Monday, March 11, 2013
"Paul Says" (Part One) from Willie Martin Archive
The Jews have put so many things in the Scriptures that are not true by lying scribes, that it behooves us to examine Paul.
We are told in 2 Timothy 2:16:
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
We are also told in 1 Thessalonians 5:21:
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
To modern Christians, the question “Was Paul an Apostle?” will appear unreasoned, illogical or even mad. But since ongoing research steadily uncovers discrepancies in Paul’s doctrines, it must be established whether or not Paul was an “apostle.” Whether you or anyone else likes it or not. This study is not a personal attack because of ill feelings, but solely in the interest of truth.
How can one account for the difference between Christianity as preached by Yahshua and modern Christian doctrine? This can only be answered by knowing the influence of Paul on modern Christian doctrines. Paul is one of many who left a permanent mark on the pages of history. In whatever form they appear on the stage of the world, they always play a leading role. Through his INCONSISTENT and CONTRADICTORY actions, Paul became an enigma for the world of religion, a fact that leaves those capable of reasoning greatly perplexed. Who does Paul claim to be?
“...I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus...” (Acts 21:39)
“...I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee...” (Acts 23:6)
“...For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” (Romans 11:1)
“I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.” (2 Corinthians 11:21)
Now here we have Paul saying that he is a Jew, and proving it to the satisfaction of the Pharisees in attendance at this meeting. Then we have Paul saying that he was an Israelite.
Romans 11:1: “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I ALSO AM AN ISRAELITE, OF THE SEED OF ABRAHAM, OF THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN.”
Even the Jews could truthfully say this, for Yahshua acknowledged that they were of the seed of Abraham:
“I KNOW THAT YE ARE ABRAHAM’S SEED; BUT YE SEEK TO KILL ME, BECAUSE MY WORD HATH NO PLACE IN YOU....They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, IF YE WERE ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN (in the previous verse Yahshua acknowledged that the Jews were the SEED of Abraham, but here He says that the Jews are not his children. They are the seed, but not the children), ye would do the works of Abraham...Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. JESUS SAID UNTO THEM (the Jews), IF GOD WERE YOUR FATHER (Here Yahshua is saying that God is not their father; and if God is not their father then their father is Satan), ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me...Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it...HE THAT IS OF GOD HEARETH GOD’S WORDS: YE THEREFORE HEAR THEM NOT, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF GOD...YET YE HAVE NOT KNOWN HIM (Here Yahshua is saying that the Jews do not know God; they are not His children nor do they know Him); but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.” (John 8:37-55)
Philipans 3:5: “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee.”
So we have Paul saying two things, completely different. One of them is a lie; which one is the question?
Acts 21:39: “But Paul said, I AM A MAN WHICH AM A JEW OF TARSUS, A CITY IN CILICIA, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.”
Acts 22:3: “I AM VERILY A MAN WHICH AM A JEW, BORN IN TARSUS, A CITY IN CILICIA, YET BROUGHT UP IN THIS CITY AT THE FEET OF GAMALIEL, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.”
Therefore, we can see that Paul is a liar. Now some will say that he claimed to be a jew in order to save his life; but Yahshua did no such thing when He could have saved His life by declaring that He was a jew. This He never did. Therefore, there is only one conclusion that Paul was a liar.
Since Paul denied the Law and preached that it was no longer in effect then we are told in:
1 John 2:4: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
In his “Last Battle Cry,” Jarah B. Crawford enlightened his readers; and in reference to John 8:31-48, he states:
“...In the first place, Jesus was talking with Jews ‘who had believed.’ They claimed to be Abraham’s seed, but they also claimed they had never been in bondage in Egypt; that in 721 B.C., the ten Northern tribes went into the Assyrian captivity; and that in 586 B.C., the Southern kingdom went into the Babylonian captivity. Yet these Jews said they had ‘never yet been enslaved.’ Jesus openly admits that they are Abraham’s offspring. Yet later He says, ‘If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.’ Then He really laid it on the line and said, ‘You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.’ To put the frosting on the cake, Jesus said that they do not hear the words of God ‘because YOU (Jews) ARE NOT OF GOD.’” (Jarah B. Crawford, Last Battle Cry, Christianity’s final conflict with evil. Middlebury, VT, Jann Publishing, Inc. 1984. p. 2-3)
What can be concluded from Jesus’ own words is that being of Abraham’s seed, Pharisee, Jew or Benjamite, does not necessarily make one “OF GOD.” In Acts 21:39, Acts 23:6, Romans 11:1 and 2 Corinthians 11:21, like a chamaeleon whose skin changes according to the surroundings, Paul on these occasions calls himself whatever fits the purpose. Isn’t the Christianity he accepted worthy of declaration?
