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The Reformation Herald Online Edition

The Gospel in Galatians

In Arabia and Damascus
In Arabia and Damascus

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:13–19).

“Paul’s life was in peril, and he received a commission from God to leave Damascus for a time. He went into Arabia; and there, in comparative solitude, he had ample opportunity for communion with God and for contemplation. He wished to be alone with God, to search his own heart, to deepen his repentance, and to prepare himself by prayer and study to engage in a work which appeared to him too great and too important for him to undertake. He was an apostle, not chosen of men, but chosen of God, and his work was plainly stated to be among the Gentiles.”

“While in Arabia [Paul] did not communicate with the apostles; he sought God earnestly with all his heart, determining not to rest till he knew for a certainty that his repentance was accepted and his great sin pardoned. He would not give up the conflict until he had the assurance that Jesus would be with him in his coming ministry. He was ever to carry about with him in the body the marks of Christ’s glory, in his eyes, which had been blinded by the heavenly light, and he desired also to bear with him constantly the assurance of Christ’s sustaining grace.”1

Again in Damascus

“From Arabia Paul ‘returned again unto Damascus’ (Galatians 1:17), and ‘preached boldly . . . in the name of Jesus.’”2

In Jerusalem

“After his escape from Damascus, Paul went to Jerusalem, about three years having passed since his conversion. His chief object in making this visit, as he himself declared afterward, was ‘to see Peter’ (Galatians 1:18).”3

“Long after his conversion [Paul still] spoke of himself as the chief of sinners. ‘For I am the least of the apostles,’ he said, ‘that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.’ ”4

“Paul had miscalculated the spirit of his Jewish brethren. The same fury that had burst forth upon Stephen was visited upon himself. He saw that he must separate from his brethren, and sorrow filled his heart.

“He would willingly have yielded up his life if by that means they might have been brought to a knowledge of the truth. The Jews began to lay plans to take his life, and the disciples urged him to leave Jerusalem; but he lingered, unwilling to leave the place, and anxious to labor a little longer for his Jewish brethren.”5

1 The Story of Redemption, pp. 274, 275.[Emphasis added.]
2 The Acts of the Apostles, p. 128.
3 Ibid., p.128.
4 The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, pp. 1057, 1058.
5 The Story of Redemption, pp. 278, 279.