From the Crucifixion to the Destruction of Jersualem

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There are but few points here calling for consideration. The principal are those connected with the apostle Paul, and the dates when he wrote his various epistles.
It is a leading question whether Paul was released from prison and took another missionary journey, or was he put to death at the end of his first imprisonment? We must see what evidence we can bring, both external and internal, to bear upon the question.
We start with the crucifixion in A.D. 29. The day of Pentecost would also be 29.
The next accredited date is in Acts 12, the death of Herod Agrippa. He began to reign in the first year of Caius (A.D. 37), and reigned seven years; so that he died in 44. Doubtless this marks out the date of Paul’s visit to Jerusalem, as it was the time of the passover (Acts 12:33And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) (Acts 12:3)). This would be his second visit to Jerusalem (Acts 11:3030Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 11:30)); his first visit being pointed out in Acts 9:2626And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. (Acts 9:26) and Galatians 1:1818Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. (Galatians 1:18). See chronological table.
The next point of time is the recall of Felix succeeded by Festus. This is fixed A.D. 60. In the autumn then of A.D. 60 Paul left Caesarea. He would arrive at Rome in the spring of 61; and he lived in his own hired house two years (Acts 28:3030And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, (Acts 28:30)). This would bring it to the spring of A.D. 63. But the evidence of Eusebius is that Paul did not suffer martyrdom till A.D. 67. Jerome says 68. The earliest date given by more modern writers is A.D. 64.
So the external evidence is that there was sufficient time, taking the earliest of the above dates, for another journey after the close of the two years’ imprisonment of the Acts before his death.
With this the internal evidence seems also to agree. The passage in the Acts implies that Paul was in prison at that time not longer than two years: and then what? Put to death? If so, it is most probable that it would have been stated. If not put to death, and no longer kept in prison, he would have been liberated.
Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.
Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy: Timothy being at Ephesus.
And we must endeavor to find out the order in which these facts took place.
One thing seems certain, that the Epistle to the Ephesians was written during the two years’ imprisonment of Paul at Rome.
It is also certain that the address of Paul to the elders took place as he was returning on his third missionary journey; and that he proceeded at once to Jerusalem by way of Tire, Ptolemais, and Cæsarea (Acts 21), so that this must have been before his Epistle to the Ephesians.
The only question therefore is, When was the First Epistle to Timothy written? Now, unless Paul was liberated from imprisonment, his supposed visit to Ephesus — leaving Timothy there while he went to Macedonia — must have taken place before the address in Acts 20, because after the address he went, as we have seen, to Jerusalem, and was taken prisoner.
On the other hand, Paul paid his first visit to Ephesus in Acts 18:1919And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. (Acts 18:19); so that the supposed visit must have been between this first visit and the address in Acts 20.
The First Epistle to Timothy would appear to have been written soon after they parted, and that Paul hoped soon to be at Ephesus again: “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly; but if I tarry long,” and so forth, (1 Tim. 3:14-1514These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14‑15)). “Till I come give attendance to reading,” and so forth, (1 Tim. 4:1313Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (1 Timothy 4:13)).
So, those who hold with the supposed visit place the order thus:
1. A supposed visit to Macedonia in Acts 19, and the First Epistle to Timothy written soon after.
2. The address of Paul to the elders.
3. The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians after he reached Rome.
And there seems to be no other way of placing them, unless we admit that Paul was liberated.
But grave difficulties are presented in the above order. The state of the Ephesian church was in a good condition when Paul wrote to them his epistle, so that he — or rather the Holy Ghost through him — could open to them the mystery of the church “which in other ages was not made known” (Eph. 3:3-53How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; (Ephesians 3:3‑5)).
In his address to the elders of Ephesus he warned them, as a future thing, that grievous wolves would enter in among them. But in the First Epistle to Timothy, Timothy was to use his authority to prevent some then there from teaching error. We believe, therefore, that the three addresses must be in this order;
1. The address to the elders.
2. The Epistle to the Ephesians.
3. The First Epistle to Timothy.
Then, if so, Paul would have been liberated from his imprisonment, and again have visited Macedonia.