“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.” (1 Corinthians 9:20)
Yet from a study of the parables that Yahshua spoke, we know that He never intended the Jews to receive the gospel and to be saved.
The New Testament provides abundant proofs of Paul’s sly conduct in propagating the new faith. Having little success with the Jews, Paul turned towards the Gentiles (Israelites). In order to make Christianity an attractive religion, he thought it expedient to recast the whole structure of the Christian faith. He introduced so many changes that his faith acquired a great resemblance to pagan conceptions. Through arbitrary innovations, he made many things lawful which were absolutely unlawful according to the Law of Moses, as handed to him by Yahweh Himself.
Yahshua had clearly told His disciples that he was not sent to change the law:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
In Luke 16:17, Yahshuas’ testimony is parallel.
“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”
This statement is again corroborated by Mark in 13:31. But in spite of this positive command of the Master, Paul, without the least hesitation, announced that the law was superfluous and redundant, and assuming the role of the new law-giver, Paul declared:
“I do not frustrate the law of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)
And again in Romans 3:20, Paul repeats:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Now, the question arises: How did Paul manage to gain control over the ECCLESIA and succeed in implanting innovations completely at variance with Yahshua’s original teachings? This question is not difficult to answer once Paul’s background is exposed. Paul was NOT a Galilean as THE ELEVEN. He was like Judas, THE TWELFTH, a Jew. Paul was born SAUL in the city of Tarsus, a Roman province of Cilicia. Although not born in Palestine, Saul was a Hellenistic Jew. Sauls’ father was a jew, a Pharisee, and a Roman citizen as well.
“But when Paul perceived that the 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: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” (Acts 23:6)
Nothing is known of Saul’s mother, but he did have a sister who lived in Jerusalem. There are two distinct periods in Saul’s early life: his childhood spent in Tarsus, and his adolescent years and early manhood spent in Jerusalem. The words translated “brought up” in Acts 22:3 could reinforce the idea that Saul was very yong when he came to Jerusalem. Scholars, however, take it as reference to his education.
In his writings, Saul expresses a sense of pride in being a Jew. He also emanates egoism in Tarsus, which was a university town and center of government and trade. Such pride denotes real affection for its culture which was Greek and pagan. To be shielded from pagan influences in a city like Tarsus was an impossible task. It was the kind of place where any intellectual child would be bound to pick up some of the language and ideas of “pagan Greek culture.” Influence of this kind of city is probably enough to explain the three references to “Greek literature” which are found in Paul’s letters and sermons: references to the poets Epimenides, Aratus, and Menander.
Saul soon left Tarsus and came to the center of the Jewish world, Jerusalem. Here he became a student of the learned Rabbi Hillel. Hillel had taught a more advanced and liberal form of Judaism than his rival, Shammai. What Yahshua said about divorce may have been provoked by the arguments of the followers of these two rabbis. Hillel declared that a man could divorce his wife if she displeased him in any way, but Shammai took the view that divorce was justified only in the event of some serious mortal sin. Shammai had also refused to see any place for the Gentiles (Israelites) in the purposes of God.
