Rabban Gamaliel: An instrument of God

"Procure thyself a teacher, avoid being in doubt; and do not accustom thyself to give tithes by guess" -Rabban Gamaliel the Elder

					Lynellen Perry       
					December 12, 1990
					New Testament Survey

Rabban Gamaliel: An Instrument of God

Lynellen Perry


12 And at the hands of the apostles many signs and
wonders were taking place among the people; and
they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico. 
13 But none of the rest dared to associate with
them; however, the people held them in high
esteem.  14 And all the more believers in the Lord,
multitudes of men and women, were constantly
added to their number; 15 to such and extent that
they even carried the sick out into the streets, and
laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter
came by, at least his shadow might fall on any one
of them.  16 And also the people from the cities in
the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together,
bringing people who were sick or afflicted with
unclean spirits; and they were all being healed.  
17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his
associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and
they were filled with jealousy; 18 and they laid
hands on the apostles, and put them in a public jail.  
19 But an angel of the Lord during the night opened
the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said,
20 "Go your way, stand and speak to the people in
the temple the whole message of this Life."  21 And
upon hearing this, they entered into the temple
about daybreak, and began to teach.  Now when the
high priest and his associates had come, they called
the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons
of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for
them to be brought. 22 But the officers who came
did not find them in the prison; and they returned,
and reported back, 23 saying, "We found the prison
house locked quite securely and the guards standing
at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found
no one inside."  24 Now when the captain of the
temple guard and the chief priests heard those
words, they were greatly perplexed about them as
to what would come of this.  25  But someone came
and reported to them, "Behold, the men whom you
put in prison are standing in the temple and
teaching the people!"  26 Then the captain went
along with the officers and proceeded to bring them
back without violence (for they were afraid of the
people, lest they should be stoned).  27 And when
they had brought them, they stood them before the
Council. And the high priest questioned them, 28
saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue
teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled
Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring
this man's blood upon us."  29 But Peter and the
apostles answered and said, "We must obey God
rather than men.  30 The God of our fathers raised
up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging
Him on a cross.   31 He is the one whom God exalted
to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant
repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  32
And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the
Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey
Him."  33 But when they heard this, they were cut
to the quick and were intending to slay them.  34
But a certain Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher
of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in
the Council and gave orders to put the men outside
for a short time.  35 And he said to them, "Men of
Israel, take care what you propose to do with these
men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up,
claiming to be somebody; and a group of about four
hundred men joined up with him.  And he was slain;
and all who followed him were dispersed and came
to nothing.  37 After this man Judas of Galilee rose
up in the days of the census, and drew away some
people after him, he too perished, and all those who
followed him were scattered.  38 And so in the
present case, I say to you, stay away from these
men and let them alone, for if this plan or action
should be of men, it will be overthrown;  39 but if
it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them;
or else you may even be found fighting against God." 
40 And they took his advice; and after calling the
apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them to
speak no more in the name of Jesus, and then
released them.   41 So they went on their way from
the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had
been considered worthy to suffer shame for His
name.  42 And every day, in the temple and from
house to house, they kept right on teaching and
preaching Jesus as the Christ.

This paper was written in an attempt to understand the motives behind Gamaliel's actions in the Sanhedrin as recorded in Acts chapter five. Gamaliel stands out in this passage because of the seemingly unusual advice he gives the Sanhedrin to be tolerant and not hurt the Apostles. When reading Acts, the student was much surprised that a Jew would stand up for a Christian, especially the Jew under whom violent Saul had been taught. This paper was also written to try to understand the logic of Gamaliel's advice. It seemed to the student at first that his advice would have been a better argument for the killing of the Apostles than for sparing them, for if the leaders are killed, the followers will disperse, according to his advice.

In order to achieve these goals, this paper examines the history of Acts and the theology of the Pharisees and Gamaliel. From this base of knowledge this paper examines the question "Was Gamaliel in favor of the early church?" Or, in other words, "Why did Gamaliel give advice, and why did he give that advice?"

