A fuller understanding of Paul!
This author has written much about how Christian faiths should stop teaching the words of Paul. Regarding the Christian-side of this world, Paul might just be the most influential person who ever lived. But that does not preclude this author from presenting some incredible (and Scriptural) Truths of God, regarding Paul, below.
No person can successfully argue against the fact that Christ personally chose Paul to fulfill a "certain duty" upon this Earth: and that Paul most certainly fulfilled Christ's task of building Him a church upon this Earth. But please never forget that God just might have had a small hand in Paul's success also. In fact, we should actually give God 100% of all due credit, while keeping in mind all that Paul did on his end. (Paul would not mind this.)
So, Paul had a little help, but just what did Paul do?
Well, quite honestly, Paul was the best Christian missionary this world has ever seen.
This is the beginning, and the end, of Paul's story!
Paul was outstanding at his work: he took the labor of God outside of Israel and built a great many churches amongst a great many unbelievers. A missionary's greatest problems are to convince unbelievers that God exists, convince unbelievers that God raised Christ from the dead, and to convince unbelievers that this Christ (who was raised from the dead, by a previously unknown God to them) will forgive every person's sins who choose to follow God and His Word. This is a tall order for anyone! But this is exactly what Paul did over, and over again: and he did it better than anyone else in human history!
But . . . this is all that Paul did.
Give Paul all of the praise that you would like to heap upon him, but this is all that he did. Paul did not write any Scriptures. God did not give Paul any Scriptures to deliver to this world. Paul was not a prophet. And, quite sadly, some of what Paul wrote was "just wrong." (Scriptural proofs shall be provided below. And do not worry, they are not sad proofs at all, regarding a missionary's work; meaning an "introduction to Christianity." John and Christ would later finish Paul's work, after Paul's death. We shall document this also, by way of God's Scriptures.)
More than this, some of Paul's words have been "re-written by Satan." These Scriptural proofs of Satan's works have already been documented by this author and can be viewed: here. (Link opens in a new window.) This link details only a portion of the changes Satan has successfully accomplished in changing the words that Paul wrote to this world. But God, our Father, has never permitted Satan to change His Scriptures that have been sent down to this world, from Heaven. But, since Paul did not deliver any Scriptures, apparently, it was easy (and certainly not off-limits) for Satan to change the words of Paul. Sometimes Satan changed Paul's actual words; and sometimes Satan changed the meanings of Paul words.
You see, Paul's mission (for Christ) was not to deliver an eternal wisdom and knowledge for all of mankind's time upon this Earth: Paul's mission was to start a new church in the wilderness per se, for God/Christ. And this is all that Paul was assigned to do, by Christ. You see, Christ knew that the destruction of Jerusalem was just years-away when He gave His instructions to Paul. Indeed, Paul completed his works in Asia Minor and Greece a mere five-years before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem (and all remaining Apostles therein). Yes, Paul did magnificent work: but Paul was just a "moving man" for Christ/God. Without a doubt, Paul was the best missionary teacher this world has ever seen. You see, Paul did not just build a church: Paul built dozens of churches! A great builder and a great missionary (who "introduced" many to God).
Paul's alleged mistakes . . .
Let us begin with the easy part so as to make this lesson understandable. We shall begin with Paul's so-called mistakes. (This author can clearly see that they were intentional and effective! All of this shall be proved, later in this letter! Is each reader required to agree with this author? No. Never!) Paul taught his new upstart churches in Asia Minor and Greece that it was fully acceptable for them to eat meat previously sacrificed to false Gods. While reading the verses below, please pay particular attention to the actual conversation/message Paul was conducting (in his letter). His original letters were not broken down verse numbers and lines: they "flowed continuously" just like the letter you might be reading at this very moment.
THREE INSTANCES (one detailed and two referenced):
1 Corinthians 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
1 Corinthians 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all thing, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
1 Corinthians 8:7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
1 Corinthians 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
NOTE BY JPW: The magnificent words of a missionary! But a liberty? Paul is granting a temporary "liberty" against God's Laws?
1 Corinthians 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
1 Corinthians 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
NOTE BY JPW: The magnificent words of a missionary!
1 Corinthians 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
To keep this lesson short and simple, you will find identical teachings, by Paul (which allow for the eating of meats previously sacrificed to idols) "here" and then again "here." (Both links open in a new window).
So, what did Christ think about all of this?
To give each reader here a timeline for the following words of Christ (in Revelation), who absolutely condemns the eating of meats previously sacrificed to idols, please do understand that John's Book of Revelation was written some thirty years after Paul's missionary work was finished in Asia Minor. (This is quite important.) Oh, John lived for such a very long time. And John did not write anything until he was of a great age.
Now, about twenty years after Paul was killed by Nero, please do learn what Christ taught to John (in the Book of Revelation). The first three chapters of Revelation really were nothing more than Christ, Himself, performing some much needed "church-maintenance" in Asia Minor and Greece. As you know, every one of these churches had been founded and taught by Paul. But Paul died, at the hands of Nero, and was not permitted to finish his work in Asia Minor and Greece. More importantly, Christ knew that this collection of "Paul's churches" was going to be the foundation (or the core, or the launching-pad per se) of His churches which would eventually spread all across this Earth. Indeed, the Temple in Jerusalem had just recently been destroyed by the Romans when John learned and wrote his Book of Revelation. More than this, when John finally wrote his Gospel, some years after Revelation, the entire city of Jerusalem had been leveled to near-dust; as was the Roman custom, once the Emperor ordered the complete destruction of a particular city.
