|WAS PAUL A HERETIC?|
Paul (Sha’ul), the
There’s a growing number of people debating over Sha’ul these days. Generally, there are three views of him. Kepha (Peter) told us that Shaul’s letters were difficult to understand (2Kepha 3:15,16), and his words were twisted by the untaught and unstable, inclining them to lawlessness (anomia).
View #1: For the bulk of Christian history, Catholicism taught that salvation comes by receiving "grace" through "sacraments", and that any obedience to the Commandments of Yahuah was seen as "judaizing" (meaning to live as a Yahudi) and cut them off from Messiah. The Reformers started on the path back to the Truth by rejecting any salvation based on human efforts, such as "indulgences" or the "7 sacraments" - yet Luther still brought a few of the "sacraments" out with him! Shaul’s writings have been used to defend the position that believers are saved by "grace alone" (Eph. 2:8,9). Shaul's so-called “anti-Torah” (anti-law) comments have been used mostly by the Reformers, because they desire to maintain the Replacement Theology of Romanism (that the "church" replaced Yisrael), setting aside any application of the Ten Commandments as having bearing on inheriting eternal life. The Ten Commandments that define sin have been annulled in this view, and salvation through belief in Yahusha’s shed blood supersedes any need to obey. They claim we are now “free” from the “curse” of the law, and anyone attempting to obey the “Old Covenant” is seen as a heretic, judaizer, and a reprobate. For centuries this view was enforced through the Catholic institution’s dogmas as well, and any competing views were vigorously eliminated - with extreme prejudice (they were killed). It was a man named Marcion that promoted the forbidding of what is called the "Old Covenant", which included the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. He allowed only the writings of what came to be known as the "New Testament".
View #2: Today there are others who go to the other extreme, and call Sha’ul himself a heretic who was responsible for the “apostasy”, the falling-away from the Torah by Christianity.
For those who believe Sha’ul’s letters indicated an annulling of any Commandments pertaining to the definition of sin, or that he contradicted the words of Rabbi Yahusha, please consider that you may have misunderstood what Sha’ul was referring to.
View #3: We who accept Shaul but reject “lawlessness” have been given a balanced understanding of his letters. Shaul was the apostle to the Gentiles, who were known as adult males “uncircumcised” in their flesh. The letter to the Galatians (and other texts) addressed the “law” of adult male circumcision, which had been up to that time a cornerstone for any Gentile converting to the faith of Abraham, Yitshaq, and Ya’aqob. Further study will reveal this; even Kepha (Peter) pointed out that Shaul's letters were not easy to understand, but were “twisted” by those who were untaught (2 Kepha 3:15,16). Kepha warned us to watch, lest we be led away to destruction by the delusion of the lawless. He didn’t include Sha’ul as a lawless one, but stated that Sha’ul’s letters were being twisted, as were “the other Writings”. For those who have interpreted that Sha’ul wrote of an “end of the law”, Kepha’s warning was written directly to those who live without the Torah! Those who live and believe they are “free” to disregard the Commandments are in spiritual danger; Kepha mentioned their “destruction” — so this is critical to get corrected (which is why I’m writing this).