The Book of Acts was written by Luke as volume two of the Gospel of Luke. Greek manuscripts designate it by "Praxeis", a common term in Greek literature to summarize the accomplishments of outstanding men. Accordingly, Acts is about the people who took seriously Jesus' Great Commission to spread the news of a risen Saviour to the most remote corners of the known world.

Luke did research for this book as he did for the Book of Luke (Luke 1:1-4) (Open Bible, 1090). The first seven chapters of Acts draw mainly on the experience and memory of Peter. These were perhaps supplied to Luke by Paul's contact with Peter in Jerusalem and Antioch (Ogilvie, 16) or perhaps Luke personally interviewed Peter and John in Jerusalem for some of the information in chapters 1 through 12. Bruce asserts that much of the material of chapters 1 through 5 show signs of being directly or indirectly from aramaic sources. He concedes that these are not necessarily written sources, but that perhaps the information is from Mark (Bruce, 28). As for the rest of Acts, Luke was a close traveling companion of Paul who was the principal eyewitness for chapters 13 through 28.

Acts is apparently written in three sections: 1) the witness in Jerusalem (1:1 - 8:4), 2) the witness in Judea and Samaria (8:5 - 12:25), and 3) the witness to the remotest part of the earth (13 - 28) (Open Bible, 1091). However, Bruce argues that Acts is not necessarily on a straight time-line approach. He suggests that it might be the merging of two separate sources into one account. Bruce bases this argument on the fact that there exist in Acts two speeches by Peter, two arrests of the Apostles, two defenses before the Sanhedrin, two fillings with the Holy Spirit, two estimations of the number of converts, and two accounts of the pooling of property. This merge would consist of a Jerusalem A source which has been judged superior and a Jerusalem B source which is an inferior source. (Bruce, 28).

Suggested writing dates for Acts range from 62 A. D. through the middle of the second century. Archaeology shows that the book should be dated in the first century, which internal evidence supports: The book of Acts contains no mention of the results of Paul's trial in 62 A. D., the persecution under Nero in 64 A. D., Paul's death in 68 A. D., or the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D.. Surely these very important events would have been at least mentioned in Acts if they had occurred before the book was completed (Open Bible, 1090).

The episode with which this paper deals is contained in the first section of the book. Chapters 1 - 8:5 take place in Jerusalem from A. D. 30 - 32 (or 33 - 35 depending on the dating system used). It has been at least 7 weeks since the death of Christ. 40 days after the resurrection is the ascension (Acts 1:1-11), then 10 days later is Pentecost (1:12 - 2:41). So already we are at 7 weeks. Let's then give two weeks to 2:42 - 47, two days to 3:1 - 4:31, one week to 4:32 - 37, two days to 5:1 - 10, and two weeks to 5:11 -16. Given these time allotments, Acts 5 takes place about three months after Christ arose from the dead, or July, A.D. 30.

Zuck asserts that "Luke's object in writing Acts 5:17-42 was to show how Israel as a nation was continuing down its tragic path of rejecting Jesus as its Messiah" (Zuck, 367). The participants in this scene are the Apostles, though only Peter is specifically named, the high priest, the temple guard, and the Sanhedrin, specifically naming the sect of the Sadducees and the Pharisee Gamaliel.

