3/30/2010 The Son of Man, exploring the Biblical concept
A Commentary on Immanuel
The Gospel of Truth
by Mel West
[Why the Jews lost their inheritance to the Gentile, discussed through engrafting]:
Romans 11.13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.
11.14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them
11.15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
11.16 For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
11.17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
11.18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
11.19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.
11.20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear:
11.21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
11.22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
11.23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
11.24 For if thou were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
11.25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
11.26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
11.27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
11.28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
11.29 For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.
11.30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
11.31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
12.21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Putting on the Armor of Light:
Romans 13.1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God
13.2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
13.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13.13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
13.14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
14.1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
14.2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
14.3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
15.30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus ChristÕs sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;
15.31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;
16.17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Resolution: In order for Paul to sell the Gentiles on the idea of Salvation through Jesus, he had to show them how they also were ordained in the Bible, from the beginning, to participate in the Inheritance. He knows that the Elders (Jews) do not accept his doctrine and are after his neck. This conflict is further described when he goes to the temple in Jerusalem, taking a Gentile within into the courts of the Circumcision.
Comparing the inheritance to an Olive Tree, Paul says God has an ability to regraft in the Jews, though they are perceived broken off the Olive Tree. And he aptly points out that those who are natural to the tree (the Jews) are easier to graft than the wild branches, which are the Gentile. So he admits that God can always restore the inheritance back to what it originally had been. He warns them to walk in goodness of heart and not begrudgingly or with envy. So all of this is now a part of PaulÕs doctrine; that, in terms of the inheritance, though the Gentiles be grafted in and the Jews broken off the tree, God in His Mercy can graft the Jews back in.
I Corinthians 3.8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.
3.9 For we are laborers together with God: ye are GodÕs husbandry, ye are GodÕs building.
3.10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
3.11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
3.12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
3.13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every manÕs work of what sort it is.
4.16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
10.9 Neither let us tempt Christ, some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10.10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
10.11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
10.12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
13.9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
13.10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away
15.10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
15.11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
15.47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
15.48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
Resolution: Let us not tempt Christ. Paul's perception of the world at that time was that Jesus was the promised Savior-king come to remove the sins of the world before the fire. His mission was to save souls from the soon to be coming fire which would consume the earth. His work is to gather as many souls as possible for Heaven. It is in this scale, heavenly things versus earthly things, in which Paul apportions Salvation, for it is a given that heavenly things are more perfect, and he divides for perfection. The Law (the Torah) is an earthly thing, therefore not perfect.
Let us not tempt Christ, is a phrase recognizing that Jesus will judge the Gentile's works. Therefore, they must always be perfect unto Jesus. That perfection can be achieved through Faith and faith by hearing the word of the Lord. Since you will be bludgeoned unmercifully by sinners trying to tempt you, put on the Armor of Light and follow Paul and you will be saved.
Galatians 3.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
3.29 And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
3.8 And the scripture, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Ephesians 2.4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
2.5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved);
2.6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
2.7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
2.8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God;
2.9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
3.17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
3.18 may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
3.19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
4.13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
5.27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
4.30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Resolution: To know the Love of Christ, is a phrase describing Paul's precept of the Gospel of Faith. If you know the love of Christ and believe that He has given his blood upon the cross of calvary for your Salvation, He will raise you to Heaven. You will not see Hell. Thus, Paul's mission is seen to persuade the Gentile that Jesus loves them and prepare them for the moment their souls are taken to Heaven. That moment, Paul believed, was near to come. Again, he believed the earth would be consumed with fire at any moment; thus his desperation to save souls so that they will not see the fire but rather paradise, in heaven.
I Corinthians 15.51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
15.52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
15.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
15.54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Philippians 1.21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
1.22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
1.23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
1.24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
In the books of Enoch and Adam and Eve, which we previously reviewed, there is the prevailing view that Adam and his seed will be restored to Paradise and given their "Light nature" back. That nature is a body which neither hungers nor dies. While in Paradise Adam and Eve did not have to eat; after being thrown out of the garden, however, they began to feel hunger pains and questioned God as to what was happening to them. He told them to eat else they would die. Then He informed them that they would now be subject to death.
The Promise of the Latter Days included not only the Salvation of souls, but also the Promise that this Salvation is one of Eternal Life living in Paradise. In that Promise is the precept that each soul is given its Light Nature back, having no more hunger or pain, nor being subject to death. This Promise is repeated in Isaiah:
Isaiah 65.19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
65.20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
65.21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
65.22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
65.23 They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
And in the Gospel of Thomas:
Thomas (22) ...They said to him, "Shall we then, as children, enter the Kingdom?"
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male, nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the Kingdom."
Matthew 22.29 Jesus answered and said unto them, ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
22.30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
It seems to be easier to conceive of an immortal body in a heavenly state than in an earthly state. In Matthew it is suggested that the resurrected body is neither male nor female, because they neither marry nor are given in marriage, being like eunuchs. The Gospel of Thomas pursues this idea and lends Jesus to saying exactly what is implied in Matthew, that in the resurrection there is neither male nor female. Then Jesus goes on to describe the heavenly state being likened to the ability to replace a hand for a hand, an eye for an eye, a foot for a foot, etc. While the disciples undoubtedly had seen some miraculous things from the hands of Jesus, the concept of replacing a foot for a foot ought to seem preposterous. But to us the concept is not preposterous, with many walking around with false limbs and science just on the verge of creating replacement eyes; and lifetimes anticipated by prophesy are becoming quite possible. Truly, mankind is a hairÕs breadth away of stopping the aging process.