In his “Barnabas and the Early Christians,” Ata ur-Rakim provided the following information:
“...it is recorded that Paul had desired to marry a woman called Popea, who was the attractive but ambitious daughter of the high priest of the Jews. She possessed haunting beauty and an intriguing mind. She like Paul, but she rejected his offers of marriage and went to Rome as an actress. Starting on the stage, she climbed step by step until she reached Nero’s bed. Ultimately she married him and so became the Empress of the Roman Empire. Paul therefore had good reason to resent both the Jews and the Romans. Paul’s conversion coincided with his being rejected by Popea. He must have been under considerable emotional and mental strain at the time. It is possible that this crisis in his life had some bearing on this sudden change from his being one the greatest supporters of the Jewish Law to one of its greatest enemies.”
Saul progressed well in his studies at Jerusalem, he was a highly successful student and became so recognized that when Yahshua’s followers were being tried for their faith, he was in a position to cast his vote against them, either in a synagogue assembly or in the supreme council of the Jews, “the Sanhedrin.” Judging from his complex personality and Epistles, three apparent main influences must have affected Saul’s mind: “Judaism, Greek philosophy” and the “Mystery Religions.” Saul himself hardly mentions Greek or pagan influences but his very actions and doctrines testify for him.
As one reads the letter Paul wrote as a Christian, it is obvious that he still retained the best beliefs of his teachers. The way Paul wrote, using the Old Testament to prove his theological points, is taken directly from his training as a Pharisee. No one who reads his letter to the Galatians can fail to be amazed by the way Paul draws very unusual meanings from what are quite evident Old Testament passages. For example, Paul argues like a Jewish rabbi when he claims that the promises made to Abraham referred to one single person, Yahshua, because the word “offspring” is singular and not plural.
There was one crucial point, whoever, at which Paul departed from his Jewish heritage. The Jews insisted on a detailed observance, not only of the written Law of the Old Testament, but of traditional laws and customs for which there was no Biblical authority. Paul drove himself into despair as he vainly tried to be a good Pharisee and keep ALL the law. He knew he could never do it, therefore he could never truly know the Father. “Faith” and “grace” then became indispensable.
Of the many philosophical schools of the time, STOICISM was most agreeable to Saul. At least one, if not two, great Stoics came from Tarsus and Saul may have remembered their philosophy from his youth. Some scholars have suggested that Saul’s acquaintance with Stoic philosophy was closer than this.
In 1910, Rudolf Bultmann pointed out that Saul’s reasoning sometimes resembles the Stoic’s arguments. Both use rhetorical questions, short disconnected statements, an imaginary opponent to raise questions, and frequent illustrations drawn from athletics, building, and life in general.
It is even possible to find phrases in Paul’s teaching which could be taken to support Stoic doctrine; for example the statement that “ALL THIS WERE CREATED THROUGH HIM AND FOR HIM. HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.” There is also the fact that in his sermon of Athens, Luke reports that Paul had actually quoted from Aratus (Acts 17:28), who was a well-known Stoic terminology, as when he described morality in terms of what is “fitting or not fitting.”
There are several significant resemblances between the mystery religions and Paul’s Christianity. Both came to Rome from the east. Both offered SALVATION to their followers. Both used initiation rites (baptism) and a sacramental meal (communion). Bot referred to their savior god as “LORD.”
Because of these resemblances between Christianity and the “mysteries” it is apparent that what Paul did was to change the simple ethical teachings of Yahshua into a kind of mystery religion. Comparing the New Testament to the Old is sufficient proof that Christianity is indeed just another mystery (pagan) religion.
Was Paul’s work complementary to that of Peter’s and other “early church leaders;” or was he establishing a different branch of “THE WAY,” a religion that would be different from the original teachings at Jerusalem not only in character, but in belief as well? This was the suggestion put forward in the middle of the nineteenth century by the members of the “Tubingen School” in Germany. Influenced by the great New Testament scholar, Ferdinand Christian Baur, they realized that there was a vast difference between Paul’s type of Christianity and the sort of ECCLESIA founded by Yahshua’s Apostles such as Peter and James.