The Sanhedrin, also called the Council or the Senate of the Sons of Israel, was the Supreme Court of the Jewish nation in relation to Ecclesiastical law. Possibly originating from the 70 elders whom Moses appointed to assist him in governing the Israelites in Numbers 11:16-17, it heard appeals from inferior courts and was the first court of trial for the more serious cases (Freeman, 387). The Sanhedrin had jurisdiction over any Jewish settlement and was able to sentence and carry out corporeal punishment and, before the age of Roman occupation, the capital punishments of stoning, burning, beheading and strangling. The seventy-one members, corresponding to the 70 elders plus Moses, were chosen from the chief priests, the elders and the scribes; but it is thought that a majority of the members were laymen. Members had to be morally and physically blameless and learned in Law, science, and languages. They also had to be the father of a family so that they could sympathize with any domestic affairs brought before them. In order to gain membership, the man had to have been a judge in his native town, be transferred from there to the small Sanhedrin which met at the Temple Mount, and from there be transferred to the second small Sanhedrin which met at the entrance of the Temple hall (Freeman, 388). The full Sanhedrin met daily in the Chamber of Hewn Stone in the Temple between the hours of the morning and evening sacrifices (Encyclopedia Judaica, 296). A quorum of 23 members was required for a meeting to be held. They sat in a semicircle on low cushions or carpets, with the officers in the middle.

The offices of the Sanhedrin were elected by the other members. The president was called Nasi, meaning "Prince" or "Elevated One". He represented civil and religious Jewish interests at home in Jerusalem and before Rome. The Nasi sat in the highest seat, and from there he determined traditions and counted the votes of the elders. The vice-president was called the "Ab-beth-din" which means "Father of the House of Judgement". The Ab-beth-din led and controlled the discussions of the points currently in dispute in the Sanhedrin. Finally, there was also a sage, or referee, called "Chakam", meaning "Wise One". He put forth the next subject of discussion before the Sanhedrin (Freeman, 388).

The Apostle's second defense before the Sanhedrin is brought on by the jealousy of the high priest and the Sadducees of the popularity of the Apostles. Note that it is the Sadducees who cause the arrest of the Apostles. When the Apostles are brought from the Temple into the Sanhedrin (also called the "Council", or the "Senate of the Sons of Israel"), Peter answers, as spokesman for the Apostles, for their disobedience to previous Sanhedrin orders to stop preaching with three points. First, the Apostles must obey God, not men. Secondly, that Jesus Christ is God's Messiah. And finally, that Jesus is living in the Apostles via the Holy Spirit. It is at this point that the Sanhedrin was "torn asunder" or "sawn apart" in anger! (Ogilvie, 128) "The anger of the Sadducees had a double foundation. As the high priests, they were blamed for the murder of Christ, and found a volatile Jerusalem beginning to grow hostile (v 28); they were also bitterly opposed to the teaching of resurrection, and here the hated doctrine was associated with the prophet whom they had found it expedient to remove" (Blaiklock, 72). In support of this, Blaiklock cites John 11:49-50, "But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, 'You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish'".

The Apostles were preaching about this Prophet every day in the temple, and were filling Jerusalem with the teaching "of this Life". This made the Apostles dangerous in the eyes of the Sanhedrin, and especially the Sadducees, for two reasons. First, the Sanhedrin saw the Apostles' teaching as heretical (Matthew 22: 23 - 28; Acts 4:1 - 2; 23: 6, 8), and secondly, the Apostles were potential disturbers of the peace (Acts 5:26). The Sanhedrin wanted to maintain the peace in Jerusalem at any cost, for if they could not maintain it on their own, Rome would have to intervene and the priests and the Sadducees would lose their power and prestige (Barclay, 46). The Sadducees were wealthy, priestly collaborationists, ever seeking to preserve their own prestige and power. The Sadducees descended from the Hellenizers, who "aimed at removing Judaism from its narrowness and sharing in the advantages of Greek life and culture... Thus the Hellenizers were a political sect" (Vine, 181).

