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Sunday, June 26 2016
Acts 25: Porky's Court
"Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go"
Porcius Festus (in Latin, pork-ee-os means pig-like and face-tos means festal or happy - "Porcius Festus" literally means happy pig) succeeded Felix as the Roman governor of Judea. Felix had left Paul in jail for over two years, while fully-knowing that he was innocent of any crime, in an attempt to extort a bribe from Paul for his release (see The Court Of Felix - Where Politics Trumps Truth). No bribe was ever paid, so Paul remained in jail until Felix was replaced by Festus.
"25:1 Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 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.
Ironically, Paul was born a Roman citizen, in Roman-occupied Turkey (see Why Didn't The Romans Torture The Apostle Paul?) and could therefore "appeal to Caesar," a higher court, 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 Herod family listing in the study Peter's Escape From Prison and The Death Of Herod Agrippa).
"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.
Paul had the Romans in a legal bind. They couldn't just ignore his "rights" because Paul's case was widely known by the public. But for political reasons, none of the Roman governors wanted to be the one to set Paul free because it would cause political trouble from the people of Judea (the same reason that Pontius Pilate knowingly sentenced the innocent Messiah to death; see Why Did They Want A Murderer Released Instead Of Jesus?), so they kept "passing the buck" until there was no higher appeal left than the Roman Caesar himself. It was the reason that the Romans soon thereafter put Paul on a ship to Rome - exactly as declared by the LORD (see the Fact Finder question below).
"25:23 And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.
Fact Finder: When did Jesus Christ declare that Paul would be a witness of Him to the world?
This Day In History, June 26
221: Roman Emperor Elagabalus adopted his cousin Alexander Severus, thereby making him the heir to the title of Caesar (a title that originated from the family name of Julius Caesar (see The Politics Of Rome and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
363: The Roman Emperor Julian was killed by an arrow during a clash with Persian cavalry (Persia is known today as Iran; see also The Arrival Of Nehemiah's Cavalry). Jovian, a Roman general, was proclaimed Emperor by the battlefield troops (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
1097: The armies of the First Crusade (1096-1099) occupied the ancient Byzantine city of Nicea (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1243: The Seljuk Turkish army in Asia Minor was decimated by the Mongols.
1409: The Church of Rome entered a "double schism" when Petros Philargos was made Pope Alexander V - along with Pope Gregory XII in Rome and Pope Benedict XII in Avignon, France (see The Struggle For The Papacy; listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1483: Richard III of England began his rule, after deposing his nephew Edward V. Edward and his brother Richard were later murdered.
1541: Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conqueror of Peru, was assassinated in his palace.
1794: The Austrians were defeated by the French at Fleurus, halting their conquest of Belgium.
1843: Hong Kong was proclaimed a British crown colony.
1870: "Christmas" was declared a Federal holiday in the U.S.A. (see Could Santa Claus Have Become The Pope?).
1917: The first U.S. troops entered battle during the First World War, which began over 2 years earlier, in 1914 (the U.S. entered the Second World, in December of 1941, also over 2 years after it began, in September 1939; listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1936: The first flight of the German Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first functional helicopter.
1945: The United Nations Charter was signed by 50 nations in San Francisco, succeeding the League of Nations.
1959: The St. Lawrence Seaway, connecting Canadian and U.S. ports on the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. President Eisenhower.
1974: The Universal Product Code, for automatically price-scanning goods, went into commercial service.
1976: The CN Tower in Toronto, then the world's tallest free-standing structure, opened. It today has over a million visitors a year.
1995: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak survived an assassination attempt unharmed when gunmen sprayed bullets at his armored limousine in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
2003: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the sodomy laws (as found in the Holy Bible) are unconstitutional in the U.S.A. (see also Fire And Brimstone Upon Sodom And Gomorrah and The Cure For Confusion).