Sha’uwl continued his travelogue and autobiography with an inaccurate statement. With respect to the reason for and timing of the meeting in the heart of the Promised Land, the wannabe apostle lied when he wrote:
Yaruwshalaim is where the Covenant was conceived and confirmed. It is the place Yahowsha’ honored Yahowah’s promises, and on behalf of the Covenant’s children observed Passover, Unleavened Bread, FirstFruits, and Seven Sabbaths. It is the source from which guidance regarding reconciliation of the relationship flow. So it is incomprehensible that Sha’uwl would spend nearly two decades within walking distance of the place and people who witnessed the most important four days in human history, and not stop by on occasion to soak it all in.
And yet, since Sha’uwl will associate Yaruwshalaim with the enslavement of mankind two chapters hence, his disdain for Yahowah’s favorite place on Earth shouldn’t be all that surprising. Sha’uwl, and the faith he conceived, would ultimately become adverse to Yahowah’s Chosen People, Promised Land, Torah, Covenant, and Invitations.
In actuality, Paul is lying again. He was compelled to go to Yaruwshalaim as a result of a conflict between his message and the Torah’s instructions. This summit would include the most influential men on the planet at that time, Yahowsha’s Disciples, in addition to the leadership of the Called Out in Yaruwshalaim.
As we are discovering, the epistle to the Galatians was Sha’uwl’s attempt to reestablish a tattered reputation—one that had been called into question because he alone, among those claiming to speak for God, was willing to contradict God. Therefore, the best way for him to appear credible while doing so would be to tell us that he and his message had been approved and endorsed by Yahowsha’s Disciples, and specifically by Shim’own, Ya’aqob, and Yahowchanan, the most influential.
And if prudent to believe Paul, they may have given it to him. But if true, it would be a favor Paul would not reciprocate.
This is nearly incomprehensible. So let’s confer with the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition with McReynolds English Interlinear to ascertain whether this is what Sha’uwl actually wrote. “...but to the ones thinking not perhaps in empty I might run or I ran.” I suspect the problem is with the quality of the writing rather than the merits of the translations.
Plunging into the words themselves, this is the first of five times we will confront “dokei – opinion” in the context of this letter. Its primary connotation is “to suppose and to presume,” as well as “to hold an opinion based upon appearances.” Dokei conveys the idea of “wanting to see something a certain way, or of someone being predisposed to a certain viewpoint.” It is neither flattering nor reassuring. And because it is not thoughtful, this isn’t a ringing endorsement.
As weak as this supposed endorsement appears, there are reasons to suspect that Sha’uwl’s tepid assessment may not even be accurate, or at the very least, it may be purposefully misleading. There is another account, one more credible and detailed than this, expressing what actually occurred during this meeting. And that is why this may be what politicians would call “spin,” as opposed to an outright lie. And in that light, this is not actually an endorsement of Paul, his message, or his mission. This is more of an indication that something was seriously wrong: “opinions not somehow perhaps to foolishly and stupidly I might run or I ran.” Even if we could figure out the rest, this still doesn’t say what he was running to, for, or from.
In that Protestant Christianity is predicated in large part on the King James Bible’s interpretation of Paul’s theology, it’s incumbent upon us to compare these texts. Recognizing that Paul actually wrote, “I went up, but then downward from uncovering an unveiling which lays bare, laying down to them the beneficial messenger which I preach among the races down from one’s own, uniquely and separately, but then to the opinions and presumptions, not somehow perhaps into foolishness and stupidity, without purpose and falsely, I might run or I ran,” there is no basis for “Gospel,” “privately,” or “which were of reputation.” KJV: “And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.” Should this be accurate, why would Sha’uwl consider running from them? He had come to visit with them. And it had been he who had persecuted them, not the other way around. Further, should Paul have actually been inspired by Yahowah, he would have known that God’s message is never in vain – only man’s. So if he is attributed saying these things, then Paul is providing us with a window into the origin of his message.
By adding “privately” to this text without justification, biblical scholars, inadvisably trusting their King James Version, have tended to disassociate Paul’s description of this meeting in Yaruwshalaim from the detailed account of the very public “Apostolic Council” presented in Acts 15. I can only assume that they do so because when the divergent testimonies are compared, Paul’s credibility is shattered—and, with it, their religion.
It is easy to see where the KJV went wrong. Rather than accommodate the Greek text, they twisted the Latin Vulgate, the translation which gave rise to Roman Catholicism. Jerome’s amalgamated rendition reads: “And I went up according to revelation, and I debated with them about the evangelium that I am preaching among the Gentibus/Gentiles, but away from those who were pretending to be something, lest perhaps I might run, or have run, in vain.” Since it does not appear in the Vulgate or in the Greek, “privately” may have been deployed by Francis Bacon, the suspected coordinator of the KJV, to steer clear of the Latin translation “but away from those who were pretending to be something.” Such thoughts regarding those supposedly appointed by God are debilitating for kings and deadly for their subjects. However, by translating dokei “pretending to be something,” Jerome and the Roman Church were acknowledging that Paul was deliberately demeaning Yahowsha’s Disciples. And indeed he was.
The Latin Vulgate’s presentation also suggests that Paul was in competition with others, debating with them – racing against them. In this context, and based upon what is revealed elsewhere, this could only mean that Sha’uwl is trying to dismiss Yahowsha’s Disciples, discrediting them by suggesting that they were pretending to be Apostles, while he was presenting himself as being “idios – uniquely qualified” to run his own race.
However, as we have acknowledged, this is actually a lame proposition. If we are to believe that Paul was actually working with Yahowah, and doing what God wanted done, nothing would have caused him to run away from the very men with whom Yahowsha’ had entrusted with His witness. And this is especially disturbing considering what follows, where Sha’uwl condemns Shim’own for running in fear.
It is becoming increasingly easy to see why so many Christians remain befuddled and in the dark. The popular New Living Translation perpetuates the mistakes inherent in the King James Version, and then adds some myths of their own. “I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing.” While his intent may have been to skirt the truth by inferring that God rather than the Disciples had ordered him to appear in Jerusalem, Paul did not actually say that his “unveiling” came from “God,” or that it was the reason for his ascent. The contemporary audience would have immediately recognized such suggestions as disingenuous. There is no reference in Paul’s testimony to a “private meeting,” but instead, Paul speaks of “setting forth and laying down” the message through “preaching,” which is public discourse. There was no reference to a “church,” nor “leaders,” nor to “sharing” in Paul’s prose. And the terms Paul selected to frame his statement were all equivocal, and are thus the antithesis of “making sure” he wasn’t a “foolish, stupid, deceiver, running in vain.” As a result, if you have been led to believe that this novel is a translation of the inerrant word of God, it’s time to abandon both myths.
However, those lost in a world of “faith” don’t know, so they are compelled to seek human approval. That is why believers congregate together. Perhaps the inadequate faith of these religious publishers, thereby, seeped into their prose.
This is no small matter. It reveals why so many Christians get upset when others don’t agree with them. The insecure nature of their faith can’t handle the strain of knowing that informed and rational individuals don’t support what they have been led to believe. It is as if they worry that the slightest chip on the veneer of their faith will cause everything to crumble. Questioning scares them, so they react by reinforcing one another and collectively pushing the perceived threat away.
Perhaps this is why history is rife with many extraordinary delusions and with the madness of crowds, demonstrating that popular acceptance has never been a measure of truth. Said another way, individual deceptions are rare, but collective misconceptions are common.
Before we press on to Sha’uwl’s next sentence, let’s linger here a moment longer – especially since the mother’s milk of faith, the specter of supposition, has now been raised. Opinions are to conclusions as faith is to trust. Since Yahowsha’s Disciples had at their disposal a pair of unassailable tests to ascertain for absolute certain whether Sha’uwl was speaking for Yahowah, for himself, or on behalf of the Adversary, there was no reason for them to presume anything. God’s criterion is straight forward, and it is easily accessible because it is found at the conclusion of His Towrah Guidance. The best known of these tests contains six elements (with six being the number of man):
- Is the person a naby’: someone who claims to speak on behalf of God? (This is a screening codicil, because if a person admits that they are speaking only for themselves, then there would be no reason for anyone to associate his or her message with God. As for Sha’uwl, he unequivocally claimed to “naby’.”)
- Is the person zyd: someone who oversteps their bounds, speaking presumptuously and contemptuously, with an inflated sense of self-worth, demonstrating self-reliance while taking liberties to defy God, someone who arrogantly pretends to know, who insults others and is disrespectful, displaying pride in the pursuit of personal recognition and acclaim while despising and demeaning perceived competitors, someone who rebels against that which is established and is prone to rage, who seethes with anger and is often furious, overbearing, rude, and conceited in their plans (As we shall discover during our review of Sha’uwl’s initial epistle, this could be written to say: does the person act like Sha’uwl.)
- Does the person dabar ba shem: openly and publicly preach to others, communicating his or her message in the name of God? (As was the case with the first codicil, this is also a screening test. If the person has an insignificantly small audience, if his or her statements are exclusively conveyed in private, if his or her influence is limited to a specific time and place without an ongoing legacy or lingering consequence, then there would be no reason to apply this test. But such is not the case with Sha’uwl whose public preaching and copious letters have influenced billions.)
- Is the person’s message lo’ tsawah: inconsistent with what Yahowah has instructed and directed, does his or her message conflict with what God appointed, constituted, and taught, does it vary from His Instructions? (This is where Sha’uwl is the most vulnerable because his theology is ususally the antithesis of Yahowah’s teaching.)
- Does the person dabar ba shem ‘aher ‘elohym: speak in the name of gods other than Yahowah? (When Sha’uwl based his doctrine upon a nullification of Yahowah’s Towrah, where God’s name and this specific instruction are introduced, and upon a misrepresentation and misnomer of Yahowsha’, while at the same time promoting the Graces, he failed this test miserably.)
- Are the individual’s written and spoken statements consistent with that which is hayah: existing and established, instituted by God, and with the test of time, does what this person says bow’: come to accurately reflect what has happened in the past, and what will transpire in the future? (Sha’uwl not only inaccurately conveyed the history of the Covenant, the Exodus, and Yahowsha’s life, he will misrepresent current events, while also failing in his lone attempt at prophecy.)
We are still early in our review of this epistle, so not all of the evidence necessary to prove that Sha’uwl failed every aspect of this test has been revealed thus far. But it has been presented here in connection with the reference to “dokei – subjective opinion” which Sha’uwl interjected into the previous statement so that you know that there is an objective test. Recognizing this, you are now properly equipped to quarrel with Sha’uwl if he violates clause two (of which we already have serious concerns), four (which will serve as the focus of our evaluation), five (of which Charis/Gratia/Grace is a problem), and six (when he misrepresents the timing of his “harpazo – rapture”).
We’ll also be looking for historic chronologies (such as his testimony regarding the Yaruwshalaim Summit) as well as other prophetic predictions, because without them, Yahowah’s signature and endorsement will be missing. Yahowah’s prophetic trademark is required if this, or any of Sha’uwl’s letters, is to be considered inspired. So once we have completed our review of Galatians, we will deploy this same test to objectively determine with absolute certainty whether or not Sha’uwl spoke for God.
Here is the actual text from which this test emerges: “Surely (‘ak – indeed, emphasizing the point), the person who proclaims a message on behalf of a deity (naby’ – a prophet) who (‘asher – relationally) oversteps their bounds and speaks presumptuously and contemptuously (zyd – has an inflated sense of self-worth, demonstrating self-reliance while taking liberties to defy, who arrogantly pretends to know, who insults others and is disrespectful, displaying pride in the pursuit of personal recognition and acclaim while despising rivals, who rebels against that which is established and is prone to rage, who seethes with anger and is often furious, overbearing, rude, and conceited in their plans (here the hiphil stem reveals that the prophet and his statements are one, thereby sharing a similar effect and purpose, while the imperfect conjugation speaks of their continual and ongoing influence)) for the express purpose of conveying (la dabar – for the intent of communicating a verbally or in writing (piel infinitive construct – by design and intent)) a statement (dabar) in (ba) My (‘any) name (shem – proper name, renown, or reputation) which accordingly (‘asher ‘eth – inferring access, relationship, and benefit which) I have not expressly appointed, taught, guided, nor entirely directed him (lo’ tsawah – I have not provided the totality of his instruction, nor assigned, constituted, decreed, prescribed, or ordained for him, deliberately and demonstrably making him My understudy (piel stem and perfect conjugation)) to (la) speak (dabar), and (wa) who (‘asher – relationally) speaks (dabar) in (ba) the name (shem) of other (‘aher – different and additional, even subsequent) gods (‘elohym), indeed, then (wa) that prophet (ha naby’ – that individual who proclaims a message on behalf of that false deity), he (huw’) is deadly (muwth – devoid of life and destructive).” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 18:20)
Muwth makes the statements of a false prophet “deadly and destructive,” revealing that those who believe him or her “will die.” And because this is nothing to trifle with, we should do everything we can to “destroy” their message before it infects and kills unwitting souls.
“And if (wa ky) you actually say (‘amar – you genuinely ask over the course of time (scribed in the qal imperfect)) in (ba) your heart (lebab – your inner nature and attitude), ‘How (‘eykah) shall we actually and consistently know (yada’ – shall we continually possess the information required to genuinely distinguish, discriminate, understand and acknowledge (here the qal stem was used to convey actually, genuinely, and literally while the imperfect conjugation reveals that the ability to know is ongoing, consistent, and continual irrespective of time)) accordingly if the (‘eth ha – whether the) statement (dabar – written or spoken communication) which (‘asher – under the expectation of a beneficial relationship) he speaks or writes (dabar – his complete testimony (here the prefect conjugation requires us to examine the totality of the person’s written and spoken communication while the piel stem reveals that our perceptions of the object’s writings, Yahowah’s Towrah in this case, suffer the effect of the false prophet’s testimony)) is not (lo’) Yahowah’s ( )?’
If that which (‘asher) is deliberately spoken over time (dabar – has continually orchestrated through written or spoken communication (with the piel stem the subject influences the object and with the imperfect conjugation the consequence is ongoing)) by the one who proclaims the message (ha naby’ – prophet who claims divine inspiration) in (ba) Yahowah’s ( ) name (shem – reputation and renown) is not literally and consistently present and established (lo’ hayah – is not actually instituted and existing (qal imperfect)), or it does not actually come to be (wa lo’ bow’ – does not consistently arrive (such as a predicted harvest) or literally happen (such as an errant prediction) (qal imperfect)), the message (ha dabar – the written statement and spoken communication) which (‘asher – from the perspective of a beneficial relationship) he (huw’), himself, has deliberately spoken to influence (dabar – the totality of what he has communicated orally and in writing to effect one’s perceptions regarding the object, which is God (piel perfect)) is not (lo’) Yahowah’s ( ).
In (ba – with) arrogance and presumptuousness (zadown – with an inflated view of himself, self-willed and self-motivated, this morally flawed, disrespectful, imprudent, insulting, and shameless individual has taken great liberty while overstepping all due bounds in contempt of the established authority), the prophet (ha naby’ – the one claiming to be issuing inspired statements from God) has spoken and written (dabar – he has conceived and presented his message (piel perfect – he has completely and deliberately sought to influence)).
You should not respect or revere him nor conspire to rebel with him (lo’ guwr min – you should not fear him, join him, congregate or live with him either).” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 18:21-22)
It should be noted that while “hayah – exists, is instituted, and is established” and “bow’ – come to be” convey somewhat similar thoughts in English; they don’t in Hebrew. By using them in conjunction with each other, Yahowah is telling us that if anything a prophet says is divergent from what He has already instituted and established in His Word or inconsistent with history, both past and future, this prophet was not inspired by God. Those who speak for Yahowah, must, therefore, accurately describe what has occurred in addition to accurately predicting what will occur, while never contradicting anything God has said.
So while it will soon become obvious that Paul flunked the prophecy and consistency aspects of this test, don’t discount the difficulty of flawlessly reporting prior events. Neither Paul nor Muhammad could do it, and they, thereby, failed the test of history past.
In addition, hayah is not only the basis of Yahowah’s name, it is related to the Hebrew word for “life,” chay. And the primary meaning of bow’ is “to go from one place to another, and to arrive, coming upon the scene.” As such, by using hayah and bow’, Yahowah, who is the source of life, is predicting the arrival of Yahowsha’, tangibly demonstrating the power of prophecy. After all, predicting the arrival of the Ma’aseyah, while teaching us how to recognize Him, was the primary purpose of this test in Dabarym / Words 18.
Also, depending where the negation provided by lo’ is placed in the concluding thought, Yahowah could be saying that a false prophet should “not be revered or respected, neither dreaded nor feared.” He may be conveying this so that we become more comfortable aggressively exposing and condemning those who deliberately contradict His message.
So now that you are aware of this assessment, let’s consider another. Yahowah’s teaching regarding false prophets was initially broached in Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 13. Its evaluation is especially troubling for those who embrace Sha’uwl because it reveals that we should not listen to anyone who dismisses any aspect of the Towrah, who adds to the Towrah, or who claims to have received divine revelations, especially if they claim to perform signs and wonders, or if they promote service to or worship of a different god. It reads:
“With regard to (‘eth) every (kol) word (dabar – statement) which beneficially (‘asher) I am (‘any) instructing (tsawah – providing guidance and direction to) you with accordingly (‘eth ‘eth), observe it (shamar – closely examine and carefully consider it, focusing your attention on it) for the purpose of (la) engaging in and acting upon it (‘asah – responding by profiting from and celebrating it), not adding to it (lo’ yacaph ‘al – never increasing it (through a New Testament, for example)) and not subtracting from it (wa lo’ gara’ min – reducing nor diminishing the intent (by suggesting that it can be distilled into a single promise, a single act, a single statement, or a single profession of faith, for example)).
Indeed, if (ky) a prophet (naby’ – a person who claims to proclaim the message of a deity and / or foretell the future) stands up trying to establish himself (quwm – rises up and exalts himself) in your midst (ba qereb) or an interpreter of revelations (chalowm chalam), and provides (wa natan) a sign (‘owth – an omen via a consent decree (thereby claiming to be authorized to speak for God as Sha’uwl did)) or (‘o) miracle (mowpheth – something which appears marvelous or wonderful, inspiring awe (as Sha’uwl claimed as well)) to you (‘el), and the omen or miracle worker (ha ‘owth ‘o ha mowpheth) appears before you (wa bow’) who has spoken thusly (‘asher dabar – who has communicated and promised this) to you (‘el) to say (la ‘amar), ‘Let us go after (halak ‘achar – later let us again walk toward and follow) other (‘acher – different or additional) gods (‘elohym) which (‘asher) you have not known (lo’ yada’ – you do not recognize and are not familiar with) and let us serve and worship them (wa ‘abad – ministering on their behalf), do not listen to (lo’ shama’ ‘el) the words (dabar – statements) of that prophet (ha huw’ naby’) or (‘o) interpreter of revelations (ha huw’ chalowm chalam), because (ky) the test (nacah – the means to learn if something is true) of Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym), accordingly (‘eth) for you (la) to know (yada’ – to recognize, acknowledge, and understand) is whether this affirms your (ha yesh) love (‘ahab – relationship with and affection) for Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym), with all (ba kol) your heart (leb) and with all (wa ba kol) your soul (nepesh).
After (‘achar – following) Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym), you should walk (halak – you should be guided and directed (which means following His Towrah guidance)). And with Him (wa ‘eth), you should always and genuinely be respectful (yare’ – you should actually show admiration, reverence, continually and esteem (qal stem denotes a literal interpretation and genuine response while the imperfect conjugation conveys that this respect should be ongoing throughout time)). And (wa – in addition) in concert with (‘eth – in association with and concerning) His terms and conditions (mitswah – His directions and prescriptions, the codicils of His binding covenant contract and His instructions regarding the relationship), you should continually and actually be observant (shamar – you should consistently focus upon them, closely examining and carefully considering them (qal imperfect)).
Concerning His voice (wa ba qowl – then regarding His proclamations and pronouncements), you should always and literally listen (shama’ – you should make a habit of continually hearing (qal imperfect)) so that (wa), with Him (‘eth), you can consistently serve (‘abad – always engage as a productive associate (qal imperfect)). And (wa) to Him (ba – with Him), you should always choose to cling (dabaq – you should literally and genuinely stay close, actually choosing to join together and be united, tightly holding on (scribed in the literal qal stem, the continuous imperfect conjugation and the paragogic nun ending which serves as an expression of freewill)).
So therefore (wa), that prophet (ha huw’ naby’) or (‘o) interpreter of revelations (ha huw’ chalowm chalam) is deadly (muwth – he is the absence of life, is destructive and damning (with the hophal stem, the subject of the verb, in this case, the false prophet, causes the object of the verb, which is those listening to him, to participate in the action which is to die)). For indeed (ky – because this is reliable and true) he has spoken (dabar – the entirety of what he has communicated is totally (scribed in piel stem whereby the object suffers the effect of the action and the perfect conjugation, collectively communicating that everything the false prophet said should be considered revolting because it totally separates us from God because it is)) rebellious renunciations (carah – of revolt and disassociation, of turning aside and departure, of defection and withdrawal, of being removed) concerning and against (‘al) Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym), the One who led you out (ha yatsa’ ‘eth – the One who descended to serve you by extending Himself to lead you out) from (min) the realm (‘erets) of the crucibles of Egypt (mitsraym – human oppression and divine judgment) and the One who redeemed you (wa ha padah – the One who ransomed you) from the house (min beyth) of bondage and slavery (‘ebed – of servitude and worship).
His desire is to seduce and scatter you (la nadach – his purpose is to entice and compel you to be drawn away and thrust aside) from (min) the way (ha derek – the path) which beneficially (‘asher – which fortuitously as a result of the relationship), Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym), described, providing you with a complete set of directions (tsawah – He taught, told, and instructed you, totally appointing these prescriptions for you (scribed in the piel stem, these directions guide those who follow them, teaching and instructing them, and in the perfect conjugation, it means that these existing directions are totally complete)) for you to walk in (la halak ba).
And so (wa) you can choose to completely remove (ba’ar – as an expression of freewill, you can totally purge, completely ridding so that it no longer exists (scribed in the piel stem, perfect conjugation, and consecutive mood telling us that all things displeasing to Yahowah are completely removed from us when we choose to follow His Towrah directions, including)) that which is disagreeable, displeasing, and evil (ha ra’ – that which is wicked, no good, counterproductive, immoral, malignant, mischievous, troubling, undesirable, unpleasant, distressing, injurious, and harmful) from your midst (min qereb – from your inner nature and thus from your soul).” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 13:1-6)
I dare say that Paul’s revolting review of Yahowah’s Covenant and his animosity towards His Towrah Teaching wouldn’t engender love or respect for the God who authored and offered them. Therefore, the only way to cling to Paul would be to let go of God.
What Yahowah has reinforced with this test is consistent with my personal experience. It wasn’t until I took the Towrah seriously, closely examining and carefully considering its guidance and teaching, that I came to realize that Paul was a false prophet. The god Paul was describing and the means to salvation he was presenting in his letters were completely different than the God and path I came to know in the Towrah.
Summarizing this, Yahowah has said that the best way to know who isn’t speaking for Him is to closely examine and carefully consider every word written. He says that knowing and understanding that His Towrah is His source of instruction comes first. Acting upon His guidance and engaging in the Covenant Relationship is next. Then God says that no one has been or will be authorized to add to or subtract from His Towrah. Therefore, if we witness the Towrah’s role in our lives being diminished, or if we find a writer adding something new, like a new covenant, be careful because such a person isn’t speaking for God.
Yahowah reveals that if the prophet stands up claiming to have received a revelation from God, and establishes himself, personally speaking his own words in his own name, he is a false prophet. If he claims to have performed miracles, he is a false prophet. If he encourages his audience to go after other gods by other names, like the Roman Gratia or Greek Charis, he is a false prophet. If he promotes religious worship, he is a false prophet. If his writings don’t affirm our love for Yahowah, he is a false prophet. If he directs his audience to disregard the terms and conditions of the Covenant or the Path God has provided for our salvation, he is a false prophet. And of such revelations, God says that they are in opposition to Him, both ruinous and deadly, so we should completely remove that prophet’s disagreeable, displeasing, and evil stain from our midst.
Since this has been Sha’uwl’s personal revelation, his testimony, and his race against Yahowsha’s Disciples, and, indeed, his pursuits against everything Yahowah has established and offered, in the context of him running this race, it is time we return to Chabaquwq / Habakkuk. While we briefly considered Yahowah’s foreboding testimony through this largely unknown prophet in the previous chapter, this time we will linger and be more thorough.
