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by Wayne Blank
"I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem"
It was upon his return from his third missionary journey (see Paul's Third Missionary Journey, also Paul's First Missionary Journey and Paul's Second Missionary Journey) that Paul ran into more trouble. Although he didn't know what was specifically going to happen, Paul did know before he got there that more difficulty awaited him:
"And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:22-24 KJV)
Not everyone in Jerusalem opposed Paul. There were many Jews who recognized that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah and that Paul was a servant of The Lord who was sent to the Gentiles.
"And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry [see Paul's Ministry]. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the Law" (Acts 21:17-20 KJV)
There were however still many who remained blind to the Truth. They didn't merely oppose what Paul taught, they intended to kill him - an act of desperate people who could neither refute nor otherwise silence him. A riot started; when Roman troops came and saw that Paul seemed to be the center of it, they arrested him. The officer in charge then discovered that Paul was a Jew and a Roman citizen (Acts 22:27-29). The situation then got even more complicated when Paul's nephew reported that 40 men were intending to kill Paul while he was in Roman custody (Acts 23:12-22). It was then that the Roman commander decided to get Paul out of Jerusalem by transferring his case to his superiors in Caesarea. He quickly mustered a force of 200 infantry, 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen to transport Paul. They left at the third hour of the night (about 9 pm on a modern-day clock), obviously ready to fight their way out of the city if necessary. The infantry went as far as Antipatris. There, clear of the mob, they continued on to Caesarea with the cavalry alone.
"And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor" (Acts 23:22-24 KJV)
Fact Finder: Who was Paul brought before 2 years later after Felix failed to resolve his case?