Month 5:3, Week 5:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5936:121 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 21 July 2012
2. Objections Refuted
Continued from Part 1
As one might expect, anti-Paulism comes in all shapes and sizes from the radical anti-Messianic adherents of Judaism to those Messianics clinging on to the divinity of Messiah by a slender theological thread. Accordingly, there is a wide range of objections by anti-Paulists with few adhering to them all.
Part of the problem is knowing who to include within the umbrella of the Anti-Paulist Movement. What do you do with someone who vigorously defends Paul saying he was pro-Torah and yet in the same breath insists that he rejected the divinity of Messiah? Likewise, what do you do with the person who vigorously defends Paul claiming he was anti-Torah but pro-Greek? Then the issue becomes: who is the real Paul?
I shall here take the position that those who reject the real Paul, whether by claiming he was pro-Helenic and anitinomian (anti-Torah) or that he was a pro-Torah and anti-incarnation (Elohim/God taking on human flesh) Ebionite, are anti-Paulist as much as those of the Talmudic Judaists who maintain that he was all of these things.
Since we are dealing with such a wide spectrum of anti-Paulist beliefs, this is a compendium that will continue to be added to. The fact that it appears to be such a pot pourri is simply because so many anti-Paulist beliefs are represented. As the list grows, so I will attempt some sort of a classification and create an index.
1. Contradictory Theophany Accounts
As evidence that Paul (or his biographer) faked his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, anti-Paulists often cite the two apparently contradictory accounts in the Book of Acts:
At face value it looks as though in one account those with Paul heard the voice of Yah'shua (Jesus) and in the second they did not. Here we have a KJV translation error that is corrected in more modern versions:
"And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing (Gk. akouo) a voice, but seeing no man" (Acts 9:7, KJV).
"And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard (Gk. akouo) not the voice of him that spake to me" (Acts 22:9, KJV)
Why the error? Because the Greek word akouo  can mean both "hear" and "understand". The translator must then choose which of the two possible renditions to use. The context reveals that Paul's companions, whilst they heard a voice, did not understand what it was saying, as might be expected since the revelation was being directed toward Paul, not them. Why? Because grace (undeserved loving kindness, unmerited favour) was being extended only to Paul, Yahweh knowing how he would respond and be a valiant witness even unto death, whereas we can speculate that presumably his anti-Messianic companions would remain as they were . Likewise, the companions saw a light but they did not see the Personage in the light, for the same reasons - it wasn't their revelation.
"And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me" (Ac.22:9, NASB).
There are other examples in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) of "hearing" but not "understanding" (Lk.8:18). There is therefore no evidence of a conspiracy to fabricate Paul's conversion experience evidenced by two supposedly contradictory accounts, an obvious error that those trying to deceive would surely have spotted and 'corrected' long ago.
2. Love Believes All Things & is Jealous
One of the most absurd anti-Paulist statements I have read concerns this passage. I'll let the critic speak for himself:
"Love (Heb. ahavah, Gk agapé) suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (1 Cor.13:4-8, NKJV).
What amazes me more than anything else about these remarks is how anyone claiming to have been born again to know the ahavah (love) of Messiah could so totally miss the mark? I don't know of a single regenerated Evangelical who believes for one moment that 'believing all things' means what this critic claims Paul is saying. Indeed, the Amplified Version conveys the sense of the idiom which I have always believed and know to be true:
"How the heck can love "believe all things" when it does not rejoice in unrighteousness? This is an impossibility, the two concepts are mutually exclusive. How can love "rejoice in truth" and "believe all things" at the same time? Not all things are true -- especially things which are mutually exclusive. Is this Paul's method of buttressing his letters so that no one dares question them -- by embedding a self-serving outright lie in the midst of sweet sounding words?
"If we really start dissecting this often quoted passage, it has even more B.S. in it. Love is not jealous? Really? Why then is the Almighty Jealous for his people? Why does Elohim provide a ceremony of jealousy to determine a wife's infidelity or innocence from infidelity?"
This is what is meant by "believes all things", not that ahavah (love) believes anything and everything uncritically - this isn't a discourse about theology but about the dynamic of inter-personal relationships between believers! To believe it means anything else but this requires you to to turn your lev (heart) off!
"Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it endures everything [without weakening]" (v.7, Amp.V.).
His remarks about jealousy are exactly the same. However, there is more than one kind of jealousy just as there is more than one kind of anger. There is righteous jealousy and there is righteous anger that is protective and corrective, just as there is unrighteous jealously and unrighteous anger that is murderous and vengeful. Thus, speaking of anger, Yah'shua (Jesus) adds a qualifier so that we may know the difference between godly and satanic anger:
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder,' and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matt.5:21-22, NKJV).
Yahweh is both angry and jealous because He loves us and He does so perfectly with our good in mind. Humans are not perfect so we must be careful to distinguish between the godly and satanic versions. Our anger can so easily become mean, vindictive and vengeful. Indeed, is there not barely concealed anger in this critic's statements? He is lashing out at Paul doing the very thing that Peter warned readers of Paul against - misjudging the apostle (2 Peter 3:14-18).
If there is ungodly anger or bitterness in our levim (hearts) it will drive away the Ruach (Spirit) and cause us to view Scripture with a distorted lens of interpretation, namely, our own intellect and defiled psyche. This is why Peter, who endorsed Paul, warned:
How is it that atheists twist the Scriptures? Because there is often bitterness in their levim (hearts), they are waging a war against a false image of Elohim (God) and are looking for a scapegoat. If there is any bitterness in the lev (heart), do not try to interpret Scripture or judge its Ruach- (Spirit)-filled writers! I have seen so many shipwreck their souls because they have done this.
"And so we have the prophetic davar (word) confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your levim (hearts); knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of Elohim (God) spoke as they were moved by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)" (2 Peter 1:19-21, NKJV).
3. Paul Rebelled Against Peter and the Other Apostles
The argument goes something like this:
There is no doubt that Paul, a passionate man, was outspoken, but this kind of slander twists the Scriptures outrageously. Bear in mind as we examine these accusations, that, as we have already seen today and in Part 1:
"Peter was chosen by Yah'shua (Jesus) to be the head of the Messianic Community (Church) and yet in open defiance of this, Paul "opposed him to his face" in an act of blatant insubordination, correcting someone who had known and walked with the Master and knew His teachings whereas he had not. Isn't Paul hypocritical when he says "I have become all things to all men" (1 Cor.9:22, NKJV), imitating whatever people he finds himself among, especially when he then says he imitates Yah'shua (Jesus)!  The Messianic Community was headed by Peter, James and John and yet he belittles the other apostles, comparing them with his own importance, claiming to have worked far harder than those who "seemed to be pillars" but really weren't (Gal.2:6-9; 2 Cor.11; 1 Cor.15:9-19)".
If you reject Peter's own assessment then you are well on the way to progressively rejecting more and more of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) and either becoming a Talmudic Jew , a Karaite Jew , or a complete unbeliever, as I earlier warned happens to those who challenge the Scriptural canon .
- 1. Peter totally sustains Paul;
- 2. Peter reminds us that Paul is often misunderstood; and
- 3. Paul's opponents were ignorant and unstable, and in danger of the judgment.
But let us get to the charges themselves. First of all, Paul's assessment in Galatians is wholly correct - Peter was yielding to pressure from the Talmudic converts to raise up the barrier between Judahite and Gentile again which Yah'shua (Jesus) had only recently just torn down by virtue of His atoning death on the Cross. Peter was in effect denying the work of Yah'shua (Jesus)! However, it is a lie to accuse Paul of abusing Peter by calling him a 'hypocrite', something Paul nowhere says, even though that is exactly what Peter was. And the error had to be corrected for the sake of emet (truth).
Peter succumbed to pressure from legalists amongst the believers who still followed the rabbinic traditions which Yah'shua (Jesus) had so roundly condemned (Mt.15:3,6; Mk.7:9,13). He started treating gentile converts - his own brothers and sisters in the Besorah (Gospel) - as second class citizens, a tendency alas still to be found among some snobbish Messianic Jews who mimic their Pharisaic forefathers by looking down and even sometimes hating gentiles. He became, for a moment, a racist élitist like the hypocritical Talmudists. Even more ironic, as the first witness to the gentiles himself (before even Paul - Acts 10), he was now separating himself from the very people he had converted to freedom in Messiah!