But first, this reminder. Sha’uwl wrote: “Later, through fourteen years, also, I went up to Yaruwshalaim along with Barnabas, having taken along also Titus. (2:1) I went up, but then downward from uncovering an unveiling revelation which lays bare, laying down to them the beneficial messenger which I preach among the races down from my own, uniquely and separately, but then to the opinions, presumptions, and suppositions, not somehow perhaps into foolishness and stupidity, without purpose or falsely, I might run or I ran.” (2:2)
As we shall discover in the concluding chapter of Questioning Paul, Yahowah’s haunting prediction regarding Sha’uwl was announced 666 years prior to the time Galatians was written by the Devil’s Advocate. And as a preview of that final review of Chabaquwq, here is an excerpt of what the prophet revealed in his opening statements:
“Toward You, there are cruel lies and great injustice, error leading to death and destruction, so You continuously withhold salvation.” (1:2)
“Lies and injustice are conspicuous to me and are related. So he has been and continues to be contentious, taunting, and quarrelsome, insulting in a dispute, and hostile in opposition, harboring a different perception regarding the proper standard which put God and man in conflict. And also, strife and dissention, even argumentative objections with regard to vindication, he brings, actually lifts up, and continuously advocates. (1:3)
So likewise, therefore, based upon this, he consistently incapacitated and genuinely paralyzed the purpose of the Towrah (the source from which teaching, instruction, direction, and guidance flows). So he did not bring forth the glorious and eternal approach to vindicate by justly resolving disputes. For indeed, wickedness encompasses and guilt abounds, hemming in the hopeful against the righteous and innocent. So therefore, in this manner, his judgment regarding his ongoing means to vindication is perverted and distorted, twisted and false. (1:4)
Witness among the Gentiles, observing, considering and evaluating, so as to be astonished and astounded, amazed and surprised, that indeed, a work will be done in your days that you will not find credible even when it is written down and he is held accountable. (1:5)
Rather, look to Me, paying attention to Me, standing upright, established, and restored against the Chaldeans (a synonym for the Babylonians), the nation of heathens and pagans that is disagreeable and poisonous, impetuous and senseless. He makes his way to the vast expanses of the world as if an inheritance, taking possession of inhabited places that are not his. (1:6)
Terrible, dreadful, and intimidating: this from his decision, his plan, and lofty status which he brings forth, advances and spreads.” (1:7)
“Then at that time, he will actually go with a new and completely different spirit, exchanging the existing Spirit for a totally dissimilar spirit. He will become arrogant, meddling, intoxicating, and alienating. He is totally guilty and will actually suffer punishment, genuinely enduring recompense for his acknowledged offenses. For this is the influence of his god. (1:11)
Are You not from eternity, an unlimited duration of time, Yahowah, My God, My Set-Apart One? You cannot die and cannot be killed, Yahowah. Concerning this, judgment You have appointed for him.
And the Rock, You have established to argue against and rebuke him, You have positioned, appointed, and ordained to prove that he is wrong, to chide him, accusing and judging him. (1:12)
Too flawless and clean are eyes to witness such malignant and displeasing evil. To look upon, consider, and evaluate such grievous and perverse labor, the travail of childbirth this painful and full of iniquity, You cannot endure.
Why would You look at or consider treacherous betrayal that is neither trustworthy or reliable? You are silent and still, inactive, neither listening, speaking, nor taking action in devouring the wicked more righteous than him.” (1:13)
With that introduction, God reveals that He isn’t about to alter any of the requirements to participate in His Covenant nor change the approach that He has taken to facilitate our salvation by way of His Invitations. This alone is sufficient to put Sha’uwl in opposition to Yahowah.
“Upon (‘al – on this) My requirements and responsibilities (mishmereth – My mission which functions and serves as a safeguard to watch over and preserve the observant; from shamar – to observe, closely examining and carefully considering, retaining My focus), I have decided I will literally and continually stand (‘amad – I will always be present, actually standing and thereby genuinely enabling others to consistently stand, sustaining and enduring (scribed in the qal stem which addresses actual events which are to be interpreted literally, imperfect conjugation which reveals that God’s presence here will continue throughout time, and in the cohortative which expresses volition and desire)). And (wa) I will choose to always stand and present Myself (yatsab – I will consistently stand firm, appearing and presenting Myself (the hithpael stem tells us that God alone is taking this stand, the imperfect conjugation reveals that His stand is consistent, continual, and enduring throughout time, and the cohortative form conveys the idea that where and how He presents Himself is His choosing)) upon (‘al – on the Almighty’s) that which protects and fortifies (matsowr – the defensive stronghold which safeguards, preventing a successful attack by the adversary).
So then (wa) I will be on the lookout (tsapah – I will of My own volition continually keep watch (scribed in the piel stem where the object of the verb suffers its effect, imperfect conjugation which reveals that God is constantly observant, and cohortative form, affirming that this is His decision)) in order to see (la ra’ah – so as to observe, consider, and perceive) what he will say about Me (mah dabar ba – posing a question concerning what he will communicate regarding Me and what message he will convey in association with Me). But then (wa) how can I be expected to change My attitude, My thinking, or My response (mah suwb – why should I reverse course and mislead) concerning (‘al – during and upon) My disapproving rebuke (towkechath – My complaint, correction, reproof, and strong disapproval, My rational arguments in response and subsequent punishment).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:1)
Just as God announced that He would be on the lookout for the likes of Sha’uwl, ever ready to disapprove and rebuke him or anyone suggesting that God has changed His plans or approach, so should we have been. And specifically Sha’uwl because no one else in all of human history fits this prophecy besides him. He not only tried to change God’s requirements, specifically His stand on participation in the Covenant relationship and the path to salvation, replacing God’s approach with his own, he claimed to speak for God while consistently contradicting and undermining Him.
And that is why Yahowah has introduced this prophecy in this way. By affirming that He isn’t going to replace His specific requirements for participating in the Covenant with something as nebulous as faith, especially in Grace, nor shirk His own personal responsibilities, whereby He has promised to become the living embodiment of His approach to salvation through His participation in Passover, Un-Yeasted Bread, FirstFruits, and Seven Sabbaths. God has established Himself as being forever disapproving of Christianity, based as it is upon Sha’uwl’s repudiation of the Torah.
A connection worth noting in what follows is that Sha’uwl’s preferred conduit of misinformation was letters, often large and distinct ones from his own hand. And not only has Sha’uwl admitted that he was running, he should have been, just as we should be running away from him.
“Then (wa) Yahowah ( ) answered, approaching me (‘anah – responded to me), and He said (wa ‘amar), ‘Write (katab – use the alphabet to inscribe) this revelation (chazown – this communication from God), and then (wa) expound upon and reiterate it using those letters (ba’ar – teaching others its significance by plainly and clearly declaring it using large and distinct alphabetic characters) upon (‘al) writing tablets (luwach – engraving it in stone) so that (ma’an – for the express purpose and intent that), by reciting this (ba qara’ – by reading this), he might run and go away (ruwts – he might flee).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:2)
Yahowah realized that Sha’uwl would attempt to deceive His children. Therefore, He not only warned us about him, He provided the means to rebuke him so that we would not be fooled by him. Therefore, by reciting this prophecy, we distance ourselves and all who will listen from Sha’uwl and his letters.
Yahowah finds the perpetrator of this scheme sufficiently deadly to warn us specifically about him, and that is because this charlatan would claim that God had authorized him to undermine His credibility and competence. The lines of demarcation being so clear, and the consequences being so severe, Yahowah left no doubt whatsoever regarding this man, naming him as we shall soon see, in the prophecy.
And while only one man is guilty of every charge which is being laid out before us, which is why “he” is identified in the third person masculine singular throughout, there are three additional men who have earned a rebuke of this magnitude. So pushing aside the principle culprit for a moment, chronologically, the first of the remaining three is Rabbi Akiba. He was responsible for establishing the Jewish religion as it is practiced today. He was a schemer of the highest order, and extremely arrogant, but not much of a writer. And while he operated in Yaruwshalaim, his promotion of the false Messiah bar Kocpha in 133 CE led to the Yisra’elites being thrown out of Yahuwdah and to the Diaspora in Europe. It’s so immediately obvious to anyone other than an orthodox Jew that his proclamations were deadly, there would be no reason to waste a prediction on him.
Then there was Muhammad, the self-proclaimed “Messenger of God.” And while his Qur’an recital in 600 CE in Arabia was based upon qara’, the verb of the last sentence (2:2), he spoke for Allah, not Yahowah, and he was illiterate. Moreover, a literate person wouldn’t need this warning to remain clear of Muhammad’s verbal diarrhea, because he was simply too stupid for words. There would have been no chance whatsoever that someone reading Yahowah’s prophets would have been fooled by Allah’s messenger. Although it is interesting to note that while Muhammad claimed that his Qur’an confirmed the Torah, it is actually its antithesis. And while called a prophet, Muhammad never got one prophecy right.
One millennia after Akiba and five centuries post-Muhammad, Maimonides codified the principles of Judaism. He was a prolific writer, but rather than change the Torah, he preferred instead to augment it and then misinterpret it. Maimonides, however, was never in Yisra’el, as he lived his whole life around Muslims, not Jews, in Islamic Spain, Morocco, and Egypt. Also, like Akiba, the Rambam never pretended to speak for God.
Collectively, these men deceived billions, but they did not promote their delusions during the “mow’ed – meeting times” – something common only to Sha’uwl, and which we shall learn in a moment is germane. Sha’uwl alone was in Yaruwshalaim when Yahowsha’ was fulfilling the Mow’ed Miqra’ey – Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with God. And he not only became infamous for his letters, he was a rabbi who did an about face to attack God from an entirely new direction. Further, Sha’uwl admitted to being conceited and demon possessed – things which will loom large in a moment.
Speaking through the Prophet Chabaquwq around 600 BCE, it would be six centuries before Sha’uwl would question God’s Word, earning Yah’s disapproval and punishment. Therefore, Yahowah encouraged those who first read these words to be patient. This warning was for another day.
“Still indeed (‘owd ky – so therefore the expectation and subsequent realization of), this revelation from God (chazown – this divine communication) is for the Mow’ed Appointed Meeting Times (la ha mow’ed – for the time of the Mow’ed). It provides a witness to and speaks, pouring out evidence (puwach – it reveals facts which condemn, trapping and ensnaring) in the end (la ha qets). The extended period of time required for this question to be resolved (‘im mahah – question him, because no matter how long it takes) shall not prove it false (lo’ kazab – this revelation shall not deceive, delude, nor fail). Expect him in this regard (chakah la – be certain concerning this) because indeed (ky), he will absolutely come (bow’ bow’ – he will certainly come upon the scene and make his appearance), neither being delayed nor lingering (lo’ ‘achar).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:3)
The first four Mow’ed Meeting Times – Pesach, Matsah, Bikuwrym, and Shabuw’ah – were fulfilled by Yahowsha’ and the Set-Apart Spirit in year 4000 Yah, more commonly known as 33 CE. They enable the Covenant’s promises and our salvation. Sha’uwl was in Yaruwshalaim at the time training to be a rabbi. Shortly thereafter, he began undermining them.
I find it interesting that now, in 2013, just twenty years shy of Yahowah’s return, we are reading this prophecy and identifying it with Sha’uwl. Better late than never, I suppose.
As bad as this is, it is about to get much worse. This specificity suggests that Yahowah read Sha’uwl’s letters and is responding to them...
“Pay attention (hineh – behold), he will be puffed up with false pride (‘aphal – his head will swell and he will be haughty and arrogant, he will be lifted up for being boldly presumptuous heedless of the truth). His soul (nepesh), it is not right nor straightforward (lo’ yashar – he does not consider anything appropriately and is circuitous in his reasoning, he wanders away by twisting and convoluting the teaching, and nothing is on the level) in him (ba).
So then (wa) through trust and reliance (ba ‘emuwnah – by being firmly established, confirmed and upheld by that which is dependable and steadfast, always truthful and reliable), those who are righteous and vindicated (tsadyq – those who are upright, innocent, and acquitted) shall live (chayah – they shall be restored to life, being nurtured and growing).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:4)
While narrowing in on Sha’uwl in the first stanza, in the second, Yahowah reminds us that vindication and life everlasting come to those who trust and rely on His firmly established and always dependable testimony. This is and always has been the antidote for religion, especially Paul’s Christianity.
And yet in Galatians 3:11, in the midst of his initial assault against the Torah, Sha’uwl misquotes this verse, the very one which condemns him for mocking God, removing it from its context and truncating it, all to promote a faith based on ignorance... “But because with regard to the Torah absolutely no one is vindicated or justified by God becomes evident because: ‘Those who are vindicated, justified, and righteous out of faith will live.’”
But as is the tendency of a daredevil when faced with the specter of death, Sha’uwl was so transfixed by this damning and deadly prophecy regarding him, he cited it again, this time at the beginning of his most famous letter: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from belief to belief, as it has been written, ‘But the righteous shall live by belief.’” (Romans 1:17) Sha’uwl and Satan are taunting God. Their collective arrogance is unmatched.
Moving on, there are six specific details in this next prophetic statement from Yahowah, all of which implicate Sha’uwl six hundred years before he incriminated himself. But one clue in particular removes any doubt about whom God is warning us about because Yahowah identifies His foe by name. If you are a Christian, you may want to pay special attention to this...
“Moreover (‘aph), because (ky) the intoxicating wine and inebriating spirit (yayn – the consequence of the inebriation) of the man (geber – the individual human being) of deceptive infidelity and treacherous betrayal (bagad – of adulterous and offensive behavior, of handing people over to the influence and control of another without justification through trickery and deceit) is a high-minded moral failure (yahyr – is arrogant, meritless presumptive), he will not rest, find peace, nor live (wa lo’ nawah – then he will not succeed, achieve his aim, or reach his goal, not be beautifully adorned nor abide (qal imperfect)), whomever is open to the broad path (‘asher rachab – the wide, greedy, opportunistic, duplicitous, and improper way) associated with (ka – according to) Sha’uwl (Sha’uwl – the personal and proper name of the individual in question, it is also the name of the place of separation, the realm of the dead, the dominion of questioning: She’owl (she’owl and sha’uwl are written identically in the Hebrew text (consider Strong’s 7585 and 7586))). He (huw’) and (wa) his soul (nepesh) are like (ka) the plague of death (maweth – a pandemic disease that kills a large population of people).
And so (wa) those who are brought together by him, accepting him (‘acaph ‘el – those who associate with and join him, those who are removed and withdrawn by assembling with him, moving toward him and thereby gathered in and victimized by him) will never be satisfied (lo’ saba’ – will not find contentment nor fulfillment (based upon the Dead Sea Scrolls)). Most every Gentile (kol ha Gowym – the people from every race and place) will gather together unto him (qabats ‘el – will assemble before him), all of the people from different races and nations (kol ha gowym).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:5)
In 1 Corinthians 11:20-21, Sha’uwl / Paulos tells those who have joined his assembly not to participate in Passover, which is the ultimate plague of death, and not to drink wine in association with it, which thereby nullifies the symbolism associated with the blood of the Passover Lamb. This serves as a treacherous betrayal of Yahowah’s instructions regarding the narrow path He provided to salvation. Attacking the core of Yahowah’s plan is the epitome of presumptuousness and immorality. Those who ascribe to such moral turpitude die. Those who promote it will find themselves in She’owl along with Sha’uwl. And yet, Pauline Doctrine is popular, providing for those who are open to it, man’s broadest path to destruction. Yahowsha’ will differentiate this same immensely popular and broad path from the Towrah in His Instruction on the Mount, revealing that religious affiliations lead to death and destruction.
Sha’uwl promises the gift of life, but his religion, the most popular ever conceived, is the plague of death. Sha’uwl promises heavenly rewards to those who place their faith in his Gospel of Grace, and yet those intoxicated by this myth will find no satisfaction or contentment. They will remain estranged from God because, unlike Yahowah’s assurances in the Towrah, Sha’uwl’s hallow promises will all go unfulfilled. And that means that the people Sha’uwl claimed as his own, the Gentiles – individuals from many different races and places – will suffer the consequence of his New Testament.
Even if Sha’uwl had not been condemned by name, with the mention of the Gentiles, or the “ethnos – races” in Paul’s parlance, Rabbis Akiba and Maimonides have now been eliminated from the potential list of contentious culprits – not that it isn’t already obvious. These religious stalwarts corrupted Yahuwdym not Gowym.
Pauline Doctrine has influenced more people in more places in this world than any other corruption of Yahowah’s testimony. And the means to this madness is consistent with Yahowah’s prophecy, in that Paul inferred that God had authorized him to alter the requirements upon which Yahowah has already taken His stand.
Sha’uwl, like Satan before him in the Garden, shortchanged Yah’s testimony, removing His directions from their context to beguile individuals into believing that God had instituted the changes. Every time Sha’uwl quotes Yahowah, it is always a terse reference which is lifted as an object of scorn to ridicule the Torah, most often with these allusive references serving as clichés – simple adages which are easy to articulate and remember.
In spite of this, and even though Sha’uwl means “Question Him,” nary a Christian considers the irresolvable conflicts between Paul’s letters and God’s Word. So while the following continues to identify the culprit, most Christians remain oblivious to Yahowah’s prophecy regarding them or him...
“They do not ask questions, any of them, about him (ha lo’ ‘eleh kol ‘al – nor are any of them against him). Terse references to the Word they lift up as taunts to ridicule (mashal nasa’ – simplistic and contrived equivalencies, often easy to remember aphorisms (clichés, dictates, and adages) become bywords with implied associations with that which is well known to mock and to exercise dominion through comparison and counterfeit), along with (wa) allusive sayings and mocking interpretations (malytsah – derisive words wrapped in enigmas arrogantly spoken).
There are hard and perplexing questions which need to be asked of him (chydah la – there are difficult enigmas to be solved, dark and hidden secrets, and double dealings, to be known regarding him). And (wa – moreover) they should say (‘amar – they should declare), ‘Woe (howy – alas, expressing a dire warning) to the one who claims to be great so as to increase his offspring, acting like a rabbi (rabah – to the one who thrives on numbers and who considers himself exceedingly great (the basis of rabbi, something Sha’uwl claimed to be)),’ neither of which apply to him (lo’ la – which is not his). For how long (‘ad mathay – until when) will they make pledges (‘abtyt – will they be in debt) based upon his significance (‘al kabed – pursuant to the weight and burden of his testimony and the grievous honor afforded him)?’” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:6)
Sha’uwl dismissed all those who would dare question him, claiming that by doing so they were opposed to God, that they were Satanic, when the opposite was true. And speaking of truth, the reason religious belief systems like Christianity are adverse to questions is because those who do so lose their faith. Evidence and reason seldom matter in matters of religion. It is only the believer’s pledge of allegiance which is considered binding.
Besides, now you know why this book is entitled Questioning Paul. Turns out, it wasn’t my idea.
This next statement is associated with the previous prediction. It is rendered from the Dead Sea Scrolls because the Qumran text differs considerably from the Masoretic. “And (wa) he loads himself down (ta’an – he burdens himself) with (‘eth) thick (‘aphelah – dark and wicked) mud (tyt – dirt and dust to be swept away),...” God is saying that the only thing “kabed – weighty and significant” about Sha’uwl is that he has covered himself and others in muck. Methinks Yah was poking fun at Sha’uwl’s murky and messy prose.
We cannot say that we were not warned or advised. God even told us how to respond to this horrible individual. He wants us to stand up against all forms of corruption: political, religious, military, and economic. We are to confront lies and liars.
“...so why not (ha lo’) quickly, for a short period of time (peta’ – instantly), rise up and take a stand (quwm)?
And (wa) those of you who are bitten and are making payments to him (nashak – those showing interest, earning money, or becoming indebted to him), wake up from your stupor (yaqats – take action and alter your state of awareness) moving away in fear of him (zuwa’ – in dread of him, abhorring his terrifying and vexing nature). Because (wa) you will be (hayah) considered (la) plunder, victimized by them (mashchah la – as booty, spoiled by them).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:7)
Only Paul among those who claimed to speak for God solicits money. It is why Christian clerics embrace him. So following his example, his instructions, Christian institutions have made merchandise of men – and worst among them has been the Roman Catholic Church. Yah is trying to rouse these victims before it is too late.
But there is a consequence...
“Because (ky) you (‘atah) have plundered, stealing the possessions of (shalal – you have looted and victimized) an enormous number of (rab – a great many; and serving as the basis of rabbi) Gentiles (Gowym – people from different races and places), so (wa – therefore (from the DSS)) they shall loot and victimize (shalal – plunder and rob) all of (kol) the remaining (yether – the residue of the wealth of) nations (Gowym – Gentiles from different races and places) by means of (min) the blood (dam) of humankind (‘adam – mankind) and also (wa) through the violent and cruel destructive forces terrorizing (chamac – the immoral maiming and murdering which oppresses) the Land (‘erets – the Promised Land, singular, and thus Yisra’el) and (wa) Yah’s city (qiryah – to Encounter Yah, Yaruwshalaim – the source of teaching regarding reconciliation, also singular; from qarah – to encounter and meet Yah – an abbreviation of Yahowah), even all of those (wa kol) living in her (yashab ba – dwelling in her (Yaruwshalaim is a feminine noun)).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:8)
Paul mercilessly attacks “Jews” throughout his letters, making them the enemy of his new religion, thereby creating the anti-Semitism that ultimately took root in the Christian church. Paul, a Roman citizen, seeded the hatred of God’s Chosen People that boiled over seventy years later with the destruction of Yisra’el and Yaruwshalaim by the empire’s legions. It happened just as Yahowah predicted it would. Seven hundred years from the time this prophecy was committed to writing, Yaruwshalaim was sacked, Yisra’el was salted, and those not murdered by Rome where hauled off into slavery.
According to Yahowah, to be “cut off” from Him is to be estranged from the Covenant, thereby, excluded from this relationship and forsaken – which is to be damned. Therefore, you do not want God to say of you what He said of Sha’uwl...
“Woe (howy) to one who is cut off, coveting (batsa’ – to one who is greedy and dies), while wickedly (ra’ – harmfully and immorally, adversarialy and malignantly) soliciting ill-gotten gain (betsa’ – theft through deception, and threat of violence, immoral solicitation and plunder) in relation to him setting (la sym – for him to place and appoint) his house and temple (la beyth – his household and establishment) in association with heights of heaven (ba ha marowm – in an advantaged, desirable, elevated, and high place or status in association with God’s home in heaven) so as to spare (la natsal – for the purpose of snatching away and delivering the plunder) the acquired property and possessions (qan – what has been confiscated through envy and religious zeal, the nest egg and snare) from the paws (kaph – hands and palms, the control) of fellow countrymen (ra’ – of those living in close proximity).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:9)
It is difficult to know if qan is the contracted form of “qana’ – to acquire wealth,” “qanan – nest,” “qenets – snare,” or more likely “qanah – acquire property and possessions,” even “qana’ – jealousy, envy, religious zeal, and sexual passion.” But in this context, I suppose they would all apply.
The Roman Catholic Church, which was founded on Pauline Doctrine, not only constructs gold-laden cathedrals and has storehouses filled with tens of billions of dollars of ill-gotten gain, they have positioned themselves as having sole possession of the keys to heaven. It is interesting, however, that recently they have had to return more than a billion dollars to the families of children their priests have molested, priests following the Pauline mandate not to marry.
We are not yet at the point in this book where I came to first understand the ploy Paul was using to foist his plot on the unwary. But six hundred years before he conceived and articulated it, Yahowah was cognizant of his scheme.
“You have deliberately decided upon and conspired at the advice of another to promote a shameful plot to confuse (ya’ats bosheth – after consultation you have come to an informed conclusion through deliberation to conceive and perpetrate a lowly plan with the intended purpose to confound while displaying an adversarial attitude; note: bosheth – shameful, lowly, and confusing is from bashan – the serpent, associating this adversarial scheme with Satan, with whom Sha’uwl admittedly consulted) those who approach your house (la beyth – those who enter and are associated with your household and your construct), ruining and reducing by cutting off (qatsah – severely injuring and destroying by scraping away and ending the existence of) many (rab – a multitude of) people from different races and places (gowym – Gentiles; Greeks in Sha’uwl’s parlance who he claimed exclusively for himself) and in the process (wa) losing (chata’ – forfeiting by impugning guilt upon through missing the way and bearing the loss on) your soul (nepesh).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:10)
This answers a question I’m often asked: did Paul deliberately perpetrate this fraud or was he misled. It also affirms the now obvious connection between Paul and Satan, the very spirit Sha’uwl claimed had possessed and goaded him.
Since beyth serves as the basis for beryth – covenant, God is inferring that Sha’uwl’s “new covenant” is a shameful plot designed to confuse the unwary. And make no mistake, Paul routinely referred to himself as the father of his faithful children, and thus of his covenant family. He wrote about life in the household he had conceived.
To be cut off from Yahowah’s one and only Covenant, the very Covenant Sha’uwl condemned in Galatians, is to die with one’s soul ceasing to exist. So while the perpetrator of this crime will endure forever in She’owl, the souls of his victims are reduced to nothing, their lives squandered as a result of Sha’uwl’s shameful scheme.
“Indeed (ky – surely and truly), the Rock (‘eben) as part of the structure of a home (qyr – as the walls and ceiling which provides protection for a family) will issue a proclamation (za’aq – will issue a summons for an assembly meeting and will cry out (qal imperfect)), and (wa) that which connects (kaphyc – the plaster, the rafter, and the beam comprising the structure of a home) from (min) the timber (‘ets – the carpenter’s work, the tree, and gallows), he will answer and respond (‘anah – making a public declaration, providing a contextual reply (qal imperfect)).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:11)
We will soon discover that Shim’own Kephas, the man Yahowsha’ personally named the Rock, “summoned” Sha’uwl to Yaruwshalaim and issued a “proclamation” against him. And Shim’own acquired the moniker “Rock” when Yahowsha’, in Hebrew, told Shim’own: “Upon (‘al) this (ze’th) Rock (‘eben) I will build (banah) My Invitations to be Called Out and Meet (Miqra’ey).”
