Acts 9 gives us the account of the salvation of Saul of Tarsus.  In Acts 22, Paul (formerly Saul.  Read Acts 13:9), shares the account of his salvation.  Later, in Acts 26:12-19, Paul shares his testimony in the presence of King Agrippa.

Let’s begin by reading Acts 9:1-7, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. AND THE MEN WHICH JOURNEYED WITH HIM STOOD SPEECHLESS, HEARING A VOICE, BUT SEEING NO MAN.”

What a remarkable event!  Saul, a great enemy of the Lord was stricken as he journeyed to Damascus to take captive those who professed the name of Christ.  In the middle of his hateful work, the Lord spoke to Saul’s heart.  After the Lord identified Himself to Saul, his response was immediate obedience.  The first words that Saul spoke after his conversion were, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”  Calling Him Lord and submitting himself to the Lord’s will are sure signs of a redeemed heart.

Now let’s read Acts 22:9, “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but THEY HEARD NOT THE VOICE OF HIM THAT SPAKE TO ME.”  Acts 9:7 says that the men heard a voice, but saw no man.  Acts 22:9 says the men with Saul did not hear the voice that was speaking to Saul.  How are we to understand this?  Did these men hear the voice of the Lord or not?

I believe the answer lies in what the Apostle Paul said in Acts 26:14, “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and SAYING IN THE HEBREW TONGUE, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”  It seems that the other men with Saul indeed heard a voice but did not understand the voice because the Lord was speaking in Hebrew, a language the educated Jews would understand.  To the others, what they heard was unintelligible because they did not know the Hebrew language.

We have a similar event in John 12:27-29 which says, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.”  Here, the Father spoke openly to the Lord Jesus.  Some who heard the voice thought it had thundered.  Others thought the heard the voice of an angel.  As in the case of Saul’s conversion, others who heard the voice of the Lord Jesus could not understand what was being said.

So, the men with Saul (unbelievers) heard the “voice” as a sound, but did not hear the “voice” as enunciating the words, “Saul, Saul,” etc.  Who are those who can discern the voice of the Lord?  The Lord Jesus Himself said in John 10:27, “MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, and I know them, and they follow me.”  (354.2)