Acts 9:4-5 – “….., and heard a voice saying …..I am Jesus whom thou persecutest”
Who Spoke To Paul?
Many of us have been taught that this passage of scripture in particular (Acts 9:4-5) is evidence that the Lord “God” spoke his name to Paul.
It is understandable why so many of us start out drawing this “incorrect” conclusion (Either we were taught to believe that from someone whom you studied under ; i.e., a Pastor, minister, church, etc… or possibly you read it from some other source, web, book, radio, tv, etc….)
Unfortunately, you did not ascertain this conclusion from reading it in the Bible anywhere, (or at least it is not part of this passage in particular)
First, nowhere does this passage say anything about God. This is an incorrect, yet understandable, conclusion (actually it is an assumption) that is often drawn from several factors.
1. The use of the word “heaven”: This however should not seem that strange considering Jesus had just recently been resurrected from the dead by God and ascended up to Heaven to be with God (Acts 4:10, Acts 17:30-31, 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:24, 10:12). As Jesus was then, Jesus yet remains at the right hand of God up in heaven (Hebrews 9:24, Acts 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 10:12, Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22) (See also: (Jesus Then And Now))
2. The use of the word “Lord” The Word Lord is used in three manners so understanding what this word means is vital to correctly understanding this passage (Ref. Are There Two Lords? Prove It! (Jude 1:4))
3. He “heard a voice speaking” Paul did not see Jesus, nor did Paul ever see God literally in person (John 5:37, 1John 4:12). Jesus did not “appear” out of nowhere or materialize himself before Paul. Jesus was speaking from heaven (the sky above – we cannot actually see Heaven itself). This is similar to what occurred when God spoke out from Heaven concerning Jesus (2 Peter 1:17)
What We Can Prove
Paul understood this voice of Jesus to be that of “the “Son of God”
“Jesus” spoke to Paul, and we also know that Jesus is the “Son of” God,
Note: (This title “son of God” is with the understanding that this is a relationship terminology and Jesus is not the “literal” (or biological – for lack of better wording) offspring of God, thus making the existence of two Gods – which clearly would contradict all of the scriptures if that were literally taken, or if you try and say God was “pretending to be” or “acting as” his own Son, thus making God both a deceiver and liar)
If you read a little further down (vs 9:17-20) we know that Paul understood this voice of Jesus to be that of “the “Son of God” and not God himself (God the Father)
Acts 9:17-20 (KJV) “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”