We will also find Paul embracing Gnosticism to denounce the Towrah, thereby fixating on the flesh. So God says...
“Woe to (howy – a strong warning to) the one who reestablishes (banah – the one who builds a family, erects and constructs a home (qal participle)) place of exposed naked flesh and anguish (‘iyr – the city where terror is exposed; from “‘uwr – to incite and to stir up by blinding and rendering the chaff naked and laying the skin bare”) in blood (ba dam – through death; from “damam – to destroy by making deaf and dumb”), and he forms (wa kuwn – he proposes, prepares, establishes, and supports (the polel stem reveals that the subject suffers the effect of the verb’s action and the perfect conjugation affirms that the process is complete)) a populated institution promoting (qiryah – a city; from “qarah and qary’ah – to encounter, meet, and befall the foundation, beams, building, and furnishings of an institution where people congregate based upon preaching”) that which is unrighteous, invalid, and harmful (ba ‘awlah – in wickedness with evil intent, unjustly damaging others through perversity).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:12)
And since there is a better option, the prophet reveals...
“Why not look here and pay attention (ha lo’ hineh – why not look up and behold (“hineh – pay attention” is conveyed by the two found in )) by means of an association with (min ‘eth – by approaching and being part of) Yahowah ( ) of conscripts who provide assistance (tsaba’ – vast array of spiritual implements who are enlisted and arranged in a command and control regimen, serving as effective tools by following orders)?
But instead (wa), the people (‘am – family) expend their energy and grow weary (yaga’ – they toil and labor, growing tired for lack of rest (qal imperfect)) amongst an abundance of worthlessness (ba day ‘esh – with excessive trifling uselessness which is of no value), and the nations which gather together (la’owm – the peoples who congregate) in more than enough (ba day – with an excess of) delusions and fantasies which are poured forth which are unreal and have no benefit, resulting in nothingness (ryq – fictitious myths which are unreliable, of empty and vain deceptions which are poured out, experienced, and consumed) exhausting and destroying them (ya’eph – physically draining and ruining them and causing them to be slighted, diminishing to nothingness (qal imperfect)). (2:13)
Indeed (ky – but this is reliable and true), She will fulfill, edify, and completely satisfy (male’ – She will impart an abundance of that which is healthy, valuable, empowering, and satisfying (the niphal stem is the grammatical voice of genuine relationships and the imperfect conjugation addresses ongoing effects)) the land (‘erets – realm, region, and world) to approach, to actually know, and to become genuinely familiar with (la yada’ ‘eth – to move toward, discover, and acknowledge, coming to understand and appreciate becoming friends in association with (qal infinitive)) Yahowah’s ( ) manifestation of power, glorious presence, and abundant value (kabowd – splendor, honor, respect, status, and reward), similar to (ka) the rain (maym – the waters) providing a covering (kacah – spread over and overflowing, filling and adorning (piel imperfect)) for the sea (‘al yam – upon a lake).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:13-14)
God has a lot more to say about Sha’uwl, and while we need to move on and continue to expose his letter, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a couple of additional thoughts. In the first, we find the prophet not only warning us about Sha’uwl’s profuse venom and his perverted sexuality, he addresses Paulos’ “little and lowly reputation” in addition to his animosity toward circumcision. So from “Sha’uwl and Questioning Him” to “Paulos and his lowly and little” moniker, from poisonous toxins to an unacceptable approach to the sign of the Covenant, this is an indicting summation of this man’s legacy.
“Woe to (howy – a strong warning to) the one who causes and allows his companions and countryman to drink (shaqah ra’), thereby associating them with (caphach) this antagonizing venom upon you (chemah – this poisonous and serpentine toxin which injures and antagonizes you, making you displeasing and antagonistic), but also (wa ‘aph – and yet surely) intoxicating (shakar) for the purpose of (ma’an) looking at (nabat ‘al) their genitals (ma’aowr – male genitalia). (2:15)
You will get your fill of (saba’ – you will be met with an abundance of (the qal perfect indicates that his is completely reliable while the second person masculine singular reveals that this is directed a lone male individual)) shame and infamy, a little and lowly status (qalown – dishonor, disgrace, scorn, and a very small and humbling reputation) instead of (min) honor and glory (kabowd – the manifestation of the power and presence of God which rewards and empowers).
Choosing to intoxicate (shathah – deciding to actually inebriate (qal imperative)), in addition (gam – besides), you (‘atah) also (wa) elect to show them unacceptable, going round about over their choice not to become circumcised (‘arel muwcab – choosing to deploy circular reasoning in altering their perspective regarding their decision to remain uncircumcised for religious reasons, you have chosen to actually make them unacceptable (niphal imperative and qal imperative)).
Upon you is (‘al – before you is) the binding cup (kowc) of Yahowah’s ( ) right hand (yamyn – serving as a metaphor for judgment), therefore (wa) public humiliation and a lowly status (qyqalown – shame and ignominy, dishonor and disgrace) will be your reward (‘al kabowd – the manifestation of your reputation and attribution of your status (second person masculine singular suffix – thus addressing a solitary man)).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:15-16)
Pauline Doctrine is poison, intoxicating venom from the most vile of serpents. But more indicting still, Sha’uwl, who never knew the love of a woman, provocatively expressed his love for a young man, Timothy. And even though Paul detested circumcision, and spoke hatefully about the sign and requirement of the Covenant, he personally circumcised Timothy. Furthermore, Sha’uwl so craved recognition and status, he heaped it upon himself. But here God is saying that Sha’uwl’s poisonous attack against circumcision will come full circle and slather him in shame. The man who claimed to be God’s exclusive apostle to the Gentiles has become the man of infamy.
I dare say, in the whole of Yahowah’s prophetic testimony, no prediction is as dire as this one. But that is because no one ever did what Paul has done. It was not required of anyone else.
If nothing else, Yahowah has provided His evaluation of Paul and His assessment of his followers. In this light, the only way to view him and his religion favorably is to ignore God and estrange ourselves from Him. The debate now is between good and evil, because the issues are white and black. We will question everything Paul says and writes. And we will hold him accountable. It may be too little, but it is never too late.
And that is why we find Yahowah conveying...
“Indeed from (ky – this is reassuring instead because from) this grievous injustice against and blatant wrongdoing in opposition to (chamac – this unrighteous and unrestrained campaign of error and towrahlessness in destructive conflict with) that which purifies, empowers, and enriches (labanown – typically transliterated Lebanon, but from “laban – purifying, cleansing, and whitening” and “‘own – being substantially empowered, growing vigorously, while becoming enormously enriched”), He will constantly keep you covered and continually protected (kacah – He will always provide a covering by which He adorns you, clothing and forgiving you (the piel imperfect affirms that we, as those being clothed, receive continuous protection) and as for (wa) the destructive demonic (shed – the Devil’s devastating and ruinous) beasts (bahemah), He will shatter them (chathath – He will astound them, causing them to wane) as a result of (min) the blood (dam – death) of humankind (‘adam), and also (wa) this grievous injustice against and blatant wrongdoing in opposition to (chamac – this unrighteous and unrestrained campaign of error and towrahlessness in destructive conflict with) the land (‘erets – realm, region, or world), the city (qiryah – to encounter Yah’s foundation, the upright pillar, beams, and furnishings associated with the Word), and all (wa kol) of her inhabitants (ba yashab – who have settled there to meet, to marry, to be restored, to be established, and to live (qal participle))” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:17)
And yet since most people remain oblivious to the obvious, not realizing that the Christian “Jesus Christ” is a caricature who has become an object of worship, Yahowah asks a foreboding question...
“How does he succeed with a caricature (mah ya’al pecel – why does he benefit by valuing an idolatrous image he has shaped (hiphil perfect))? Indeed (ky), he will construct him (pacal – he will shape it), fashioning him (yatsar – he will devise, form, and ordain him (qal perfect)) by offering a veiled form of a pagan god (macekah – by forming an alliance which conceals and an association which hides, covering up the true identity (qal perfect)) and by teaching lies (wa yarah sheqer – and through deceptive, misleading, mistaken, and useless instruction, guidance and direction (with the hiphil stem the subject, Sha’uwl, is putting the lies into action while the participle is a verbal adjective, making Paul a deceiver)), so that (ky) he adds credence and partiality to (batach – he makes credible and believable, even preferable, so that believers stumble and the unsuspecting fall as a result of their penchant and fondness for and partiality to) the one who created the construct of him (yatsar yetser – the one who devised, planned, prepared, fashioned, and formed such thoughts and reasoning regarding him (qal participle)), for him (‘al) to make (‘asah – to act and cause) the shepherds (‘alylym) bound and mute (‘ilem – tied up and negated, appearing dumb). (2:18)
Woe to the one who says (howy ‘amar) to the wooden pillar (la ha ‘ets – approaching the upright timber, tree, carpenter, and gallows) return from the dead (quwts – awaken from lifelessness and become alive again after death; from the verbal form which addresses the idea of abruptly starting something after having been asleep), rising up to blind by providing false testimony and precluding further observation (‘uwr – awake in the flesh, ready to blind the observant so that they are unjustly deprived of an accurate recollection of what was witnessed), to the Rock (la ‘eben), he who consistently teaches (huw’ yarah – he who instructs and constantly provides guidance to the Rock (hiphil imperfect)), be silent (duwmam – be silenced and be struck dumb and mute).
Behold (hineh – pay attention), he (huw’) has actually been seized, captured, controlled, and then covered (taphas – has been grasped hold of and wielded skillfully (qal passive – having this actually done to him)), brilliantly shimmering (zahab – splendorous and golden), extremely valuable and desirable (keceph – ornamented and gilded in silver so as to be yearned for and desired), but (wa) without (‘ayn – devoid of) any (kol) spirit (ruwach) in his midst (ba qereb – in his corpse and physical being animating his life).” (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:18-19)
Sha’uwl will repeatedly state that “the wooden pillar,” more commonly known as the “Christian Cross,” exists as the means to be “quwts – awakened from the dead,” or to be “resurrected” in religious parlance. He will even equate “sleep” with death and speak of those who were sleeping rising up abruptly. So this is an allusion to the Pauline fixation on the wooden cross, from which he promotes resurrection from the dead, thereby dismissing Pesach, Matsah, Bikuwrym, and Shabuw’ah in addition to Taruw’ah, Kippurym, and Sukah. Paul’s plan begins and ends at the cross with the death of his god.
In the most favorable light, what comes next, had it been set into a different context, might have been designed to reflect the “shamar – observational” view of the Torah. Many, if not all, of its instructions are vastly more valuable to us when we study and understand them than they are to us when we habitually do them irrespective of their intent. In this regard, the symbolism of circumcision is even more important than the act – although both are essential to our ability to respond to and engage in the Covenant relationship with God.
That is not to say that we should simply disregard our Heavenly Father’s advice. If you want to be included in the Covenant, if you want to be adopted into His family, and if you want to be invited into heaven, if you are not currently circumcised, get circumcised, for example. As we shall see, with Yahowah, male circumcision is a life and death decision, one in which He is unwilling to compromise. Therefore, my point is simply that we should seek to understand all of Yahowah’s instructions regarding life in the Covenant and then respond rationally based upon what we have learned.
These things known, Paul’s statement is misleading. In fact, without the proper perspective, it is actually counterproductive.
“To the contrary (alla – by way of contrast and making a distinction), not even (oude) Titus (Titos – a Latin name meaning nurse), [the one with (o syn) me (ego),] a Greek (Hellen) being (eimi – existing (present tense, active, participle)), was compelled (anagkazo – was forced or pressured, necessitated or obligated (aorist, passive, indicative indicating he was acted upon in the past)) to be circumcised (peritemno – to be cut off and completely separated; from peri, concerning the account of, near, and all around, and tomoteros, to cut something so as to create separation (aorist, passive, infinitive conveying that at that time he was influenced in this way by the verb which has properties of a noun)).” (Galatians 2:3) (The reason for bracketing the clause “the one with me” is that it isn’t found in Papyrus 46, the oldest witnesses of this statement.)
Those who may place greater confidence in the McReynolds English Interlinear associated with the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition, here is that rendering for your convenience and consideration. “But but not Titus the with me Greek being was compelled to be circumcised.” So much for the myth that the NA27 has been updated to reflect the oldest extant manuscripts. There is nothing posterior to P46 and they ignored it.
Regardless of one’s preference or interpretation, someone actually trying to share Yahowah’s message would have provided some context and an explanation as to why it would have ever been appropriate to “force” anyone to do anything. God does not issue mandates and there are no obligations. We are all free to accept or reject the Covenant. The choice is ours, and it is offered under the auspices of freewill.
So while there is nothing associated with God which is obligatory, and no choice should ever be compelled, an explanation would have gone a long way toward helping people understand the symbolism involved in their decision regarding whether or not to be circumcised. It is after all life and death. And that is because while circumcision does not guarantee participation in the Covenant, or thus salvation, a man who dies uncircumcised has no chance of either. If Titus remained uncircumcised, his soul no longer exists or it is imprisoned in She’owl.
Few things are more obvious to the observant than Yahowah does not “anagkazo – compel.” He is first and foremost a proponent of freewill. The decision as to whether or not to circumcise our sons, or to become circumcised ourselves should our parents fail to prepare us for the Covenant in this way, is ours to make as parents and as individuals. Those who choose wisely position their children and themselves to enjoy the Covenant’s benefits. Those who don’t are automatically and summarily excluded.
The somewhat complementary acts which serve to demonstrate our acceptance or acknowledgment of the Covenant are circumcision and baptism – albeit the former is required and the later is purely symbolic. The Torah’s sign demonstrating a family’s acceptance of the conditions and benefits of the Covenant, and denoting their desire to be included in it, is circumcision. The symbolism is hard to miss, as this sign deals with the part of the male anatomy responsible for conceiving new human life.
And since three of the Covenant’s greatest benefits are eternal life, cleansing leading to perfection, being born spiritually into Yahowah’s family—water baptism became a symbolic act demonstrating life, cleansing, and rebirth. We are immersed in water as an outward declaration that we have chosen to be born anew from above into God’s family, becoming His adopted children. Understanding both is useful. And while circumcising our sons is advisable, and being circumcised as a man essential, there is also expressive merit associated with the symbolism of baptism.
By consistently filling in words which aren’t actually in the Greek text to improve readability, without designating them as being added by way of brackets or italics, translators have artificially elevated the status of this epistle, far beyond what the words deserve. But other than that, the KJV rendering is permissible: “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:” LV: “But even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Gentilis/Gentile, was not compulsus /compelled to be circumcidi/circumcised,” Jerome, a Roman, couldn’t write “Greek,” even though the text required it. That’s funny in a way.
Arbitrarily putting words into Paul’s mouth has lost its charm. There is no basis for the NLT’s opening clause: “And they supported me and did not even demand that my companion Titus be circumcised, though he was a Gentile.” Do you suppose that the team of scholars and religious leaders who compiled this supposed “translation” really thought that “Hellen” meant “Gentile”?
The reason that I suggested that this statement, at least without a proper explanation, was counterproductive, is that it could be construed to suggest that Paul and others were in a position to annul one of Yahowah’s most essential instructions. Rabbis would in fact claim this power for themselves, albeit never regarding something as clear as circumcision. Akiba, in particular, playing off Yahowah’s penchant for volition, promoted the view that a majority vote by Rabbis (“sages”) could override the Torah on any subject that was of interest to men. This arrogant assertion eventually became the basis of Judaism as it is practiced today, with rabbinical arguments in the Talmud superseding the Torah. And in a roundabout way, it is also the basis of Roman Catholicism, whereby a Pope, elected by Cardinals, is seen as having the authority to establish new rules, even those which contradict God’s guidance. Therefore, this is one of many places where Sha’uwl’s lack of specificity has become problematic. And frankly, there is no way to see any of this as productive.
But that’s not the only issue at play here. First, by transitioning from: “Later, through fourteen years, also, I went up to Yaruwshalaim along with Barnabas, having taken along also Titus. (2:1) I went up, but then downward from uncovering an unveiling revelation which lays bare, laying down to them the beneficial messenger which I preach among the races down from my own, uniquely and separately, but then to the opinions, presumptions, and suppositions, not somehow perhaps into foolishness and stupidity, without purpose or falsely, I might run or I ran,” (2:2) to “To the contrary, not even Titus, a Greek being, was compelled, forced or pressured, necessitated or obligated, to be circumcised,” (2:3) without any intervening explanation is a sure sign that: 1) The purpose of the Yaruwshalaim Summit was designed to deal with Paul’s contrarian position regarding circumcising Greeks. 2) That Paul wanted it to appear as if the Disciples agreed with his position against circumcision even though this would place everyone in opposition to God. 3) That this decision not to encourage a man to be circumcised so that he could participate in the Covenant was so fresh in everyone’s mind that no transition or introduction was required to remind the audience that the reason for the meeting had been the disconnect between Paul’s message and God’s position relative to circumcision. And as such, for this reason and many more, it is apparent that Galatians was written immediately after the Yaruwshalaim Summit in 50 CE, which was before Sha’uwl’s first visit to Thessalonica, Corinth, or Rome—the other candidates for his initial epistle.
Second, according to Paul, as we will learn, Titus was encouraged to become circumcised at this meeting. Therefore Paul’s testimony regarding his recent past is once again suspect—or, at the very least, intentionally misleading. And that means that he has violated the hayah clause of Yahowah’s prophetic test a second time. He has failed to accurately report what has already happened.
Third, as we shall soon discover, Yahowah’s position on circumcision is clearly stated, as is Sha’uwl’s opposition to it. Their views are the antithesis of one another. So if what I’m claiming is true, and it is, this begs the question: how then can an informed, rational person believe that Paul was authorized to speak for God under these circumstances? To think that Yahowah changed His position on an issue, in which He has always been unequivocal, is to believe that God is capricious and unreliable. And if that’s the case, we cannot trust anything He says, nor anyone who claims to speak for Him. Therefore, there is no possible way for Paul to be credible in this conflict.
And speaking of credibility, what follows should give us pause. Regardless of whether you or I concur with God’s position on the sign of His Covenant, the only way to justify the reference to Titus’s lack of circumcision set awkwardly between Galatians 2:2 and 2:4 is to realize that, while this letter may have been addressed to the Galatians, it was not about them. Sha’uwl went to Yaruwshalaim to undermine the competition: Yahowsha’s Disciples. This letter was designed to discredit them so that Paulos could rise unchallenged.
Grammatically, the following clause isn’t the start of a new sentence. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with Titus being a Greek or being uncircumcised (or so it would appear). And the problem with it, apart from the fact that the required transition is nonexistent, is that there is no reason to criticize someone or demean anyone without demonstrating that what they have said or have done was inconsistent with Yahowah’s instructions. Paul didn’t. And it won’t be the last time. And worse, it’s Paul who should actually be exposed and condemned for advocating the contrarian position.
With all of this in mind, Paul’s subsequent statement transitions from being inappropriate to being devastating when seen flowing out of his opening salvo against the Torah. If you recall, Paulos claimed that “the old system which had been in place” was “disadvantageous, harmful, wicked, and worthless.” And since the sign of that system was circumcision, it’s hard to miss the association between this statement and Paul’s underlining contention that the Torah enslaves. So without further introduction, here is Galatians 2:4:
“...but (de – moreover then) on account of (dia – through, by, or because of) the (tous) false brothers (pseudadelphos – impersonators who faked their kinship, relationship, and affinity) brought in surreptitiously under false pretenses (pareisaktos – joining secretly, smuggled in), who (hostis – literally: whoever and whatever) sneaked into the group (pareiserchomai – crept in by stealth, slipping in) to secretly spy upon (kataskopeo – to closely investigate, evaluate, and consider but more typically: to lie in wait, to spy out, and to clandestinely plot against) the freedom and liberation (ten eleutheria – the liberty and release from conscience, from binding morality, from slavery and bondage, the emancipation from all constraints) that (en – which) we (emon) possess (echo – hold on to and experience) in (en – with or among) Christo (ΧΡΩ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples to convey the title Ma’aseyah, but used here without the definite article) Iesou (ΙΗΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey Yahowsha’, meaning Yahowah Saves) in order that (hina) us (emas) they will actually make subservient (katadouloo – they will control for their own ends, making slaves and bringing into bondage (future tense, active voice, indicative mood)),...” (Galatians 2:4)
Before we analyze this statement, let’s reconstitute our bearings by reviewing it in context: “Later, through fourteen years, also, I went up to Yaruwshalaim along with Barnabas, having taken along also Titus. (2:1) I went up, but then downward from uncovering an unveiling revelation which lays bare, laying down to them the beneficial messenger which I preach among the races down from my own, uniquely and separately, but then to the opinions, presumptions, and suppositions, not somehow perhaps into foolishness and stupidity, without purpose or falsely, I might run or I ran (2:2) – to the contrary, not even Titus, a Greek being, was compelled, forced or pressured, necessitated or obligated, to be circumcised – (2:3) but then on account of the impersonators who faked their relationship brought in surreptitiously under false pretenses, who sneaked into the group to secretly spy upon and clandestinely plot against the freedom from conscience and liberation from the constraints of morality that we possess in Christo Iesou in order that us they will actually make subservient, controlling for their own ends,...” (2:4)
Therefore, we know that as a result of Paul’s “separate and distinct” “message or messenger,” it “became apparent” that he “had to go up to Yaruwshalaim” to confront the “presumptions, suppositions, and opinions” of others that he “might be running foolishly and in vain.” We know that “not obligating” “Greeks” to be “circumcised” was the overriding issue, a topic so vital to Paul’s credibility and mission, he felt compelled to deliberately demean the character and motives of the participants. Paul claimed that either Yahowsha’s Disciples, or those they had invited into the Covenant, or both, were “impersonators who faked their relationship.” He claimed that the beneficiaries of Pesach, Matsah, Bikuwrym, and Shabuw’ah in Yaruwshalaim had “secretly snuck into” this meeting “under false pretenses” “to spy upon and plot against” the “liberation from conscience and constraints” Paul and his followers claimed to “possess.” And worse, the intent of the clandestine interference of the interlopers was “to make [Paul and associates] subservient, controlling them for their own means.”
You’d expect this from Machiavelli, perhaps Goebbels, or from any conniving and immoral politician, but it is crude, even rude, when written about those who personally knew Yahowsha’ by someone claiming to speak for Yahowsha’. But at the very least, the lines of the debate have been drawn and we are all compelled to take sides.
If we are to believe Sha’uwl’s words, they suggest that someone who claimed to be born anew into our Heavenly Father’s Covenant family, but who had not actually availed themselves of the adoption process (which is delineated in the Towrah), wanted to enslave Paul and his companions, making them subservient to them. But since the liberty the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’ provides comes from the Towrah, and since the benefits are eternal, this scenario isn’t possible. And flowing out of an edict against circumcision, which is required to receive any of the benefits Yahowsha’ is providing by observing the Towrah, the freedom Paul is claiming for the likes of Titus isn’t possible.
While no person, spirit, government, or religious institution has the power or authority to revoke our liberties as part of Yahowah’s Covenant family, in the culture of that day, at the time the letter to the Galatians was written, there were only two human agencies which sought temporal submission and which had the power to enslave individuals during their mortal existence: the Jewish Sanhedrin and the Roman government. But if these men had been representatives of these institutions, they would have been identified as such. Moreover, to associate the curtailment of the “liberty in Yahowsha,’” which is both spiritual and eternal, with human institutions like these, which are neither, is irrational.
And why even speak of “surreptitiousness, false pretences, slipping in, and secrecy” in relationship to the “ekklesia – called out” Yahowsha’ and His Disciples, especially Shim’own Kephas, had guided? These would have been the same individuals who had been empowered and enriched by the Set-Apart Spirit during the Miqra’ of Shabuw’ah (discussed in Acts 2).
Yahowah’s plan of salvation isn’t a secret. Not only shouldn’t we concern ourselves with someone hearing the Word of God who shouldn’t, we should want everyone to hear it, even if they reject it and us. The liberation we experience in our relationship with Yahowah should be so joyously expressed, that it becomes contagious.
This diatribe sounds a bit like Paulos was part of a secret society such as Mithraism, the Babylonian religion which became the dominant mystery religion practiced in the Roman Empire in the 1st through 4th centuries. It is as if he was concerned that those mysteries, the seven grades of initiation, the clandestine symbols, the secret handshake, and insider slogans known only to the initiated, were somehow on the verge of being compromised by a spy.
The reason Mithraism was cited as an example is because as a religiously-oriented Roman citizen, it is quite possible that Sha’uwl was an initiate, especially since the religion he and Constantine conceived embraced so many of its beliefs. Mithras was the Savior god, not unlike Paul’s depiction of his god. He was born of a rock, something embraced by Roman Catholicism through their misguided association with “Saint Peter,” the “Rock.” Mithras loved to ride and then slaughter sacred bulls, symbolic of the son of the sun god usurping the old god’s authority, thereby demonstrating his superiority. And in Christianity, we find vestiges of sun worship woven into the fabric of the faith and see the son’s religion being presented as superior to that of the father’s outdated modes. Having done away with the old god, and thus that god’s old testament, the son of the sun could reign supreme, again in keeping with Paul’s letters.
