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Early Writings

by Ellen G. White

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Paul Visits Jerusalem

God's special purpose was fulfilled in Paul's journey upon the sea; He designed that the ship's crew might thus witness the power of God, that the heathen might hear the name of Jesus, and that many might be converted through the teaching of Paul and by witnessing the miracles that he wrought.
God's special purpose was fulfilled in Paul's journey upon the sea; He designed that the ship's crew might thus witness the power of God, that the heathen might hear the name of Jesus, and that many might be converted through the teaching of Paul and by witnessing the miracles that he wrought.

Illustration © Review and Herald Publ. Assoc.

After Paul's conversion, he visited Jerusalem and there preached Jesus and the wonders of His grace. He related his miraculous conversion, which so enraged the priests and rulers that they sought to take his life. But that he might be saved, Jesus again appeared to him in a vision while he was praying, and said unto him, "Get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning Me." Paul answered, "Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on Thee: and when the blood of Thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him." Paul thought that the Jews in Jerusalem could not resist his testimony; that they would consider that the great change in him could be wrought only by the power of God. But the reply was more decided than before: "Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles." {EW 206.1}

During Paul's absence from Jerusalem, he wrote many letters to different places, relating his experience and bearing a powerful testimony. But some strove to destroy the influence of those letters. They were forced to admit that his letters were weighty and powerful, but they declared that his bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible. {EW 206.2}

The facts in the case were that Paul was a man of great learning, and his wisdom and manners charmed his hearers. Learned men were pleased with his knowledge, and many of them believed on Jesus. When before kings and large assemblies, he would pour forth such eloquence as would fascinate all before him. This greatly enraged the priests and elders. Paul could [207] readily enter into deep reasoning and, soaring up, carry the people with him in the most exalted trains of thought, bringing to view the deep riches of the grace of God and portraying before them the amazing love of Christ. Then with simplicity he would come down to the understanding of the common people and in a most powerful manner relate his experience, which called forth from them an ardent desire to become the disciples of Christ. {EW 206.3}

Again the Lord appeared to Paul and revealed to him that he must go up to Jerusalem, that he would there be bound and suffer for His name. Although he was a prisoner for a great length of time, yet the Lord carried forward His special work through him. His bonds were to be the means of spreading the knowledge of Christ and thus glorifying God. As he was sent from city to city for his trial, his testimony concerning Jesus and the interesting incidents of his own conversion were related before kings and governors, that they should be left without excuse concerning Jesus. Thousands believed on Him and rejoiced in His name. I saw that God's special purpose was fulfilled in the journey of Paul upon the sea; He designed that the ship's crew might thus witness the power of God through Paul and that the heathen also might hear the name of Jesus, and that many might be converted through the teaching of Paul and by witnessing the miracles he wrought. Kings and governors were charmed by his reasoning, and as with zeal and the power of the Holy Spirit he preached Jesus and related the interesting events of his experience, conviction fastened upon them that Jesus was the Son of God. While some wondered with amazement as they listened to Paul, one cried out, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Yet the most of those who heard thought that at some future time they would [208] consider what they had heard. Satan took advantage of the delay, and, as they neglected the opportunity when their hearts were softened, it was forever lost. Their hearts became hardened. {EW 207.1}

I was shown the work of Satan in first blinding the eyes of the Jews so that they would not receive Jesus as their Saviour; and next in leading them, through envy because of His mighty works, to desire His life. Satan entered one of Christ's own followers and led him on to betray Him into the hands of His enemies, that they might crucify the Lord of life and glory. {EW 208.1}

After Jesus arose from the dead, the Jews added sin to sin as they sought to hide the fact of His resurrection by hiring the Roman guard to testify to a falsehood. But the resurrection of Jesus was made doubly sure by the resurrection of a multitude of witnesses at the same time. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples, and to above five hundred at once, while those whom He brought up with Him appeared unto many, declaring that Jesus had risen. {EW 208.2}

Satan had caused the Jews to rebel against God by refusing to receive His Son, and by staining their hands with His most precious blood. No matter how powerful the evidence now produced that Jesus was the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, they had murdered Him, and would not receive any evidence in His favor. Their only hope and consolation, like that of Satan after his fall, was in trying to prevail against the Son of God. They therefore continued their rebellion by persecuting the disciples of Christ, and putting them to death. Nothing fell so harshly on their ears as the name of Jesus whom they had crucified; and they were determined not to listen to any evidence in His favor. As when the Holy Spirit through Stephen declared the mighty evidence of Jesus' [209] being the Son of God, they stopped their ears lest they should be convinced. Satan had the murderers of Jesus fast in his grasp. By wicked works they had yielded themselves his willing subjects, and through them he was at work to trouble and annoy the believers in Christ. He worked through the Jews to stir up the Gentiles against Jesus and against those who followed Him. But God sent His angels to strengthen the disciples for their work, that they might testify of the things they had seen and heard, and at last by their steadfastness, seal their testimony with their blood. {EW 208.3}

Satan rejoiced that the Jews were safe in his snare. They still continued their useless forms, their sacrifices, and ordinances. As Jesus hung upon the cross and cried, "It is finished," the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom, to signify that God would no longer meet with the priests in the temple, to accept their sacrifices and ordinances, and also to show that the partition wall between the Jews and the Gentiles was broken down. Jesus had made an offering of Himself for both, and if saved at all, both must believe in Him as the only offering for sin, the Saviour of the world. {EW 209.1}

When the soldier pierced the side of Jesus as He hung upon the cross, there came out two distinct streams, one of blood, the other of water. The blood was to wash away the sins of those who should believe in His name, and the water was to represent that living water which is obtained from Jesus to give life to the believer. {EW 209.2}

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