Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Paul – Apostle or Fraud

Saint Paul“Paul is not essential. He’s not a requirement to be a Christian.”

“You only have Paul’s word for being a ‘light to the gentiles’ and let’s face it Paul was known as a liar, he said so.”

“Jesus never tells us to follow Paul. Paul tells us to follow Paul.”

“Paul did not meet the criteria for being an apostle, therefore he wasn’t one except through his own mouth.”

“Why did none of the other apostles or disciples of Jesus ever actually call Paul an apostle??”

“No, the early Church did not accept Paul.  He was utterly rejected by the Ephesians, even Paul testifies to that.  Ephesus found him to be a false apostle and a liar.”

These comments probably appear strange on a Christian apologetics blog, but they are quotes from recent online discussions I’ve had with people who believe the Apostle Paul was a fraud. Was he? Are none of his epistles to churches of any worth to followers of Christ? What about the the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles? Are they also fraudulent?

I first came across people who didn’t believe Paul was a legitimate apostle of Christ about 40 years ago. However, the anti-Paul sentiment has been around for a lot longer than that. It goes all the way back to the 1st century AD.

“Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 9:1-2

People who believe Paul was a fraud seem to be in agreement that some of the writings of the New Testament should not be there. They are in general agreement that all of Paul’s letters are fraudulent. Most also agree that 2 Peter is also a fraud. That’s convenient for them since 2 Peter 3:15-16 supports Paul’s apostleship. There is some divergence of opinion from there. Some of the anti-Paul group believe that all of the Gospels are Scripture, including Luke’s Gospel, some don’t. I find that interesting since Paul mentored Luke. Some who accept Luke don’t accept John’s Gospel. Many of those people also don’t accept John’s letters and Revelation. They are anti-Paul and anti-John. It’s a bit hard to keep up with all of the different nuances of what they do and don’t accept as being God’s Word.

Some of the anti-Paul group don’t accept Luke’s Acts of the Apostles even though they do accept Luke’s Gospel account. Others accept the first several chapters of Acts, but not after chapter 6 because Paul is introduced in chapter 7. Do they believe that Acts 7 – 28 is not part of God’s Word because of some textual reason? Not that I’ve seen. The main reason seems to be that the rest of Acts is pretty much about Paul and they believe Paul is a fraud, so what Luke wrote must be fraudulent. I do wonder why they would trust Luke at all in Acts or in his Gospel account if they think he’s a liar and party to a fraud about Paul. That’s not logical. Luke wrote a long narrative to his friend Theophilus that began in Luke 1 and ended in Acts 28. Why trust any of it if you believe Luke is a liar and manipulator? There is no reason to believe that Luke was a liar and fraud, but if you believe that at least be consistent. If you believe Luke was a liar and fraud, then you can’t and won’t accept either one of his narratives to Theophilus.

For the person who does not accept Luke, Acts, 2 Peter, Hebrews and all of Paul’s letters, I don’t think there’s anything anyone can do to help you. You’ve chosen to throw out every possible piece of evidence that would tell you anything about Paul. That’s like a trial judge who disallows every piece of evidence that would prove the defendant not guilty just because the judge does not want the defendant found not guilty. The court is stacked against the person in that case. The same is true in the way many people handle the evidence for Paul’s apostleship. If the evidence could possibly support Paul’s legitimacy as an apostle of Jesus Christ, they throw it out. That’s not reasonable, logical, ethical or legal, so there’s nothing I can do to convince you because your mind is made up and closed to the possibility of being wrong. You have come to the table of discussion with presuppositions, preconceptions and thick ear plugs. You do not want to know, so you won’t know.

However, if you have questions about whether Paul was an apostle or a fraud and you’re open to looking at all of the evidence, then we can look at the evidence together and see what’s there. Once you have seen all of the evidence you can make your own informed decision about Paul. From talking with many anti-Paul people and reading their literature for years I’m convinced they have not seen all the evidence, have incorrectly interpreted the evidence they have seen and are closed to looking at it with fresh eyes and open minds.

We’ll begin opening the evidence in the next part of our investigation: Paul – Apostle or Fraud.

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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61 thoughts on “Paul – Apostle or Fraud

  1. I do have an answer. There are conflicts between Pauline Christianity and the Old testament, as well as Paul clearly disobeying the orders the apostles gave him in acts 21:20-24.

    Acts21:21 states Paul was teaching not to circumcise.
    Acts 21:24 indicates the apostles clearly told him not to teach this.

    “21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.”

    Incidentally, his actions proved he was under the law to the disciples.

    Clearly, he was not preaching against the law in front of James.

    If Paul is telling the Jews not to circumcise, he is contradicting the message of Jesus Brother James.

    It takes more than a leap of faith to state that Paul’s message is superior to the Apostles Jesus actually taught in the flesh.

    Combine this with the contradictions between Jesus ‘If you love me follow my commandments’ vs Paul saying if you love Jesus follow no commandments.

    More proof of his Charlatanship is 1 Corinthians 9
    “To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.”

    Paul looks like an even bigger liar than Bill Clinton!

    Also, look at Paul’s constant lack of character AFTER the supposed conversion. He robbed some churches to pay others.

    When you recognize that Acts was written by his friend Luke, this makes you wonder if this was a theopolitical whitewash. Paul looks really bad when his friend writes about him.

    I can’t understand why anyone would consider Paul to be anything more than a charlatan.

    • Hi, John. Paul and the other apostles were well aware of the differences between their callings (Acts 15; Galatians 2). On his way to Jerusalem, Paul stayed with Philip the evangelist (one of the Seven). A prophet named Agabus (might be the same Agabus from Acts 11) came from Judea to see Paul. Agates took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.” The people pleaded with Paul not to go to Jerusalem, but Paul said he was ready to be bound and even die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. Paul met with James and the elders in Jerusalem. Paul reported how God had saved Gentiles through his preaching and they told Paul how many thousands of Jews had believed and that they were zealous for the law. They were concerned about what would happen when Jews in Jerusalem heard that Paul was in the city. They asked him to take four men who had a made a vow for their purification rites and pay their expenses. Paul agreed to do that.

      I don’t believe Paul would have agreed to do that anywhere other than Israel, and possibly only in Jerusalem. He understood what God was doing through James, Peter, John and the other apostles and elders in Jerusalem. They had a different specific ministry than Paul (Acts 15; Galatians 2). Their specific ministry was to “the circumcised” and Paul’s specific ministry was to “the uncircumcised” (Galatians 2). Paul had not come to Jerusalem to cause problems. Paul’s intent was to visit Jerusalem, then Rome (Acts 19:21). His actions in Jerusalem did not prove that he was under the law to the disciples. That had already been determined not to be the case at the Jerusalem council years earlier (Acts 15).

      I think you misunderstand the message of Paul. Jesus had already prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21)). The Lord’s offer to return to Jerusalem (Acts 3:19-20) to set up His earthly kingdom was not going to happen because of Israel’s rejection of that offer (Acts 7-8). Jesus called Paul to a special ministry to take the Gospel “to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15-16). The Jerusalem assembly of believers did not meet after the Romans destroyed the city because they had either been killed or scattered around the world. The Gospel the followers of Jesus (Jews and Gentiles) believed and practiced after the destruction of Jerusalem was based on the writings of the apostles, including the writings of Paul. Jesus brought the Gospel message to earth and He used all of the apostles, including Paul, to preach it. Jesus made an offer to Israel that the leaders of Israel rejected and Rome destroyed Jerusalem. Jesus knew that the ministry Paul had was going to prepare the world outside of Jerusalem to hear His Gospel for centuries to follow. The differences you see are explained in the writings of the apostles.

      If Paul was a charlatan and liar, as you say, it would seem odd that he would write anything in his writings that would give away his true purpose. You quote 1 Corinthians 9 which is Paul’s defense of his apostleship. Paul was constantly under attack from Judaizers who desired to bring the Gentiles under Mosaic Law and have them be circumcised, something Peter, John, James and other apostles and elders agreed that Gentiles did not need to do (Acts 15; Galatians 2). It’s interesting to note that in 1 Corinthians 8 Paul did exactly what the Jerusalem apostles and elders had asked him to do (“telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood” – Acts 15:20). He followed that with a defense of his apostleship, which is something he had every right to do and in fact needed to do in his response to problems in the Corinthian church. Paul even pointed out that he had the same rights as the other apostles (e.g. Peter, John, etc) to receive food and drink, take a believing wife along with him, and make his living “from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:1-11), but said he did not use the right so it would not hinder the Gospel (vss. 12ff). Paul preached the Gospel “free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.” That doesn’t sound like someone who robbed some churches to pay others as you claim. The free-will offering he took from Gentile churches was specifically to help the Jewish believers who were undergoing terrible conditions in Jerusalem. Paul had a deep desire to win Jews to Christ and did everything he could to win them. “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:23)

      I can’t understand why anyone cannot see that Paul was anything but a charlatan and liar. Jesus said that Paul would “suffer” for His Name (Acts 9:16) and that’s exactly what Paul did.

      Hope that helps!

      Mark

  2. Kgosietsile on said:

    I will answer all your questions although I have great difficulty in understanding their relevance to the topic. Firstly, I’m not a Christian. I was a Christian for more than 3 quarters of my life, I believed that the bible was God’s Word to mankind.

    That was until I finally accepted that the Bible is a nothing less than a document approved by Constantine (Council of Carthage 397 AD). Constantine, a man who never repented and was a drunkard who persecuted the believers, approved the bible in its more or less present form.

    I am an Ebionite, who believes that Yahushua came to show us the way, I follow Him who came to set the captives free from bondage and give us life in abundance.

    As to whether the Bible is scripture or not, you’d want to know why on earth did the council decide to get rid of books like the book of Enoch. If you believe that the letters of the “13 apostle” are scripture, and those that do not believe in them are apostates then that makes the rest of the 1st – 3rd century believers apostates.

    How we manage to state with boldness that the bible is God’s Word for all ages is very irresponsible. The bulk of the Old Testament books were written in the post-exilic era. Those which were written prior to this time were later revised by the Jewish editors and redactors. But these Jewish editors have gone much further than just revising some of the books which are now a part of the Jewish and Christian canons. They have actually discarded many books altogether. That’s right. Many books which were written by the prophets of Israel were discarded and rejected and left out of the present canon of Scripture. I am not referring to Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. I am referring to books which are attested to by the very Bible itself. The prophets Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Ahijah, Iddo, and Shemiah actually wrote books to which the later Jewish writers and redactors had access to. In fact, they have written 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles more or less on the information they found in those books. Frankly speaking, there was no need for the canonical books above mentioned to be written at all. Those discarded books were written by the holy prophets describing in detail the points the later redactors only deal with partially. These books that the ancient prophets wrote could be called the Bible before the Bible. These books are now called the lost books of the Bible because the Jewish editors and redactors discarded them and refused to incorporate them in the later Jewish Bible. That these books really existed is quite simple to demonstrate. In 2 Chronicles 9:29 we read:

    “As for the other events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer?”

    All three were prophets. All three wrote historical books which contained a full version and account of Solomon’s reign. The account in Chronicles was merely an abridged version. But these books were left out of the canonical Bible. They are no part of the Jewish and Christian Bibles. They are either lost or suppressed. In 2 Chronicles 12:15 we read:

    “As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer?”

    Shemiah was a prophet from Shiloh. He instructed King Rehoboam not to wage war with Jeroboam who was the king of the Ten Tribes [1 Kings 12:22]. Prophet Shemiah was well informed of the events of his day. Regrettably his book is not available to us because the Jewish editors and scribes simply decided to discard it and not include it in the Bible. 1 Chronicles 29:29 says:

    “As for the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records of Samuel the seer, the records of Nathan the prophet, and records of Gad the seer, together with the details of his reign and power, and the circumstances that surrounded him and Israel and the kingdoms of all other lands.”

    The three important prophets wrote a full account of David’s reign. They also wrote of the “Gentiles” and their kings. The author of Chronicles wrote only a partial account of David’s life. But the book of Samuel was lost and suppressed. It was not incorporated in the Bible. So we are now deprived of this book even though it was written by Samuel the Prophet, who was surely greater than the later Jewish redactors and editors. It seems that the Jewish redactor had a good reason to reject and discard the book of Samuel – as well as other books. These books obviously said things that did not suit the Jews of the post-exilic era. The Record of Samuel is of special interest. It is said that he wrote a full account of David’s reign – from beginning to end. But how could this have been the case when the canonical books of Samuel clearly show that Samuel died before David even became king? Samuel died while King Saul was still the king. Is it not related that the medium of Endor consulted the ghost of Samuel at the request of Saul? How then could  Samuel write a book in which he fully described the reign of David? If the text of 1 Chronicles 29:29 is really true, then the stories and accounts given in the canonical books of Samuel are fictions. 2 Chronicles 26:22 says:

    “The other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the annals of Jehu son of Hanani.”

