And now I [Paul] stand here on trial
On account of my hope
In the promise made by God
To our ancestors
A promise that our twelve tribes
Hope to attain
As they earnestly worship day and night.
It is for this hope, your Excellency
That I am accused by Jews!
Why is it thought incredible by any of you
That God raises dead?
-Acts 26:6-8 (The Jewish Annotated New Testament)
Standing before Festus and King Agrippa, Paul is a man full of hope, in spite of his chains and circumstances. Interestingly, in his defence for the hope that was in him, he pointed to the twelve tribes of Israel as also having the same hope in God’s promises.
Considering that today it is held that ten of the twelve tribes are still well lost among the nations, Paul’s hope and belief in resurrection not only includes a risen Yeshua, it also includes the prophetical fulfillment (Jeremiah 33, Isaiah 11) of the resurrection of the twelve tribes that once comprised the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel, which it appears that Paul (and others) believed they were witnessing (Acts 2).
Paul questioned those who refused to believe in the reality of both God’s promises and actions – the raising of Yeshua from the dead, and the presence and practice of the resurrected 12 tribes. Paul was ultimately calling out Festus and King Agrippa on whether or not they actually believed in God Almighty and His power and authority.
This is a question we too must ask ourselves frequently – do we actually believe in the resurrection of Yeshua? Do we believe in God Almighty and His power and authority? If we do, let us be as prepared as Paul to give a reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).
The Lord is coming!