Without an Inheritance
To those without the Torah, I was Torahless
The reason we have taken a detour into the book of Acts, in the midst of our review of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, is that Luke’s historical portrait provides the best contemporaneous platform from which to judge the veracity of Sha’uwl’s writings. And now that we are here, there are many additional things we can learn – some of them surprising.
Shim’own, meaning “He Listens,” but more commonly known as “Peter,” is going to be our star witness. He, with Luke serving as our narrator, reveals that a wide-ranging controversy had arisen between Yahowsha’s handpicked Disciples and the self-proclaimed “apostle Paul.” Not only was Sha’uwl’s message the antithesis of what Yahowsha’ had taught Shim’own, and indeed in irreconcilable conflict with Yahowah’s Word, the man who has come to be known to many as Paul was also claiming exclusive rights to preach his contrarian message to the world.
So that we regain the perspective that has been provided by Luke, let’s quickly review what had transpired before we consider the additional testimony Shim’own Kephas provided to deliberately undermine and discredit the entirety of Sha’uwl’s premise.
“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)
So an openly heated and hotly disputed argument, which was substantial and pervasive, arose pertaining to the individual Paulos and to Barnabas.
Regarding them, they gave the order to stand up to Paulos and Barnabas, and some others among them, on behalf of the Apostles and elders in Yaruwshalaim with regard to this controversy associated with this point of dispute and inquiry.” (15:2)
“Then having arrived in Yaruwshalaim, they were acknowledged and received by the Called Out, the Apostles, and elders. So then they reported as much as God did with them. (15:4)
But some important individuals steadfastly stood up, the ones now disassociated from the religious party of the Pharisees who having come to trust and to rely, said that it is a necessary requirement, it is established, right and beneficial, to circumcise individuals, not only to provide instruction as a messenger, but also to observe the Towrah of Moseh. (15:5)
So then demonstrating leadership, the Apostles and the elders paid attention concerning this statement from the Word. (15:6)
But then with considerable and extensive debate happening, the Rock having stood up said to and against them, ‘Men, brothers, you all have examined the evidence, thought about it, and have come to understand that from the beginning you all chose Yahowah for yourself on account of my spoken words, listening to and considering the Word of the healing message and beneficial Messenger to the races and nations, and considered it to be trustworthy and reliable.’” (15:7)
While the elders’ testimony on behalf of the Torah and then Shim’own’s claims on behalf of everyone’s shared experience with Yahowah, have completely pulverized Paulos’s position, Shim’own wasn’t finished pummeling God’s foe. He continued to say...
“And (kai) Yahowah (ΘΣ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples, like Shim’own, and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty, in addition to Yahowah’s name), the One (o) who knows hearts (kardiognostes – addressing the individual’s attitude and what they have incorporated into their lives), provided testimony and spoke of (martyreo – witnessed on behalf of and vouched for) having given (didomi – having produced and granted, appointing, assigning, and bestowing) to them (autois) the Set-Apart (to agion – and purifying) Spirit (to ΠΝΑ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples like Shim’own and in the Septuagint to represent the ruwach – Spirit of Yahowah) just as (kathos – for the same reason and to the same degree) also (kai) to us (emin). (15:8)
And no one (kai outhen) can make a distinction (diakrinomai – can create a difference) between (metaxy) us (emon) and also likewise (te kai) them (auton), in that which is trustworthy and reliable (pistis), having cleansed (katharizo – having healed and purified) their (auton) hearts (kardias – addressing the individual, their desires and attitude).” (Acts 15:9)
This is a brilliant opening statement by Shim’own Kephas, especially considering the nature of his adversary. In direct opposition to Paul’s “but I say,” Yahowsha’s Disciple affirmed that, with regard to salvation, “Yahowah’s testimony” is all that matters. Then, the Rock further differentiated himself from Sha’uwl when he identified the source of his effectiveness: “the Set-Apart Spirit” – the same Spirit which Yahowah had previously spoken about and had provided to His Covenant children. By contrast, however, in the previous chapter, we learned that Paul’s power came from a masculine spirit whom he later identified as “a messenger of Satan.”
Also in direct contrast to Sha’uwl, the Rock said that “no one should make a distinction between us and them,” which was to say that the world should not be divided between Yahuwdym and Gowym, or even into past, present, and future circumstances. All of Yahowah’s Spirit-filled troubadours are called to share God’s healing message, and to anyone and everyone—to all those whose minds are open, regardless of race, place, or time.
As a result of the fulfillment seventeen years earlier of the Torah’s promises regarding Seven Sabbaths, where the beneficiaries of Passover, Un-Yeasted Bread, and FirstFruits were enriched and empowered, our Heavenly Father’s Covenant family grew in numbers and capability. And consistent with the Towrah’s Instructions, Gowym and Yahuwdym, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, free and slave were all invited to participate. While there was still a distinction nationally and communally, individually the door was wide open. Regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, or economic status, the path to become Yahowah’s children is the same, because there is and always has been only one Way to God and one way to witness on His behalf.
Therefore, Shim’own asks Sha’uwl and company a rather poignant question, one which casts Paul in the role of Satan...
“Now (nyn), therefore (oun), why (ti) do you test and tempt (peirazo – do you (speaking to Sha’uwl and Barnabas) look for mistakes and try to exploit and trap) God (ΘN – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty), to place upon and impose (epitithemai – to lay on, subjecting, and inflicting) a yoke (zygos – a mechanism for controlling the movement of animals) upon the neck (epi ton trachelos) of the Disciples (ton mathetes – followers who are committed to a relationship and who as students are instructed and tutored) which (on) neither (oute) our (emon) fathers (pateres) nor (oute) we (emeis) were given the authority (ischuo – were able to enforce, were competent to validate, and sufficiently empowered) to accept, support, or put up with (bastazo – to comprehend, take up, carry, or endure in our walk)?” (Acts 15:10)
While it is a translation of what Shim’own actually said, since this discussion would have been conducted in Hebrew, or possibly Aramaic, there is no dismissing the fact that peirazo is an unsavory term. It is used in reference to Satan “tempting” Yahowsha’ in the wilderness prior to the beginning of His witness in Mark 1:13. Mattanyah is also translated using the same word in relation to Satan, calling him the “tempter” in Mattanyah 4:3. Then peirazo was supplied by a scribe in Mattanyah 16:1, showing the Pharisees and Sadducees trying to “tempt” Yahowsha’, so as to manipulate Him.