They saw the whole of the first generation of these religions as a conflict between these rival forms of religious institutions; a conflict that was resolved only with the emergence of the catholic church in the second century. This was not a new idea dreamed up by the members of the “Tubingen School.” Even in the second century, the anonymous authors of the “Clementine Homilies and Recognition” were suggesting that there were irreconcilable differences between Paul and Yahshua’s Apostles. In answer to the question posed at the beginning of this paragraph, NO. Paul’s work was not complimentary to that of the Master’s Apostles, IT WAS CONTRADICTORY.
During the entire period of Yahshua’s ministry, Saul remained the most vicious of the persecutors. He had never met or even seen the Master. It is only upon one occasion that Saul claims to have seen Him and it is a personal claim since no witnesses verified the vision encountered by Saul on his way to Damascus. Because this influential incident is recorded no less than three times in the book of Acts, it may be educational to compare Saul’s three reports.
Foremost however, it may be well to recall that according to the earliest manuscripts, the modern doctrine of the “ascension” does not exist; it is a hoax. This alone is enough to reject Paul’s fabricated event. But for the sake of curiosity, the three narratives should be examined for their inconsistency and contradictory configuration.
“And he (Saul) fell to the earth, and heard a voice... And the men which journeyed with him (Saul) stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no man.” (Acts 9:4, 7)
“And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice...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 22:7, 9)
“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me...” (Acts 26:14)
In Acts 9, Saul FELL to the ground and his men STOOD speechless but HEARD a voice. In Acts 22, Saul’s men saw the light but HEARD NOT the voice. In Acts 26, all were FALLEN to the earth and Saul HEARD the voice.
In a court of law, this testimony would be rejected and the witness dismissed. These reports cannot be associated with inspired writings; furthermore, Saul’s vision is too correlative with Daniel’s vision, where, instead of becoming blind, Daniel became dumb.
“And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.” (Daniel 10:15)
It is an undisputed historical fact that Paul simply refused to benefit from the easily available opportunity of guidance from those who had been Yahshua’s disciples. Because he could not bear to play “second fiddle,” Paul assumed leadership of the early ECCLESIA through sheer force of his personality. It is indeed very strange that during His ministry, while living amongst His disciples, Yahshua taught them that the Law was under no term to be abolished. He thoroughly engraved upon their minds that they were not to take his teachings to the Gentiles.
“...Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5-6)
And in Matthew 15:24, Yahshua repeats:
“...I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Yet, within a short time after the “crucifixion,” the Master appears in a vision to abrogate His previous teachings. It is strange indeed that He does not appear to His own trained disciples but chooses His bitterest enemy.
Following his conversion, Saul encountered immediate adversity from the Jews in Damascus and was forced to flee the city. Rather than returning to Jerusalem and share the blessed event of his conversion with the Apostles, Saul goes off into the Arabian desert where he allegedly welcomes nearly three years of solitude. How does a city boy survive this rugged monastic desert life? From Damascus, directly east is the desert of Arabia and if one travels father east, at a distance of a little more than thee hundred miles, there stands Babylon. Interestingly enough, the 1905 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia mentions a Babylonian school for Pharisee training, in the centuries before and after Yahshua.
From the presentation thus far, it is apparent that Saul did not know Yahshua, was not familiar with His teachings, and that his conversion was a fabrication. Now, through circumstantial evidence, it is intended to predicate that, even by way of persecution, the Jews were unsuccessful in their termination attempts directed toward “THE WAY.” Saul, a constituent of the conspiring Pharisee Jews, therefore infiltrated the early church through his conversion scheme, took command, and introduced pagan doctrines to direct Yahshua’s followers from the true teachings.
Since Saul’s conversion was a hoax, and he, never having the status of disciple, how did this self-proclaimed Apostle gain knowledge of Yahshua’s teachings?