    Again this text verifies the fact that the books of Chronicles contained only an abridged account of the kings of Judah and Israel. The full accounts were written in books which are now lost. In the books that were written by prophets but which were also suppressed and discarded by the Jewish hierarchy of the post-exilic times, when the Bible was compiled by Ezra the priest. Now it is significant that the Samaritans accused Ezra of falsifying the Pentateuch and the Hebrew Scriptures in general. 2 Chronicles 33:18-19 shows that the reign of Manasseh and his prayer and the places where he built idolatrous places of worship are all written in the RECORDS OF HOZAI. But again, this book is lost because it was discarded and rejected by the later Jewish scribes. The author of the Jewish Pentateuch also had access to a book called The Book Of The Wars Of Yahweh [Numbers 21:13-14]. This is what the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary on p. 179, has to say concerning this book:

    “Book of the Wars of the Lord represents a memento of a larger literary development in early Old Testament times than is represented in the canonical books. This early literary work, probably poetical, existed in Mosaic times. It was likely a collection of odes celebrating God’s glorious acts toward Israel and recited over campfires, just as Bedouin do today.”

    This book was known to the Jewish redactors and editors. But it was not incorporated in the present canonical Bible for reasons best known to the Jewish redactors. This book contained much of early Israelite history but it was discarded probably because it was not to the liking of the later Jewish hierarchy. There was also another book which is mentioned in Joshua 10:13. It was called The Book Of Jashar. This book is also mentioned in 1 Samuel 1:18. It was not completed until at least the days of David, since some of his acts are recorded in this book. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, on p. 179, says:

    “The Book of Jashar seems to have been an early national chronicle of events, in Israel that stretched over several centuries of the early history of the Hebrews.”

    Why was not this important book included in the Bible together with the later writings? Was there something to hide? Why did the Jewish redactors choose to write their own version of Israel’s history – in the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles – rather than simply retain all the books to which they have referred?

    To answer your question whether I do not believe in those books you mentioned, my answer is they are not Scripture but I thank God that they didn’t manage to remove the proof contained in them that Saul of Tarsus like most of his Phariseeic predecessors were nothing but what Yahushua described as vipers. Its your decision whether you want to continue following Paulinism or follow the true Essenic belief portrayed by our Messiah “Yahushua”. I hope my response doesn’t in anyway offend you but rather leads you to a path of righteousness as Yahushua would love to see.

    • I agree – you are not a Christian. You may find this study about Ebionites interesting – https://faithandselfdefense.com/2013/09/13/paul-apostle-or-fraud-part-10/ . You may also be interested in looking through the 30-part series “Can I Trust the Bible?” – https://faithandselfdefense.com/2011/10/02/can-i-trust-the-bible-part-1/ . It addresses many of your issues about the Scriptures.

      Thank you for enquiring, but I’m not offended by your comments. I am rather concerned about your perspective and practice. That’s why I asked you questions about how you worshipped, how you taught, how you evangelized, etc. Perspective leads practice.

      I believe Jesus – what He said, what He did, what He requires. I believe Jesus when He gave His approval for the Scriptures used in Judaism at the time. He even said, “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” (Luke 24:44) Jesus confirmed and affirmed that the entire writings of what we call the Old Testament were correct and written about Him.

      The Books of the New Testament were all in use by the Church during the 2nd Century A.D., long before Constantine and the Councils of the 4th centuries AD and following. The only writings and councils that concern true Christianity are 1st Century apostolic. The writings of people other than the Lord’s chosen apostles, while interesting to read for historical purposes, are not commandments for God’s people and shouldn’t be given the weight of God’s authority.

      Jesus chose Paul to be His apostle to the Gentiles. Nowhere in the New Testament do you see Jesus address Paul by name and say anything about him falling away from the truth. Trying to force Paul into the words of Christ in Revelation about false apostles is a major fallacy. I suggest you be careful about reading things (e.g. biases, presuppositions) into Scripture. Exegesis rather than eisogesis is a good rule for proper interpretation.

      Thank you again for writing.

      Mark

    • Kgosietsile on said:

      Thanks Mark, it is rather obvious that we are not going to agree. Its a fact that the Jewish redactors removed books from the Pentateuch for reasons best known to them, I say its fact because even the prophet Jeremy or Jeremiah writes in Chapter 8:8. I will point out to you that only the churches that splintered from the Catholic church disregards the Book of Enoch as the Greek and Ethiopian churches have it in their canon. I cannot believe that you think that the book written by the prophet Samuel deserves no place in Scripture but then so did the Jewish redactors. What about the Gospel of James, the Gospel of the infancy of Jesus. These are books that were very dear to the Essene(Ebionite) community to which Jesus was born. Maybe they(redactors) had our best interests at heart but its rather doubtful as it is clear from what is contained in the bible canon that they did as they pleased with “Scripture”. Having said that I don’t know which canon you use the catholic canon (81 books) or the Protestant canon which was further reduced to 66 books by the bishop of Cantebury. I will read the study on the Ebionites and respond to you tomorrow as it almost midnight here in South Africa. SHALOM brother.

    • Kgosietsile on said:

      I apologize that my response comes a bit late. I read your study on the Ebionites and to be honest with you, that is not the true description of the Essenic Nazarene Ebionite movement. Hence I’ll try respond to that and in the process continue to show you why we’ll never accept Saul of Tarsus to have been an apostle of God. I think this will rather be a long response hence I’m pleading with you to be patient.

      First, some necessary background information must be given. There was an ancient Jewish religion which was very mystical, high and noble. It was a very evolved form of religion, rooted in respect and care for all of creation. This ancient Jewish religion was both very esoteric — as evidenced by its Kaballah mysticism — and yet very practical, as evidenced by its emphasis on daily lifestyle disciplines, ecology and communal economics. It was also VERY VEGETARIAN: not only was animal sacrifice forbidden, but so was the eating of animal flesh absolutely condemned. War and slavery had no part in this nonviolent religion. Women were the equals to men; women were entitled — in fact, encouraged– to participate in the Priesthood. This Priesthood — called “The Priesthood of Melki Zadek” — was governed by God via good angels and the divinely inspired BOOK OF THE ETERNAL COVENANT. Their original founder was Enoch; later, Moses led a major remanifestation of their movement. THIS ENLIGHTENED ANCIENT JEWISH RELIGION WAS KNOWN AS “ESSENE NAZARENE JUDAISM”.
      But Essene Nazarene Judaism was not the only form of Judaism. A violent, flesh-eating form of Judaism based on bloody animal sacrifice became the dominant religion in Israel. The nonviolent, vegetarian Essenes were persecuted by the animal sacrifice cult. Both forms of Judaism expected a Messiah: the sacrificial cult expected the Messiah to be a warrior king; the Essene Nazarenes expected a Messiah of Peace, a spiritual King. And so it was that the Messiah of Peace, the spiritual King of Israel, came to earth through the Essenes; for it was the Essene scriptures and prophecies that proved true. And so it was that the Essene Nazarene Jews, practitioners of the authentic Judaism established by God through Enoch and Moses, BECAME THE VERY FIRST “CHRISTIANS”!

      The “first Christians” were not called “Christians”! That term was not used until years later. They were called “Essene Nazarene Ebionites”. For short, they were usually referred to simply as “Nazarenes” or “Ebionites”. Let us begin our description of early, pre-Pauline Christianity with a look at the meaning of the terms “Nazarene” and “Ebionite”.
      The term “Nazarene” refers to a member of the Essene movement associated with Mount Carmel in Northern Israel. The Essenes considered Mount Carmel to be so holy that none of the natural vegetation growing there could be disturbed: no trees cut, no bushes cleared away, no permanent dwellings built. Some of their priests lived on Mount Carmel in tents (similar to yurts) but no permanent structures were permitted. Even their Temple atop Carmel was a type of large tent, a beautiful yurt with a bloodless altar. Only a small contingent of their priests actually lived atop Mount Carmel, the majority of their membership lived in an Essene cooperative village a couple miles from the southwestern edge of the base of the mountain. That Essene village was called “Nazareth”. Those who lived there were called “Nazarenes”, as were all members of the Essene sect associated with Mount Carmel. Thus, the fact that Jesus was referred to as “the Nazarene” and his first followers were called “the sect of the Nazarenes” demonstrates the link between early Christianity and the Essene Nazarenes of Mount Carmel.

      The other term that the first Christians were called was “Ebionite”. The word “Ebionite” comes from the Hebrew word “Ebon” which literally means “poor” but implies “THOSE WHO HAVE VOLUNTARILY RENOUNCED WORLDLY MATERIALISM TO ENTER THE ESSENE LIFESTYLE OF SIMPLE LIVING AND RADICAL SHARING IN COMMUNITY.” Simply put, an “Ebionite” is an “Essene renunciate”, an Essene who has given up materialism to serve God within the context of the communal lifestyle in which all is shared. While all fully initiated Essene Nazarene Ebionites lived in, or were sent out on missions by, the network of Essene Christian communes, there was a large outer-circle of members not yet fully initiated who still lived in private homes. These outer-circle devotees were called “Hearers”; until ready to divest themselves of private wealth and join the communal economy, they studied the teachings and supported the communes by tithing. In the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared “Blessed are the Ebon (“Poor”), for they shall inherit the Earth.” He was not pronouncing a general blessing on all poor people; neither was he praising poverty. Rather, he was making specific reference to his sect, the Essene “Ebon” or “Ebionites” gathered around him atop the Mount.
      The terms “Nazarene” and “Ebionite” are central to a correct understanding of early, pre-Pauline Christianity. Why? Because certain specific beliefs and practices can be identified with those terms. We know from many sources that both terms — Nazarene and Ebionite — are associated with: vegetarianism, reincarnation, God as both Father and Mother, communalism, pacifism, an absolute prohibition against slavery, absolute sobriety (no intoxicating drinks or drugs), equality of men and women and holistic health.

      Our Doctrine on Salvation

      We believe that SALVATION IS DEPENDENT UPON FOLLOWING THE SAVING TEACHINGS OF YAHSHUA (Jesus). In a profound contrast with the theology of Paul — which became orthodox Christianity (“Paulianity”) — We do not teach SALVATION VIA BELIEF IN THE SACRIFICIAL DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS. The Pauline doctrine which asserts that you can only be saved by believing that Jesus died for your sins, We believe the saving teachings of YAHSHUA, not simply in his sacrificial death. We base our doctrine of salvation on the actual instructions we received from Yahshua before his crucifixion. Unlike Paul, who NEVER EVEN MET YAHSHUA, the leaders of the Essene Nazarene Ebionites (refered to as Apostles) were PERSONALLY TRAINED AND INITIATED BY OUR SPIRITUAL MASTER, YAHSHUA.

      In The Essene New Testament, Jesus tells us that blood sacrifice cannot bring salvation:
      Jesus was teaching his disciples in the outer court of the Temple and one of them said unto him, “Master, it is said by the priests that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Can blood offerings take away sin?” Jesus answered, “No blood offering of beast or bird or man can take away sin. For how can the conscience be purged from sin by the shedding of innocent blood? Nay, it will increase the condemnation…. For sins against the Law of God there can be no remission, except by repentance and amendment.”

      It should be noted that while we do not believe in the remission of sins via Jesus’ sacrificial death, we believe Yahshua did a powerful work on the cross. Fallen angels who had become disembodied demons were tampering with the subtle, etheric atmospheres of Planet Earth; especially: 1) the energy vortex involved with the process of exiting the body at death; 2) the purgatorial realm of past life review between incarnations; and, 3) the energy vortex involved with the process of taking new birth. For Yahshua to purify and reorganize those subtle, etheric atmospheres of our planet, IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO DIE AS A HUMAN BEING AND ENTER THOSE SUBTLE REGIONS THROUGH THE ENERGY VORTEX WHICH WAS INFESTED WITH PARASITIC DEMONS. He did so, freeing many souls who were being held captive in the subtle planes (being sucked of life-force by vampire-like disembodied entities) and purified the entire between-lives region and energy vortexes. This took place during the three days after his crucifixion and prior to his reappearance to the disciples at the tomb.

      But no matter how vital and necessary that deed was, if we simply believe in it and neglect to follow his teachings, we will not experience AT-ONE-MENT with God. AT-ONE-MENT WITH GOD IS ACHIEVED VIA HARMONY WITH THE LAWS OF GOD — the laws of the universe — AND THOSE LAWS (and how to be in harmony with them) ARE THE SUBJECT OF THE TEACHINGS OF YAHSHUA.