Therefore, the Disciple Shim’own is implying that Sha’uwl was acting like Satan and his religious minions in his attempt to “test and tempt” God, “searching for mistakes to exploit and trap” God. He has done so by misquoting God. And the issues at play were Torah observance, especially circumcision, and messaging, particularly the audience. So since Yahowah’s instructions in this regard are clear and invariable, to claim otherwise and to expect God to acquiesce, is to tempt fate. It is a losing hand, and Shim’own knows it.
Then Shim’own said that Sha’uwl was inappropriately trying to control Yahowsha’s Disciples, imposing restrictions upon them which they could never support. He is in effect, telling us that all of Sha’uwl’s claims regarding God changing His approach and then authorizing one man to proclaim those alterations were completely bogus. This is a refutation of everything we have read thus far in Galatians.
The Disciples were specifically asked by Yahowsha’ to carry His message to the world. So they’d have to refuse God’s direction to accept Sha’uwl’s mandate. And they wisely were unwilling. But beyond this, Shim’own was quick to point out that Yahowah didn’t give any of us the authority to change His testimony, and most especially the terms and conditions associated with His Covenant. So what Paul was preaching was something the Disciples “could not and would not accept, support, or put up with.”
In the next chapter, we are going to consider another of Yahowsha’s prophetic warnings regarding Sha’uwl, this one directed at Shim’own, and directly germane to the Rock’s most recent affirmation. Seventeen years before Sha’uwl would attempt to do this very thing to Shim’own, Yahowsha’ warned His Disciple...
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you were girding yourself, fastening the ties of your own garments, preparing yourself for work, and you were walking, traveling around, conducting, and directing your life, wherever you were intending and whenever you decided. But when you grow older, you will extend, holding out and stretching forth your hands and another will gird you, placing a yoke on you to control you (se zosei – will fasten a strap around your midst; from zugos – imposing a yoke of bondage to manipulate and control, used to depict the burden of troublesome religious laws and commands) and he will move, manipulating and driving you to a place where you do not presently intend or desire.’ (21:18)
And then this, He said, making the future clear, signifying and foretelling what kind of deadly plague he will attribute to Yahowah. And this having been conveyed, He said to him, ‘You should choose to follow Me and My Way, actively engaging as My Disciple.’” (Yahowchanan / Yahowah is Merciful / John 21:18-19) With Yahowsha’s warning still ringing in his ears, Shim’own told Sha’uwl that he would not accept his yoke.
While there is no “test,” “yoke” nor “trap,” nor a reference to “neck” nor to the ability “to endure” a burden associated with the concluding statement of Moseh’s public pronouncement in Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 27:26, Christian apologists in a wild and unsupported leap of faith, say that “Peter” was referencing this verse to suggest that a person is trapped by the Towrah unless they obey everything it says. But not only is that conclusion in irreconcilable conflict with Yahowah’s testimony on this subject, and Yahowsha’s, it’s not even what the Towrah reveals.
After saying that a person will invoke harm upon themselves if they make religious idols or images that are detestable to Yahowah, if they dishonor their Father or Mother, if they confiscate their neighbor’s land, if they mislead a blind person, if they deprive an orphan of justice, or if they have sexual relations with a parent, animal, sibling, in-law, or if they secretly strike down a fellow countryman, or if they take a bribe which damns an innocent soul, we read: “Relationally, he invokes harm upon himself who (‘arar ‘asher) does not take a stand (quwm – is not established and affirmed, raising up) with regard to (‘eth – in association with) the words (dabarym – the statements and message of) this (ha ze’th), the Towrah’s guidance (ha towrah – the teaching, direction, and instruction), for the purpose of (la – and to approach by) engaging in and acting upon them (‘asah ‘eth – endeavoring to exert considerable effort to gain and profit from them). And the entire family (wa kol ha ‘am) said (‘amar), ‘Surely this is truthful and reliable (‘amen – this is acceptable and true).’” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 27:26) So as with most things Christians claim on behalf of their religion, the inverse of their argument is true. We are being asked to take a stand with regard to the words which comprise the Towrah’s guidance, thereby acting upon God’s instructions.
When it comes to analyzing the words, themselves, there is an enormous difference between Paul’s letters and the testimony found in the historical and eyewitness accounts. In the former, Paul’s epistles were originally written in Greek to those who were fluent in Greek. Therefore, Paul, himself, selected each of the Greek words we are reading. However, the conversations presented in the eyewitness and historic accounts were all spoken in Hebrew or Aramaic, making the Greek text a translation, typically by a scribe, and often hundreds of years later, rather than a transcript. This is important because it means that, in his next statement, Shim’own said “chen – mercy” not “charis – grace.” Luke, who at the time was traveling with Paul, may have provided the errant rendering, but it could also have been added much, much later by a Roman Catholic scribe in the late fourth century. While there is an extant pre-Constantine manuscript of Acts, this next statement was omitted.
So here we find Shim’own, after telling Sha’uwl to go to She’owl with his arrogant and condescending attitude, with his grossly inappropriate turf war which sought to anoint him lord of the world and purveyor of the word, and with his contrarian message which conflicted with everything Yahowsha’ said and did, in addition to everything he personally had said and done, transitioning away from Sha’uwl and back to reality...