The Pharisees, however, were the conservative segment of Judaism and had no political ambitions, as seen in the meaning of their name--"separated ones". The Pharisees were separate from ordinary life and men in order to devote their lives to the keeping of the smallest detail of the Law (Barclay, 47). Their fundamental principle was complete separation from non-Jewish elements. They were the strictly legal party among the Jews, and were ultimately the more popular and influential party. In their zeal for the Law, they almost deified it and their attitude became merely external, formal, and mechanical. They laid stress, not upon the righteousness of an action, but upon its formal correctness (Vine, 181). The vision of Pharisaism was to call Israel back to strict nationalism, to protect Law from the pollution of secularism, and to preserve the strictest moral resoluteness (Ogilvie, 130). They were organized in "brotherhoods" and had great religious influence with the common people. Most of the scribes, or public expositors of the Law, of the day were Pharisees (Bruce, 123).

It is a Pharisee who now stands up in the Sanhedrin to give counsel concerning the Apostles--Rabban Gamaliel Ha-Zaken, the grandson of Hillel. There are stories of Gamaliel's tie to the royal family of Agrippa I in Pesahim 88b. The name Gamaliel means "my rewarder is God" (Family Bible Encyclopedia, 1119) or possibly "Reward of God" and in this case, he certainly was the reward of God to the Apostles for their faithfulness and boldness in preaching about "the Life", for he saved them, with his advice, from death by stoning (Bruce, 123). Gamaliel was called "The Beauty of the Law" (Barclay, 48), and the sages said of him, "When Rabban Gamaliel the elder died, the glory of the Torah ceased, and purity and saintliness perished" (Mishnah Sotah 9:15). He was the first man to whom was applied the prefix title of Rabban which means "Our Master" or "Our Teacher" which is even more honorific than Rabbi, "my teacher" (Bruce, 124).

Tradition has it that Gamaliel was the Nasi of the Sanhedrin, a position to which he succeeded his grandfather and father (Encyclopedia Britannica, 994). But Robertson asserts that the Nasi of the Sanhedrin was a Sadducee, and most likely the Chief Priest, until the destruction of the Temple (Robertson, 127). At any rate, Gamaliel was a member of the Sanhedrin as seen in this passage in Acts, and as "the Elder" possibly indicates, and he did take a leading position and enjoy the highest repute as a teacher of the Law. He was, on occasion, a counselor to the Herods regarding legal-religious matters (Pesahim 88b). As a member of the Sanhedrin, he maintained close contact with the Jews of the land and with those in the diaspora. The Talmud has preserved three letters from Gamaliel, with original text, containing reminders about the times of separating tithes and information about the leap year, which he dictated to the scribe Johanan while seated in the company of the sages upon the steps of the Temple Mount (Sanh. 11b, Tosef. Sanh. 2:6, TJ Sanh. 1:2,18d). He also was responsible for many takkanot, particularly on the behalf of women and beginning with the formula "for the benefit of humanity" (Gitten 4:2-3). Once when Gamaliel was absent from the Sanhedrin because he had traveled to the governor in Syria to have authority bestowed upon himself, their decision to appoint a leap-year was to be valid only if Gamaliel agreed when he returned (Mishnah Edayoth 7.7).

Gamaliel was also the head of a school for the training of Pharisees (Ogilvie, 130). We know this from Acts 22:3 where Paul says that he was a student under Gamaliel. Gamaliel taught without charging a fee, and in Hebrew rather than Aramaic (Family Bible Encyclopedia, 1119), which was the language of the primitive Jerusalem church (Bruce, 28). He had studied Greek literature and advised his students to follow his example in the study of Greek writers. Narrower minded Rabbis insisted that the study of Greek literature was as bad as Egyptian thaumaturgy (Robertson, 128). However, Gamaliel did not regard Greek culture and letters to be sinful and forbidden (Barclay, 48). From his study of Greek literature, we see that Gamaliel had a liberal mindset. This liberal out look on life is seen also by his teaching that Jews should greet the heathen with the phrase "Peace be with you" even on a heathen fast day. He also taught that poor Gentiles should have the same right to glean the harvest fields as poor Jews had from Leviticus 19:9, 10. Another example of his unusual mindset is seen in his defense of wives against undisciplined husbands, and defense of widows against greedy children (Robertson, 129). He also had moderate views towards the laws of the Sabbath, marriage and divorce as seen in Rosh Ha-Shanah 2.5, Yebamoth 16.7 and Gittin 4.2,3.