Yes, many of the Apostles had been deliberately sent to the north and west to begin their works in Europe (proved elsewhere on this website to be exactly where the ten-tribes of Israel migrated to, hundreds of years before). Paul had been sent to Spain, for the last few years of his life; but the strongest foundation of Christ's church was Asia Minor and especially, Greece: meaning Paul's missionary churches. Hence the very special works of Paul and John (and Christ, too!) in this region; two full generations after Paul's original works and letters.
So, in Revelation, Christ gave John some very special words to deliver to these churches. And apparently, John did an outstanding job, as history shall prove below! Paul delivered faith and belief to these people; and John later delivered God's simple, and known laws to folks who were probably yearning for them by this time. (Today's missionaries might learn a great lesson from Christ's "assigned" two-pronged method for building a church.)
John actually lived and taught in Ephesus for an unknown time, about thirty years after Paul had died in Spain. (In fact, John is buried near Ephesus. He was the only Apostle who died of natural causes.)
Finally, this history lesson is finished!
So, regarding the eating of meats previously sacrificed to idols, please do understand that this is Christ, Himself speaking to John, below:
Revelation 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
Christ was speaking to the church at Ephesus in the verse above. The Nicolaitanes taught that it was lawful to eat meats that were previously sacrificed to idols. Click here to learn about the Nicolaitanes. (Link opens in a new window)
Now, Christ is speaking to other folks, a bit later:
Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Christ was speaking to the church at Pergamos in the verse above. Again, it is widely believed that Christ was referring to the Nicolaitenes here, since they, and this particular practice, were extant in the region. Even though they are not called by name here, Christ had named them (to John) just five sentences prior. Also, the name used is of no importance here in this letter. The "practice" of eating meats sacrificed to idols is of importance here: by way of God's/Christ's words.
There is yet a third instance found, just another five sentences later, in Revelation 2:20. This time, Christ was speaking to the church at Thyatira:
Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
These many words of God/Christ stand directly opposed to Paul's teachings in his letters to this same region of his churches. In Revelation 2:6, some twenty years after Paul died, the Ephesians had already learned this, somehow, and ceased this practice. Christ praised them for this. In Revelation 2:14, the church at Pergamos had not yet learned this lesson (of Christ) which stands directly opposed to what Paul taught them some twenty years prior. The church of Thyatira had similarly failed God/Christ.
So, a bit of explanation here!
Each reader, here, must understand that a missionary cannot just walk into a village, community, or subcontinent (twice the size of Texas!) and announce that everyone must be saved, baptized, and accept Jesus Christ as their savior right now, or they will go to hell! This is not how a church is formed. A missionary must deliver obvious Truths of God: one Truth-at-a-time and allow for folks to digest these Truths. And this is what Paul did. This author does not believe that Paul intentionally lied to these early churches, but Paul did set aside some of God's Laws, at least temporarily, for some unknown reason: this much is clear. Paul does not explain his reasoning to any of his intended readers (or any historical readers, such as us today), so we can only imagine/guess. This author's guess is that these people were still "growing" regarding their faith in God! (Each reader is certainly entitled to their own "guesses," but this author will, shortly, make an attempt to prove his guess by way of Paul's other works, elsewhere in the world.) These folks, outside of the Land of Israel, had a long way to go (with the one God, of this world)! Some small un-Godly issues are of no concern to missionaries: just as some small childish issues are of no concern to wise parents. This is easy to understand. In this respect, please understand the following:
God has stated, clearly, throughout His Scriptures: that a life, well-lived, shall always lead to Him. This is what He means when He teaches that His laws have been written into the heart of every person. The survival of every missionary is based upon this single Truth of God.
God has stated, clearly, throughout His Scriptures: that a true faith (in God) shall always lead to Him. This means a true faith; which can only be demonstrated by way of a person's life and deeds. God is not fooled. God understands what is in our hearts. And when we sin (or when our deeds might stand against God's teachings), God can still see what is in our hearts: and in our faith. God forgives mistakes, but God does not forgive "repeated-evils." Paul fully understood this. When we, today, read any letter of Paul to his churches, it is only a snap-shot picture of what was happening that day, month, or year when Paul wrote that letter. (Did one event, or one rumor, cause Paul to write this-or-that letter to one of his churches? We will never know, today. Did one letter from any of his other churches cause Paul to write this-or-that letter to his other churches in the region? We will never know, today. It is for THIS REASON, that the teachings of Paul should never be taught in today's world. More on this below: much more!)
Revelation 2:6 proves that Paul had already corrected this behavior (of eating meats previously sacrificed to idols) in Ephesus by the time Revelation was written. It could not have been John who corrected this matter because John did not teach in Ephesus until after he had written his Revelation and escaped from Patmos, an island about 60 miles from Ephesus. (FULL DISCLOSURE: this author could be wrong here because the locals, in Ephesus TODAY, insist that John buried Mary, the mother of Jesus, decades before: in Ephesus! Also, the New Testament is NOT a history book: meaning that a great many events have not been documented for posterity. It is fully possible that those Apostles, remaining in Jerusalem, sent many "teachers" to Paul's churches after Paul had left Asia Minor. This author is attempting to give Paul every allowance possible due to Paul's extraordinary works throughout that enormous region. And yes, this author could be wrong! However, when one adds, into this mix, the lifetime efforts of Paul's friends: Timothy, Mark, Titus, Philemon, and others; then this author's confindence in Paul's works remain high.)