While persecuting Yahshua’s followers and simultaneously closing down the early assemblies, Saul amassed “logia and testimonia” which the churches utilized as fundamental guidelines. Saul, following his miraculous conversion, went beyond the desert of Arabia, straight to Babylon where the “logia and testimonia” were thoroughly studied by the Pharisee Jews who were determined to arrest Yahshua’s reintroduction of Yahweh’s Law. Saul was not alone in this conspiracy. The Jews who feared to lose their political influence and their power in religious concerns needed an immediate deterrent. Thus restraint had to be a religious mixture of Yahshua’s teachings and the Babylonian Mysteries, incorporated into one, to insure the domination of clergymen over the populous. And this is exactly what Saul’s mission consisted of; he successfully combined the Mystery religion with Yahshua’s teachings, and “Christianity” was born.
In the beginning, Paul started with a few innovations. Later, the introduction of new ideas within this new religion radically changed Yahshua’s teachings. Innovations introduced by Paul were simply to attract the Gentiles. He started with canceling the law of circumcision. Step by step, these innovations created a faith which more resembled pagan beliefs than the revealed teachings of Yahshua. The very first commandment states:
“Thou shalt have none other gods before me.”
Yet, the Christian church believes in two more gods besides the Creator. Paul had to incorporate the idea of “Trinity” into his teachings as all the known religions of his time believed in a “Triune Deity.”
Paul found it expedient to revoke the law of circumcision as this was the foremost stumbling block for the Gentiles. This he removed by saying that true righteousness did not rest merely upon the removing of the foreskin; but rather it rested on faith. He argued that Abraham was already righteous when he was commanded to be circumcised.
“And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised...” (Romans 4:11)
When the elders at Jerusalem learned of Paul’s contradictive offense, they attempted to rectify the damage and James wrote to the congregations.
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and not works? Can faith save him? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed into him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” (James 2:14, 22-23)
Seeing that the Israelite elders still persisted in the strict observation of the Law and strongly resisted Paul’s efforts to introduce innovations, Paul struck upon the idea of doing away with the Law and said:
“Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:15-16)
Abraham is the father of who ALL? Paul strikes out in this declaration. Having disposed of the matter of the Law, to his satisfaction and to the contentment of the Gentiles, Paul now focuses his attention to the “Trinity” of the pagans.
From chapter 2, the reader may recollect the fact that the Pauline Epistles were written long before the Gospels. If taken in chronological order, the Epistles rightfully take precedence in the New Testament and the stereoty0e phrases such as, “It’s mentioned first in the Gospels.” can be put to rest. It is Paul who first recorded his thoughts.
“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (1 Corinthians 2:15)
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son unto your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)
“...Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live.” (Hebrews 12:9)
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.” (2 Corinthians 11:31)
Compare this last verse with Romans 3:7:
“For if the truth of God hath more abounded through MY LIE unto his glory; why yet am I so judged as a sinner?”
A very important part of the pagan faiths was the belief in a god who was young and handsome and was to have died or mutilated himself for the sake of mankind. These young gods were invariably supposed to be the offsprings of the ruling supreme god. When Paul and the Jews pondered over the matter, they found a perfect solution in historical fact that the Master had been nailed to the cross.
They, and others, who had witnessed the crucifixion believed that Yahshua had died and later when his body was reported not to have been found in the sepulchre, they wondered. This mysterious disappearance of Yahshua could certainly be put to an advantageous purpose. As Paul pondered, he realized the Yahshua’s “crucifixion” could indeed be used to his own advantage.
As the Gentiles were accustomed to worshiping a number of deities, out of which three were held above all, Paul provided three dieties: “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” This new religion had very little resemblance to “THE WAY,” the belief of Yahshua’s followers.
No doubt, Paul did succeed in bringing the Gentiles into the fold of a religion devised by the Jewish Pharisees and though Paul preached in the name of “Jesus Christ,” his gospel was at complete variance with Yahshua’s teachings. This is why James, Head of the Assembly, considered Paul nothing better than a renegade and a polluted person. James advised Paul to go and cleanse himself:
“Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Take them, and purify thyself with them...” (Acts 21:23-24)
Paul no doubt achieved tremendous success among the Gentiles through his deviation from Yahshua’s teachings; yet the true Assembly under James remained firm and loyal. James and his fellow elders refused to deviate from the original teachings of the Master. They continued to teach what they ha directly learned from Yahshua and paid no attention to visions that led to the darkness of pagan idolatry. Evidence of the conflict between James and his faithful elders, on the one side, and Paul and his associates on the other, can easily be found in the New Testament. In fact, the New Testament in its present content consists mostly of Paul’s own writings and the remaining books have, for the most part, been altered to support the ideas introduced by the Jew Pharisees and scribes.
