In AD 58, as prophesied, the Apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21). A group of Jews from Asia falsely accused Paul of bringing Gentiles into the Temple (Acts 21:28-36). The crowd attacked Paul with the intent of beating him to death (Acts 21:31), but a detachment of Roman soldiers rescued Paul from the angry mob (Acts 21:27-36). Initially, Paul was given the opportunity to reason with the angry mob (Acts 21:39-40), but when Paul explained that God had directed Paul to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, the crowd erupted, yelling, “Away with such a man from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live” (Acts 22:22). The vast number of Jews rejected God’s will to include Gentiles as a part of God’s unique people and possession.
The Roman commander, Claudius Lysias, did not understand why so many Jews were angry with Paul, and therefore, he ordered that the chief priests and Sanhedrin should be assembled (Acts 22:30). As Paul began to speak to the Sanhedrin, the High Priest Ananias ordered that Paul should be struck in the face (Acts 23:2). At that point, Paul perceived that he had no chance of reasoning with the Sanhedrin. Left with no other choice, he deftly divided his audience by starting a theological debate between the Sadducees and Pharisees regarding the subject of the resurrection (Acts 23:6). There was no hope to reason with his audience. On the following night, the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be courageous! For as you have testified to the truth about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome also” (Acts 23:11).
Thereafter, 40 men (sicarii) swore an oath to assassinate Paul (Acts 23:12-23). Providentially, Paul’s nephew learned of the plot, which was communicated to Commander Lysias. Because of the threat, the Romans escorted Paul to the coast. During the night, 200 Roman infantry soldiers, 200 spearmen, and 70 calvary escorted Paul to the city of Antipatris, and on the following day, the 70 calvary soldiers escorted Paul to Caesarea Maritima, the location of the Roman Governor’s headquarters (Acts 23: 23-35).
Between AD 58 to AD 60, the Apostle Paul was held in the custody of Governor Felix (Acts 24). Traveling down from Jerusalem to Caesarea Maritima, the High Priest, Ananias, brought charges against the Apostle Paul for essentially being a public menace and being guilty of stirring up trouble among the Diaspora Jews (Acts 24:5). They also accused Paul of desecrating the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (Acts 24:6). Notice the lack of specific charges. The charges did not include theological issues. The Jewish leadership understood that the Romans cared most about assuring the civil peace. Paul denied all charges (Acts 24:12-13). However, of further interest to us (which will be discussed in greater detail later), it should be noticed that Paul’s message emphasized the resurrection of both the wicked and the righteous (Acts 24:15). Finally, Felix promised that his decision would be forthcoming (Acts 24:22). Thereafter, he ordered that Paul would be held in custody, but Paul was given some freedom, and his friends were allowed to provide for his needs (Acts 24:23). Later, on one particular occasion, Felix and his Jewish wife, Drusilla, invited Paul to speak on faith in Christ, and thereafter, Felix had many follow-up discussions with Paul about Christianity (Acts 24:24-25). Felix held Paul in custody for two years. Felix hoped to receive a bribe from Paul for Paul’s release (Acts 24:26). However, ultimately, Felix left Paul in custody because he wanted to please the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem (Acts 24:26-27).
In AD 60, Nero chose Festus to succeed and replace Governor Felix (Acts 24:27). Three days after assuming his governorship, Festus traveled to Jerusalem to meet the Jerusalem leadership (Acts 25:1-2). Once again, the Jewish leadership reiterated their charges against Paul. Additionally, the Jewish leadership requested that Paul should be brought to Jerusalem for the hearing (Acts 25:3). Once again, this was all a part of a conspiracy to assassinate Paul (Acts 25:3). Upon Festus’ return to the coast, he summoned Paul (Acts 25:6). The Jewish leadership also sent agents to bring more charges against Paul. They accused Paul, but again provided no specifics. The Jewish leadership knew that the Romans would not be receptive to theological arguments. Again, the Romans cared primarily about maintaining the peace. Felix wanted to please the Jewish leadership, so he inquired as to whether Paul would consent to a change of venue to Jerusalem for the hearing. Sensing the Governor’s desire to please the Jewish leadership and wanting to avoid a trip to Jerusalem (and another attempt on his life), Paul appealed to Nero Caesar, which was his right as a Roman citizen (Acts 25:11).