Clement quoted this saying from the Gospel of Thomas and it appears that Paul also was familiar with it, since in Galatians he concludes there is neither male nor female, etc. The body of the resurrection, saved for Heaven, is incorruptible, like ChristÕs, who, according to the Promise of the Psalm, would not suffer "corruption."
II Corinthians 2.17 for we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
11.1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
11.2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
11.3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ
3.21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
4.4 But when the fullness of the times was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the Law.
4.5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
4.6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.
4.7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
II Corinthians 11.4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
11.5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
Galatians 4.13 You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
4.14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
II Corinthians 11.8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service,
Galatians 1.11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
1.12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1.13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.
1.14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
1.15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
1.16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
1.17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
1.18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
1.19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
1.120 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God I lie not.
To achieve Salvation you must be justified by Faith, not works, says Paul.
Galatians 2.11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
2.12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
2.13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
2.14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as the Jews?
2.15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
2.16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall not flesh be justified.
2.17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
6.15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcisions, but a new creature.
Philippians 3.3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
2.6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
Colossians 1.12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
1.13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of his dear Son:
1.14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
1.15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
1.25 Whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you to fulfil the word of God.
3.1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
3.25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
4.17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Salvation in the Rapture of the Saints:
I Thessalonians 1.9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
1.10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
4.16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
4.14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
4.17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
4.18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
5.23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholl; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
II Thessalonians 1.7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.
1.8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1.9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
1.10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
2.1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.
2.2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2.3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2.4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
2.11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.
2.14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Timothy 1.4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which in faith: so do
1.6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
1.7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
1.8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
1.15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
2.7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
Hebrews 8.13 In that he saith, A new Covenant, he hath made the first Old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
8.14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
8.15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
10.9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10.10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Avoid other Gospels and do not listen to the Circumcised (like Peter and James), says Paul:
Titus 1.2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
II Timothy 2.22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2.23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
3.1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
3.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3.3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
3.4 Traitors, heady high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
3.5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Titus 1.10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers specially they of the circumcision:
1.11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucreÕs sake.
1.14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
3.9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Resolution: We have witnessed the many statements of Paul against the Circumcised church, disagreeing with their doctrine, even how Peter was accused of Paul of being a hypocrite, eating with the Gentile though his faith forbade him to eat Gentile food (i.e. it must have been pork).
There once was a Gospel of the Hebrews, attributed to Matthew (perhaps it was an original form of the Gospel of Matthew which had not been tampered with by Paulists). Earlier we spoke of the "Q" source, being related to the Gospel of Thomas. The Gospel of the Hebrews attributed to Matthew may be that document.
When Paul was preaching his form of Salvation, there must have been some gospels floating around from which he derived his precepts on Jesus. And certain precepts point to certain gospels. The precept that you are neither female nor male points to the Gospel of Thomas, for instance. That it was in good use in Paul's day is further justified by virtue of the fact that Clement, who was a young man during Peter's and Paul's day, quoted that Gospel.
When Paul said to avoid discussions of Genealogies, he appears to be pointing to the Gospel of Matthew. We know that Luke was a friend and associate of Paul and Luke wrote a Gospel rebuttal on the Genealogy of Jesus.
Paul's doctrine does not seem to recognize the significance of the Virgin Birth as justification that Jesus is the Christ. What he based Jesus's Messiahship upon is not clear, although he quotes scriptures off hand to illustrate that Jesus fulfilled them. What is clear is that he says he derives his message directly from Jesus; that message, we have seen, ultimately denied the Old Testament, claiming it is now passed away. Thus, genealogies and things tying Jesus to Old Testament prophesy would seem unprofitable to Paul. To get into discussions on Jesus's genealogy would ultimately result in having to go back over Old Testament prophesy to verify that Jesus fulfilled it. Doing so one would quickly discover that Jesus did not fulfill all the prophesy supposed to relate to the Messiah or His times.
In fact, to attribute Jesus to Messiahship one has to eliminate a lot of prophesy from the Old Testament, as concerning the scattering and redemption of Israel, restoration of the Tabernacle (and temple), and the glorification of the Children of Israel, ruled by its King-messiah David, whom God would restore to them in the Latter Days. These things, claims Paul, were all cut short, allowing him to jump to the thesis that the earth is going to be scorched at any moment by the wrath of God and only those saved in Jesus will be taken to heaven. So to discuss endless genealogies would be the same as opening up an old wound, one which Paul had labored and labored over, as he preached his gospel of the Jewish Disinheritance. So he admonishes his church to avoid paying heed to the Jewish fables (promises in the Old Testament) which, under Paul's New Covenant, are no longer true.