      I will begin now to describe how Paul, the self-proclaimed Apostle, violently opposed the original vegetarian Essene Christianity of Yahshua, first by killing and imprisoning its leaders, then by infiltrating the movement and leading a schism. That schism, as I shall describe, evolved into mainstream, meat-eating Christianity.
      About two decades after the crucifixion of Yahshua, we meet Paul. Essene Nazarene Christianity was still true to the teachings of Yahshua, being led by James, the brother of Yahshua. Paul, an agent of the Jewish puppet-government installed by imperial Rome, then made his first appearance, leading a bloody assault on the Essene Christians in the Temple at Jerusalem. That vicious attack in which many Essene-Christians were murdered by Paul and his henchmen — an historical fact you won’t find in your “Pauline” Christian Bible — is described by the Apostle Peter in an ancient Essene Christian manuscript titled, THE CLEMENTINE HOMILIES AND RECOGNITIONS; we read:
      “… the high priest of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem had often sent priests to ask us that we might discourse with one another concerning Yahshua: when it seemed a fit opportunity, and it pleased all of our church, we accepted the invitation and went up to the temple. It was crowded with people who had come to listen, many Jews and many of our own brethren. First the high priest told people that they should listen patiently and quietly…. Then, he began exalting with many praises the rite of animal sacrifice for the remission of sins and found fault with the baptism given by our Yahshua to replace animal sacrifice….
      “To him our James began to show, by abundant proof that Yahshua is the Christ, and that in Him are fulfilled all the prophecies which related to His humble advent. For, James showed that two advents of Him are foretold: one in humiliation, which He has now accomplished; the other in glory, which is yet to be accomplished….
      “And when James had plainly taught the people concerning these things, he added this also, that unless a man be baptized in water, in the name of the threefold blessedness, as the True Prophet taught, he can neither receive remission of sins nor enter the kingdom of heaven: and he declared that this is the prescription of the unbegotten God…. And when James had spoken some more things about baptism, through seven successive days he persuaded all the people and even the high priest that they should hasten straightaway to receive baptism….
      “And when matters were at that point that they would all come and be baptized, Paul and his men entered the temple: and Paul cried out: ‘Oh men of Israel, why are you so easily influenced by these miserable men?’ He began to excite the people and raise a tumult… and drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been done by James. Paul rebuked the priests for having listened to James, and, like a madman, began to excite the priests and people to murder James and the brethren, saying ‘Do not hesitate; grab them and pull them to pieces.’ Paul then, seizing a strong brand from the altar, set the example of smiting. Then others also, seeing him, joined in the beating. Much blood was shed. Although James and the brethren were more numerous and more powerful they rather suffered themselves to be killed by an inferior force, than to kill others. Paul attacked James and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead left him.”
      Fortunately, James, the Brother of Yahshua and leader of the Essene Christians, was revived by Essene healers. He and the other survivors of Paul’s attack left Jerusalem and went to an Essene commune to heal. Paul continued to persecute Essene Christians, going from city to city with secret police agents, arresting and killing many.
      Then, on the road to Damascus, Paul (this is the point where he changed his name from Saul to Paul) claimed to have a vision of Christ, and supposedly converted to Essene Christianity. By claiming conversion, Paul was entitled to receive initiation into the Essene mystery school (he entered their three year ministerial training program in Damascus) and to learn the various secrets of the group, including their hidden camps and underground church locations. At first, the brethren considered his conversion to be authentic. Later they realized it was no real conversion:  IT WAS AN INFILTRATION!

      Once Paul had infiltrated the group and received ordination, he began to change the teachings of Yahshua, especially in regard to vegetarianism. (To expand on this we shall make more time.) Certainly, Paul is entitled to his own opinion on vegetarianism. But a study of all the source material makes clear that Paul did more than simply state his own opinion:  he DELIBERATELY and SYSTEMATICALLY replaced the original teachings of Yahshua and the “old apostles” with his own very different teachings, not only on vegetarianism but also women’s rights, slavery and more.

      Whereas Yahshua honored women and found in them His most devoted followers, Paul never tires of proclaiming their inferiority. He declares that, man is the head of the woman and she must always submit to his will…. Whereas the Essenes proclaimed equality among the Brethren [the Essenes were the first people on earth to condemn and forbid the practice of slavery], Paul repeatedly declares that Christian slaves must be obedient to their Christian masters.

      YAHSHUA NEVER SPOKE NEGATIVELY ABOUT WOMEN THE WAY PAUL DID. At spiritual gatherings of his disciples, Mary Magdalene constantly peppered Yahshua with spiritual questions, as did another woman named Mary and a woman named Martha. Yahshua encouraged them to speak. Yahshua’s positive viewpoint in regard to women was a natural outgrowth of his understanding of God as both Father and Mother; we read in The Essene New Testament:
      Jesus said, “God is both male and female, not divided but the Two in One…. In God the masculine is not without the feminine, nor is the feminine without the masculine…. In God the masculine powers and feminine powers are perfectly united as One.
      “Verily, God created mankind in the Divine image male and female, and all nature is in the image of God…. In the beginning, God willed and there came forth the First Beloved Son and the First Beloved Daughter, united as Love and Wisdom, created in the Image and Likeness of the Father-Mother, and of these proceed all the generations of the spirits of God, the Sons and Daughters of the eternal….
      “Therefore shall the name of the Father and Mother be equally hallowed, for they are the great powers of God….”
      Wow! what a vastly different vibratory frequency are the words of Yahshua in regard to the feminine energy than Paul’s! While Yahshua praises the feminine energy as being Divine and calls women “the daughters of God”, Paul tells women to cover their heads as a sign of submission to men — or to have their heads shaved bald as punishment — and forbids them to speak at church!

      Lets quote this apostate in terms of slavery and we’ll have more than one reference to indicate that he really thought slavery was the real deal.

      “Slaves, be obedient to your masters, with fear and trembling, as to Christ.”
      Likewise, in chapter 3 of Colossians, Paul orders Christian slaves in another congregation to obey their Christian slave masters:
      “Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, fearing the Lord.”
      In 1st Timothy chapter 6, Paul instructs his ministerial student, Timothy, in the Pauline doctrine on slavery, and then displays his egotistical megalomania by asserting that anyone who disagrees with him knows nothing:
      “Christian slaves must work hard for their owners and regard their owners as worthy of all honor…. If their owner is a Christian, that is no excuse to slow down their labor; rather, they should labor all the harder because a brother in the faith is profiting from their toil…. Timothy teach this truth and demand that all obey. For if anyone disagrees or teaches otherwise… he is puffed up with conceit and knows nothing. Timothy some may deny that this is the sound message of Jesus Christ… and may dispute over the meaning of Christ’s words. These arguers have warped minds, are stupid and depraved.”
      Yes, the above words upholding slavery, like the previous words downgrading women, are printed on the pages of the supposedly “holy” Bible, the book which Pauline Christians call “the Word of God”. Fortunately, there does exist the truly Word of God; and, fortunately, that Word of God forbids slavery and upholds the dignity of women. That truly Word of God is The Essene New Testament; and it is indeed worthy of the term “THE WORD OF GOD.” Unfortunately, the Pauline fundamentalists don’t read it! Thus, the above excerpts from the Pauline bible upholding slavery were used by governmental and religious “authorities” to defend the institution of slavery for nearly 1,900 years. In fact, when Abraham Lincoln first tried to put an end to slavery in America many Christian Churches opposed him AND USED THE ABOVE WORDS OF PAUL TO DEFEND SLAVERY IN AMERICA. The Southern Baptist denomination was formed to defend the practice of slavery in America; their theological defense of slavery was based on the words of Paul.

      Jesus, the Essene Messiah and founder of the religion Paul claimed to represent, declared:
      “The Spirit of God is upon me. God has sent me to help the brokenhearted, TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES!”
      The fact that Paul betrayed the anti-slavery doctrine of Yahshua and the Essene Christians is made clear by Ewing; we read in The Prophet of The Dead Sea Scrolls:
      “When Yahshua said: ‘whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even to them’, he, in effect, challenged the slave owner to extend freedom to others if he would himself be free….
      “The Nazarenes, also called Ebionites, the sect who represented the first Christian congregation at Jerusalem under James, the Lord’s brother, abided by the strict ascetic rules of their Essene brethren. They held it to be contrary to the plan of God for anyone to enslave another….
      “However, at this point we find a parting of the ways: Palestinian Christianity was to be taken over and changed by the evangelist who labored amongst the Gentiles [Paul]. Materialism succeeded asceticism and human freedom became the first great ethic of Yahshua to bow to the carnal customs of the heathen. Paul at this time was, no doubt, under great stress and pain in both body and spirit, for in assuming the Roman custom of slavery, he was in consequence severely criticized and shunned by the old apostles. For this… he was called an ‘Apostate’.”

      Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Yahshua. Through these interpretations Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Yahshua, which he had not directly known…. Paul replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change.

      Call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved he said, this is heresy according to us and the Lord but we expect nothing less from a man who admitted to being the greatest of sinners. We refer to him as the Apostate Paul as there really is no room for the 13th apostle. The occult world might accept the number 13 but heaven has always had 12 as the number in relation to governance. Maybe Paul will judge over his church when the twelve judge over the 12 tribes of Israel. I urge you to forsake the evil teachings of Paul and embrace the saving teaching of Christ. Lastly the Essene church does not read the Gospel of Matthew nor does it recognize the bible as the Word. The bible is not even a quarter of what we have as Scripture. The true Word of God, free from corruption have no controversial verses that need to be read exegetically. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the bible that is corrupted even from the first book. I pray the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truths. No need to defend this pagan document and its pagan apostles. Shalom brother.

    • I am familiar with the Essene New Testament and the beliefs you espouse. It is another gospel, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      I was an atheist until the evidence for Christianity led me to become a follower of Jesus Christ. I recommend you carefully scrutinize the evidence for the Essene New Testament as it opposes the Christian New Testament. Did the Apostle James write the Gospel of James? If so, when? Was it written by the original apostle of Jesus? the brother of Jesus? or some other James who knew Jesus? Where is the evidence? I would ask the same question of all of the other books included in the Essene New Testament. What about the Gospel of the Holy Twelve? Essene Gospel of Peace? Essene Book of Revelations?

      You do not accept the Gospel of Matthew? Why not? Do you accept the Gospel of Mark? Gospel of Luke? Gospel of John? the Book of Acts? Peter’s letters? John’s letters? James’ letter? Jude’s letter? Book of Hebrews? Why or why not? Evidence?

      When you wrote that “Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the bible that is corrupted even from the first book,” did you mean the Bible is corrupted from Genesis? What’s your evidence?

      What is the chain of evidence for the Essene New Testament? What is the evidence for the apostles of Jesus Christ writing any of the books in the Essene New Testament? What is the evidence that the apostles wrote what’s in the Essene New Testament rather than what’s in the Christian New Testament?

      Now, the big question. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God? Is he God in the Flesh? Is He a member of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Did Jesus exist before His birth? Is He eternal? Was He born of a virgin or did He have a mortal father? Did He die on the cross? Did His death on the cross atone for sin? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Did He ascend to Heaven to build His Church and rule the universe?

      Thanks for your time in answering these questions. My goal is simply to get to the truth.

      Mark

    • Kgosietsile on said:

      Shalom brother, I haven’t been online since Friday hence my late response. I appreciate that we are having this conversation. I’ve tried in all my posts to show you that the bible is corrupted but I’ll show you once again from the bible that indeed from the bible that it was corrupted at that infamous council of Carthage although you have denied that even though its acknowledged even in Christian(Pauline) circles.

      We are told in Genesis how both Cain and Abel offered a sacrifice unto God, the book of Genesis states that Cain offered vegetables whilst Abel offered a lamb. God then accepted Abel’s sacrifice, whilst the Essene community rejects this as would Yahushua do even the book of Hebrews tells a different story.

      Let’s look at Hebrews 11:4
      By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.

      Hebrews tells us that Abel obtained righteousness because of his gift”s”, if indeed he offered a lamb which could not have been because God doesn’t approve of killing, then this portion of “scripture” would attest that he offered a gift not gift”s”. The Essene community believes that Abel offered the vegetables unto God as the First books of Eden testifies and that Cain being the murderer killed a lamb and offered it as a sacrifice which God rejected. Cain being angry did what he did the first time and that was to “kill” his brother.

      I know you are quite passionate about the bible but to be honest with you the bible is just edited fragments of God’s Word, the next verse talks of Enoch who was taken up by the most High so he may not witness death. Most wouldn’t know much about this righteous man because his book is not “Scripture”. This is perhaps because in his book you’ll find out how it came about that humans started eating meat against God’s will.

