Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that
he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
Without the doctines and 'revealed mysteries' of Apostle Paul, otherwise known as Saul of Tarsus, I really don't believe there would be such a religion as Christianity. The Gospels, in and of themselves, portray the life and teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth: or, Yah'shuah, the Messiah. Yahshua preached the Kingdom of Heaven. Why did Saul/Paul create his own doctrines, which seem to center on the Messiah, yet deny the truth of who He really was and IS? What was Saul/Paul really up to?
After everything I've read and all the comparisons I've made between Old Testament writings, and the Gospels, it seems extraordinarily clear to me now, that not only did Saul completely attempt to take power away from the True assembly of Yahshua, which was led by James, the Apostle of Yah'shuah but he also completely twisted and perverted the pure Gospel and message of Messiah. In doing so, he founded his own religion and put the Messiah in the center of it, then called it Chrsitianity; and The Israel of God. (Galatians 6:16) In so doing, the whole world has received this perverted image of who Messiah is and what His true message was.
We have already seen (see Who was Saul of Tarsus), that Paul was a Jew by birth (his parents were Jewish) and also a Roman citizen because his father had acquired Roman citizenship. He was born in Tarsus which is a city in Cicilia. Paul tells us in his epistles and in the book of Acts, through Luke, that he was circumcised the 8th day, was an Israelite and was of the tribe of Benjamin. He called himself a Hebrew of Hebrews and regarding the law, he was a Pharisee. Paul was not a Palestinian Jew like the Messiah and His disciples were. Because he was a dispersion Jew, his Jewish practices were different from the Palestinian Jews. Though there isn't any evidence that Saul was a Rabbi, we know, by his own writings that he did study under (at the feet of) Gamaliel, the most honored of teachers in his time. Gamaliel was a descendant of Hillel, another greatly honored teacher. One commentator I recently read, noted that just because someone studies under a certain teacher, doesn't necessarily mean that the teacher, eg., Gamaliel actually knew Saul, nor that Saul was his only student.
Saul of Tarsus first appears in Acts 7:58 at the stoning of Stephen. The witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of Saul. Saul was consenting to the death of Stephen- Acts 8:1. He presents himself, at the time of his persecutions of the followers of Yah'shuah as a definite, and zealous Jew who spared none, not even women.
Acts 8:21- And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles... But Saul laid waste the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.
Though it's unclear what "position" of authority Saul held, he didn't act alone but had help. For the persecution to be as severe as it was, there's no doubt in my mind that whatever organization he worked for, had a lot of power. We know it was the Sanhedrin who condemned Stephen to die, but there is no evidence to state for certain, that Saul was a member of the Sanhedrin. It is mentioned that Saul was a member of the Cicilian synogogue. It is very possible that the persecutions which Saul helped (a lot) to carry out, were persecutions by the Romans, which would make one question if he acted as the zealous Jew he presents himself as, or as a Roman citizen. Perhaps he did it, as a Roman, to win immunity from the Romans. What's peculiar, is that the Apostles of Yah'shuah weren't arrested, even though they preached Yah'shuah in the Synagogue, in Jerusalem. Chances are very high, that Saul didn't act in Jerusalem at all, as the Epistles seem to prove, and strongly so that Pau/Saul's base of operation was actually Damascus. In fact, it's to Damascus that Saul sought the letters to the synagogues permitting him to continue persecuting Yah'shuah's followers.
Acts 9:1-2 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
The next time we "see" Saul in action, he is suddenly converted to the very WAY he had persecuted others for following. His accounts are full of contradictions, leaving the reader of Acts and his Epistles a little stumped- at least this reader, and I'm sure many other seekers of truth as well. What seems most startling to me, is how often Saul/Paul switches loyalties between the Jews and the Romans and yet all of it seems to be for the sole purpose of self-exaltation and very little to do with actually teaching or preaching anything Yah'shuah preached and taught.
On the road to Damascus, Saul claims to see a vision. Luke documents this account, first in Acts. Paul's own words contadict the first account of what happened on the road to Damascus. Here is the account by Luke:
Acts 9:3-9 Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do. The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one."
Paul was blinded and sent to Ananias who is to tell what his mission is and to heal his blindness. By the above account, which is apparently Paul's account, no witnesses are actually named leaving us wondering if there even were any. Apparently these witnesses heard the voice and yet, where are the names and how do we know if they really did hear anything? When Yah'shuah appeared to the twelve and to the 120, there were credible witnesses. Here, in Paul's account, there are no credible witnesses. When Yah'shuah was baptized there were witnesses: John the Baptist, the disciples of John and the voice from Heaven which they all heard. Even Andrew, Yah'shuah's Apostle, was a witness. At the transfiguration of Yah'shuah, there were also named witnesses.