“Nevertheless (alla – to the contrary, yet certainly and emphatically), through (dia – by and on account of) the mercy (charis – was errantly selected by a scribe to convey chen, the Hebrew word for undeserved kindness and unmerited favor) of Yahowah (tou ΚΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey either ‘edon, the Upright One, or Yahowah’s name), in Yahowsha’ (ΙΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey Yahowsha’, meaning Yahowah Saves), we presently trust and actively rely (pistos – we express actual conviction and confidence so as to genuinely depend (present active indicative)) to be saved (sozo – to be healed and delivered) according to (kata – in accord with) this manner, this means, and this way (on tropos – direction and fashion by which something is accomplished), the same as them (kai ekeinos – and also those, a conjunction and pronoun referencing a similarity with people who were relatively distant in time and thus referring to the way of the forefathers in the previous sentence).” (Acts 15:11)
Shim’own is saying what I’ve been saying, and he’s saying it because it is what Yahowah said: God is the source of mercy. He always has been and always will be. Yahowsha’ is simply Yahowah’s delivery mechanism. When it comes to our salvation they are inseparable. The mercy Abraham, Yitschaq, and Ya’aqob enjoyed, and the means they availed themselves of it, was the same as that experienced by Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and their fellow Disciple Ya’aqob. There is only one God, one Torah, one Covenant, one Way. Shim’own had chosen appropriately in every case, consistently siding with God. Sha’uwl, well not so much. His mission was to change everything, including God.
Forgetting Paul’s affinity for the Graces for a moment, “believing Yahowsha’” hasn’t saved anyone. Salvation has nothing to do with our “faith.” Satan believed that Yahowsha’ was the Ma’aseyah, and he understood the merit of His sacrifice, but it didn’t do him any good. Our salvation is a function of choosing to pass through the door (Passover) that Yahowah has provided, and then walk along His path from Unleavened Bread to Shelters, trusting and relying upon Yahowah every step of “The Way” to “Life.” And that’s the “Truth.”
This explains why the Disciples and the entire Called-Out Assembly in Yaruwshalaim responded so coldly and unreceptively to Sha’uwl. Sigao, meaning “to hiss while holding one’s peace,” suggests that they were trying to disassociate themselves from Paul’s message. And the more he tried to impress them, the less they were impressed.
“So then (de) the entire (pas to – everyone associated with the) large assembly (plethos – multitude and great crowd) was actually hissing while keeping their perceptions to themselves (sigao – they were holding their peace, keeping relatively closed-mouthed, actively concealing their reactions; from sige – to utter a hushed hiss), as (kai) they were listening to (akouo – all the while they were using their sense of hearing to actively and actually consider (imperfect active indicative)) Barnaba (Barnaba – a transliteration of bar naby; meaning in Aramaic, the son of a prophet, transliterated Barnabas) and (kai) Paulou (Paulou – of Latin origin meaning Lowly and Little, transliterated Paul) telling (exegeomai – revealing, explaining, and describing) the quantity and extent (hosos) they performed (poieomai – they did, created, caused, constructed, worked, fashioned, made, and brought about) of (o – the definite article in the nominative case indicating to become) Godly (ΘΣ) signs (semeion – miracles) and (kai) wonders (teras – portentous events or extraordinary omens) in and among (en) the (tois) races and nations (ethnos – the ethnicities) through (dia) them (auton).” (Acts 15:12)
God is not a show off. He seldom performs miracles. It isn’t His style. He prefers words. He wants us to think our way to Him. It isn’t about impressing us. His testimony is more than sufficient.
Therefore, if Barnaba and Paulou wanted to impress this assembly, they would have done so by citing the Torah, equating its message to their own, while affirming Yahowah’s Covenant, His Invitations, and His mercy. But no, with Paul (we have to be careful lumping Barnabas in with him because immediately after this meeting he would soon reject Paul as well), it is all about him, his magnificent message and his mighty deeds. So as a result, the Assembly hissed at the self-proclaimed assassin and libertine.
We must always be careful with regard to Paul, or anyone, when they claim to have produced “signs and wonders.” Rather than serve as proof of God’s influence, they usually provide another nail in the pontificator’s coffin.
In Mattanyah / Yahowah’s Gift / Matthew 24:4-5 and then in 23-24, seventeen years in advance of the day they would benefit from this advice, Yahowsha’ warned His Disciples to be especially wary of the likes of anyone who would make the claims Paul has now professed. In the midst of His Olivet Discourse, we find:
“And Yahowsha’ (ΙΣ), having responded judgmentally (apokrinomai – having answered using discernment to separate fact from fiction; a compound of apo – from, and krino – separation, thereby being discriminating), said to (eupen – spoke to) them (autos – speaking of His Disciples), ‘It’s important that you are observant and that you pay attention, presently being aware and perceptive (blepete – choose to look closely and watch out, consider carefully and be discerning, think so that you understand (present active imperative)), lest (ue) someone (tis) will try to cause you to wander away from the truth (planeon umas – he will intentionally deceive and will probably try to delude you, attempting to lead you astray (aorist active subjunctive). (24:4)
For (gar – because) many (polys) will come (erchomai) in (en – [from Papyrus 70]) My (mou) name (onoma – reputation), saying (lego – claiming), ‘I (ego) represent (eimi – am, exist for, belong to, and I stand for) the (o) Ma’aseyah (ΧΣ – a placeholder used to convey Ma’aseyah, the Implement Doing the Work of Yah). And so (kai) many (polys) they will mislead (planaomai – they deceive and delude, causing to go astray). (24:5)
“Then (tote) if (ean) someone (tis) might say (eipon – may speak) to you (umeis), ‘Behold (idou – indeed, suddenly now, look, and pay special attention, emphasizing that), here in this place (hode), the Ma’aseyah (o ΧΣ),’ or (e), ‘In this case, over there (hode),’ you should do not think that this is trustworthy or reliable (me pisteuo). (24:23)
Because (gar) those pretending to be useful implements Doing the Work of Yahowah (pseudochrestui) and (kai) false prophets (pseudoprophetai) will arise and take a stand (egeiromai – arousing and stirring the comatose), and (kai) they will give (didomi – they will claim the authority to provide, offer or bestow) many great (megas – significant and surprising, important and astonishing) signs (semeion) and (kai) wonders (teras – miraculous and portentous events) in order to (hoste – therefore as a result to) momentarily deceive and mislead (planao – to in a moment in time attempt to delude, temporarily wandering away from the truth so lead astray (aorist active)), if possible (ei dynatos – if able), even (kai) those who choose to be called out (tous eklektos – those who choose to be called out based upon the word, those who select and are selected because of the word, from ek, out of, and legos, the Word).’” (Mattanyah / Yah’s Gift / Matthew 24:24)
In a private meeting in which only His Disciples were present, and thus speaking to Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and Ya’aqob, Yahowsha’ “told them to pay attention, to be especially discerning and judgmental, being observant and careful, lest someone will cause you to wander away from the truth, deceiving and deluding you.” Since this warning was stated specifically to the Disciples, might this someone be Paul, and the occasion be the Yaruwshalaym Summit? And if not him, who? If not then, when?