      I cannot accept the books in the bible as God’s Word because they are not, even the Gospels. In the gospels we have an instance where we are told that Yahshuah ate fish and I would like us to look at that as well as I take you to Luke 24:41

      “He [Yahshua] said to them: Do you have any food? And they gave him a piece of BROILED FISH and some HONEY. And HE TOOK IT AND ATE IT in front of them.”

      Luke says that Yahshua appeared to two disciples who were on their way to Emmaus. One of them was named Clopas. He was invited to their  place late on Sunday afternoon. When he broke bread before meal, the two disciples realised that it was Yahshua. As soon as they realised this they immediately returned to Jerusalem which was about 10 kilometres from Emmaus.
      Please note:

      “And they rose that very hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the ELEVEN gathered together, and those who were with them, Saying, Truly our Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon. And they [two disciples] also reported those things that happened on the road, and how they knew him as he broke bread. And while they were discussing these things, Yahshua stood among them, and said to them, Peace be with you…and as they still did not believe because of their joy, and they were bewildered, he said to them, Have you anything here to eat? They gave him a portion of BROILED FISH and of a honeycomb. And HE TOOK IT AND ATE BEFORE THEIR EYES” [Luke 24:33-43 KJV].

      Luke therefore clearly places Yahshua’s first appearance to his disciples on Sunday evening AT JERUSALEM. He says that ALL ELEVEN WERE PRESENT – even though John, who also says that Jesus appeared to his disciples at evening on the “first day of the week” actually says that Thomas was missing. 

      Matthew and Mark however clearly show that Jesus was not in Jerusalem on Sunday evening but was rather in Galilee and therefore he could not have appeared to his disciples in Jerusalem that Sunday evening and he could not have been eating fish that evening. On the night of his arrest, Jesus said:

      “But after I’m raised to life, I’ll go ahead of you to GALILEE” [Mark 14:28].

      The angel said to the women at the tomb:

      “Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to GALILEE. YOU WILL SEE HIM THERE, JUST AS HE TOLD YOU” [Mark 16:7].

      According to the testimony of Mark, Jesus clearly told his disciples that after he is risen from the dead he would go to GALILEE and that is where the disciples were going to see him. Matthew 26:32 also quotes Jesus as telling his disciples that after he is risen from the dead he would go ahead of them to GALILEE:

      “But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”
       
      Matthew quotes the angel as saying to the women:

      “…Now hurry! Tell his disciples that he has been raised to life and is on his way to GALILEE. Go there, and you will see him” [Matthew 28:7].

      Yahshua himself appeared to the women and said:

      “Don’t be afraid! Tell my followers to go to GALILEE. They’ll see me there” [Matthew 28:10].

      Then in Matthew 28:16 we read the following:

      “Yahshua’s ELEVEN DISCIPLES went to a mountain in GALILEE, where Yahshua had told them to meet him.”

      According to Matthew, the ELEVEN APOSTLES went to GALILEE to a mountain Yahshua specified. There, IN GALILEE, the disciples saw Jesus for the first time after his resurrection. The account of Luke therefore cannot be reconciled with the text of Mark and especially that of Matthew. Therefore the text of Luke so often cited as proof that Jesus was a meat eater and therefore not a vegetarian – as many sources prove – is a forgery.

      If you need more attesting to such corruption I’m more than willing to provide evidence. Our Lord was not a meat eater and hates it, its also not good for our bodies.

      On the question of whether any of the Apostles wrote what’s in the Essene literature? The Gospel of the Holy Twelve and other sacred writings were kept at the monasteries in India and Tibet by the Apostle Thomas who was in charge of preserving such writings from the attack by the corrupters.

      On whether I believe “Jesus” is God or part of the trinity, you would know as you are familiar with our teachings that we do not believe in such.

      Maria throughout her teenage years had known that she would bear a Messiah who would come and free God’s people. It wasn’t an overnight thing nor did it take her and Joseph by surprise as the bible suggests. She had received numerous prophecies throughout her teenage years while serving as a temple dove. She also knew the challenges that would come upon the child through the writings of the prophets.

      Shalom brother

    • Greetings! I look forward to conversing with you about the reliability and credibility of the Bible, especially compared to pseudepigrapha. However, I’d appreciate your answering my last question before moving forward into other areas. Thanks! Mark

      “Now, the big question. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God? Is he God in the Flesh? Is He a member of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Did Jesus exist before His birth? Did He “come in the flesh”? Is He eternal? Was He born of a virgin or did He have a mortal father? Did He die on the cross? Did His death on the cross atone for sin? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Did He ascend to Heaven to build His Church and rule the universe?”

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Greetings, Mark:

      I realize you had asked Kgosietsile if s/he believes that Jesus Christ is God, but perhaps you can clarify your position, because I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe Lord Yeshua is anything other than the Son of God, as specified in Scripture.

      I am inclined to believe our Heavenly Father when He emphatically states, in Isaiah 45:5-7, “I am YHWH, and there is no other, besides me there is no God.”

      This sentiment is also reflected in the First Commandment found in Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Now, if I am not mistaken…this may also be a warning not to idolize His precious Son and exalt Him above Father YHWH.

      Nowhere in Scripture does Lord Yeshua claim to be the Father or claims to be God. In all cases, Christ humbly prays to His Father and defers to His Father’s will. In fact, the risen and reigning Christ, in Revelation 3:2 states, “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.”

      It is my contention that God’s only begotten Son is far more than man but less than God. He is the Son of God and the perfect reflection of His Father, therefore, when one sees Him…they have seen the Father, but He is not the Father, Himself. I say all this knowing that the Son of God was with the Father when all things were created, but the Father is self-sufficient and eternal, whereas His precious Son was conceived by Him, before all things were made.

      In the final analysis, I think it is potentially offensive to our Heavenly Father, if one worships His precious Son, while referring to His Son as “God”, especially when His only begotten Son has never claimed this title for Himself. Therefore, I do not see a violation of Scripture or of judgment if one believes Lord Yeshua is the “Son of God”, but I potentially see a violation of Scripture, as well as the First Commandment, if one is inclined to do so.

      Best wishes – C.J.

    • Hi, cj. Your question to me – “perhaps you can clarify your position, because I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe Lord Yeshua is anything other than the Son of God, as specified in Scripture” – is a bit loaded because you believe only Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation are “Scripture.” Whereas, I believe all 27 Books contained in the New Testament are Scripture. My answers to you about the Deity of Jesus Christ would include evidence from writings you do not accept in addition to evidence from writings you do accept. Are you open to that exchange? Thanks! Mark

    • Thank you or your reply, Mark, and please know that I appreciate everything you say, as I honor your opinion. Now, although I may find myself endorsing another perspective (other than your’s) by day’s end – you will always have my ear and an honored seat at my table.

      Please know that one of the problems I have with Saul of Tarsus, besides his duplicities and his anti-Christ correspondences, is that he seeks to glorify and deify the “bright light” he allegedly encountered on the road to Damascus. We must keep in mind that the greater this light becomes in magnificence and magnitude…the greater Saul becomes, because it chose him to do its bidding.

      Another thing to keep in mind is Saul is not talking about the Christ that mentored the Apostles – he’s talking about a Christ far superior than their’s…the one who gives him special revelations and meets him in secret.

      So, the questions then become: In-light of what is known about Saul’s character and track record, should I take a reckless leap of faith and subject myself to his ideas about our Heavenly Father and Son, our salvation, his new gospel and am I on firm ground, when standing on the new foundation, the master builder, Saul, has built with his own two hands?

      Truth is…I don’t trust Saul of Tarsus anymore than I trust Mohammed. And, when you think about it, Mark, ask yourself what is so trustworthy about Saul from Tarsus? What exactly did this man say or do that makes you forget all the evil he had done? What makes you believe his story about the bright light on the road to Damascus, without which – there is no basis to trust him.

      As you contemplate these queries, please consider that our Heavenly Father told Noah about the coming rains, He told the Israelites about the coming of Moses, He told Daniel about the coming of Alexander the Great, He told His people about the coming of the King of the Jews (their Messiah) and even told His people about the coming of John the Baptist, but He NEVER told anyone about sending another man, a new messiah, to the Gentiles.

      Lord Yeshua never mentioned a change in direction, after His ascension, which necessitated a new foundation to be built and a new gospel to be preached. In fact, listen carefully to what the Son of God has to say in Matthew 7:13-23, because it speaks about Paul and all those who follow his easy way:

      13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

      So, one needs to ask one’s self: Did Almighty YHWH reach into thorn bushes in order to use Saul to minister to His people? Did our Heavenly Father extract Saul from the thistles, mistaking him for a grape? Of course not!

      In verse 15 Lord Yeshua uses the illustration of the “ravenous wolf” in “sheep’s clothing”. How apropos! Saul claims to come in the name of the Lord, yet comes from the Tribe of Benjamin, which is symbolized by the wolf. In Genesis 49:27…it is said, “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.”

      This is exactly what “Paul” of Tarsus did. He infiltrated the flock wearing sheep’s clothing, but inwardly was a ravenous wolf who sought to devour the sheep. By building a few foundation and offering a new gospel, he successfully led many astray with his gospel of grace, all-the-while dividing the flock and infusing within Scripture a “New” Testament…the gospel of Saul.

      Awaiting your reply – C.J.

    • Hi, cj. My response to your points here would be the same as what I wrote in the 17-part series about Paul. Have you read the entire series? We have also published it in Ebook format at https://gracelifethoughts.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/paul-e28093-apostle-orc2a0fraud.pdf

      I’d like to ask again in reference to your request of me – “perhaps you can clarify your position, because I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe Lord Yeshua is anything other than the Son of God, as specified in Scripture” – if you’d like to look at the evidence together in the Scriptures? In light of your belief that only Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation are “Scripture,” I’ll certainly be glad to begin there. However, because I believe all 27 Books contained in the New Testament are Scripture my answers to you about the Deity of Jesus Christ would include evidence from those writings as well. Would you be interested in that exchange? Thanks! Mark

    • Mark:

      What I seek is the truth; and, what I want…is to please our Heavenly Father.

      Having said that, I don’t think Saul of Tarsus is authorized to speak on God’s behalf, as he was never mentioned by our Heavenly Father nor was he chosen by Christ Yeshua during His earthly ministry.

      Saul of Tarsus came out of the wilderness under his own power, declaring his own name, preaching his own gospel and building his own foundation. These are the facts and they are undisputed.

      I dare say the only reason people over the centuries have accepted Saul of Tarsus, is that he is featured in the “New Testament” of the “Holy Bible”, which was compiled by fallible men. Heaven forbid if Anton LaVey came stumbling out of the wilderness with a yarn to tell (2,000 years ago), because many “Christians” would be following his gospel as well…in the name of Jesus, of course.

      Truth be known…I do not accept Saul’s premise of authority, which is to say that I do not believe his miraculous conversion story. nor can I trust his character. Lord Yeshua warned the Twelve that men of dubious nature would come in His name, so I am interested in what evidence you have that will silence Christ’s warning and override my better judgment. I will read your extensive study, but I cannot promise you a conversion of conscience.

      May the Spirit of Truth be with us – C.J.

    • Chris on said:

      It is not Paul being referred to in Revelation. Common logic dictates that since the Church that Christ is addressing is Ephesus in which Paul founded!!! Paul warned against the threats of false gospels so wouldn’t it be ironic if the very teaching that established the church to begin with was heresy? Ridiculous.

  3. Kgosietsile on said:

    It is important to know what Jesus as he is refered to in the bible thought of Paul. In Rev 2:2, he commended the Asian church of Ephesus for trying this false apostle and rejecting him, something that Paul admits to in 2 Timothy 1:15. What Paul taught since his supposed conversion was that the law had been done away with. This is something that he never admitted to when James asked him in Acts 21:18.

    Instead of defending his gospel of faith without works he agreed to performing a ritual the following day in accordance with Mosaic law. Thank heavens that the Asian Jews identified him shortly thereafter as one who preached against the law and exposed him to the believers.

    You’ll realize that after that there’s no contact between him and the apostles thereafter, his teachings aren’t in line with what Jesus taught. He was a liar, who lied about his conversion. The book of Acts confirm that he had three different types of conversions at the same time.

    In Galatians he flatly denies going to Jerusalem after his conversion. The world might believe Paul and his erroneous doctrine but he who has ears will listen to what the Spirit say through the Apostle James when he reprimands the church and says “faith without works is dead”.

