By Malik Ali
There was an apostle, who wrote an epistle,
strange faith did he jostle, and scriptures entwistle.
His doctrines pentacostal, made GOD's people bristle,
and blapshemy collosal, led to his dismissal.
Apostle, epistle, collossal, dismissal,
His writings bescissel, make faith so afissile.
GOD created man in his image.
Then the Christians came along and recreated GOD in man's image.
In the annals of religious history, Paul happens to be a surprise. Why?, he is the only figure to admit to lying and strangely enough, justifying it as well. When the prophets clearly condemned this evil habit, Paul glorified it, and put a new meaning to the ends will justify the means.
During the ministry of Jesus, Saul (Paul) was a dedicated member of a powerful, exclusive Jewish sect called Pharisees (ACTS 26:5). Their pretensions to sanctity had labelled them as hypocrites. When these overbearing vainglorious Jews confronted Jesus, he called them:
"You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Saul, a zealous persecutor of the devoted disciples of Christ, became the first Christian missionary and an Apostle to the Gentiles after converting himself to Christianity by a "vision", which he claims he had, while on the road to Damascus. The missionary changed his name from Saul to Paul and became the biggest contributor to the Books of the New Testament. From the above verse, Jesus like many of his predecessors condemned lying, deceit and hypocrisy. Lying is condemned several times throughout the Bible, and deceit by its own nature, is sinful and can only lead to hazardous consequences. What does Peter say in regards to guile (which means cunning, deceit, trickery, treachery)
For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that speak no guile
1 PETER 3:12
The verse speaks for itself. One of the factors that hinder mans success in this world and eternal life in the hereafter, is the use of guile. But on his own admittance, what does Paul say?:
But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless being crafty, I CAUGHT YOU WITH GUILE
2 CORINTHIANS 12:16
On his own admission, Paul is saying that he uses deception in his modus operandi. In all the new versions of the Bible, the more common term of deceit is replaced instead. This statement is made long after his conversion to Christianity, in the phase when he supposed to be blessed and righteous, and most importantly of all, being guided by Christ.
For our exhortation [was] not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
1 Thessalonians 2:3
Paul now speaks with two tongues, guile he can
But what I do, that will I do, that I may cut off occasion from those which desire occasion;...
2 CORINTHIANS 11:13
In the New Revised Standard Version, the verse reads in order to deny an opportunity to those who want an opportunity to be recognized as our equals.. He can't be any clearer or succinct, If any other Christian group tries to rival Pauls mission, he will seek to utilise means of destroying any opportunity that may arise for his opponents. This goes completely against the morals from what we know of Jesus and the Prophets of age. If Paul believed he had the truth, there would be no need to play games and power struggles, as the truth will always prevail in the end. The use of deceit and craftiness is the mark of the insecure and paranoid, not so certain that his own faith is correct, he had more hope in his will and ways prevailing, rather than the truth of the message of Christ.
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them under the Law, that I might gain them that are under the Law;
To them that are without the law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them that are under the law.
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
I CORINTHIANS 9:19-22
What better illustration of hypocrisy could be given. For the sake of the truth, Paul will use all means of deceit, insincerity, ruse etc in order to gain more followers. Just like his successors today, the missionaries put on a face of every ethnic race. You can see them at many of their websites, to the Muslims; they put themselves under the guise of WORLD VISION and other aid programs, and when they inject the needle, they also try to inject the needle of Christianity (Paulianity) along side it. To the Jewish people, the Christian missionaries love Jews, Israel and Zionism, bagels and Seinfeld. This love becomes so much that its insincere face starts to show.
For if the truth of God, hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory: why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
Even though Paul admits to lying (like he has in many other places), never how much he tries to defend his actions, the rational spiritual mind will never accept it. Lying is at the root of falsehood, the very element that is completely opposed to truth. The truth is a means to an end. The fact is that the ends don't justify the means, to get to paradise, you must choose the road that leads to paradise. And deceit is definitely not on that road.
Cursed [be] he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, ...
ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
The turning point in the life of Paul happens to be his crucial trip from Jerusalem to Damascus. Many would agree that if Paul did see a vision of of Christ, it would leave an undeniable imprint in his mind. And the fact that this is supposedly recorded in the "Book of God (Bible)", there should be consistency in the way the incident is narrated. As God is not the author of confusion.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
And I said, What shall I do, LORD? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
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.