II Timothy 3.16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
3.17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
4. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
4.8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
4.14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
Resolution: Paul has maintained a consistent pattern of attacking the Jewish religion to promote (or defend) his own. As a consequence his concentration on showing how the Jew gave up his inheritance, to justify how the Gentile now have it and are now the Chosen People of God, God's True Children; left his own building somewhat vulnerable. Paul claimed that he was the master builder of Jesus's (Gentile) Church. Though someone may claim to be a master builder we warrant that such claims can be exposed: as most master builders, people who take pride in their own works, often, through vanity, take short cuts, thinking they are above error. The short cuts become obvious and their foundations then become shaky.
The foundation of his building, he claimed, is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ preached love and forgiveness and, above all, condemning not others. Jesus did object to the Pharisees' practice of selling doves, etc. in the temple of God, however, so Paul may have felt justified in condemning the Jews. In his last letters, we can see an old man, at the end of a long fight with the Jews, advising his son to put down the Jewish Questions. He says those circumcised peopleÕs mouths must be stopped. The statement means exactly what it says, and we see the Spanish Inquisition years later quite zealously putting his order into effect.
If Paul had let bygones be bygones, being justified by faith alone, as he claimed, he would not have been concerned about what the faith of the Jews or even Peter's branch of Christianity believed. He could have preached the Gospel to the heathen without having to answer to arguments claiming that the Jews lost their inheritance, to the Glory of the Gentile. For his conclusion that he is justified by faith alone does not cover a multitude of sins. It does not cover, for example, anti-Semitism and its result: the planned extermination of all the Jews on the earth. We do not here blame Paul for anti-Semitism, but it is clear that if he had stayed in his own field and left the Jews alone, obeying Peter's guidelines, this charge could never have been brought against him as being the perpetrator of anti-Semitic ideas.
For it is of a clear truth that Paul spent far too much time arguing against any claim the Jews may have in the World to come. He spent so much time in the argument he had to contrive even a new result to the Promise of the Bible: the abrogation of Abraham's Promise, with the result that Paul's theology ends not in the fulfillment of the Lord's Prayer, a Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven, but rather a new idea: A rapture of all the faithful to Christ to heaven, leaving the world in burning, smoke, and ashes. In this, in terms of the Modern Church, His Gospel became an escapist philosophy. And people who are trying to escape care nothing for the world from which they are trying to escape. If one monitors the sermons of the Modern Church the overriding message of the escape is clear. It continues in Paul's charge to prepare the children for the escape, making them spotless when Christ appears in the clouds of Heaven to draw them up into the clouds, leaving the wicked and their polluted ways.
Today Paul's Church happens to be a member of the congregation which invented a number of things which were addressed by Job, Daniel, and God to Adam. We are speaking of an abomination of desolation: a thing which desecrates the Temple of God and also desecrates the earth. There are no divisions where the desecration stops. They polluted the earth, for instance, to the extent that it may never recover; they threatened the earth with their own ability to shower fire and brimstone, nuclear missiles, upon it. They desolated the earth to the extent that half of the species on the earth were destroyed, not through natural selection, but through their hands in less than one generation. I am speaking of Western Man, our generation.
Desolation can mean many things to many different people. But to the God of the Bible we see its original meaning which had to do with His charge to Adam: to name the plants and animals and then husband them. Adam was created as this garden's gardener. If he abrogates that charge, he is cursed and an abomination to the creation of God. Job adds to this thought, knowing that in the End of Days, if the beasts cry out against him he is cursed [see I Enoch 58.7]; or if the furrows of the earth complain against him, he is cursed [see Job 31.39]. Job knew of the ban against pollution and disrespect for God's charge to Adam to oversee the earth and the animals in it. Anyone asking Job about what is happening to our forests, for instance, would receive the reply: you should not be desolating the trees. Trees happen to be a pretty important item in GodÕs language.
We mention this point of view because the Paulist's don't appear to be concerned about what is being done to the earth and its beasts. As a general philosophy, they don't seem to be objecting to it. Surely, each and every one of them must be silently crying out in their hearts to stop it, though all be participators in it, even buying cheap furniture from the rain forests, but you never hear them crying out against it as a group. Rather, we hear other groups carrying the hue and cry against the desolation of this garden. Where Christians should be in the forefront, to save the earth, we find, in fact, others. And this is an anomaly in the annals of God's time.
The Gospel that justifies the Gentile at the expense of the Jews required a new kind of faith: a faith that believed one is justified by faith alone; that works have nothing to do with oneÕs faith and Salvation, or redemption. We see clearly that Paul was inconsistent in his message, being consistent in reminding the congregation that they will be judged by their works, for God judges not respect to persons; and then contradicting that by telling them — to justify abrogating the Torah — that they will be judged by their Faith alone, that works have nothing to do with their judgement. To reconcile these two contradictory notions, the church has had to come up with some elaborate traditions based upon confession of sins before Mass, etc. What had been a rather straight- forward Gospel in Christ became rather confusing and exceedingly complicated. Again, had Paul stuck to the game plan of Peter, he would never have had to get caught up in these issues. And certainly he would never had gotten caught up in a two millennium fight to put down the Jews.
