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10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. 17 “Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation, 18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult. 19 They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me. 20 Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council, 21 unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’ ” 

 

Verses 10-21 are Paul’s defense before Felix, the Judean governor. Unlike Tertullus, he did not flatter or fawn on Felix but went straight to the facts of the case.  

24:10 

Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 

After Felix nodded for Paul to speak, the apostle answered that he would be glad to present his case before a judge of Israel experienced for so many years.  

24:11 

because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 

Paul said that he went to Jerusalem no more than 12 days previously to worship and bring alms and present offerings (Acts 24:17-18), not long enough to instigate a riot because he was in Roman custody much of that time. He came to Jerusalem to worship, not riot. It was the Asian Jews, not Paul, who had incited the riot (Acts 25:8; 28:17-18).  

24:12 

And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 

Contrary to the Jewish leaders’ assertion (Acts 24:5-6), they never found Paul inciting the crowd, whether in the synagogues or the city.  

24:13 

Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 

Paul asserted before Felix that the Jewish elders could not prove their case. There were no facts presented to back up the Jewish case of inciting a riot or rebellion.  

24:14 

But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 

Paul conceded before Felix that he belonged to a group called “the Way,” which Jewish leaders called “a sect.” He further described the God of his worship as the same God the Jews worshiped, believing everything written in the Law and Prophets. The nature of his worship was in full compliance with the Jewish Bible. The Way rested its beliefs on the Old Testament view of God.  

24:15 

I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. 

Paul further described his worship as one of “hope in God”; the Jews themselves accepted that there would be a resurrection of the dead for both the just and unjust. The reference to resurrection was a crucial point of difference at the trial among the Jews themselves, the Sadducees denying it and the Pharisees accepting it along with Paul (Acts 23:6).  

The Sadducees, not the Pharisees, were the primary representatives before Felix. However, the Way’s view of the resurrection was a step beyond the Jews’ view because they believed Jesus rose from the dead, setting a precedent for everyone who believes to be raised from the dead as well.  

There would be two kinds of resurrection, one of which would include judgment for the unjust (Dan 12:2; Luke 14:13-14; Jn 5:28-29; Rev 20:11-15). Paul gave this argument later to Agrippa II (Acts 26:8, 23), where he made it clear that this was the central point of his witness (Acts 26:23). 

24:16 

This being so, I myself [emphatic] always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. 

Paul affirmed that he had lived a life of integrity before God and men because of his hope in the resurrection. He carried a clear conscience with himself in regard to not offending the Jewish nation. He was no ringleader of rebellion against the Jewish state.  

24:17 

“Now after many years I came to bring alms [charitable giving] and offerings to my nation, 

Verses 17-19 answer Tertullus’s third charge against the apostle—that he desecrated the Temple. Paul described why he came to his nation. He came to Jerusalem after many years to bring offerings to God and his nation (Ro 15:26; 1 Co 16:1-4; 2 Co 8:13-14; 9:12-13; Ga 2:10).  

24:18 

in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult. 

Paul now described the immediate cause of the conflict from his viewpoint. There were Jews from Asia who found him purified in the Temple but with no mob and not causing a tumult, but they still claimed he caused a disturbance in the Temple (Acts 21:27-30). The eyewitnesses for the Jewish case did not come before Felix, which would have damaged their case.  

24:19 

They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me. 

Paul said that the Asian Jews should have brought their case before Felix if they had any accusations against him. The Sanhedrin did not bring the Asian Jews to the trial because it would have contradicted their case.  

24:20 

Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council, 

The apostle argued that the Jewish leaders failed to reveal any crime of which he was guilty when he was before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem (Acts 21:27-28).  

24:21 

unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.’ ” 

The only genuine case the Jewish leaders had was when Paul affirmed “the resurrection of the dead” while on trial at the council (Acts 23:6). The high priest and the Sanhedrin witnessed Paul’s assertion of the resurrection of the dead at his Jewish trial (Acts 26:8). Paul had broken neither Jewish nor Roman law.  

PRINCIPLE: 

There will be two resurrections of dead bodies—one for believers and the other for unbelievers.  

APPLICATION: 

The Bible teaches that there will be two resurrections, one for the lost and one for Christians (Jn 5:28-29). There is a resurrection of the just and a resurrection of those damned. These are distinct resurrections separated by over 1000 years. The saved will be raised before the Millennial kingdom, whereas the lost of all ages will be raised from the dead after the Millennium. The Bible calls the first resurrection before the Millennium “the first resurrection.” The Bible names the resurrection of the lost “the second death,” which will occur after the Millennial kingdom.   

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