Mithras was emblazoned with scorpions and serpents, which is incriminating because the thorn and goad Paul referenced controlling and guiding him were synonymous with scorpion stingers, and the serpent is Satan, through whom Paul admitted being possessed and inspired. Rather than observing Yahowah’s seven feasts, all of which Paul negated, Mithras ate supper with Sol (the Sun), who is shown bowing to him. He is always depicted with a halo or sunburst above his head, and is commonly shown with torch bearers whose lanterns and staffs are upside down. Especially interesting considering Paul’s inverted and twisted testimony, depictions of Mithras are most always double-faced.
This Roman god with a Babylonian pedigree is presented amidst flashing rays of light, even lightning bolts, just as Paul claimed to have seen him on the road to Damascus. He is depicted with the moon’s blessing and approval after having defeated the sun god, Sol. Mithras then ascends through the seven heavens, something Paul claimed to have done as well.
The caduceus, the symbol of Mercury, the “messenger of god,” is universally associated with Mithras throughout these myths, which is telling because Paul’s principle claim was to have been God’s exclusive messenger to the world. Mithras is typically shown carrying keys, not unlike the Roman Catholic Church. He has a scepter in his hand, denoting his authority. He either holds a globe in his hand, or has one at his feet, conveying the notion that the world was his, again just as was the case with Sha’uwl. These globes are even festooned with crosses – another Pauline fixation with a pagan past.
Especially telling, considering Paul’s fixation on the death and bloodletting of his savior, in Mithraism souls are immersed and saved in their graves by the blood of their god so as to be bodily resurrected in harmony with Mercury’s message – most of which undergirds Paul’s testimony. Especially intriguing, Mithras always wore a conical Phrygian cap, which denoted freedom from the law in the pursuit of liberty – which is hauntingly familiar to those aware of Paul’s penchant to preach freedom from the Towrah. Also interesting, the Roman Savior who defeated the old god was costumed in Anatolian robes, the official dress of the land of Paul’s birth. He is even shown as a fountain, baptizing his initiates.
The birthday of Mithras was December 25th, which was celebrated as the Festival of “Natalis Invicti – the Birth of the Unconquerable.” That means that he was conceived, and thus resurrected each year on Easter Sunday – nine months earlier. To be saved by him, the initiate simply swore an oath of devotion making salvation faith based. The rituals included recitals of a catechism, where believers in the mythical god were asked to provide the prescribed answers to rehearsed questions to receive the gift of salvation. The highest-ranking clerics were called “Pater – Father,” carried a shepherd’s staff, and wore elaborate robes emblazoned with sunbursts, a Phrygian cap covered in thunderbolts, and a ruby ring – most of which survive today in Roman Catholicism. Their hierarchy of participation and status are all echoed in Paul’s writings as well as in Paul’s legacy: the Roman Catholic Church. Believers were united and universal, which is what “catholic” means. They identified themselves through their special handshake – something Paul also introduced. Women were excluded, just as they were from Paul’s personal life. Only men could participate and become clerics – also in keeping with Paul’s theology. So all of this provides us with something to think about.
Beyond the covert religious nature of mythology, and the fact that it plays no part of our relationship with Yahowah, we must also deal with the rather peculiar sequencing of statements and events. Paul has connected mutually exclusive concepts and inconsistent conclusions. On one hand, he has implied that he assumed the Disciples were somewhat supportive of his message, and that no one suggested that a Greek be circumcised, strongly inferring that everyone was in agreement with his position. But now, in the next breath, we discover that Paul is facing such severe opposition, that he is compelled to exclude and demean his foes—a sure sign that he could not effectively refute their message.
And we cannot blame these incompatible associations on scribal error. Papyrus 46 dates to within thirty-five to seventy-five years of the time Sha’uwl connected these conflicting statements. Further, there is no discrepancy between the Nestle-Aland and the oldest surviving manuscript. Further, we cannot even blame these conflicting notions on the difficulty of translating words from one language into another. In this case the words are perfectly clear. There is no dispute regarding their meanings—only the message.
And then we have the absurd transition from not compelling circumcision to surreptitious spies intent on making Sha’uwl subservient to them. On the surface, it is insane. It does little more than provide a window into this man’s soul and affirm that Paul was insecure and malevolent. Demonstrating the resulting paranoia, he saw everyone as a potential adversary. And so he would abandon all moral constraints to undermine those he sought to rise above.
The best that can be said of Paul is that what he wrote was nonsense. Yahowah’s willingness to free us from human oppression isn’t a secret and it cannot be invalidated by anyone—it’s the foundational message of the Torah, the Covenant, the Exodus, the Invitations, and even the Ten Statements – all of which embody an everlasting promise.
Also at issue is the fact that the men who attended this meeting were identified in the book of Acts. They were neither Romans nor members of the Sanhedrin. Some had been, but were no longer, Pharisees. They were all elders in the Yaruwshalaim Called-Out Assembly, which means that they were not “false brothers.” They did not sneak into the meeting; they were invited. And they were active participants, not secret observers.
Unless something changes, we are on the cusp of having to acknowledge the unavoidable. The evidence is all too quickly becoming undeniable. It is obvious that God did not inspire these words. They are Paul’s. And they are wrong on all accounts.
Those who would excuse Galatians 2:4 forfeit the high ground of reason. And yet, theologians are driven to protect the man responsible for inspiring their faith, their prestige, and their incomes. They do so to keep from ostracizing themselves from their fellow Christians—those who believe that the so-called “Christian New Testament” is not only Scripture, but also inerrant. And yet such an assumption is a religious myth akin to the Greek Charities and the Roman Graces.
The Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear of Galatians 2:4 reads: “through but the brought in secretly false brothers who came in along to look carefully the freedom of us that we have in Christ Jesus that us they will enslave thoroughly,...”
While the KJV’s publication of “Christ Jesus” isn’t appropriate, their translation is otherwise accurate. In this case, the problem is with Paul’s Greek, not Bacon’s English or Jerome’s Latin: “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:”
The Vulgate acknowledges that this verse is in fact a continuation of the previous sentence: “...but only because of false brothers, who were brought in subintroductos/unknowingly. They entered subintroierunt/secretly to spy on our liberty, which we have in Christo Iesu, so that they might reduce us to servitude.” Jerome’s rendering also associates the reason for not compelling circumcision with the arrival of the false brothers. So other than the transliteration of a nonexistent name and title (those of the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’), the Latin translation was quite literal.
Being literal, however, simply illuminates the senselessness of Sha’uwl’s words. Therefore Jerome explained: “ ~ The sub prefix of both ‘subintroductos’ and ‘subintroierunt’ indicate secrecy or a lack of knowledge about the action of the verb. In other words, the true brothers did not realize at first that these others who were brought into the Faith were false brothers. They entered while their intentions and falseness were unknown.” But this doesn’t help. No man has the power or authority to alter what Yahowah has said and what Yahowsha’ has done.
When reading a novel, I prefer style over substance. But the Christian New Testament isn’t marketed by bible publishers as a work of fiction. And yet, based upon the liberties they have taken, the NLT is a work of fiction. “Even that question came up only because of some so-called Christians there—false ones, really—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations.” In that Yahowah told us that: “being presumptuous, overstepping one’s bounds, and taking liberties” serves as proof that someone is a false prophet, seems Tyndale Publishing House, Inc. just revealed their true identity.
Nothing in the statement Sha’uwl wrote said anything about being “forced to follow their Jewish regulations.” There was no subject or race mentioned. And while the NLT was wrong, it wasn’t completely wrong. Based upon what we learn in the Acts 15 accounting of this meeting, a disagreement arose over whether or not God’s children should follow God’s example, and thus observe the Torah. This known, however, there is no correlation between the Torah and “Jewish regulations.” They are all derived from Rabbinic Traditions and the Oral Law – especially the Talmud. And yet this is a very common Christian misconception, bred out of ignorance, disdain for the Torah, affinity for Paul, religious rivalry, and anti-Semitism.
As you contemplate Sha’uwl’s response to the alleged “false brothers,” recognize that “submission,” from hypotage, isn’t found in Papyrus 46, the late first-century witness of this letter, even though it is included in more recently compiled texts (following eiko, meaning “yield”). Additionally, euangelion, rendered “Gospel” in most English translations, but more accurately translated “healing message and beneficial messenger,” is not extant in the earliest manuscripts either. Further, in P46, we find a placeholder for Yahowah’s title between “e aletheias – the truth” and “diameno – may continue to be associated” in the oldest Greek text, but not in the Textus Receptus, the Novum Testamentum Graece, nor the Nestle Aland Greek New Testament, even though the first claimed to be the “text received directly from God,” and the other two have claimed to have corrected every error of the former by referencing older manuscripts.
So, the two things we know for sure are: we are not the first to be troubled by what Paulos said, and others have already tried to fix these problems. Therefore, at the very least, this response is the product of considerable meddling and copyediting – some of which may have been required just to make what follows appear lucid.
“...to whom (ois) neither (oude – not even and but no) to (pros – against, among, with regard to, or advantageously) a moment (hora – an occasion in time or an hour) we yielded (eiko – we surrendered, gave in, or submitted) [to the submission (te hypotage – to the obedience and subjection)] in order that (hina – as a result) the truth (e aletheia – that which is an eternal reality and in complete accord with history and the evidence) of the God (tou ΘΥ) [beneficial message and healing messenger (euangelion)] may continue to be associated (diameno – might remain and continue) among (pros – to against, or advantageously with regard to) you (umas).” (Galatians 2:5)
With regard to this statement, the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear, in direct denial of their claim to have corrected their text to reflect the oldest extant manuscripts, published: “...to whom but not to hour we yielded in the subjection that the truth of the good message might stay through to you.” The earliest witness of this statement reads: “to whom neither to a moment or hour we submitted in order that the truth of the God might continue to be associated among you.” (2:5)
Excuse me while I vent for a moment, but this is pathetic. If the imposters had to be sneaky just to get into the room, and if their mission was simply to spy on Sha’uwl, why is not surrendering to them being presented as a heroic and selfless stand which was required to bring us the truth? Couldn’t we just read the Torah? Couldn’t we listen to Yahowsha’ by reading Mattanyah or Yahowchanan’s eyewitness accounts? Couldn’t we just ignore them – especially since nothing they said, if anything, is known? Why is everything being presented as if it is not only Paul against the world, but that without Paul’s brave stand against the forces of darkness that we’d all succumb? And how is it that we are to believe that Paul is the arbitrator of “the truth of the God” when he began this letter telling us that His “old system was immoral and corrupt?”
The issue here is that since circumcision is required to participate in the Covenant, the inference is that you have to submit to and obey the Torah to benefit from the old system. But you should know that there is no Hebrew word for “obey.” When it is found in English “translations” it is because they have misrepresented the meaning of the Hebrew verb, shama’, which means “to listen.” Likewise, there is no Hebrew word for “submit.” The few times it is found in English bibles either “kachash – to deceive,” “raphac – to stamp down,” or “‘anah – to respond” were twisted to provide this errant connotation. At issue here is that Towrah is “teaching” that we should “listen and respond to,” rather than a set of “laws” to which we must “submit and obey.”
No one can diminish Yahowah’s gift, so I am at a loss to see how Sha’uwl’s failure to yield to these men would have had any material effect on anyone. But I do see an ego of gargantuan proportions masking a debilitating bout with insecurity.
Considering the audience, Paul is claiming that he is preventing the application of the same instructions our Heavenly Father provided to the Children of Yisra’el in His Towrah. So by taking this stand, Sha’uwl is freeing believers from listening to God.
While it is irrelevant in this context, should you be curious, the only people with the authority to enslave Paulos, and thus silence him, would have been representatives of the Roman government. Not even the Sanhedrin could have done so because Paulos was a Roman citizen. Moreover, as a rabbinical student in Yaruwshalaim, Sha’uwl would have known the latter personally. And as we will discover, Rome allegedly imprisoning Paulos didn’t silence him. And if the Romans had incarcerated him to moot his message, and if he was actually speaking for God, Yahowah would have found another witness. So, Sha’uwl’s response was as flawed as was his proposition.
Christian theologians, knowing what the founder of their religion will say next, would have us believe that the purpose of this troubling exchange was to free believers from the Torah. And that is because they, like Paul, despise God’s Teaching. They neither understand it nor respect it.
Christian clerics also insist that the “false brothers” who were advocating on behalf of the Torah were “Judaizers.” But this is ridiculous. Judaism is predicated upon Rabbinic Law, upon the Talmud, as opposed to Yahowah’s Torah. And Jews don’t evangelize.
That means Christian theologians would be wrong on every account, that is, except their premise. It saddens me to say that it is obvious: Sha’uwl despised the Torah as much as they do. As a rabbinical student, he hated every word of it, just as do the rabbis of this day, arguing against it in their Talmud.
Yahowah’s position, since it still matters, is the antithesis of Paul’s, Christianity’s, and Judaism’s. The fulcrum upon which the Torah pivots is the Exodus: the story of Yahowah freeing His people from religious and political oppression in Egypt as a result of His Covenant.
This is why the First Statement Yahowah etched on the First of Two Tablets begins: “I am Yahowah, your God, who delivered you from the crucible of Egypt, out of the house of bondage and slavery.” The Exodus serves as a historical portrait of Yahowah’s plan of liberation, one which is prophetically portrayed in the seven Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with God.
The Miqra’ey, the first four of which were fulfilled during the Exodus and by Yahowsha’, free us from being subject to mankind’s political and religious schemes, from mortality, corruption, and separation. Therefore, it is blasphemous for Sha’uwl to suggest that he considered the Torah to be a source of bondage, or for Christians to promote such an idea, especially since the path to freedom delineated, commemorated, predicted, explained, and fulfilled in Yahowah’s seven Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with Him gave birth to the Called-Out Assembly Sha’uwl was addressing.
Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis chronicles Abraham’s journey away from the religious climate of Babylon and into a liberating personal relationship with God. For only the second time in human history, the Creator and His creation walked side by side as friends. This relationship developed into the Family-Oriented Covenant which served as the backbone of the Torah and as the expedient of the Exodus. The first four Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with God were fulfilled to deliver its promises on Passover, Unleavened Bread, and FirstFruits, giving birth to the empowering and enriching aspects of Seven Sabbaths. In this way, Yahowah has freed us from death and from sin, from all forms of human oppression. And with the relationship reconciled, we are adopted into Yahowah’s family. It is one cohesive story from beginning to end. There are no turns in this path, no dead ends. There are no changes or modifications along the way.
In this light, and as I’ve shared before, the definition of the Hebrew title Towrah isn’t “Law,” but is instead “Teaching and Guidance.” The Towrah is our “Owner’s Manual” written by life’s Architect. It is the soil from which the Tree of Life grows. Its fruit is a loving relationship leading to salvation, to knowing God and to living forever with Him. Every word of the Towrah exists to highlight this path.
As we discussed briefly a moment ago, while infinitely more essential, circumcision is somewhat like baptism in this regard. The acts themselves don’t save us. It’s what they represent that matters. So long as we understand and accept that circumcision is symbolic of being separated and set-apart from man’s desires and from his oppressive religious schemes so that we can enter into the “beryth – Familial Covenant Relationship” with God, we are spiritually circumcised. So long as we understand and accept that baptism is symbolic of being reborn by way of the Set-Apart Spirit, of being immersed in Her Garment of Light, and of having our souls purified and cleansed by our Spiritual Mother, we are spiritually baptized. That said, physical circumcision remains a condition of the Covenant, so every man who wants to participate in it is encouraged to tangibly demonstrate his commitment to the relationship in this manner.
We observe the Towrah by closely examining and carefully considering Yahowah’s teaching and guidance. We benefit from the Towrah when we respond to what we have come to learn and understand. Slavishly devoting oneself to a rigorous regime of doing everything the Torah says, however, at precisely the right time and in precisely the right way, and never doing anything contrary to its instructions, has never saved anyone. But coming to understand the towrah, and then capitalizing upon the means to reconciliation articulated therein, has ransomed and redeemed every child of the Covenant.
Returning to the passage, here is what the King James Version says relative to Galatians 2:5, not that I understand it: “To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” If it is possible to make Paul sound worse than he already does, credit the English for revealing it.
Since the Latin Vulgate reads: “We did not yield to them in subjection, even for an hour, in order that the truth of the evangelii would remain with you,” we know why “subjection” and “gospel” were included in more recently compiled Greek texts, and in every subsequent translation. And yet, no one was trying to hold anyone in “subjection,” and Yahowah doesn’t have a “gospel.”
But you wouldn’t know it by reading the New Living Translation. In another break from their “Essentially Literal and Dynamic Equivalent” philosophy, one which has consistently rendered euangelion as “Good News,” this time they wrote “Gospel” (even though euangelion wasn’t actually written in the Greek text). “But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you.” It’s too bad the Tyndale brain trust wasn’t as committed to “preserving the truth.” (Not that it’s found in Paul’s epistles.)
Moving on to the next plank in the Ark of the Deception, we find our handrail in this disorienting realm of Pauline verbosity, the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear, suggesting that the troubadour of faith provided the following rebuttal to his critics: “From but the ones thinking to be somewhat kind then they were nothing to me it differs face the God of man not receives to me for the ones thinking nothing conferred.”
More literally and completely rendered from the words Sha’uwl actually selected, his retort was materially more demeaning and considerably less convincing:
“But (de – and then now) from (apo) those (ton – the ones) currently reputed and supposed (dokei – presently presumed based upon opinions and appearances) to be (eimi) someone important (tis – something) based upon some sort of (hopoios – some kind of) unspecified past (pote – both former or present time), they were actually (eimi – they were in the past and continue to genuinely exist as (imperfect active indicative)) nothing (oudeis – of no account and completely meaningless and worthless) to me (moi).
It carries through (diaphero – it currently actively and actually (present active indicative) spreads, really performs drifting different ways, it presently bears in alternate directions; from dia – through and diaphero – to carry a burden) the face (prosopon – head, person, individual, and appearance) of the God (o ΘΣ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty) of man (anthropou – of a human) not (ou) take hold of (lambano – presently obtain, actually acquire, or actively receive (present active indicative)).
Because (gar – making a connection) to me (emoi), the ones (oi) currently presuming and supposing (oi dokei – presently dispensing opinions based upon reputed appearances), of no account (oudeis – nothing and nobody, meaningless and worthless) was their advice and counsel (prosanatithemai – was their one time cause, additional comments, and limited contribution (in the aorist indicative this was a merely a moment in time having occurred in the past)).” (Galatians 2:6)
So much of this is awkward and disjointed. And the combination of the odd selection of verbs, the missing prepositions, the inappropriate grammatical forms, and the overall lack of sufficient information renders the result an enigma. But in the context of a meeting with the Called Out in Yaruwshalaim, besides Yahowsha’s Disciples, and specifically Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and Ya’aqob, who else could have been in attendance who might have been “reputed and supposed to be someone important based upon something that occurred in past?” No one else could have been held to be especially important. But then to say that these men “were actually worthless” to Paul is gut wrenching. And since the Disciples are the only potential candidates for Paul’s demeaning dismissal, why didn’t this weasel have the courage to name them here while he is rebuking them? Fact is, he will name them three sentences hence, but only because he claims that Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and Ya’aqob granted him the right place of honor and authority.
But I must ask: why does Sha’uwl’s opinion matter? Why attend a meeting if the counsel of others is considered meaningless? Why did Paul respond by undermining the credibility of those who challenged him rather than by debating them? Typically, those who counter challenges in this manner do so because they realize that they cannot prevail on the merits of their argument.
So in the first sentence, it’s what’s not said that renders the result somewhere between senseless and salacious. But with the second statement, we have to question whether Paul was even lucid. Diaphero speaks of “carrying different things, typically a burden, in various ways.” So how does one apply this activity to “the face of the God” or to the context of the discussion? Why wasn’t a preposition added before “the face” and why was “anthropou – man” scribed in the genitive, making it “of man?” Furthermore, how does any of this relate to “lambano – taking, obtaining, acquiring, or receiving?”
If Paul was intending to say that “there are no distinctions in the presence of God which a man can receive,” then that is what he should have written. But he didn’t, and I suspect that is because he, himself, claimed to be different and distinct, to hold a status no one else had ever acquired – the lone chosen and appointed apostle to the Gentiles (and thus 99.9% of the world). Therefore, if the words are accurately translated, the statement is senseless. But if we try to make sense of them though copious copyediting, Paul’s entire mantra is contradicted.
As a result, all we know for sure is that Paul writes poorly. Additionally, he held Yahowsha’s Disciples in low esteem. And he felt that it was easier to demean them than it would have been to debate them.
Overall, this is an interesting comment for Sha’uwl to make considering his penchant for offering unsubstantiated opinions as if they were snowflakes in the Arctic. To him it is as if the three years the Disciples spent listening to and observing Yahowsha’ didn’t mean squat. Sha’uwl, after all, had been to rabbi school, and they were manual laborers. So I suppose that this is not unlike the disdain clerics have for laity today.
This is the second time over the course of five statements that we have confronted “dokei – were of the opinion.” And in this context, it is dokei’s subjective side which unequivocally prevails. According to Paul, these men “purported” to be important, and they “considered” themselves authorities. They were wannabes in Paul’s opinion. And yet, they were irrefutably called by God, publicly appointed Disciples by God, and led and instructed by God over the course of time, all within the purview of history. But compare that to Sha’uwl who can’t name a single witness to corroborate his momentary misadventure on the road out of town.
Besides the obvious, this passage should have been a warning to the Roman Catholic Church. Their patron saint has just said that his god, which is the Christian god, does not recognize human hierarchies. Those who claim rank in relationship to the Pauline god, such as popes, not only have no such authority, they are operating in direct opposition to the founder of their faith.
In actuality, however, some do have an elevated and special standing with God. We are His Covenant children. We are His heirs, inheriting everything He has to offer, from eternal life to perfection, from adoption to empowerment.
While it is akin to putting a pig in a pretty pink dress, I suppose it might have been good had Sha’uwl affirmed that religious and political hierarchies have no standing with God. Had these men not been Yahowsha’s handpicked Disciples, it would have been appropriate to identify the nature of the organization to which other men may have once belonged, and also to have listed the invalid positions others may have articulated. So while just three sentences from now will reveal the names of those he is impugning, in Luke’s testimony in Acts, beyond the Disciples, themselves, the only others mentioned may have formerly been associated with the Pharisees – but so was Paul. And even then, we are left wondering what issues they may have raised.
Based upon what follows in this letter, from Paul’s perspective the worthless wannabes were Disciples, specifically Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and Ya’aqob. And their testimony was discounted because they encouraged everyone to observe the Torah. And that revelation is devastating to Paul’s credibility, because speaking of those who had promoted Yahowah’s Torah, he just said that they “added nothing to the conversation.” With Paul, it continues to be one step sideways and all others backwards.
Since this allegation was utterly devastating to King James’ claim to having divine authority to rule, which was the entire purpose behind the publication of the King James Bible, the passage was edited to say that “God accepteth no man’s person.” I kid you not. KJV: “But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:” Last time I checked, the purpose of salvation was so that God could “accept man’s person.”
Jerome had the same problem with his pope, so he authored: “and away from those who were pretending to be something. (Whatever they might have been once, it means nothing to me. God does not accept the reputation of a man.) And those who were claiming to be something had nothing to offer me.” Sha’uwl’s convoluted refutation of divine sanction was something they were unwilling to convey. So they copyedited the letter to suit their leader’s agenda. But to his credit, Jerome accurately captured Paul’s attitude and ego, if not also his underlying insecurity.
The NLT must have considered the words: “but then (de) from (apo) those (ton)” unimportant, so they omitted them from their rendering. And they evidently wanted Paul to be seen referencing “the leaders of the church,” so they arbitrarily added this clause. Likewise, the NLT “translators” must have thought it would have been nice for Paul to have written “to what I was preaching,” so they included this thought into the text of the epistle as well. And “by the way” must have seemed like the way Paul would have conveyed his thought had he been as articulate as the Tyndale team. Similarly the NLT’s inclusion of “great leaders” and “favorites” was without textual support. So much for being Essentially Literal: “And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.)” To the contrary, God has favorites. Adam, Chawah, Enoch, Noah and his family, Abraham, Sarah, Yitschaq, Ya’aqob, Lot, Moseh (through whom the Torah was revealed), Dowd / David, Shamow’el, and Yahowsha’ immediately come to mind. And, of course, Paul has gone out of his way to tell us that he was preferred over all others.
The transition from the derogatory, “but now from the ones currently reputed, presumed, and supposed to be someone important based upon some sort of unspecified past, they were actually and continue to be nothing, completely meaningless and totally worthless, to me,” to “Petros” in this next sentence is concerning. Since Shim’own had been a Disciple, and was now the most respected member of Yaruwshalaim’s Called-Out Assembly, it infers that Paul thought that Peter’s “opinions added nothing to the conversation.”