Our English word 'hypocrite' is actually of Greek origin and signifies an actor - someone on stage playing a part. This is what Peter had mistakenly done and Paul's correction was an act of ahavah (love) both for Peter and for the Messianic Community which might have succumbed to the influence of the heresy that it had so recently broken loose from.
As for Paul trying to supposedly lord it over the other apostles, the testimony of Scripture found in the first Council of Jerusalem (Acts 10) is contrary to the lashon hara (evil talking) of the anti-Paulists. Convened to decide how much of the Torah the new gentile converts should initially be subjected to as they grew in their newfound relationship in Messiah, Paul deferred entirely to the decision of James and the other apostles, hardly a picture of defiance let alone an attempt to establish a new religion!
What of the base accusation that Paul simply became like whoever he ministered to? What exactly does "I have become all things to all men" (1 Cor.9:22) mean? Did it mean that Paul ate ham sandwiches with gentiles? Did it mean he engaged in drukenness and orgies in order to reach such people as did these things? Did he set the Torah aside so as not to offend those who did not observe it, in order to convert them? Does anyone seriously believe that this is what the apostle meant? But when you are engaging in lashon hara that's exactly what you mean, just as a New Age woman the other day in a conversation with me accused Yahweh of condoning and even commanding the the rape of women. People with darkened levim (hearts) who do not know our Father's Lev (Heart) typically falsely accuse in this manner.
Paul also said:
Indeed, didn't Paul give the same reason for "becoming all things to all men" - to save them? Is there any evidence anywhere in the writings of Paul where he encouraged lawlessness in order to win people? Nowhere! So what did Paul mean by these statements?
"I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved" (1 Cor.10:33).
I know of an Indian evangelist who has given up everything to live in city slums like the people he is trying to reach. He has become one of them, sharing their life. You could say that he has become "all things" to these people, living a life of poverty in order to reach out to them, the same way Elohim (God) descended into mortal and frail human flesh in the Person of Yah'shua (Jesus) in order to reach out to us as a man as well as Elohim (God). Paul was not so proud as to be unwilling to mingle with the people he witnessed to, not disobeying the Torah any more than Yah'shua (Jesus) did in eating with sinners and wine-bibbers, but certainly disobeying the extra rabbinical rules! That is all Paul is saying. He was not advocating licentiousness to reach the licentious, nor drunkeness to reach the drunks - how but someone with an evil mind could suppose such nonsense? For that is what the anti-Paulist mind is - perverse, just like the original Ebionites who repudiated Paul and who have resurfaced again in our time to spread their malicious hatred.
In these words Paul is simply displaying his servant-lev (heart), nothing more. There is nothing ominous about his remarks. These jealous anti-Paulists are simply testifying to the poverty of their own shrunken and unregenerated levim (hearts).
As to the accusation that Paul belittled the other apostles, this is simply contradicted by his submission and obedience to the directives issued at the Council of Jerusalem. He happily yielded to the toqef (authority) of the Twelve. These stingy-hearted anti-Paulist men and women, rather than follow the Scriptural admonition to give people the benefit of the doubt and to view others as better than themselves, have decided to speak evil of Paul no matter what.
As for Paul's accomplishments, they are undeniable. Like it or not Paul:
These are facts. This is the emet (truth). We can but acknowledge them and move on, feeling gratitude for this great man of Elohim (God) for being willing to suffer, and who in his own words and in absolute sincerity, claimed to be "the least of the apostles, ... not worthy to be called an apostle" (1 Cor.15:9, NKJV). Does this sound as if he was lording it over the others or boasting about his prowess? No. Did he criticise or show disrespect toward any apostles? Definitely! But not to the Twelve, but rather to the many false 'apostles' who kept on arising and making baseless claims to an authority they had never received from anyone but themselves (2 Cor.11:13-15,22-31).
- 1. Had been imprisoned more often;
- 2. Had suffered more beatings;
- 3. Had been near death more often;
- 4. Five times received "forty lashes less one" from the Judahites;
- 5. Was three times was beaten with rods;
- 6. Was stoned once; and
- 7. Was three times shipwrecked, spending a night and a day in the open sea.
