Paul’s Prophecy

Whether one believes in prophecy or not, most Christians do in fact believe that God can speak to us through His word, through other people, through situations and through events. How can we discern if it is of God or not? We must always filter it through the word of God.

Upon reading Acts 21 it seems like there might be a contradiction in what the Spirit is telling the elders there and what He is telling Pual. At first glance it may seem that the Holy Spirit is prohibiting Paul from going to Jerusalem when in fact the Spirit is warning him of what lies ahead:

From Acts 21 – IVP New Testament Commentaries

As Paul said happened in every city, the Holy Spirit predicts his coming suffering. This time the disciples conclude that the prediction is not just a warning but actually a prohibition. So Luke expresses it: through the Spirit they urged (literally, „were repeatedly saying”) Paul not to go on to Jerusalem (compare 20:23). Since the same Spirit has compelled Paul to go to Jerusalem (19:21; 20:22), we would be confronted with a contradiction if the prediction were actually a prohibition, but such need not be the case (see note). Paul, then, is not disobedient to the Spirit by disregarding the prohibition. As with all the Spirit’s predictive warnings, it is intended simply to stiffen his determination as he once again realistically counts the cost (20:22-24).

Sometimes the counsel of friends, filtered through the grid of their fears and concerns for our safety, can be misguidance. Like Paul, we must determine to „do the right thing” even when outward circumstances and projected outcome do not appear to be stamped with the blessing of God.

As the whole church, including women and children, escorts the party to the port via the beach, they kneel in a solemn prayer of committal reminiscent of the leavetaking at Miletus (20:36-38). The bonds of Christian fellowship forged in this short week are strong, and they cannot but help give strength to the apostle as he continues down the road to certain suffering. We too should never miss an opportunity, by fellowship and prayer, to strengthen the determination of fellow Christians as they face hard tests.Tyre to Caesarea (21:7-14)

Most commentators draw the conclusion that the Holy Spirit revealed only the fact of Paul’s fate, and that the conclusions drawn from this were not those which came from the Spirit, and were not the will of God for Paul.

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