I realize that Christian apologists will say that this warning was meant for others—including for us today. And by way of extrapolation, that might ordinarily be possible, except for the fact that all of the pronouns and the translated tenses suggest otherwise. “Blepete – it’s important that you are observant” was presented in the present tense, and thus was not addressing encounters nearly two-thousand years later. Further, “planeon – he will intend for you to wander away from the truth” was scribed in the aorist, which while in the subjunctive mood, reveals that the attempt to “deceive and delude” would be both probable and intentional, it does not specify when the wayward and misleading individual would attempt to beguile them. But it would be them, specifically, which is why “umas – you” was deployed. Also, “tis – someone” is singular and masculine as is planeon, the deceiver.
So I say again, if not Paul and before them at this meeting then we have no record of who or when, rendering the prophecy either inaccurate or irrelevant. Yet with Paul at the Yaruwshalaim Inquisition, we have Shim’own’s eyewitness testimony that it was precisely and accurately fulfilled. And since this is the opening statement of the Olivet Discourse (Yahowsha’s most comprehensive prophetic revelation) in which everything else Yahowsha’ said has or is coming true before our eyes, I don’t suspect that His first prediction was erroneous or superfluous.
And by the way, there is considerable evidence to suggest that Paul’s deliberate attempt to mislead prevailed. While the Disciple’s never accepted him and are seen as his opposition, they were not nearly aggressive enough. And as a result, Paul’s faith has deceived and misled billions.
Since it is easy to blend Yahowsha’s thoughts together, let’s consider them one at a time. Initially He said: “many will come in My name,” and indeed, many have, but not all of those who have claimed to represent God have been deceitful.
Fortunately, or sadly, depending upon our perspective, the remedy was and remains simple, available, and infallible: be observant and judgmental. When we exercise good judgment, when we are discerning and discriminating, based upon what we have learned by God by closely and carefully examining His Towrah, we cannot be deceived and we can prevent others from being misled. This instruction was written in the imperative because God wanted us to realize that few things are as important as choosing to observe His Guidance. Turning to the Towrah is always the best answer. And that is where this meeting began.
Turning to the second statement, the most literal rendering of eimi in the middle clause would suggest that Yahowsha’ predicted that many people would say “I am the ‘Messiah’.” And while there have been a number of isolated nutcases, with the most famous being Rabbi Akiba’s Shim’own Bar Kokhba, and the more recent being Sun Myung Moon, their victims are relatively few and are usually counted in the hundreds, sometimes thousands, but seldom millions or billions.
Those who have led the most people astray, and thus more completely satisfy this prophetic warning, simply claim to “represent” the Ma’aseyah, which is one of eimi’s most common connotations, along with “exist for, belong to, and stand for.” And while Paul would tell the Galatians that they had treated him as if he were the Ma’aseyah, that he died with Him and thus now lives as Him, and even that he should be considered the co-savior by completing Yahowsha’s sacrifice, more typically Sha’uwl claims to speak exclusively for Him – which is to represent Him. So whether you consider Paul to have falsely claimed to be the living incarnation of the Ma’aseyah, or simply to have falsely represented Him, with regard to both he was not unique.
But he was unique when we consider his carnage. The billions of Christians his letters have led away from Yahowah and His Torah, who have been deceived and deluded by placing their faith in his Gospel of Grace, are “many” by any standard. In fact, it would be hard to identify another individual who has misled more people than Paul. It is why I refer to him as the most influential man who ever lived.
Second unto Paul would be “Muhammad,” who has also misled billions. But Allah’s Messenger only claimed to be the Ma’aseyah as he approached Yathrib. This brief and failed interlude came immediately following the Satanic Verses when his tattered reputation needed a boost. Moreover, Muhammad never spoke in the Ma’aseyah’s name because he didn’t know it. The Qur’an calls Yahowsha’ “Issa,” which is an Arabic transliteration of “Esau.” And Muhammad never claimed to represent the Ma’aseyah, but instead Allah. So, he would be disqualified from this prophecy. Not to mention the fact that he lived six centuries after the lifetimes of Yahowsha’s Disciples.
Before we move on, let’s pause a moment and contemplate a most startling fact. Paul has repeatedly claimed to speak for the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’, and yet in all of his sermons and in all of his letters, he only quotes Him once! The lone citation is found in 1st Corinthians 11:24-26, and even it is wrong, with Yahowsha’s “body being broken” in addition to the bread, and forgetting to mention that the blood of the Passover Lamb “was shed for many for the forgiveness of sin.” So how is it that a man who never once quotes Yahowsha’ accurately can actually be His spokesman?
Moreover, when we compare Galatians to Mattanyah or Yahowchanan, where Yahowsha’s words and deeds dominate the text, or to Zakaryah or Yashayah, where Yahowah’s words reign supreme, the juxtaposition serves to awaken us to the reality that, unlike the others, Paul was speaking for himself. Simply stated: Paul wrote as if his words were God’s, and yet they seldom if ever were.
Continuing with the Olivet Discourse, Yahowsha’s warning to His Disciples was advanced twenty verses later with a prediction that Paul, alone, is known to have fulfilled. He, in perfect harmony with the prediction, claimed to have seen the Ma’aseyah twice, in one place and then in another, on the road to Damascus and then again in Arabia. The sandal still fits. And it fits Sha’uwl exclusively, because no one else made such claims during the lifetimes of Yahowsha’s Disciples – if ever.
