5.4. The Apostle Paul – “A MAN OF LIKE PASSIONS”
- Did Paul teach that the Law has been annulled?
- Did he initiate a new “Gospel of Grace”?
- Do his teachings do away with the ‘Old Testament’ teachings?
The following treatise will undoubtedly come as a shock to those who have accepted the modern-day concept of a halo-crowned Saul-of-Tarsus-demigod. Those believers who have unquestioningly bowed before this popular conjured-up, Pauline image, will be greatly distressed by the truths that are herein unfolded concerning these matters.
Acknowledgment – This study has been adapted and updated from an original print published by:People of the Living God, Back to the Bible Movement, New Orleans, USA http://www.people-livinggod.org/ Please note, that BIBLE REVELATIONS is not in any way associated with the publishers of the original tract
It is hard for anyone to admit the possible error of one’s most cherished theories.
To many Roman Catholics, Mary (Hebrew mother of the Jewish-born Messiah – who’s Hebrew name, by the way – was Miriam) has virtually displaced the Messiah. Similarly, in the minds of most Protestants, the apostle Paul’s instructions seem to have taken precedence over the instructions of God. Satan, the arch enemy of the True Original Faith, is a great artist of substitution, and his sly and ingenious lies must be exposed. It is not the fault of Miriam nor of Paul, that their names, positions or teachings, have been improperly employed and their work subtly misconstrued in the commonly accepted Christian dogmas of our time.
If the reader will withhold judgment until having carefully perused and considered the content of this matter, this study will clearly prove to be not only an expose of the prevailing misconceptions concerning Paul, but also a vindication of the man as a chosen vessel of God. The author of the thirteen Pauline epistles plainly admitted that he had not reached perfection; and it is a gross injustice to his character to present him to the world as infallible and the author of a “new gospel”.
To the end that we might exonerate both the Messiah and Paul – since both receive such flagrant misrepresentation in certain ecclesiastical circles – we have diligently and meticulously searched through all thirteen of these epistles for the proof to show that this writer was every whit as subject to the weaknesses and prejudices of mankind, as is any other human being in this old world : NOT because we have any desire to belittle this apostle; but rather that the false overrated image of this man might crumple and fall and the Messiah might be exalted to His rightful superior position.
Messiah is our Saviour – Paul is not. It is regrettable that “the powers of darkness” have so wrested the words of a man of God, that he has become a substitute for the true Messiah in the eyes of such untold numbers of professing believers, and that his instructions, when colliding head-on with the clear Command of God in the ‘Old Testament’, is taken above that of God! For this purpose, many Christian teachings have openly done away with the Old Testament, in defense of Paul’s reasoning’s!
Surely it is high time that the authority of the words of the Messiah be restored, and the inflated image of this admittedly “carnal” man (according to his own admission in Romans 7:14) be deposed from the minds of God-fearing individuals. Let the faithful and true Jeremiah’s dare “to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy” this mistaken impression of the apostle Paul, and ”build and plant” again in the hearts of God’s people a true picture of the Saviour whose every Word was the “Word of God”.
At the outset of this study, let us realize, that what we have today in the ‘New Testament’ and which is attributed to the Hebrew apostle Paul, may well never have been written by him! Sections no doubt have been inserted and tampered with – and subsequently removed (like 1 John 5:20). Other sections are very “un-Jewish” for a learned orthodox Messianic Jew, the likes of Paul, to proclaim – like the whole Church leadership system of “elders and deacons” – a pagan concept unknown to Judaism (which was the initial Messianic Faith). Sections like this may well have been inserted by the Roman Catholic establishment which had almost exclusive rights over the original new Testament Scriptures (which are “lost” to this day) and during a time when there were no printing presses or means of copying outside of the powerful hold of the Church.
A MAN OF LIKE PASSIONS
The utterances and Commands of YHVH never change or become obsolete – His admonitions and precepts are everlasting – they shall endure forever, The Scriptures have this to say concerning them:
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35)
In order to impress upon men the vital importance – the absoluteness – of YHVH’s every revelation, warning, and pronouncement, Messiah made this declaration: “Till heaven and earth disappear, not one yud (the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet) not one little stroke shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved” (Matt. 5:18).
