Question:

Hi,

If Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 16:1-8 are a result of Paul teaching that God's Sabbath had been fulfilled and God's fourth command was no longer required to be kept, why is it that after two trials the Jews could not Paul had committed blasphemy? If Paul had ever told the Jews that God's Sabbath had been fulfilled and they no longer need to keep God's fourth command the Jews would have stoned Paul on the spot. No trial would have been required! (Acts 24:13; Acts 25:7-8).


Answer:

Clearly you have little understanding of Moses' law. It was forbidden in the Law for an average citizen to take the law into his own hands (Leviticus 19:18) -- it is where the United States gets its same concept that trials are required. Even if a trial finds a person guilty of breaking a law requiring a death penalty, the penalty could not be enforced unless there were two or three independent witnesses to the crime. "Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness" (Deuteronomy 17:6).

Acts 24:13 is Paul's testimony in a Roman court that the Jews had no evidence regarding the charges they brought to the Roman court. "He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law" (Acts 24:6). Notice that the Jews wanted to judge Paul according to Jewish law, but were prevented from doing so. However, the charge they brought to the Romans was that Paul defiled the temple, something that was a crime under Roman law. They could not charge Paul with blasphemous teachings because the Roman's did not care about the Jewish law. Paul's response to this charge was, "Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me" (Acts 24:13). Thus we find that you took Paul's statement out of context and changed a charge of defiling the temple into one of breaking the Sabbath.

"When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, while he answered for himself, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all"" (Acts 25:7-8). Once again this was taking place in a Roman court. Luke notes that the Jews had no evidence for any charge against Paul. What where the exact charges, we are not told. You assume it was about the Sabbath, but again you have no evidence either. Paul states that he had not acted in an offensive manner against the law of the Jews and that statement is absolutely true. It wasn't an offense to prove the Law had ended when that law itself stated that it would end. "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD" (Jeremiah 31:31-32).

"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (Colossians 2:11-17).

"Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another -- to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God" (Romans 7:4).

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:1-4).