But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.
"Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. "And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."
When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them.
Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: "Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. "For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. "After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.
"And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; "but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest you even be found to fight against God." Acts 5:29-39
In verse 34, a well-respected pharisee by the name of Gamaliel convinces an enraged Sanhedrin not to kill the apostles. Jewish history records much about this man. First of all Gamaliel was the grandson of Hillel. Hillel was held by the Jews as one of their most respected scholars around the time of Christ.
The Bible also states that Gamaliel was highly regarded by the people, one of their great rabbis, and Jewish writings verify this.
An early passage from the Talmud states: "Since Rabbi Gamaliel died, the glory of the law has ceased."
Writings found in the Mishnah states: "Since Rabbi Gamaliel the elder died, there has been no more respect for the law. And purity and abstinence died out at the same time."
One of Gamaliel's favorite sayings was "for the benefit of humanity"
So respected was he by the people of his day that when Gamaliel died, over seventy pounds of perfumes and ointments were burned in respect for him as the Jews came and paid him tribute. And it was about this man that the apostle Paul stated:
"I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today."
Another person mentioned in Acts chapter 5 verse 37 is Judas of Galilee, the founding father of the zealots. This man is mentioned by the historian Josephus; who gives us a detailed statement concerning him in the following paragraph from his work entitled Jewish Antiquities:
"Coponius, a Roman of equestrian order (who ruled from 6-9 A.D.), was sent out as procurator of Judea with the full authority of Rome, including capital punishment. The high-ranking Roman senator, Quirinius, was also sent by Caesar to be governor of Syria and assessor of property there and in Judea (6 A.D.), . . . While the Jews hesitated to register their belongings, Judas of Gamala (the Galilean) rose up and claimed that this would lead to slavery, so he along with a Pharisee named Saddok called for a rebellion, starting a new movement (The zealots) which only led to disaster."
Josephus also mentions Judas and his sons in the following paragraph taken from Jewish Antiquities:
"Fadus became procurator, succeeding Tiberius Alexander, and he crucified Simon and James, the sons of Judas the Galilean who had led the people to revolt during the time Quirinius was taking a census in the land of Judea."
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