Paul cared nothing about boasting, save boasting in Messiah (Gal.6:14), and had a low opinion for those who thought highly of themselves:
Those who slander the character of Paul need to repent and to acknowledge that they are being driven by dark forces and not the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Ground-level for Paul is the foot of the Cross (or 'execution-stake' if you have an issue with crosses), a place where the arrogant have no wish to go.
"But from those who seemed to be something -- whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; Elohim (God) shows personal favoritism to no man -- for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me" (Gal.2:6, NKJV).
There is not a negative word about Paul from any of the apostles...except Paul himself. Rather, he demonstrates humility and self-belittlement. Does he rebuke those who are hyprotical? Yes, and rightly so, as all the prophets have always done, and will continue to do. And were he and the Twelve here today, both he and the Twelve would be roundly rebuking today's anti-Paulists!
There are not many people who make my blood boil but those who slander Yahweh's qodeshim (saints, holy ones), who give such inspiration by their deeds, and tiqvah (hope) because of their prophetic words, certainly do. Certainly those who call themselves anti-Paulists, Ebionites, counter-missionaries, etc., have little sympathy from me. Their doctrines are divisive and heretical and ultimately antimessiah/antichrist. They are a cancer to the Body of Messiah and must be called to repentance and, if they will accept it, receive careful instruction. If not, you should keep your distance from them, for they shipwreck men's souls. Though I am not here to witness of apostles - my first witness being Yahweh and His Son Yah'shua (Jesus) - I will ackowledge and defend those on whom Yahweh has placed His mark or seal of approbation.
So I conclude this study with my original tesimony given to me by Yahweh all those years ago when I was young in the emunah (faith):
Continued in Part 3
"Therefore thou shalt not despise the writings of Paul for they are the testimony of salvation through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) of one who counted himself the greatest sinner and became a servant to all men for My sake. Even so. Amen" (Olive Branch, #67:6).
 Strongs #191 [akouo /ak·oo·o/] v. A root; TDNT 1:216; TDNTA 34; GK 200 and 201; 437 occurrences; AV translates as “hear” 418 times, “hearken” six times, “give audience” three times, “hearer” twice, and translated miscellaneously eight times.
1 to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.
#191. akouo, ak-oo´-o; a prim. verb; to hear (in various senses):— give (in the) audience (of), come (to the ears), ([shall]) hear (-er, -ken), be noised, be reported, understand.
2 to hear. 2b to attend to, consider what is or has been said. 2c to understand, perceive the sense of what is said.
3 to hear something. 3a to perceive by the ear what is announced in one's presence. 3b to get by hearing learn. 3c a thing comes to one's ears, to find out, learn. 3e to give ear to a teaching or a teacher. 3f to comprehend, to understand.
Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible
Strong, J. (1997, c1996). The new Strong's dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 If some converted then Yahweh would have revealed Himself to them according to their own particular needs and calling in His particular timing.
 Mt.10:2,40; 16:15-19; Gal.2:11-13; 1 Cor.9:19-22, 10:31-33; Jas.1:18; 4:8
 Someone who accepts only the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Oral Tradition (Talmud) of the Rabbis.
 Someone who only accepts the Tanakh (Old Testament), rejecting the 'oral law'.
 The body of Scriptures regarded as authoritative for all the believers, commonly known as the Protestant Canon; other canons (Catholic, Coptic, etc.) usually contain additional books known as the Apocrypha and some other pseudepigraphical works.
 Torah of Messiah Yeshua, In Defense of the Apostle Paul (Warning: this ministry denies the deity of Messiah and is anti-Paulist in that respect).
 The First Husband of Romans 7:2-3 - A Key to Torah-Observance in Paul's Epistle to the Romans
Comments from Readers
 "Thank you so much for sharing your research , thoughts and experience with us concerning the anti-Paulists. Specifically, the brother of a friend has become captivated by Douglas del Tondo's book, and frankly when I met the friend I was amazed that anyone could possibly get involved with something like that, and your site is a great resource in developing an argument to hopefully pull him back and rescue his family" (TH, USA, 9 September 2012)