Sketches From The Life of Paul
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 22: Paul Appeals to Caesar.
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Paul was weary of strife, weary of the fierce
reiteration of charges, again and again refuted,
and as often renewed. His active spirit could
ill endure the repeated delays and wearing
suspense of his trial and imprisonment. How
repulsive to him had been the daily contact with [p. 250] the coarse, idle, unprincipled soldiery, the
frequent sounds of contention, and the rumors of
strife and bloodshed between Jew and Gentile.
He had nothing more to hope for from Jewish
priests or rulers; but as a Roman citizen he had
one special privilege, he could appeal to Caesar,
and for a time, at least, his enemies would be
kept at bay.
To the governor's question, Paul made
answer, I stand at Caesar's tribunal. Here, and
not before the Sanhedrim, I ought to be judged.
Turning to the procurator, he appealed to him
directly: Even you, Festus, are convinced that no
charges have been sustained against me. I have
never in any respect wronged the Jews. If I
have committed any crime, it is not against them,
but against the emperor; and if found guilty, I
do not refuse to die. But if the accusations they
bring against me cannot be proved, no one can
give me into their power as a favor. I appeal
Festus knew nothing of the conspiracies of the
Jews to murder Paul, and he was surprised at
this appeal to Caesar. It was not flattering to
the pride of the Roman procurator, that the first
case brought before him should be thus referred
to higher authority. However, the words of the
apostle put a stop to the proceedings of the court.
Felix held a brief consultation with his counsel,
and all agreeing that the appeal was legally
admissible, he said to the prisoner: "Hast thou
appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go."
This was said in a tone and manner which seemed
to imply that Paul little knew what an appeal to
Once more the hatred born of Jewish bigotry
and self-righteousness had driven the servant of [p. 251] God to turn for protection to a heathen ruler. It
was the same hatred that forced the prophet
Elijah to flee for succor to the widow of Sarepta;
that constrained the heralds of the gospel to
proclaim their message to the Gentiles. It is the
same spirit that the people of God in this age
have yet to meet. In the great crisis through
which they are soon to pass, they will become
better acquainted with the experience of Paul.
Among the professed followers of Christ, there is
the same pride, formalism, vainglory, selfishness,
and oppression, that existed in the Jewish nation.
Before the warfare shall be ended and the victory
won, we as a people are to experience trials
similar to those of Paul. We shall encounter the
same hardness of heart, the same cruel determination,
the same unyielding hatred.
Men professing to be representatives of Christ
will take a course similar to that taken by priests
and rulers in their treatment of Paul. All who
would fearlessly serve God according to the
dictates of their own conscience, will need moral
courage, firmness, and a knowledge of God and
his word, to stand in that evil day. Persecution
will again be kindled against those who are true
to God; their motives will be impugned, their
best efforts misinterpreted, their names cast out
as evil. Then will it come to pass, as foretold by
Christ, that whoever shall seek to destroy the
faithful, will think that he is doing God service.
Then Satan will work with all his fascinating
power, to influence the heart and becloud the
understanding, to make evil appear good, and good
evil. Then it is that he is through his agents to
"show great signs and wonders, insomuch that,
if it were possible, they shall deceive the very
elect." [p. 252]
God would have his people prepared for the
soon-coming crisis. Prepared or unprepared, we
must all meet it. Only those whose characters are
thoroughly disciplined to meet the divine standard
will be able to stand firm in that testing time.
But when enemies shall be on every side,
watching them for evil, the God of Heaven will
be watching his precious jewels for good. When
secular rulers unite with the ministers of religion
to come between God and our conscience, then
those who cherish the fear of God will be revealed.
When the darkness is deepest, then the light of a
noble, Godlike character will shine the brightest.
When every other trust fails, then it will be seen
who have an abiding trust in God.
The stronger and purer the faith of God's
people, and the firmer their determination to obey
him, the more will Satan stir up the rage of those
who claim to be righteous, while they trample
upon the law of God. In that coming emergency,
rulers and magistrates will not interpose in
behalf of God's people. There will be a corrupt
harmony with all who have not been obedient to
the law of God. In that day, all time-servers,
all who have not the genuine work of grace in
the heart, will be found wanting. It will require
the firmest trust, the most heroic purpose, to hold
fast the faith once delivered to the saints.
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