Acts 21:27—26:32 is a lengthy section that records the ultimate persecution by the Jews. In 21:27—23:15 we have an account of an uproar against Paul. In this message we shall see that Paul was seized by the Jews in Jerusalem (21:27-30), that the Roman commander intervened (21:31-39), and that Paul was given the opportunity to defend himself before the rioting Jews (21:40—22:21). After making his defense, Paul was bound by the Romans (22:22-29).
Acts 21:27 and 28 say, “Now when the seven days were about to be concluded, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple and threw all the crowd into confusion; and they laid their hands on him, crying out, Men, Israelites, help! This is the man who is teaching all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place; and besides, he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has profaned this holy place.” Yes, God’s New Testament teaching according to His New Testament economy is really against the Jews who oppose God’s New Testament economy (Matt. 21:41, 43-45; 22:7; 23:32-36; Acts 7:51; 13:40-41), against the law of dead letters (Rom. 3:20, 28; 6:14; 7:4, 6; Gal. 2:19, 21; 5:4), and against the holy place, the temple (Matt. 23:38; 24:2; Acts 7:48). Because Paul’s ministry was to carry out God’s New Testament economy, it could not please the Jews who were possessed and usurped by Satan, the enemy of God, with their deformed traditional religion, to oppose and ravage God’s New Testament move. Rather, it offended them and it stirred up their jealousy and hatred to the uttermost, so that they made a plot (20:3) to do away with him (21:31, 36).
In 21:28 “this place” and “this holy place” refer to the temple. Verses 29 and 30 continue, “For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, whom they supposed Paul had brought into the temple. And the whole city was aroused, and the people ran together; and laying hold of Paul, they dragged him outside the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.” Literally, the Greek words translated “the people ran together” mean “a running together of the people occurred.”
Acts 21:31-33 say, “And as they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. And he took soldiers and centurions at once and ran down to them; and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they ceased beating Paul. Then the commander drew near and laid hold of him and ordered him to be bound with two chains, and he inquired who he might be and what he had done.” This commander was a chiliarch in command of a thousand troops, or a cohort. A cohort was one of the ten divisions of an ancient Roman legion. In His sovereignty, the Lord used the intervention of this Roman commander to rescue Paul from the Jews, who were seeking to kill him.
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