Setting history aside, God understands our societal mistakes when they are innocent, but God has never tolerated our societal mistakes when they were done with intent! (This is quite important. One could make a strong case that Paul even wrote this! More on this below.)
To this author only, it is fairly apparent that Paul chose to build his many new churches by using the "faith side" of a missionary's path. Maybe Paul chose not to enter through the "acts-and-deeds side," there in Asia Minor, because Paul's own prior acts-and-deeds were not highest marks on his personal resume. (Paul had been a Pharisee: indeed, Paul participated in the stoning of the first Christian martyr, Stephen.) "Faith in God" was Paul's strongest suit in life! Long before Christ called upon Paul, Paul's faith was his strongest trait. (Just because Christ calls-out your name, one day, this does not mean that you keep your strongest traits and shed your greatest faults! Christ knows who, and what, He is calling: strengths and weaknesses.)
Paul, as a Pharisee, understood faith in God/Christ, by way of his forefathers (meaning the Old-Testament forefathers). And Paul did an outstanding job building many faithful churches for Christ: as Christ had so assigned to him. But Paul was only able to work/teach in Asia Minor and Greece for about twenty-five years. (This might seem easy today, but this was not a lot of time for just one man to cover half-a-million square miles of unbelieving-territory.) John later moved to Ephesus and completed what Paul's persecution (and untimely death) did not allow him to finish in Asia Minor and Greece. Christ too, helped to complete Paul's work by way of His first three chapters of Revelation.
So, let us begin with just "some" of Paul's mistakes: which Christ addressed, first, in His Book of Revelation; and which Christ addressed (again, and years later) in his Gospel to John. Paul's teachings were a magnificent beginning for a great many unbelievers! Paul was long since dead when Revelation was written. Paul started Christ's churches and then Christ (and John) finished Paul's works. But this world "today" absolutely needs to stop believing that the words which "the greatest missionary" taught to unbelievers in Asia Minor and Greece, some 2,000 years ago, might somehow apply to our life today!
"Believers today" are not the same as those "unbelievers from long ago." NOT EVEN CLOSE!
Please read that last sentence again.
To people who knew nothing about Jesus, Christ, or even God, some 2,000 years ago; yes, Paul may have surrendered a few "earthly devices" to developing Christian folks. Paul wisely considered that he was fighting against ancient and beloved traditions, everyday marketplace transactions (such as the purchasing of that evening's dinner meat), resistance to circumcision, clean meats, etc. These lessons are quite clear in Paul's letters!
But these lessons do not apply in today's world: with modern day folks trying to live by the false words that Paul taught to others, some 2,000 years ago!
And yes, this lesson is about to become "very modern."
This was the first of Paul's so-called mistakes. Indeed, this was the easy one to explain. The only reason this was easy is because folks, today, would have no idea how to even offer any meat to a false idol.
But now, we come to a very, very serious problem that exists today, thanks to Paul's work as a missionary, so very long ago. (Oh, how Paul's letters were never meant for today's world!)
Paul, today, is credited with a missionary-type teaching that all of the laws that God has sent down to this earth, since the days of Adam, are DEAD!
"All of God's Laws were hung on the cross, with Christ!"
"If any person can just believe in the name of Jesus, then that person has been saved and is going to heaven!"
Does any of this sound familiar? Well, get ready for a hard lesson. The easy part of this lesson was given above: the hard part of this lesson follows. It is only "hard" because this is the part that requires a life-style change for many Christians: not all Christians, but certainly for the vast majority who live according to Paul's second mistake.
PAUL'S SECOND MISTAKE
While countless examples could be given, just a few are detailed below. Any Christian can easily find the others. And again, every Christian, today, must realize that every teaching, below, was issued as a "missionary-type message" to those who barely knew anything about Jesus, Christ, God, the Father, or any of God's Laws.
So now, let us examine what Paul wrote (to unbelievers) concerning God's Laws in this world. We shall illustrate only the Romans, Ephesians, and Galatians below. Paul taught the same to all of his other churches that he was trying to gather into the Truths of Christ/God.
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Note by jpw: This Ephesian letter is an outstanding example of how to conduct missionary work! No true Christian would ever boast of their works. Christ has taught us about humility and about our always being humble in nature. But Paul had to set that aside, regarding the Ephesians, because they were still "relatively children" regarding their understanding of Christ. Paul did not want their "boastings" to be self-serving because this would have made his task all the more difficult. Apparently, Paul felt it was more important to build their faith first, and their works, later.
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
NOTE BY JPW: Here is where a great many of today's Christian churches falsely teach the entire world that all of God's Laws were HUNG ON THE CROSS! They teach that God's Laws are no longer in force, that God's Laws were only for ancient pre-Jesus times, and the granddaddy of them all: "We don't need God's Laws anymore because we have Jesus Christ!"
Oh, this is so wrong: at every level of God's Scripture and at every level of God's teachings throughout history! Any Christian who believes in the above false-teachings can only offer the words of Paul as their source: they cannot quote one single Scripture of God as support, because there is not one single Scripture of God that teaches this. Therefore, each reader is about to receive a heavy dose of God's actual Laws here. It is important to note (regarding the verses below) that they were not written to new-and-upcoming believers who understood little. They were not a missionary type of words, in the least! For the lack of a better term, they were written to "seasoned believers!"
