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The Book of Acts Chapter 9 (19 of 44)
Dr. Harley Howard
The last time we looked at Paul he was leading the tide
of persecution against the Church as a result of the
death of Stephen. (Acts 8:1-3) The good news is that
the persecution did not stop the work of the church,
but caused it to spread even more. As was stated in a
previous study, Paul knew that threats, beatings, and
even death would not stop the spread of Christianity,
so his conclusion was that only total elimination of
these followers of Jesus was the way that this movement
would stop. So he went on his maddening way to destroy
the believers. Here in chapter 9, we see him continuing
his mission of death.
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and
slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto
the high priest,
2 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
The first portion of this verse intrigued me. It means
that with every breath that Paul breathed, he was in
the process of threatening believers. Not only was he
threatening them, but also he was killing them
(slaughter). Damascus was out of the legal jurisdiction
of Jerusalem. Paul requested letters of authority from
the chief priest in Jerusalem to go to the synagogues
in Damascus and extradite, or bring back those Jews,
who were believers, who escaped to Damascus during the
persecution of the church.
A reminder: The greatest persecution against
Christianity was always religion.
In the days of Jesus, the Scribes, Pharisees, and
Sadducees were always against Jesus, trying to
discredit Him and His ministry. When His popularity
became too great, they killed Him. After Jesus went
back to Heaven, the Apostles and disciples of Jesus
also suffered at the hands of religion. Today, nothing
has changed. Christianity has been, and is, being
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