But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
Because of a misunderstanding, the apostle Paul was seized, dragged out of the temple and beaten by men trying to kill him (Acts 21:27-31). The Roman soldiers saved Paul’s life but couldn’t understand what Paul had done to cause the riot. Paul was not shy to mention his Roman citizenship to his advantage with the Romans; and when he was tried before the Sanhedrin, he astutely used his belief in the resurrection to play on the natural divisions in the council.
Paul had been a Pharisee before his conversion and well knew that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead or in angels, so Paul’s announcement divided the council and perhaps saved him from immediate condemnation.
Of course, the Christian belief in Jesus Christ’s resurrection making possible the other resurrections was much different from the Pharisees’ belief, but this essential Christian teaching is an important starting point in preaching the good news of God’s plan.
Read more about the resurrections in our article “Resurrections: What Are They?”