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From Persecutor To Persecuted
Before his conversion, Saul (later known as Paul) the Pharisee (see Pharisees) had a violent hatred toward Christians. He sought not only to kill and imprison Christians in Jerusalem, but everywhere that Christianity had taken root (an outward growth that successfully advanced at least in part because of the backfired persecution at Jerusalem i.e. "there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad" Acts 8:1 KJV). The scattering was at first through the entire land of Israel, but soon thereafter to other nations as well, including to Damascus in Syria.
"9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem." (Acts 9:1-2 KJV)
"Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints"
Saul wasn't to make it to Damascus, at least not as a persecutor of Christians. The Christ Himself stopped Saul on the road to Damascus - and opened his eyes with a "blindness" lesson (see Paul's Blindness Lesson).
"9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Saul arrived in Damascus, blind, with the assistance of the Satanic thugs that he had accompanying him. It would be the last time that he would have "associates" (men who today might have nicknames like "Knuckles" and "The Torturer" - see also The Torturers Of Christ) like that; the LORD directed a Christian named Ananias, one of the very people that Saul had been journeying to Damascus to kill, to welcome their new Christian brother, Paul.
"9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias.
Ananias found Paul, baptized him, and welcomed the former murderer - a man who once murdered Christians, but who thereafter as a Christian would murder no one.
"9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with The Holy Ghost. 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized [see Baptism; also Why Isn't Infant Baptism Valid? and Baptism Of Fire]. 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus." (Acts 9:17-19 KJV)
Paul thereafter began preaching the Gospel, a major change in him that immediately brought a major change in his life - he began to be persecuted as a Christian, exactly as he persecuted Christians before his conversion.
"9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. 9:21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? 9:22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
Fact Finder: By what authority did Paul become a true preacher of the true Gospel?