It must be remembered that the New Testament was canonized in 325 A.D., at the “council of Nicaea,” where 27 books were selected by a majority vote. Of course, in that congregation the majority was of those who believed in the “Trinity” and other pagan conceptions. Those who represented the true Assembly were a small minority and though they emphatically opposed all abominations, they were threatened into silence. The Bishop of Rome, the head of the majority church, had the support of Emperor Constantine, and few dared to oppose the Bishop and the Emperor.
The books that were accepted in this congregation had little historical evidence as to their authenticity. Truth has remained obscure behind the curtain of uncertainty and skepticism. It is impossible to know for certain the real authors of these books. The claim that these books were inspired has now been disproved by many scholars.
The fact remains that Paul did succeed in his purpose, and his concepts and ideas were welcomed by the Gentiles. Paul’s religion prevailed everywhere; it was a “universal” religion. Does this mean that Paul was a divinely inspired reformer and worked under the Divine command?
“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.” (Deuteronomy 18:20)
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord God. And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 13:8-9)
Yahshua, who preached the truth to Israelites, did not die. Paul who peached to the Gentile assembly...it is known how he met his end.
In further pursuit of Paul’s claim to apostleship, this writer quotes:
“The time is perhaps coming when the Church will have to make up its mind whether its teaching shall be based upon the teachings of Jesus or upon the Christianity of Paul.” (Holmes-Gore, Rev. V.A.; Ferrier Todd; The Distortion of Christianity. Extract from Christ or Paul? p. 11)
These words spoken by Dr. Hastings Rashdall in a sermon delivered in Hereford Cathedral in 1911 express the conviction held by many that our Christianity is more Pauline than Christian.
The same truth has been expressed with typical frankness by Bernard Shaw, who says:
“There has really never been a more monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of the limitation of Paul’s Soul upon the Soul of Jesus.” (Holmes-Gore, Rev. V.A.; Ferrier Todd; The Distortion of Christianity. Extract from Christ or Paul? p. 11)
And more recently, the Rev. Reginald F. Rynd, writing in the October 1940 issue of the “Hibbert Journal,” says the fact that Paul’s Gospel was triumphant is no proof that it was the logical development of primitive tradition. Indeed, the more one ponders over the question of Paul’s’ ascendancy in the early Church the more unaccountable does it become. The Master is said to have spent a considerable proportion of His ministry training twelve disciples to form the nucleus of a Christian fellowship and carry on the work when He was no longer with them.
But what happened? It appears that almost as soon as He left them, Paul arrived on the scene and told them that they were on quite the wrong lines, and that his version of the Gospel was the real one. It is hardly surprising that they were loath to receive him and that a bitter and lengthy controversy went on between him and the disciples.
The author of the Acts of the Apostles has succeeded in making the disagreement as slight as possible, but other writings in the New Testament give unmistakable signs that it was much more serious and fundamental than Acts cares to admit. The Pauline Epistles reveal that there was a bitter controversy between Paul and Peter, and also between Paul and James.
Many would agree that the Epistle of James is intended to counteract the influence of Romans, but Ernest Renan would go further and say that the Epistle of Jude is a letter written against Paul, and that anti-Pauline references are to be found in the Revelation. Thus, in his “History of the Origins of Christianity” (Book III, St. Paul) he says that anti-Pauline letters were sent from Jerusalem in the name of the Apostles, and adds:
“It is possible that a specimen of these letters may have been preserved for us in the Epistle of Jude.”
