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The Book of ACTS
THEME: Paul before Felix
This chapter opens and closes with Paul being held a prisoner in Caesarea. As we have seen, he was brought here secretly from Jerusalem to get away from the Jews who had plotted his murder.
Paul had failed to gain the sympathies of his brethren for the Gospel ministry in which he was engaged. There may have been a time of discouragement for him, because the Lord came to him in the night to give him encouragement (Acts 23:11). Jesus told His faithful servant that he would witness to Him in Rome also. BUT . . . the Lord never did promise Paul that it would be easy. Many bad experiences and hardships were yet before him. From here to his final martyrdom (death), there was nothing but peril and danger . . . actually that had been the pattern since the day he was let down in a basket (Acts 9:25; 2 Cor.11:33) over the wall at Damascus.
In this chapter we will learn that the high priest Ananias and the elders come down from Jerusalem to accuse Paul before Felix. Paul is accused of sedition, rebellion, and profaning the temple.
Paul Before Felix (Acts 24:1-23)
Acts 24:1 And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul. (KJV)
And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders . . . from Jerusalem to Caesarea: these five days are to be figured from his coming to Caesarea.
And with a certain orator named Tertullus . . . by his name, he seems to have been a Roman; and because he might know the Roman, or the Greek language, or both, which the Jews did not so well understand, and was very well acquainted with all the forms in the Roman courts of judicature, as well as was an eloquent orator; they took him with them to open and plead their cause.
Who informed the governor against Paul . . . brought in a list of information against Paul, stating his supposed crimes, and declaring they were his accusers. They appeared in open court against him and accused him. It was not just Tertullus, but also the high priest and elders with him.
The accusers didn't waste any time. They came down after five days in order to press charges against Paul. They brought with them a man named Tertullus who would act as the prosecuting attorney. He was a clever and well-prepared man. The charges he brought were very well prepared.
Acts 24:2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, (KJV)
And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him . . . to set forth his crimes, which he introduced with a flattering introduction to Felix.
Saying, seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence . . . maybe he was referring to his purging the country of robbers.
He starts out with flattery in his address to Felix, which had nothing to do with the charge against Paul.
Acts 24:3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. (KJV)
We accept it always, and in all places . . . it seems that the Jews observed with pleasure the provident care the governor took of their nation, and at all times spoke well of him; and whenever they came commended his conduct, and owned the favors they received from him, and the blessings they enjoyed under his government: and then giving him his title of honor.
Most noble Felix . . . Tertullus was really 'licking his boots.' He is really buttering up the governor.
Acts 24:4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. (KJV)
Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee . . . saying that he could say much more, but, for brevity sake, he would omit it; and because he would not tire his patience, and hinder business going forward.
I pray thee, that thou wouldst hear us of thy clemency a few words . . . he praises him for his humanity and good nature, and for his patience in hearing causes, and promises him great conciseness in the account he should give him. Typical lawyer!
Acts 24:5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: (KJV)
For we have found this man a pestilent fellow . . . pointing to Paul, the prisoner at the bar; "pestilent" here means "pest" or "plague." This was usual with orators among the Romans, when they would represent a man as a very wicked man, as dangerous to the state, and unworthy to live in it, to call him the pest of the city, or of the country or of the empire.
And a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world . . . sedition (troublemaker, incitement to rebellion) was severely punished by the Romans. They carefully watched and guarded against uprisings, and was what the Jews were supposed to be very prone to. Tertullus would suggest, that the several riots, and tumults, and seditions, were brought on by the apostle Paul. The crime charged upon him is greatly aggravated, as that not only he was guilty of sedition, but that he was the mover of it, and that he stirred up all the Jews to it, and that in every part of the world, or empire, all which was false. Quite the opposite . . . the Jews often raised up a mob against him, but he never rioted them, and much less moved them against the Roman government.
Then he adds, And a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes . . . not Nazarites, as some think, for these were men of great repute among the Jews, and for Paul to be at the head of them would never be brought against him as a charge. But, Nazarenes, meaning Christians, so called out of contempt and reproach, from Jesus of Nazareth; which Name and sect was contemptible to the Romans, as well as Jews, and is here mentioned to make the apostle more hateful. Tertullus calls Paul a mover of sedition, but he could not prove it.
Acts 24:6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. (KJV)
Who also hath gone about to profane the temple . . . By bringing a Greek into it (Acts 21:28-29), which was only a supposition of the Asiatic Jews, and was a false and groundless one.
