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Paul's World

The apostle Paul (in Greek pronounced pow-los) was earlier known as Saul (in Greek pronounced sow-loos, based on the Hebrew name pronounced shaw-ool). He was a native of Tarsus, a city of Asia Minor, known today as Turkey. If he were born now, Paul's political nationality would be Turkish, however since at that time Turkey was a Roman-occupied province, Paul was a Roman citizen from birth. Note here Paul's claim to Roman-citizen rights that he made to a Roman soldier who had earned his citizenship by being a mercenary (note also the irony that neither was an actual Roman, and that Roman citizenship foisted on invaded people was referred to as their "freedom").

"22:25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?

22:26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.

22:27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman?

He said, Yea.

22:28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom.

And Paul said, But I was free born." (Acts 22:25-28 KJV)

"These that have turned the world upside down ... saying that there is another King, one Jesus"

Paul moreover understood his heritage as a Jew and a Benjamite (see Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?). After he was given the Holy Spirit that enabled him to understand his great knowledge that he had achieved as a Pharisee, he manifested his purpose by taking the Gospel to the "world" that existed in his time - the Roman world i.e. "throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar." Ironically, it was Paul's Roman citizenship that enabled him to travel anywhere throughout the (Roman) world, from the land of Israel, throughout Europe, to Spain, or even to Britain which was also under Roman occupation at that time (see the map). Note how the "world" described here is merely that under the rule of the Caesar:

The Roman Empire

"11:27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. 11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 11:29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: 11:30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul." (Acts 11:27-30 KJV)

Paul's travels (see the Fact Finder question below) in which he preached the coming Kingdom of God caused people to accuse him of having "turned the world upside down" in their minds.

"17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. 17:4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. 17:8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things." (Acts 17:1-8 KJV)

It was from that time that Paul, and Christianity as a whole, began to be viewed as a political threat by the Romans, as well as being a religious threat to those who hadn't yet received the means to realize the Truth (see also Why Can't 'The Chosen People' See?). Christians were denigrated as "the sect of the Nazarenes," while Paul was spoken of as being "a pestilent fellow and a mover of sedition" (note that sedition is a political term, not a religious one i.e. "an illegal action inciting resistance to lawful authority and tending to cause the disruption or overthrow of the government").

"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 24:5 KJV)

Paul was preaching the overthrow of the government, but not by Christians - by Christ Himself when He returns (see The Coming World Dictator). The Messiah will thereafter give the "world" (at that future time, all the world) the same true freedom of choice that He gave those who repented earlier.

"5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:17-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: Where did the apostle Paul go on his 3 major missionary journeys?
Paul's First Missionary Journey (Acts 13:1 - 15:35)
Paul's Second Missionary Journey (Acts 15:36 - 18:22)
Paul's Third Missionary Journey (Acts 18:23 - 21:17)


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