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Discovery Magazine 5/1/2007

Saul the Enemy of Christ

Saul hated Jesus Christ. He hated Christians. He wanted them all dead. He was a very religious Jew who tried to serve God. But he thought that the Christians were taking people away from God and away from doing right. In fact, Saul thought that He was helping God by trying to kill Christians.

In Acts 7, after Stephen preached a powerful sermon about Jesus, the Jews wanted to kill him. They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. During this horrible murder, the Bible says that the Jews laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul (Acts 7:58). This shows us that Saul helped the evil Jews kill Stephen. In Acts 8:1 we read that Saul was “consenting” to the death of Stephen.

But Saul wasn’t content to help kill just Stephen. He wanted to imprison and kill as many Christians as possible. He obtained permission and special letters from the high priest to go to the city of Damascus and persecute the Christians there. In fact, the Bible says that Saul “persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it” (Galatians 1:13). When Saul later told about the awful things that he had done, he said: “and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities” (Acts 26:10-11). The Bible also says that Saul imprisoned and beat those who believed on Jesus (Acts 22:19).

Saul’s reputation as a persecutor of the church was well-known. Those in the church had heard about the terrible way he treated Christians, and they were scared of him. Ananias, a Christian who lived in Damascus, said: “I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done…” (Acts 9:13). Saul hated Christians, he fought against Jesus Christ, and he wanted to destroy the church of Christ. But something happened to Saul on the road to Damascus that changed his life forever.



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