In Acts 22:9-13, Paul, apparently speaking through Luke, gives account of the vision agan but this time says, "Those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking with me." The first time, they saw no light but heard a voice and this time, they saw a light but didn't hear a voice. How is it, that Paul was apparently blinded by the brightness of this light but the witnesses to the light were not?
In Acts 26:13-14, Paul's tune changes yet again as he speaks with King Agrippa. The vision is suddenly even more dramatic, including that the people with him also fell to the ground.
Acts 26:13-14- At midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language . . .
Suddenly, there is no mention of Ananias or of being blinded and also, this time, Paul claims he actually sees Jesus AND that he is instructed then and there what his so called mission is to be.
Acts 26:16-18 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Where is mention of the first "instructions" to go to Ananias and receive further instruction plus get healed of the blindness Paul forgets to mention to King Agrippa? Funny how at first, there are witnesses and instructions to see Ananias for healing but now, it's all Paul centered. Another thing to mention is that Yah'shuah NEVER blinded nor maimed anyone during His ministry but completely HEALED them instead. Now, we see Yah'shuah, according to Paul, causing blindness! Furthermore, when Yah'shuah did heal a person, it was total, yet Paul often complains of the permanent problems with his sight and blames the thorn in his flesh on Satan.
See how Paul's subtle changes of his conversion account are enough to pictate him as untrustworthy? First Saul sees a great light from Heaven, surrounding him and the "others with him" and hears the voice. By this account, he believes that he has been given a calling to minister to the Gentiles. Luke says, in Acts 19:20, that Paul immediately began to preach Christ to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles. According to Luke, all of this happened right after his vision but in the other versions of how Saul began his so called mission to the Gentiles, he doesn't begin until years after his vision.
Paul very sneakily mentions his vison again, but tries to connect his 'conversion experience' to the actual resurrection as witnessed by the twelve and 120 disciples, as though he were indeed part of that group who faithfully followed Yah'shuah AND was an actual witness to His resurrection when he wasn't Look!
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
VERY IMPORTANT: How does a witness to the resurrection get the facts all wrong about who Yah'shuah first appeared to and to HOW MANY? In the Gospels, it's clear Yah'shuah FIRST APPEARS ALIVE TO THE WOMEN. Didn't he know? AND keep in mind, that those who saw Yah'shuah, after He resurrected, saw Him ALIVE, in the FLESH! In all of Paul's previous accounts of his vision, he saw a light and heard a voice, except of course, when he is confronted with Agrippa and tells him he actually saw Yah'shuah! Why does he keep adding to his first account? It's because as any liar does, he has to keep it relevant to whoever he's trying to convince! When giving this account to the Corinthians, he is trying to convince them he is an actual authority by trying to connect his so called vision to that of being a witness to the resurrection, which he was NOT! He is trying to persuade them that he has just as much first hand CLOUT as the TRUE appointed twelve apostles of the Lamb.
What is wrong with this man called Saul/Paul? Is it obvious yet that he was NOT an Apostle of the Lamb and that's why his true colors can't help but shine through everything he says, either through Luke, or by his own pen? Festus seems to know what's wrong with Paul:
Acts 26:24 And as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are mad; your great learning is turning you mad.
Paul, it would seem, is his own worst enemy: In his own mind, he probably thinks he IS a real Apostle, and yet, proof of the contrary is glaringly obvious. There are no reliable witnesses to his so called conversion and the conversion story itself, keeps growing, so really, it comes down to Paul's word against all of the objections which came at him continually and which he of course, attributed to being persecuted for the cause of Christ. As much as Paul tries, throughout all his writings to convince the reader of his true apostleship and that he has in fact been witness to the resurrection, he cannot do it! Not only can he not do it, he constantly contradicts himself to the point where he just talks in circles- typical "mad" behaviour.
A striking statement is made right here:
Galatians 1:15-17 But when he who set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me, in order that I might preach among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were (A) apostles before me . . .
For one thing, what does he mean by God being pleased to reveal His Son IN Paul? Paul is very much implying that he, himself, is like Christ "in the veil of flesh" just like the Roman Pontifs say they, themselves are. Secondly, Paul contradicts himself again, because first, he says that he didn't confer with flesh and blood or the Apostles but then he says that the Apostles he didn't confer with, extended the right hand of fellowship to him; meaning, they accepted and embraced him as one of them! AND in this same contradictory statement, he also subtly puts down the true Apostles!
Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
In the above statement, Paul very subtly claims that he has the very same authority as the true apostles do and that he is a Nazarite too! Paul therefore, exalts his calling ABOVE the Apostles, as not needing human authority! The Apostles were specifically appointed by Yah'shuah while He was alive, except Matthias who replaced Judas, but was appointed through prayer and the drawing of lots by the true Apostles. Yet Paul, is above that it seems! He didn't need the approval of any man after all; only his own! Furthermore, he basically dumps Ananias as his 'teacher' of what to do next, even though, according to his own 'vision' Ananias WAS appointed by Christ to instruct him. So what is it? Is Paul a user who discards what is no longer useful to his cause? YES.
Paul's tactic is crystal clear to me: by claiming his 'apostolic authority' came directly from GOD and not from men, he tries to make himself untouchable BY men in his self-proclaimed posititon of Apostle. He tries to make himself ABOVE being questioned and 2000 years of history have proven he did succeed!! His words; his Epistles, are like GOD'S OWN WORDS to the christian church! HOW DARE ANYONE QUESTION GOD??? That's the exact attitude I get from christians when I try to tell them; "Uh . . . hang on a sec! You're APOSTLE IS A FRAUD!" Paul's tactic was to make it so that his own calling was 'above flesh and blood' so even what the twelve true Apostles, AND MESSIAH HIMSELF had to say, didn't and still doesn't matter even today.
Yet another contradiction comes up concerning Paul's supposed imprisonment. Did you know, he was not a true prisioner who was locked in a cell, bound in chains or left to suffer alone in any way, though he certainly claims he was a loudly so, so as to stir up pity for himself!? He was actually under house arrest at his own request and was free to come and go and have visitors too. He continued his 'missionary journeys' but on the Roman's tab this time instead of at the expense of his congregations.
Acts 24:22- 23 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lys'ias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case." Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.
Acts 26:32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."
The truth is, Paul was ecstatic about his circumstances because now, he was free to preach his lies to the Romans AND was granted Roman protection to save his butt from the riots he caused by his lies among the Jews who knew the law of God and knew he was a conterfeit through and through! The only reason why Paul brags so much in his Epistles about how BAD off he was in Roman custody, is to evoke sympathy and compassion in the reader and make himself look like a martyr for the LORD, when he was in fact, treated like royalty- even has his own Roman guards protecting him! I can just hear Paul's thoughts . . . "SUCKERS! If I tell them how badly beaten and abused I am, they'll think FOR SURE I'M FOR REAL OR WHY ELSE WOULD I GO THROUGH THIS TORTURE?!"
Paul's contradictions are so outrageous, no wonder the whole of Christendom is so messed up! There are at least 28,000 denominations, yet how on earth can this be, if all believe the SAME THINGS??? The fact is, they have so much to choose from, it takes at least 28,000 denominations to give Paul his fair share of attention. Bible scholars, preachers and laymen alike, who base their faith on this snake called Saul of Tarsus, just keep perpetuating the lies of Paul and adding their own variations as they see fit, because, after all, their very own leader never needed any authority to tell him what was and what wasn't right, so why should they! And besides, Paul SAID it's all about revelation knowledge! Sadly, like Yah'shuah told us, it's brother against brother in all of Christianty. It wouldn't be if they simply removed Paul and clung to Yah'shuah's Word as the Authority. (It's my assumption, that the writer of Acts is the same writer as the Gospel of Luke and from sources I've read lately, this seems to be accepted as fact- and yet there is a lot of growing evidence to indicate it was actually Paul himself who wrote the book of Acts while he was being "tortured to death' in his cushy Roman palace. If Luke did pen the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, it's highly likely, that Paul dictated to him.
Paul's "ministry" begins almost at the same time as his conversion according to Acts, however, in his Epistle to the Galatians, Paul tells a completely different story. In Acts we read the following account:
Acts 9:20-22 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
A Different Story is given to the Galatians:
Galatians 1:16-18 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
Both Paul and his later interpreter's, tell us that Paul didn't go to Jerusalem until three years after his conversion. Paul's public ministry didn't begin until at least fourteen years after his supposed trip to Jerusalem! A year of uncertainty, this author could forgive, but 14 years of complete obscurity is a little bit like stretching the patience of anyone! First, it is written in Acts that "For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus and in the synagogues he immediately preached Jesus." (Acts 9:19-20). But THEN, in Galatians 1:16-17, Paul writes that he did not confer with flesh and blood nor did he go up to Jerusalem to those who were Apostles before him- that he went into Arabia and THEN to Damascus.