Below, please find many words, written by other writers of the New Testament. Except for the Gospel of John, these words ARE NOT SCRIPTURE. They did not come from God, they are not "inspired," and this author sometimes wonders why these (and/or Paul's) letters were ever placed amongst God's Scripture, called the Bible. Of course, John's Gospel is Scripture and it was the last Gospel written. He wrote it after learning and seeing much in Heaven during his Revelation. His Gospel was written many years after his Book of Revelation was written.
So, please consider now, two other letters (not Scriptures) that refute Paul's teachings that only one's faith and beliefs are all that matter to God. Again, please do realize that Paul only taught these beliefs to his missionary churches in Asia Minor and Greece.
JAMES (the brother of Jesus)
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
James 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
James 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
It should be noted that James never left Jerusalem, after the death of Jesus. James only taught, and wrote to "Scripturally seasoned" descendants of Jacob/Israel. But was James right? Each reader will have to decide for theirself, but one must always remember that Paul only taught his strict faith-and-belief concepts during his missionary trips outside of Palestine (or the Land of Israel).
You see . . . it is easy (and indeed, it is quite tempting and satisfying!) to hide behind one's beliefs and/and so-called faith: for this requires little or no effort by a person. But, it is impossible to produce works that do not exist. Good works require effort, time, and a willingness to follow God's desires. The works we do here in this world shows God everything He needs to know about our faith (or beliefs). God cannot be fooled!
JOHN'S FIRST LETTER
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Now, to any stubborn Christians who continue to believe that only faith is required (because your minister taught you this), please find a great many more words by John, gathered below from the Gospel of John.
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
(Please understand that this is Christ speaking . . . in every verse!)
John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Clearly, on Judgment Day, there will be no mere "calling on the name of Jesus" by people who failed to demonstrate (or show) their faith to Christ, by way of their works and deeds in this world. Clearly, God's Laws were not hung on the cross with Jesus. And clearly, Jesus never claimed to take the place of any of God's Laws in this world. A great many Christians, today, believe in some horribly wrong teachings delivered by their ministers: these ministers failing to understand Paul's "missionary assignment" by Christ.
So now, please allow God, Himself to have the final authority on this matter:
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
"Oh, that's ok! My pastor taught me that if I just believe in the name of Jesus, that I will be saved and shall go to heaven! My pastor says this, so it must be true."
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Oh, my dearest friend . . . can you now see how important this letter regarding Paul is to your eternal life? Once you understand just why Paul was so simple in his missionary teachings, the actual Truth of God becomes as simple as tying your shoelaces when you get out of bed each morning! It really is this simple.
MAYBE IT IS TIME TO FIND A NEW PASTOR.
MAYBE IT IS TIME TO SHOW YOUR PASTOR THE TRUTHS PLACED WITHIN THIS LETTER.
MAYBE IT IS TIME FOR EACH READER TO GIVE "THEIR PASTOR" A PASS-OR-FAIL TEST.
You see, on Judgment Day, there are no "grades" given by God. It is pass-or-fail Day. Period! So, perhaps each reader here, who cherishes their eternal life, ought to give their Pastor a simple pass-or-fail question. If you are truly going to hand-over the full control of your eternal life to a Pastor, who you probably barely know, then you should consider asking this Pastor a few very important questions. Your eternal life might just depend on their answers to your few, and simple questions. And every pastor should be expected to answer to their followers!
The test is quite simple:
Write down 2 or 3 false teachings of Paul, the missionary. There are many to be found, above.
Just below these, write down the two verses that Christ spoke, Himself, in Revelation 20:12 and 20:15. (Remember that the verses you present must be opposites!)
And then allow your pastor (or teacher) to respond to these clear opposites. Give them time. Give them a lot of time. Because about an hour ago, you might not have been able to pass this test either. Their final words must only side with Christ! The Truth of God is this simple, throughout His entire universe! If your pastor (or teacher) fails, in any way, to give Christ full and absolute authority over all non-Scriptural letters and over all various creeds and/or beliefs of any denomination, then you know it is time for a change in your life.
That is . . . if you care about your eternal life.
But if your pastor stays true to the Word of God and tells you that God's Word must always come before any person's teachings, then cling to this Pastor with all of your might! For you have found a person who has accepted the Ways of God! Oh, Paul's words have been confounding, thanks to Satan, for about 2,000 years now. But if any Pastor can place God's Word (meaning the words of Christ) ahead of every other person's words, that Pastor is at least trying, very hard, to follow God's Ways in this world!
Now, it is time for each reader to consider:
just one more teacher from the New Testament that has not yet been allowed to testify.
Indeed, this would be GOD's most important teacher, regarding this subject.
This author shall give this ancient teacher, below, final authority regarding Paul, here in this letter. Meaning Paul's imagined mistakes, Paul's suspected mistakes, Paul's real mistakes, and then Paul's victories. For you see, no Bible scholar, from today, was there! This author was not there! No minister, from today, was there. There is only one person who can be given final authority regarding Paul, in this matter. (Sorry for the painful scroll-down technique, but this lesson is THAT important!)
His name was Paul
You see, Paul was not just a missionary worker for Christ. Paul also wrote one very special letter to folks who fully understood the Torah, the Old Testament, the laws of Moses, the Laws of God, and the teachings of Jesus, the Messiah.
And it gets better, from here. After a short history lesson regarding the Samaritans of Jesus' day, you shall finally have:
Your fuller understanding of Paul . . .
promised at the beginning of this letter!
SO NOW WE COME TO THE HEBREWS!
