It seems apparent in any logical exploration of the New Testament, that Paul stood at odds with the other writers.
JAMES ~ It is easy to forget that James was never an apostle, and was never a follower of Jesus during His lifetime, in fact, James belittled and derided Jesus (John 7:5). At one time he, and others, even presumed Jesus to be insane (Mk 3:21). Then later, James, without any recorded conversion experience, was press-ganged into the top job (probably by his mother), as was the custom in the middle east of the times, after the death of the CEO, Jesus.).
PETER was the Apostle who saw a vision of a sheet let down from heaven (Acts 10:11) and the voice of God saying, “do NOT call unclean that which I HAVE CLEANED! Past Tense! PAST TENSE!!!
When he reports this back to the other leaders at Jerusalem, Peter accurately recounts the vision, but as is clear in Acts 17:11, they all (Peter especially), chose to see salvation not as a finished work, as God had already said (cleaned – past tense), but chose to see it as a future possibility based on the response of the listener to the gospel.
JOHN ~ was the Apostle, who, after God had plainly stated that the gentiles had already been cleansed, insisted on the Old Testament doctrine of the confession of sins.
The writer to the Hebrews said this, “Heb 6:1-2 (KJVA) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”. These were all Old Testament doctrines, including, when on the day of atonement, Yom Kippur, hands were laid on a goat to transfer sin from the people to the sacrificial goat and confession was made of sin. That John, like James and Peter, were fully convinced that Jesus was simply an addition to Old Testament Law, can be clearly seen in the 7 letters to the 7 churches in Revelation, in which, the divide between Paul and the other 3 becomes even clearer.
Notice please, that in the so-called letters to the 7 churches, we learn the following;
- PLEASING GOD IS ALL ABOUT YOUR WORKS; faith has no place in pleasing God whatsoever. Elsewhere, Hebrews 11:6 says, “… without faith it is impossible to please God …”
But in these letters, it is all about Works; Works; Works! In these 7 letters to 7 churches, the word “works” is mentioned 11 times, while the word “faith” as relating to the readers, is mentioned only once. Join your own dots. Note Rev 2:23 (KJVA) And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I WILL GIVE UNTO EVERY ONE OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS.
- ALL THE SINS MENTIONED ARE OLD COVENANT SINS
Just as in the book called “James”, all of the sins enumerated in Chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation, are peculiarly, Jewish sins, and they were all apparently sufficient to get your salvation annulled (Rev 3:5) As an example; “Eating food offered to Idols” Rev 2:14 (KJVA) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. Also Rev 2:20.
Rev 2:5 (KJVA) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
What are the “first works”? For a Jew, they are always the Mosaic Law, PLUS Sacrifices, Circumcision, Offerings, Tithing and Sabbath Keeping (S.C.O.T.S.). All these preceded the Mosaic Law and they were all terminated in the death of Christ when He became all these things, in which a small portion was removed in order to sanctify the remainder. In Jesus, a small piece of “flesh” (Jesus) was cut off from the land of the living, in order to sanctify all the remainder of human flesh. He became our circumcision!
- YOUR SALVATION IS ALWAYS IN DOUBT.
Rev 3:5 (KJVA) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will NOT blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. If God is well prepared to blot selected names out of the “book of life” then according to Christian doctrine and Rev 20:12, you will be judged by your works (and NOT your faith) and then (Rev 20:15) consigned immediately to Hell.
- GOD’S GREATEST ATTRIBUTE IS THAT OF UNRELENTING VENGEANCE RATHER THAN A MINISTRY OF MERCY.
Refer: Rev 2:23 (KJVA) 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Sounds like Jesus to you?
- THE TARGET OF THESE LETTERS IS NONE OTHER THAN PAUL HIMSELF.
What do we actually know about the “Judaisers” who followed Paul around to reconvert Pauls converts (Jews and Gentiles alike) to Judaism plus Jesus?
(a) We know that Paul withstood at least one of them to the face for duplicity in Gal 2:11 (KJVA) But when Peter was come to Antioch, I (Paul) withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
(b) We also know from Paul that the Peter, James & John, forced Paul’s gentile travelling companion to be forcibly circumcised; Gal 2:3 (KJVA) But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
(c) We know that Paul had very little respect for the gang of 3 and their followers; Gal 2:5-6 (NIV) We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. As for those who seemed to be important whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance those men added nothing to my message. Can you taste the sarcasm here? “As for those who seemed to be important” And just in case we missed the sarcasm first time around, Paul cutely reminds us in; Gal 2:9 (nkj) And when James, Cephas, and John, who SEEMED TO BE PILLARS, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Check out the greek here and you will find that a better rendition is, Gal 2:9 (nkj) and when James, Cephas, and John, who thought themselves to be pillars, etc. (G1380 δοκέω dokeo (dok-eh’-o) v. 1. to think Strongs Bible Dictionary)
(d) We know that James was personally responsible for the discord that occurred in Antioch; Gal 2:12-13 (KJVA) For before that certain CAME FROM JAMES, Peter ate with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. (Dictionary definition for dissimulation = to conceal one’s true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.) Sounds like Jesus to you?
To understand the full gravity of this statement, read that again carefully, and note that James sent those who were practiced in the art of hypocricy! James was either willfully coming against the gospel, OR he was a very poor judge of character in choosing hypocrites as his emissaries. Either way, James was a jerk, and Paul was well and truly his target for correction.
(e) We know that the gang of 3 (Peter, James & John) were SO successful in hijacking the gospel and morphing it into a Jesus PLUS, shame based behavior modification system, which in Modern Christianity, it has remained to this day. 2Tim 1:15 (nkj) This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. And when we read the 7 letters to the 7 churches in Revelation, WHERE WERE THOSE 7 CHURCHES?????? That’s right! ASIA!