In support of this unflattering conclusion, Galatians 2:7 begins with a somewhat contrarian position. The Greek actually reads:
“Contrariwise (tounantion – on the contrary), nevertheless (alla – however notwithstanding the objection, exception, or restriction), having seen and perceived (horao – having looked at, having been aware of, and having looked at) that because (oti – namely for the reason) I have been believed (pisteuo – I have been convinced to faithfully give credence to, thereby I have been entrusted (in the perfect tense this occurred in the past producing the state which exists in the present, in the passive voice, Sha’uwl had this done to him, and in the indicative mood, it actually occurred)) with the (to) healing message and beneficial messenger (euangelion) of the uncircumcised (tes akrobystia) inasmuch as (kathos – to the degree that and just as) Petros (Petros – rock or stone; typically transliterated “Peter;” the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic kephas) of the circumcised (tes peritome).” (Galatians 2:7)
As has been the case previously, we cannot blame the scribes for the apparent deficiencies. The Greek text reads exactly this way in every ancient manuscript, including Papyrus 46—which dates to as early as 85 CE.
The Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition with McReynolds English Interlinear, the most acclaimed scholarly representation of the text, presents these same words as follows: “But on the contrary having seen that I have been trusted the good message of the uncircumcision just as Peter of the circumcision.”
Therefore, should we believe Sha’uwl, Shim’own Kephas and Paulos were assigned the same mission, but to different people. But if this was the case, why was Paul so condemning of the Disciple’s message?
And while this statement is less grammatically deficient than the preceding six, it is barely literate and its message is contrarian and convoluted. For example, tounantion literally means “opposite or contrariwise,” although it can be rendered “rather” or “to the contrary.” And that begs the question, how and why was Paul’s message so contrary to the presumed leaders of the Yaruwshalaim ekklesia?
Likewise, alla also conveys “to the contrary,” in addition to “nevertheless and notwithstanding,” indicating that there is a “significant contrast, objection, exception, distinction, or exemption” being made. But the problem with both of these terms, and most especially the use of tounantion in conjunction with alla, is that this clause isn’t related to God’s disdain for hierarchies, or to self-promoting types not adding anything to this conversation. So as back to back comparative terms denoting a very significant contrast, they were deployed to demonstrate that Paul sharply disagreed with what was being said at the meeting. And that means that Galatians 2:7 is not only about divvying up the world, with Paul taking a 99.99% share for himself, his use of tounantion alla screams that neither his power grab nor his disdain for the Torah were well received. So he was telling Yahowsha’s Disciples to capitulate—to see things his way, to accept their fate and his, and to live with it.
And please don’t miss the fact that Paul divided the world between the circumcised and the uncircumcised. So since male circumcision is an absolute requirement to participate in the Covenant, Paul’s followers would remain estranged from God. And since God only saves His Covenant children, they would all die. But at least he has staked out his turf. Unfortunately, however, by doing so he has declared his animosity to everything God holds dear.
From henceforth, Sha’uwl would be the Torah’s principle antagonist, and in pursuit of his new religion, he would do everything in his power to keep those who disagreed with him away from his target audience—the world apart from Jews. And in so doing, from Sha’uwl’s perspective, Jews became competitors and opponents—his rivals and thus enemies. So while Yahowah’s Chosen People had faced the wrath of the Egyptians, the Philistines, the Hittites, the Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans, Paul would be their most formidable foe. The religion he conceived with this statement and with this letter would be a two-thousand-year curse and lead directly to the death of more Followers of the Way and Jews at large than any villain in their history.
Prior to this parting of the ways, the overwhelming preponderance of the followers of The Way had been Torah observant Yahuwdym who had come to know and trust Yahowah through the way the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’ lived and affirmed the Torah and Prophets. They had invited and welcomed Gowym into the Covenant family with open arms – but under the same terms. However, now, as a result of Sha’uwl’s mindset and this meeting, Paul’s new faith would reflect a contrarian view. A wedge was being driven between Jews and Gentiles creating a distinction where there had been none. Paul’s “church” would henceforth view Yahowah’s Chosen People as a conniving and ruthless enemy, and Christians would come to discount their God, His Land, and Word.
Even the Shim’own bar Kochba revolt against Rome in 133 CE which led to the Diaspora was rooted in Sha’uwl’s animosity for his own people. The false messiah’s sponsor, Rabbi Akiba, was able to wage his revolt by completing the job Sha’uwl had begun, completely isolating and marginalizing the Yisra’elite members of The Way so that they had no safe harbor. Hated by everyone, they were destroyed before Akiba’s loyalists were routed by Rome, severing the connection between Yahuwdym and the Land as well as The Way.
Rather than Yahowah’s Spirit guiding him, Sha’uwl’s ego blinded him. His anti-Torah message would be in direct opposition to Yahowah’s instructions. The constraints he put on Shim’own Kephas’ mission were now in direct opposition to Yahowsha’s instructions. So if Sha’uwl was opposed to Yahowah and Yahowsha’, who was he aligned with and promoting?
Since we don’t have much to work with when trying to translate Galatians 2:7, before I share my thoughts on why these deficiencies exist, let’s consider how Bacon and Jerome dealt with Paul’s concluding statement. KJV: “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;” As we shall see, the King James Version is setting the stage for Paul’s “Two Covenant Theory.”
The KJV added “when they” without textual support. They errantly replaced euangelion with “Gospel.” The King James also added the clause “was committed to me” without justification in the Greek text. They repeated “gospel” a second time, even though there was no basis for doing so. Then they added, again without support in the Greek, “was and unto” before Petros. In other words, there is almost no correlation between the Greek manuscripts and the English found in the King James.
But as a result of all of their contribution to Paul’s epistle, it was now: “the gospel of the uncircumcision” which “was committed unto [Paul].” So while this wasn’t an accurate translation, as an occultist, Sir Francis Bacon had no difficulty conveying the intended message. By discouraging circumcision, half of the world’s population was automatically and irrevocably excluded from the Covenant and thus could not be saved. If you were opposed to God, it was a brilliant move.
Jerome’s take on the verse was astute. While he had to add the words “it was,” “since,” “they,” “me,” and “to,” at least his definition of pisteuo as “was entrusted to” was reasonable. However, by doing so, he undermined his translation of pisteuo as “faith” elsewhere. Jerome also had to significantly alter the word order. Yet, these things aside, considering what he was working with, it was a respectable effort. At least he did not create a “new gospel for the uncircumcised.” “But it was to the contrary, since they had seen that the evangelium to the uncircumcised was entrusted to me, just as the circumcised to Petro.”
However, from: “contrariwise, nevertheless notwithstanding the objection, exception, or restriction, having seen and perceived that because namely I have been believed entrusted with the healing message of the uncircumcised inasmuch as Petros of the circumcised,” the NLT produced: “Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews.” And yet there is no indication, apart from Sha’uwl’s power grab, that this was true. In fact, to the contrary, Yahowsha’ called Petros “the rock upon which I will build My called-out assembly.” So either Yahowsha’ was lying or Paul was.
The reality that we must confront here, at least to be honest with ourselves, is that this sentence doesn’t even approximate Godly perfection. In fact, even if it had been appropriately worded, it wasn’t true. According to Acts 15, neither Shim’own nor Ya’aqob supported Sha’uwl’s position. And since we are compelled to think, I want to deal openly and thoughtfully with what Sha’uwl has written. After all, we are encouraged to test messages, searching to know if they are from God or from man.
The first step with regard to these deficiencies is to admit the obvious: the writing quality is poor. It is most certainly beneath God’s talent to have inspired this. And while we cannot blame Paul for “Gospel,” we cannot excuse his replacement of Yahowah’s fortuitous gift with the Greek goddesses, “Charis,” or their Roman counterparts, the “Gratia.” Further, there is too much ambiguity in this letter for it to be considered Divine. More often than not, the nature of the problems Sha’uwl was encountering was inadequately developed. And soon, we will be left wondering which set of instructions Paul was promoting or assailing—the Torah or the Talmud (the Jerusalem Talmud existed at this time, but not the Babylonian extension).
So, for what it is worth, and that may be nothing, here is the most favorable spin I can put on these words, a perspective that is very thinly supported by what we are reading. A possible justification for the defects in wording may have been because Sha’uwl was dictating this as a letter to a community of people he distrusted in response to an attack on his qualifications and on his message. The penman may have been one of Paul’s associates as opposed to a professional scribe. But the bigger issue was that Paul was angry, hurt, and overly emotional, and he let his ego get in the way.
But to infer, especially without any textual support, that Sha’uwl’s letters were inspired, word for word as the Set-Apart Spirit moved his lips, is to demean Yahowah’s ability to communicate. Unlike what we find in the Torah, there is no instruction to write Yahowah’s words down, to pass God’s personal, first-person testimony on to future generations. There is no admonition to leave God’s witness exactly as it was delivered, without any additions or subtractions. There is no comparison between the magnificently profound, mind-expanding, and soul-stirring presentation we consistently experience in the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms and what we are reading here. Moreover, much of Sha’uwl’s message has been untrue—and all of it has been unsupported.
One of my favorite litmus tests, at least apart from Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 13 and 18, for determining that which is from man and that which was created by God, is the comparison between the pin and the lily. Both serve a purpose, but one is beautiful, no matter how closely you look. Examine a pin under a microscope, as we are doing here with Paul’s letters, and the flaws become pervasive. Not so with the lily, where like Scripture, the more it is magnified, the more obvious it becomes that it was authored by a superior being.
Therefore, it is obvious that Paul’s letters are from Sha’uwl of Tarsus, not God. And Paulos had his issues, being both insane and demon-possessed. These problems bubble to the surface in Galatians, a letter which chronicles one of the darkest episodes in this controversial man’s life. As such, this epistle remains his most haunting legacy. And that is the most positive and conciliatory explanation of the evidence at our disposal—at least at this point in our investigation. We still have a great deal to learn.
But even if you don’t agree with my conclusion, it would be preposterous to conclude that the manuscript copies of this letter, both ancient and modern, replete as they all are with numerous grammatical deficiencies and inaccurate statements, represent the perfect and inerrant, the divinely-breathed and inspired, Word of God—i.e., Scripture. The God I have come to know in the Torah does not make mistakes. Further, Sha’uwl’s will never escape the dark shadow of death Yahowah cast upon him in Habakkuk.
All that matters is that Yahowah has demonstrated that the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms are perfect, complete, trustworthy, and reliable—easy to understand and totally sufficient with regard to our spiritual renewal. Our relationship with God and salvation are predicated exclusively upon Yahowah, His credibility and His Word.
Before we move on, let’s summarize where we have just been. Paul’s relentless onslaught has taken a negative turn, replete with many notions which are either conflicting or errant:
“Later, through fourteen years, also, I went up to Yaruwshalaim along with Barnabas, having taken along also Titus. (2:1)
I went up, but then downward from uncovering an unveiling revelation which lays bare, laying down to them the beneficial messenger which I preach among the races down from my own, uniquely and separately, but then to the opinions, presumptions, and suppositions, not somehow perhaps into foolishness and stupidity, without purpose or falsely, I might run or I ran (2:2) – to the contrary, not even Titus, a Greek being, was compelled, forced or pressured, to be circumcised – (2:3) but then on account of the impersonators who faked their relationship brought in surreptitiously under false pretenses, who sneaked into the group to secretly spy upon and clandestinely plot against the freedom from conscience and liberation from the constraints of morality that we possess in Christo Iesou in order that us they will actually make subservient, controlling for their own ends, (2:4) to whom neither to a moment we yielded, surrendered, or submitted in order that the truth of the God may continue to be associated among you. (2:5)
But now from the ones currently reputed, presumed, and supposed to be someone important based upon some sort of unspecified past, they were actually and continue to be nothing, completely meaningless and totally worthless, to me. It carries through and bears differently the face of the God of man not take hold of, acquire, or receive, because to me, the ones currently presuming and supposing, presently dispensing opinions based upon reputed appearances, of no account, utterly meaningless and worthless, was their advice and counsel, their cause and contribution in the past. (2:6)
Contrariwise, nevertheless notwithstanding the objection, exception, or restriction, having seen and perceived that because namely I have been believed entrusted with the healing message and beneficial messenger of the uncircumcised inasmuch as Petros / Rock of the circumcised.” (Galatians 2:7)
It is hard to imagine that this as the product of a sane or rational mind. It is rambling and psychotic, delusional and paranoid. It serves to prove that Yahowah was right when He warned us not to trust this horrible individual.
The realization that Galatians is not Scripture, however, does not infer that a spirit wasn’t engaged in Sha’uwl’s mission. By using energeo in the next statement, Sha’uwl was saying that something was “functioning” in him, “facilitating” the results the Christian world has come to acknowledge.
“For indeed (gar – because then namely), the one (o – article nominative singular masculine) having previously functioned (energeo – (scribed energesas) having operated and produced previously at work (in the aorist participle, this refers to a snapshot in antecedent time)) in Petro (Petro – in rock or stone; typically transliterated “Peter” from the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic kephas) to (eis – into and inside) an apostle (apostolen – one who is prepared to be sent out with a message) for the (tes) circumcision (peritome), it actually functioned (energeo – (scribed energesen) it truly operated and really worked (aorist active indicative) also (kai) in me (emoi) to (eis) the nations and ethnicities (ta ethnos – the people from different places and races).” (Galatians 2:8)
According to the testimony provided by Shim’own Kephas to Luke and presented in the opening chapters of Acts, this is wildly inaccurate. The expressed benefit of receiving the Set-Apart Spirit on Seven Sabbaths was the ability to share Yahowah’s and Yahowsha’s message with those who did not speak Hebrew – and thus to the ethnicities. A dozen or so nations were listed as the beneficiaries of the fact that the Called Out in Yaruwshalaim were now able speak whatever language was most familiar to the uncircumcised in nations as distinct as Greece and Rome, Persia and Arabia, Asia and Egypt, even Libya and Crete. (See Acts 2:1-12) Therefore, since Shim’own and all of Yahowsha’s Disciples were among those empowered by the Set-Apart Spirit to specifically witness to ethnicities and nations, Sha’uwl’s limitations on Shim’own are as errant and troubling as is his claim to the rest of the world. And just as he has lied about their relative territory, he has also misrepresented the commonality of the powers working in them.
If this had been true, and it wasn’t, if Sha’uwl had identified the Set-Apart Spirit as the source of his power, but he didn’t, and if he had not improperly divided the world, limiting Shim’own, but he did, this would have been the song sung by every child of the Covenant. So while Sha’uwl remains divisive and dishonest, he was at least suggesting that he and Shim’own were on the same team, and were producing results the same way.
One of the reasons that I prefer the insights we glean through amplification is because of words like energeo. By examining them, we not only plumb the depths of what’s being conveyed, we also come to understand that words like ethnos convey a much broader, and more all-encompassing, idea than either “nations” or “Gentiles.”
Energeo, when applied to Shim’own Kephas, was scribed in the aorist active participle, thereby, exhibiting the characteristics of a verb and an adjective as a moment in antecedent time. This grammatical form is used to say that this took place earlier in his life and that one thing preceded another. But when Sha’uwl applied energeo to himself, he used the aorist active indicative, whereby the mood of assertion proclaims that the state being presented by the writer was real. So in this context, and by incorporating these telling nuances, we can read Paul’s statement to say: “there was a time, long before I took charge, that this other fellow did in a limited way what I’ve done and am doing in a massive way.”
Translated “having previously functioned” and “actually functioned,” the two times it appears in Galatians 2:8, energeo speaks of “causing something to function or work, thereby producing an effect.” But it is an amoral term, without any inference as to whether the power is good or bad, whether the effect being produced is right or wrong, or whether the result is beneficial or harmful. And I suppose this is the reason that Yahowsha’ is never translated using this verb. Therefore, all we know for sure is that Paul wanted his audience to believe that there was no difference between the source and the result of his “power and ability,” and that which had once been demonstrated long ago through Shim’own.
But that false impression evaporates when we examine the Greek text even more closely. Energeo was written as energesas, which is masculine singular in reference to the subject, “o – the one,” also written in the masculine singular. But the ruwach qodesh – Set-Apart Spirit of Yahowah is feminine in Hebrew and neuter in Greek (although the neuter pneuma is universally rendered with a Divine Placeholder, effectively negating its Greek characteristics). Therefore, the source of power Paul was claiming was masculine, and thus could not have been Yahowah’s Set-Apart Spirit—which was most assuredly the source of Shim’own’s power (as documented in Acts 2). Fortunately (or unfortunately depending upon your perspective), as we have already seen, Sha’uwl wasn’t mum on the identity of the spirit who possessed him.
Regarding this highly misleading and inaccurate statement, the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition with McReynolds English Interlinear (NAMI) asserts that Paul wrote: “The one for having operated in Peter to delegateship the circumcision operated also in me to the nations.” Therefore, these things known, save one glaring issue, the translations which follow are reasonable, albeit inadequate. KJV: “(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)” The adjective-verb, energesas, which we have been addressing, was accurately translated “wrought effectually” in its first occurrence, but even though it is singular and masculine in the Greek text, it was not rendered in the third person, making “For ‘he’ that” inappropriate, albeit telling.
And while there was no basis for “he” in the Greek text because “o – the one” is an article and not a pronoun, it’s once again apparent that Jerome’s Latin Vulgate served as the basis of the King James: “For he who was working the Apostolatum/Apostleship to the circumcised in Petro, was also working in me among the Gentes/Gentiles.”
As usual, the NLT has been presumptuous. Paul did not identify the source of his power: “For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles.”
Since the New Living Translation inappropriately associated the entity working with Paul as “God,” I am compelled to provide another option for your consideration. And while I have presented this and will do so again in other chapters, at this juncture it is especially prudent for us to consider the implications of this stunning confession:
“Because (gar – for indeed) if (ean) I might want (thelo – I may decide, desire, propose, or enjoy) to brag (dauchaomai – to boast or to glorify myself) truthfully (aletheia – honestly), I would not be (ouk esomai) unjustified or imprudent (aphron – acting rashly without reason, inappropriate or foolish).
For then (gar – because) I will say (ero) I am presently abstaining (pheidomai – I am currently refraining). But (de) someone (tis) not (un) approaching (eis) me (eme) might ponder (logizomai – may have reason to logically conclude, embrace an opinion, or hold a view) beyond (hyper – over and above and because of) what (o) he sees (blepo – he will be able to view and discern) in me (me), or (e) something (ti) he hears (akouo – he listens to, receives, pays attention to) from (ek) me (emou), (12:6) and of the (kai te – so with regard to the) extraordinary superiority of the exaggerated (hyperbole ton – preeminence and exceedingly great, transcendent, magnificent, and awe-inspiring aspects of the overstated) revelations (apokalypsis – disclosures with the appearance of instructions concerning the unknown).
Therefore (dio – it should be self-evident), in order that (hina – for the purpose that) I not become overly proud and be lifted up (me hyperairomai – I not become conceited, exalting myself beyond what would be justified, so as not to be insolent, audaciously lifting myself above the source of my inspiration), there was given to me (didomi ego – there was deposited upon me, allowing me to experience, there was granted and entrusted to me for my advantage) a sharp goad and troubling thorn (skolops – a sharp pointed prod used to control dumb animals, featuring poisonous scorpion’s stinger) in the body (te sarx – incorporated into the flesh and as an aspect of my physical, animal, and human nature), a messenger (angelos – a spiritual envoy or demonic spirit) of Satan (Satan – a transliteration of satan, Hebrew for the Adversary), in order to (hina – so as to) strike and restrain me (kolaphizo – adversely harm, beat, and torment me, violently mistreating me to painfully afflict, attack, buffet, and batter me; from kolazo – to prune, control, check, curb, and restrain me), so that as a result (hina) at the present time there is the possibility that I might not be conceited, currently exalting myself beyond what would be justified, lifting myself up (me hyperairomai – I may not be overly proud nor excessively exalted or lifted up, overdoing it (scribed in the present tense, meaning at this time, in the passive voice, affirming that this is being done to him, with the subjective mood indicating that this outcome is a mere possibility, and in the first person singular, thereby identifying Paulos as the one being possessed and controlled).” (2 Corinthians 12:6-7)
This unequivocally and undeniably reveals the identity of Paul’s power. And it explains why “the one” providing it was masculine, not feminine.
In the next chapter, “Kataginosko – Convicted,” we will consider what Paul just said in the context of the Dionysus quote attributed to the flashing light he encountered on the road to Damascus. But suffice it to say for now, Paul admitted that he was driven by his ego and controlled by a demon.
Without the clutter of the Greek text, the Adversary’s Apostle testified: “Because indeed if I might want or may desire to brag and boast, glorifying myself, honestly, I would not be unjustified or imprudent. But then I will say I am presently abstaining and currently refraining. But someone not approaching me might ponder beyond what he sees in me, or something he hears from me, (12:6) or of the extraordinary superiority of the preeminent and exceedingly great revelations.
Therefore it should be self-evident, in order that I not become overly proud and be lifted up, exalting myself beyond what would be justified, there was given to me a sharp goad and troubling thorn in the body, a messenger and spiritual envoy of Satan, in order to strike and restrain me, controlling me, so that as a result at the present time there is the possibility that I might not be conceited, currently exalting myself beyond what would be justified, lifting myself up.” (2 Corinthians 12:6-7)
After you catch your breath, we’ll move on.
As we have come to expect with Paul, after stepping sideways, he stumbles backwards again. He is once again associating his message with his favorite pagan goddesses.
“And (kai) having known and having recognized (ginosko – having become familiar with and having acknowledged) the Grace (ten Charis – the name of the lovely and lascivious Greek goddesses of merriment, known to the Romans as the Gratia, from which “Grace” is derived) of the one (ten – article accusative singular feminine) having been given (didomi – having been offered and bestowed, having been assigned, experienced, and furnished) to me (moi), Ya’aqob (Iakobos – an inaccurate transliteration of Ya’aqob, meaning One who Digs in his Heels, Standing Steadfast), and (kai) Kephas (Kephas – a transliteration of the Aramaic word for stone, the nickname Yahowsha’ gave Shim’own), and also (kai) Yahowchanan (Ioannas – an inaccurate Greek transliteration of Yahowchanan, a compound of Yahowah and chanan meaning Yahowah is Merciful), the ones (oi) presently presumed and regarded (dokei – currently considered and supposed, of the opinion and assumed) to be (eimi) pillars (stulos – metaphorically used to symbolize an important, authorized, or authoritative leader, especially someone who establishes, upholds, and supports), the right (dexias – to take the right hand and place of honor and authority) they gave (didomi – they offered, granted, and extended) to me (emoi), and (kai) to Barnabas (Barnabas – meaning Son of a Prophet) fellowship (koinonia – association and participation) as a result (hina). We (emeis) to (eis) the (ta) nations and ethnicities (ethnos – people from different races and places), but (de) they (autos) to (eis) the circumcision (ten peritome).” (Galatians 2:9)
Conveying the meaning of the same words somewhat differently, the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear reads: “And having known the favor the one having been given to me Jacob and Cephas and John the ones thinking pillars to be right they gave to me and Barnabas of partnership that we to the nations themselves but to the circumcision.”
While the Greek doesn’t flow exceptionally well into English, the message translates that Sha’uwl claimed that the three men closest to Yahowsha’, His brother, Ya’aqob, the excitable, albeit thoughtful, Shim’own Kephas, and the most beloved Disciple, the man named for this very mission, Yahowchanan (Yah is Merciful), all allegedly “granted the right place of honor and authority to” Paul. And then as an afterthought, they said that his pal, Barny, could tag along. But it is all a lie, both egotistical and delusional.
While it may be a smaller issue among much bigger ones, the distinction between how Paul says he was treated versus Barnabas is revealing. Based upon the way Paul worded this, associating “the right” with him and “fellowship” with Barnabas, it would be inappropriate to suggest that the “right hand of fellowship was extended to Paul and Barnabas.” And with this deliberate distinction, rendering dexias as “the right hand,” when removed from “koinonia – fellowship,” would be misleading. Therefore, we are left with what the context thus far has consistently conveyed: Paul wants us to believe that the Disciples Yahowchanan, Shim’own, and Ya’aqob stepped aside to position Sha’uwl in “dexias – the place of honor and authority.” And if you believe that...
But at least now we know one thing for absolute certain. The men who Sha’uwl was demeaning with “dokei – presumed and supposed” have been named: Yahowchanan, Shim’own, and Ya’aqob. And while that is what we suspected, in this context, it is ironic because in 2:6 Paulos told us that their “advice and counsel was utterly worthless” and that they “meant absolutely nothing to him.” But now that Paulos craves their endorsement, all of a sudden the “presumed pillars” are credible – at least when seen stepping aside and bowing to the ascendency of Paul.
While it is another small thing, you may have noticed that “the one” has changed genders from one sentence to the next. He was masculine in 2:8, but in the shadow of the naked goddesses of licentiousness, she is now feminine in 2:9. This suggests, at least grammatically, that the Charities empowered Paulos.
It is true that Yahowsha’s Disciples would have recognized the Greek and Roman goddesses, and they most likely suspected that Paul was associating his faith with the Charities, but that’s not a good thing. Although, in a conversation between four Yahuwdym, they all would have spoken Hebrew, so charis would have been chanan. But then, for there to be mutual familiarity and acceptance, they would have had to agree on circumcision, because without it there is no mercy.