Who is incorrect: Luke or Paul? With such obvious contradictions it's anyone's guess, but my personal guess, is that the reason for such discrepencies, stems from the fact that Paul told so many lies, that he got them all mixed up and any attempt by Luke to get Paul's story straight, was futile in the first place. It's also my assumption that "Luke" was just some vague entity (maybe even Paul himself) who was merely repeating whatever Paul told him to write.
Matters are further complicated by Luke's account of how the Jews of Damascus tried to kill Paul there! But then everyone gets confounded when suddenly, Paul arrives in Jerusalem and joins the true disciples- almost at the same time??? In this same account, the disciples turn Paul away and reject him. (Acts 9:23-26) According to Paul, it was three years before going to Jerusalem, but by Luke's account, he went to Jerusalem within a few days after his conversion.
According to Paul, he was only in Jerusalem for fifteen days and the only Apostles he saw were James, the Lord's brother and Peter.
Galatians 1:18-20 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other Apostles except James the Lord's brother. (In what I am writing you, before God, I do not lie!)
Why was Paul so insistent that he was in Jerusalem 15 days, after three years? Why was he defending himself? Did someone know and say something contrary to his account and was he desperate to cover it up? AND why did he swear he was telling the truth? What was he hiding? Luke told us that immediately, Paul preached "boldly" in the name of the LORD, yet in Galatians, this statement is fully contradicted! Paul claims he went to Arabia and was forced to leave, so went to Damascus, THEN after three years, he went to Jerusalem. Also, why did Paul say he escaped over the city wall from Jerusalem, if he was ACCEPTED by the disciples there? The fact is, it was the King of Arabia, (King Aretas) who wanted Paul killed, not the Jews! Luke makes it sound like the reason the Jews wanted Paul killed, was because of his preaching. So what's the truth here? Who is lying and who is not?
Why was Paul always getting into trouble with authority figures, including the Apostles, if the Apostles really accepted him as one of them? Hiis stay in Arabia was probably very short and it's probably that it was King Aretas the IV (King of the Nabataens) who forced him back to Dmascus. King Aretas IV reigned from 9 BC to 40 AD. Considering the time element and circumstances, it would seem doubtful that King Aretas' rage against Paul, had anything at all to do with him preaching the gospel.
II Corinthians 11:32-33- At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands.
This vague statement, by Paul, leaves much room for assumption as to the reason he was pursued by King Arestas- that it was due to his preaching. Theologians have agreed, it was too early in Paul's life for this to happen as he didn't begin his public ministry until fourteen years later! It is also very probable, that due to Paul's knack for stirring up ire in the Authorities everywhere he went, he went to the Apostles to seek refuge; as a last resort. There is no evidence that Paul began his "Gentile" mission, until after his stint in Arabia, and until he had been among the Apostles for a time. Many theologians agree that it's while he was among the Apostles, that Paul cooked up his story that HE, HIMSELF, was the Apsotle appointed to the Gentiles; as there is a good chance he never even knew about a gentile mission until then and there is also a fourteen year span of time which is unaccounted for in Paul's life.
Theologians also agree that Paul went to Jerusalem three years after his conversion. As well, the Jewish believers were terrified of Paul, so it's doubtful they had ever invited him to Jerusalem; most probably that Paul went there on his own initiative. It also took the help of Barnabas to get Paul into the city! Paul's accounts of this visit as well as Luke's, indicate that the visit was very short and in Galatians 1:18, we learn that this visit involved a private meeting with James and Peter. After this it seems Paul disappears for a long time- likely home to Tarsus, Turkey and Cilicia and Syria.
Galatians 1:17-22 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
Paul's own statements here indicate that he couldn't have been preaching yet, in the world, as he was still unknown. He was not recognized! It would seem Paul's need to exalt himself, overrides common sense and he was always ready to run after causing chaos, leaving the innocent bystanders to deal with the brunt of his actions. He left his so called congregations to deal with the civil and religious authorities after he stirred up trouble! It would also seem, that before this time, there was no Gentile mission.
Acts 9:26-30 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
So far, even before picking apart the Epistles of Paul, as I intend to do, it would appear obvious that Paul cannot be trusted as an accurate witness to anything but his own lies!
Psalms 10:9 He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
Ecclesiates 7:26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
Micah 7:2 The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
AND THE GOOD NEWS IS:
Habakkuk 1:15-17 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?