- Acts 23:6-10
- Acts 23:6 (KJB)
- But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other
Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a
Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I
am called in question.
- Paul being the wise man that he was saw that two factions were
represented on the Sanhedrin, both Sadducees and Pharisees. Paul then plays
a theological issue card knowing it would probably divide the body. He then
states that he is a Pharisee and also the son of a Pharisee which means he
was now identifying with about one half of the assembly. He then goes on to
state that he is being called into question because he believes in the
resurrection of the dead and has that great hope within him. The Sadducees
were made up of mostly aristocratic, powerful priestly families and
emphasized the Pentateuch and ignored the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures. The
Pharisees had come into being in the second century B.C. and were a minority
party. They believed temple worship was not enough and the law was to be
fulfilled. Paul took advantage of this situation immediately.
- Acts 23:7 (KJB)
- And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the
Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
- Dissension - Strife
- Paul now took a theological issue and used it to divide the assembly. As
they continued to speak about this issue, the discord and division grew.
That issue was as volatile as an issue today like free will versus election.
There may have been those bystanders who were watching these events who had
gotten caught up in the same debate as the Scripture states that the
multitude was divided.
- Acts 23:8 (KJB)
- For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor
spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
- The two schools of thought which existed on the council were the
Sadducees who disbelieved in the eternality of the soul. They, like the
Greek philosophers, believed that man was body, soul, and spirit in unity
and it was impossible for a person to live unless all three were present. In
other words, a person could not live as a spirit because he needed to have
the soul and body to make the complete unit. Jesus had told the Sadducees
that God is the God of the living and not the dead, He is the God of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob placing that statement in the present tense,
meaning that they are still alive but in their spirit essence. They also
deny the existence of angels along with the resurrection. (Psa
17:15 KJV) As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be
satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. Verses
like Psalm 17:15 speak of the resurrection but the problem is that the
Sadducees rejected anything outside of the first five books of Moses. The
Pharisees believed in both angels and spirits and Paul used this divisive
belief to cause them to fight amongst themselves.
- Acts 23:9 (KJB)
- And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of
the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man:
but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against
- Cry - Uproar, Clamor, or shout
- It does not take long for a discussion to get out of hand and this one
started turning into an uproar. The scribes, those who were experts in the
Mosaic law, that sided with the Pharisees had begun to shout that there was
no evil in this man. They believed in spirits and angels so they shouted
that if an angel or spirit has spoken to him, then they should be careful
they are not fighting against God, which was the same advice Gamaliel gave
the Sanhedrin about 25 years prior to this. They had the sense to realize
that God was still speaking at that time and if Paul was a prophet, they
would be guilty of what their ancestors had done, killing the prophets.
- Acts 23:10 (KJB)
- And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest
Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go
down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into
- The mention of angels and spirits had caused the Sadducees to erupt into
a great uproar. Even though Jesus had explained to them how wrong they were
in this belief, it did not change them as they clung heartily on to their
beliefs, no matter how much in error they were. Once again Lysias comes to
Paulís rescue and to prevent Paul from becoming a victim of the mob had
commanded soldiers to take Paul by force and bring him back to the castle.
Since the Sadducees believed this way, it would be hard for them to become
Christians because they would have to reject all the false teachings they
received in the past, although it could be done. In the earlier sections of
Acts, we find many priests had become believers and no doubt some of them
would have been Sadducees. (Acts 6:7 KJV) And the word of God
increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly;
and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.