Why Was Paul Bound? Guest Article

I am glad to offer our visitors an excellent article by Daniel Rogers, of Alabama. Daniel is an excellent young student of the Word. We at Jadon Management was recently honored with the privilege of publishing Daniel’s first book, entitled The Last Enemy and the Triumph of Christ. It is an easy to read, very understandable discussion of 1 Corinthians 15. Contact us if you would like to order a copy. It is so new that we do not yet have it posted here on the website! You will love this book!  Don K. Preston. In the meantime, read Daniel’s great discussion of why Paul was put on trial by the Jews. This is a very significant question for the study of eschatology, and Rogers brings some very good thoughts to the table. Enjoy!

The last 7 chapters of the book of Acts focus on Paul being arrested, tried, and placed under house arrest. Before we continue, I’d like to remind you that the apostles were inspired by God in 1) what they wrote (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and 2) what they said while on trial (Luke 12:11). Have you ever wondered why Paul was arrested? Think about that question as you read the following passages! Please read them all carefully.

“Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’ ” And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!”” (Acts 22:21-22).

“But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”” (Acts 23:6).

“I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains” (Acts 23:29).

“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:14-15).

“And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 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. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:6-8)

“…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.”” (Acts 26:23)

“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.“” (Acts 28:20)

“…meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains” (Colossians 4:3; cf. Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 6:19-20).

     Let’s sum up the above points! Paul was bound 1) for the mystery; that is, for Gentile inclusion into the promises of Israel 2) the resurrection of the just and the unjust as spoken of and promised in Moses and the Prophets – a hope that the twelve tribes were currently laboring for 3) the hope of Israel 4) the gospel of Christ 5) Questions concerning the Law of Moses. Now, consider this: none of these things are different from another! All of them are talking about the same thing: the body of Christ. Allow me to demonstrate that from two of these texts.

First, let’s notice Acts 26:23: “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.”” (Acts 26:23). Paul’s wording here is very significant; Jesus was the first to rise out from among the dead ones (ex anastaesos nekron). Many have speculated what it means for Jesus to be the first to rise from the dead. Some have suggested that this means that Jesus was the first to rise to never die again, and I would agree but for different reasons. I believe the answer is found in Romans 6:9-11: “knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:9-11). What kind of death is being discussed here? It is death of a spiritual nature. Paul’s audience had not physically died; they had, through Jesus, died to sin and were to reckon themselves alive with Christ. Luke worded it like this, “Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:1-2).

     You see, the Bible does not view Jesus separate from His people. While He was living under the law, His life was a symbol of that Old Covenant temple, but when He died and rose again, He laid the foundation for the heavenly temple not made with hands (John 2:18-22). In this way, Jesus demonstrated Himself to be the corporate Head of the body of His people. In Hosea 1, the scripture says, “Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!” (Hosea 1:11; for Jezre-El [God sows] see Hosea 2:23). Remember, though, that what is quickened is not what is sown (1 Corinthians 15:35-37). Israel was sown a natural body, but through the resurrection of Christ as the first fruits, the harvest had arrived and the spiritual body was being revealed (John 12:24)! On this wise, Hosea recorded, “Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight. Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:4 – Hosea 6:1ff is the only OT texts that mentions a third day resurrection). Several things: 1) notice the corporate nature of this resurrection 2) the resurrection of Israel out of the earth (see Hosea 2:23) is not divorced from the resurrection of Christ in time or in manner 3) the resurrection was for the purpose of bringing Israel into God’s sight (Psalm 16:11) 4) the coming of Christ to perform this duty takes place in two stages: the early and latter rains; that is, to fulfill the spring (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost) and fall (Trumpets, Atonement, Booths; cf. Leviticus 23) feast days (see Luke 21:20-22; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 9:28-10:1).  

     Jesus’s resurrection out from among the dead ones was for the purpose of shining light (read:  giving life as opposed to the shadow of death; Luke 1:78-79) to both Jew and Gentile. It was this idea that neither the Pharisees nor the Sadducees could accept. While the Pharisees had a hope for Israel, they would not listen to Paul concerning the Gentile inclusion into those promises. Light, in their view, was limited to Israel, but God makes it abundantly clear that the light of life is for all. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). One way to demonstrate this is to show the solidarity between the resurrection of the just, the kingdom of God, and the light of life. In Luke 14, Jesus says, “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14). The Jews, understanding the correlation between the resurrection of the just and the kingdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 15:50), said, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15). Jesus takes this opportunity to teach the parable of the great supper (Luke 14:15-24; cf. Matthew 22:1-14). This great supper motif is found throughout scripture and is inextricably tied to the resurrection of the just and the coming of the mountain of God – the kingdom (see Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah 25:6-8; Matthew 8:11; Revelation 19:7-9).  The kingdom of God is a kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13; 1 John 2:8; Revelation 21:23-25). The Old Testament prophets wrote about these things as Peter says, “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11).

     Secondly, let’s notice Acts 26:6-8: “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 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. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:6-8). We see from this passage that the resurrection of the dead was an Old Covenant promise made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh. If it is the case that Old Covenant Israel has been taken out of the way without her promises being fulfilled, then the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant that it confirms through types, shadows, and prophecies, stands null and void. Paul’s hope, Peter’s hope, Israel’s hope, and the Gentiles’ hope were all based off of those Old Covenant promises. If that Old Covenant was annulled without its promises being realized, then the promises and condemnations therein were nullified as well! Jesus came to the earth not to take away those promises and give new ones, but to serve as confirmation for all of the promises made all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Paul said, “Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “FOR THIS REASON I WILL CONFESS TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND SING TO YOUR NAME.”” (Romans 15:8-9). Does that sound familiar? Is that not what we just discussed? Through obeying the gospel, the Gentiles became partakers of the promises made to Old Covenant Israel – not a new set of hopes and promises divorced from passages such as Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 25:8, and Hosea 13:14. Speaking of this, Paul wrote, “It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things” (Romans 15:27). This is why the Judaizers were so insistent upon the Gentiles keeping Torah. Their reasoning was that if the Gentiles were going to be partakers of their Old Covenant promises, then they would have to meet the conditions of the Law. If the New Covenant was based off of totally separate promises, prophecies, hopes, and expectations from that of Old Covenant Israel, then there would have been no pressure from the Jews to keep the law.

     In order for someone to prove that the promises have yet to be realized and that the Old Covenant has vanished away, they would have to demonstrate that Paul did not base his doctrine of the resurrection off of the Old Covenant promises! This, however, is impossible to do because he stated over and over, “The very reason I am bound is because of my preaching that the Gentiles will be fellow partakers in our resurrection promises and the hope of Israel that is being realized through Jesus’ first fruits resurrection and the preaching of the death-abolishing gospel!” (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10). 

     “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the [body] is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17). The Old Covenant finds its fulfillment not in individual bodies, but in the body of Christ. It is for this reason that Paul was bound.