    • Hi, Kgosietsile. I refuted each of your objections during the 17-part series, so let’s look at this in a different way. From your perspective (which is not supported by rightly dividing the Word of Truth), how do you follow Jesus Christ? I’m assuming that you don’t believe the second half of Acts has anything for you since it’s about Paul’s ministry. I’m also assuming that you don’t believe any of Paul’s letters affect you and that 2 Peter must also be wrong since the author proclaims Paul’s writings to be Scripture. Anything else you’ve pulled out of your Bible? Did you also remove the Book of Hebrews? How about John’s letters? Jude? Revelation? Since Jesus told John to write to seven churches started by Paul, I’m assuming that you have some difficulty with Revelation as well? Okay, based on what’s left, how do you follow Jesus Christ? How do you make disciples of all nations? What do you teach them to observe? What does following Jesus look like for someone who removes half of the writings from the New Testament? Do you worship in a synagogue rather than a church? Do you keep the Sabbath Day? Do you keep the Law? I’m assuming you do based on what you’ve written, but I’d like to know more about what following Christ is like for you.

      If you haven’t read the entire series about Paul, please do. It will address your questions.

      In Christ’s Love and Grace,

      Mark

    • Bob Luka on said:

      Paul’s Vision in 2 Corinthians Chapters 11–13.

      1. Remarks about boasting, foolishness and foolish discussions. By Paul’s own admission, he says that he was speaking foolishly in 2 Cor 11:1, 11:21, 11:23, and 12:11, etc. This contradicts what Paul himself warned others about concerning foolishness in Eph 5:4, 2 Timothy 2:23 and other passages. Jesus warned about being foolish in several places in the N.T. Paul seems to excuse himself in 11:17 when he admits he is speaking foolishly, prior to rehearsing his background and experiences, and goes so far as to have “confidence of boasting”, apparently meaning he had sufficient reason(s) to boast? In 11:19, he issues a minor slap to the Corinthians, saying that they put up with fools gladly, and they should accept him as a fool, to paraphrase 11:16, that he may boast a little. In 12:6, he is acting like he is aware that his remarks could be interpreted as a reproach, and he seems to be arguing with himself over his desire to boast. But he eventually allows his boasting to prevail, leading to verse 7, where it appears he expects the reader to understand it was all excusable due to the “abundance of revelations”. In 12:11 he says, “I have become a fool in boasting,” (past tense), confirming that his desire to boast did prevail. In summary, a lot of self-admitted foolish discussion and conflicting statements about glorying and boasting clearly surrounds these passages, and the overall narrative of his vision.

      2. Spiritual experiences that are not authored and ordained by the Lord are forbidden in the scriptures. The key question to ask is where was the Lord in Paul’s vision? The focus seems to be on the man that was caught up into the third heaven, and Paul’s preamble and response. There is no mention of the Lord or honor to the Lord in this vision, even though Paul indicates that he was caught up into the 3rd heaven, or the immediate presence of God.

      3. Someone receiving a vision or revelation from the Lord, then being smitten with a “thorn” to keep them humble is unprecedented in scripture. If you read the account of the calling of Moses in Exodus chapter 3-4, the calling of Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 6, and calling of Jeremiah in Jeremiah chapter 1, the one common theme is the humility that is intertwined with the presence of the Lord. Reading Paul’s account, it is a strange doctrine, and unfamiliar to other Bible examples, when he is smitten with an infirmity to keep him from being “exalted above measure.”

      In the divine visitation described in Gen 32:24-32 where Jacob struggles with the angel until the breaking of the day, there are several key areas that are definitely worth mentioning for comparison purposes:
      1. There was an immediate need surrounding this encounter. Jacob was in trouble. His brother was headed his way with 400 armed men to settle an old score.
      2. Jacob struggled with the angel and prevailed. His old ways as a “trickster” and a “supplanter” were no more. His name was changed to: “Israel, for as a prince thou has power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
      3. There was no mystery or lack of clarity as to what was spoken or what took place.
      4. Jacob was determined to not let the angel go until he blessed him. It is like the divine messenger was sent to test Jacob’s resolve and will to prevail. He touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh, and made it out of joint, when he saw that Jacob was determined to prevail, and have true power with God (32:28), and true victory. What blessings and good spirit surrounds every aspect of this encounter!!
      5. The end result and fruits of righteousness were as follows:
      • Jacob was eternally blessed, and from him, God raised up an entire nation that was to become a blessing to the world.
      • In Gen 33:3-4, “(Jacob) bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother.” “And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him, and they wept.” What an example of humility and kindness!!

      4. Who was the man that was caught up into paradise? Was it actually Paul? Was it a spiritual being? Paul says in 12:2 that he “knew a man in Christ above 14 years ago,” and in verse 3 he says “he knew such a man.” These descriptions are vague and we can only speculate as to who Paul was actually referring to, other than he heard (from this man?) “unspeakable words that are not lawful for a man to utter.” (Some translations use “know” and not “knew”, implying a present tense).

      5. What was said that was not lawful for a man to utter? This is a key question. For “lawful” in the KJV, Paul uses the Greek work Exesti pertaining to being lawful, or as being permitted. This word is used 29 times in the N.T., mostly pertaining to God’s Law. Jesus used this (translated) word in several instances, when he defended that doing good on the Sabbath was Lawful, or in obedience to God’s word. We cannot say for sure whether Paul meant that repeating what he heard was not lawful, or the actual substance of what was said or done was not lawful. But saying that it was “not lawful for a man to utter” in 12: 4, precludes the possibility that what was said was so wonderful, in essence, that words could not express. We are left with really only three conclusions: 1) What Paul heard was meant for his hearing only, and was not to be publicly repeated. 2) What was said referred to something that would have been too impolite to express the details in public. That could qualify for not being lawful to utter. 3) The most likely conclusion, since Paul explicitly said the man he knew uttered the unlawful words, was that some relationship existed between them, and the sin or unlawful act that could not be discussed involved both Paul and this man.

      6. Timeline of “14 years ago” 2 Corinthians was written in 57 AD, from the records we have. The council in Jerusalem is dated at 50 AD. 14 years prior or 43 AD would have been during the reign of Claudius, and prior to any of Paul’s letters or missionary journeys. History gives the time of Paul’s conversion at approx. 32-37 AD. This vision would have been during the reign of Herod Agrippa I and roughly the time of Paul’s second visit to Jerusalem.

      7. Were there any comments from Paul’s contemporaries or other Apostles on this experience? We can only speculate who Peter was referring to in 2 Peter, chapter 2, and Jude was referring to in his writings, but it would behoove us to read this carefully.

      8. Significance of in or out of the body? In 2 Cor 12: 2-3, Paul says he cannot tell whether the vision was in or out of the body. Again we can only speculate, but the likely conclusion is that it the vision may have had a spiritual and physical aspect. If there was a sin or unsanctified act involved, that would definitely lean towards a physical aspect, going against the prevailing conclusion that this vision involved a very high and lofty spiritual experience.

      9. Concluding Observations.
      a. Paul’s own conclusion indicates that his glorying is a weakness that necessitated the “thorn in the flesh”, lest he would be exalted above measure. His final conclusion, however, was in 12: 9: “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul says he is quoting our Lord. This does present a question, however, as to what kind of weakness the Lord was talking about. There are numerous examples in the scriptures of the Lord manifesting his strength in spite of human weakness, but there is a stark difference in this case, where there was an obvious moral weakness. There is, by the way, an altar of repentance for those struggling with self-pride, arrogance and deceitful thoughts. If we humble ourselves, the blood of Jesus can sanctify and cleanse from all sins. The scriptural precedent is that the Lord’s strength is manifested only in Holy and clean vessels. When God used sinners to manifest his glory, that was generally in cases where he had another purpose to be fulfilled, such as using Pharaoh to allow his children to be delivered from bondage, for example.
      b. Paul heard unlawful words uttered in the 3rd heaven or the immediate presence of God? Think about what is being said here.
      c. On an important note, and depending upon the commentator, Bible students are aware of Paul’s lax viewpoint on the Law and our responsibility to it as N.T. believers. With that, it is nearly impossible to determine what is lawful or not by Paul’s standards? In 1 Cor 6:12, Paul says, “all things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient.” So in this case, one could make a point that Paul’s opinion is probably irrelevant as to whether or not a sin was involved, and that would have to defer to divine judgment, regardless of Paul’s discourse.
      d. The scriptural precedent for visions and revelations is generally a revealing of God’s truth that was previously not known. What was the truth that was unveiled in this case? The end result from Paul’s perspective seems to be wrapped up in 12:10 – 12:12, where he discusses his (renewed) power with the Lord. It is ironic that Paul, in 2 Cor 13:2, threatens those who have sinned: “I will not spare”, evidently believing that this vision supported his authority to deal with a long list of sins in the church. (See 12:20). One must ask how a vision surrounded by foolishness, boasting, and questionable substance is in a context to support his authority to deal with sin in the church?
      e. This entire discourse in 2 Corinthians 11-12 is nearly filled with pride, arrogance and foolishness.
      • Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly. (11:1)
      • For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. (11:5)
      • I say again, let no man think of me as a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. (11:16)
      • That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. (11:17)
      • Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. (11:18)
      • Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. (11:21)
      • 11:22 thru 11:28 could all be listed under the category of exalting one’s self.

      10. Final Concluding Remarks. It is a great tragedy that Paul’s remarks in these passages are taken seriously as Christian doctrine when they are filled with sinful pride, foolishness, and self-deceit. God hates pride and arrogance. Psalms 119: 21 says “Thou has rebuked the proud, which are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.” Psalms 113:4 says “The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.” The scriptures are full of praise and glory to the LORD. It also warns that SHAME shall be the promotion of fools, and he that glorieth, let him glory in the LORD. In Matthew 23:12, Jesus said that whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. And it is tragic also to say that in the case of Paul’s vision, a very serious and deceiving sin was committed regardless of Paul’s comments otherwise, and God had no choice but to inflict him in recompense, as an eternal reminder of the consequences of pride, arrogance, and affinities (12:5a) with unclean spirits and demonic beings in the heavenly realms, that God so clearly has warned against. May the Lord help us and strengthen us to walk in the truth, in True Love and True Holiness.

      RBL
      Berea, KY
      7/16/15

    • Hi, Bob. Nice hearing from you. I hope you get a chance to read the entire series because we will address many of your questions. You might also want to look at the free Ebook we’ve published that contains the entire series – https://gracelifethoughts.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/paul-e28093-apostle-orc2a0fraud.pdf .

      Thanks again for writing!

      In Christ’s Love and Grace,

      Mark McGee

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Hi, Bob:

      In consideration of 2 Corinthians chapter 11, I think James had Paul in mind when he said, in chapter 2 verse 20, “Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?”

    • Hello,
      Well I am not sure who James had in mind in James 2:20; it may have been Paul, I did want to mention that my comments regarding 2 Corinthians 11 were really a side note, in retrospect, compared to the much larger picture of Paul’s direct opposition to the words of our Lord and Savior, Y’shua. Matthew 5:17 NIV states: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Compare to Ephesians 2:15 where Paul states: “by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations…” I am not just picking up an unsubstantiated gist of Paul’s doctrine here, as he re-states this even more clearly in Colossians 2:14 (and various other places): “having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us, and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” In other words, Paul’s stated remedy for mankind’s problems was a mixture, where agreeably in some places he does concur with the blood atonement by which we have forgiveness of sins, but I would have to say that his overall emphasis is that the existence of the Law is the root mankind’s problem, and not sin. So if someone had a problem disobeying traffic laws, and was continually receiving speeding tickets, the remedy would be to remove the speed limits instead of dealing with the inner tendency to disrespect the traffic laws? So we have many commentators that try to rectify this obvious contradiction between Paul and Y’shua’s teachings, by statements such as this previous comment by Brook Potter, (with due respects), by saying this is explainable because Paul and Y’shua were ministering under two different covenants. Was not Y’shua capable of saying that in Matthew 5:17 if that was true, or stating this his words only applied for another 2-3 years (until the cross), and became null and void after that? A lot of this apparent confusion is due to a misunderstanding between the old and new covenants, where agreeably we are not under the Mosaic Law, but we are under the Law of Love that Y’shua has so graciously given to us. Hebrews 1: 1-2 KJV indicates that the only difference between the OT and NT is that: “God who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake unto our fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days he has spoken unto us by his Son, by whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he also made the worlds.” This concurs with the Mount of Transfiguration discourse where Moses and Elijah appeared. God in Heaven spoke clearly and said in Matthew 17:5 KJV: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” On a slightly other subject, I wanted to mention also that there is another very important contradiction between the words of Paul and Y’shua concerning food offered to idols. This is rebuffed by a lot of commentators as insignificant, but it would behoove people to study this carefully, and especially Y’shua’s statements in Revelation to the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira on this subject, compared to Paul’s comments in 1 Cor 8 and Romans 14. This has a lot of end-time significance. James’ stand on this subject is well-known. Best to you.