The Epistle of Jude, he goes on to say
“...is a manifesto of the most violent description against nameless adversaries, who are represented as rebels and impure men. The style has much analogy with the style of the Epistle of James.” (Holmes-Gore, Rev. V.A.; Ferrier Todd; The Distortion of Christianity. Extract from Christ or Paul? p. 12)
After quoting verses 3 to 18 of the Epistle of Jude, Renan goes on to say:
“Paul from this moment was for a section of the Church one of the most dangerous of heretics, a false Jew, a false Apostle, a new Balaam, a Jezebel, a villain who prophesied the destruction of the temple, in two words, a Simon Magnus...They were accustomed to designate the Apostle of the Gentiles by the sobriquet of Nicholas (Conqueror of the People), a name akin to Balaam. His disciples for the same reason were called Nicolaitans...His gospel was a false Gospel...Paul was the ‘frivolous man’ of whom the Gentiles have received the doctrine which is opposed to the Law; his visions, which he calls ‘depths of God,’ they qualified as the ‘depth of Satan,’ his Churches they named the ‘Synagogues of Satan;’ in spite of Paul, they proclaim boldly that the Twelve on are the foundation of the Church of Christ.” (Holmes-Gore, Rev. V.A.; Ferrier Todd; The Distortion of Christianity. Extract from Christ or Paul? p. 15)
The theologians Baur and Volk mar agree with Renan that the reference to “Nicolaitans” in the Revelation is a covert attack on Paul. The “Nicolaitans” were an antinomian sect who abused the doctrine, emphasized by Paul, of Gentile liberty from the Mosaic Law.
Early in the last century, the theologians of the Tubingen School had perceived the serious nature of the conflict between Paul and the other disciples. And though we cannot accept all their conclusions, they did well to stress the conflict which so many have tried to conceal or ignore. That the difference of opinion between them was very sharp is shown by Paul’s violent attacks on all who taught another Gospel.
Thus we read:
“I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received (from me), let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)
The followers of Baur (one of the chief theologians of the Tubingen School) held the theory that Simon Magus, who is mentioned in the eighth chapter of Acts, is really a “pseudonym” for Paul. They pointed out that Simon claimed to be the power of god which is called Great, and Paul calls his Gospel the Power of God (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18), and claims that the power of Yahshua rested in himself (2 Corinthians 12:9). Moreover, in the “Clementine Recognition iii, 49, Simon is called “a chosen vessel for evil,” which recalls Paul’s own claim to be a chosen vessel. (Acts 9:15)
In Acts 8, the power of bestowing the Holy Ghost, which Philip does not appear to have exercised, is clearly represented as the special prerogative of the apostles. When, therefore, Simon offered money for the power of conferring the Holy Ghost, it was really to obtain the rank of Apostle.
This is interpreted as a cryptic account of the refusal of the older Apostles to admit Paul’s claim to rank with them, backed though it was by a gift of money for the poor saints in Jerusalem.
Peter tells him that he has no lot in the matter, i.e., no part in the lot of the Apostleship (See Acts 1:17, 25); and that he is still in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, i.e., full of bitter hatred against Peter. (Galatians 2:11)
Baur himself pointed out that in the Clementine Literature, in the disputations between Simon Magus and Peter, some of the claims Simon is represented as making (e.g., that of having seen the Master, not in his lifetime, yet subsequently in vision) were really the claims of Paul; and urged that Peter’s refutation of Simon was in some places intended as polemic against Paul.
Moreover, the Clementine Literature is notable for its hostility to Paul and its Ebonite and Essen Doctrines. A remarkable passage which occurs both in “the clementine Homilies” and in “the Clementine Recognitions” contains a warning that the tempter who had contended in vain with the Master would afterwards send Apostles of deceit, and therefore the converts are cautioned against receiving any teacher who had not first compared his doctrine with that of James, lest the devil should send a preacher of error to them, even as he had raised up Somon as an opponent to Peter. Thus we read:
“Remember to shun [an] apostle or teacher or prophet who does not first accurately compare his preaching with [that of] James, who was called the brother of my Lord, and to whom was entrusted to administer the church of the Hebrews in Jerusalem...wherefore He who hath sent us, said, ‘Many shall come to me in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them.’” (Holmes-Gore, Rev. V.A.; Ferrier Todd; The Distortion of Christianity. Extract from Christ or Paul? p. 14)
Murray’s Dictionary of Christian Biography admits “it need not be disputed that in this passage Paul is referred to, his preaching being spoken of in the future tense as dramatic propriety required, since the action of the story is laid at a time before his conversion.” (Holmes-Gore, Rev. V.A.; Ferrier Todd; The Distortion of Christianity. Extract from Christ or Paul? p. 15)
In the letter of Peter prefixed to “the Clementine Homilies,” we cannot doubt that Paul is assailed as the enemy who taught that the obligations of the Mosaic Law were not perpetual, and who unwarrantably represented Peter himself as concurring in teaching which he entirely repudiated.