Even in putting down the Jews Paul was inconsistent, contradicting himself. Though he continuously rails against the Jews, in a rather well thought out philosophy of justification, he turns and says not to condemn a man who does not eat such and such; nor should the man who does not eat condemn the man that eats as he chooses. Much of his gospel condemns the circumcised who cannot eat with one who eats what he chooses. Here we see Paul even condemning, or blaming, Peter in an instance where it appears a circumcised man did eat with the Gentile, partaking of forbidden food; and he asks Peter how they, the circumcised, can expect the Gentile to be circumcised when the circumcised are hypocritically not following their own fashion.
Paul's God versus Jesus's God
We see in PaulÕs Testimony that he has raised Jesus to be even another God who may compete with God. He then warns against anyone preaching another Jesus. How could he conceive that there be another Jesus unless he had created another Jesus? Mohammed was right in his charge that the Christians had created a God who could compete with God. Paul's own words tell us this: Jesus, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal to God. Paul's record is clear. He had raised Jesus to the level of being God Himself.
Paul's Gospel does not justify itself, that Jesus is God. It assumes He is. Though he does not rely upon the Old Testament Prophesies to prove Jesus, it turns out that his conclusion that Jesus must be God Himself is in accord with the name Immanuel and IsaiahÕs statement that the Messiah is God in the Flesh.
The early Gospels are not consistent as to whom Jesus really is. They do not reflect any claim on Jesus's part to represent Himself as God, and only when Pontius Pilate asks Him if He is the Son of God are we given the answer from Jesus suggesting that he is the Son of God.
The precept of the Son of God is not a profuse precept in Old Testament prophesy. On the other hand the Prophet which Moses promised would be raised up, is a very profound precept in Old Testament anticipations. Likewise, the Son of Man which Daniel prophesied is a very valid anticipation of the Old Testament. The Prophet of Moses and the Son of Man of Daniel are distinctive precepts identifying the Messiah, His origin and His Authority. All other precepts of the Messiah coincide with these two precepts.
The prophet of Moses, for instance, is one raised up like unto Moses. He would therefore be anticipated to be a miracle worker, like Moses, a prophet speaking God's Word and things to come like Moses, and a Lawgiver like Moses. Other characteristics of Moses are also important in the comparison. Moses, we recall, said he could not speak well. He stammered. Why not then anticipate the prophet to be extremely shy and of stammering speech? In Isaiah we are given the answer:
Isaiah 28.9 Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
28.10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little and there a little: for with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people.
28.12 to whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest: and this the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
This is just one of many understandings of a timid Messiah who, in this case, speaks to the Children of Israel, like perhaps Moses did (speaking in Coptic Egyptian, with Aaron his interpreter). We do not know that Moses initially spoke to the Hebrews in their own tongue, although it is clear that he was raised in the court of the pharaoh and therefore had to speak the Egyptian language. As an overseer of the Hebrew slaves, he might have been conversant in the Hebrew language. In any event, Moses was told to plead with the pharaoh face to face to let his people go. In the Latter Day mission the Messiah once again pleads with the nations on behalf of Israel. In the pleading the nations are drawn into Armageddon and God wholly defends Israel with His own Hand.
In Isaiah's rendition of the Messiah, the people do not listen to Him. Again, it was the Pharaoh who would not listen to Moses, to let the Children of Israel go. In the Latter Days, we can draw for comparison the fact that the Deliverer Messiah is charged with the restoration of the Scattered Children of Israel to their land. Since it is a given that the Scattered Children have been scattered, it presumes that the Messiah functions in some way to plead with the nations, where the Scattered Children are captive, to let them go to their homeland; furthermore, it becomes apparent, in this day and age, he might have some function in pleading with the nations to allow that state of Israel to exist. In Latter Day prophesy it is clearly indicated that Israel is initially surrounded on its Restoration and then comes to peace; after the Peace Gog makes note of it and decides to invade the Holy Land, with Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with him, to Armageddon.
Because we see these things, and more like them, in prophesy, it is clear that the Jews ought to have been expecting in a Messiah as a minimum one like unto Moses, yet being of the seed of David. Because David also speaks of the Messiah suffering, and because Isaiah also speaks of Him, it follows that many ought to have concluded that there are Two Messiahs: one a Suffering Messiah and another whose hand is mighty and performing the Deliverance of the Lord like Moses. Like Moses, in the Latter Days, the Deliverer also delivers a New Covenant. These precepts we know were well understood by the Essenes two thousand years ago. It is doubtful that the pharisees would have had a different point of view concerning the Two Anointed Ones. We say this also because the modern Rabbinical trend of thought stems from the Pharisees and today we can see that the Rabbis have always traditionally expected Two Messiahs. Paul was obviously not aware of these precepts; otherwise he ought to have had to argue against them. After all, his thesis was that Jesus was the Only Begotten Son of God. The Rabbis and the Essenes during Paul's time were expecting Two "sons" of God; i.e., the Messiahs.