    • When did Jesus “fulfill” the Law .. or is it an event yet to come? Mark

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Hi, Kgosietsile:

      After reading your dialog with Mark, I find myself resting somewhere between, but I agree with everything you have written here.

      On a personal note, I am skeptical of most writings…simply because forgers, revisionists and fraudsters had free access and free reign and nobody was the wiser. This would allow fictitious stories and books to be placed into circulation, in addition to forgeries and unauthorized revisions. This is why I do not accept the “Gospel of the 12 Apostles” anymore than I accept the “Acts of the Apostles”.

      Like, you…I wish we had authentic copies of the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jashar (to name a few), but, even if we did, how can we prove their authenticity? I fear many original works have been confiscated by the Vatican and are now housed in 1 of the 4 private libraries owned by the Pope. What I wouldn’t give to peruse through his collection.

      Be well – C.J.

  4. Pingback: Paul – Apostle or Fraud (Part 17) | Faith and Self Defense

  5. Pingback: Paul – Apostle or Fraud (Part 13) | Faith and Self Defense

  6. What evidence could anyone submit that would tell you the truth in this matter? You either believe Paul’s word for it or you don’t. My Question is, why believe Paul? Is Paul worthy of your belief? If he never contradicted other writer’s it would be different.

    • Thanks for writing, Steve. Why believe Paul? Because Jesus Christ chose him for a special and previously undisclosed mission and because the Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas on a ministry to open the door of faith to the Gentiles. Is Paul worthy of my belief? Jesus is worthy of my belief. Since Jesus called Paul and the Holy Spirit separated Paul to do His work, then the words Paul spoke and wrote while in Their service are worthy of my belief. Please give me examples of Paul’s writings contradicting other writers. Thanks! Mark

    • Mark:

      To believe in Paul’s miraculous conversion requires one to believe in his character, which is impossible to do, when one takes into consideration his past behavior. All we really have is this murderer’s word of honor that a miraculous conversion took place.

      Please keep in mind that out of the 22 times he is called an apostle in the New Testament – he claims it himself 20 times, while, Luke, his disciple, claims it the other two. No legitimate apostle ever claimed Paul was an apostle of Christ and no apostle claims to have his own gospel except for Paul (“my gospel”).

      Another thing that bothers me is that Paul wants us to believe Christ Yeshua communicates with him in secrecy and through divine revelation. Sounds eerily similar to Joseph Smith Jr., if you ask me. In my mind, if you believe the claims and character of Paul…you pretty much have to believe Joseph Smith as well, because they seem to be two peas from the same pod.

    • Greetings and thank you for your message.

      “To believe in Paul’s miraculous conversion requires one to believe in his character, which is impossible to do, when one takes into consideration his past behavior. All we really have is this murderer’s word of honor that a miraculous conversion took place.”

      Why would you think that Paul’s character and past behavior would have anything to do with his “miraculous conversion”? Jesus came to save sinners, not the righteous. The fact that Paul (Saul) was a sinner (and even admitted to being the “chief” of sinners) and Jesus forgave him is evidence of true conversion. I would be suspicious of someone who claimed to be righteous and not a sinner. It is obvious from Paul’s testimony that he was a sinner who Christ forgave.

      What New Testament writings do you believe are verbally inspired? What writings are in your New Testament? Thanks! Mark

    • Mark:

      From where I currently sit…I only feel comfortable reading Matthew, John, 1st Peter, 1st John, 2nd John, 3rd John, James, Jude and Revelation.

      Anything that was written by Paul or his disciples, I shy away from. There are just too many scary similarities between Paul and Simon Magus (the sorcerer), to discount the possibility that they are the same man. In fact, I am 75% sure they are one and the same.

      What better way to infiltrate the church with Satanic doctrines than to carry heretical messages in the letters of the New Testament’s most prolific author.

    • Thanks for your reply, CJ. You mentioned only feeling “comfortable” reading Matthew, John, 1st Peter, 2nd John, 3rd John, James, Jude and Revelation. What makes you comfortable with those writings and not with others in the New Testament? I’m interested in your criteria for selecting what writings are Scripture.

      You mentioned there are “too many scary similarities between Paul and Simon Magus” to discount the possibility that they are the same man. I am curious why you believe that.

      (1) Luke wrote about Simon in Acts 8, but you shy away from anything that was written by Paul or his disciples (like Luke). Do you believe some of what Luke wrote, but not other parts? If so, which portions of Luke do you trust and why don’t you trust the rest?

      (2) Luke wrote that Simon previously practiced sorcery in Samaria until he became a believer in Christ through the preaching of Philip, who also baptized him. What about that story sounds similar to Paul? Why would Luke use the name Simon for Paul when Luke uses the names Saul of Tarsus and Paul elsewhere in Acts? Since Paul is not mentioned in Matthew, John, 1st Peter, 1st John, 2nd John, 3rd John, James, Jude and Revelation, where do you get your information about Paul to know how to compare him with other people from the 1st century if you don’t use Acts?

      (3) Many early church fathers mentioned the Apostle Paul in their writings in a positive fashion and quoted from his writings (e.g. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna). Why would they write about Paul in a positive fashion and quote from his writings if Paul was heretical and his writings included Satanic doctrines? Don’t you think they would have exposed Paul and his writings if he was a heretic?

      (4) Jesus spoke to the Apostle John in Revelation and directed him to write to seven churches in Asia Minor – an area where Paul was reportedly influential. Jesus addressed major problems in five of the churches, including false apostles in Ephesus. If Paul was a false apostle known to have influence in Ephesus and have addressed a letter to them, why do you think Jesus didn’t mention Paul by name? If Paul had infiltrated the church “with Satanic doctrines” and become the New Testament’s most prolific author of heretical messages, it would seem that Jesus’ would have mentioned Paul by name as He addressed the churches in Revelation. He did mention the Nicolaitans, whom He hated, and Jezebel, “who calls herself a prophetess.” It would seem that someone who was deceiving Christians by writing heretical letters as an infiltration of Satanic doctrine would be someone Jesus would have addressed by name. That would have put an end to Paul’s influence before the end of the 1st century. Do you think Jesus neglected to make that point and should have?

      I look forward to your response. This is an important discussion. Mark

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Hi, Mark:

      “You mentioned there are ‘too many scary similarities between Paul and Simon Magus’ to discount the possibility that they are the same man. I am curious why you believe that.” – Mark

      Off the top of my head, I can name a few:

      1) No one really knows where “Paul” came from or who his parents were
      2) Both Simon and Paul wanted to be apostles, but were driven away
      3) Both men lived at the same time
      4) Both men lived in the same general vicinity
      5) Both men preached that the Laws of God were burdensome
      6) Both men had a religious following
      7) Both men traveled with a female companion whose name honors the moon
      8) Both men were known to do great signs and wonders
      9) Both men traveled a great deal, when the common man did not
      10) Both men were in Rome at the same time (64 A.D.)
      11) Simon carried letters and booklets belonging to or written by Paul
      12) Both men believed in baptism by fire
      13) Both men had an ax to grind with the Apostles
      14) Both men were filled with pride and boasted frequently
      15) Both men were said to be the father of heresies (by some critics)
      16) Clement of Rome stated, “There cannot be a doubt that the Apostle Paul is attacked in this religious romance as the great enemy of the true faith, under the hated name of Simon the Magician, whom Peter follows everywhere for the purpose of unmasking and confronting him.” (Clementine Recognitions)

    • Hi, cj. This is an old argument that does not hold up under scrutiny, so let’s scrutinize it. First, what are your sources for each of the 16 points you presented as truth claims? Thanks

    • Hi, Mark:

      Please tell me why the similarities between Simon Magus and Paul of Tarsus does not hold water. I’d love to hear your reasoning.

    • Hi, cj. I’ll be glad to explain after you share your sources for the claims that there are “scary similarities between Paul and Simon Magus.” Thanks

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Hi, Mark:

      As of today’s date (May 1, 2016), I only feel comfortable reading the Books of Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation. I say this, sadly, because it seems Paul’s fan club have taken artistic liberties with other works or wrote the works themselves, and then assumed authoritative names (such as Peter’s). Additionally, other books in the New Testament have no (known) author at all. I, for one, do not feel comfortable reading doctrinal statements made by anonymous authors.

      Case in point: No one truly knows who wrote the book of John or the book of Hebrews. It has also been noted by many Bible scholars that the book of 1 Peter reflects Pauline doctrine, whereas 2 Peter flat-out endorses a man Peter did not accept or appreciate in reality. So, we can reasonably conclude that there has been some hanky-panky going on behind the scenes.

      For instance, someone added verses 9-20 to the sixteenth chapter of Mark…years after it was written. These verses dealt with the risen Christ admonishing the Apostles for their disbelief and hardness of heart. This new addition, however, sounds remarkably similar to previous attacks levied by Paul against the Apostles.

      Moreover, the Book of Luke is the only account describing the sweet interchange between Christ and the thief on the cross, whereas Matthew and Mark claim the thieves were verbally abusing our Lord, while John remained silent on the matter. Of course, the promise of paradise to an unrepentant thief is a Pauline doctrine (by grace you are saved alone) and since Paul and Luke were not even present at this event – their self-serving testimony cannot and should not be accepted as truth.

      In fact, early manuscripts do not have Lord Yeshua telling the woman to go and sin no more, while asking those without sin to cast the first stone (John 8:7). Again, this is the Pauline doctrine of “grace alone”. Of the four oldest manuscripts, 3 of them did not have this account at all, while one had it pinned to the back of the book (written many years later by another author). Many Bible scholars believe this verse needs an asterisk, because it was probably a work of fiction.

      Be well – C.J.

    • Hi, cj. You “do not feel comfortable” with most of the New Testament? “I, for one, do not feel comfortable reading doctrinal statements made by anonymous authors.” You said you “only feel comfortable “reading the Books of Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation.” Who wrote the Book of Matthew? If you think it is Matthew, how do you know that since the author did not identify himself? Let’s begin there, then address your other points. Thanks

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Hi, Mark:

      I cannot prove that Matthew wrote the gospel bearing his name, but I can tell you it was thought to be his (back in the day). If he hadn’t written it, he probably should have said something, because he was still alive when it was in circulation.

      It’s a terrible thing that we have letters without names and books without authors, because the authenticity and authority depends solely upon the character of the man writing it. Anonymous books give us nothing and I think Father YHWH would agree. This is why He stated His name over 7,000 times in the Old Testament…so as to dispel confusion and promote clarity.

      I hate to say it, but the New Testament is a shoddy piece of work: Letters without names, books without authors – with fraudsters and revisionists galore.

      I personally don’t think Almighty YHWH cared enough about the “New Testament” to ensure its authenticity. I think, primarily, because it is a work of men. And, I hate to say this because I don’t know where that leaves us.

      I do know that Lord Yeshua came to witness to the lost sheep of Israel and to proclaim that the Messiah had come to the Jews, yet says nothing about the Gentiles. I truly don’t know where this leaves us and that bothers me a great deal.

      Best wishes to you and yours – C.J.

    • Hi, cj. If the New Testament is just the work of men, then calling it a “shoddy piece of work” is a personal opinion that doesn’t really matter in the larger scope of the world’s history. However, if the New Testament is the work of the Holy Spirit, then calling it a “shoddy piece of work” is an affront to YHWH. If the New Testament is only the work of men, then what you believe about Lord Yeshua (Jesus Christ) cannot be believed or trusted. In that case, I would agree with your statement – “I don’t know where that leaves us.” However, given the evidence about the reliability of the New Testament documents we can have full trust that it is the inspired Word of God. Thanks!

    • Good Evening, Mark:

      Thank you for your prompt reply. Please know that I love our Heavenly Father with all my heart and I would never intentionally do anything to insult Him (or His beloved Son). Without Them…I can do nothing and am nothing. In fact, all my hopes and dreams rest in Their promises.

      My problem is: I can no longer follow Pauline doctrine and I am having a hard time believing the authenticity of most of the New Testament’s writings. I know the Old Testament has stated that Almighty YHWH has allowed false prophets to speak, in order to test the resolve of His people, so I am inclined to believe Paul of Tarsus was used in the same way.

      I think the test is whether we follow Almighty God or we shift directions like the wind, while placing our faith in the vanities of men. We are told to test what is written as the Bereans do, so how does Paul of Tarsus get a pass and a gold star? This guy should never have gotten to first base, let alone becoming Christianity’s perennial all-star slugger and first ballot Hall of Famer.

      Please allow me to ask you two questions: How can you, with good conscience, follow Paul of Tarsus and how can you trust in faith-based letters when the authors are disputed or unknown?