Again, in the Laodicean disputation in “the Clementine Homilies” xvii, 13-20, an argument takes place as to whether evidence of the senses or that of supernatural vision is more trustworthy; and it is made to appear that Simon Magus claims to have obtained, by means of a vision of the Master, knowledge of Him superior to that which Peter had gained during his year of personal converse with Him!
And Peter says to Simon Magus:
“...why should Christ have remained with his disciples and instructed them a whole year, if it were possible for one to be made teacher at once by vision? If, however, thou hast been made an apostle after having been instructed by Him in a brief and momentary manifestation, then preach His words, love His apostles, and fight not against me who have lived in His society.” (Homily xvii, c. 19)
The curious and erroneous idea that the Master’s ministry lasted only one year is found even in writers of the first century, and is probably due to a misinterpretation of the Master’s saying He had come to proclaim the accepted year of the Lord. (See Luke 4:19)
In this section phrases are introduced which occur in the notice of the dispute at Antioch between Peter and
Paul, contained in the Epistle to the Galatians.
Murray’s Dictionary of Christian Biography admits “it need not be doubted that in this section of “the Homilies” the arguments nominally directed against Simon are really intended to depreciate the claims of Paul.” (Holmes-Gore, Rev. V.A.; Ferrier Todd; The Distortion of Christianity. Extract from Christ or Paul? p. 15) This was the main passage that gave rise to Baur’s theory which led to so much speculation on the identification of Paul and Simon.
And though some ingenious theologians appear to have over-reached themselves in their anxiety to turn every reference to Simon Magus into a diatribe against Paul, it is highly significant that there was such tremendous opposition to Paul in the early Assembly.;
In the so-called “pseudo-epistle” of Peter to James, prefixed to “the Clementines,” the unnamed enemy who had falsified the doctrine preached by Peter is clearly Paul, for Peter says:
“I see already the beginning of the evil; for some of the Gentiles have rejected the doctrines taught by me, which are in harmony with the Law, having adopted an anti-legal and fabulous doctrine from the man who is my enemy. Nay, some have attempted, even during my lifetime, to wrest my words, by various false interpretations, to the subversion of the Law as if I also were really, though I did not openly express it, of the same opinion.” (Holmes-Gore, Rev. V.A.; Ferrier Todd; The Distortion of Christianity. Extract from Christ or Paul? p. 17)
Another interesting statement attributed to Peter by “the Homilies” is the opinion that the false Gospel must first be spread by a deceiver (presumably Paul), and then after the destruction of the holy place (i.e., the Temple at Jerusalem) the true Gospel must be secretly disseminated. (Homily ii, c. 17)
Another lesser-known document which was anti-Pauline is the “Ascents of Jesus.” This is described by Bishop Lightfoot as a Judeo-Christian work stamped with the most distinctive Essen features; it is referred to in “Epiphanius” (Haer. xxx, 16), who says it represented James as condemning sacrifices, and published a number of columnies against Paul.
It would seem that a number of anti-Pauline writings which were current in the early Assembly were either lost or suppressed by the supporters of Paul...In fact, it is obvious that the Gospels in their original form must have been very different from what they are today. Among the documents which were lost or suppressed was the Gospel of Hebrews, or Nazarene Gospel. Ernest Renan says:
[continued in Part Two]