In the last four chapters of Acts, chapters twenty-five through twenty-eight, Paul defends himself twice. First, he defends himself before Festus (25:6-8), and then before Agrippa (26:1-29). Following his defense before Agrippa, Paul makes his fourth journey (27:1—28:31). In these chapters we have a picture of people in three kinds of situations. We have a picture of the Jewish religionists, the Roman politicians, and those in the church.
Let us first consider the portrait of the Jewish religionists. Judaism was formed according to God’s word. Therefore, the Jewish religion was according to the Scriptures. The Jewish religionists had the holy Bible, the holy land, the holy city, the holy temple, the holy priesthood, and all the other holy things. Nevertheless, what these religious people did as recorded in the book of Acts was absolutely not of God but of Satan.
Acts 25:1-3 says, “Festus therefore, having come into the province, after three days went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and leading men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they kept entreating him, asking for a favor against him, so that he might summon him to Jerusalem, setting an ambush to do away with him on the way.” Here we see that the Jews wanted to set up an ambush in order to kill Paul. Furthermore, the Jewish religionists lied and exercised hypocrisy. With them there was nothing holy or righteous. With them there was nothing that could be counted as being for God. In this religion we cannot see anything spiritual or divine. On the contrary, what was practiced among the Jewish religionists in the case of Paul was not only fleshly and sinful but even devilish and hellish. The source of what they did was the Devil.
In Acts we also have a portrait of the Roman politicians. In particular, we have an account concerning the commander, Felix, Festus, and Agrippa. The higher the Roman politicians were, the more corrupt they were. Felix was more corrupt than the commander, Festus was more corrupt than Felix, and Agrippa was more corrupt than Festus. According to the record in the holy Word, in the Roman political circle there was much corruption. As we have pointed out, along with the Hebrew religion and Greek culture, Roman politics was one of the three elements that composed western culture. But according to Acts, Roman politics was corrupt.
Acts 24:24 speaks of Felix and Drusilla his wife. Drusilla was a daughter of King Herod Agrippa. Felix became enamored of her and persuaded her to forsake her husband and marry him. This shows the intemperance and corruption of Felix, a Roman politician. Felix’s corruption is also seen in his sending for Paul frequently in the hope that money would be given him by Paul (24:26).
Acts 25:13 speaks of Agrippa and Bernice. Bernice was a sister of Drusilla, the wife of Felix. She was also a sister of Agrippa, with whom she lived incestuously. This may be the reason that in 25:13 Bernice is not identified as being Agrippa’s wife. Roman politics certainly was dark and corrupt, full of sexual immorality and the love of money. The record in Acts exposes the corruption of the Roman politicians.
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