Given this mindset, we now can look at the advice that Gamaliel gave to the Sanhedrin concerning the Apostles. Gamaliel first had the Apostles removed from the room so that he could speak. How then do we know what advice he gave to the Sanhedrin?? Bruce suggests that Gamaliel told his students what had occurred that day, and that Luke then heard the story from Paul (Bruce, 123). Some scholars say that Gamaliel never made this speech. Munck says that "the imprisonment of the apostles and the report of Gamaliel's speech illustrate the fact that Luke had got hold of some poor sources". He continues, "Gamaliel's speech is vastly superior to the context into which it has been inserted; it cannot however be a reflection of a real event, but is merely a story in a source that goes against all historical probability" (Munck, 51). Munck bases this argument on the possibility that there are historical inaccuracies in Gamaliel's speech.

The first possible inaccuracy is that Gamaliel is quoted as mentioning a man named Theudas who gathered about 400 men to him. If this Theudas is the magician Theudas mentioned in Josephus' Antiquities XX who persuaded a large crowd to follow him to the Jordan by promising them that he would divide the waters of the river and allow them to cross it, then there is an anachronism. For this Theudas was killed by the horsemen of Cuspius Fadus the procurator (44 -46 A. D.), his head taken back to Jerusalem, and his supporters dispersed. This would make Gamaliel mention an event that wouldn't have occurred until more than 10 years later. However, Theudas was a fairly common name and since we have no other identification for him, he may well have been one of the "many insurgent leaders that arose in Palestine when Herod the Great died in 4 BC" (Bruce, 125). If the Theudas mentioned was indeed the magician, that would make Luke "guilty of a double blunder" of putting this event before the revolt of Judas of Galilee, the second event that Gamaliel cites, and which occured earlier.

Judas of Galilee led a military uprising in A. D. 6 when "Judea was reduced to the status of a Roman province and a census was held to assess the amount of tribute it should yield for the imperial exchequer" (Gutherie, 54). The census was held by Publius Sulpicius Quirinius when he was the imperial legate of Syria for the second time (A. D. 6-7). "Many Jews were angered by the census because they anticipated that it would lead to a further restriction of their freedom" (Guthrie, 54). Judas, who was from Gamala in Gaulanitis, founded a religious and nationalist revolt, asserting that God alone was Israel's true King, and that it was therefore high treason against God to pay tribute to Caesar. (Bruce, 125). These freedom fighters were usually called "bandits". Barabbas was one of these bandits, and so was the Egyptian mentioned in Acts 21:37-8. Judas' revolt was crushed by Rome, but the movement lived on in the party of the Zealots who continued to cause trouble for more than 60 years (Harpur, 180) until the end of the Jewish rebellion in 70 A. D. and were considered by Josephus to be one of the four largest parties amongst the Jews in Palestine (Munck, 51). Thus the movement was not as ineffective as Gamaliel's description suggests, which is the third argument against the historical accuracy of Gamaliel's speech as presented in Acts.

Gamaliel's speech also has logical problems. As Munck says, Gamaliel tried to calm the Sanhedrin's "agitation by pointing to a kind of natural law that would render the twelve disciples harmless." Bruce asserts that "there is much common sense in this position, for certain kinds of men - and movements - can safely be relied upon to hang themselves if they are given enough rope" (Bruce, 126). But, "in this case Jesus had already died and therefore this movement, started by men, was doomed to failure. There was of course another possibility namely that the movement was started by God, in which case the Sanhedrin would not be able to prevent it. Probably Luke stressed this possibility more than Gamaliel would have done, trying as he was to soothe an agitated Sanhedrin. In Luke's account, there was a strange phenomenon about the disciples of Jesus: They had not been deprived of power and importance after their Master had been killed" (Munck, 50 - 51). On the contrary, even about three months later, "At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people...And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number" (Acts 5:12, 14). Luke's stressing of the possibility of the movement being of God is seen in the grammar he uses in this passage. "Because if this counsel or this work be from men (a condition of the third class, with the subjunctive mode, undetermined, but with the probability of being determined) it will be overthrown; but if it is from God (a first class condition with the indicative, assuming it to be true)..." (Robertson, 132).