      Be well – C.J.

    • Hi, cj. I am so glad to hear of your love for our Heavenly Father. I also would never intentionally do anything to insult Him or His Son. You mentioned that you “can no longer follow Pauline doctrine.” Did you once believe that Paul’s writings were part of God’s Word? If so, what changed your mind?

      As for the authenticity of the New Testament writings, I didn’t believe that any of them were authentic 50 years ago. I thought the entire Bible was a farce and that God was a fabrication of superstitious imagination. I had to see evidence and lots of it to become a Christian. Part of becoming a Christian was checking out the authenticity of the writings that make up both the Old and New Testament writings. If I had found evidence for the Hebrew Bible but not the Christian New Testament, I would have looked into converting to Judaism. However, I found the evidence for both Testaments to be strong and worthy of acceptance.

      If you have difficulty “believing the authenticity of most of the New Testament’s writings,” then the question arises about how can we know for sure that Jesus Christ existed? We can look to the Old Testament to see that God promised to send Messiah to Israel, but nothing in the Old Testament writings says it would be a man named Jesus of Nazareth. We can also look to extra-biblical writings to see that both Romans, Greeks and Jews wrote about a man named Christus being worshipped as a god, but that is still not enough to place our faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah God sent to Israel. We know that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world because of what is written about Him in the New Testament and what is written about His disciples who both followed Him and preached His Gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the world.

      As for anonymous authorship, which of the Gospels include the author’s name in the writing itself? That’s right, none. None of the Gospel accounts include the author’s name. Then why would anyone believe that Matthew wrote Matthew, Mark wrote Mark, Luke wrote Luke, or John wrote John? The early church father’s believed that Matthew wrote Matthew, Mark wrote Mark, Luke wrote Luke, and John wrote John. The Gospels are anonymous on textual evidence, but are known from the writings of early church leaders who knew the authors or knew the authorship on good authority.

      If we look only at the textual evidence, the only New Testament writings that include author identification are those of Paul, James, Peter, Jude and Revelation. If you don’t accept Paul or Peter and don’t accept any writings that are anonymous, you know almost nothing about Jesus of Nazareth. How can you trust in Him without evidence?

    • Hi, Mark:

      Thank you for your thoughtful, reasoned response.

      Indeed…I had been a staunch advocate of Paul’s for 35 years, if not longer. In fact, I dare say he was my favorite “apostle”. I shared Pauline doctrine with those who attended my Sunday School class (and anyone else that would listen).

      My grandfather and a couple of my uncles were Lutheran ministers who helped shape my belief-system during my informative years, including how I felt about Paul. My own dad was a church president and I found myself holding various positions in the church as well, including that of Sunday School teacher. This was truly a family affair. Please know that I officially invited Lord Yeshua into my life when I was 10 years old, so my association, fascination and adoration of Him will soon see its 40th anniversary.

      So, when did things go south, between Paul and me? Well, the easiest way to answer that is to say that I have prayed diligently for years to have a “heart for God” and to grow in wisdom, discernment and knowledge (amongst other things). I routinely pronounce my love for Father YHWH and His precious Son, while confirming my allegiance and servitude to Them. During the past few years I have asked for the Spirit of Truth and to know good from evil as well as fact from fiction.

      Then, one month ago, I was sitting at the dining room table preparing to read from the Book of Galatians, when an awareness came over me. For the first time, I saw St. Paul as Saul of Tarsus, a man who was still trying to subvert the true word of God.

      Now, this is not to say that Paul never raised my eye-brows in the past, with some of his strange teachings and friendly contradictions to Christ. I allowed these contradictions to pass and the strange circumstances surrounding Paul to fester, over the years, but, suddenly, for the first time, my eyes no longer saw the halo around his head and my spirit was alarmed by his message.

      For the first time in my life, contrary to my upbringing and education – I saw a ravenous wolf and false preacher appear before my eyes. I was stunned! It was as if one of the mighty pillars that my life had been build upon came crumbling down to earth. Good thing my faith rests in the unshakable character of our Heavenly Father and His precious Son and not in the traditions of man. Now, I must find out what our Heavenly Father expects from those Gentiles who love Him…this side of A.D. 70.

      Be well, my friend – C.J.

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Mark:

      I would like to stipulate that the term “shoddy”, I used to describe the New Testament, only reflects my disappointment in the safeguards used to secure authority and prove ownership. This is to say that we cannot know for certain who wrote this or that, except for Paul’s ramblings and boastings, which are quite clear. It is also true that people added on to some of these letters over the years, corrupting the message (here and there). Don’t even get me started on the corruption of the Masoretic texts.

      Perhaps I should also mention that I am not so sure there is a “New Testament” given to us from our Heavenly Father and Creator. If there is…who said so? Christ came to minister to the lost sheep of Israel and to fulfill the Law and the prophets, so where is this “New Testament”? (and please don’t recite Pauline doctrine).

      Best wishes – C.J.

    • Hi, cj. If there is no New Testament, then we are left with only the Hebrew Bible as God’s Word. The last prophet He sent to Israel wrote with a note of looking forward to a future time when God would send His “messenger” to “prepare the way” for Him to “suddenly come to His temple” (Malachi 3:1). According the the Hebrew Bible, and this is what Jews believe, we are still waiting for God to send His “messenger.” Only in the New Testament do we learn that God sent His “messenger” John the Baptizer who “prepared the way” for Messiah. We learn about that from New Testament Books that do not identify the authors, so are we to believe that God has not yet sent His “messenger” or Messiah? Should we, like Jews, be praying for God to fulfill the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible?

      How could you possibly know that “Christ came to minister to the lost sheep of Israel and to fulfill the Law and the prophets” if the New Testament cannot be believed? Are you not quoting from the New Testament? Are you not quoting from a New Testament Book that does not identify the author?

      Please know that I am not trying to rock your belief that Jesus of Nazareth is Lord. I am trying to follow your logic to see where it leads. It would appear that logically speaking a belief that there is no New Testament, no revealed Word from God following Malachi, would lead to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth is not Lord, did not die and rise, and may have never even existed. Evidence for the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus is found in the New Testament writings.

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Greetings, Mark:

      I think there is a subtle misunderstanding between us and I believe I may be at fault. If memory serves, I did not say I do not accept the New Testament…I said “My faith in the New Testament is at an all-time low.” I also said I still hold on to the Book of Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation, which are part of the “New Testament.”

      With the dramatic display set forth by Abraham and Isaac, we knew our Heavenly Father would send His precious Son to be the perfect sacrifice. We knew through the prophet, Daniel, and the prophecy of the 70 weeks (Daniel 9:25), that the Prince of Heaven and King of Jews would appear at a specific time – the very time Lord Yeshua happened to appear.

      Isaiah told us, “YHWH, Himself, will give you a sign: ‘Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel'” (Isaiah 7:14).

      So, we know through “Old Testament” sources that Almighty YHWH was going to send His Son to fulfill the Law and the prophets, act as the perfect sacrifice, when this would happen, what His Son’s name would be and that His Son would be born of a virgin.

      I dare say we can learn everything we need to know about our Savior’s Son, by listening to our Heavenly Father. Lord Yeshua did not come to change anything that His Father had placed into motion – He only came to fulfill it.

      This is in stark contrast to Paul…who attempted to change everything.

      Be well, my friend – C.J.

    • Bob on said:

      cp,
      I just read your comments this morning, and just to clarify which comments, they begin with “Greetings, Mark: I think there is a subtle misunderstanding…” Your comments were very well said and accurate. I agree that Yeshua came to fulfill the law, and did not change anything, other than to make a provision for our sins and shortcomings, that we could fulfill the Law also, if we sincerely hear and obey his words, and especially the Law of Love per John 13:34. If I could just suggest adding the first 4 chapters of Hebrews onto the “good” list, and especially Hebrews 1:1-2. I think that Hebrews was intercepted by Paul, starting at chapter 5, where it definitely becomes Pauline. Actually, the first 4 chapters stand in stark contrast to Paul’s doctrine where the writer warns the early church to not fall to the same pattern as old testament Israel, where their problem was not hearing and not obeying God’s voice, and thus falling into unbelief. We know that Paul’s stand is that the Law was at fault, and “weak through the flesh”, thus Yeshua had to abolish the Law, per Paul. Best to You. Bob

    • Thank you for clarifying. I knew what you had written at the beginning, but read this statement – “Perhaps I should also mention that I am not so sure there is a “New Testament” given to us from our Heavenly Father and Creator. If there is…who said so?” – and thought you might be questioning all of the writings in the New Testament. There are good reasons to believe that Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation are part of God’s “revelation.” I also believe there are good reasons to believe the other writings of the New Testament are as well.

      Since you accept four Books but not the others, then your view of Christian history in the first century AD would come from those writings. You would not know anything about Pentecost because you don’t believe the Books of Acts is God’s revelation. You would also not know about the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to the world other than what James wrote in his letter to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (if “abroad” meant scattered around the world rather than scattered around Judea) and what John wrote to “the seven churches” in Revelation. Jesus talked about building His “church,” but what did a “church” look like? Was it a synagogue of Jews that believed in Jesus as Messiah? Should today’s churches be Jewish synagogues rather than Christian churches? The terms “pastor, deacon, and evangelist” are not found in Matthew, James, Jude or Revelation, so is that a polity Christians should not include? The term “elder” is used in your Books as well as in Paul’s writings and in Hebrews, Mark, Luke, Acts, and Peter’s and John’s letters, so how can we use that idea of leadership? Should we instead use rabbi and priest since those are both used in Matthew and Revelation?

      I’m asking you because of the systematic way we develop a “theology” or understanding of God and what He has done and is doing. You are doing that with your belief in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation. How we worship and serve God will come from that systematic theology. I’ve thought about what a systematic theology of Christianity would look like if we believe that only Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation are God’s revealed Word and curious how you’ve thought about it in relationship to worship and service to God

      Back to the “churches” Jesus addressed through John in Revelation. Those churches were located in Asia Minor, so one question would be who started them and how did they operate? Jesus explained the “mystery of the seven stars” and “the seven golden lampstands” as “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” Do you believe that the seven churches were synagogues in those cities made up of Jews and believing Gentiles who were in full obedience to the Mosaic Law? Do you believe that John was the apostle who preached the Gospel of the Kingdom in those cities that led to conversion of Jews to Messiah? Is the term “church” (ecclesia) a term for a synagogue of Jews who believe Jesus is Messiah? Is that what Jesus meant when He said He would build His “church”?

      I’m assuming you do believe that based on developing a systematic theology of Christianity from only Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation, but wanted to see if that’s correct. Thanks!

    • Top of the Morning, Mark:

      Please allow me to clarify the following statement: “Perhaps I should also mention that I am not so sure there is a “New Testament” given to us from our Heavenly Father and Creator. If there is…who said so?” – C.J.

      Indeed…I highly question the notion of a “New Testament”, because the Son of God did not change anything His holy Father had placed in motion as His message remained the same. It is clear the Holy Son came to fulfill the Law and the prophets, minister to the lost sheep of Israel and to claim His royal throne as King of the Jews.

      As stated previously, I presently accept: Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation as inspired Scripture, but I see them as a continuation of Father YHWH’s previous works…not something that warrants the designation of a “New Testament”, which, by virtue of its wording denigrates the previous works of our Eternal Father to “Old”, outdated or obsolete.

      What I respect about the Book of Matthew is that it pays homage to the “Old Testament” as does the Book of Revelations (which references the O.T. some 250 times). Matthew also ties in the life and works of Lord Yeshua with the O.T. prophesies, which is something one who expect the Holy Spirit to do.

      The Book of James, in particular, tells us how we should be living our lives as followers of Christ, and this, too, is something we would expect to see in a final word from our Heavenly Father. Please remember that there is nothing “Old” about our Heavenly Father’s pre-Messianic works and there is nothing “new” about His final words, except for His precious Son’s victorious fulfillment of prophecy.

      Now, if I am not mistaken, no one talks about “Pentecost” except for Paul’s camp, so I have my doubts that the phenomena of speaking in tongues ever happened to legitimate believers. I see people today, who claim to speak in tongues, yet I know it is a sign of arrogance and a source of pride from the devil…manifesting in a perverse generation that seeks signs and wonders.

      Best wishes – C.J.

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Top of the Morning, Mark…Part 2:

      I apologize for writing a sequel, but I was forced to step away from the desk for a spell.

      As I mentioned earlier, it was only one month ago that the scales fell from my eyes and I saw Paul of Tarsus for who he truly is, so I have not had the time to figure everything out or contemplate all the ramifications. I just want the truth…not works of fiction or half-truths that make me feel warm at night.