Beyond his associating with false gods, and taunting the First Statement Yahowah engraved on the First Tablet, the evidence suggests that Paul’s declaration was another lie. Even if the “dexias – the right” is extrapolated to be “the right hand” as in a “handshake” or “greeting” rather than “the right to take the place of honor and authority,” in Acts we learn that the greeting preceded the discussion, making this account, where “ginosko – recognition” precedes acceptance, invalid.
In Galatians the inference is that the Disciples had listened to Paul’s presentation of his past preaching, and then approved of it, offering him the position of power and authority. Thereby, the use of “ginosko – knowing and recognizing” at this juncture portends that Ya’aqob’s, the Rock’s, and Yahowchanan’s acknowledgement should be equated to an acceptance of his message. But as I’ve mentioned, in Acts we learn that this welcoming greeting occurred before, not after, Paul presented his case, and therefore it did not serve as an endorsement of his ministry.
On the positive side, the Greek word stulos is related to stauros, the “upright pillar” upon which Yahowsha’ hung, opening the door to life. His sacrifice as the Upright Pillar (the ‘edon) on the upright pole (stauros) was “symbolic of the authorized and authoritative leader who establishes and upholds (stulos).” And that is why in most of the early manuscripts “stauros – upright pillar” was written by way of a Divine Placeholder – literally associating Passover’s Doorway to Life with God, Himself.
Stulos, which literally means “a pillar or column which stands and supports something,” is used several times in the Greek texts. The next two occurrences are found in Revelation 3:12 and 10:1. The ‘edon concept of the “Upright One who is the Foundation of the Tabernacle” is advanced by: “All who are victorious will become pillars (stulos) in the Tabernacle of My God and will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of My God ” (Revelation 3:12).
In Revelation 10:1, the stulos symbolism is reminiscent of Yahowah going before the Children of Yisra’el by day as a pillar-shaped cloud and by night as a pillar of light. “Then I saw another mighty messenger coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over His head. His face shone like the sun, and His feet were like pillars (stulos) of fire.”
On the less than admirable side of the ledger, while the metaphor being established here is uplifting, there is a disturbing tone to some of this which needs to be considered. While dokei can convey the idea of “choosing to think and of thought,” its primary meaning is more along the lines of “supposition and presumption,” and thus of “imagination and opinion.” That is not to say that dokei cannot be translated as “recognized and regarded,” as evidenced by the verb dokimazo, which means to “examine, to regard as worthwhile, and to judge as good, genuine, worthy.” But recognizing and acknowledging that Sha’uwl’s intent was to label Ya’aqob, Shim’own, and Yahowchanan “the supposed, presumed, and opinionated” pillars would be more accurate – especially since he has already equated this word to these men to say that they were meaningless and worthless.
So we must ask: why would Sha’uwl choose to refer to the three most important Disciples as the “dokei – assumed” pillars when he could have used “epiginosko – acknowledged” pillars? Epiginosko speaks of “a thoughtful conclusion which is formed after becoming thoroughly acquainted with the evidence.” Epiginosko is the “synthesis of knowledge and understanding, of having sufficient information and the ability to process it rationally.” Epiginosko is “objective” while dokei is “subjective.” Epiginosko speaks of “an informed conclusion” while dokei is “an unfounded opinion.” Therefore, in our search for truth, in our desire to know that which is trustworthy and reliable, epiginosko is the epitome of that quest, while dokei leads us backwards into the murky and mystical religious realm of faith. Further, dokei continues to pit Paul against the Disciples, as opposed to unifying them and their mission.
Twice now Paulos has divided the room, and each time inaccurately and unfairly, claiming that the outreach of Shim’own, Ya’aqob, and Yahowchanan, was limited to the Jews, while his mission encompassed the whole world—the nations and races. This simply was not true on either side.
Yahowchanan’s mission wasn’t limited. If anything, it was focused on the “uncircumcised,” especially the Greco-Roman world. He lived in Ephesus—the largest, most influential Greco-Roman city in the world. And Yahowchanan was the leader of the ekklesia there, not Sha’uwl. Moreover, Yahowchanan’s eyewitness account of Yahowsha’s words and deeds was written in Ephesus, a city which lies well beyond the province of Galatia from the perspective of Yahuwdah / Judea. And it is interesting, that according to his second letter to Timothy, everyone who knew Paul intimately, ultimately rejected him.
In this light, if we were to consider the Torah as the treasure in the chest of the Ark of the Covenant, then Yahowchanan’s eyewitness account of Yahowsha’s life helps illuminate many of its most profound truths. Said another way, I have come to understand the Torah better because of what Yahowchanan recorded Yahowsha’ saying and doing. And I’m sure I’m not alone.
While the eyewitness account of Mattanyah (meaning: Yah’s Gift) was written from the perspective of a Yahuwdym, and is especially meaningful to me know that I’ve come to cherish the Torah, Yahowchanan’s testimony was written to appeal to the Western mind, to enlightened Greeks. Its opening chapter is a soaring treatise on the Logos becoming flesh and tabernacling among us—a concept that resonated with, and inspired, Greeks and those who learned to think like them. To my mind, Yahowchanan’s commentary, at least apart from the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms, is among the most brilliant presentations ever written.
Further, Yahowchanan’s eyewitness account of Yahowsha’s Revelation, which was developed on the Greek Island of Patmos, provides a set of clues which assists us in our quest to understand the words of the prophets, especially those predictions which pertain to the last two-thousand years of human history. Without the book of Revelation, understanding what they predicted would be a bit more challenging.
I share this with you because to this Gentile, Yahowchanan’s writings are influential, enlightening, reliable, and accurate. And in my opinion, without Yahowchanan’s testimony, many of the seeds the Disciples spread throughout the nations would not have grown.
So, not only was Sha’uwl wrong in limiting Yahowchanan’s influence, claiming it for himself, in conjunction with his use of “dokei – presumed” with regard to Yahowchanan’s status, this letter has taken on an undeserved and undeniable egotistical tint, bordering on delusional.
And as we have just discovered, Paul’s ego was so enormous the Devil had to prod him to control him—to keep him in line. But that was not only the thorn in Paul’s side; it was just the reason for it. After all, Sha’uwl was a self-proclaimed expert on all things pertaining to rabbinic Judaism. And He was a Roman citizen from Tarsus, the center of Greco-Roman enlightenment. Adding to his résumé, Sha’uwl had studied in Yaruwshalaim / Jerusalem under Gamaliel, the foremost religious scholar of his day, and he wanted to be known as an extraordinary student with a superior intellect. He considered himself a soaring orator and an accomplished writer. By comparison, Ya’aqob was a lowly stonemason from Nazareth, and Shim’own and Yahowchanan were fishermen from backwater towns in Galilee. So while Sha’uwl protests (when it serves his interest) that men hold no rank with God, among men, Paulos seemed to rank himself well above others.
Continuing to deal with this controversial passage, we find the KJV affirming the “supposed” connotation of dokei: “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” But that is not what Paul wrote. The “right” was only associated with Paul and “fellowship” was all that was attributed to Barnabas. Remember... “And having known and having recognized, becoming familiar with the Grace of the one having been given to me, Ya’aqob, Kephas, and also Yahowchanan, the ones presently presumed to be pillars, and thus leaders, the right place of honor and authority they granted to me, and to Barnabas fellowship as a result. We to the nations and ethnicities, but they to the circumcision. (2:9)
Jerome’s Vulgate blend of Old Latin texts revealed: “And so, when they had acknowledged the gratiam/grace that was given to me, Iacobus, Cephas and Ioannes, who seemed like pillars, gave to me and to Barnabæ the right hand of fellowship, so that we would go to the Gentes/Gentiles, while they went to the circumcisionem/circumcised,” Jerome also picked up the less than flattering nature of dokei with “seemed to be” and “seemed like.” And while we may also see glimpses here into the secret handshake of fellowship associated with the Mithraism mysteries, Jerome is to blame for creating the myth of “the right hand of fellowship” being offered to both men.
Writing their own bible, the New Living Translation authored the following verse, repeating every mistake while creating some of their own: “In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews.” In this case, they weren’t even consistent with their beloved charis translating it as “gift,” rather than transliterating the Roman goddesses’ name. This malfeasance highlights the most serious problem with Galatians 2:9. This is the second of 107 times that Paul blurred the line between Yahowah and paganism. He said: “having known the Charis of the one given to me.” Charis is the name given to the Greek “Charities,” just as Gratiam identifies the Roman “Graces.”
Had Paul wanted to say that he had been the recipient of Yahowah’s “loving kindness,” he would have selected the Greek word associated with the Ma’aseyah and His followers: chrestos. Elsewhere in the Greek texts, chrestos is rendered “kind,” “good,” “fit for use,” “useful,” “benevolent,” “virtuous,” and “moral” as in “upright.” Chrestos is even translated “gracious” on occasion, albeit should have been rendered “merciful.” In this light, it is little wonder the Ma’aseyah was called Chrestus in Greek, or that those who served with Him were known as Chrestucians. Knowing the appropriateness and history of chrestos, it saddens me more than words can express that Paul didn’t use it instead of charis.
Should you be curious, had Paul wanted to say “favor,” he would have used eunoia. If he had wanted to say “gift,” didomi would have been the perfect choice. If his intent was to say “fortuitous,” tucheros would have worked. “Love” is agape. “Joy” is chara.
More appropriate still, the Greek word for “mercy” is eleeo, and “merciful” is eleemon. Eleeo speaks of “demonstrating mercy through helping the poor and afflicted by providing aid in the form of an unearned gift.” As such, it was a vastly superior term. But there is more. Eleos also conveys “mercy, loving kindness, and goodwill toward those who are troubled.” Ideally, eleos “demonstrates a willingness to help the unpretentious by offering them clemency.” The related eleemosune even speaks of a “merciful gift which is charitably donated to the otherwise impoverished.”
So with many practically perfect words at his disposal, and especially chrestos and eleos, why on earth did Paul choose to promote the name of a pagan goddesses and select Charis? And while I do not know the answer for certain, I know the result. He discredited himself and led billions of souls the wrong way, down a dead-end street. Christians would culture a faith-based relationship with an imaginary deity.
Since Paul’s path has led so many souls away from the Torah, it’s important to recognize that the concept we have come to know as “grace” is advanced more aggressively in Yahowah’s Testimony than it is in Paul’s letters. While I’m sure that is shocking to Christians, the fact remains that God inspired His prophets to write chen and its verb form, chanan, the Hebrew words for “the unearned gift of mercy and loving kindness, of unmerited favor and acceptance,” twice as often as Sha’uwl scribed charis. So, the problem isn’t with the concept of “grace” as we know it today, but instead with Paul’s choice of words.
What we know for certain, however, is that Yahowsha’s words and deeds set an important example for us to follow. Therefore, we must recognize that we are called to nourish both body and soul. And that is why the stonemason and fishermen admonished the scholar:
“Only (monon – just, alone by itself) the (ton) lowly and poor (ptochos – worthless, of little value, beggars, destitute, and impoverished) that (hina – the purpose of) we might remember (mnemoneuo – we could call to mind, be mindful of, and possibly think about) which (hos – who) also (kai) I was eager and quick (spoudazo – I was giving the best effort, always ready) same (autos) this (houtos) to do (poieomai – to accomplish).” (Galatians 2:10)
This is funny in a way since Paulos means “lowly” in Latin. With tongue planted smugly in his cheek, I’m sure he was all too eager to profess that he was ever ready to serve his interests. He was doing so at this very moment. But alas, even if I’m being a little too cynical, what are the chances that after spending three years walking in the footsteps of God, witnessing everything that He said and did, that these three men would distill His words and deeds down to: “alone, by itself, the lowly that we might remember?”
Should this have been the sum total of His life’s work, there would have been just one unidentified and unspecific statement etched on a singular tablet. God could have dispensed with the rest of the Torah, including the Covenant. The Prophets were a waste of time. And why bother with all of the pain associated with fulfilling Passover and Un-Yeasted Bread? For that matter, why did Paul trouble himself by writing thirteen letters? And how does doing this fit into a faith-based religion where works are strictly forbidden?
The NAMI reads: “Alone the poor that we might remember that also I was diligent same this to do.” I suspect Shim’own, Ya’aqob, and Yahowchanan were slightly more articulate than this portends. But I’m not sure which was more impoverished, Sha’uwl’s Greek or Bacon’s English. KJV: “Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.” (So much for the notion that Francis Bacon wrote the Shakespearian plays.)
Jerome wrote fluidly and fluently. LV: “asking only that we should be mindful of the poor, which was the very thing that I also was solicitous to do.” But for readability, the NLT is always smooth as silk: “Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.”
Recapping Sha’uwl’s eighth paragraph, we find:
“Because then namely, the one having previously functioned in Petro to an apostle for the circumcision, it actually functioned also in me to the nations and ethnicities. (2:8)
And having known and having recognized, becoming familiar with the Grace of the one having been given to me, Ya’aqob, and Kephas, and also Yahowchanan, the ones presently presumed, regarded, and supposed to be pillars, and thus leaders, the right place of honor and authority they granted to me, and to Barnabas fellowship as a result. We to the nations and ethnicities, but they to the circumcision. (2:9)
Only alone by itself the lowly and poor, the worthless beggars of little value that we might remember and possibly think about which also I was eager and quick same this to do.” (Galatians 2:10)
There is considerable reason to believe that Paul was lying with regard to the purpose and outcome of this meeting—indeed, with regard to most aspects of it. I say this because the Yaruwshalaim Summit, also called the “Council of Jerusalem” and the “Apostolic Conference,” between Sha’uwl and Yahowsha’s Disciples, is also presented in the book of Acts, dominating the 15th chapter. And Luke’s account stands in stark contrast to what Paul has written.
Beginning with the 15th chapter or Acts, we read: “And some (kai tis) having come down from (katerchomai apo) Yahuwdah (tes Ioudaia – transliteration of Yahuwdah, meaning Related to Yah, known today as Judaea) were teaching (didasko – were instructing) the brethren (tous adelphos – the brothers) that if (oti ean) you might not be circumcised (me peritemno) as prescribed by Moseh (to ethos to Mouses – per the manner or practice customary of Moseh), you are not able (ou dynamai – you are incapable, lacking the capacity) to be saved (sozo – to be healed, rescued, or delivered).” (Acts 15:1)
Luke just did two things Paul has been unable, or at least unwilling, to do. He not only identified Moseh as the author of the book Paul was assailing, thereby identifying it as Yahowah’s Towrah, he unambiguously told us what they were arguing about. Specifically, and recognizing that this was directed at “the brothers,” the question before us is: can a man who is not circumcised in accordance with the Towrah’s prescriptions be saved?
So before we consider the impact of this testimony in relation to Sha’uwl, let’s check to see if the message these Yahuwdym were conveying was consistent with the Towrah. Yahowah’s instructions regarding circumcision are initially presented in Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17.
“And (wa) God Almighty (‘elohym) said (‘amar – promised) to (‘el – as God to) Abraham (‘Abraham – Loving, Merciful, and Enriching Father), ‘And (wa) as for you (‘eth ‘atah – regarding you), you should actually and continuously observe (shamar – you should carefully consider, diligently paying especially close attention to the details so that you understand and you should literally keep your eyes focused upon (scribed in the qal stem which addresses that which is literal and relational and in the imperfect conjugation which speaks of that which is ongoing)) My Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship (beryth-y – My mutually binding agreement, relational accord, and promise based upon home and family (feminine singular, scribed in the construct form, associating the beryth – covenant with shamar – observation; written with the first person singular, My, revealing that the Covenant is God’s)), you (‘atah) and (wa) your seed (zera’ – your offspring (singular)) after you (‘achar – following you) throughout (la) their generations, dwelling places, and eras of time (dowr – their families, related births, and lives (plural)).’” (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:9)
It should be noted that “zera’ – seed” and “dowr – generations, dwelling places, lives, and epochs of time,” were both scribed in the construct form, not only linking the zera’ and dowr together, but also both with beryth. Therefore, the “Covenant” is the “seed” from which “generations come to dwell throughout time” with Yah. Christians, either unaware of this Towrah teaching, or opposed to it, fool themselves into believing that “Jesus Christ” was the singular seed.
According to God, our responsibility regarding His Covenant is to “shamar – observe” it – literally and continually. It is the same instruction He provides regarding His Towrah—which not so coincidently represents the only place where we can go to “observe” Yah’s Covenant, because its terms and conditions are recorded there and nowhere else.
The means to become a “zera’ – offspring” of the “beryth – family-oriented covenant relationship,” and thereby “dowr – live throughout time in God’s dwelling place” is breathtakingly simple: shamar – actually and consistently, carefully and diligently, observe the terms and conditions of the Covenant, closely examining and carefully considering every detail as it is presented in Yahowah’s Towrah. We should do this, as should our fathers and our children, no matter where or when we live or with whom we are related.
And although “shamar – observe” serves as the operative verb with respect to our participation in the Covenant, shamar is among the least understood words in the Towrah. It is almost always errantly rendered “keep” in English bibles in spite of the fact that, etymologically, shamar is based upon “using our sense of sight to be watchful, carefully examining and closely scrutinizing that which can be seen.” It speaks of “being focused and visually alert by keeping one’s eyes open,” and of “overseeing things from the proper perspective so as to be aware of what is occurring.” The linguistic inference is that those who “carefully observe and diligently examine everything within their purview will come to understand what they are seeing,” and that “through this understanding they will be able to protect that which they value and those whom they love, keeping them safe by responding properly.” Shamar conveys the idea that “people should keep their eyes open, that they should always be on guard, and that they should be focused, alert, aware, and perceptive.”
The message of “shamar – observation is: look and you will see. See and you will know. Know and you will understand. Understand and you are empowered to respond appropriately.
Therefore, shamar is being used to encourage us to “observe” the terms and conditions of the Covenant by using our eyes to read, indeed, to focus upon what is written in the Towrah. God wants us to “examine and consider” the requirements and benefits of the Covenant as they are delineated in His Towrah so that we are secure, protecting those we love.
Shamar is related to shama’, “whereby we are encouraged to use our sense of hearing to listen” to what God has to say to us. Collectively then, the senses of sight and hearing enable us to know Yahowah and understand His Towrah by “qara’ – reading and reciting” it. But there is more: by observing Yahowah’s Guidance, by listening to God’s Instructions regarding His Covenant, by coming to know and understand His Teaching regarding this relationship and our salvation, we come to trust Yahowah and rely upon His Directions, thereby enabling God to adopt us and save us.
You may have noticed that this proclamation from Yahowah regarding what He expects from those who want to participate in His Covenant was direct and unequivocal. Simply stated: shamar beryth is a requirement. If you want to have a relationship with God, you do so by carefully and continually observing His written Towrah testimony regarding His Covenant. At least, that is what God, Himself, had to say regarding our participation, and He ought to know.
What many miss, and especially those who are religious, is that this statement from God is utterly devastating to Pauline Doctrine. Paul’s thesis, better known as the “Faith in the Gospel of Grace,” is based upon the notion that Abraham was saved, not because He closely examined and carefully considered what Yahowah had personally revealed to him regarding His Towrah Teaching and Covenant Relationship, but instead because he “believed God.” According to Paul, Abraham’s salvation was a product of his faith and not his willingness to do as Yahowah had instructed. But “being observant,” especially during personal experiences like this one, leads to knowing, to understanding, to trusting, and to relying, while “belief” is the product of not knowing and of not understanding. In fact, belief all too often leads to faith in things which are neither reliable nor true.
Those who know, trust. Those who do not know, believe. Moreover, the means to “knowing” is “shamar – careful observation.”
God did not ask Abraham to believe Him, nor did He suggest that we should believe Him. He asked Abraham and those who would benefit from the Covenant to carefully observe what He had to say. And to accomplish this, we must read the Towrah, closely examining its every word.
Let’s continue to do what Yahowah requested and see where it leads. “This is the one and only (ze’th – this particular, singular, unique, and specific) Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship of Mine (beryth-y – mutually binding agreement of Mine, My promise and relational accord based upon home and family), which relationally and beneficially (‘asher – by way of making a connection, developing an association, benefiting and blessing) you should actually and continuously observe (shamar – you should carefully and literally consider, you should diligently and consistently pay especially close attention to the details) forming an understanding between Me and you (byn wa byn – for the purpose of coming to know and understand Me as a result of you being perceptive, prudently considering the insights which are discernible), and also for forming and understanding between (wa byn – for the purpose of coming to know) your offspring (zera’ – your seed (singular construct)) following you (‘achar – after you), for you to actually circumcise (muwl – so that you literally cut off and remove the foreskin of the penis (scribed using the niphal stem which is used to convey the voice of genuine relationships where the subject, which is you, receives the action of the verb, which is circumcision, and the infinitive absolute, which intensifies the action of the verb)) accordingly your every (l-cm-kol) male to encourage remembering (zakar – masculine human individual who recalls and remembers (singular and absolute)).” (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:10)
Not only was this request clear and unequivocal, not only does this affirm Yahowah’s previous appeal, not only does it reinforce the uniqueness of the one and only Covenant, it encourages us to be observant and to think so that we come to understand precisely what God is asking of us and offering to us.
But also, this verse is additive, providing us with another requirement: circumcise our sons so that we and they remember the Covenant. So, I ask you, when Paul screamed out against circumcision in his letter to the Galatians, demeaning it while promoting a second and different Covenant, why did anyone believe him? His position and God’s are irreconcilable.
Sometimes, if we pause long enough, if we dig deep enough, if we are especially observant and thoughtful, we learn something we would otherwise miss. Such is the case here. You see, “muwl – circumcise” was scribed using the niphal stem. The niphal, as the passive form of the qal, conveys three ideas. First, it is a relational stem, affirming the fact that circumcision is germane to our relationship with God. Second, it requires a literal interpretation of the testimony, meaning that these circumcisions are actual and not merely symbolic. And third, the niphal, as the reflexive counterpart of the qal, indicates that the subject, which is us as parents, receive the benefit of the verb’s action, which is circumcision.
Collectively then, when the niphal stem is used in conjunction with muwl in this context, we discover that by actually circumcising our sons, we as parents benefit from the act. It is as if we, ourselves, are being circumcised. And that is a very good thing, because circumcision is the sign of the Covenant. It affirms our acceptance, validating our willingness to be cut into this relationship with God. We are in essence saying: we will raise our children to become His children.
When we bring this all together, and consider everything God said to Abraham from the beginning, we discover that through their relationship Yahowah systematically presented the guidance and instructions necessary for us to know Him, for us to relate to Him, and for us to be saved by Him. After asking us to walk away from all forms of “babel – confusion,” including family traditions, national allegiances, and religious corruption, Yahowah encouraged us to trust and rely upon Him instead. He then asked us to walk to Him to become perfect, with His Towrah providing the directions and means. God’s fourth request of us, indeed, His requirement with respect to our participation in His Covenant, was presented in the previous two statements. He wants us to continuously and genuinely observe His Covenant, focusing upon and diligently considering the conditions and benefits of this relationship. He knows that when we come to appreciate what He is offering that we’ll respond appropriately (which is what is revealed in Acts 15:21 by the way). And so now to demonstrate our understanding, to help us remember everything He has shared with us, God is asking us to circumcise our sons. Consider it a signature, a vow to accept and embrace this extraordinary gift – the opportunity to engage in a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.
If we want to participate in Yahowah’s Covenant, we must circumcise our sons. It is as simple as that. Written in the infinitive absolute, and followed by “kol – all,” there is no room for negotiation or interpretation. We can either accept Yahowah’s terms or reject them – but we cannot alter them to suit us which is what Pauline Doctrine has done.
“And (wa) you all shall cut off and separate (muwl – you shall circumcise (scribed in the niphal stem which is used to convey the voice of genuine relationships where the subject, which is us as parents, receive the benefit of the verb, which is circumcision, in the perfect conjugation designating that this instruction shall be followed wholly and completely, and in the consecutive thereby associating it with our basar – flesh) your foreskin’s (‘aralah – the fold of skin covering the conical tip of the penis) association with (‘eth) the flesh (basar – the physical body and animal nature). And (wa) this will exist (hayah – this was, is, and forever will be (scribed in the qal perfect, signifying something associated with a relationship which is unchanging and unending) as (la) the sign to remember (‘owth – the owth and example to visually and verbally illustrate and explain, the symbol and standard, the pledge and attestation of the miraculous nature of (singular, as in there is only one sign, construct form, linking the sign to...)) the Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship (beryth – mutually binding agreement, household promise, relational accord, marriage vow based upon home and family (feminine singular, scribed in the construct form, eternally associating the beryth – covenant with ‘owth – the sign of muwl – circumcision)) forming an understanding between Me any you (byn wa byn – for the purpose of coming to know and understand Me as a result of you being perceptive, prudently considering the insights which are discernible).” (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:11)
Yahowah wants us to “muwl – be cut off and separated from” our “‘eth – association with” our “basar – physical bodies and animal nature.” To be associated with God, we have to disassociate ourselves from man. Therefore, not only is the “‘owth – sign” of the “beryth – covenant” a reminder that we must walk away from Babylon before we can walk to God, it signifies that to be adopted into our Heavenly Father’s family, we must transition from physical beings with mortal, imperfect, substantially limited, and decaying bodies, to spiritual beings who are elevated, empowered, and enriched by this relationship.
