The multitude must needs come together - Whether this refers to a regular convocation of the Church, or to a tumult that would infallibly take place when it was heard that the apostle was come, we cannot pretend to say; but it is evident that James and the elders wished some prudent steps to be taken, in order to prevent an evil that they had too much reason to fear.
What is it therefore? - What is to be done? What is it proper to do to avoid the effects of the evil report which has been circulated? What they deemed it proper to do is suggested in the following verses.
The multitude - The multitude of Jews.
Must needs come together - There will be inevitably a tumultuous assemblage. It will be impossible to prevent that. The reasons were, because the minds of the Jews were exceedingly agitated that one of their own countrymen had, as they understood, been advising apostasy from the religion of their fathers; because this had been extensively done in many parts of the world, and with great success; and because Paul, having, as they believed, himself apostatized from the national religion, had become very conspicuous, and his very presence in Jerusalem, as in other places, would be likely to excite a tumult. It was, therefore, the part of friendship to him and to the cause to devise some proper plan to prevent, if possible, the anticipated excitement.
(Psalm 119:126, 127; 1 Timothy 4:1.) Traitors to Truth Become Her Worst Persecutors—Much so-called Christianity passes for genuine, faithful soundness, but it is because those who profess it have no persecution to endure for the truth's sake. When the day comes when the law of God is made void, and the church is sifted by the fiery trials that are to try all that live upon the earth, a great proportion of those who are supposed to be genuine will give heed to seducing spirits, and will turn traitors and betray sacred trusts. They will prove our very worst persecutors. “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them;” and many will give heed to seducing spirits. 6BC 1065.1
Those who have lived on the flesh and blood of the Son of God—His Holy Word—will be strengthened, rooted, and grounded in the faith. They will see increased evidence why they should prize and obey the Word of God. With David, they will say, “They have made void thy law. Therefore love I thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” While others count them dross, they will arise to defend the faith. All who study their convenience, their pleasure, their enjoyment, will not stand in their trial (The Review and Herald, June 8, 1897). 6BC 1065.2Read in context »
“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.” AA 396.1
From Miletus the travelers sailed in “a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara,” on the southwest shore of Asia Minor, where, “finding a ship sailing over unto Phoenicia,” they “went aboard, and set forth.” At Tyre, where the ship was unloaded, they found a few disciples, with whom they were permitted to tarry seven days. Through the Holy Spirit these disciples were warned of the perils awaiting Paul at Jerusalem, and they urged him “that he should not go up to Jerusalem.” But the apostle allowed not the fear of affliction and imprisonment to turn him from his purpose. AA 396.2
At the close of the week spent in Tyre, all the brethren, with their wives and children, went with Paul to the ship, and before he stepped on board, they knelt upon the shore and prayed, he for them, and they for him. AA 396.3Read in context »