(f) Who else in the whole Bible is recorded as saying that eating meat of any kind is permissible so long as you have faith to eat it and that you do not cause your brother to stumble in doing so. PAUL ALONE! And yet what are the deadliest of sins found in these 7 letters? That’s right eating meat offered to idols! Rev 2:14 (KJVA) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. This “sin” is repeated to more than one of these churches.
Here is a passing strange thing. When you enter an Asian restaurant, Chinese or otherwise, look around yourself and you may well see a little shelf on the wall with incense burning and an apple or an orange in a saucer. What you are looking at is meat offered to idols. And Christians happily ignore this instruction by John, as that fruit will be in your meal tomorrow. Religion is so amusing.
- IMPLICIT REFERENCES AGAINST PAUL
Lastly, let’s look at the implicit references to Paul, in these 7 letters. Who called himself an apostle, who was never a disciple during Jesus’ lifetime? That’s right, Paul. With that in mind, let’s read; Rev 2:2 (KJVA)I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES, AND ARE NOT, and hast found them liars:
Rev 2:9 (KJVA) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of THEM WHICH SAY THEY ARE JEWS, AND ARE NOT, BUT ARE THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN.
Rev 3:9 (KJVA) Behold, I WILL MAKE THEM OF THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN, WHICH SAY THEY ARE JEWS, AND ARE NOT, but do lie; behold, I WILL MAKE THEM TO COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THY FEET, and to know that I have loved thee.
In this verse we have a double header. Even if we do not think that this verse is referencing Paul, there is no escaping the clear and simple fact that John here is claiming that Jesus is saying that some humans will be forced to worship some other humans. Sound like Jesus to you???
- UNFULFILLED PROMISES
Rev 2:26-28 (KJVA) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.
Question; Humans here are promised that they shall rule someone with a rod of iron. Sound like Jesus to you?
Question; Have you or anyone you know seen this promise ever come true?
Question; WHO is the morning star Isaiah 14:12: says it is satan.
(d) We know that James was personally responsible for the discord that occurred in Antioch; Gal 2:12-13 (KJVA) For before that certain CAME FROM JAMES, Peter ate with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
With regard to the above as evidence that James sent people out to spy why In Acts 15 v 24 does it says 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
Is James lying or is the writer of Acts lying ?
I’m still struggling to understand how reliable the writings of the others were as they didn’t teach the same as Paul ?
in Gal 2 v 7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; What does this mean, is this 2 gospels here ?
In 1 Corinthians 1 v 12 it says
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 3 is states
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I note that he doesn’t mention Peter or those that follow Christ
In every church, there are genuine believers as well as hypochrites. James knew these hypochrites were there but he did not send them to antioch or gave them any approval to do so. The phrase “certain men from james” does not mean that James sent those hypochrites. If James sent out those hypochrites, James actions would have contradicted his judgement at the jerusalem council (Acts 15 vs 19-21). To know if James send those men, please read Acts 15 vs 24 b (to whom we gave no such commandment).
Acts 15:1-40 (KJVA)
1And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
2When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. We know now that these men were powerful men in the Jerusalem Church.
3And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. Here we see that Pharisees were quikte influential in the church.6And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. Why was there any need for the Apostles and elders to consider this matter?7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. The first one on his feet is Peter, who freely acknowledges that HE was the one designated by God to bring the Gospel to the gentiles. 8And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Curious, the way he said this – not that THEY could be save just like us, but the other way around.12Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: Notice that Peter got to speak, but it was James who passed sentence, showing how that by this time James was well and truly in contrtol of the Church at Jerusalem. 20But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. Notice how all these instructions are core Jewish laws. 21For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 22Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23And they wrote letters by them after this manner; Notice how that Paul and company were not trusted to take care of these instructions without being accompanyied by church delegates appointed to oversee Paul. The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: Really Jaqmes? Really? Methinks thou dost protest a tad much. 25It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, “Beloved’??? Hmmmm 26Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; So you bring Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem because your spies demanded them to report to the principal, but now you invoke the Holy Spirit??? REALLY? 29That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. 30So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: 31Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. 32And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. 33And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles. 34Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. One of the spies remained to make sure that they did as they were told. 35Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. 36And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. What was the end result of this sordid mess? Barnabas split from Paul. Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew who had spent enough time in Jerusalem, that he, with Peter in Antioch, was so traumatized by James emissaries, that he joined those who “walked not uprightly” (Gal 2:14) By this time, Bishop James had him so afraid of censure, that he split altogether from Paul.
The apostles and elders came together to consider the matter (Acts 15 vs 6). It was a collective decision. Matthew 18 vs 19 being a reference to Acts 15 vs 6 showed that there was agreement between the apostles and the elders and the holy spirit was in support of such agreement and the final verdict (Acts 15 vs 28, Acts 15 vs 20). The conditions listed by James for the gentiles to keep (Acts 15 vs 20 -21) was given for the sake peaceful co-existence between gentiles and jews (Acts 15 vs 19),(in otherwords, gentiles should not disrepect/despise jewish traditions and also, jews should not disrepect gentiles own too). When our lord Jesus Christ was on earth, he taught his disciples so many topics, but he never said anything on the issue of circumcision Also, the conditions listed by James were to make the gentiles fare well, not give them eternal life. Also the teachings of Paul nullifies circumcision issue (Galatians 5 vs 2). The teachings of Our lord Jesus Christ, the support of the Holy Spirit during the circumcision debate and the final verdict given by James and the apostles and elders were in complete unity.