Being that Paul was going to be sent to Nero in Rome, Festus had to offer some written explanation of the charges and why it was even necessary for Festus to send Paul to Rome (Acts 25:25-27). Festus acknowledged that Paul had done nothing worthy of death, but he did not know what to write about Paul. Therefore, Festus invited King Agrippa (an Edumean Jew) and Bernice (his wife) to hear Paul’s case. Again, as a part of his defense, Paul argued that he was being persecuted because of his teaching about the hope of the resurrection (Acts 26:8). Paul explained that his message was meant to open the eyes of his audience “so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith (Acts 26:18).” After hearing Paul’s case, King Agrippa II (the last Herod to rule) concluded that Paul had done nothing worthy of imprisonment or death (Acts 26:30-32). Agrippa also acknowledged that Paul could have been set free if Paul had not appealed to Nero (Acts 26:30-32). Of course, sending Paul to Rome was the politically safe decision for Festus and Agrippa II. By doing so, the controversy was then out of their hands, removed from their jurisdiction, and sent to Rome.
Next, Paul survived a dangerous sea voyage to Rome (Acts 27). During the trip, Paul was in the custody of a centurion by the name of Julius (Acts 27:1). Paul’s companions, Luke and Aristarchus, had been allowed to accompany Paul on his voyage (Acts 27:2). The text explains that the centurion, Julius, treated Paul with great consideration during the voyage (Acts 27:3). As the trip progressed, the seas became more perilous (Acts 27). Paul warned everyone that the voyage was progressing toward a great calamity. Thereafter, for two weeks they encountered dark and stormy seas, and ultimately, they shipwrecked onto the island of Malta (Acts 27). They remained on Malta for three months, and then completed their journey to Rome (Acts 28).
Paul remained in Rome for two years (AD 60-62). He was allowed to live in his own rented lodgings in the custody of a Roman soldier (Acts 28:16). Paul was allowed to meet with fellow Christians and Jewish leaders (Acts 28). Paul explained that the Romans (Festus) and King Agrippa II had found no grounds for executing Paul. However, the Jewish leaders in Judea had objected to his release, and therefore, Paul appealed to Nero Caesar (Acts 28:18-19). While in Rome, large numbers came and listened to the Apostle Paul expound about the Kingdom of God (Acts 28:23). Notice how Paul’s primary message fits under the general heading of the coming of Jesus and the Kingdom of God (Acts 28:23). As remains true until today, some believed and some rejected the message (Acts 28:24). As to those who rejected the message, Paul said that they were spiritually deaf, spiritually blind, and hard of heart (Acts 28:26-27). Paul’s communications to the Jewish leadership in Rome were very important. Their viewpoints and opinions would have been communicated to the Romans and Nero Caesar.
Ultimately, for reasons not clearly stated, Paul was released from custody in AD 62 (Acts 28:30). At this point, Nero was probably disinterested in the case. Nero was an extremely unstable person and leader. Nero’s persecution of Christians did not start until two years later. At that time, Nero used the Christians as a scapegoat for the great fire of Rome, which was most likely started by agents of Nero to clear space for Nero’s building projects. During this later persecution of Christians, Paul was most likely arrested again and sentenced to death by beheading by Nero.
At Acts 28:30-31, we read: “Now, Paul stayed two full years [in Rome] in his own rented lodging and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching things about the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness and unhindered.” Simply put, Paul’s teaching focused on two things: 1) the person of Jesus Christ and 2) the Kingdom of God. Most likely, during his time in custody in Rome, Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians.
 “Philippians, Epistle to the.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Volume Three: K-P, Gen. Editor Geoffrey W. Bromiley, et al., William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988, pp. 838-839.