The fact that the early Gospels do not rely upon the Prophet of Moses and the Son of Man to describe Jesus's legitimacy reflects what we are dealing with in terms of what the early gospel writers and preachers understood Jesus to be. Rather than focusing upon what Jesus said He was, and orienting their gospels and teachings around those things, and the scriptures which supported them, they tended to recreate Jesus's genealogies and background to justify His Messiahship. He had to be a Son of David, so a genealogy had to be created to confirm that He is the Son of David. In point of fact, had they known Essene doctrine they ought to have been confused as to whether Jesus was the Messiah-priest, Teacher of Righteousness, of Aaron and Israel or the Messiah-king of David.
Apparently being unfamiliar with either Rabbinical expectations or the Essene fundamentals, Matthew traces Jesus's rights of inheritance (to be the Son of God) back through his father Joseph. Luke recognizes the mistake, that because of the Virgin birth Jesus cannot trace his ancestry through Joseph, and traces it through Mary as well. His genealogy, furthermore, does not stem from the same sources Matthew claims. Again, Luke, who was supposed to have been an educated man, a doctor, was not aware of the Two Messiahs of the Rabbinical and Essene's doctrines.
To the unlearned, The Son of Man and the Prophet of Moses do not answer sufficiently to Jesus's claimed divinity. The early gospel teachers and writers, not appreciating these things Jesus said of Himself, rather became hooked on the precept that Jesus is the Son of God and, therefore, a god in his own right. He is equal to God, as Paul concluded. To trace this similitude to God they had to get into arguments justifying how He is God, centering them upon the concept of the Virgin Birth (born of no man). The arguments as to whether Jesus is God, continued back and forth for nearly four hundred years, until Constantine the Great called the Bishops of the church to Nicaea to resolve the question of Jesus's divinity. At the time there had been a continuing tradition of making the Roman emperor's gods, given their own priesthood and temples of worship, and Constantine would have looked upon the divination of Jesus probably along these lines, like making another emperor a god. One faction of the bishops, of course, would have seen Jesus as not just another god but the One and only God Himself.
It is easy to see that Jesus's sayings stem from one who believes he is the instrument of God, perhaps like another Moses, as the Prophet Moses spoke about i.e., a prophet like unto thee. If Jesus were to say merely this, that He is that Prophet, He would surely have jeopardized himself, of being a false prophet. Surely every prophet who had been raised up in Israel may have believed that he or she were that prophet mentioned by Moses. On this alone, then, Jesus had jeopardized Himself by just claiming to be the Prophet, as Jerusalem had a way of killing her prophets. Claiming to be the Messiah, even the Promised David, furthered the jeopardy; and from this it is clear that He had no need to claim He is God.
When we review Jesus's sayings, it is clear that He believed He spoke by the authority of God. Again, we are reminded that He said that He does nothing on His own accord but does and says only those things God gives Him. In Jesus's mind, He is an instrument of God and, perhaps, functioning as God, just as Moses functioned on earth as God. The reference to the fact that He was the Son of Man also might have taken some Jews aback, assuming they were familiar with Daniel's Son of Man (it is inconceivable that the pharisees did not know the meaning of the Son of Man as Daniel described it). But it is possible, however, that the laymen of the Jews were not altogether that familiar with the name and may have thought it an innocent appellation, like that used by the prophet Ezekiel, who called himself, during the same days of Daniel, the Son of Man. Thus, it is probable that the common people and even the priests were somewhat confused by this name Jesus had applied to Himself; and in all probability it is this name which prompted them to ask whether Jesus was the Son of God. If they took Him to mean that He is the Son of Man according to Daniel, He might be understood as the Son of God. If they took Him to mean that He is the Son of Man, like Ezekiel, they might take Him to be a harmless prophet.
We do not know exactly how the controversy over Jesus's divinity emerged, because the Gospel accounts are not consistent and may not recall the order of the events in Jesus's life correctly, nor in the perspective needed to understand whom He thought He was. As stressed often herein, Jesus believed he was the Deliverer Messiah and, believing he was in the Last Days, he therefore needed an Elijah to precede him. Those gospel writers who believed that Jesus's Divinity was dependent upon this precept had to point out John the Baptist as that Elijah. In effect Jesus baited them on the idea and the gospel writers took it hook line and sinker, not being able themselves to make a distinction between the Suffering Messiah and the Latter Day Deliverer Messiah. Obviously, if Jesus's Day was not the Day of the Deliverer, then any representations of John the Baptist as Elijah resurrected would have been for nought. This turns out to be the true perspective of the matter. John the Baptist had no affect upon Jesus's divinity.
After John the Baptist met His Cousin, Jesus, at the river Jordan, the Baptist was arrested. Then the gospels say that certain men of John went to Jesus and inquired whether Jesus was the Messiah whom the Baptist had been proclaiming. At the time John was in Herod's jail, about to be beheaded. Matthew tells us:
Matthew 11.1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
11.2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
11.3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
11.4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see:
11.5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them
11.6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
11.7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind.
11.8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings" houses.
