Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
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What should I learn from this chapter?
- The Hebrew understanding of the word “Rain”.
Paul’s Ministry on Malta
Acts 28:1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.
Acts 28:2 And the natives (Literally: barbarians) showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.
- Note: Rain is the Messiah in the OT, coming down from heaven. Paul was sent to the gentiles, ie barbarians. There is unusual kindness.
- See Topic: Rain is the Messiah
Acts 28:3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
- Note: “But” means “the flipside is…”. Sticks are wood – symbolic for men, fire is judgment, and the viper is Satan. There seems to be a spiritual war going on between Paul and Satan.
- The viper was driven out because of the heat (not the lukewarm-ness). When the church is hot the viper is driven out.
(When you feel the heat – you see the Light!)
Acts 28:4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”
Acts 28:5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
Acts 28:6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Acts 28:7 In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen (Magistrate) of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days.
- Note: Publius “the chief man of the island” of Malta ( Acts 28:7 ), who courteously entertained Paul and his shipwrecked companions for three days, till they found a more permanent place of residence; for they remained on the island for three months, till the stormy season had passed. The word here rendered “chief man” (protos) is supposed by some to be properly a Maltese term, the official title of the governor.
- The chief man — probably the governor-of Melita, who received and lodged St. Paul and his companions on the occasion of their being shipwrecked off that island. ( Acts 28:7 ) (A.D.55.)
- Pub’-li-us (Poplios, from the Latin praenomen Publius, derived from populus, “popular”; according to Ramsay it is the Greek form of the Latin nomen Popilius; the Greek title meaning “first,” applied to Publius in Acts 28:7, was an official one, and has been found on an inscription from the island of Gaulus near Malta (compare Bockh, Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, number 5, 754):
- Publius held office under the governor of Sicily (~60 AD). As the leading official in Malta, he was responsible for any Roman soldiers and their prisoners who might land there, but the account in Acts 28:7 implies that he displayed more than ordinary solicitude for Paul and his shipwrecked company, for, according to the writer, he “received us, and lodged us three days courteously” (the King James Version). The Apocryphal “Ac of Paul” (see APOCRYPHAL ACTS, sec. B, I) states also that “he did for them many acts of great kindness and charity” (compare Budge, Centendings of the Apostles, II, 605). On this occasion Paul miraculously healed the father of Publius, who “lay sick of fever and dysentery” (Acts 28:8). The exactitude of the medical terms here employed forms part of the evidence that the writer of Ac was a physician. Tradition relates that Publius was the first bishop of Malta and that he afterward became bishop of Athens. C. M. Kerr
Acts 28:8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.
Acts 28:9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed.
Acts 28:10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.
Arrival at Rome
Acts 28:11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island.
- Twin Brothers: Greek: Dioskouroi, Zeus’s sons Castor and Pollux.
- The sons of Jupiter; for Castor and Pollux were his sons, by Leda: these are placed among the constellations in the Zodiac, and go by the name of Gemini, or the twins; and these were supposed to have a power of saving men in danger at sea.
Acts 28:12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days.
- Three days is symbolic for “It’s time to separate the holy from the common, the clean from the unclean.”
Acts 28:13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli,
Below: Photo of Rhegium
Rhe’gium (breach). An Italian town, situated on the Bruttian coast, just at the southern entrance of the Straits of Messina. The name occurs in the account of St. Paul’s voyage from Syracuse to Puteoli, after the shipwreck at Malta. Act 28:13. By a curious coincidence, the figures on its coin are the very “twin brothers” which gave the name to St. Paul’s ship.
~Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Acts 28:14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome.
Acts 28:15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
Acts 28:16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.
Paul’s Ministry at Rome
Acts 28:17 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans,
Acts 28:18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.
Acts 28:19 But when the Jews (The ruling authorities) spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation.
Nero Claudius Caesar (37-68 AD) was one of Rome’s most infamous emperors, who ruled from 54 AD until his death by suicide 14 years later.
“The main alleged accusations before Felix and Festus respectively (Acts xxiv. 5, 6; xxv. 7, 8), were doubtless carried up before the Roman emperor (Nero); and these were three in number:—first, that of treason against the Roman government, by having caused factious disturbances among the Jews throughout the empire;—
Coiiybtare and Howson, vol. il pp. 465, 466.
“we found this man a pestilent fellow,” Xo1fibv, literally a pest or plague, “and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world.” Secondly, that of heresy, against the law of Moses, in being a “ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.” And thirdly, that of having attempted to profane or defile the temple at Jerusalem (Acts xxiv. 5), which was an offence not only against the Jewish, but also against the Roman law, for the latter protected all persons in the exercise of their religion. Two years had elapsed, but we have no evidence, and no reason to believe, that any addition had been made to the number of these accusations, or that they had been in any way modified. Heresy, sacrilege, treason, “against the law, against the temple, against Caesar,”—these were still the charges, and were all the charges to be made against him.”
Paul was beheaded ~ 67 AD in Rome, Italia, Roman Empire. It was a time of crisis in Rome. Nero was about to be assassinated but committed suicide lest he be sentenced as a criminal of Rome and faced with the punishment of being flogged to death.
Acts 28:20 For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”
Acts 28:21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you.
Acts 28:22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”
Acts 28:23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.
Acts 28:24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.
Acts 28:25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers,
Acts 28:26 saying,
‘Go to this people and say:
“Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
When a person can’t hear, can’t understand, can’t see, and can’t perceive, they are like the “Walking Dead”.
Acts 28:27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.” ’
Acts 28:28 “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”
The word for salvation in Greek is “Jesus”.