The ship was broken by the waves of the Mediterranean just off the coast of Malta. The travellers fought for their lives through the waters, but eventually found themselves on the coast of the island, and are met by the curious inhabitants.
The apostle provides healing and teaching as opportunity occurs.
The record presents a parabolic lesson: From the "House of Death" representing mortality (ch. 27:2), to "The Fair Havens" speaking of the saving gospel message (v. 8), through the storms of life (v. 18), to the Final Refuge (ch. 28).
1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.
Diag., RV: "we." The historian Luke is one of those shipwrecked,and is included in the company who reached the safety of the shore.
...Paul remained on the island for three months (v. 11), during the course of which two recorded incidents occurred.
2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.
barbarous people - Signifying "foreign;" one who speaks a strange, foreign language, different from Greek, Hebrew or Latin (Rom. 1:14; ICor. 14:11; Col. 3:11).
The Maltese are from Phoenician stock, and evidently spoke that tongue, being a mixed race including a background of Canaanite, Arabian, Italian, etc.
"and because of the cold" This occurred about October AD60.
From Shipwreck to Rain and Cold
Out of a horrifying experience, two hundred and seventy-six men had been saved from a watery grave after abandoning ship. Struggling ashore in a desperate state they no doubt felt enormous relief, and perhaps some even offered up a form of recognition to the god they worshipped.
It is not difficult to imagine the fervent thanks that would have ascended heavenward from the lips of Paul and Luke. Yet all these people, whatever their religious views might have been, if any, were given no immediate relief. Once ashore, they found that the weather was so inclement as to cause the men to become ever more dejected and discouraged.
Would the majority of these men, pagans indeed, groaning with frustration, wonder why "the gods" continued to bring such comfortless burdens upon them? No doubt they felt that having undergone so much suffering and hardship for so long they were now entitled to some relief. But neither Paul nor Luke would have thought this way. Paul had himself told the brethren earlier:
"We must through much pressure enter into the kingdom of God,"
and therefore it is essential to "continue in the faith," without wavering (Acts 14:22). Paul and Luke understood that throughout this journey they were under the hand of Providence, and therefore whatever befell them must be faced and accepted in faith.
Like all Yahweh's faithful saints, these two stalwarts of the Truth were aware that Deity permits trying and distressing circumstances to come upon His people that their faith might be tested and strengthened, for the honour and glory of His Name.
The Christadelphian Expositor - Acts
22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.
A Sect is a body of men following some particular master, or united in some settled tenets. The word is derived from the Latin secta, which comes from sequor to follow; hence, a following.
For this reason, the apostles and their brethren were a sect, because they followed Jesus as their master. All who follow Jesus are members of this sect, which is every where spoken against to this day. But while the disciples of Jesus are a sect, the founders of it would tolerate no minor sects within it. It recognizes but one following-
"The truth as it is in Jesus."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1858
The Sect everywhere spoken against
There is no objection to a sect, provided it is a right one.
Christ's friends are necessarily a sect-all for him and against the evil. As for "dogmatic basis," it is inevitable. They would have no cohesive power but for the dogmatic authority of God in him. Any attempt to attenuate the force of this must lead to demoralizing compromise.
Till Christ come, the world must witness endless endeavours to realise an impossible ideal apart from his manifested presence.
The Christadelphian, Jan 1887. p23.
People use the term "sect" in a reproachful sense; those who know the truth will see that instead of being a reproach, it is a necessary expression of the position to which those are called who believe the truth. There can be no people of Christ without a sect.
The brethren of Christ created by the truth-are a sect of the most distinct and tenacious order, a peculiar people a sworn people, a warm and enthusiastic people, if you will, a narrow-minded people, in the sense that their minds are narrowed down to a distinct apprehension of and an uncompromising contention for the things that are true about Jesus Christ...
'...and though divided by a long distance of time, from the facts proclaimed by the apostles, yet with the intellectual means of grasping those facts as clearly and distinctly as those who listened to the personal ministrations of the apostles, we say to John and Paul, "Though dead, yet we hear your voice; we believe your testimony that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, and that he was and is the resurrection and the life, and that he is the name of salvation given to men, by which they may be saved."
Bro Roberts - Exhort No 4
As to the reviewers [of Elpis Israel], the author presents his compliments to them, and respectfully invites them to examine this work impartially. While he has no wish to propitiate them, it would afford him great pleasure to turn them to what he believes to be "the truth as it is in Jesus," as opposed to the dogmas of their creeds. It is not to be expected that they can approve the work, seeing that, if the things exhibited be received, Sectarianism is dethroned, at least in the hearts of those who receive the principles inculcated.
By Sectarianism the author means everything professedly Christian, not according to "the law and the testimony" (Isa. 8:20). He therefore uses the word as representative of all state-religions, as well as of the forms opposed to them. Being the echo of no living sect, but the advocate only of what is written in the oracles of God, of the faith and practice of that "sect" which in Paul's time "was everywhere spoken against" (Acts 28:22), he has shown no favour to the Heresies which destroy it, and therefore he expects none.
The perils to which he is exposed, are only to be despised by those whose houses are founded upon the rock. The author is free to admit his weakness and inferiority in every respect that can be imagined. In one thing, however, he feels strong, and armed at all points for a conflict with the giants - he knows what is written in "the law and the testimony," and he understands the meaning of it.
If they undertake to review this work, they must put it through the evolutions of the Spirit; and if they enter into combat with it, he would advise them to throwaway their wooden swords, and encounter it with "the two-edged sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God;" for no other weapon can do more than raise the author's mirth. But, perhaps, prudence, which is sometimes the better part of valour, may dictate the expediency of saying nothing about it.