      I would like to mention that Paul’s lie is the same as the serpent of the Garden who said to Eve…”You won’t surely die” (Genesis 3:4). This is exactly what the devil is saying to us through Paul…”You won’t surely die, because it is by grace you are saved…ALONE”, then goes on to tell us that “…nor heights nor depths nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God.”

      Sounds great, but it isn’t true. Christ told us who would not inherit the Kingdom of God and Matthew 7:13,14 exhorts us to, “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” So much for “By grace ye are saved, alone.”

      From where I sit, it looks like the first Believers could be called “Messianic Jews”. So, it is likely the seven churches of Asia were comprised of Messianic Jews because they are the ones who tried to beat the apostolic impostor, Paul, and have him incarcerated in Jerusalem. They were incensed that Paul spoke against the Law, circumcision and even the Holy Place. Paul found it was to his physical benefit to preach to the Gentiles, because they had no knowledge of the Law or the true things of God. Meaning…they were easier to dupe and lead astray.

      Will write “Part 3” a little later – C.J.

    • Hi, cj. You have come a long way in just a month. You have been most kind and generous in your communication with me and I hope we can continue in that spirit. I, along with you, am interested in believing and committing myself to God’s truth.

      I first met Messianic Jews about 40 years ago and enjoyed our discussions about many things. Conversations with members of the Hebrew Roots movement and Ebionites have also been interesting as I learned of what they believed and why they believed it. One of the issues that I’ve found consistent among many people who do not accept Paul’s letters, Luke’s Gospel, the Book of Acts, Peter’s letters, John’s letters, and Hebrews as true is they often quote from those writings as if they were historically true.

      For example … you wrote – ” it is likely the seven churches of Asia were comprised of Messianic Jews because they are the ones who tried to beat the apostolic impostor, Paul, and have him incarcerated in Jerusalem. They were incensed that Paul spoke against the Law, circumcision and even the Holy Place. Paul found it was to his physical benefit to preach to the Gentiles, because they had no knowledge of the Law or the true things of God. Meaning…they were easier to dupe and lead astray.” Did you learn about that event from reading Acts or another ancient document? If you are describing information written about Paul from Acts, how can you trust that it is true? Since you trust only Matthew, James, Jude and Revelation, how can you know anything about Paul since they don’t mention him? I wouldn’t feel comfortable believing something to be true based on a writing that I didn’t feel comfortable believing. If, on the other hand, your information about the seven churches of Asia comprised of Messianic Jews trying to beat Paul and having him incarcerated in Jerusalem came from another textual source, then we can take a look at it to ensure we can trust it.

      If what Paul, Luke and others wrote in the New Testament is untrue and heretical, I’m surprised that James, Jude, John and Jesus didn’t name names and call Paul, Luke and others out. Jesus commanded John the Apostle to write what we know as the Revelation toward the end of the 1st century AD to “the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicean.” Jesus told John to “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” Jesus began by addressing the seven churches. Jesus said He hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, “which I also hate.” He named them twice in his address to the church of Ephesus and the church of Pergamos. He wrote about “those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” He named “that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” Jesus named names, but did not name Saul or Paul or Luke or Mark. Jesus was talking to John the Apostle, but didn’t say anything about writings going out in his name that he didn’t write. Peter and John were close friends, but Jesus didn’t say anything about writings going out in Peter’s name that he didn’t write. Do you think it’s possible that Jesus, addressing major problems in the majority of churches in Asia Minor at the end of the 1st century, didn’t mention Saul, Paul, Luke, Mark, Peter or John because they were not the problem? Is it possible that Jesus didn’t mention Saul/Paul being a problem because it was Jesus who called Saul on the road to Damascus to do just what Paul said he did and Luke said he did and Peter and James and John said he did?

      I agree with James that “our Lord Jesus Christ” is “the Lord of glory.” I believe that Jesus is All Knowing and All Wise. Jesus said His purpose was to “build” His “church,” which meant He was Lord over His “church.” Jesus addressed His “church” at the end of the 1st century and took them to task for how many of them had sinned against Him. He told five of the churches in Asia Minor to “repent, repent, repent, repent, repent.” “repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.” “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” What I read in His words is an intense seriousness about His Holy Purpose for the Church. Given the holiness of His purpose and the intensity of His statements – “all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts” – why do you think Jesus did not mention the name of Saul/Paul as an example of doctrine He hated? If Jesus “hated” the Nicolaitans and their deeds, why did He say nothing about Paul and his teachings and writings?

      People I’ve spoken with from various anti-Paul movements through the years often point to Revelation 2:2 as evidence that Paul was the false apostle they had “tested” and found to be liars. If that is true, why do you think Jesus didn’t mention Paul’s name? Jesus said He hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, so why wouldn’t He have mentioned Paul by name when He congratulated the Ephesians for testing apostles and finding them to be liars? Were the deeds of the Nicolaitans worse than the deeds of a false apostle who was able to hijack much of the church doctrine before his death?

      If Paul was the man you believe him to have been and that the devil spoke through him and that the teachings of Paul were Satanic, why didn’t Jesus say that? Jesus mentioned Satan by name multiple times in His address to the churches. He talked about the “synagogue of Satan,” “where Satan’s throne is,” “where Satan dwells,” “the depths of Satan,” and “the devil is about to throw some of you into prison.” If Paul was Satan’s chief spokesperson against the Gospel of Jesus, why do you think Jesus didn’t mention Paul by name and call him out?

      I believe the Lord Jesus Christ didn’t mention Paul by name because Paul was not a problem to the purpose and plan of Christ, the Gospel of Christ or the churches that belonged to Christ. Paul was not the problem and neither were the letters Paul had written the churches. The problem lay elsewhere and Jesus called out the problem.

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this. Mark

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Top of the Morning, Mark…Part 3:

      Yes, I do believe the churches of Asia were comprised of Messianic Jews. Because they kept the Torah and followed Lord Yeshua, Paul quickly found himself on the outside looking in and was lucky they didn’t cut his lying tongue out of his murderous skull, when they encountered him in Jerusalem.

      Paul cried for help and was delivered by Roman soldiers. He then appealed for armed escort to Rome, in order to flee from the Messianic Jews who saw him as the devil, himself. Of course, he would tell us he wanted to appeal to the madman, Nero, instead of his cousin, King Herod.

      In addition, there is a legal document that was found within the Dead Sea Scrolls (Q40266) that is known as the “Damascus Document”, written around the time of Saul’s (alleged) trip to Arabia. This document is a letter of ex-communication to an unknown man referred to as the “Lying Adversary”, the “Lying Spouter”, “The Tongue”, “The Scoffer – who rejected the law in the midst of the whole congregation.” Most scholars agree that this document was written by James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, and the condemned party was none other than Paul of Tarsus.

      Beyond that…I do not presently know if it matters if we worship in a church or a synagogue or even if Gentile Believers are meant to observe the Sabbath Day or keep the Torah, in whole, or in part. In fact, I presently do not know the mode of salvation for Gentiles or if anything has ever been said on this subject.

      It comforts me, however, to know that Noah found favor in the eyes of YHWH. Though Noah was neither Israeli nor Jew – he knew the difference between clean and unclean animals and we know in Genesis 8:20 that he built an altar and made burnt offerings unto Father YHWH, upon leaving his vessel.

      One of the things that led me to your website, Mark, is that I am searching for answers. The Holy Spirit blessed my prayers for discernment, wisdom and knowledge, and in doing so, showed me I was walking in error by walking with Saul. Now, I must re-learn to walk…with God alone.

      Blessings to you and yours – C.J.

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Hi, Mark:

      You mentioned, “…given the evidence about the reliability of the New Testament documents we can have full trust that it is the inspired Word of God.” – Mark

      You are a man of remarkable faith, Mark, but where is your evidence? I pray you have something of substance that I can sink my teeth into, because my faith in the New Testament is at an all-time low. If Lord Yeshua only came for the lost sheep of Israel and to fulfill the Law and the prophets as stated…then there really isn’t a need for a written New Testament. When Lord Yeshua said, “It is finished”…perhaps He meant it.

      May God grant us discernment – C.J.

    • Excellent questions, cj. How do you know there is a Lord Yeshua outside of what is written about Him in the New Testament? Jesus saying the words, “It is finished,” are written in accounts that are part of the New Testament. If we cannot trust the writings in the New Testament, how can we know that Jesus ever said the words “It is finished” or that He ever existed?

      Yes, may God grant us discernment.

    • cjsledgehammer on said:

      Good Evening, Mark:

      I can see your point and it is troubling: Letters without names, books without authors, forgeries, revisions, falsehoods and apostolic impostors. Even St. Jerome, in “The Letters of Jerome”, stated that the Book of Acts was “falsely written.” In truth: The New Testament has significant problems that are not easily resolved.

      As of this moment, I still hold onto Matthew, James, Jude and Revelations. These 4 books are Pro-Christ/Anti-Pauline in nature and some scholars claim that James wrote his letter to openly challenge and refute Paul’s heretical doctrine.

      As far as the Book of Matthew is concerned…I have not found anyone who has suggested that revisions or additions have been added to it, unlike Mark, Luke and John. Matthew is also the most “Jewish” gospel, which one would expect to see if Lord Yeshua had only come to minister to the lost sheep of Israel and to fulfill the Law and the prophets. Moreover, of the three synoptic gospels, Matthew was the only disciple directly trained by Yeshua, whereas the others were disciples of disciples (adding credence to Matthew).

      I find it ironic, that even though Saul of Tarsus is an apostolic impostor and wolf in sheep’s clothing, he still gives testimony to Lord Yeshua, the crucifixion, the ascension of the Son and the work of the Twelve – though he opposed them all. Now, when we read what Lord Yeshua said in Matthew 24 and compare this with historical facts, we find they are in perfect agreement. In fact, much of Matthew has been verified through secular sources and historical documents. These are a few reasons why I still see the Book of Matthew as legitimate.

      Before I go, I wold just like to add that we know, from “Old Testament” sources, that Father YHWH was sending His Son…the Messiah, at or around the same time Yeshua came onto the scene. Historically speaking…I know of no one else who fits the bill as perfectly as Lord Yeshua.

      Blessings to you and yours – C.J.

    • Hi, cj. I agree that Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecy beautifully. I also agree that Paul gives testimony to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and is in agreement with what the Twelve said about the Lord. That’s because they worked together and understood the apostolic service Jesus called them to do. I agree that Matthew is legitimate based on historical and textual evidence, even as I see that for all 27 Books of the New Testament. Blessings!

    • So, you pick and choose what YOU think is right or wrong? Foolish man, wasn’t you listening when God said to lean NOT unto thine OWN understanding? Do you not know that the ways of God are far and away above YOUR feeble thoughts and aspirations? Of course, Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ. The other 12 really weren’t that intelligent because they followed Jesus all the way to the top of Mount Olives pestering him and waiting for Him to bring down the Kingdom of God to earth only to watch Jesus the Christ be taken up from them in a cloud. It took the revelation from God to Paul to teach us that the Kingdom is a HEAVENLY, Spiritual Kingdom where ALL who will come are welcome. NOT JUST THE JEWS. How about taking what God told us to do a little more seriously. STUDY to show ourselves approved.

  7. I’ve never heard of this idea before. I have heard of people rejecting the Bible (mostly atheists) and I’ve heard of textual conflict over small bits and pieces of the Bible (the passage Mark 16:9ff comes to mind), but I’ve never heard of anyone throwing out such huge amounts of the Word.

    • It is a bit surprising, but the idea goes back many centuries to the early days of the Church. The Judaizers of the 1st century AD opposed Paul’s teaching and that grew into a movement in the 2nd century known as the Ebionites. They were primarily a Jewish group within the Church that took the adoptionist view that Jesus was born of men, but because of His perfect obedience God promoted Him to the rank of Son of God, probably at His baptism. The Ebionites rejected Paul and all his letters. They also rejected Luke’s Gospel and Acts of the Apostles. The Ebionites especially liked Matthew’s Gospel and the writings of Peter and James. They were strict in following the Mosaic Law. Some people have tried to resurrect the Ebionite movement in the past 40 years and some of the rejection of Paul’s letters is coming from them. I’ll address that group in a future post.

      Thanks for writing! Mark

  8. Paul wrote to the believers (Christians). Maybe that was for a reason.

  9. Not many seems to think about these things anymore. They see the apparent Contradictions between the Words of Jesus and the Apostle Paul, without ever thinking about why that can be. Jesus and Paul are not conflict, as long as we understand they are ministering under two different covenants, the old covenant before the Cross and the new Covenant After the Cross.

    I look forward to the study.

  10. I’m eager to read the next part! You’ve set up quite the cliffhanger! 🙂

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