Whom we took and would have judged according to our law . . . which was another lie, for they did not take him before ANY court of judicature; they brought NO charge in form against him, nor did they examine his case, and inquire into the truth of things, or hear what he had to say . . . rather, they fell upon him, and beat him. If it had not been for the chief captain and his soldiers, they would have destroyed him . . . that is how far they were they from proceeding according to their law. It seems by Tertullus calling the law, "our law", that he was a Jewish proselyte; or else he speaks after the manner of lawyers, who call what is their clients, theirs.
Acts 24:7 But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, (KJV)
But the chief captain Lysias came upon us . . . suddenly and with great haste, before they could execute their plans; which was not to judge Paul according to law, but instead to kill him, in the manner the zealots did.
And with great violence took him away out of our hands . . . for he came with an army, and rescued him (Acts 23:27).
Acts 24:8 Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him. (KJV)
Commanding his accusers to come unto thee . . . this was NOT done until after Paul had set forth his case before the people, upon the stairs leading to the castle. Tertullus insinuated that the captain was to blame, that he hindered a legal process against Paul; and because of him, this trouble was given to the governor.
By examining of whom . . . not the accusers, but either the chief captain, as some think, or rather Paul.
Thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things whereof we accuse him . . . so impudent was Tertullus, and of such assurance, that he feared not to say, that the governor, by examining Paul himself, would easily come to the knowledge of the things he was accused of, and plainly see that he was guilty of them; so that there would be no need of their attestations, or of producing witnesses against him.
Acts 24:9 And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so. (KJV)
And the Jews also assented, saying, that these things were so . . . meaning Ananias the high priest, and the elders that were with him, agreed to what Tertullus said, and confirmed the same . . . that Paul was such an evil person, and was guilty of the crimes he had set forth; and that the chief captain had taken the steps, and done the things he had related. The "Jews" are the religious rulers who came down to press charges.
He has nothing but flattery for Felix, unjust charges against Paul, and subtle insinuations against Claudius Lysias. So the charges against Paul are: he is a mover of sedition, he is a leader of a rebellious sect, and he has profaned the temple. Tertullus presents these charges for the religious rulers. Now Paul makes his defense before Felix.
Acts 24:10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself: (KJV)
Then Paul, after the governor had beckoned unto him to speak . . . after Tertullus finished speaking, Paul was silent to his charge until the governor beckoned with his hand or head, or made some sign to him to speak for himself; which he could not do, until permission was given to him. Then Paul answered as follows:
Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation . . . some say 10 years, some say 13. Some say that he was a "just judge"; but this does not so agree with the character of Felix (Acts 24:27).
I do the more cheerfully answer for myself . . . IF Paul had been such a mover of sedition everywhere, Felix must have in this course of years have known or heard something about it. And too, Felix could be no stranger to the temper of the Jews, that they were given to envy, revenge, lying and perjury, and therefore would not easily believe all they said, or quickly take their part, but rather would pity the apostle, who had fallen into such hands, and do him justice.
Acts 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. (KJV)
Because that thou mayest understand . . . by what Paul now states, and by the witnesses which he could produce to certify it was the truth.
That there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship . . . meaning from the time that Paul went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, to the present time, in which he now stood before Felix, pleading his own cause. He came in one day from Caesarea to Jerusalem (Acts 21:16-17). The next day he visited James and the elders (Acts 21:18). The third day Paul purified himself in the temple (Acts 21:26), where he was mobbed by the Jews. The fourth day he was brought before the Sanhedrin and defended himself (Acts 22:30). On the fifth day 40 Jews plan to kill him (Acts 23:13). On the sixth day he came to Caesarea, being sent there by Lysias (Acts 23:26). Five five days after this, which make eleven, Ananias, and the elders, headed by Tertullus, came to accuse him; and this day was the twelfth, the day of his trial. Of those twelve days he was a prisoner nine, and therefore could not have done so much mischief, and stirred up so much sedition as was insinuated; and in opposition to the charge of profaning the temple, he observes that he came up to Jerusalem to "worship"; namely, at the feast of Pentecost.
Now, what Paul is going to say will not be something that will be strange or foreign to Felix.
Acts 24:12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: (KJV)
And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man . . . either about civil or religious affairs: not that it was criminal to dispute in the temple; it was a common thing for the doctors to dispute about matters of religion, in the porches, and courts, and chambers of the temple, as it may be observed they often did with Christ. But Paul mentions this to show that he did not create sedition among the people of the Jews, and that he never so even entered into any conversation with them, but he just purified himself according to the law of Moses.
Neither raising up the people . . . Paul did not stir them up to sedition to rebel against the Roman government.
Neither in the synagogues . . . where there were the greatest gathering of people, and the best chance of inciting people to riot.
