking His guidance. Today we have removed the Holy Spirit from His office and replaced him with men holding paper degrees from other men. God has been taken out of the loop!

        The bible college motto is; Dr. So-n-So said it, I believe it, and that settles it - End of discussion!

        What was Christianity… has now become Churchianity. For if you do not blindly follow or mindlessly parrot the teachings of the bible colleges and give allegiance to their hierarchy; you will be ridiculed, marginalized and/or blackballed!

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
– 2 Timothy 4:2 - 4

        And there are being introduced newer man-made programs, such as Rick Warren’s "Purpose-Driven"® Churchianity.

        Rick Warren’s "Purpose-Driven"® Church is intended to syncretize the New Age teachings with the Biblical church. In other words; he makes very good Biblical statements, then follows them up with the subtle introduction of New Age philosophy.

        Rick Warren’s "Purpose-Driven"® Life is intended to dumb-down ‘believers’ and make them Biblically illiterate, so that they are pliable to New Age philosophy. What had been called "New Age" is now being presented as "New Gospel".

        An amazing thing is happening in the land, Jesus Christ is being ‘reinvented’ in front of our own eyes. The architects and promoters of this "Purpose-Driven"® new gospel and its new Christ are audaciously ignoring God’s True Word!

        Why? So that "Christians" can be easily manipulated. This new age Churchianity is one of the things that the Antichrist will take advantage of, when he mounts the World’s stage!

"And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
– 2 Peter 2:3

        But this is to be expected, when man is following hard after other men. Seeking the adoration of other men, to impress them…

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ."
– Galatians 1:6 - 7

        And…

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
– Jude 3

        But now, back to the 1st century…

        Take note of verse 27, "and when the seven days were almost ended". Here is where God intervened, to keep Paul from the completion of this abomination!

        [I’m almost certain that Moses would have wanted God to have stopped him from smacking that rock the second time, which kept him out of the Promised Land (Numbers 20:7 - 12).]

        Paul would have completed this vow at the conclusion of the 7th day. Then the 8th day would have been the abominable sacrifices.

        Someone may point back at Acts 18:18 to say that Paul had done this before. The text does state that Paul shaved his head, because he had a vow. But I firmly believe that Paul did not do the sacrifice part. Also, there is not a mention of offerings, priests, synagogue nor Temple.

        At any rate, God cut things short so that Paul could not complete what was now a ritual at best and an abomination at worst! Then God, after allowing Paul to be chastised (Hebrews 12:11), sends in the ‘cavalry’ to rescue Paul.

        So now Paul will go to Rome, as was the Lord’s will in the first place. But, it will be in chains.

        Then, approximately two years later (Acts 24:27) Paul leaves Caesarea "bound" for Rome, and James is murdered by a mob.

        Therefore Paul while in prison in Rome, got a chance to contemplate all that he saw happening in Jerusalem, Judea and throughout the Roman Empire. So after Paul and the Holy Spirit got everything straightened out, the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to write the book of Hebrews.

        Maybe Paul did not sign it because he knew as soon as certain others would see his signature, they would immediately reject it. Or more likely, being so grieved and remorseful that he had broken or would have broken so much that he had written - his heart would not allow him to sign it. Sometimes the best preaching, is that which we direct at ourselves under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

"They of Italy salute you. Grace be with you all. Amen. Written to the Hebrews from Italy by Timothy"
– Hebrews 13:24b - 25 plus post-script

        So…as to the Temple…Jerusalem…and Israel…

        Ultimately, due to the deep-rooted religious pride, along with the arrogance and stubbornness of many or most of the 1st century Hebrews. It would seem that no manner of presentation, of the absolute Truth of the Gospel could pierce through to them, that they would properly understand.

        So long, as the Temple and Jerusalem still stood as symbols for Abraham, the circumcision, Moses and the Law!

        Therefore God – the Father, as Jesus had prophesied (Matthew 24:2) allowed the Temple and Jerusalem to be destroyed. This by a Roman army, led by General Titus in 70 A.D. Some Israelites escaped (the Diaspora), but most either were killed or captured and sold into slavery.

        Israel as a nation was destroyed from off the face of the earth in 70 A.D.

        …Till May of the year 1948 (-this also was prophesied).

        Let this study in the book of Acts sink in for awhile, then when you have time, read the book of Galatians - your understanding of it will be much fuller!

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