It is quite important to note that Paul was not just a missionary. Paul also wrote a letter to the Hebrews.
Wait! What? Hebrews? Who are the Hebrews?
A bit of Hebrew history is required just now. This lesson has been taught throughout this entire website, so a very-much abbreviated version shall be given here: only because Paul's letter to the Hebrews is probably the finest Christian document ever produced by a person, other than Jesus (who was actually God, Himself, cleverly disguised as "one of us").
This Hebrew history lesson will be presented in a different colored font. When you feel that you understand the Hebrews, you can freely skip forward to the black font of this letter regarding Paul. But below, you shall find a history lesson that is never taught in any Christian church today.
As the Old Testament teaches, the "Hebrews" were the descendants of Jacob, who was later named Israel, by God. The point of this last sentence is to teach that Israel was (and is) a PEOPLE. Israel is NOT A LAND! Never was, and never will be, a land: as far as God is concerned! Whenever you see the word "Israel" in Scripture, please do realize that it was a man's name and then a peoples' name: meaning his descendants. In Scripture, the word "Israel" never means a piece of land or a speck of dirt. To be clear, the descendants of Israel settled in a land that had no name (that is meaningful today), back in Moses' day. They called this place, "the Land of Israel" (named after their forefather). About one-thousand years after these Hebrews entered their Promised Land, the name Palestine began to be found in some Greek writings. This Greek word was derived from the ancient Philistines who lived in that land. They were a very ancient people, bringing to mind the stories of "Samson and Delilah" and then "David and Goliath." The Philistines were giants and were fabled throughout the region: even to ancient Greece.
Do not confuse this ancient Greek word with those people, today, who call themselves Palestinians. The so-called "Palestinians" of today, only moved to the Land of Israel (or Palestine, if you will) AFTER the Jews developed this land in the early 1800's and required laborers to work the land. These so-called Palestinians only IMMIGRATED to this land because work, elsewhere in the region, was scarce, until the Jews began to develop the land. It is important to note that the Jews never rejected the arrival of these first, and so-called, Palestinians. Rather, they accepted them into their culture. And they gave these folks work.
(This author apologizes for digressing! It is a bad habit.)
Now, after Solomon died, the northern ten tribes of Israel separated from the southern three tribes located near Jerusalem: specifically, the three tribes called Judah (where the word "Jew" originates), Levi (all Jewish and Hebrew priests could only come from the tribe of Levi: even today), and then Benjamin. Being the majority, the northern ten tribes carried the name of Israel with them (in the Old Testament). The southern three tribes now carried the name "Jews." It is important to note that the majority of instances where the word "Hebrews" appear in the Old Testament, is only when the ten tribes of Israel were combined with the Jews. Now, to make a long story short, these northern ten tribes of Israel sinned greatly against God. So, God had them "carried away" as captives of Assyria. They slowly scattered across this world (mostly up into Europe, where they still are today), but many of them stayed "local," and being taught of their great history and heritage, migrated back home: to the Land of Israel. However, the ultra-proud Jews would not accept these former brethren back into their culture. They were not accepted because after so many generations, they had married and bred with people from other cultures.
(Using modern-day words, these poor folks who were trying to return to their ancient, beloved, and fabled lands, perhaps two-hundred years later, were now considered to be half-breeds by their own relatives: the three remaining tribes, called the Jews, who had managed to return from their captivity as purebreds, thanks to one Persian king named Cyrus. You see, God/Christ had ordered Cyrus to allow them to return to their original lands after a mere 70 years of captivity in Babylon.)
After at least 200 years, or more, these "brothers" of Israel were considered to be "outsiders" and quite "impure" to the Jews who had not been taken away to Assyria. (And yes, it is true that they had bred amongst other peoples during their period of slavery/captivity: and anciently, this was forbidden by God, to Moses, and was an abomination to all Hebrews.)
So, what is the point of this very long history lesson?
Well, these fine folks who merely desired to return to their ancestral lands (only to be rejected by the ultra-proud Jews of that day) stubbornly remained in that land controlled by the Jews. God had given it to their ancestors, and they fully intended to stay in God's Promised Land! The Jews called these half-breed Hebrew relatives, the Samaritans! And the Samaritans stubbornly lived right there amongst the ultra-proud Jews. They had every right to live in the Land of Israel, because God gave this land to their Hebrew ancestors. They attempted to maintain relations with the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin, but the proud Jews would have none of it! The Jews fully understood the lineage of the Samaritans and were forced to acknowledge their right to live in the land of Israel, but the Jews refused to conduct business with them; nor were they allowed into the Jewish "culture" by way of being neighbors or even just friends. So, they all came to despise each other.
Brothers all . . . but continually despising each other! More so on the Jewish side.
The critical lesson that every person needs to remember here is that the word "Hebrews" always includes (indeed, it must always include) the descendants of all twelve children of Jacob, who later was named Israel, by God/Christ. The word "Jews" means just three tribes who lived in the southern lands of the Promised Land. This would include the tribe of Judah (where the word Jew comes from), the tribe of Levi (who were the priests, descended from Aaron), and the tribe of Benjamin (only because it was the southernmost tribe and was not carried away by Assyria.) So here is that critical lesson: All Jews are Hebrews, but not all Hebrews are Jews!
To make this simple for today . . .
All Californians are Americans, but not all Americans are Californians.
All New Yorkers are Americans, but not all Americans are New Yorkers.
