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Acts Twenty-Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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.

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,

began to accuse him. This is mere political puffery; the “great quietness” was a cruelly enforced quietness and the “worthy deeds” included such bloody suppression that Felix was soon to be in serious danger of punishment by Rome for his brutal rule.

Acts 24:3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

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.

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:

sect of the Nazarenes. This is the only place in the Bible where Christians are called Nazarenes, no doubt to capitalize on the common prejudicial proverb: “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). In fact, the charges presented by Tertullus were intentionally loaded with prejudicial language—“pestilent,” “sedition,” “ringleader,” “sect,” “profane”—intended obviously to prejudice Felix against Paul.

Acts 24:6 Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.

Acts 24:7 But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,

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.

Acts 24:9 And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.

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:

Acts 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.

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:

Acts 24:13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.

Neither can they prove. Paul's factual answer, and the contrasting emotional diatribes of his opponents, seems typical of modern controversies between creationists and evolutionists, as well as between Christians and anti-Christians in general. The facts of the case completely supported Paul, and Felix would have released him, except Felix hoped to receive a bribe from Paul (Acts 24:26) and he desired to appease the Jewish leaders (Acts 24:27). Similarly today, the facts always support the Biblical creationist Christian worldview, but financial and political considerations generally favor its opponents. Paul was not guilty of any of their charges or of anything else except believing and teaching the truth of God's Word.

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:

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.

resurrection of the dead. Paul frequently wrote and preached on the coming resurrection of the “just,” but rarely mentioned the resurrection of the “unjust,” or “unjustified.” His reference to it here (confirming the Old Testament prophecy of Daniel 12:2), particularly since he immediately asserted his own clear conscience (Acts 24:16), may well have pricked the consciences of both Felix and Paul's Sadducean accusers, none of whom could have looked forward to any such event if it were true.

Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Acts 24:17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.

Acts 24:18 Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

Acts 24:19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.

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,

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.

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.

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.

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.

Drusilla. Drusilla, the third wife of Felix, was very young. As the youngest daughter of Herod, Agrippa I, she no doubt was at least somewhat informed concerning her father's persecution of the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:1) and may well have been even more curious than Felix about the Christian faith.

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.

Felix trembled. Felix evidently was under “terrified” conviction as he listened to Paul. “Righteousness, temperance and judgment” were not only being expounded to him by Paul, but also by the Holy Spirit (note John 16:8-11).

convenient season. This “convenient season” never came. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

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.

Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

after two years. Luke had been with Paul in Jerusalem and again joined him as he was sent to Rome (note the “we” in Acts 21:15 and 27:1). He probably used the two years of Paul's imprisonment in Caesarea to do the research for writing his gospel and the early chapters of Acts.