It is interesting to note that while circumcision is symbolic, the act itself is literal and physical. Further, hayah, which was scribed in the third person masculine singular, and was rendered “this will exist,” in the passage, was actually scribed “he shall exist” as the sign. Therefore, when we accept the terms of Yahowah’s Covenant, we become its living symbols.
Hebrew verbs do not designate the past, present, or future, as is the case with English tenses, but instead they reflect truths which remain unchanged throughout all time. Such is the case with hayah, meaning “was, is, and will be” all at the same time. Therefore, we were, we are, and we will always be signs of the Covenant.
“‘Owth – sign to remember” and “‘uwth – to consent and agree” are written identically in Hebrew. So not only is circumcision, this separation from our physical and animal nature, a “visual means to illustrate and explain the miraculous nature” of the Covenant, it is our way of showing our “consent and agreement” to raise our children in harmony with the conditions Yahowah has outlined. Circumcision is a parent’s pledge to honor God’s family-oriented agreement. It is our signature on their adoption papers—telling our Heavenly Father that we want our children to become His children; that we will dedicate ourselves to encouraging this desirable result. And not so coincidently, the best way to accomplish this is to recite the Towrah to our children and thereby expose them to its Covenant, sharing its prerequisite, requirements, and benefits.
“And (wa) a son (ben – a male child) of eight (shamonah – from shamen, meaning olive oil, which is symbolic of the Spirit, of light, and of being rooted in the land) days (yowmym) you shall circumcise (muwl – you shall cut off and separate his foreskin (scribed using the niphal stem denoting a relationship which is genuine and indicating that parents benefit from doing as God has requested, and in the imperfect conjugation which tells us that this must continue to occur over time and that it is designed to produce ongoing results)) with regard to your (la) every (kol) male (zakar – masculine individual; from zakar: to commit to memory, to remind, and to remember) throughout (la) your dwelling places and generations (dowr – your protected households and extended families, elevating and extending your lives), those naturally born (yalyd – those naturalized as a member of an extended family through natural childbirth) in the home (beyth – into the household and family), and also (wa) those really wanting to be (kasap – those deeply desiring, strongly yearning, and passionately longing to be) acquired and included (miqnah – adopted) of (min) every (kol) son (ben – male child) of foreign lands (nekar – of places where they are not properly valued and appreciated) who relationally (‘asher – by way of making a connection) are not (lo’) from (min) your seed (zera’).” (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:12)
In Scripture, eight symbolizes eternity, which is why the symbol for infinity and the numeral itself are so similar. It is why there is an eighth day of celebration associated with the Miqra’ of Sukah – Shelters, which is symbolic of us camping out with God for all eternity. Additionally, the Hebrew word for “eight,” shamonah, is based upon sheman, meaning “olive oil,” which is used as a metaphor for the Set-Apart Spirit who makes us eternal. Further, the olive tree is not only one of the world’s longest living, it is native to Yisra’el.
We ought not be surprised in that we were designed by the Author of this instruction, but it should be noted that the eighth day is the perfect time to perform this minor procedure. Excessive bleeding is minimized, as is infection, because human blood coagulates most effectively at this time because the major clotting agents, prothrombin and vitamin K, do not reach peak levels in the blood until the eighth day.
You may have noticed that this is the second time Yahowah has used “zakar – male” in association with circumcision. Since the instruction is directed toward, although not exclusive to, young boys, literally “ben – sons,” the reason for using zakar only becomes obvious when we study the word’s etymology. Zakar means: “to establish in one’s memory, to remind, to remember, to reflect, to recall, and to memorialize something important, making it known.” It also conveys the idea that “truth can cleanse and purify, causing us to shine brightly and brilliantly.” When we are enveloped in the Set-Apart Spirit’s Garment of Light, we are cleansed and purified by Her so that we can radiate Yahowah’s pure and brilliant light. Moreover, each time a parent bathes their son, they will be reminded of their commitment to raise him to embrace the Covenant.
Relevant in light of Paul’s argument with Yahowsha’s Disciples, and his claim to the uncircumcised world, is that there are two different classes of individuals described in this statement. And both are to be circumcised, which signifies that two distinct groups of people can become part of Yahowah’s Covenant Family. Abraham’s direct descendants through Yitzchaq and Ya’aqob (who became Yisra’el) are “yalyd – naturally born” into Yahowah’s “beyth – family.” But since Yahowah has routinely promised that the benefits of the Covenant would also be available to “gowym – people from different races and places,” He has provided a provision for adoption. That is what “kasap miqnah – those deeply desiring to be acquired and included” from “nekar – foreign lands” represents. These are adopted children—gowym.
Hiding this reality, most English bibles base their translations of this verse on the Masoretic Text, where the ksp root of “kasap – longing” is pointed “kesep – money.” As kasap miqnah, the clause speaks of those who “really want to be acquired and included.” But as kesep, the order of things has to be reversed and miqnah kesep becomes a string of nouns: “acquisition money,” which is then corrupted to read “purchased with money.”
And yet while the “kasap miqnah – really wanting to be acquired and included” translation is more consistent with the Covenant and more informative, the miqnah kesep vocalization does address adoption, and thus provides us with two distinct ways to be included in the Covenant: natural childbirth as a literal descendant of Abraham, and by choice through adoption. Therefore, both renderings are acceptable when viewed from this perspective.
By chance, should you have an aversion to adoptive parents, who value a child more than its natural parents, “purchasing” a child, be aware that this is how Yahowah adopts us. He paid the price for us to live with Him as His children. This is what Passover, Unleavened Bread, and FirstFruits represent.
As we return to God’s Covenant testimony, it is important that we consistently approach Yahowah’s Word from the proper perspective and with an open mind. In this light, when a word is repeated in Hebrew, it serves to substantially increase its importance. Such is the case with “muwl muwl” in this next passage.
Also, while its primary definition is “to circumcise, to cut off, to separate, and to remove the foreskin,” you may be surprised by muwl’s secondary and tertiary definitions – both of which are listed below. Additionally, because of what we learned about kasap versus kesep, the following translation includes both renderings.
“He (huw’) must absolutely circumcise him, definitely cutting off the foreskin (muwl muwl – he must cease what he is currently doing, he must turn him around to face the opposite direction, to ward off threats to his wellbeing by changing his priorities while making a binding promise (scribed with the niphal stem denoting the genuineness of this relationship while stressing the benefit accrued to the parent, in the infinitive absolute which intensifies the importance of the act, and in the imperfect conjugation telling us that this instruction on circumcision will endure uninterrupted throughout time)) of the naturally born (yalyd – naturalized as a member of an extended family through natural childbirth) in your home (beyth – into your household and your family (singular construct)) and also (wa) those really wanting to be (kasap – those deeply desiring, strongly yearning, and passionately longing to be) included (miqnah – acquired, purchased, and obtained) / as well as those who are acquired (miqnah – purchased, obtained, and included, i.e., adopted) with your money (kesep – your precious metals; born out of a deep longing and love).
This shall be (hayah – this was, is, and always will be, this exists as (scribed with the qal stem, denoting a genuine relationship between the subject and the action of the verb which is existence, in the perfect conjugation telling us that this shall endure completely unchanged, in the singular conveying that there are no other options or contingencies, and in the consecutive form, associating our existence with the beryth – family-oriented covenant relationship and its sign muwl – circumcision)) My Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship (beryth-y – My mutually binding agreement and promise, My relational accord based upon home and family), in (ba) the flesh (basar – physical realm with humanity), serving as (la – toward the goal of) an everlasting and eternal (‘owlam – forever existing and never ending) Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship (beryth).” (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:13)
Based upon God’s testimony, a “New Covenant” of any kind, much less one where circumcision is not required, is therefore a nonstarter. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise, and that includes Paul. Also, if someone condemns “the flesh,” calling it evil, as Paul is wont to do, please note that Yahowah’s Covenant was cut with us in the flesh. In addition, in Bare’syth 1:31, we read: “And God saw all that He had made, and saw that it was good. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the sixth day.” It is mostly in Gnosticism and Pauline literature where the flesh is considered bad.
God’s instructions have been all encompassing and perfectly clear – especially on circumcision. He simply asked parents to circumcise their sons on the eighth day. The request is easy, safe, and inexpensive when done shortly after birth. It’s man who has messed this up. Very few parents read the Towrah, much less consider its implications. Fewer still observe its instructions or share what Yahowah had to say with their children, as God has so often asked. And as a consequence, circumcision is one of many things which separate the preponderance of people from God.
As for Paul being authorized by God to contradict Him on a subject as essential as the Covenant and its sign, circumcision, you’d have to be a fool to believe this occurred. Yahowah said one thing, and Paul said the opposite. One of them was not telling the truth. Guess who?
Beyond this, if God changed His mind, if He decided to do something new which was counter to His previous promises, He would then cease to be trustworthy or reliable. So the entire notion of placing one’s faith in a god prone to make exceptions to his instructions is indeed a fool’s folly.
God is serious about circumcision. So we should be as well. This next statement is as enlightening as it is unequivocal. And especially relevant is ‘arel, a word which when fully amplified explains the nature of those who are uncircumcised.
“And (wa) the uncircumcised (‘arel – the stubborn, unresponsive, untrusting and un-reliant, the un-listening and un-observing, the un-cut-off, un-set-apart and un-separated) male (zakar – man who fails to remember to do this) who relationally (‘asher – who by association beneficially) is not (lo’) circumcised (muwl – willing to change his direction and priorities and make this binding promise) with regard to (‘eth) the flesh (basar – physical, human, and animal nature) of their foreskin (‘aralah), those souls (nepesh – speaking of what makes us unique individuals, alive, aware, and conscious) shall be cut off, be excluded, and banished (karat – shall be severed and cut down, shall be uprooted, die, perish, be destroyed, and cease to exist) from (min) Her (huw’ – speaking of our Spiritual Mother’s Covenant) family (‘am – people who are related biologically and through language).
By way of association (‘eth), they violated and disassociated themselves from (parar – they nullified the agreement, revoking its promises, tearing asunder and thwarting its benefits, splitting away and injuring themselves in the process by severing) My Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship (beryth-y – My mutually binding agreement, My household promise, My relational accord, My marriage vow based upon home and family (feminine singular, scribed in the construct form, connecting and associating the beryth – covenant with God’s ‘am – family)).” (Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 17:14)
There should be no doubt. There should be no debate. According to Yahowah, circumcision and the Covenant are related. They go hand in hand. Preclude one and you exclude the other.
Circumcision is a signature, signed in blood, declaring our desire to be born anew by way of our Spiritual Mother into God’s family. And in that light, there is an interesting affirmation of the purpose our Spiritual Mother plays in our adoption at the end of this passage. Yahowah told Moseh to write “Her family,” not “the family,” or “His family.” As a result, those willing to “shamar – closely examine” His “beryth – Familial Covenant Relationship” recognize that God was connecting several aspects of His message together for us.
First, God has a Paternal and a Maternal nature. (“So God created the man in His image, in the image of God, He created him – male and female He created them.” (Bare’syth 1:27)) The Set-Apart Spirit (the feminine Ruwach Qodesh in Hebrew) performs Yahowah’s maternal responsibilities with regard to His family. Second, “beryth – covenant” is a feminine noun, as is the Greek “ekklesia – Called-Out Assembly,” confirming the role our Spiritual Mother plays in the conception of both.
And third, by using “hy’ – Her” in association with “nepesh – souls” being “karat – cut off and separated” from God’s “’am – family,” as a result of not accepting His advice, we are provided with yet another insight into the reason the souls of those who ignore Yahowah’s Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with Him, especially Passover, Un-Yeasted Bread, and Day of Reconciliations summons, are estranged from His family and cut off and destroyed – ceasing to exist. This occurs because they have rejected our Spiritual Mother’s provision.
While the more subtle innuendoes were instructive, the primary message here was clear and unequivocal. Yahowah established circumcision as the sign of the Covenant for all of the descendants of Abraham – naturally born or adopted – for all of God’s children, for every male member of Yahowah’s Covenant, regardless of race, place, or time. According to our Heavenly Father, there will be no uncircumcised males in Her Family or in His Covenant. And that means that circumcision is required to enter into heaven.
For those of you who cringe at the notion that Yahowah might have established a “requirement,” which somehow negated freewill, relax. Circumcision is optional. We all are given the choice to be circumcised, and to circumcise our sons, or not. The choice is ours to make. All Yahowah is saying is that it is His “beyth – home,” His “beryth – covenant,” and His “’am – family,” and that if we want to participate and to be included then we must make the choice to be circumcised—spiritually and physically. As with all fathers, it is His Home, and therefore: His rules. You don’t have to do what He says unless you want to live under His roof.
There are so many questions which are answered by this passage, let’s pause here a moment longer even at the risk of being a bit redundant. First, while “muwl – circumcision” is a physical act in the flesh, our “nepesh – souls” are everything but physical. The nepesh represents our “consciousness.” While it is an essential part of our animal nature, as all animals have a “nepesh – soul, a unique personality, and an awareness of their environment,” our consciousness has no physical properties. It has no mass and it is not matter. And yet, by failing to be circumcised our soul dies, because it is expressly excluded from Yahowah’s Covenant Family. Therefore, the choices we make in our mortal, material bodies influence whether or not we are elevated to a spiritual status.
Second, circumcision is not the means to salvation. But it can be a barrier to salvation. While not all, or even most, of those who are circumcised will be adopted into God’s family, men who have not been circumcised will not be admitted.
Third, we either agree to God’s terms or we nullify the opportunity He has given us to survive our mortality and to live with Him. There is no hint of leniency here, no sense of compromise, no opportunity for a future revision to alter this rule. We either accept it or not. No circumcision, no Covenant. No Covenant, no relationship with God. No relationship with God, no salvation. And therein is why such souls die.
God isn’t about to compromise. He not only isn’t going to change the terms of His agreement, He cannot change them without becoming untrustworthy and unreliable. There is a singular path to life. There is no accommodation for individual approaches to salvation, or for the collective appeal of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.
The implication here is something no Christian or Muslim seems willing or able to appreciate. Most believe that it matters not if their beliefs are in compliance with God’s instructions or not, because He knows their heart. Contradictions become irrelevant. To them, God is God no matter what you call Him. To them, observing the Sabbath is not relevant, and Friday prayers and Sunday worship are perfectly acceptable. Jihad and Grace are both embraced by the faithful, and many opposing paths are thought to lead to God. Sure Christmas and Easter are pagan, but since that is not what they mean to the celebrant, the faithful believe that their god will be understanding. For them mercy invokes a level of capriciousness which they do not see as either unjust or untrustworthy. Their god wouldn’t condemn them for getting some of the details, well actually most everything, wrong.
And yet, all of these musings are inconsistent with the God who inspired these words. With Yahowah, you accept the Covenant on His terms or not at all. Not only are we in no position to negotiate with God over something integrated into His very nature, we have everything to gain if we agree to His terms, and He loses nothing if we don’t.
Fourth, the “nepesh – souls” of those who do not rely upon God’s instructions “karat – die and are permitted to perish, ceasing to exist.” This is the prevailing outcome for the vast preponderance of human souls. At the end of most people’s mortal lives, when they die, they will cease to exist, because their souls will simply perish. But this is not a penalty or a Divine punishment. In fact, Yahowah has little to do with this eventuality. It is by “karat – disassociating from” God that this fate occurs naturally. You see, eternal life with God requires us to associate with Him in the specific manner He has delineated. If we don’t accept His terms, if we don’t avail ourselves of the path He has provided, then our souls remain disconnected from the source of life, which means that they will perish, the individual consciousness ceasing to exist.
Most all religions, but most especially Christianity and Islam, seek submission by threatening eternal suffering and fiery tortures in hell for all of those who don’t acquiesce to their god’s edicts. But not a person among such believers pauses to think that if their god actually said, “Love me and agree with me or I’ll see to it that you suffer forever,” such a spirit would not be lovable. In fact, a god who would make such statements would be sadistic. And that is why there is an alternative fate awaiting souls which is neither heaven nor hell, neither a reward nor a punishment. And yet, since such an outcome is neither something to be coveted nor feared, since ceasing to exist cannot be used effectively to lure masses of people into submission, religious leaders almost universally deny the fact that God has such a provision. Such threats are good for business, because they enable clerics to control and plunder believers.
That is not to say that there isn’t a place of eternal separation—there is. But there are no fires blazing or physical tortures perpetrated therein. She’owl, known as the Abyss in Greek, is a lightless place which exists exclusively in the dimension of time. And it is only for Satan, fellow demonic spirits, and for those who lead others astray by associating with them. This is a place of separation, filled with the most outspoken and notorious religious, political, economic, and military advocates. It is for those who victimize others, oppressing them, and leading them away from Yahowah, His Towrah, and His Covenant.
While eternal separation from God is a penalty, having one’s soul perish is not. Each individual is given the gift of life and freewill. Everyone can do with them as they please. If a person chooses to avail themselves of Yahowah’s Covenant, to walk away from Babylon and to walk to Him along the path He has provided, God has promised to give him or her the gift of eternal life, to mercifully forgive their sins, to empower such an individual, to enrich them, and to adopt that soul into His family.
But if we choose instead to ignore God’s provision, to rely on a different scheme, to alter the deal He has cut with us, or simply reject it, we will be ignored by God and remain unaltered by His Covenant promises. It’s ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Such souls don’t know God and God does not know them. For them, death will be the end of life.
The fifth lesson brings us back to Paul. Circumcision is the fulcrum upon which those who rely on Yahowah’s Word move in a different direction than those who believe the “thirteenth apostle and his thirteen epistles.” In Acts, the moment we are introduced to Paul, we learn that he advised against circumcision. As a result, he was called to Yaruwshalaim to explain his departure from Yahowah’s Covenant instructions. Therefore, in his initial letter, the one he wrote to the Galatians, he was motivated to demean the message of Yahowsha’s Disciples, especially Shim’own (One who Listens, commonly known as Peter), Yahowchanan (Yahowah is Merciful, more commonly known as John), and Ya’aqob (Yahowsha’s brother, who was renamed “James” to flatter an English king). In Galatians, Paul ruthlessly attacks circumcision, and demeans Yahowah’s Covenant, calling them: “of the flesh,” “a cruel taskmaster,” “enslaving,” and a “curse,” “incapable of saving anyone.”
Therefore, Christians have a choice. They can trust Yahowah, or they can believe Paul. Their claims are diametrically opposed and irreconcilable.
It is also instructive to know that we can’t blame this conflict between Yahowah and Paul on scribal error. While not a word from Bare’syth 8:21 to 17:11 can be found among the Qumran scrolls, these specific passages on circumcision are not only extant, they are unchanged. There isn’t a single discrepancy between the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to the second century BCE, and the Masoretic Text from Bare’syth 17:12 through the end of the chapter. And on the other end, we have a complete copy of Paul’s letter to the Galatians dating to the late first century CE.
Moreover, the preposterous notion that Paul didn’t write Galatians, a book he claims to have written, a book which is universally attributed to him, a book which provides the most sweeping panorama of his life, and a book which serves as the most direct rebuttal to the Disciples regarding his animosity toward circumcision, the Covenant, and the Torah, does not exonerate Paul. He is equally opposed to circumcision, the Covenant, and the Torah in Acts and in Romans.
This means that the conflict between Yahowah and Paul cannot be resolved. If you side with Paul, you will invalidate the benefits of the Covenant. You will be excluded from God’s family. And your soul will cease to exist. (Unless you are a “soul winner,” someone who evangelizes for Christianity and its Gospel of Grace. In that case, you will spend all of eternity in the Abyss with everyone else who deliberately sent souls away from Yahowah’s Covenant.) And that is why the choices we make in the flesh, while we retain our physical and animal nature, are so important.
The sixth lesson we can learn from this passage is not to trust English bible translations. Yahowah actually said: “And (wa) the uncircumcised and unresponsive (‘arel) male who fails to remember this (zakar), who relationally (‘asher) is not (lo’) circumcised or changed (muwl) with regard to (‘eth) the flesh (basar) of his foreskin (‘aralah), that soul (nepesh) shall be cut off, be excluded, be banished, and be uprooted, ceasing to exist (karat) from (min) Her (huw’) family (‘am). By way of association (‘eth) he violated, disassociating himself from (parar) My Family-Oriented Covenant Relationship (beryth-y).” (Bare’syth 17:14)
While not as revealing or complete, the Roman Catholic Vulgate was accurate up to the point of identifying whose family a soul would be excluded from. “The male whose flesh of his foreskin shall not be circumcised, that soul shall be destroyed out of his people: because he hath broken my covenant.” Not only is the pronoun “Her” scribed independently in the Hebrew text via huw’, “‘am – family” was suffixed in the third person feminine singular, reinforcing the fact that it is “Her family” – speaking of the Set-Apart Spirit and the Covenant. Also, the reference to “his people” suggests banishment from the villages and land of Yisra’el, rather than from our Spiritual Mother’s family.
The King James Version reads identically, and thus promotes the same myth. It is one which would reinforce the ability of the church to excommunicate those who they opposed.
Recognizing that both translators had made a mistake, the New Living Translation, not knowing how to deal with “Her,” added a second “covenant” and substituted it for “Her.” “Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.” Since it is God’s Word, and since accuracy is therefore important, you should know that there is no basis for “any” in the Hebrew text. They combined “‘arel – uncircumcised and unresponsive” with “lo’ muwl – is not circumcised or changed,” as if only one of these words was spoken by God. Then they completely ignored “‘eth basar ‘aralah – with regard to the flesh of their foreskin”—ostensibly to avoid destroying Pauline Doctrine. Then reversing course, they not only repeated “beryth – covenant,” even though it was written only once, they neglected to convey that beryth was scribed with the first person singular suffix, making it “My Covenant.”
Simply stated, as a sign of our desire to participate in Yahowah’s Covenant we are to be circumcised. The covering of the male genitalia responsible for consummating a marriage and producing children is to be “cut off and separated”—set apart. Our Heavenly Father’s Covenant is about bearing children and building a family by way of a monogamous marriage relationship. Yahowah does not want anyone to miss this point.
And yet adversarially, Paul has used “not being circumcised” as the fulcrum of his assault on the Torah, calling it irrelevant with regard to one’s salvation—even enslaving. Therefore, Yahowah’s message is the antithesis of Paul’s.
And so is what follows. Yachezq’el was given a prophetic preview of Yahowah’s return to Earth, during which time he received the following instructions regarding the Torah and, by association, circumcision...
“And (wa) Yahowah ( ) said to me (‘amar ‘el – shared with me), ‘Son of man (ben ‘adam – child of Adam), place upon your heart (sym leb), look with your eyes (ra’ah ba ‘ayn), and listen with your ears (wa shama’ ba ‘ozen), accordingly, to (‘eth) everything (kol) which, relationally and beneficially (‘asher – as a blessing) I (‘any) have spoken (dabar – have communicated orally and in writing using words) with regard to (‘eth la) all of (kol) the clearly communicated and inscribed prescriptions for living (wa chuwqah – the written arrangements regarding life and abiding; from choq – the shared and nourishing thoughts associated with an allocation of something from one who is set apart which is designed to cut us into a relationship) in Yahowah’s Family Home (beyth – the household, temple, and tabernacle of Yahowah).’
And so with all of (wa la kol) His Towrah teachings (Towrah towrah – His Towrah instructions, His Towrah guidance, and His Towrah directions (scribed in the singular as a specific and unique title and then in the plural as a word to indicate that the Towrah is comprised of many teachings, directions, and instructions)), therefore indeed (wa), you should choose to place them on your heart (sym leb – you should decide to set and examine them in your core (qal stem indicating a literal reading is preferred, perfect conjugation telling us that this should be done without reservation, and consecutive form indicating volition)) in order to approach the entrance (la mabow’ – so that you gain entrance into) the Family and Home (ha beyth – the house and household, the temple and tabernacle) with regard to (ba) every (kol) stage of the journey (mowtsa’ – step along the way) to this set-apart place (ha miqdash – the separated and dedicated sanctuary).” (Yachezq’el / God Grows / Ezekiel 44:5)
The Torah is the path which leads to the entranceway of Yahowah’s Home. There is no other way; no other door; no other set of instructions. Go forth and tell this to all those who want to live with God.