For those who believe Sha’ul was a heretic that needs to be exposed for what he wrote about bringing an “end of the law”, you have also misunderstood his writings. Kepha called Shaul “our beloved brother” at 2Kepha 3:15. Is Kepha a heretic also? Luke, who wrote about 40% of the Brith Chadasha (Re-newed Covenant, or Messianic Writings), was the most orderly writer of them all. He started at the beginning, writing both “Luke” and “Acts” to a person referred to as “most excellent Theophilos”. He began his first narrative with the birth of Yohanan, Yahusha’s cousin. He tells us how Yohanan immersed Yahusha. Yohanan was finally imprisoned and beheaded by Herod. In chapter 3, Luke expounds the lineage of Yahusha, and goes on in the rest of his book to describe all the miracles and teachings of the Messiah of Yisrael. Luke also wrote the “Acts” of the apostles; and of no small mention is Shaul, the source of so much misunderstanding. Shaul is described as the “apostle to the Gentiles”, and Luke traveled with him to many cities witnessing in the synagogues. Luke recorded Shaul's conversion, and Yahusha didn't seem to think Shaul was a "heretic", but rather Yahusha Himself told HananYah of Shaul: "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My Name before nations, sovereigns, and the children of Yisrael" - Acts 9:15. HananYah stood corrected, but at first he thought Shaul to be the most dangerous man on Earth. Shaul was also at the Yerushalayim Council, Acts 15. How do you feel about Shaul now? If you regard Shaul to be a heretic, then you will also have to trash Kepha and Luke. The only way to overcome the misunderstanding of Shaul’s letters is by seeing that he was under constant criticism (in his time) over the topic of adult male circumcision for converts. Acts 15 addressed this controversial matter, and it should have put it to rest forever; but we know that even today there are those who wrestle with it, causing division in the Body of Messiah. When Shaul seems to be saying we are no longer “under the law”, the “law” to which he is referring concerns adult male circumcision.
Ephesians 2:8,9 discusses "works" not saving us; but Shaul refers to those ceremonial "works" which we had formerly relied on -- animal sacrifices, circumcision, etc.,. -- certainly he never meant the annulment of the Ten Commandments, which we obey as the re-newed Covenant, promised to us at YermeYahu 31:31 to be written on our hearts. At Ephesians 2:10, the next verse, Shaul states that we were created in Messiah to perform good works, and implies that this is to obey the Ten Commandments:
"For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahusha unto good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Eph. 2:10. The word "them" refers to the good works prepared beforehand - the Ten Words, called the Covenant, the Ten Commandments.
Works are the fruit of our faith, and perfect our belief. Notice a few texts that discuss works:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works , and esteem your Father which is in Heaven.” Matt 5:16
“For the Son of man shall come in the esteem of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matt 16:27
“Even so faith (belief), if it has not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, you have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works (the key to properly understanding obedience, and it’s place in our lives). You believe that there is one Elohim; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works (obedience) is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Yitshaq his son upon the altar? You see how faith worked through his works , and by works was faith made perfect?” James 2:17-22
("Grace alone" through faith, without works, is moot -- "dead"). If we believe, but don't obey the Commandments, Yahusha will not be able to say "Well done" - but He will only be able to say "Well believed". Although "human effort" doesn't save us, when we are saved a great deal of "human effort" gets in line with the correct way of living. It is difficult for the elect (Matt 7:14, 1Pet. 4:18) -- but when you LOVE what you do because He has given you the desire in your heart, it is not a grievous burden to obey the Commandments of Yahuah. It's an act of love.
Ephesians 2:11,12 - verses to continue with awesome information. These reveal that Gentiles are no longer Gentiles when they are converted and immersed, but they become FELLOW CITIZENS of Yisrael (there's only ONE body with no division). So, please understand that the "uncircumcision" (in the flesh) are indeed circumcised, being the "workmanship of Yahusha" - circumcised by Him in their hearts with a love for Torah. (read Col. 2:11-13, Romans 2:28,29, 1 Cor. 7:19).
We are theworkmanship of Yahusha, as we see at Ephesians 2:8-12, and this text explains that those "formerly Gentile" (they are no longer Gentile) called the "uncircumcision" by the "circumcision" are brought near through the blood of Mashiach - it isn't the circumcision made in the flesh by hands:
"Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh, who are CALLED 'the uncircumcision' by what is CALLED'the circumcision' made in the flesh by hands, that at that time you were without Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Yisra'el and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no expectation and without Elohim in the world. But now in Messiah Yahusha you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah." Eph. 2:11-13
There are many other texts that show that "works" by our hands cannot save us - so even here Sha'ul is once again being misunderstood concerning obedience. He's referring to the circumcision made by the hands of men when he is talking about "works" not saving us.(Remember: The CONTEXT reveals what he means).
