paul's perjury at his trials
Did Paul lie at his trials?
The Romans presented Paul the next day before the same Sanhedrin (religious court) that had condemned Jesus and Stephen. The High priest, a Sadducee, wanted to condemn Paul but the Pharisees constituting the bulk of the members supported Paul and prevented proper charges being placed against him. Paul lied about the charges. He claimed he was arrested for believing in the resurrection of the dead, a belief the Pharisees held and the Sadducees did not. The Pharisees exonerated Paul, and to prevent any decision from being made against Paul, they rioted in the court! The Romans then took Paul into protective custody. To the Jesus Jews, Paul’s statements and the actions of the Pharisees confirmed that Paul was a Pharisee plant. Jesus’ disciples then took no further interest in Paul’s predicament, leaving him to divine judgment.
Further, Paul states that he has never done anything that could offend the Jews in any way, let alone speaking against their law:
Acts 25:7-8, 19 KJV And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended anything at all….19 But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
Do calling Moses’ Law a curse, deifying Jesus and preaching that he is the creator, preventing people from following Mosaic Law and calling circumcision mutilation, abrogating the Sabbath, discarding dietary rules and allowing eating of food offered to idols and likening Hagar to the Jerusalem Temple, not amount to speaking against Moses’ Law and the Temple?
Gal 3:13 KJV Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree…
Gal 3:10-13 KJV For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith
Gal 5:12 NLT I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.
Phl 3:2 NLT Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.
Such blasphemies obviously formed the basis of the grievous complaints against Paul in Acts 25:7. His denials merely highlight and confirm his hypocrisy.
The Pharisees seek to release Paul
Paul had four more hearing in Caesarea. At the first before Felix the Roman Governor, the Pharisees again failed to present the correct charges against Paul who was allowed to present the charges as being his belief in the resurrection of the dead, and the Pharisees brought no supporting evidence. In effect, they also invited Felix to release Paul. Felix could not understand the situation and so convened a later second meeting where he brought his Jewish wife as help. During that meeting he was frightened out of his wits upon talk of the Day of Judgment and sent Paul back to prison.
We postulate from the textual information given that during the hearing he saw a vision about some event on Judgement Day. His terror stopped him from releasing Paul though he knew the charges Paul presented were unproven and not punishable. It seems that Felix was a good man who, struggling with his spiritual experience, sought a way to release Paul. Hence, he talked with Paul often—possibly to gain some understanding of what he had seen and perhaps to get past his fright. He could not, and he kept Paul in prison for a further two years until his death.
There were a further two hearing with a new governor, Festus. The earlier pattern was repeated except that Paul now alleged the arrest charge against him was whether Jesus was resurrected. This change from belief in resurrection of the dead generally to Jesus’ resurrection is very revealing. Why, we explain in detail in the book.
The Pharisee attempts thereafter to save Paul from the capital charges they falsely accused Jesus with and with which they had martyred Stephen and later, James the Just, are extraordinary. It confirms their collaboration with Paul. It is powerful evidence of their attempt to cover the crime.
Why did Jesus' followers abandon Paul at his trials?
At his earlier trials Paul was still hoping to explain his actions to the Jesus Jews. However, his changing it to Jesus’ resurrection reveals that his role in the Pharisee conspiracy was public knowledge. Paul knew his secret game was finished and so he resumed his Pharisee goals openly. He would openly proclaim Jesus’ resurrection from physical death that he claimed was revealed in 1Corinthians 15.
Jesus’ disciples did not believe in the Jesus’ literal death and resurrection. Jesus’ statement that he would rise from the dead or be raised from the dead merely meant he would rise from a comatose state (temporary death) from the place of the dead, i.e. the tomb. Jesus’ disciples therefore believed that Jesus survived his crucifixion ordeal. Thus, Paul’s open proclamation of a doctrine the Jesus Jews did not believe in, since it entailed Jesus being made accursed, showed to them his true colours as a Pharisee plant and a hypocrite. Thus they abandoned him.