"Here is the conclusion and main thrust of Gamaliel's speech. Seeing what would come of this movement would tell them if it were of human origin or from God. Interestingly, this speech was, in one sense, an apologetic for the church of Jesus Christ given by a representative of the church's enemies: to try to stop God's work would be like fighting against God!" (Walvoord, 366) What then were the motives for Gamaliel's advice? Some scholars say that perhaps Gamaliel had become a Christian, but there is no evidence for this and the Talmud affirms that he died in the Jewish faith (Robertson, 132). Walvoord continues, "He spoke no t from sympathy for the church, but from insight into God's sovereign working on earth." Bruce says that "His advice consists of sound Pharisaic teaching; God is over all and needs no help from men for the fulfillment of His purposes; all men must do is obey, and leave the issue to Him" (Bruce, 124). Pharisees believed in a combination of fate and free-will. All things are in the hand of God, but each man is responsible for his own actions. "Everything is foreseen, yet freedom of choice is given" and "Everything is decreed by God except the fear of God" (Barclay, 48).

Perhaps Gamaliel's motives were not theological, but political. Given that Gamaliel was the leader of the Pharisees, we might expect his advice to be hostile to the Apostles since the Pharisees opposed Jesus so much. However,

"a possibility exists that Gamaliel the Pharisee may have been opposed to the Sadducees' wish to persecute the Christians. While the Pharisees appeared as opponents of Jesus in that part of the tradition laid in Galilee, they were not prominent during his stay in Jerusalem and disappeared completely from the passion story except in John, where they appear as an authority (e.g. the chief priests and the Pharisees; 7:32, 45; 18:3), and even as a powerful faction preventing open confession to Jesus (12:42), and in a single passage in Matthew, namely in 27:62. Otherwise the accounts of the passion in the first three gospels and Acts agree that the enemies of Jesus and of the primitive church respectively were the chief priests and the highest Jewish authority in Jerusalem. It is important to note that the Pharisees have dropped out of their role--ascribed to them by the Galilean part of the Synoptic tradition--as Jesus' antagonists and persecutors, and that in Acts it is they who are against the persecution instigated by the Sadducees (Munck, 49)."

Weatherly says, "the non-Christian Pharisees of Acts are consistently friendly to the church. Luke would therefore not characterize them as 'hypocrites'. Hypocritical Pharisees must be those who are unfriendly to the church, and the only unfriendly Pharisees in Acts are the Christian Pharisees of 15:5 who demand Torah observance for Gentiles as a condition of their membership in the church" (Weatherly, 111-112).

Interestingly, the gospel of John has a parallel to Gamaliel in the Pharisee Nicodemus (3:1 ff, 19:39), who in John 7:50-51 protests against the persecution of Jesus. Both Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were members of the Sanhedrin, and supporters of Jesus (John 19:38, Luke 23:51). The only Pharisee in the service of the chief priests in Acts was Paul, who had left Gamaliel and become an ardent persecutor of the Christians before an even more radical switch made him an apostle of Jesus. (Munck, 49) So rather than the Pharisees being the leaders of the attacks on the Apostles, it is the Sadducees, and namely Annas, Caiaphas, John and Alexander of Acts 4:6 (Robertson, 129). It is interesting to note however, that Gamaliel does not try to stop the Pharisaic stoning of Stephen a short time later. But perhaps this is because before Stephen's fateful day, the fight was only between the Sadducees and the Apostles primarily on the doctrine of the resurrection (Robertson, 134).