"By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim, and keep His Commandments. For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His Commandments: and his Commandments are not grievous." 1 John 5:2-3
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law (Torah), till all be fulfilled. 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.” Matt 5:17-19
At Revelation 2, Yahusha warned the first assembly that He would remove their menorah if they did not repent and do the "first works". Repenting and obeying the Torah, many of us have received the symbol of the menorah, restored to us by Yahusha. The menorah is the symbol of Yahusha, the Giver of the Torah, the Word made flesh. He is the "living Word", the Torah (teachings) come to life. The parables are all pointing to one thing: the restoration of men to the Covenant relationship with Yahuah. Repent, and He will enable you to obey His Ten Commandments. He will write them on your heart, and you will love His Torah. He said:
"If you love Me, keep My Commandments." His final warning to all the world:
"Repent, for the reign of Yahuah draws near."
The Ten Commandments will be around for all eternity, and apply to every "mortal" being. And, they also apply to every "immortal being" that has ever been created by Yahuah. The adversary seems to have a problem with obeying them, so it's easy to see why so many of us have been deceived - and deception is the main objective of our enemy.
Discerning Truth is a matter of how one looks at the Scriptures. It's either with an "eye of light" or an "eye of darkness". Shaul has been used to make people stumble, but only those who have an "eye of darkness".
The bottom line is, Shaul/Paul was endorsed by Rabbi Yahusha:
"Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My Name before nations, sovereigns, and the children of Yisrael" - Acts 9:15. The controversies around him and "the law" that he is referring to have divided the brothers since they were written. Is it the "MORAL law", or the "CEREMONIAL law" that Yahusha completed for us? The truthful answer to this question will go against 1950 years of false interpretations of Shaul's writings. The need for animal sacrificing and circumcision of the new adult male converts is fulfilled now - in Yahusha's "work". Some want to hold to adult male circumcision for converts so much, they refuse to have fellowship with those who understand Shaul differently. They may as well sacrifice animals as well, because they don't understand Shaul's writings. We are the workmanship of Yahusha, not the works of the hands of men, so our salvation is not based on anything men can do to "correct" our flesh, or wear on their heads. Those perishing have not received a love for the Truth (Torah, the Covenant), while those who have received this love for Torah from Yahusha obey the Covenant and have fellowship with Yahuah, and with the brothers.
Volumes can be said against Shaul, but that little sentence quoted above stands forever as an endorsement of him that I cannot refute.
Be careful of those who promote hatred on the internet. They can poison our hearts with lies and turn us into propagators of their guile. Shaul is being attacked because the veil is being lifted on his words, and many people are finally understanding them. This understanding is uniting us, and the adversary is doing everything possible to quell this working of Yahusha's Spirit. But, Yahusha is going to win in the end.
Sha'ul to Paul - the change in his name:
The man known as "Paul" must have taken this name, and the reason for it is not given; but possibly it was
because as Sha'ul his reputation among the Natsarim was almost as bad as the name "Hitler" is today. He was a severe persecutor of the saints. A change in name could also have served another purpose; since he was not known by sight to many of the Natsarim, it could likely be that many of those he had formerly worked for did not know him by sight either. And, we know they were seeking him to kill him. He heard himself being spoken of as Sha'ul, and could have seen it was time to leave that name and its reputation behind him. I don't know who changed his name, nor do I like to recommend arbitrarily taking on a name that is different from that which is given
by the authority of one's parents -- since we don't have authority over ourselves to change our names at will. Yahusha can change our name, since all authority is His. Yahusha called him "Sha'ul", however this was before Sha'ul became converted:
"He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Sha'ul , Sha'ul , why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you, Adonai?' Sha'ul asked." Acts 9:4-5
The change seems to first appear here at Acts 13:
"Then Sha'ul , who was also called Paul, filled with the Ruach haQodesh, looked straight at Elymas and said, 'You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of Yahuah? Now the hand of Yahuah is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.'" Acts 13:9-11
From this point on in Acts, Sha'ul seems to be referred to as Paul. In all of Sha'ul's letters, his name appears as "Paul", and never as Sha'ul. Yet, in Acts, this man underwent a change in name. For my own understanding of this change, the former name Sha'ul went out of use after his conversion, and he has been called Paul ever since.