Acts 24:13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. (KJV)
They accused Paul of bring a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition and a profaner of the temple, but they could not prove anything against him. Paul was challenging and defying them to make good their statements.
Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: (KJV)
But this I confess unto thee . . . Now Paul tells Felix what the truth was, and that he was not ashamed of it, and more than ready to own up to, and bear his testimony for, no matter what the consequence of it was.
That after the way which they call heresy . . . Paul refers to the charge of his being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 24:5) . . . meaning "the way" (Acts 19:23) or the Christian religion, or the doctrines of Christianity, which the Jews called heresy.
So worship I the God of my fathers . . . He tells them that he believed only what was written in the law and the prophets; that this involved the main doctrine of their religion, the hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 24:15); and that it was his constant and earnest desire to keep a pure conscience in all things (Acts 24:16. These are the points of his defense to this second charge, and we shall see that they fully meet and dispose of the accusation.
Believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets . . . which the Sadducees did not; and that he strictly adhered to these, and not to the traditions of the elders, as did the Scribes and Pharisees. And since he believed whatever was contained in the sacred writings, he could not be charged justly with heresy; and just as he believed, so he taught, and everything he taught was agreeable to the Scriptures of the Old Testament.
Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (KJV)
And have hope towards God . . . of enjoying eternal life and happiness with Him in a future state.
Which they themselves also allow . . . meaning some of the Jews, but not the Sadducees, for they denied any life after death. But the Pharisees did believe in the immortality of the soul, and its existence in a future state.
And that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust . . . Paul agreed to and taught the doctrine of Christ in (John 5:28-29) All shall rise, both just and unjust! The just are those who are made so by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them (Rom.5:1-2; 1 Cor.1:30), and who being created anew unto righteousness and true holiness, live soberly, righteously, and godly. The unjust are those who lack righteousness, and are filled with all unrighteousness. Both these groups will rise again from the dead; which is very clear, not only from the words of Christ, and the writings of the apostles, but from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, particularly (Dan.12:2).
The Resurrection is the very heart of Christianity! It has always been so! "What think ye of Christ?" is always the test. Did He die for your sins? Was He raised from the dead? Paul immediately comes to the core, the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ . . . the Resurrection! Jesus lives!
Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. (KJV)
And herein do I exercise myself . . . because of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which is a doctrine according to godliness, and promotes and encourages a holy lifestyle, Paul said that we all are: to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man . . . meaning to please God, and not offend men, neither Jew nor Gentile, nor the church of God. By a "conscience void of offence" is meant a righteous lifestyle; respect of God, being careful not to offend Him, but to do His will; have a respect for mankind, and shunning what may give offence or be a stumbling block to them.
Acts 24:17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings. (KJV)
Now after many years . . . about 25 years since his conversion; most of this time he spent among the Gentiles (Gal.1:18; 2:1). It had now been some years since he had been to Jerusalem.
I came to bring alms to my nation . . . the collections which were made among the Gentile churches, particularly in Macedonia, for the poor saints at Jerusalem, (Rom.15:25-27; 2 Cor.8:1-4); and offerings . . . either for the day of Pentecost, or the offerings because of the vow of the Nazarite (Acts 21:26).
Paul came to bring to the church in Jerusalem the gifts which he had been gathering on his third missionary journey. Possibly it was a substantial gift which the Gentile believers sent to Jerusalem, and Paul wanted to bring that gift with his own hands.
Acts 24:18 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult. (KJV)
Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple . . . Paul came about the offerings of the Nazarites in the temple, so it could not be said that he profaned it. Paul did NOT profane the temple, as they stated, but was acting according to the worship and service of it; and that, neither with a multitude . . . for there were only four men with him; nor with tumult . . . they did not make any noise nor riot, nor did they stir up persons to sedition and rebellion.
Acts 24:19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me. (KJV)
Who ought to have been here before thee . . . they were the proper witnesses; and since they stayed away, it showed that they were not prepared to undergo an examination. Paul justly complains that the only persons who could testify against him were absent, that there was really no well-founded charge against him. They alone could testify as to anything that occurred in the temple; and as they were not present, that charge ought to be dismissed. (Acts 25:16). The charge that Tertullus makes is that Paul had been stirring up people in the temple. Why don't the people who were being stirred up testify against Paul? They aren't there, and Paul calls attention to it.
Acts 24:20 Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council, (KJV)
Or else let these same here say . . . Since they are not here to speak against me in regard to what occurred in the temple, let these here present bear witness against me, if they can, in regard to any other part of my conduct. This was a bold appeal, and it showed his full consciousness of innocence.
