In the New Testament, the man Gamaliel only appears in two verses – both times in the book of Acts. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, and was greatly respected as a highly educated and fair man.
Gamaliel was the great grandson of Hillel, who was also well-known in Jewish circles and respected as a great teacher of the law. Gamaliel was a Pharisee, and had an earned doctor of the law degree. Acts 5:34 tells us that he was greatly respected.
The Unger’s Bible Dictionary reveals that Gamaliel was given the honorary title of Rabban, which only seven doctors of the law had ever received. He was known for his wisdom, and was called “The Beauty of the Law.” When he died, some said that the glory of the Law had departed.
The Apostle Paul considered it to be a high privilege to have been taught by Gamaliel. He described it as being “brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers” (Acts 22:3). In this verse, it is clear that Paul also considered Gamaliel to be a great teacher of the law.
Gamaliel was known for his wisdom. It was he, when the apostles were brought before the council, who had given the advice to let them alone and let’s see if it will just come to nothing. The council wanted them dead, but God through Gamaliel diverted it to a lesser punishment, and they were beaten instead. As far as we know, Gamaliel never became a Christian.
It might be added here that Christians need to realize that his advice at this time is simply not true. Gamaliel believed that if something is not of God, then it will eventually come to naught. Because of the illustrations he gave, he also believed that it would come to nothing quickly.
If this were true, then cults would simply disappear after a little while, and so would evil men, governments, ideologies, etc. Instead, they grow worse, as God told us in His Word, and there are more of them than ever. No, they will not disappear until Christ Himself removes them all at the same time! He is simply letting them grow now so that they can get ready for the harvesting!
People in churches today often do not realize the privilege they have to sit under some men who are highly knowledgeable of the Word. God has taught them much and they can pass on their knowledge and experience if you will let them. Be faithful to hear the regular preaching and teaching in your church, and you will grow. While this is very important, realize that the greatest privilege is to spend time in the Word and sit at the feet of Christ and let His Spirit teach you daily.
Evangelist Mike Valles
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