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
DISCREPANCIES IN THE NARRATIONS
In the first we have a record of Paul's men, hearing a voice and seeing no man (ie Jesus). In the second narration, we have Paul claiming that the men saw Jesus, but did not hear a voice. The possibility of Paul manipulating this "event" is clearly revealed in the second narration, we have Paul defending himself before the Hebrew counsel, and twisting the point that his companions saw a light, but did not hear the voice; apperantly adds more credibility to his phenomenal vision. As a voice could be anyones voice for what the Jews care. Yes there is a contradiction, but from what we have seen from the character of Paul, it should not come as a surprise. In the third narration, he omits any mention of the specific incident.
The first and second narration are consistent when it comes to claiming only he fell to the ground when he saw the light. In the third narration, he claims he and his companions fell down. Why the change of retrospect, given the fact that Paul was defending himself in the third narration at the Court of King Agrippa, dramatising the vision by claiming all his men fell to the earth highlighted the desire to show the great impact this event had not just on his life, but those who were in his presence.
What clearly reveals the flaw-ness of his vision, is that in the third narration when addressing King Agrippa and his Gentile court. He makes the claim that in his vision, Jesus told him that he will be Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee. So in effect, Paul is claiming that Jesus sent him to the Gentiles, (possibly in order placate the crowd present). And in the second narration to the Jews, he brings absolutely no mention of this "I'am sending you to the Gentiles" alleged statement that Jesus told him. Why not?, the obvious answer lies in the respective audience being addressed.
In a Court of Law, such contradictory evidence would be held suspect and hence dismissed or cross-examined.
Back to the specific issue of whether the disciples heard the voice or not. The Apologisers for the New Testament, as well as the NIV bible, have tried to cover up the contradiction between Acts 9:7 and 22:9 by translating Acts 9:7, "akouontes men tes phones" (literally "they heard the voice", but, skewing the words of Acts 22:9, "phonen ouk hakousan" (literally, "they did not hear the voice") into, "they did not understand the voice".
And, according to Luke's own report of Paul, Paul was well familiar with better words for "understanding". In Acts 28:26,
"In hearing, you shall hear but not understand."
The Greek work he uses for "understand" is syniete. He also uses the word in Rom 3:11, 15:21, 2 Cor 10:12, and Eph
5:17. Luke also uses this word frequently, Luke 2:50, 8:10 (when Jesus is allegedly concealing his meaning from
folks), Luke 18:34, 24:45, and Acts 28:27 to indicate a lack of understanding. So, if Paul (or Luke) had meant that
Paul's companions heard the voice but did not understand it, they could have easily chosen to use "syniete" instead, so
that there would have been no question of contradiction in testimony. You'd think this would be important. Could it be possible that Paul fell victim to his own theory
...For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
2 CORINTHIANS 11:14
Regardless of the voice his campanions heard (and did not hear), there is the issue of the big light that persuaded Paul.
Even before he is told who his Big Light is, Paul addresses it as "lord" (which tends to make the whole account sound rather
contrived). But, Paul already recognises an "Angel of Light" as Satan (see 2 Cor 11:14 above). And, in fact, an Angel of Light is
identified in Isaiah 14:12 as Tyre the Morning Star, who is the enemy of GOD fallen from heaven for claiming to ascend to
heaven (Tyre is often seen as representative of Satan). So, for Paul to immediately call a Big Light his "lord" is quite telling.
Incidentally, St. John's version of Jesus calls himself the Morning Star (Rev 22:16). And, it is interesting in light (excuse the
pun) of the fact that the "ascending" imagery in Isaiah 14:12 also closely resembles the "ascending Jesus" of St. Paul's
doctrine. It just leaves wondering, and what is one to make out of this.
It is too much of a paradox, because the verse prior to the one above (in which he refers to his rivals as discussed earlier). Paul states
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ.
2 CORINTHIANS 11:13
The saint (?) is accusing others of being deceitful while he himself, not only practices deceit, but admits to it as well as takes pride in it. According to this strange mentality, he thinks he can beautify the word "deceit", and expect everyone to buy into it. The term deceit does not having opposing definitions, i.e., a positive connotation for Paul and a negative one for his competitors.
Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah, or saith, "I have received inspiration," when he hath received none, or (again) who saith, "I can reveal the like of what Allah hath revealed"? If thou couldst but see how the wicked (do fare) in the flood of confusion at death! - the angels stretch forth their hands, (saying),"Yield up your souls: this day shall ye receive your reward,- a penalty of shame, for that ye used to tell lies against God, and scornfully to reject of His signs!"
Al -An'am 6.93
Yes folks, another surprise is awaiting. What does he do now, he rallies against those who practice deceit in the upcoming verses.