Also, Yahowsha’ has returned our focus to a unique individual with this prophecy, because it is once again focused on “tis – someone” singular. So this then begs two questions: since Christians claim to believe “Jesus,” when “Jesus” said, “if someone might say to you, behold, here in this place the “Christ,” or in this case, over there, do not think that they are trustworthy,” why don’t they believe Him? And why do they trust Paul?
Yahowsha’s next statement isn’t extant in any pre-Constantine manuscript. And since we know that Mattanyah originally wrote his eyewitness account in his native Hebrew, we have no way to tell if the first scribe to translate his testimony into Greek, or one working for the Roman Catholic Church centuries later, wrote “pseudochristoi” or pseudochresui.” The former is based upon the christos root which speaks of the “application of drugs” while the later would have been based upon chrestus, meaning “useful implement.” The Ebionites, who formed a Called-Out Assembly in Yaruwshalaim under Ya’aqob in the first century, were the first to propose a canon, and they claimed to have read Mattanyah in Hebrew. And while there are a score of credible witnesses to this fact, the oldest Hebrew manuscript in our possession dates to the Middle Ages.
However, since we are considering this dire prediction in light of Paul’s fulfillment of it, it is instructive to know that the Ebionites, who were first-century followers of The Way, specifically excluded Paul’s letters from their canon, as they considered him to be a false prophet. It wasn’t until Marcion, in the early second century that Paul was canonized, even promoted, as “the only true Apostle” bequeathed with the foreboding distinction of being “God’s chosen Messenger.”
Recognizing that this eyewitness account of Yahowsha’s testimony on the Mount of Olives chronicled a Hebrew conversation in Hebrew, for the Greek text to read “will give (didomi) many great signs and wonders” instead of “will perform (poieomai) signs and wonders,” the underlying Hebrew word spoken on this occasion had to be “natan – to give,” especially in the since of “offering and providing.” It suggests that the alleged “signs and wonders” weren’t actually performed, but were instead “offered” as proof, thereby “provided” as justification for believing them.
So when Paul and Barnabas got up before the Yaruwshalaym Ekklesia and tried to impress them by bragging about the “semeion kai teras – signs and wonders” he had performed, using the exact same phrase Yahowsha’ had warned them about, the Disciples should have remembered God’s prediction regarding “false prophets who would take a stand and offer many great signs and wonders” and seen Paul and Barnabas as the ones attempting to “planao – momentarily lead them astray, actively trying to deceive and delude them.” Therefore, they should have done more than “hiss” to have responded appropriately. Paul had failed another prophetic test, this one right before their eyes.
I have always enjoyed the humor in Yahowsha’s approach. Here, rather than just saying that folks would rise up and arouse people, claiming to speak for Him while offering signs and wonders as proof in order to deceive, He said, “if it were possible,” they would attempt to momentarily delude “kai tous eklektos – even the chosen.” While all of us are given the opportunity to choose God based upon the Word of God, there were twelve individuals who were actually and specifically chosen by God. So by augmenting His false-prophet warning with this particular hypothetical in front of this unique audience, Yahowsha’ was elbowing His Disciples in the ribs—“Hint, hint, I’m talking to you, the chosen, about someone who will falsely claim to have been selected.”
While Paul’s testimony isn’t ever credible, it is nonetheless interestingly that even he associates “signs and wonders” with Satan and Torah-lessness, doing so in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, a conversation which we will review shortly. Therefore, even Paul-fixated Christians ought to have been alarmed.
And while they would not have considered the Towrah, Yahowah also associated “signs and wonders” with false prophets and interpreters of revelations, especially with the likes of Sha’uwl who would eliminate the Torah and replace it with their New Testament. Remember:
“With regard to every word which beneficially I am instructing you with accordingly, observe it for the purpose of engaging and acting upon it, not adding to it nor subtracting from it.
Indeed, if a prophet, which is a person who claims to speak for God, stands up trying to establish himself in your midst, an interpreter of revelations, and offers and provides (natan) a sign (‘owth – an omen, promise, or consent decree claiming to be authorized to speak for God) or wonder (mowpheth – miracle which appears marvelous or wonderful, inspiring awe) to you, and the omen or miracle worker appears before you who has spoken thusly to you to say, ‘Let us go after and follow other different or additional gods which you have not known, and let us serve and worship them, do not listen to the words of that prophet or interpreter of revelations, because the test of Yahowah, your God, accordingly for you to know and understand is whether this affirms your love, relationship, and affection for Yahowah, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul.
Following Yahowah, your God, you should walk. With Him, you should always and be respectful. And in concert with His terms and conditions, you should continually and actually be observant, consistently focus upon them, closely examining and carefully considering them.
Concerning His voice, and thus His proclamations and pronouncements, you should always and literally listen so that with Him, you can consistently serve and always engage productively. So to Him, you should always choose to cling.
Therefore, that prophet claiming to speak for God or that interpreter of revelations is deadly. For indeed, he has spoken rebellious renunciations, creating a revolt which leads to disassociation and to being misled concerning Yahowah, your God, the One who led you out, descending to serve you by extending Himself to guide you away from the realm of the crucibles of Egypt, speaking of human oppression and divine judgment, and the One who redeemed you, ransoming you, from the house of bondage, from servitude, from worship and from being enslaved.
His desire is to seduce and scatter you from the Way which beneficially, Yahowah, your God, described, providing you with a complete set of directions for you to walk in. And so, you should choose to completely remove, ridding yourself of that which is disagreeable, displeasing, and evil, malignant, mischievous, and harmful, from your midst.” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 13:1-6)
This is as clear as words allow. If an individual wants to demonstrate that he or she is speaking for God, then that person should share Yahowah’s testimony. They should neither annul any aspect of it nor augment God’s Word with their own ideas. And please, neither personal revelations nor signs and wonders are credible.