Acts 24:21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day. (KJV)
Except it be for this one voice . . . let them object, if they can, to any other fault: but if this be a fault, to hold the resurrection of the dead, I do acknowledge it, and there need no other proof concerning it. Very bold! Knowing that they dared not renew their quarrel about it. (Acts 23:6).
Paul again tells Felix that the real issue is the Resurrection. The Resurrection is the very heart of the TRUE Gospel. Christ died for our sins, was buried and was raised again on the third day.
Acts 24:22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. (KJV)
And when Felix heard these things . . . both sides, both by plaintiff and defendant, the charges brought against Paul, and his answer to them, as a judge ought to do.
Having more perfect knowledge of that way . . . that way, which the Jews called heresy, and Paul had embraced. Either Felix had more knowledge of it than he had before, by what Paul had said, and he saw that it was not contrary to the law, nor had any tendency to promote sedition and tumult; OR possibly, when he had a more perfect knowledge of this new way, called the sect of the Nazarenes, he would determine this cause, and not before: wherefore . . . he deferred . . . them; put them off and would make no decision in favor of one side or the other.
And said, when Lysias the chief captain shall come . . . from Jerusalem to Caesarea . . . I will know the uttermost of your matters . . . when he had got full information of these particulars, then he promised them to bring things to an issue, and finish the cause.
Acts 24:23 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. (KJV)
To let him have liberty . . . not confined in a dungeon, or more inward prison; but to have the liberty of the prison, yet so as with a chain about him; as appears (Acts 26:29; 28:20).
Acquaintance . . . relatives or disciples; for there was a church at Caesarea.
Actually, Felix should have freed Paul. However, being a politician, he does give Paul a great deal of liberty while still keeping him a prisoner.
Felix Has Paul In For A Private Audience (Acts 24:24-27)
Acts 24:24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. (KJV)
And after certain days . . . some days after this trial; when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess . . . to Caesarea. This woman was the daughter of Herod Agrippa, who was eaten by worms (Acts 12:23), and sister to King Agrippa, mentioned in the next chapter (Acts 25:13, 24), but although she was born of Jewish parents, and was a Jewess, her name was a Roman name, derived from Drusus.
He sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ . . . this he did, mainly because of his wife, who being brought up in the Jewish religion, had some knowledge of the Messiah the Jews expected, and could better understand what Paul said than Felix did. Paul would state that Christ was come, and that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, and that He is truly God and Man, that He died, and rose again from the dead on the third day, and that He has obtained salvation for sinners, and that whoever believes in Him shall be saved. But it does not seem that Paul's words touched their hearts. They must have sent for Paul simply because of curiosity.
Acts 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (KJV)
And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come . . . Paul not only spoke about the doctrine of faith in Christ, but also the duties of religion, and particularly righteousness, that can come only from Christ. This righteousness belongs to the doctrine of faith in Christ; but is the exercise of justice, or the doing of right between man and man; to the law of God and Gospel of Christ, and is a virtue highly necessary in a judge, and was greatly wanting in Felix; who, as the historian, Josephus, says was guilty of much cruelty and injustice throughout this government and therefore very appropriately did the apostle speak on this subject. In other words, Felix really heard a sermon!
Scriptures of the Old Testament, of which Drusilla might have some knowledge, such as (Ps.96:13; Ecc.3:17; 11:9; 12:14; Dan.7:9-10) but from reason, from the relation which men stand in to God, as His creatures and therefore are accountable to Him for their actions; and from the justice of God.
Felix trembled . . . his conscience was awakened, accused him of the injustice and cruelty he had been guilty of, and his mind was filled with horror, at the thought of the awful judgment he could not escape, which Paul had described unto him; nor could he bear to listen any longer on these subjects.
And answered, go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee . . . Felix wanted no more. He did not want to hear Paul any longer. When Felix had a spare hour he would send for Paul and hear him out. But this was only an excuse to get rid of him and try to soothe his conscience. A sinner NEVER has "a convenient season" to hear the Gospel. Felix already knew something about the Gospel, or "the Way."
Many say that we live in a Christian nation. My friend, we do NOT live in a Christian nation! This country is NOT Christian any more! Yes! There are many church members, but the number of TRUE Christians are a TINY minority today (Mat.7:13-14).
Felix called Paul in to explain to him the Gospel which started this entire situation. He called Paul in "and heard him concerning the faith in Christ." Some say this section should be called "Paul's Defense Before Felix." I disagree. Paul was NOT defending himself here. What he was doing in this second appearance before Felix was witnessing to him, trying to win Felix over to Christ.