But oh, how a great many Californians and New Yorkers might sometimes "look down" upon the majority of Americans who live in the "fly-over" land between.
There is a reason that Paul addressed his letter to the Hebrews (rather than to the Jews)!
There is a reason that Jesus taught that he came to save "that which was lost."
There is a reason that James, the brother of Jesus, addressed his letter to the twelve tribes of Israel, which were scattered.
So, returning to Paul's letter to the Hebrews, everyone in the region understood the lineages that were present. Paul's purpose was to bring these Samaritans (and many others) back into God's fold, hopefully healing the lineage of Jacob, who was later named, by God, as Israel.
Oh, how the lineage of the man named Israel was severely crippled and scattered in history. Paul, quite bravely, worked/wrote to repair this lineage. James, the brother of Jesus, worked/wrote to repair this lineage. John worked/wrote to repair this lineage. Micah wrote about this lineage being repaired after Mary brought forth her child (Micah 5:3). Matthew's (Chapter 2) story explained and fulfilled Micah's prophecy regarding the wise men: the remnant of Jesus' relatives. There were many, not three! The remnant of Jesus' relatives, described in Micah 5:3, arrived about 18 months after Jesus was born. They followed the star, that was in the east, which means that they, themselves, came from the west. There were never three of them, they merely carried three gifts. And they never went to Bethlehem. You see, the many wise men were of the ten tribes of Israel and they were told, by an angel, to follow the star that was in the east. And so they did. They journeyed for just under two years, but they never did find Bethlehem. They found Herod, in Jerusalem and asked Herod how they might locate their king. Herod could not help them, being nearly two years after the actual event of Jesus' birth. But the angel (or the star) helped them. They did finally, and secretly, find Jesus in Galilee, nearly two years old at the time; and there, they presented their gifts to their new king: according to the angel's command. After they departed the land, Herod killed every baby under the age of two years. Why the two-year olds? Because, in Matthew 2:7 and again in Matthew 2:16, the wise men told Herod what month, and what year, that the star first appeared to them, in their far-away lands. Read the very short second chapter of Matthew for yourself: this author has not lied to you here.
So, just why is Paul's letter to the Hebrews different from his others? Because in this letter, Paul was NOT trying to be a successful missionary. These Samaritans (oops, sorry; these Hebrews!) fully understood the Hebrew faith, Hebrew history (people and events), and they fully understood God's Laws sent down by way of Moses and the others. They fully considered their selves to be "true shareholders" in the covenant that God made with Abraham. They fully understood their part in every blessing and prophecy that God gave to the descendants of the man named Israel. And as part of their Hebrew heritage, they were "absolutely desperate" to return to worshipping the God of their ancestors (with full membership in the cause, as it were). Regarding the Samaritans, Jesus demonstrated this truth quite clearly and repeatedly during his lifetime. Paul's letter must have been quite welcoming to them; albeit, several-hundred years tardy.
My dearest friend, when you read the Book of Hebrews, and you find the word "brethren," please try to understand that this formerly ultra-proud Jew (named Paul) was actually writing to the hated Samaritans: and he also knew that the word "Hebrews" fully included "all Jews."
So, do read Paul's letter to the Hebrews just once more. And notice how he teaches these fine people differently than he did the folks scattered throughout Asia Minor and Greece. Yes, the land of Greece, where they had many gods: and where Paul's footing was perilously close to failing due to their beloved and fabled ancient Greek traditions: a fact that Paul knew he had to somehow, in some way, defeat!
So, while Paul had to take small baby-steps with the Greeks, he could manage giant-leaps with the Hebrews.
Given this simple history lesson (that every Christian teacher should fully understand), please do learn how Paul taught to true-believers in his letter to the "Hebrews."
In Hebrews, Paul teaches about Abraham, Moses, Melchisedec, and places Christ above all. In this letter to true believers, Paul never once teaches that the law is dead to the Hebrews. In fact, he praises the laws given by Christ to Moses: such as tithing, obeying God's Laws given to the Hebrews, the Ten Commandments, etc.
Yes, Paul does indeed teach of the Levitical priesthood fading away in the future (regarding their no longer being necessary to the followers of Jesus). In chapters 8 and 9, Paul does give some indications that things will have to change regarding the Levitical priesthood, the sanctuary (controlled by the Levitical priests), and regarding how the high priest had been ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices for the common folks. Some of these things were no longer necessary after Jesus left this world. Some of these things would become extinct after Rome would destroy Jerusalem in just a few more years.
Indeed, at the moment of Jesus' death, Matthew wrote:
Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake . . .
So now, understanding that there might be a "few" changes after Christ left this world, please do accept that fuller understanding of Paul: promised at the beginning of this letter.
Paul never wrote contrary to any of John's (or Christ's) teachings except in his missionary letters to a landmass approximately half-a-million square miles in area (Asia Minor and Greece). Below, is an excellent example of Paul's teachings to ACTUAL BELIEVERS (meaning the Hebrews/Jews).
Two full sentences: but one lesson from Paul!
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
So, Paul clearly taught the Hebrews that if the angels, themselves, were punished for every transgression of God's Law and for every disobedience of God's Law, so then how shall we escape the same punishment? In these words, Paul is clearly teaching that our "great salvation" which Christ taught, is clearly dependent on our not transgressing, not disobeying, and not neglecting God's Laws.
Below, is just one sentence. Some punctuations such as the comma, semi-colon, and colon were not invented until much later in history (in Europe). Below, is just once sentence that Paul wrote to the Hebrews:
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Oh, but Paul is not done:
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins . . .
