The prophet Bilam (Balaam) is not an isolated individual, an anomaly in Scripture. He was not the first or last emissary to the Gentiles. God did not leave them without guidance. Bilam is a foreshadowing of the ministry of Saul of Tarsus, aka the apostle Paul, whose experience on the road to Damascus echoes the account in the Torah reading בָּלָק Balak of Bilam’s experience with a “recalcitrant” she-donkey.
How do we explain to others about being “under grace” and still obey the Torah? Are we “under grace” or “under law”? Paul explains this in his letter to the Romans.
This gripping account of the voyage of Paul, Luke and companions to Rome underscores that we can trust God’s promises to Israel about the Messiah past, present and future and to us. Continue reading Acts 27-28 — Paul’s harrowing trip of faith to Rome
Paul appears before Festus, Felix’s successor as well as the Jewish King Agrippa and Queen Bernice. He made a very favorable impression on them yet he was already bound for Rome so his captivity continued.
Paul didn’t know it at the time but he would spend two years of his life in jail thanks to the false accusations of the Sanhedrin. Yet as he is called to defend himself, his demeanor remains calm and sanctified. In that time, Paul presents to Felix the “good news” in four essential parts: trust in Yeshua, righteousness before God, self-control and judgment to come. Paul remained in jail as the Romans exchange Felix for Festus.
After Paul appeared before the Roman authorities in Jerusalem and found not guilty of violating Roman law, the Roman commander allows the Sanhedrin to convene and subject Paul to inquisition. Paul gets to the heart of the hatred against him, Peter, Stephen and Messiah Yeshua Himself. Without resurrection of the dead — only possible by God’s power — all our efforts at being pious are “pitiful.” The differences between Pharisees and Sadducees are reviewed.
Paul had been attacked by those in the temple who thought he had brought uncircumcised believers from the nations inside while he was bringing four Nazarite vow-takers into the temple at the end of their time. The Roman commander in Yerushalayim pulled Paul out of the melee, and Paul received permission to address the crowd. The gathering quietly listened to his talk until he mention that the “Righteous One,” i.e. Messiah, had sent Paul to give the good news of God to the nations.