After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
– Acts 21:10-14, New International Version
From Tyre Paul and his group sailed to Ptolemais. After greeting the brethren and staying for a day, they went on down the coast to Caesarea. They stayed in the home of Philip the evangelist. Philip was one of the seven men chosen to serve the church (Acts 6:5) in Jerusalem. Philip had four unmarried daughters who prophesied (present participle). The travelers stayed there for several days.
Agabus and His Prophecy
A prophet from Judea named Agabus came down to them with a prophecy from the Holy Spirit. As the word “down” suggests, he was probably from somewhere near Jerusalem. In Acts 11:27-28 Luke says that Agabus came down from Jerusalem to Antioch with some other prophets and foretold a famine.
Agabus took Paul’s belt and bound his own hands and feet. He offered a much more specific prophecy than has been mentioned before, saying: “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” According to Bruce (p. 425), “the action was as much part of the prophecy as the spoken words; both together communicated the powerful and self-fulfilling word of God.”
Unlike the disciples at Tyre, Agabus did not say that Paul should not go up to Jerusalem. When Agabus spoke, the companions of Paul as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. The desire of their hearts was that Paul would not suffer.
The Will of God
The Jerusalem Event
Bruce, F. F. The Book of Acts. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1975.
Fernando, Ajith. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.
Gangel, Kenneth O. Acts: Holman New Testament Commentary. General Editor: Anders, Max. Nashville: Holman Reference, 1998.
Horton, Stanley M. The Book of Acts. Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1981.
© Copyright 2003. GMF.