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The Persecuted Church


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Did Paul see Jesus on the Damascus road when he was converted?

It was after Jesus ascended to heaven he was glorified (Jn.7:39;12:16; Heb.7:28).
Saul on the road to Damascus for his next capture and elimination of believers saw a light, he heard him speak but he did not see him in his human form he had on earth prior to his glorification.

Acts 9:3-8: “And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.”

Saul had a conversation with the one clothed in glory, He identified himself as Jesus and Saul immediately submits to him. The light focused on Saul and brought fear to him as he was questioned and became conscious of whom it was. While others heard a sound it was not clear to them what was being said, because it was meant for Saul.
Paul (formerly called Saul) tells this story Acts 22:6-11: “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. "And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' "So I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.' "And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. "So I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.' "And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.”

Others saw the light but only Paul heard a voice and understood it, he adds Nazareth to identifying Jesus as he is witnessing. And then explains what took place after It was his conversion and this was a unique event.

Paul telling the story to King Agrippa, Acts 26:12-16: “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, "at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. "And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' "So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 'But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.”

Here Paul tells us that he conversed in Hebrew after everyone had gone to the ground. That Jesus directly questioned him on his mission to capture and eliminate believers. Jesus then says he has appeared to Paul to become a witness of his and a prophet. Saul did see the resurrected Christ as a glorified man. Paul makes the point of the light being seen, Jesus says he appeared before him, revealed himself to him much like God did with Moses in the Old Testament. The 3 closest apostles of Jesus saw Him in this glory near the end of Jesus’ ministry on the mount of Transfiguration, Paul saw Jesus like this the first time as he is confronted on what he is doing against the church and being called into ministry. The reason is because this is who Jesus is, now glorified (Jn1:5) God is light, this also gives meaning to 1 Peter 2:9: “that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

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