I WON'T BACK DOWN

Thursday, December 20, 2018

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ACTS ~ Chapter 26



THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ACTS ~ Chapter 26

Agrippa then said to Pal. ‘You may now give an account of yourself.’ So Paul, extending his hand, began to defend.

“I consider myself fortunate, king Agrippa, that I may defend myself before you today, against all the charges that the Jews have made against me. And since you are so very familiar with all the customs and controversial questions of the Jews, I ask you to hear me patiently. All the Jews are familiar with my mode of life from my youth on, for it was spent from the beginning among my own people, and here at Jerusalem. Their earliest memory of  me, if they would admit it, would be that I lived the life of a Pharisee – the strictest sect of our religion. And now I am on trial for the hope in the promise that Elohei made to our fathers. In the hope of seeing that promise fulfilled, our 12 tribes served Elohei zealously night and day. And it is on account of that hope, O king Agrippa, that I am being accused by the Jews. Why do you think it incredible that Elohei should raise the dead? Yes, I too once thought it my duty to do many things in opposition to Yeshua of Nazareth. I did so in Jerusalem. There I locked up numbers of saints in the prisons by orders from the chief priests. And when they were to be put to death, I voted against them. In all the synagogues, many times I punished them and forced them to blaspheme. And in my burning zeal and furious rage against them, I kept after them even unto foreign cities. So when I was going to Damascus on such an errand, I had authority and commission from the chief priests. I was on the road at noon, O king, when I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun shining around me and my fellow travelers. Then, as we all fell down to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me saying in the Hebrew tongue, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It will be hard for you to rebel and resist.” And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Yeshua Whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for the specific purpose of appointing you to serve Me and to bear witness of what you have seen and also of what I will reveal to you. I will save you from your people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you. You are to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Lucifer to Elohei, so that through faith in Me they may have their sins forgiven and have an inheritance among those who are holy.’ And so, O king Agrippa, I did not disobey that heavenly vision. I witnessed first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and then throughout the whole of Judea, and I preached even to the Gentiles that they must repent and turn to Elohei and live their lives consistent with repentance. That is why the Jews laid hold of me in the Temple and tried to kill me. And Elohei has helped me to this very day, therefore I have stood up and witnessed to both small and great, claiming nothing else than what the prophets and Moshe said would take place – namely this, that Mashiach must suffer, that he was the 1st tor rise from the dead, and that He would give light to the Jewish people and the Gentiles.”


When he had spoken thus for his defense, Festus exclaimed in a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are insane! Much learning has made you mad!’


“Most noble Festus,” answered Paul, I am not crazy. On the contrary, I am speaking the sober truth. And since the king is well informed of these matters, therefore I I dare speak to him more freely. Nothing that I have said is news to him; of that I am sure, for these things did not happen in some obscure corner. King Agrippa, you believe the prophets, don’t you I know you do!”


Then Agrippa said to Paul, You almost persuade me to become a Christian!’


To this Paul replied, “Oh, I could wish to Elohim that not only you, but also everyone who hears me today, whether with little or much persuasion, would become such as I am, except for these chains!”


After this was said, the king rose, as did also the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. When they had gone out, they talked the matter over together and concluded, ‘This man has not done anything punishable by death or even imprisonment.’ And Agrippa added this remark to Festus, ‘If he had not appealed to the emperor, he could have been set free.’





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