Yahowsha’ would be even more specific regarding Paul, tailoring the prophetic prediction to reflect the wannabe Apostle’s boast that he met with Him in Arabia, the ultimate Scriptural “wilderness.” Listen to God:
“Pay close attention (idou – indeed look, being especially observant, encouraging the listener to focus upon this subject), I’ve told you this beforehand, forewarning you (proeipon umin – I have spoken to you about this previously, predicting in advance that it will actively and actually occur in your future (perfect active indicative)). (24:25) Then when, therefore (ean oun – indeed when the condition is met and surely), someone says to you (eiposin umin), ‘Look, suddenly (idou – calling everyone’s attention to emphasize a narrative), in the wilderness (en te eremo – in a deserted, remote, and uninhabited place in the desert) it is currently present (estin – it is presently, actively, and actually (present tense, active voice, indicative mood in the third person, singular and thus “it exists,” and not “I exist”),’ you should not leave (me exerchomai – you ought not go forth). Indeed, you (idou – emphasizing this to you) in the (en tois) inner room (tameion – the reserved and secure chamber of a household and storehouse where [the Spirit] will be distributed) should not consider this to be truthful (me pisteuo – you should not think that this is reliable).” (Mattanyah / Yah’s Gift / Matthew 24:25-26)
Making matters even worse for the self-proclaimed Apostle, in the next verse, Yahowsha’ will go on to say that when He is next seen on earth, He will be seen by all. It is yet another nail in Sha’uwl’s now crumbling coffin.
The reference to “you in the inner room,” provides a second insider look into Yahowsha’s style. The Disciples met with Him after His fulfillment of Pesach, Matsah, and Bikuwrym in an “tameion – inner room.” It is where they received the treasure of the Set-Apart Spirit. Yahowsha’ had miraculously walked through the wall of the room to appear before them. And while He looked so different than He had previously in His transitional state between energy and matter that they didn’t initially recognize Him, He did not appear to them as flashing rays light, but instead became corporeal. The inner room was also the private place Yahowsha’ told His Disciples that they should go when they wanted to talk with the Father.
Juxtapose this with Paul’s claim to have encountered the Ma’aseyah on the road to Damascus, and then to meeting with Him in Arabia, and once again, Paul is not only a perfect fit for this warning, he is the only candidate who made these claims within the lifetimes of Yahowsha’s audience. Therefore, the only informed and rational conclusion is that Yahowsha’ specifically warned His Disciples about Sha’uwl’s deceptive claims—and us through them—telling us not to believe him. Are you listening?
While we are on the topic of Paul hanging himself with his own words, I’d like you to consider his “conversion experience” alongside Yahowsha’s statement regarding Satan. Describing Satan’s fall from heaven, and our dominion over him, Luke, in 10:18, translates the Ma’aseyah saying:
“But then (de) He said (eipon) to them (autois – addressing the seventy witnesses He had sent out), I saw (theoreo – I was watching) the Adversary, Satan (ton Satanan – the Devil who opposes; a transliteration of the Hebrew satan – adversary and antagonist who slanders and accuses in opposition), as (hos – like and similar to, approximating) lightning, a bright beam or ray of flashing light (astraphe – a ray of light in the form of a natural, weather-based phenomenon like lightning; from astrapto – a shining and dazzling object) from (ek – out of) the heavens (tou ouranos – the sky and the spiritual abode of God), having fallen (pipto – descending to a lower realm, now prostrate, bowed, failed, and inadequate).
Behold (idou – now pay attention, indeed), I have given you (didomi umin – I have offered and provided to you all) the authority, ability, and opportunity (ten exousia – the legal jurisdiction and authorization, the control, power, choice, and right) to trample (tou pateo – to step and tread under foot, to crush, subdue, subjugate, and devastate), being superior to (epano – being above and having authority over), serpents (ophis – snakes which serve as a metaphor for Satan and his fellow demons) and scorpions (kai skorpios – poisonous insects which sting and supernatural demonic powers, from skopos, skeptics who conceal).
So upon (kai epi) the entirety of (pas – all of) the Adversary’s (tou echthros – the hated and odious hostile enemy’s) power (dynamis – ability and rule, capability and strength, especially the performance of miracles), therefore (kai), you (umas) will absolutely never be harmed by his fraudulent deceit (ouden ou me adikeo – will not be injured by his wrongdoing and injustice or his violation of the standard).” (Luke 10:18-19)
Now for Paul’s depiction of what he experienced: “But (de) to me (moi) it happened (ginomai – it came to be), traveling (poreuomai – going to) and (kai) approaching (engizo – nearing) Damascus (te Damasko – a transliteration of Damaskos, the capital of Syria; from the Hebrew Dameseq, a compound of dam and tsedeq: justice torn asunder leaves the righteous weeping) around noon (peri mesembrian – near midday), suddenly and unexpectedly (exaiphnes – unforeseen and immediately) from (ek – out of) the sky (tou ouranou – the atmosphere (singular masculine)), a nearby lightning strike (periastraphai – lightning glittering roundabout, shining brightly all around, flashing nearby; a compound of peri – about, near, and concerning, and astrape – lightning, a beam or flashing ray of bright light which dazzles (aorist as a moment in time unrelated to any plan, active and thus doing the flashing or striking, and infinitive, turning glittering into a verbal noun)), sufficient and adequate (hikanos – enough) light (phos) about (peri – around and concerning) me (eme).” (Acts 22:6)
Paul’s depiction of the lightening strike, other than to add “peri – about or near” to “astraphai – lightning,” was exactly as Yahowsha’ had described the fall of Satan. Although Sha’uwl did say that the lightning bolt was both “unexpected” and “adequate,” whatever that might be worth.
