God's Word next tells us about Saul and his persecution of the church of holy-people. This is the same Saul who, back in Acts 7:58, was the young man who had been given the responsibility of taking care of the witnesses' outer-garments while Stephen was being stoned. The following events took place about 2 years after that.
Acts 9:1 and 2:
9:1But Saul, yet breathing threatening and murder into the learning-disciples of the Lord, having gone-towards the chief-priest, .2asked-for-himself letters from him into Damascus towards the synagogues so-that if-ever he may find some-people being of the way, both adult-males and women having been bound2 he may lead (them) into Jerusalem.
Saul was still concentrating on his persecution – so-much-so that he was breathing (inhaling and consequently exhaling, as though the following are what kept him physically alive)…
…into or directed-to the students of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He approached the chief/high priest in Jerusalem and petitioned letters giving him permission and authority to go into the synagogues in Damascus, not for Saul to pray to God, but in such a manner that if Saul ever found anybody being of the way (the way of the Lord Jesus Christ), he could bind (tie, fasten) both the men and women and lead (direct, conduct, convey) them with him back into Jerusalem, so as to put them in prison or whatever the religious leaders of Judaism/Israel may decide to do with them.
[Reference: Acts 8:3, 22:4.]
.3But in the journeying it came-to-pass-for him to come-near to Damascus, and suddenly a light out-from heaven lightened-as-lightning-around him, .4and having fallen on the earth he heard a sound saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" .5And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he (said), "I am the Jesus whom you persecute, .6but you must stand-up and you must go into the city and it will be uttered-forth to you the-thing which it is necessary (for) you to do."
As Saul got close to Damascus, unexpectedly absolute-light as lightning (the sudden speedy flash of shining bright light, the quick supplying of light) coming from heaven lit about him.
When he fell down on the ground he heard a sound (voice) which he could understand saying to him: Saul, Saul (repeating his name in Hebrew so there could be no doubt in Saul's mind but that this voice was addressing him!), why do you persecute me (pursue with hostility after me as though I were your enemy)?"
Then Saul wanted to know who was speaking to him and asked the speaker, being very respectful addressing the speaker as Lord (Master, the one with power over him in this situation), who he was? Saul had not 'freaked-out' when this supernatural event was happening because he already knew about God and he thought he was doing God a favor by persecuting the people in the way of the Lord!
However, the sound from heaven replied that emphatically he was Jesus whom Saul was persecuting, whom Saul was pursuing as though he was an enemy.
We should notice that Jesus was truly and really the one whom Saul was persecuting – even though Saul was physically persecuting the holy-people! All holy-people have the spirit of Christ in them, and therefore any wrong done against a holy-person is in truth done against the Lord Jesus Christ who is the head of the church, his body. Refer to Romans 12:4 and 5; First Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:19-23 and 3:4-6; Colossians 1:27.
The voice from heaven told Saul that he was Jesus whom he was persecuting – but contrary to persecuting him, Saul must get up off the ground and he must go into the city of Damascus, and there it would be spoken to him what he must do!
Some texts have added words in these verses, but they have been taken from the other sections of Scripture where the Apostle Paul (Saul) tells what happened.
[Reference: Acts 22:1-16, 26:1-23; I Corinthians 15:8. Note: verbs with a superscript 2 (2) immediately following them indicate the "perfect" tense - details are provided in the "Relevant Notes" link of this study.]
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