The Bible does not present Felix in the bad light that secular history does. He was an evil rascal. Felix was a freed slave who through cruelty and brutality had forged to the front. He loved pleasure and licentiousness. His very name means "pleasure." The Roman historian, Tacitus, says this concerning him: "Through all cruelty and licentiousness he exercised the authority of a king with the spirit of a slave." This was the man into whose hands Paul was placed. Yet the Bible does not condemn him.
Drusilla was a daughter of Herod Agrippa I. Her father killed the apostle James (Acts 12:1-2). The great uncle of this woman had slain John the Baptist. Her great-grandfather tried to kill the Lord Jesus Christ.
These rascals, Felix and Drusilla, are in an exalted position. They probably would never have attended a church in which the Gospel was preached, nor would they have gone to hear Paul the apostle if he had come to town to preach. Yet these two have this great opportunity given to them under the most favorable circumstances. They have a private interview with the greatest preacher of the grace of God that the world has ever known. God gives them a private sermon. Their palace becomes a church and their thrones almost become a mourner's bench. The door of the kingdom was opened and they had their opportunity to enter. They did NOT! This is in fulfillment of the verse in the second psalm: "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth" (Ps. 2:10).
Felix and Drusilla, great sinners, living in sin, did not know what real freedom was.
Then Paul spoke about the judgment to come, which is the final judgment at the Great White Throne of Revelation 20:11-15. Your sins are either on you or they are on Christ. If your sins are on Christ, if you have put your trust in Him, then He paid the penalty for your sins over nineteen hundred years ago. They do not lie ahead of you for judgment in the future. But IF your sins today are still on YOU, then there is yet a judgment to come. People do NOT want like to hear about judgment to come. Felix and Drusilla did not like to hear about it either.
But friend, IF your sins are not on Christ, that is, if you have not trusted Him as your Saviour, then you shall stand before that Great White Throne Judgment. You can close this book right now, close your eyes to the Truth, but that will NOT alter a thing. You cannot escape the fact that you shall stand at the judgment.
Very few preachers touch on the subject of sin and judgment! They have great fear that the people will not come back if they preach something offensive to the congregation! Sin is offensive! Telling people they are sinners is offensive! And Judgment is offensive! People do NOT want to hear that they shall stand before Judge Jesus on day. And the Bible says that only a "few" will ever make it to Heaven (Mat.7:13-14). Hell is offensive! People do NOT want to hear about Hell! Everyone does NOT go to Heaven!!! PLEASE do NOT believe these false teachers "wolves in sheep's clothing" (Mat.7:15). They will lead you to HELL! BEWARE!!! http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d_hell_is_real.htm . . . http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d%20_universalism.htm . . . http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d%20_universalism_not_biblical.htm . . . http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d%20_universalisms_no_hell.htm . . . http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d%20_christian_universalism.htm
It is interesting to observe Felix here. When Paul had to appear before Felix, Ananias the high priest, the elders, and the great orator Tertullus came to bring their charges against him. Felix could immediately see that they had no real charge. He should have let Paul go free. But Felix was a politician and did not want to antagonize the Jews. He did not do what was right but did what was politically fitting, politically correct. Then Felix had this private interview with Paul, and Paul really touched a raw nerve in him.
People can keep postponing making a decision for Christ until there comes a time when they cannot make a decision for Him at all. If you hear Christ knock (Rev.3:20), open your heart's door to Him. One day it may be too late!
Acts 24:26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. (KJV)
He hoped also that money would have been given him of Paul . . . This states the charge to be true that the historians give of Felix concerning his covetousness. Paul had come up to Jerusalem to bring alms and offerings, and hoped Paul would pay him for his freedom. Paul didn't work like that!
Wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him . . . not about religious matters, but about his civil affairs; suggesting he would release him for a sum of money, which the apostle refused, being unwilling to encourage such evil practices, or to make use of unlawful means to free himself.
Felix was a clever politician and also a crook, by the way, like SO many in our government. He hoped that he would be bribed and then he would have let Paul go free.
Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound. (KJV)
But after two years . . . not of Felix's government, but of Paul's confinement at Caesarea. Paul was unjustly detained during all this time. The hope of Felix seems to have been to weary Paul's patience, and induce him to buy his freedom. It was in the fall of A.D. 60 that Felix was removed. Porcius Festus replaced him. This officer was more upright, according to Josephus, than most Roman governors, but died in the second year of his office.
Felix played politics to the very end. He left Paul in prison. Roman justice was no better than the men who executed it. Either Paul was guilty or he was not guilty. If guilty of treason, he should have been put to death. If not guilty, he should have been freed. One or the other should have been done. Under no circumstances should he have been left in prison for two years. But, God does work in mysterious ways!
Book of Acts
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