It might also be worth noting that Paul’s explanation of this lightning strike differs in Acts 9:3, 22:6, and 26:13. No one else was affected by the bolt of lightning in Acts 22:6, but in Acts 26:13, Paul’s traveling companions are also enveloped in it. “In the middle of the day (mesos hemera), along the road (kata ten odon), King (basileus), I saw (eidon – I perceived) from the sky (ouranothen), beyond (hyper – to a greater degree than) the sun’s (tou helios) brightness (lamprotes – radiance and brilliance), shining around (perilampo) me (me) light (phos), and (kai) the ones (tous) traveling (poreuomai) together with (oun) me (emoi).” (Acts 26:13)
Beside the fact that all three of Paul’s “conversion” accounts are materially different is that the primary meaning of hyper isn’t “beyond or to a greater degree,” but instead, “for the sake of and on behalf of.” So in actuality, Paul was saying that he “saw from the sky for the sake of and on behalf of the sun’s brilliance, brightness shining around me.” This is akin to General Constantine, the first Pope, seeing a pagan cross in the sky superimposed upon his god, which was the “Unconquerable Sun,” and then hearing a voice, perhaps the same one Paul said he heard, saying: “In this sign, conquer.”
But even when we turn to the secondary meaning of hyper, with the “shining around” being “beyond” the sun’s brightness, we find Paul saying something that would not only have permanently blinded everyone, but would have been such a unique event in the human experience, it would have been duly noted and recorded in Damascus. And speaking of Damascus, why would Yahowsha’ reveal Himself there, and not in Yaruwshalaim, and as lightning rather than as a man?
Paul said things in his own defense that he never should have thought, much less conveyed. Along those lines, Paul’s depiction of his encounter with “Yahowsha’” as lightning, as a flash of light from the sky, was inconsistent with the way the risen Ma’aseyah appeared to the women at the tomb, to His Disciples in the upper room, to the men on the road to Emmaus, and to some five hundred other witnesses over the course of forty days, in which He always appeared as a regular, nondescript man. It was also different from the way Yahowah appeared to Adam, Abraham, Ya’aqob, Moseh, and Yachezq’el / Ezekiel. Yahowah is actually humble: “He has no good looks or majesty. When we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Yasha’yah 53:2)
Beyond these comparisons, you may have noticed that Yahowsha’ gave His witnesses the express “authority to trample upon serpents and scorpions” in the context of confronting Satan’s power. We know that the Scriptural metaphor for Satan was established as a “serpent” in the Towrah’s presentation of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. This symbolism was then reinforced four thousand years later by Yahowsha’ when He said that religious clerics were the children of poisonous snakes in Mattanyah 23. But even with “pateo – to step and tread under foot,” we find another correlation to the Towrah, because there we were told that Satan would bruise man’s heel.
And while that explains the association between Satan and these “serpents,” why did Yahowsha’ add “scorpions” in the context of His prophetic portrayal of Sha’uwl’s spiritual encounter? Those who were paying close attention know the answer. You may recall that Sha’uwl claimed that his enormous ego was held in check because: “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 scorpion’s stinger (skolops) 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) In addition to being a “sharp pointed prod or thorn,” skolops means “scorpion.” In a criminal trial, as in this evaluation, the details tell the tale. And rest assured, there is yet another convicting detail hidden within this confession.
While it’s a big picture item, it is also worth noting that in the Olivet Discourse, in the context of warning His Disciples about the likes of Paul, Yahowsha’ said that when He returns, He will be seen by everyone from the horizon in the west to the east, and not just by a one fellow in the company of a couple of others. If Yahowsha’ was telling the truth, Paul was lying.
So could it be? Is it possible that Yahowsha’ was right about Paul? Was his bout with the lightning bolt actually an encounter with Satan? It is interesting to acknowledge, after all, that Paul seemed to know. And to prove this, we are going to take a stroll through Sha’uwl’s second letter to the Greeks living next to the isthmus of Corinth, because our spiritual spokesman has a lot to say about himself, including that he has become insane, and about Satan, who he admits to having possessed and controlled him.
After shaking down his followers for money, saying in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that “God loves a cheerful giver,” thereby encouraging them to dig deep if they wanted to be rewarded by his god, Paul tried to undermine Yahowah’s most treasured possession, His Covenant. Saying that he was engaged in a war against the flesh – which is a reference to circumcision, the sign of the Covenant – in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, he wrote in 10:5 that “we are destroying speculations” and “taking every thought captive.” He was in essence removing evidence and reason from the equation so that faith in his message might prevail over knowing God. Paul wanted belief to trump understanding.
Then, contradicting his own overt animosity toward legalism, the founder of the Christian religion hypocritically wrote: “And we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:6) Not only is “obedience” something Yahowah opposes, justice is His not ours.
Paul told his followers in 2 Corinthians 10:7 “not to look outwardly” so as to avoid observing the Towrah, I suppose, but instead “to consider what is within,” all in support of a faith nurtured by feelings and beliefs rather than conviction derived from observation and contemplation.
Of his role promoting such rubbish, the always arrogant, self-promoter, wrote: “Even if I should boast somewhat further about our authority...I will not be put to shame.” (2 Corinthians 10:8) I imagine Satan thinking the same thing.
This is followed by another odd and indicting comment: “For I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters.” (2 Corinthians 10:9) Sure, the tone is condescending and the prose bizarre, but unless written by a despot with a large and ruthless army, why would a letter “terrify” anyone?
An even more peculiar reference is conveyed by: “For they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and his speech is contemptible.’” (2 Corinthians 10:10) While I don’t care what Paul looked like, and you’d have to be delusional to view his rhetoric as weighty, he was correct in this regard: his speech was contemptible. But alas, this devolves into an incomprehensible clash of egos in 2 Corinthians 10:11 through 18, with Sha’uwl positioning himself as the only one whose boasts are justified.
Paul digresses further in opening of the 11th chapter of his second letter to the Corinthians, writing: “I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me.” (2 Corinthians 11:1) Unless I’m reading this wrong, to put up with Paul is to be foolish. But seriously, why would anyone want to suffer such foolishness if he or she could instead observe God’s brilliance by reading the Towrah?