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 4:2
Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips:
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1 Timothy 4:2
So much for abiding by the "practice what you preach" motto. The whole Bible is full of such verses; to make sure Paul is not alone in this manner. His contemporaries speak
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1 John 2:21
If Paul has a difficult time applying such moral teachings to himself, he should take heed of what Christ's discpiles warned in the above. And also what the Old Testament, the books he is so fond of quoting when it suits his interests has to say.
Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue [is] mischief and vanity.
Thou lovest all devouring words, O [thou] deceitful tongue.
He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit [is] falsehood.
Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, [and] from a deceitful tongue.
A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful [witness] speaketh lies.
Bread of deceit [is] sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful.
Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
Whoso casteth a stone on high casteth it on his own head; and a deceitful stroke shall make wounds.
PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Deception was not an uncommon tool of the Paulian church. At first, St. Paul considered deception (guile) and flattery to be inappropriate tools for his ministry. Paul grouped Guile with the evils of deceit and uncleanliness, denying to his Thessalonian church that he had used guile on them,
For our urgent request was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in Guile... For neither at any time used we flattering words, as you all know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness: Nor did we seek glory from men, neither from you nor others, though perhaps we had burdened you...
1st Thessalonians 2:3-6
"Burdened you" is a euphamism, used often, for "asked you for money". And, as you will see below, after a few years, St. Paul used both flattery and guile in getting his Corinthian church to accept their "burden".
But, later, writing to the church at Corinth, Paul admits to them that he had used guile (trickery/deception), sending others (such as Titus) instead of himself (whom he knew some of them opposed) to motivate them into a generous state (2 Cor 8:6). How sending others amounted to trickery is not specifically stated... merely that it did. A very likely reason is this: It is known that there was dissent among those in the Corinthian church over which apostle to follow. Not everyone was loyal to St. Paul, or believed in his authority (for one of many examples, see 2 Cor 13:3). Thus, some Corinthians were reluctant to make donations to St. Paul, and he clearly wrote a great deal of the 2nd Corinthians Letter for the express purpose of convincing them of their obligation to give (voluntarily, of course). Whatever the case, Paul admits that he used guile, and associates it with his sending others to them to solicit donations.
For the third time I am planning to visit you; and I will not burden you. For I seek not what is yours (money), but you. For children ought not save up for the parents, but parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you... But be that as it may, I myself did not burden you. Rather, being crafty, I took you in with Guile. But, did I make a profit from you by those whom I sent to you? I chose Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a profit from you?... I fear that, when I arrive... there shall be arguments, jealousies, wraths, strifes, slanderings, whisperings, swellings, and tumults.
2nd Corinthians 12:14-20
Ironically, Paul is careful not to mention "beguilings" in his list here. As for flattering words, the entire Letter of 2nd Corinthians is absolutely dripping with phrases saying how proud Paul is of them, how he praises them and boasts of the generosity he expects to receive from them (see 2nd Cor 1:14, 7:4, 7:15, 8:24, 9:2). Paul tells them he has "godly" jealousies for them (2 Cor 11:2). The whole notion of psychological manipulation such as this reeks of guile. And, his boasting has purpose:
After flattering the Corinthians with his bragging of them, of their eagerness to give, Paul tries to play on their sense of pride and
embarrassment, playing them against the Macedonian church:
We want you to know about the gifts of God which was shown in the churches of Macedonia: Despite great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the wealth of their generosity. For they gave to their limit, I assure you, and were willing to give more than their means, and with much appeal they implored us that we accept the hospitality and gifts in ministry to the church leaders. ...So, we have urged Titus that he should secure from you this work of grace (giving) as he had already begun to do... See that you excel in this gracious work.
2 Cor 8:2-7
We hope that no one will object to the generous gifts that we are arranging... So, give proof, before the churches, of your love and of our boasting of you to these men.
2 Cor 8:20,24
For regarding the offering to the church leaders, it is unnecessary for me to motivate you. For I know the eagerness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia... Yet I had sent the others to you instead, for fear that our boasting of you should be unfounded in this respect (that, as I said, you all may be prepared (to give)), for fear that, if by chance some from Macedonia came with me and found you unprepared to give, we would be ashamed (we, and not you, no) due to this confident boasting.
2 Cor 9:1-4
Guile is certainly deception. Flattery is simply rather shameful. And they lend themselves nicely to each other. But, deception (especially for the sake of proselytising) was to lay the foundation of the European church. And the missionaries of today seem to have no qualms in utilising it.
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.