This might be very good policy if Elpis Israel were born from the press only to gasp and die. But editors must remember, that before a single copy reaches them, it will be in the hands of upwards of a thousand people. This is a fact not to be despised. Such a number of intelligent persons is calculated to make a troublesome impression upon the public mind; and if the press do not check it, there is no telling whereunto the evil may grow!
Let "the Ministry" be up and doing. It is not the "infidel" their influence hath to fear; but the Word of the Living God understood by the people. The author has some of them among his subscribers. He trusts that for their own sakes they will read this work with candour, impartiality, and tranquillity of mind. As individuals, he has no controversy with them. His opposition is to their systems, which he trusts they will abandon for the gospel of the kingdom.
If Elpis Israel convince them of error, then, like the apostle, may they esteem their worldly honours and profits as mere dross for the excellency of the truth. Let them leave the fat things of the apostasy to those who "mind earthly things;" and let them put on the whole armour of God, and go forth among the people with the two-edged sword of the Spirit, and do battle for the truth.
Elpis Israel Preface to 1st ed.
Christadelphians : Not a sect!
One or two minor features out of harmony with Divine proprieties will disappear if enlightenment prevail. There was a tendency to put forward "The Christadelphians" instead of the truth. This belongs to the first stage of zeal. It is natural to think of the brethren as competitors in the sectarian and ecclesiastical rivalries, of which the world is full. Riper knowledge of Divine ways will draw nearer to the position from which God regards all these things. The world is His enemy, whether in ecclesiastical or political uniform. It has no sympathy for His ways, nor submission for His commandments. To Him it is but a transient phantasmagoria which "passeth away."
As the friends of Christ, we are "not of the world." Therefore, we are not in competition with it. We are not in the category of its regards. We are not an item in its catalogue. Like Israel, we are "not reckoned with the nations." It is a moral impossibility we can ever run in harness with them if we are faithful to the truth. We should frankly accept the position, and not seek to pose as "one of the denominations." This is not our attitude at all.
There is only one Name of salvation under heaven, and only assumable in the one way prescrible by apostolic teaching, long since forgotten. If the religious bodies around us were in submission to this teaching, we should not be apart from them. Because they are not in submission we cannot be of them in any sense. Those claiming fellowship with us who do not see this are not of us, though holding some of our doctrines.
Ecclesiastical Christadelphians are a smoke in the nostrils. The name is merely a sign-board for the public: we are not a competing firm. When we undertake an effort for the truth, it is not "the Christadelphians" we should put forward, but the Bible. The Christadelphians are nobody but persons whom the Bible has reclaimed from the prevalent barbarism - if indeed it has done this in all cases.
In putting out invitations to the public to come and hear, it is not skilful to put the Christadelphians in the bill. That will help to keep the people away. The object of bills and advertisements is to draw the people to the hearing point. Therefore, expose the spirit's dainties in the bill of fare: over "the Christadelphians" draw the veil. They will come into view soon enough when the truth has created interest.
The Christadelphian, July 1896
The Bible is wholly a Jewish book, the New Testament as well as the Old Testament.
Jesus and the apostles, as well as Moses and the prophets, were all Jews.-(Rom. 1:3; Phil. 3:5.)
The adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the law, and the service of God, and the promises, are all intensely Jewish.-(Rom 9:4.)
The past Old Testament kingdom of Moses and the future New Testament kingdom of Christ are equally Jewish.-(Isaiah 2:1-4; 9:6, 7; Matt. 2:6.)
The hope of the gospel is Jewish.-(Acts 28:20; 26:6; Gal. 3:8.)
Salvation is of the Jews.-(John 4:22.)
The promised land is Judah's land.-(Isaiah 26:1; Acts 7:4, 5.)
The heir of the world is a Jew.-(Psalm 2:7, 8; Rom. 4:13.)
The future universal government of the world will be Jewish.-(Isaiah 24:23; Zech. 14:9-16.)
The promises of eternal life, inheritance, and glory, by a resurrection from the dead, are all in the line of a Jewish family.-(Gal. 3:16, 21; Acts 26:7, 8.)
Gentiles aspiring after eternal salvation in the kingdom and age to come, can only become heirs by adoption into the family of Abraham.-(Gal. 3:21.)
Gentiles who are aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, are without Christ, and without hope, and without God, and, therefore, Atheists.-(Eph. 2:12.)
The restoration of the Jewish Theocracy in the hands of Messiah and the twelve apostles is the only hope of the world.-(Matt. 19:28; Acts 1:3-6; 15:16; Mic. 4; 5:2, 7.)
Gentiles can only be saved by becoming Jews inwardly by the faith of Christ and Abraham.-(Gal. 3:9; Rom. 4:16.)
Through the fall of the Jews, salvation is come to the Gentiles, while the receiving of them will be life from the dead.-(Rom. 11:12-15.)
Yahweh's inheritance, when he chooses Jerusalem again, is Judah, in the Holy Land.-(Zech. 2:12.)
Yahweh's eyes are on the Jews' land from the beginning of the year to the end of it.-(Deut 11:12.)
The Jews' land is the glory of all lands, and the best geographically-situated seat of universal government in the world.-(Ezek. 20:6; 48:35; Jer. 3:17.)
The Jews' land is only to be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.-(Luke 21:24.)
The Jewish nation is the eternal nation, and Jerusalem the Eternal City, since Yahweh will make an utter end of all other nations.-(Jer. 30:11; 46:28; Psalm 2:9; Dan. 2:44.)
The Christadelphian, Aug 1872