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In The Court Of The Happy Pig

Upon his return from his third missionary journey (see Paul's Third Missionary Journey), the apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, based on false charges from the Christ-rejecting Jews there (the same religious council that had tortured and killed the Messiah; see also Was Paul Among Them?). Paul was then taken before the Roman governor Felix (see Before Governors And Kings For My Sake).

"24:1 And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul. 24:2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, 24:3 We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. 24:4 Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. 24:5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:1-5 KJV)

Although apparently impressed with Paul's defense, Felix was a typical corrupt politician. He held Paul for no other reason than in expectation of a bribe. When Paul did not or could not pay for his freedom, Felix left the apostle in jail, for two years. Felix would certainly have kept Paul even longer, but he was replaced by Porcius Festus (in Latin, pork-ee-os means pig-like and face-tos means festal or happy - Porcius Festus literally means happy pig).

"24:24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

24:26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.

24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound." (Acts 24:24-27 KJV)

"He went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought"

The Jews who falsely accused Paul over two years earlier repeated their lies to Festus, who then had Paul transferred to Caesarea, a city on the shore of the Mediterranean that was used as the capital of the Roman province of Judaea (see Ancient Empires - Rome).

Caesarea

"25:1 Now when Festus was come into the Province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem [i.e. Caesarea is near sea level while Jerusalem is over 2,500 feet above sea level]. 25:2 Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, 25:3 And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. 25:4 But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither. 25:5 Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.

25:6 And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought. 25:7 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.

25:8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.

25:9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?

25:10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. 25:11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

25:12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go." (Acts 25:1-12 KJV)

Ironically, Paul was born a Roman citizen (see the Fact Finder question below) and could therefore "appeal to Caesar" in matters of law. Festus therefore had Paul brought before a higher representative of Caesar in the area, Agrippa (i.e. Herod Agrippa II - the great-grandson of the Herod that attempted to have Christ killed as an infant; see The Herods).

"25:13 And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. 25:14 And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: 25:15 About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.

25:16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him. 25:17 Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth. 25:18 Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: 25:19 But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. 25:20 And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.

25:21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.

25:22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him." (Acts 25:13-22 KJV)

Fact Finder: In what way was the apostle Paul a Roman citizen?
See Paul The Roman Citizen


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