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The Gospel To Rome
Upon returning to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey (see Paul's Third Missionary Journey), the apostle Paul was arrested on false charges brought against him by some of the very same supposed religious authorities (of whom Paul himself was once a member prior to his conversion; see Was Paul Among Them? and Joses Barnabas) who made the deal with Judas, and falsely accused and killed the Christ (see The High Priest's Deal With The Devil and The Long Shadow Of Judas).
"23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
The religious authorities had no civil power however (the reason that they manipulated the Roman military governor to do the actual killing of The Messiah). That was somewhat good news for Paul because, as a Roman citizen (see Paul's Passport), Paul had the political right to "appeal to Caesar," which he claimed before Felix (the Roman procurator of Judea) and Festus (the successor of Felix as procurator of Judea). From that, Paul's voyage to Rome, as an accused prisoner, was ordered.
"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.
The circumstances of Paul's arrest have been debated by many people for a long time, but the key to understanding why it really happened is to realize Who brought it all about. While Paul was awaiting his appearance before the Roman authorities in Judea, Jesus Christ appeared to Paul (a brief, personal "return of Christ" for Paul).
"23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." (Acts 23:11 KJV)
"For as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome"
The voyage to Rome was completed in two stages. The Romans didn't plan it that way, however the voyage began in autumn when the weather for sailing had become dangerous. The result was Paul's famous shipwreck on Malta (see Paul's Crash Landing).
"27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 27:10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives." (Acts 27:9-10 KJV)
When spring came, the voyage, with a new ship, continued on to Italy, and overland to Rome.
"28:11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. 28:12 And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. 28:13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: 28:14 Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. 28:15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him." (Acts 28:11-16 KJV)
While in Rome, Paul fulfilled the Christ-commanded purpose of the journey, "for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." Those whose time had come received the true Gospel (see the Fact Finder question below to understand the difference between the Church of God at Rome and the Church of Rome at Rome).
"28:17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 28:18 Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. 28:19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. 28:20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.
Fact Finder: What is the difference (that existed in the time of Paul, as well as still today) between the Church of God at Rome and the Church of Rome at Rome?