Yahowah is not fond of those who rebel against Him or those who diminish the value of His instructions. In this next verse, God specifically criticizes Yisra’elites (and especially, Sha’uwl) for inviting those who have ignored the sign of the Covenant into His Home—calling what Paul has done: “the greatest and most detestable of all abominations.” Indeed, to all of those who are opposed to Yahowah, to Yisra’el, to Yahuwdym, to the Covenant, or the Towrah, Yahowah says:
“And you shall say to (wa ‘amar ‘el) the rebellious and contentious (mary – the revolting and embittered who resist My position and guidance, and those displaying animosity who are insubordinate and opposed), regarding (‘el – to and about) the House of Yisra’el (beyth yisra’el – the home of those individuals who strive, engage, and endure with God), this is what (koh) My Foundation, the Upright Pillar, Yahowah (‘edon ), says (‘amar): ‘The greatest of all of your (rab la min kol) detestable abominations (tow’ebah – your repulsive, loathsome, immoral, and abhorrent practices) in the House of Yisra’el (ba beyth yisra’el – home of those individuals who strive, engage, and endure with God) (44:6) is your inclusion (bow’ – bringing in) the male offspring (ben – sons) of foreigners (nekar – strangers) who are uncircumcised (‘arel – stubborn and forbidden, unobservant and unresponsive) of heart (leb) and uncircumcised (wa ‘arel – unobservant, unresponsive, and forbidden) of flesh (basar – body) to exist (hayah) in My Sanctuary (ba miqdash – in My Home, from qadash – purifying place which is set apart) to defile and profane it (la halal huw’ – to desecrate and pollute it, treating Him with contempt (written with the third person masculine singular suffix this refers to “Him,” serving to unify Yahowsha’ and the Temple)) along with (‘eth) My Home and Family (beyth – House and Household), ” (Yachezq’el / God Grows / Ezekiel 44:6-7)
It isn’t that God is opposed to foreigners entering His Home. But instead, the message here is that we Gowym must follow the same path to Yahowah’s Household that Yahuwdym do—and that is by way of the Covenant and Called-Out Assemblies. There aren’t two paths to God, or two doorways to heaven, one for Jews the other for Gentiles. There is but one Covenant, one Towrah, one God, and one Way.
The inference here is that by ignoring and rejecting the sign of the Covenant—circumcision—some Yisra’elites have treated Yahowah’s Home, with contempt. And considering that Sha’uwl’s principle argument with the Torah has been and will be circumcision, his ministry and letters sit at the crosshairs of this prophetic warning. It’s hard to imagine Yahowah’s disgust being directed at anyone other than Sha’uwl in this regard. No one else in all of human history even came close to Paul’s influence regarding the specific topic of disassociating circumcision from salvation.
This is one of the most specific, and yet devastating passages on the topic of disrespecting the Torah, and especially the sign of the Covenant. In it, Yahowah is speaking about His return on the Day of Reconciliations (Yowm Kippurym), five days before the beginning of the Millennial Sabbath on the Miqra’ of Sukah. And in the context of bringing the Tribulation to a close, the one thing that He wants Yachezq’el to tell His people above all else is that inviting non-circumcised Gentiles into His Sanctuary (which serves as a metaphor for Sukah and thus heaven) is the single most repulsive and immoral thing any Yisra’elite has ever done. This does not bode well for Paul’s letters and for the masses of Christians who read them as an invitation to heaven.
Yahowah is predicting that there will be a devastating consequence associated with Paul’s position on this matter—where he flaunted his rejection of the Torah and circumcision. And that is because disassociating circumcision from the Covenant, demeaning the Torah, and disassociating the Upright Pillar (Yahowsha’) from Yahowah’s instructions, has nullified God’s plan of salvation for billions of souls, causing Yahowah to prophetically tell us that the letter Sha’uwl would write to the Galatians is an “abomination.”
By profaning the human sign, or signature, of the Covenant, the Spiritual signs, or metaphors, of the Covenant would also be defiled: bread, oil, wine, and blood. “ in your coming near and approaching (ba qarab) My finest oil, bread, and My chosen blood (cheleb lechem wa dam – symbolic of His fulfillment of Pesach and Matsah). And also (wa) they broke (parar – they severed, violated, and nullified, you revoked, frustrated, and thwarted) My Familial Covenant Relationship (beryth) by way of all your detestable abominations (‘el kol tow’ebah – all of your repulsive, loathsome, and abhorrent acts of idolatry), ” (Yachezq’el / God Grows / Ezekiel 44:7)
Our collective unwillingness to take Yahowah and His Word seriously has led to the nullification of the Covenant for many. And this problem has become ubiquitous as a result of Galatians and its byproduct: Christianity.
Specifically, Paul’s antagonism toward circumcision is mixed with references to the Ma’aseyah, represented by “bread,” the Spirit, represented by “oil,” and Passover, the Doorway to Life, denoted by “blood.” So by demeaning one, Paul demeaned all. He broke the connection between them and thereby nullified the Covenant and thwarted its intent.
For Yahowah to be this angry at this one thing—inappropriately inviting uncircumcised Gentiles into His family and home in opposition to His Towrah Instructions—it strongly suggests that God is using Sha’uwl’s most notorious single act of rebellion against His Torah to alert us all to the consequence of the man’s message. Pauline Doctrine, by severing the connection between Yahowsha’ and the Towrah, rendered Yahowah’s promises moot for billons of Gentile Christians.
While Sha’uwl has invited people of every race and place into God’s family and home, Yahowah has put us on notice that his invitation was a fraud, and that the self-acclaimed messenger of god was the greatest abomination in human history. And this is not the first, nor will it be the last time Yahowah lashes out at Sha’uwl prophetically. He and we have just begun.
Thirteen ill-advised letters were sufficient to separate Christians from God, because as a direct result of the canonization of Paul’s epistles, far too few Christians observe the Torah or teach the “required functions” of Yahowah’s “Set-Apart Ones,” the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’ and the Set-Apart Spirit.
“ and (wa) by not observing, closely examining and carefully considering (lo’ shamar – by not focusing upon being aware of, paying especially close attention to and contemplating) the requirement and responsibility (mishmereth – function and purpose, the expression, condition, and accountability) of My Set-Apart Ones (qodesh – set apart ones includes God’s Home, His Temple, the Children of the Covenant, Yahowsha’, and the Set-Apart Spirit in addition to Yisra’el, the Shabat, and the Miqra’ey).’” (Yachezq’el / God Grows / Ezekiel 44:8) One God, two manifestations, different roles, same result. The Set-Apart Spirit and the Son are both set apart from Yahowah to serve us.
The “requirement and responsibility” of Yahowah’s “Set-Apart Ones” are something we are “to closely observe and carefully consider.” Therefore, God wants us to understand the roles His Son and Spirit play in this relationship and in our salvation—and specifically appreciate their contribution, and ours as parents, to the Covenant. The entire Torah exists in large part to convey this information to us because our lives depend upon it. And yet it is this connection that Sha’uwl has severed. As a result, faith in his Gospel of Grace became nothing more than the belief in a ghoulish spectacle and myth.
You’ll also notice that there are requirements to participate in the Covenant and responsibilities for us as parents. And while we are free to ignore them, even reject them, we aren’t free to enter God’s home when we do either. When God makes a promise, such as those delineated in His seven-step plan of salvation, He is committed to fulfilling and honoring what He has vowed. And that is what makes Him and His Torah trustworthy.
To appreciate this, we are encouraged to carefully observe the Torah so that we can properly convey what it says regarding the path we are invited to follow to reach the doorway of Yahowah’s Home. “And you were appointed (wa sym – and you were put in place and established) to (la – to approach, to come near, and to) observe (shamar – to closely examine and carefully consider) My conditions and requirements (mishmereth – My purpose, expression, and terms) in (ba) My Set-Apart Home (miqdash – My Set-Apart Sanctuary and Place) for you to draw near (la – on your behalf for you to approach).’” (Yachezq’el / God Grows / Ezekiel 44:8)
But most Jews and Christians have rejected Yahowah’s instructions in favor of their debilitating faith. Far too few personally and carefully observe what the Torah has to say about Yahowah’s home and how we are to get there. And some, like Sha’uwl, have actually spoken against the path Yahowah has provided.
What follows is revealed in God’s voice. It is unequivocal...
“Thus says (koh ‘amar – this is what is communicated by) My Foundation, the Upright Pillar (‘edon – the Upright One of the Tabernacle), Yahowah ( ): ‘Every (kol – completely all) foreign male (nekar ben – non-native son) who is uncircumcised (‘arel – stubborn, unhearing, and forbidden) of heart (leb) and uncircumcised (‘arel – stubborn and forbidden) in the flesh (basar), he shall not come to or be included inside (lo’ bow’ ‘el – he shall not arrive at or be brought to) My Set-Apart Home (miqdash – My Set-Apart Sanctuary and Place) – this concerns the approach of (la) every non-native son (nekar ben – foreign male) who is in the midst (‘asher ba tawek) of the Children of Yisra’el (beny Yisra’el – sons who engage and endure with God).’” (Yachezq’el / God Grows / Ezekiel 44:9)
To be circumcised in the heart is to understand and accept the symbolic significance of what circumcision represents. To be circumcised in the flesh is to have one’s foreskin cut. And keep in mind, the second half of Yachezq’el / Ezekiel is devoted to the Millennial Shabat and its temple, so it is prophetic of our future life with our Heavenly Father in His home. This comment from our God, therefore, cannot be relegated to a previous time, a prior relationship, a people long ago dismissed, or to a different place.
Therefore, since Yahowah’s “miqdash – set-apart Home and Sanctuary, His purifying place, His Temple and Tabernacle” is synonymous with “Sukah – Shelters,” which serves as a metaphor for heaven, then this is the second time that Yahowah has told us that He is so serious about the significance of circumcision that He will not associate with anyone who has rejected His instruction in this regard. And yet regardless of what Yahowah’s Sanctuary symbolizes here, God has already told us in Bare’syth / Genesis that the souls of males who are not circumcised will die, separated from Him and thus from Heaven. Equally important, since the foundation of Galatians is the negation of circumcision and the Torah, it is unequivocally wrong—as is any religious institution predicated upon it.
Also, while some may protest and say that this is just an advisory notice regarding the Millennial Temple, you’ve got three things working against you. First, Revelation 3:12 tells us: “All who are victorious will become pillars in the Tabernacle of My God and will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of My God ” “All” means “all,” that’s all “all” means.
Second, during the Millennial Sabbath there won’t be any uncircumcised individuals because the One Thousand Year Shabat observation of Sukah is a celebration of the Covenant. And during this time, Yahowah, Himself, will reside in His Millennial Temple, making such ubiquitous malfeasance impossible.
And third, the Millennial Sabbath is a celebration of the Miqra’ of Sukah. As such, it embodies all that the seventh Festival Feast represents, making it the ultimate party. The entire Earth will be remade in the image of the Garden of Eden, and thus will be a joyous paradise. This isn’t, therefore, the kind of environment or atmosphere in which the most detestable abomination in human history could transpire.
These things known, I am haunted by two questions. With Yahowah’s position on circumcision being so clearly stated, so vital, unequivocal, and nonnegotiable, why did Sha’uwl choose this issue to pick a fight with the Disciples and with God? And with Yahowsha’s position on the Torah being so clearly stated, so vital, and nonnegotiable, how is it that Sha’uwl thought he could contradict Him and not be repudiated and dismissed for having done so?
While I’d love to linger here in the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms, and ponder the import of each word and phrase, having proven that the Yahuwdym depicted in Acts 15:1 were correct with regard to the connection between circumcision and salvation, our mission at the moment is to determine whether or not Paul was telling the truth regarding the Yaruwshalaim Summit. So, let’s return to the book of Acts.
Recognizing that the testimony the Yahuwdym from Yahuwdah (Jews from Judea) had delivered in Antioch regarding the connection between circumcision and salvation was accurate, Luke’s historic depiction began, saying:
“And some having come down from Yahuwdah were teaching the brethren that if you might not be circumcised as prescribed by Moseh, you are not able to be saved.” (15:1) Now continues with...
“So (de) a rebellion (ginomai stasis – a heated quarrel and open discord, an insurrection and uprising) and also (kai) a disputed argument (zetesis – a debated controversy) which were neither limited in scope, degree, or time (ouk oligos – not among a few, not to a small degree, and not for a short while), pertained to the individual (to) Paulos (Paulo – of Latin origin meaning Little and Lowly) and (kai) to (to) Barnabas (Bar-Naby – meaning Prophet’s Son).
Regarding them (pros autous – against them), they gave the order and assigned the task (tasso – they proposed, decided, and instituted the plan) to come up to (anabaino – to stand up to, to rise up and embark on the mission to reach) Paulos (Paulon – Little and Lowly) and (kai) Barnabas (Bar-Naby – Prophet’s Son) and some others (kai tinas allos) among (ek – from) them (autos) on behalf of (pros – concerning) the Apostles (apostolos – those who are prepared and sent out) and elders (kai presbyteros – leaders) in Yaruwshalaim (Ierousalem – transliteration of Yaruwshalaim, meaning the Source of Reconciliation) with regard to (peri) this (toutou) controversy and question (zetema – point of dispute and inquiry, debate and argument).” (Acts 15:2)
So much for the notion of Sha’uwl going to Yaruwshalaim because of a “revelation.” It was actually an all out rebellion which prompted this inquisition. Paul’s message denouncing circumcision and the Torah was under attack by those who knew better.
In that we will be comparing these two presentations, Luke’s Acts and Paul’s Galatians, I’d like to proceed by reviewing what Paul had written regarding this meeting when he said:
“Later, through fourteen years, also, I went up to Yaruwshalaim along with Barnabas, having taken along also Titus. (2:1)
I went up from uncovering an unveiling revelation which lays bare, laying down to them the beneficial messenger which I preach among the races pertaining to my own, uniquely and separately, but then to the opinions, presumptions, and suppositions, not somehow perhaps into foolishness and stupidity, without purpose or falsely, I might run or I ran (2:2) – to the contrary, not even Titus, a Greek being, was compelled or pressured to be circumcised – (2:3) but then on account of the impersonators who faked their relationship brought in surreptitiously under false pretenses, who sneaked into the group to secretly spy upon and clandestinely plot against the freedom from conscience and liberation from the constraints of morality that we possess in Christo Iesou in order that us they will actually make subservient, controlling for their own ends, (2:4) to whom neither to a moment we yielded, surrendered, or submitted in order that the truth of the God may continue to be associated among you. (2:5)
But now from the ones currently reputed, presumed, and supposed to be important based upon some sort of unspecified past, they were actually and continue to be nothing, completely meaningless and totally worthless to me. It carries through and bears differently in the face of God for man not take hold of, acquire, or receive, because to me, the ones currently presuming and supposing, presently dispensing opinions based upon reputed appearances, are of no account, utterly meaningless and totally worthless, was their advice and counsel, their cause and contribution in the past. (2:6)
Contrariwise, nevertheless notwithstanding the objection or exception, having seen that because namely I have been believed entrusted with the healing message and beneficial messenger of the uncircumcised inasmuch as Petros of the circumcised (2:7) because then namely, the one having previously functioned in Petro to an apostle for the circumcision, it actually functioned also in me to the nations and ethnicities. (2:8)
And having known and having recognized, becoming familiar with the Grace of the one having been given to me, Ya’aqob, Kephas, and also Yahowchanan, the ones presently presumed to be pillars, and thus leaders, the right place of honor and authority they granted to me, and to Barnabas fellowship as a result. We to the nations and ethnicities, but they to the circumcision. (2:9) Only alone by itself the lowly and poor, the worthless beggars of little value that we might remember and possibly think about which also I was eager and quick to do this similarly.” (2:10)
That was Sha’uwl’s version of the events. Now, let’s return to the book of Acts and consider the historian’s perspective on the Yaruwshalaim Inquiry. This monumental meeting was dated to 50 CE – seventeen years after Yahowsha’s Passover and Unleavened Bread Sacrifice and the fulfillment of FirstFruits and Seven Sabbaths.
Now that we know that the pretext for this meeting was misrepresented by Paul, how about the spies? Were they false brothers unknown to Paul or the Called Out in Yaruwshalaim?
“But (de) having arrived in (paraginomai eis – having approached and appeared in) Yaruwshalaim (Ierousalem – transliteration of Yaruwshalaim, meaning the Source of Reconciliation), they were acknowledged and received (paradechomai – were welcomed hospitably as visitors) by the (apo tes) Called Out (ekklesia), the (kai ton) Apostles (apostolos), and elders (kai ton presbyteros – and the leaders). And then (te – so then likewise) they reported (anangello – they announced and proclaimed) as much as (hosos – to the degree that) God (o ΘΣ) did (poieomai – worked and performed) with (meta) them (autos). (15:4)
But (de) some important individuals (tines – certain specific people) steadfastly stood up (exanistamai – resolutely rose up to take a stand), the ones (ton) from (apo – as in separated from and disassociated with) the religious party (tes hairesis – the faction based upon false teaching and heresy; from haireomai – to think and choose for oneself) of the Pharisees (ton Pharisaios – rabbinical religious fundamentalists; a transliteration of the Hebrew parash, meaning to separate, some of whom left their ranks to follow Yahowsha’), who having come to trust and to rely (pisteuo – to think and be persuaded, thus becoming confident), said (lego – and affirmed) that (hoti) it is a necessary requirement (dei – it is a must, it is inevitable, it is proper and established, right and beneficial) to circumcise (peritemno) individuals (autous) not only (te) to provide instruction as a messenger (parangello – to convey the message or to announce or proclaim the teaching), but also (kai) to observe (tereo – to attend to by focusing upon, closely examining and carefully considering) the Towrah of Moseh (Mouseos nomon – a Greek transliteration of Moseh, meaning: the One who Draws us Out and nomon – an allotment which is parceled out, an inheritance which is given, nourishment which is bestowed to be possessed and used, precepts which are apportioned, established, and is received as the means to be proper and approved, prescriptions to become heirs; from nemo – that which is provided, assigned, and distributed to one’s children to nourish them).” (Acts 15:4-5)
Once again, Luke has made it unequivocally clear that these individuals were advocating and endorsing the Torah Yahowah dictated to Moseh, not Rabbinic Law. And since they were Paul’s antagonists, and therefore the motivation behind Paul’s letter to the Galatians, it would be ridiculous to suggest that Paul’s foe was anything other than the Torah. This is a devastating blow relative to Paul’s credibility – and it was provided by his biographer, Luke, Christianity’s most respected historian. The lone viable excuse that could have been deployed to partially exonerate Paul, the notion that he was assailing and demeaning Rabbinic Law rather than the Torah, has just been even more fully obliterated by this testimony. If you are an informed and rational person, the debate is over, as is any possibility that Christianity is valid.
The men who “stood up had come to trust and rely,” which means that they were not “false brothers.” They did not “sneak into the meeting under false pretenses,” as they were elders among the Called Out in Yaruwshalaim. I suspect that Nicodemus, the Pharisee who is shown meeting with Yahowsha’ in Yahowchanan 3, was among them. But either way, they did not come to “secretly observe,” but to the contrary, to stand up and speak. Like Paul, these individuals were former Pharisees. But unlike Paul, they, like the One they followed, were Torah observant.
While Paul’s first five statements regarding this meeting have all crumbled in the face of the historic evidence Luke has provided, his sixth, seventh, and eighth assertions are also in jeopardy. Paul had written in Galatians 2:9 that he had presented his case, and then after having done so, he had been accepted by Ya’aqob, Shim’own, and Yahowchanan. But Luke deliberately says that the welcome occurred prior to Paul’s presentation of his message and ministry. He also suggests that the “welcome” was little more than “an acknowledgement that these visitors had shown up.” And that means even the false notion of a “right hand of fellowship” could not have been the ringing endorsement Paul would have his readers believe it might have been. Rather, the false Apostle was putting a carefully designed “spin” on the actual events to deliberately mislead his audience.
Also, contrary to Paul’s claim that everyone was accepting of the uncircumcised condition of his Greek associate, Titus (in Galatians 2:3), we find that the elders strongly encouraged circumcision, calling it: “a necessary requirement, proper, established, right, and beneficial to circumcise individuals not only to provide instruction as a messenger, to convey the message, and to announce or proclaim the teaching, but also to observe, to attend to by focusing upon, the Towrah of Moseh.” Therefore, Paul’s eighth recollection, that he was only told to “remember the poor,” was also untrue. He was told to remember the Torah generally and circumcision specifically.
Now, let’s see if Paul’s claim that an agreement was allegedly reached in the meeting to divide the world, limiting Yahowchanan, Shim’own, and Ya’aqob to the circumcised, while granting Paul authority over every other nation and race, is valid. Luke writes:
“So then (te) demonstrating leadership (sunago – drawing people together; from sun, with, and ago, to lead), the Apostles (apostolos – those who were prepared and sent out; speaking specifically of Yahowsha’s Disciples) and (kai) the elders (presbuteros – the leaders) paid attention (horao – looked at, perceived, recognized, were aware of, and understood) concerning (peri – because of and with regard to) this (toutou), the Word (tou logou – statement, reason, account, declaration, affirmation, treatise, decree, and mandate).” (Acts 15:6)
In other words, the Apostles and elders supported the men who stood up and affirmed the Torah—the Word of God—placing all of them at odds with Paul. They were in a word, “observant.” Further, this testimony affirms that “the Word” and the “Towrah of Moseh” were considered one and the same.
As we continue, we are confronted with additional testimony which invalidates Paul’s “all they said was to remember the lowly,” and that they agreed that “the nations and ethnicities belonged to Paul with Shim’own limited to the circumcised.” Turns out they had a lot more to say, and it all was in direct opposition to Paul’s recollection.
“But then (de) with considerable and extensive (polys – very great) debate (zetesis – questioning and controversy, mediating and reasoning, contentious argument and deliberation, seeking information and dispute) happening (ginomai – having come to exist), the Rock (petros – meaning rock, a translation of Shim’own’s nickname, Kephas, of the same meaning in Aramaic) having stood up (anistamai – having taken a stand, rising, standing upright), said (eipen) to and against (pros – about) them (autos), ‘Men (andres), brothers (adelphoi), you all (umeis) have examined the evidence, thought about it, and have come to understand (epistamai – through intellection evaluation of what you have come to know, possessing sufficient information to comprehend and take a resolute and confident stand) that (hoti) from (apo) in (en) the beginning (archaios – existing for a long time in the past) you all (umin) chose for yourself (eklegomai – selected) Yahowah (ΘΣ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples, like Shim’own, and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty, and Yahowah) on account of (dia – through and as a consequence of) my (mou) spoken words (stoma – message from my mouth), listening to and considering (akouo – receiving, hearing, paying attention to, comprehending, and understanding) the Word (legos) of the healing messenger and beneficial message (tou euangelion) to the races and nations (ethnos – to the ethnicities), and considered it to be trustworthy and reliable (pisteuo – were convinced and became confident).’” (Acts 15:7)
Yahowsha’ had personally trained Shim’own, teaching and guiding him every step of the way, equipping him to articulate His healing and beneficial message to the world. And then God deliberately and unequivocally authorized the Shim’own, as well as Yahowchanan and Ya’aqob, to represent Him to everyone. There were no limitations, no restrictions, no ethnicities off limits. And as proof of this, everyone of those Called Out in Yaruwshalaim on this day, save Paul, knew Yahowah because they had heard His message shared by Shim’own or Yahowsha’, Himself.
And let’s be very clear about this. Shim’own did not say that his words had saved anyone. The Rock’s role in their salvation was sharing the Word – therefore reciting the Torah. Better trained and prepared than anyone else on the planet (save Yahowchanan and Ya’aqob perhaps), this Apostle knew Yahowsha’, he understood Yahowah, he acknowledged the importance of the Torah, and therefore he was an especially effective witness.
By acknowledging his history and theirs, Shim’own Kephas confirmed what Yahowsha’ had promised and thereby pulverized Paul’s ninth claim. The “Rock” upon which the “Ekklesia – Called-Out Assembly” would be established was Shim’own’s pronouncement of Yahowah’s Word, whereby he proclaimed that Yahowsha’ was the Ma’aseyah, the Son of God.
Beyond this, everyone who was part of the Called-Out Assembly in Yaruwshalaim during the fulfillment of the Called-Out Assembly of Seven Sabbaths was specifically equipped by the Set-Apart Spirit to share the healing and beneficial message with the entire world, regardless of what languages the Gentiles spoke. Simply stated, the ministry of the Apostles had never been limited to Jews as Paul had claimed. The exact opposite was true. In fact, for Sha’uwl to be right, the fulfillment of the Miqra’ of Shabuwa, which serves as the foundation of the Ekklesia, and the impetus for the book of Acts, had to be a complete fabrication.
These things known, when we place Luke’s account of this meeting as it is presented in the book of Acts next to Paul’s description of it in Galatians, we find that the historical account is markedly different.
In conclusion, if Paul cannot be trusted to accurately present what happened during the two most important meetings of his life (the mythical meeting in Arabia and the inquisition in Yaruwshalaim), he cannot be trusted with regard to his contrarian message. This is a wakeup call for those who have been led to believe that Paul was right when he said that the Torah had been replaced by “faith in his Gospel of Grace.”
If you haven’t already recognized that it is rationally impossible for Paul to be a reliable witness when he contradicts the God he claimed to represent, then the realization that Paul cannot be trusted to accurately relay conversations between men should be sufficient for you to discount his testimony regarding God.
To be clear, I’m not saying that everything Paul wrote has been discredited, just a third of Galatians (everything we have read up to this point), and with it, the foundation of Christendom. The remainder of Paul’s letter and letters are awaiting our examination. But the realization that the first third of his first epistle has been deficient in every conceivable way should suffice to indicate that his remaining words aren’t Scripture either. It is obvious that they never should have been elevated to this status. God’s standard is perfection. Paul has no standards.
Therefore, while it requires study and thought, Paul’s epistle to the Galatians has taught us a valuable lesson: we must be careful. Yahowah is trustworthy and men are not.