IN THE CARTOON BELOW, SHAUL AND LUKE ARE GOING FOR THAT ROMAN MAGISTRATE & SCOTTISH RITE LOOK, WITH A SPRINKLE OF INDO-IRANIAN NEHRU COLLAR ACTION. THEY'VE TOPPED-OFF THE WHOLE THING WITH A RICH, BLACK TONE - REMINISCENT OF THE ANCIENT FIRE-KEEPING PRIESTS OF BAAL, THE KOMAR. AS PART OF WHAT THEY CALL "PROGRESSIVE REVELATION", THEY'VE GROWN FOND OF THINGS LIKE RELICS, "CROSS-WOOD", CHUNKS OF DEAD SAINTS, MEDALS, AMULETS FILLED WITH TEA, BLESSING WATER TO MAKE IT "HOLY", AND TAKING BREAD AND PRONOUNCING OVER IT THE WORDS "HOC-EST-CORPUS-MEUM" (THIS IS MY BODY). (JUST FOR FUN, GOOGLE THE WORDS "HOCUS POCUS"). THE REAL SHAUL AND LUKE WOULD BE MADDER THAN A COUPLE OF SCALDED DOGS IF THEY ONLY KNEW ABOUT THE THINGS PEOPLE ARE DOING TODAY, CAUSED BY "HUMAN TRADITIONS".
SPECIAL NOTE: WHEN A CATHOLIC PRIEST REACHES INTO A CUP OF ABOMINATIONS AND TAKES OUT A "HOST" OF BREAD AND DECLARES, "THE BODY OF CHRIST", IT'S A LIE THAT HE KEEPS SAYING OVER AND OVER. ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE, THE FOLLOWERS OF Yahusha HA'MASHIACH ARE THE "BODY OF MASHIACH". "HOST" COMES FROM THE LATIN WORD MEANING "ENEMY", HENCE OUR WORD, "HOSTAGE".
Ten Commandments Lithograph, w/Dead Sea Scroll in background:
The fellow above would have you believe that salvation comes through the receiving of grace through 7 "sacraments".
They had to forbid the Scriptures because people would have asked "where is that written?"
He'd also like to splash some "holy water" around to sanctify you, or certain objects.
assumed the title
A new book:
ART BY LEW WHITE
Shaul / Paul was not a Roman Catholic, and neither was Luke or Kepha. They didn't play with "holy water", or have any relics. They didn't dispense "grace" by means of 7 sacraments. They taught the message of the government/kingdom of Yahuah, and Yahuah's Commandments as Yahusha told them to do. As for Shaul, remember that if you speak against his work, you may just be speaking against Yahusha's work, because Yahusha said:
"Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My Name before nations, sovereigns, and the children of Yisrael" - Acts 9:15.
If Catholicism / Christianity is a "hybrid" mixture of Paganism and the Natsari faith, don't blame Shaul - look at Marcion, Cyprian, Augustine, Origen, Eusebius, Ossius, and Constantine! Shaul literally suffered for the Name of Yahusha: he was stoned and assumed dead! This may have been the source of Shaul's "thorn", since being stoned can leave you in quite a damaged state. Go easy on him; have a heart!
Much more about Paul is found in the article on circumcision. The book of GALATIANS seems to be widely misunderstood by those brought up in "dispensation" theology (a heresy), as well as "replacement theology" (another heresy). see www.fossilizedcustoms.com/circumcision.html
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