11.9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
11.10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
11.13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
11.14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Let's continue exploring this theme, how John the Baptist could send a message to Jesus, asking whether He is the one whom He had been expecting when we had been told in all the gospels that John the Baptist first recognized Jesus as the Son of God! We have conflicting accounts here! Furthermore, we have a record that has Jesus acknowledging His Authority of being the Messiah on the basis of His Miracles! In the scenario Jesus is another Healer come to town and all the people are marvelled by it and wonder whether He is the Messiah to come! This is a common man's expectation and not what an educated man would have anticipated! Furthermore, the question posed by John's disciples did not recognize Jesus as being Divine or being the Son of God. Rather, they allude to the expectation of the thing John had been preaching: namely, the Messiah; i.e., another Moses, another David.
In Mark's account on John the Baptist, after the disciples of Jesus had been appointed, the story shifts to recalling how John the Baptist had been brought before Herod. Mark seems to be explaining what was left out of Matthew. Yet he makes no mention of John's disciples coming to Jesus inquiring who He is. After describing the account of John's beheading, Mark then mentions that JohnÕs disciples went to Jesus and began to follow him into the wilderness, where the miracle of the loaves and fishes was performed, feeding, on one account, four thousand people and on another account five thousand people.
In Luke we have the story of John's disciples asking Jesus who he is once again:
Luke 7.16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
7.17 And this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
7.18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
7.19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
7.20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John the baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
7.21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
7.22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
7.23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
7.24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? [Re: I Kings 14.14-15: a Reed shaken in the water.}
7.25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings" courts.
7.26 And what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
7.27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
7.28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
The Gospel of John, interestingly enough, is segmented as concerning John's acknowledgment of Jesus. Speaking not of John sending disciples from prison to enquire of Jesus, but rather from the river Jordan where John was Baptizing, we have:
John 3.24 For John was not yet cast into prison.
3.25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
3.26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
3.27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
3.28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
3.29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
3.30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
3.31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
3.32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
3.33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.
3.34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
3.35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
3.36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
4.1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
4.2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
4.3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
6.1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
6.2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
6.5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6.14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
The Gospel of John is again remembering two important things. One is that Jesus was, in effect, competing with John, Baptizing in the wilderness. John the Baptist, to conform to the Son of God doctrine, reinforces the fact that Jesus is above him, and to resolve any conflict in discipleship, says that he must decrease whilst Jesus must increase. This account is specifically directed at the remnant of John's disciples, arguing on account that they should now follow Jesus. Because the argument exists, it is suggested that many followers of John questioned Jesus's authority. This, in turn, suggests that most people did not know that John had, in fact, identified Jesus as the Son of God when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan. Thus, we come to the other important item mentioned in this account. After performing the miracle of the loaves and fish, the people declare that Jesus is truly that prophet that should come in the world. That prophet can be no other than that prophet Moses had declared.
Again, we have in John's gospel the continuing wonder among the people as to whom Jesus thinks He is, when He teaches in the Temple:
John 7.27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
7.28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
7.29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
7.30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
7.31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
7.32 The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
John 7.39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
7.40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
7.41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
7.42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
7.43 So there was a division among the people because of him.
In this account we are well into the story of Jesus's miracles and teachings, he having now spent much time in Galilee and returned to Jerusalem, teaching that He is Salvation. His teachings stirred up the people sufficiently for them to ask whether He is that Prophet of whom Moses spoke. But that prophet, by this account, is not necessarily in their minds the Christ! The issue seems to then run from that prophet to the Christ, having not made a bridge between them, and questions whether Christ could come out of Galilee. Those making the questions, along with the writer addressing the issue, suggests that no one knew Jesus was of Judah! They knew nothing of the fact that he was born in Bethlehem and of the Virgin. Again, the running theme of this Gospel, which convinces the people and presumably the Gospel writer that Jesus is the Christ is in His Miracles. Somehow the writer also seems as confused as the people, whether Jesus, the Prophet, is the same as Jesus the Christ. But focusing upon Christ allows one to think of Him as being of God: i.e., the Son of God.
When King Herod heard of Jesus, in Mark's Gospel we are told:
Mark 6.14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
6.15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
6.16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
Again, in Matthew we have:
Matthew 22.45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables [in the temple], they perceived that he spake of them.
22.46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
That Jesus was a prophet in the minds of men, and not the Christ, still pervades all the Gospels, even at the time of the Transfiguration, where John, Jesus, James, and Peter are upon the mount of Olives:
Matthew 16.13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Casarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the son of man am?
16.14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
16.15 He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am?
16.16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
16.17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
16.18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
16.19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
16.20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
Mark 8.27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?
8.28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
8.29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
8.30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
Luke 9.18 [near Bethsaida, after the miracle of the loaves and fish, upon the mountain] And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
9.19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
9.20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
9.21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;
And John, who does not really remember the incident:
John 6.67 [somewhere near Capernaum, after the loaves and fish miracle] Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
6.68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.
6.69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
6.70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
It is worthwhile to compare Luke's account to that of John. Luke is copying from an earlier gospel which remembers the loaves and fish miracle and the event of Jesus asking his disciples whom people say he is. The event took place right after feeding five thousand people with a few loaves of bread and a few fish. The five thousand, according to one account, occurred because right after John the Baptist's death his disciples went to Jesus (perhaps for comforting). They and others began following him into the wilderness. Suddenly Jesus turns around, noticing all the people, and begins to wonder how they will be fed, for it is the Passover. Someone offers the loaves and the fish and he performs his miracle.
