His name was Saul and he was an Israelite born in the town of Tarsus. At some point he was brought up in Jerusalem. He was born Jewish from the tribe of Benjamin and was a Hebrew of the Hebrews.
He learned strict observance to Jewish laws & customs from the most prominent rabbi, Gamaliel. If anyone was so faithful & blameless in following Jewish laws, it was Saul.
Saul was part of one of the Jewish sects known as “the Pharisees.” He was also a terrorist who hated Christians.
On a few separate occasions, he has recalled his zeal in persecuting Christians & the church. He says, “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness.”
His terrorism was obvious, people could attest to that. One story comes from his instrumental role in the execution of a Christian named Stephen. It was death by stoning for Stephen. After the stoning of Stephen, his friends were sad, but not Saul. It is said that, “devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.”
Saul hated the church & went to great lengths to persecute Christians. Killing Christians or throwing them in prison was just what he did.
One day, Saul had intended to go to Damascus where he was going to go to churches and find any Christians to bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished for being Christians.
It was noon and Saul was on his way to Damascus. Something nothing short of miraculous happened. He saw a bright light shining. He fell to the ground & heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul’s only response was, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply was simple, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
There were some fellow terrorists traveling with Saul who stood speechless because they heard the voice but couldn’t see anyone. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So the other terrorists led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. Saul was blind for three days, and he didn’t eat or drink anything either.
Obviously Saul began to gain a reputation as the terrorist who persecuted Christians. Naturally, when he became a Christian, the other Christians were quite skeptical of his conversion and still feared that he would be coming to persecute them too.
Saul went from persecuting and killing Christians to being one of the most famous evangelists for the Gospel. He started planting churches and was himself in and out of jail for his new-found faith in Jesus Christ.
We are not certain on how Saul died; however, some have said that he was beheaded in true ISIS fashion. He wasn’t killed under ISIS; rather, he was killed under the Roman Emperor Nero.
This is no fictional story. The most unlikely convert to Christianity was a terrorist who killed Christians & ended up dying as one.
– Tyson Bradley