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Thursday, June 23 2016
Acts 22: Why Didn't The Romans Torture The Apostle Paul?
"The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. 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?"
The Roman presence in Jerusalem in the first century wasn't intended merely as an invasion, for a political or military purpose, and thereafter to withdraw, but rather as a permanent annexation ("The formal act of acquiring something, especially territory, by conquest or occupation) of the land of Israel to the Roman Empire (see also The Politics Of Rome and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). As such, the Romans (like many imperial powers ever since) found themselves making Roman citizens out of people who were not Romans and had no desire to be so. In Rome's case, it included people from Israel to Britain - as shown in the map below.
The Messiah was born in Roman-occupied Judea (see the Fact Finder question below about the Messiah's "birth certificate"). As such, the Messiah was a Roman citizen, with "rights." It was illegal for the Roman military and police forces to torture a Roman citizen, while they were free to detain and torture anyone from other nations without trial or legal defense (again, a practice by militarily-aggressive nations that is still very evident today).
After He was seized by the religious lynch mob on the night before He was crucified (see The Night Of The Messiah And The Lynch Mob), the Messiah was tortured through the night by the High Priest's Temple guards - the religion police.
"26:67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands" (Matthew 26:67 KJV).
It was only after the Messiah was turned over to the Romans and "convicted" (even though Pontius Pilate fully-knew that the Messiah was innocent of any wrongdoing; see Why Did They Want A Murderer Released Instead Of Jesus?) that He became a "condemned" man - and so subject to the same savage torture that the Romans could smugly and hypocritically inflict on people of other nations at any time. The Messiah had legal rights, until He was convicted by Pilate's crooked court. Then, and only then, the Roman torture began.
"27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
As we will read, when the apostle Paul returned from his third missionary journey (see The Prophecy Of Paul's Arrest), he was subjected to violent abuse from the non-Christian religious "leaders" in Jerusalem. They went off into a frenzy because of the Truth that Paul spoke to them.
"22:1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
The Romans then took over because they were in charge of the country. They assumed that Paul was "just a foreigner," so they started to torture him, not only because they were sadistic thugs, but "that he should be examined by scourging" i.e. to "make him talk." It was stopped only because Paul declared that he was a Roman citizen, born in Roman-occupied Turkey - who moreover had not been convicted of any crime: "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?"
"22:22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
So it was then that the Roman system of "justice" summoned Paul's religious accusers for a trial, by words and facts, rather than by torture.
"22:30 On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them." (Acts 22:30 KJV)
Fact Finder: Could the Messiah's "birth certificate" still exist today? What would it say?
This Day In History, June 23
79: Titus succeeded his father Vespasian as Roman Emperor. It was Titus who was in command of the Roman military forces that destroyed Jerusalem in 70, exactly as prophesied by the Messiah forty years before (see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones? and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Zealots).
1180: The Genpei War in Japan began with the First Battle of Uji.
1298: Albert I, a Hapsburg, son of Rudolf I, became the new king of the "Holy Roman Empire" (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) after deposing German king Adolf of Nassau.
1305: The Treaty of Athis-sur-Orge between King Philip IV of France and Robert de Bethune, count of Flanders, was signed. Strongly opposed by the Flemings (Flanders today composes the northern area of Belgium), the treaty involved the French for 20 years in military attempts to enforce it. Signed after Philip's victory over the Flemings at Mons-en-Pevele in 1304.
1314: The 2-day battle of Bannockburn began. A decisive battle in Scottish history; under the leadership of Robert I the Bruce, the Scots defeated the English under Edward II (1282-1327), regained their independence, and established Bruce on his throne. The battle was fought for possession of Stirling Castle, then the last stronghold of the English in Scotland. The Scots regard the battle as the culmination of their Wars of Independence, while the English regard it as a lamentable defeat. In 1964, on the 650th anniversary of the battle, an equestrian statue of Robert I the Bruce was unveiled on the site by Queen Elizabeth II.
1501: Pedro Cabral returned to Portugal after a voyage during which he claimed Brazil for Portugal.
1532: Henry VIII and Francois I signed a treaty of alliance against Emperor Charles V.
1565: Turgut Reis, commander of the Ottoman navy, was killed during the Siege of Malta (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1611: During his fourth voyage, English explorer Henry Hudson was set adrift in Hudson Bay (as it was later named after him) by mutineers on his ship Discovery. He was never seen again.
1683: English pioneer William Penn signed a friendship treaty with the native people in Pennsylvania (named after William Penn).
1700: Russia gave up its Black Sea fleet as part of a truce with the Ottoman Empire.
1713: Amidst an impending war with France, the French residents of Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine) were given an ultimatum to declare allegiance to Britain or leave. Some left, to various locations, including the French territory of Louisiana (named after King Louis of France) where they became known as "Cajuns" (a southern pronunciation of Acadian; the term "Dixie" originated from dix, the French word for ten).
1757: The Battle of Plassey. 3,000 British troops under the command of Robert Clive defeated a 50,000 man India army under Siraj Ud Daulah.
1758: During the Seven Years War, British and Hanoverian armies defeated the French at Krefeld in Germany.
1794: Empress Catherine II of Russia granted Jews permission to settle in Kiev.
1848: Workers in Paris rose in an insurrection known as the "June Days."
1868: Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for the "typewriter."
1887: The Canadian Rocky Mountains Park Act created the nation's first national park, Banff National Park.
1914: During the Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa captured Zacatecas from Victoriano Huerta.
1940: Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) made a victory visit to Paris after his invasion armies conquered France to bring about "regime change" for the French people.
1967: Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, reaffirming the Church of Rome's law on celibacy (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1972: During the Watergate criminal investigation, U.S. President Richard Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman were recorded (by Nixon's own Oval Office recording system) discussing how to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI investigation of the White House.
1985: 329 people died when Air India flight 182, a Boeing 747, was brought down by an on-board bomb off the Irish coast.