The Bible is a remarkable record of the “Word of God”. It is also a record of many of the words of men.
Ministers of the Gospel are frequently asked the question: “Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?” Superficially this appears to be an uncomplicated query which one might easily answer with a simple “yes,” or “no”; but it is oddly misleading! Upon closer examination, this “uncomplicated query” proves to be a thoroughly complex question requiring intricate thought and clarification: – for we certainly do find some statements recorded upon the sacred pages, which God would undoubtedly never have inspired anyone to utter! Yet these things have been included in the divine account in order to make the record historically complete.
Consider, for example, the classic advice offered to Job, by his wife, when she saw him sitting “down among the ashes”, covered with boils, and scraping himself with a chunk of broken pottery: her cheerful recommendation was that he should “curse God and die” (Job 2:9) – obviously not a God-inspired utterance!
Or, to cite an instance from the New Testament, study the vehement protestations of the apostle Peter (recounted in Matthew 26:74) at the trial of the Messiah, when he “began … to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man”. Again, the very nature of the words themselves unquestionably precludes divine inspiration. Therefore, we must conclude that the Scriptures contain an account of many of man’s words, as well as a record of the Words of God.
RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD
No believer would dispute the fact that God’s Words are perfect. If the record of His words bears any imperfections, they result solely from man’s clumsy handling of the material. This is made evident in the many conflicting translations of and commentaries on the Bible, which are widely circulated at the present time.
1n the days of the Babylonian Captivity, an angelic being visited Daniel, a man well-learned in the knowledge of God, and told him certain things that were written in “the Scripture of Truth” (Daniel 10:21). Those who do not stop to consider the matter may very well ask, “is not all Scripture Truth?” And the answer to this must be “No”, for although all Scripture does give a true account of what took place, there are actually numbers of statements and quotations in ‘The Book’ which are merely a record of what someone has thought or said – and many of these, while accurate quotations of man’s remarks or reflections, are actually in their content and meaning, Untruths: “You shall not surely die”(Genesis 3:4), the serpent breathed beguilingly to the woman – but she did die! “All is vanity and vexation of spirit”, reflects an apparently disillusioned Solomon (Eccl. 1:14), and (chapter 2, verse 11), he adds: “and there was no profit under the sun”. Now it is impossible to give credence to such assertions as these, for we know that “our labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Solomon also remarked that, “A man has no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity” (Eccl. 3:1); but here, again, we find that Solomon’s allegation is contrary to the teachings of other Scriptures, for we are definitely told that man was made in the “Image of God’” (Genesis 1:27); and God is not a beast – He is a Spirit:
The discrepancies noted in the above-cited Words of man are glaringly evident – but there are many instances where the inconsistency is not so obvious. Oftentimes we come across statements which can be interpreted in any one of several different ways: the author, of course, has made his observations from one particular viewpoint, or angle of truth; but such a statement is truth only when it is viewed from the very same standpoint that the writer had in mind: as, for example, “The Revelation which God sent and signified by His angel unto His servant John” (Revelation 1:1). If the word “signified” is disregarded, the entire message of this book becomes confusion. The book of Revelation is Truth, from a certain angle. Many of the “dark sayings” of the prophets are truths which are veiled in the aura of metaphor and symbol. When these are taken out of their place or context, they create no end of confusion. Peter said, concerning the writings of Paul, that there were some things hard to be understood, “which uneducated and unbalanced people distort, in the same way as they distort the rest of Scripture” (2 Peter 3:16).
“Rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim.2:15), is an exact science. The apostle here advises that believers should study to show themselves “approved unto God”; workmen “that need not to be ashamed”. In such a study, one of the first things to determine concerning the Scriptures is: “Was this Scripture inspired of God, or is it God’s record of man’s statements?”
