Saul, (later to be named Paul) the Pharisee, was a man who thought he believed and that he believed perfectly. He was sure of himself and proud of his traditional religion and his history of being “special” even among his peers. He was raised in the strict Hebrew customs and studied under the best of his day, first at Tarsus, and then by invitation, at Jerusalem under Gamaliel, the great teacher of the Pharisees. As a member of the Pharisee group, he was extremely faithful to all the interpretations of the law. Saul was soundly convinced that he had the true faith in the true God and was also convinced that his thoughts and ideas were “right.” Saul was orthodox in every way. When one is ‘right’ and all the others are ‘wrong’ there is the seedbed of terrorism.
Saul was a religious terrorist for the law as he defined the law. He had also defined God so well that he no longer listened to Him. This is always the way of religious terrorism… then and now… with any religion regardless of what it’s called.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Jesus