Paul's Post Crucifixion Temple Sacrifices
Paul & New Covenant Sacrifices - Home
Introduction
Sponsorship of Four Nazirite Vows
Nazirite Vows Involved Sacrifices
Ritually Purified In The Temple
Paul's Nazirite Vow Acts 18:18
How Do Theologians Explain This?
Deceiver or "All Things To All Men"?
Paul Kept The Written Torah-Law
The Law Is Spiritual Not Physical
Sacrifices After The Crucifixion
Animal Blood Never Paid For Sin
Why Didn't God Shut The Temple ?
No Sacrifices But No Controversy ?
Sacrifices In the Future
Immersion: Rivers of Living Water
Why No Sacrifices Today?
Conclusion
Partner Sites
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Paul Was Ritually Purified At The Temple After His Conversion

Paul Was Ritually Purified At The Temple After His Conversion

Acts 24:17-18 Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation, 18 in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple NKJV

This followed the earlier advice of the elders in Jerusalem that he should sponsor the Nazirite vows of four men:

Acts 21:23-24
23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 Take them and be purified with them,
NKJV

Acts 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them. 27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia...

Commentators Agree That Paul Was Indeed Ritually Purified in The Temple

Quotes from commentators:

Acts 21:15-26 "Purify thyself with them" according to the law; (from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Acts 21:24 All that seems meant here is, that Paul should so 'purify himself' ceremonially, as to be able to present himself as a cleansed man in, the temple on the completion of these four men's vow. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Acts 21:22-24 There were four Jews who had taken a Nazarite vow. This ordinarily lasted thirty days, but they had incurred some defilement that had placed them in a condition of ceremonial impurity for seven days (v. 27). At the end of this period, they would shave their heads and offer certain sacrifices of purification to God. (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Acts 21:15-26 Then Paul took the men, as they advised, and the very next day, purifying himself with them, and not with multitude nor tumult, as he himself pleads (Acts 24:18), he entered into the temple, as other devout Jews that came upon such errands did, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification to the priests; desiring the priest would appoint a time when the offering should be offered for every one of them, one for each.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Acts 21:26 Paul accepted the counsel of the elders and for several successive days (the verb is in the imperfect tense) went into the Temple with the four Jews to offer a purifying sacrifice for each of them. (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Acts 21:26 The next day, Paul, taking the four men, began to purify, set himself apart, or consecrate himself with them; (from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Acts 21:24 [And purify thyself with them] Join them in observing the forms of purification prescribed by the Law of Moses in the observance of the vow of the Nazarite. The purifying here refers to the vows of sanctity which the Nazarites were to observe. They were to abstain from wine and strong drink; they were to eat no grapes, moist or dried; they were to come near no dead body, nor to make themselves "unclean" for their father, mother, brother, or sister, when they died (Numbers 6:3-7); and they were to present an offering when the days of the vow were completed, Numbers 6:8. (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Acts 21:26 [Purifying himself with them] Observing the ceremonies connected with the rite of purification. See the notes on Acts 21:24. This means evidently that he entered on the ceremonies of the separation according to the law of the Nazarite (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Barnes seems to be confused here between the Nazirite vow and the purification process that Wycliffe describes above, required if the vow had been broken by for example accidentally being near a dead body during the period of the vow.

Expositors Bible Commentary says that the purification ritual was because Paul had come from abroad, not because he'd accidentally broken a Nazirite vow of his own.

Acts 21:26 Coming from abroad, Paul would have had to regain ceremonial purity by a seven-day ritual of purification before he could be present at the absolution ceremony of the four Jewish Christians in the Jerusalem temple. This ritual included reporting to one of the priests and being sprinkled with water of atonement on the third and seventh days. To imagine that Paul was here taking upon himself a seven-day Nazirite vow conflicts with Jewish law because thirty days were considered the shortest period for such a vow (cf. M Nazir 3:6). What Paul did was to report to the priest at the start of his seven days of purification, inform him that he was providing the funds for the offerings of the four impoverished men who had taken Nazirite vows, and return to the temple at regular intervals during the week for the appropriate rites.

It goes on to say in Acts 24:18-21 about this event:

Paul spoke of his arrest in the temple (v. 18) and his arraignment before the Sanhedrin (v. 20). But, he insisted, there was no crowd to incite nor any attempt on his part to create a disturbance; rather, he was taken by the crowd while worshiping in a ceremonially clean condition. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Acts 24:10-21 (2.) It was very hard to accuse him of having profaned the temple when he brought offerings to the temple, and was himself at charges therein (Acts 21:24), and was found purifying himself in the temple, according to the law (v. 18), and that in a very quiet decent manner, neither with multitude nor with tumult. (from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Acts 24:18 [Found me purified in the temple] And the Jews of Asia, who stirred up the persecution against me in Jerusalem, found me purified in the temple, regularly performing the religious vow into which I had entered; giving no cause for suspicion; for I made no tumult, nor had I any number of people with me, by whom I could have accomplished any seditious purpose. (from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Acts 24:18 [Found me purified in the temple] Acts 21:26-27. They found me engaged in the sacred service of completing the observance of my vow. (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

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One small and predictable change to an "Old Testament" law about circumcising gentile proselytes in Acts, caused massive turmoil in the predominantly Jewish first century church. So if most of the other Old Testament laws were "done away" - why then isn't any comparable disturbance recorded in the New Testament? How can the written Torah law (law of Moses) really be "done away" in Galatians?