UNDERLYING INSPIRATION OF THE WRITTEN WORD
Let us now carefully examine one of the most often misquoted verses in the Bible: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable” (the word “is” has been put in italics because it is not found in the original Greek text, but was added to our Bible text by the translators. The American standard version of 1901 drops the “is, ” and the scholar George Ricker Berry, in his interlinear New Testament, says, “Every Scripture God inspired, is profitable”. Today, it is a recognized alternative rendering.
It should not be difficult for anyone to believe that only God’s words are the infallible standards: His Word is always Truth. Neither should it be confusing for any one to accept the fact that the words of man are often one-sided and obscure. The fact that God has preserved a divine account of certain acts, words, and even some of the thoughts of men, does not sanctify their deeds nor lend veracity to their speech.
We have tried to magnify the importance of obeying the Plain Words of God. As a matter of fact, we believe this to be the Message of this hour. Much of the darkness and error rife among many professing believers today, is largely due to unstable doctrinal foundations, a great number of which are unwittingly based upon distorted views and misconstruction of statements found in the epistles of Paul.
There is a vast difference between the absolute authority incorporated in the very structure of the four Gospels, and that contained in the Pauline epistles. No searching believer should be offended by the declaration that the Words of God are superior to the words of Paul. Yet, some may contend that God was the Author of every word which Paul wrote. But by studying Paul’s own words, such a position can be disproved “I speak not by Commandment … and herein I give my advice” (2 Cor. 8: 8-10). Paul’s “advice” undoubtedly was good, but it certainly was not always the Word of God.
Now notice the two different sources of the commands which Paul has written: “Unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord .., but the rest is from me, not from the Lord” (I Cor. 7:10-12). The apostle here makes it plain that he sometimes wrote what God commanded; and sometimes he wrote his own advice. The apostle himself is showing that these “Words from the Lord” are superior to his own remarks.
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord” (Eph.4:17) Here also, the apostle is explaining that the Lord is his authority for this particular statement. It all of his words were to be considered as verbal inspiration from God, there would be no need for him to use the qualifying phrases: “of the Lord ” and “in the Lord”
“We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching” (1Thess. 4:15): again the writer uses a phrase that places the endorsement of Divine authority upon what he is saying.
Here is a quotation which definitely tells us that some of the apostle Paul’s utterances and admonishments were of his own making: “Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give my own opinion” (1 Cor . 7 : 25 ). Is the apostle’s “opinion” to be considered on a par with the Word and Law of God? Surely not! The Messiah did not offer His “own judgment,” neither did He speak His own words: “He … spoke the Words of God” (Jo. 3:34). In another place, Messiah said: “I do nothing of Myself (how different He was from Paul in this respect!); but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (John 8:28).
One other verse from Paul’s epistles should settle forever that some of his writings were not verbatim Inspiration of God: “What I am going to say now, is not prompted by the Lord, but said as if in a fit of folly, in the certainty that I have something to boast about” (2 Cor, 11:17) Our Saviour certainly never spoke “in folly” and neither did He ever boast about His abilities or achievements. The apostle’s vanity often seemed to get the upper hand of his reason, even as he here stated: “so many others have been boasting about their worldly achievements, that I will boast myself” (verse 18). He then proceeded to boast about his pedigree and exult over his tribulations. (Without a doubt this apostle was the champion sufferer; but certainly no man could call him the “meekest person” upon the face of the earth!).
The wonderful thing about the Bible is that it does not hide the frailties of the men who were “subject to like passions as we are”. We read of Noah’s drunkenness, of Abraham’s cowardice, of Jacob’s scheming, of Moses’ fits of anger, of David’s carnality, and of the failings of many others. “Now all these things . . . are written for our admonition” (l Cor. 10:11). None of these great men were angelic. They all were what they were by the Grace of God. What He did for them He will also surely do for us. We are thus encouraged by the record of the weaknesses of men who were especially used of God – and Paul was no exception.
It would be well for people everywhere to examine the writings of Paul with unbiased minds, taking into consideration what they were, and realizing also what he was. Paul was God’s man; but he was not man’s God, as many have tried to make him out.