Apparently, all laws that God sent down regarding "sin" are still in effect! This would definitely include eating meats that were previously sacrificed to idols.
And here in Hebrews 10, Paul gives his best lesson regarding the importance of keeping God's laws within our hearts and our lives!
If any Christian reading the verses above still believes that God's Laws were hung on the cross, then Paul's next lesson is yours! And if any Christian reading these words truly believes that one only needs to "believe in the name of Jesus" in order to find Heaven, then this next lesson is especially yours!
Hebrews 10:28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Hebrews 10:3 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
As a Christian, did you just read any words that teach that you do not need to consider your works, sins, or deeds here in this life? God's covenant required mankind's obedience to His Laws! Also, as a Christian, did you just read any words that teach that if you "just believe" in the name of Jesus, then everything shall be forgiven?
In fact, if you read the above verses carefully, Paul is actually teaching that with the death of Christ, God is now holding Christians to a "higher level" of obeying His ancient Hebrew Laws. Read Paul's words, above, again in 10:29: Paul was quite clear in his words.
Hebrews, Chapter 11
Paul reminds the Hebrews of both the great faith and great works of their greatest ancestors. Paul fully understood that every Hebrew he was writing to, already possessed full knowledge regarding their ancestors. He reminded them that by faith, Abel did a great work unto God. By faith and great works, Enoch was taken to Heaven. By faith, Noah did great works and by faith, Abraham did many great works. And by faith, Sara also performed great works. Throughout this very long chapter, Paul continues to show how a true and great faith might reward people (and Paul mentions a many great people in this chapter). Faith first, and our works must follow. But one must notice that Paul is not talking about a mere "belief" anywhere in his letter to the Hebrews.
Paul is talking about a true faith that can only be shown to God by way of great works. And only THEN, did God send them any sort of reward!
And apparently, according to Paul, God, the Father, has never sent any person, anywhere on this Earth, any sort of reward. Only Christ has sent rewards to all of these great ancestors listed above: possibly dating as far back as Abel's life. (Hebrews 11:26 -- a great lesson detailed below.)
It is important to note, here, that there are a great many Bible scholars who do not believe that Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews. One should listen to them. There is a tiny chance that they could be right; and one should always consider possibilities. They believe that Paul could not have written Hebrews because the excellent Greek diction used in Hebrews was not a part of Paul's skillset. All of this means that "the letter was too good to be Paul's."
This argument is beyond the scope of this letter, which has already gone on for too long. So, you will find this author's reply to these so-called Bible scholars: here. (Link opens in a new window).
It is true that the letter to the Hebrews was an outstanding work, regardless of who wrote it. But it is also true that this was Paul's first (and last) opportunity to write to TRUE BELIEVERS, who fully understood God's Laws, the laws of Moses, the ancient ways, and the beloved customs of the Hebrew people.
Please return to Paul, the missionary,
one more time.
Paul's letter to the Hebrews was sent to those who already understood "God's Commandments, God's Laws given to Moses, Satan, Christ, and yes, Jesus." Perhaps Christians, today, should read the book of Hebrews as if it were written just for them.
However, all of Paul's other letters were written to help those who knew nothing about God, nothing about Satan, nothing about Jesus, nothing about a Christ or long-awaited Messiah, and nothing about any sort of religion or God's Laws. They all worshipped false Gods and Paul did what he had to do in order to "weave his way" into their daily lives and daily routines. Every Missionary must become "accepted" into a culture and then, later, they must still become "trusted." These two traits come at a price: and that price is time and true patience!
Maybe, just maybe, regarding Asia Minor and Greece, Paul was thinking along the lines below?
"Ok, so they want to eat meat that was previously sacrificed to idols." (These meats represented the majority of the meats sold in the marketplaces of Asia Minor and Greece: so, we are talking about the only source of meats available to families in many of these cities!) "So, let's allow this to continue so that we can work on these false idols first. There is only one God in Heaven so let's at least start destroying their parents' and grandparents' false idols that many of them have come to cherish."
This was Asia Minor and Greece (who had multiple gods and many idols). Maybe Paul calculated that two steps forward and one step backward was a good thing. Ask any missionary today: sometimes you have to take ten steps backward. And sometimes they just kill you: in order to keep that which they cherish so dearly.
Now, of importance, Asia Minor (meaning Turkey, here) and Greece were major trading routes. Paul could not be in every place all of the time. Paul had competition! Jewish traders would spend time in an area while purchasing and gathering goods from that region. This took a while: possibly weeks, while waiting for a certain crop to come in. In their evening conversations with the locals, these Jewish merchants might teach that if a person was not circumcised, then they were going to hell. They might teach that if one did not offer three doves in sacrifice for their sins, that they were going to hell. Many of these traders sold these doves to the new believers. "Unblemished doves from the Promised Land." Just two-pieces of silver, each: minimum purchase is three doves!
Then again, there were many self-proclaimed false Apostles who journeyed through these lands seeking either monetary gain or personal glory (through their false teachings).
All of this truly happened when Paul was away. So, just imagine yourself as a missionary back then. Would you possibly instruct those new believers to just work on their faith and ignore all Jewish laws for a little while? (Until you could further teach them the importance, and reason behind, these laws of God.) Please remember, that Asia Minor is an enormous piece of land. Ancient Greece was also an enormous piece of land. And Paul was sent to all of these lands by Christ, Himself! (Paul did develop quite a bit of help through Timothy, Mark, Titus, Philemon, and others.)