After this John's account shows that apparently many people got disillusioned with Christ's comments about himself, how he is the Mana from heaven, and that his body and blood are food for them to eat. In his version of the questioning, then, because people got upset at what he said and began leaving he asks His disciples whom the people say he is. They all agree (throughout all the gospels) that the people think him Elias or some other prophet resurrected. Peter, however, agrees that Jesus is the Christ. In the answer Mark records we have The Christ. Matthew records The Christ, the Son of the Living God. Luke records The Christ, like Mark; and John records, The Christ, the Son of the Living God. These reflect a common pattern. Matthew reflects a Son of God thesis throughout; Luke was a friend of Paul, another Son of God groupy, and should have repeated the Son of God thesis, but didn't Mark and Luke belong to one group of theologians and Matthew and John the other.
MarkÕs gospel, among the four, seems to be the least informed on Galilee. He writes about the towns of Caesarea and Philippi. Caesarea Philippi was the capitol city of Galilee. Caesarea, near Tel Aviv, was the Roman governor's center for Palestine. Mark undoubtedly had never been to Palestine, and he copied his information from notes of another. These notes probably belonged to Peter and they significantly enough must suggest that Mark's Gospel is related to the lost Gospel of the Hebrews. That lost Gospel would reflect Peter's beliefs; and those beliefs probably do not rest very solidly on the thesis that Jesus is the Son of God. The Son of God theme probably comes from tampering of the gospels from later Pauline traducers. We say this with caution, however; we have Peter's Epistle confirming that he heard on the mount at the time of Jesus's Transfiguration the voice of God proclaim Jesus as His Son. So Peter's position on this score is not really clear. Perhaps Peter went through an evolution in thought, at first believing Jesus is the Messiah and then, after much study of Old Testament Scripture, particularly the Psalms, concluded that He is the Son of God as well as the Messiah. But in this mode it is also clear that Peter would not have concluded that Jesus had brought a New Covenant which replaced the Old Covenant. Otherwise Peter ought not to have argued, along with James, over the issue that one's works lead to Salvation, not faith alone as Paul argued.
Jesus's representations, in fact, assured that His controversy would be over His claim to be another Moses, a prophet who is a Man, or a Son raised unto David. He asked, Whom do men say I am? The response was that men thought Him to be a prophet or even Elijah raised from the dead. Only Peter offered that He was the Messiah, with the record being in conflict as pertaining to the additional claim saying that He is the Son of God. So the argument that Jesus was God is extremely weak based upon the Gospel Testimony. And the issue comes to a head when Paul had to justify his New Gospel, which showed another Jesus, who is God, and he ultimately justified it by saying that Jesus had told him the New Gospel, which thing neither Peter nor the Apostles could answer, because they themselves had also had visions of Jesus. They, however, from the scant Testimony available, did not see Him as God, for they knew that He prayed to God and always directed them to do the same. The Testimony certainly did not ask them to pray to Him or transfer their thoughts directly to Him. In all respects Jesus had to be an agent of God in their minds.
As pertaining to Paul's claim that Jesus, being in the person of God by His Gospel, gave him his doctrine, we find another inconsistency. For we hear him saying that the prophets, law, the testimony, even the whole Bible, was received of Inspiration of God. There is a marked difference between an inspiration and a dictation; or, to put it another way, there is a marked difference between one who claims to be inspired of God and one who is God's Mouth. A prophet is God's Mouth, by which we mean He is the mouth through which come the sayings of God. Aaron was clearly called God's Mouth.
Having made this comparison in Pau;'s thinking, we have to ask whether he thought that he was the Mouth of God or was merely being inspired of God. The answer to this question is found in the questions themselves.. Paul questioned all previous prophets, saying that they were inspired of God; this profoundly suggests that he did not believe it possible for God to speak directly through man through a man's mouth, and this would have to include his own mouth; unless, of course he believed that no man before him had ever received God's Word directly. Thus we hear modern theologians echoing the same words, that the Bible is a book of inspiration, inspired of God, but not necessarily the direct sayings of God. They make these declarations with some reservation, we might add, since they quote Paul as the Word of God and, when it is useful to quote Old Testament prophesy their lips refer to it as Old and no longer binding. Jesus, fulfilling Prophesy, could never have believed this; otherwise His life sacrifice as the Suffering Messiah would have been for nought. The oracles He fulfilled had to be clearly from the Mouth of God. Paul is in conflict with this point of view, translating The Word of God to mean Inspired; and the next sequence in the Logic causes one to conclude that the Bible is subject to interpretation.