To this some objections have been made.
1. Paul in his address to the elders said that he knew they should see his face no more (Acts 20:2525And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. (Acts 20:25)), and this would not be true if he was liberated, and again visited Ephesus.
It has been generally supposed that if Paul was liberated he again visited Ephesus. But Scripture does not say that he did so. The words in 1 Timothy 1:33As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, (1 Timothy 1:3), “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia,” may have been a message from Paul to Timothy without Paul’s actually being at Ephesus. It will be noticed that the wording is not so positive as in Titus 1:55For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: (Titus 1:5), “I left thee in Crete;” and in 2 Tim. 4:2020Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. (2 Timothy 4:20), “Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.” And the reference to Ephesus in 2 Timothy 1:1818The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well. (2 Timothy 1:18), may have been before Paul’s first imprisonment. So that Paul’s saying that he should not see their face again, may have been correct notwithstanding his liberation. As he would be near to Ephesus when at Miletus, it is natural to suppose that he would visit that city, and in 1 Tim. 3:1414These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: (1 Timothy 3:14), he hoped to come shortly. But we know from 2 Timothy 1:1515This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. (2 Timothy 1:15), that all they which were in Asia had turned away from Paul, and he may have been guided by God to break up new ground instead of going to Ephesus. So that he may have been liberated, and yet not have visited that city again.
Besides, if Paul was not liberated, he would have been mistaken as to other things. Thus, while a prisoner he wrote to Philemon, “Prepare me also a lodging, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you” (Philem. 2222But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. (Philemon 22)). And again to the Philippians: “I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly” (Phil. 2:2424But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. (Philippians 2:24)). Again, “I will come by you into Spain” (Rom. 15:2828When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. (Romans 15:28)).
2. Paul’s being liberated, and writing his First Epistle to Timothy afterward, is inconsistent with his alluding to Timothy’s youth (1 Tim. 4:1212Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)) at so late a date.
Timothy might have been about 30 to 35 years of age, and this may have been much younger than many in the church, especially the elders over whom he was evidently set (1 Tim. 5:11Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; (1 Timothy 5:1)). Therefore this objection has really no weight. He was comparatively young. Besides, in the Second Epistle to Timothy (which all admit to have been written shortly before the death of Paul), he warns Timothy of “youthful lusts.”
3. If 1 Timothy was not written till so late a date, it does not give time enough for the declension pointed out in 2 Timothy to have taken place between the two Epistles before Paul’s death.
If the 1 Timothy was written in the first year after the liberation, there may have been three or four years before Paul’s death, and this would suffice. Declension may certainly make great progress in less time than that. We therefore do not see any real difficulty in supposing Paul’s liberation.
In Paul’s 2 Timothy there are several things which have been thought to give additional evidence both for and against the liberation. But the only thing that seems of real weight is in 2 Timothy 4:2020Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. (2 Timothy 4:20): “Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.”
When could this be? Not when Paul went to Jerusalem, for Trophimus went with him (Acts 21:2929(For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) (Acts 21:29)). Not when Paul went from Caesarea to Italy, for Paul did no touch at Miletus. We believe this one passage to be very strong evidence that Paul was liberated, and paid a visit to Miletus, and departed thence, leaving Trophimus sick. This epistle was certainly written shortly before his expected martyrdom, and if he had not been liberated he could not have been at Miletus for some years previously.
In Titus also (Titus 1:55For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: (Titus 1:5)) there is a passage: “For this cause also I left thee in Crete.” When could this be? Surely not on the occasion named in Acts 27:7-157And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; 8And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. 9Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 10And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. 11Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. 12And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west. 13And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. 14But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. (Acts 27:7‑15), when Paul was a prisoner. Again the difficulty is at once solved by supposing the liberation.
On the whole, then, it seems most probable that Paul was liberated at the end of the two years; that he took another missionary journey, and soon wrote the First Epistle to Timothy, and the Epistle to Titus; that he continued his journey; that he was again arrested and imprisoned at Rome; and wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy a short time before his martyrdom.