But for a long time, Paul was just one man! Covering nearly half-a-million square miles of territory. So, do you think that Christ might have given Paul just a bit of instruction, help, and/or leeway regarding the priorities that Paul was to maintain in these (oh, so critical) missionary lands where Christ's church was soon to be founded (given the impending destruction of Jerusalem)? Christ knew that there were still two major, extremely major, books coming to these churches in Asia Minor and Greece after Jerusalem and its temple would be destroyed. (These two extremely major works would be the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of John: both of which were written long after Paul died and soon after the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem.)
Obviously, Christ had full knowledge that His new church would extend FAR, FAR beyond the little land called Palestine. This author would never attempt to declare that Christ gave certain allowances to Paul regarding what Paul taught to various peoples, but this author can certainly see some of the competition that Paul might have been attempting to "manage," over the years. Success is never "instant." Success takes a great many works and/or lessons delivered throughout a great many years.
It is for these very reasons, that this author maintains that the magnificent teachings of Paul should never be taught in today's churches. So many "mistakes" (wrong words, omissions, incomplete teachings, half-truths, outright lies, or anything else you might choose to call them) are found in Paul's letters. This author has documented some of them here. There are many more!
However, a better way to understand all of this is to consider what Paul was attempting to achieve, outside of his Land of Israel. Given all that Paul did and all that Paul accomplished: we, here today, must accept them as "specific teachings" written with a "specific intent" for a "specific people" so that Paul might achieve a "specific goal" for Christ: just a few years before Jerusalem was to be destroyed.
As a Christian in today's world, can you now understand how the letters from Paul were never meant to be Scripture, nor were they ever "inspired" by God. So many Christians believe that this, or that, writing was "inspired by God." Well, this author is sorry, but God has never inspired mistakes, half-truths, incomplete truths, omissions, or outright lies. (Insert whatever phrase you have chosen to describe Paul's letters to Asia Minor and Greece into that last sentence.) Paul's works and deeds were wonderful, and it would please this author, tremendously, if Paul were to attain a special place in heaven because of his accomplishments.
But Paul's writings WERE NOT INSPIRED BY GOD.
Well, ok . . . maybe Hebrews was. Hebrews nearly brings this author to tears, quite honestly.
My dearest friend . . . this letter is finished. You have ample understanding and evidence of why Paul wrote the things that he wrote. Oh, there are a growing number of modern-day scholars who think that Paul was working for Satan. They even have various verses to support their lies. You can find them if you do a search for "Anti-Pauline movement." However, Christ Himself taught that a house divided cannot stand.
Well, Paul did not, for a moment, stand against the house of Christ. This should be obvious.
But all churches, today, truly should stop teaching the words found in the "letters" of the New Testament. Why? Because God has given this world enough of His own Scriptures to keep every person busy (learning about God) for at least two lifetimes! This world does not need "inspired words" as badly as it needs God's actual words spoken to this world. Let the current condition of this world speak for the truth found in that last sentence. This world today, more than ever before, needs to find God. And since our beginning, God has only directed this world toward His Word, as sent down to this world! God has never, ever (not even once!) sent mankind elsewhere to find His Truths, His Laws, or His Word.
Think about this: in just the first twelve verses of John's Gospel, we learn that it was Christ who was the God who created this world, created mankind, and it was Christ who sent all Laws down to this world that He made. So, not only do Christians need to learn (and re-learn) the truths found in the Gospels (meaning Scriptures), but Christians need to go back and learn (and re-learn) the entire Old Testament. Because it was Christ who was speaking (for God, His Father) in the Old Testament. It was the hand of Christ that wrote the Ten Commandments on the stones. It was the words of Christ who taught all of the Laws of Moses (to Moses and to the entirety of this world).
If you do not believe this author, then just learn what Paul himself taught about the relationship between Moses and Christ: (What? Moses knew Christ?)
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
So, Paul actually taught the Hebrews (and now, he has also taught all Christians of today) that it was Christ who gave Moses his marching orders: to go to Egypt and then stand against Pharaoh. It was Christ who was, and still is, the I AM of Exodus 3:14.
(Reference the words of Christ spoken to Moses, below:)
Genesis 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
Genesis 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.
Genesis 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
(Now, consider the words of Christ spoken to the Jews, of Jesus' day:)
John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Beyond all of this, just correlating the New Testament teachings of Christ back to their original Old Testament teachings of Christ is truly enough to keep every person and every Pastor busy for the remainder of their lives. This might include Christ's Fourth Commandment, given to Moses (as Paul taught in Hebrews 11:26). This might include Christ's clean meats and unclean meats, given to Moses (as Paul taught in Hebrews 11:26). This author could go on-and-on for years after considering the Truths of God placed in John 1:1 - 14, John 8:56, John 8:58 (and now, here in Hebrews 11:26).
So many Truths of God found upon this Earth; and here, near the end of this world, it turns out that only one "being" placed them here: He is known as Christ.
There is just one more message, of Christ, that this author feels compelled to present at the closing of this letter for various reasons. A very important message.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Your lesson, by Christ, here has been underlined. Oh, so many folks believe that Pastors have an easy life. But they fail to understand that on Judgment Day, Pastors shall be twice judged: once for the lives they lived and again for the lessons that they taught. Theirs is a perilous calling.
School teachers, judges, lawyers, politicians, and law-enforcement: your calling is just as perilous.