At any rate, perhaps Gamaliel defended the Apostles because he disliked the Sadducees intensely and was glad to have a chance to score a point against them. Acts 23 clearly reveals the sharp division between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Or perhaps "he spoke in irony against Sadducean skepticism toward the providence of God" and was reflecting the war between the traditions of the Pharisaic Hillel and the Sadducean Shammai houses (Pfeiffer et al, 651). Perhaps Gamaliel was simply living up to his liberal mindset and being tolerant due to his view of the universality of the fatherhood of God. "Some present Gamaliel as a teacher of tolerance, a humane and liberal-minded man", others say he just didn't want to antagonize the growing number of Christians in Jerusalem, others say he had no real convictions as seen in his evidently contradictory treatment of the Apostles and Stephen. Applying the saying for which he is known ("Procure thyself a teacher, avoid being in doubt; and do not accustom thyself to give tithes by guess") to himself, perhaps he simply didn't know what to do with the Apostles, so he advised waiting and seeing (Robertson, 133).

Whatever his motives, Gamaliel's advice fortunately prevailed. It probably represented the viewpoint of the other Pharisees in the Sanhedrin as well. It is unclear whether the Pharisees were a majority or a minority in the Sanhedrin such that they would win a vote. However, Bruce, based on Josephus' Antiquities 18:1:4, suggests that although the Pharisees were a minority in the Sanhedrin of the time, they commanded more respect than the Sadducees, so much that the Sadducees found it "impolitic to oppose the Pharisee's demands" (Bruce, 123). Guthrie states, "no one dared to ignore the advice of a man like Gamaliel. He had a massive reputation for learning, and popular Jewish opinion held famous Rabbis in high regard" (Guthrie, 53). So the Apostles were released after being scourged and went out rejoicing that they had had the opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to Christ and to share in the experience of Christ.

In conclusion, diverse possible motives for Gamaliel's advice to be tolerant have been presented. The student concludes they can all be lumped together in the following manner. Gamaliel gave the advice because he was the one God chose to speak through in order to save His Apostles. Gamaliel was chosen because of his popularity, his party, his liberal mindset and his political influence. In other words, Gamaliel was simply the unknowing instrument of God.

Works Cited

Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 195 5.

Blaiklock, E. M. The Acts of the Apostles. Grand Rapids: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975.

Bruce, F. F. The Book of the Acts. Grand Rapids: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954.

Bruce, F. F. The Book of the Acts. Grand Rapids: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975.

Freeman, James M. Manners and Customs of the Bible. Plainfield: Logos International, 1972.

"Gamaliel". Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume 9. Chicago: William Benton, Publisher, 1959.

"Gamaliel". Encyclopedia Judaica. Volume 7. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1972.

"Gamaliel". The Family Bible Encyclopedia. Volume 6. New York: Curtis Books Inc, 1972.

Guthrie, Donald. The Apostles. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.

Harpur, James, ed. "The Seige of Jerusalem A. D. 70". Great Events of Bible Times. New York: Doubleday and Company Inc, 1987.

Munck, Johannes. The Acts of the Apostles. Garden City: Doubleday and Company, Inc, 1967.

Ogilvie, Lloyd J. The Communicators Commentary, Acts. Volume 5. Waco: Word Books, Publisher, 1983.

Pfeiffer, Charles F., Howard F. Vos, and John Rea, eds. "Gamaliel". Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia. Chicago: Moody Press, 1975.

Robertson, A. T. Some Minor Characters in the New Testament. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1976.

Vine, W. E. Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Iowa Falls: World Bible Publishers, 1981.

Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck, eds. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. USA: Victor Books, 1983.

Weatherly, Jon A. "The Jews in Luke-Acts". Tyndale Bulletin 40 (1989): 107 - 117.

The copy of the passage from Acts 5 is from The Open Bible (NASB) as are any Biblical texts that are unfootnoted or not part of a quotation.