This brings us to the necessary conclusion that the Bible could not have been written by God, since God could not write something which is unclear or which could be construed contradictory or, to put it another way, a lie (neither would Jesus be making much sense trying to fulfill things which are subject to interpretation). Paul again wavers in his thesis, for He tells us that God cannot lie, an assumption of Peter and the rabbis as well. Yet, the entire theme of Paul's Gospel is to show how the Old Testament is no longer true; and being no longer true the suggestion is that it was false from the beginning, intending to invalidate itself. Paul circumnavigates the issue by then introducing the extremely complicated doctrine of the Old Testament being types and shadows of Jesus; they are not really intended to be valid forever but only to the extent that they represent the coming of the Messiah and the reality of Jesus. Again, we have to tie back into the Law, as pertaining to the doctrine of Types and Shadows, in as much as all the Torah, with its Sacrifices and feasts, now have no more effect with the Reality of Jesus. Even here Paul knows he is on weak ground because the doctrine then draws upon the prophets who cry out against the false sacrificing and feasts, using the justification of Prophesy to justify the breaking of the Law. Clearly Paul used the Law and the Prophets to justify his Gospel when it suited him and then condemned them when it justified another part of his argument, that Salvation comes by faith alone and not works. There is no other way to sum up his arguments: he played on both sides of the fence. It is no wonder his doctrine was so confusing.
Paul's Gospel assures the congregation that He and the faithful will be justified by Christ when he comes and that they will all be glorified. They will all be given a special position in Heaven as their reward; Paul will receive a crown. After railing against the Jews in one breath, and preaching brotherly love in the other, he concludes that even so he is entitled to a crown. And why is he entitled to a crown? We see him arguing to the congregation that he will be rewarded because of his Works! He points out that it is due to his work, not the apostles, that the church had grown. On this point he is most definitely correct. And if it were not for this fact, I dare say Peter and the elders would not have tolerated him; and because we know that Peter holds the Keys, to open and close and bind what he will, we also know that Peter thought not to restrain Paul but rather let him go on his own course.
Taking all these things into consideration, from the standpoint of Peter, if I were standing in his shoes, I would have tolerated Paul to build the church, recognizing that it could be placed back on the right path in the future. Building the church was important, and Paul, as he said of himself, is a master builder. The building, we have seen, had a number of spots on it — it was not spotless as he claimed it ought to be — and its spots were not created through a sinful congregation but rather through a condemning congregation, led by Paul, who would not tolerate the existence of the Jesus the Circumcised Apostles preached.
Paul recognized that his church could have some shortcomings. He described them in turns of a falling away from his doctrine, perhaps being enticed by the Circumcised branch of the Church, or the Jews. So he warned that if the church falls away it could lose its branch of glory, so to speak, and the inheritance given it could be returned to the Jews. He even goes so far to say that God has a right to give His Inheritance to whomsoever He chooses, which is, we have seen, the original basis of his conclusions, translating the Inheritance of the Jews into a New Inheritance given to the Gentiles. Mohammed used the same argument, that God could send a prophet to any nation he chooses and raise any nation He chooses for the inauguration of His Will.
In reflection, we can make amends for Paul's shortcomings, whatever they were. For he had a special problem which was not a problem Peter and the elders in Jerusalem had to confront. Preaching a messianic Gospel to the Jews involved a smaller challenge than preaching a New Religion to the Gentile. The Gentile perhaps had a great difficulty believing that they could not eat pork, which probably was an important food resource to them; neither, would it appear, that they would be exceedingly cheerful to circumcise themselves, particularly when they are adults. It's a painful experience not too many people would be happy to entertain. Thus, perhaps to make his way easier, it was necessary for Paul to formulate a doctrine which passed over these things. And that process eventually caused his undoing. For it pitted him against the Jews. And His Gospel, at the bottom line, became the very thing which His foundation, Jesus, preached against. His Gospel became consumed by the very thing it hated: hate itself. And it is very difficult to preach Love, and be it, when one is consumed by hate.
Paul's Gospel also became consumed by another thing cited in the complaints of the prophets. And that thing is Vanity. Jesus's Gospel was a message of humility, in strict accord with basic Jewish practice and the overall Biblical message: i.e., the meek shall inherit the earth. While Paul preached meekness and humility, his Gospel wreaks with Vanity. Again, the Vanity is found in the Glorification of the Gentile at the expense of the Jew. Thus, we have good reason to conclude that Paul's Congregation, which is the Modern Church of Christ, is not without spot. And the spots are substantial. Though he may have individually prepared each soul to meet Christ without spot, his church and His Gospel wreak of things The Holy Bible warns against. The suggestion that the Bible is a book of inspiration ought not to set well with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Everywhere a statement of God is made in the Bible, it is clear that the statement did not come from an inspiration, but rather from a clear vision and direction. Often the Word of God comes through The Angel of God's Presence, a direct communication from God to the Prophet. Again, we refer to Christ's comment that He is the one (angel or prophet) of whom Moses spoke. That One is an agent of God, something far different from a man inspired by God.
Paul identified himself as being an Angel of God. Some angels are not as well informed as others. (We say this with confidence and can illustrate even in the Koran how some angels, dictating to Mohammed, knew more than others). Paul's Gospel reflects how well informed he was, or how well he listened or was inspired. The Two Angels who visited Sodom, unlike the inspired angel Paul, carried a clear message of direction from God: namely, Leave this place. Need we say anything more on this aspect?
Considering these facts and observations, and Paul's Testimony, now let us get on with our Judgment, recognizing that we also shall be judged by The Righteousness of Time....
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