And even though Sha’uwl errantly wrote that “love is not jealous” in his first letter to those living in Corinth, now he admits to the same audience: “For I am jealous for you.” (2 Corinthians 11:2) Ever the chameleon and schemer, in conjunction with this hypocrisy, Paul wants to present those who have been beguiled by his letters as “pure virgins,” which is to say untouched by the Torah and its God. (This is the conclusion of 2 Corinthians 11:2 as presented from the New American Standard Bible.)
Paul’s next statement is among his most beguiling, because it is predicated upon being a virgin to the Towrah by the simplicity of Christ. Also rendered from the NASB, it reads: “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3) This is to suggest that if a person ignores everything, and simply believes, that they are pure, and thus free from Satanic deception. And yet Yahowah says just the opposite, that the only way to prevent being beguiled is to observe His Teaching.
While Sha’uwl craftily deployed the exact same tactic Satan used in the Garden, that of removing Yahowah’s instructions from their context and misquoting Him to convey a believable delusion, at issue here is that faith is simple because it isn’t based upon anything real; it requires no knowledge or understanding. But without knowledge and understanding, Yahowsha’ is unknowable and what He did and said cannot be understood. So while Yahowah’s desire to build a growing family through His Covenant is a relatively simple concept, the means He deployed to facilitate it, so that He could include us within it, is anything but simplistic.
There is a reason that Yahowah’s teaching and guidance in the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms requires over one thousand pages of precise instructions to accomplish His intended goal. If He intended it for simpletons, He’d have drawn a couple of pictures and not wasted our time or His. But that wouldn’t have achieved His goal, because He wants to spend eternity with those who are eager to learn, with those who enjoy the adventure of discovery. Moreover, the directions which systematically reveal who God is and what He is offering, while explaining how we can most beneficially respond to Him, are too essential to our relationship and to our salvation to shortchange.
Yahowsha’ consistently answered every question, including explaining who He was and what He was doing, by directing His audiences’ attention to the Towrah and Prophets. There was no shortcut to understanding then and still isn’t now.
Furthermore, once a person comes to know Yahowsha’, they become Towrah observant because He was Towrah observant. But when this occurs, they cease to be Christians because they come to recognize that Paul’s opposition to the Torah puts them in opposition to God. And that is why Sha’uwl wanted to present “pure virgins” to his wannabe god.
Until a person appreciates the connection between Yahowsha’ and Yahowah, and between Yahowsha’ and Yahowah’s Towrah, there is no way to properly respond to and thus benefit from His fulfillment of Pesach, Matsah, Bikuwrym, and Shabuwa, and thus no way to be saved. Such a person cannot process anything Yahowsha’ said during His initial and most comprehensive public declaration known as the Sermon on the Mount. As a diminished manifestation of Yahowah, Yahowsha’ is profoundly revealing, tangibly demonstrating the extraordinary depth and complexity of a God who is neither shallow nor simple.
Demonstrating that these conclusions are correct, Sha’uwl was afraid that his simplistic and erroneous presentation of the Ma’aseyah would be exposed and criticized by those who knew better, so he wrote: “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear beautifully.” (2 Corinthians 11:4 from the NASB)
The actual Yahowsha’ bears no resemblance to the Christian Jesus, a character who has far more in common with Dionysus and Mithras than Yahowah or His Towrah. The Pauline Christian misnomer is no longer the living manifestation of the Word of God, but is instead a caricature contrived to annul it.
As for a different spirit, Yahowah has but one Spirit that we can receive, the Set-Apart Spirit, and She exists to help us understand and then share Yahowah’s Towrah. That means Paul’s “different spirit” represents the Adversary.
Turning to a “different gospel,” Yahowah has but one “euangelion – beneficial Messenger and healing message,” His Ma’aseyah and His Towrah. And yet while they are one in the same, they are in wholesale conflict with Paul’s preaching. As for “bear beautifully,” I’ll let you grapple with that one because following “bear foolishly,” it doesn’t make much sense to me.
This leads to another arrogant and indeed errant announcement: “For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.” (2 Corinthians 11:5) Paul’s pride became blinding.
Incapable of being rational, he considered himself brilliant: “But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made evident to you in all things.” (2 Corinthians 11:6) By comparison to Yahowah and thus Yahowsha’, I’m dumb as a stone. By comparison to Moseh and Dowd, I’m but a flickering candle in relation to a bonfire. But at least I know that the only source of knowledge worth considering is Yahowah’s testimony. If Paul was a fraction as smart as he claimed to be, he would have educated his audience by drawing their attention to the terms and conditions of the Covenant. He would have explained how the Covenant’s benefits were enabled by Yahowsha’s work during the Miqra’ey. But instead, he condemned the Covenant, created a new one, and denounced the Invitations to Meet with God because they got in the way of his faith.
If it was not so sad, the notion that Paul questioned whether “I committed a sin in humbling myself,” “because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?” (2 Corinthians 11:7) would be funny. Can you imagine being so full of yourself that you’d think, or worse, write, that you might be committing a sin by being humble, or that you ought to have charged for sharing the stream of verbal diarrhea that he has spewed our way? And while it should be obvious, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that Yahowah has a Towrah not a gospel.”
If you think that I’m being too hard on this arrogant, errant, and delusional wannabe apostle, since he has suggested that he shortchanged himself for not billing the Corinthians for this beguiling message, you might want to consider: “I robbed other churches, taking wages to sever you.” (2 Corinthians 11:8)
It is interesting that Sha’uwl tells us that “for when the brethren came from Macedonia, they supplied my need.” (11:9) The Torahless one known as the Antichrist will come from Macedonia.
Recognizing that Paul never quoted Yahowah or Yahowsha’, at least not accurately, he lied when he wrote: “As the truth of Christ is in me,” but not when he concluded: “this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia.” (2 Corinthians 11:10) Followed by: “Why? Because I do not love you? God knows.” (11:11)
Sha’uwl not only knew, but acknowledged, that he was competing with others whose claims were more credible (the Disciples), and that his message was considerably different than theirs... “But what I am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.” (2 Corinthians 11:12) While Yahowsha’s Disciples did not boast, an insecure individual like Paul views any confident individual as an affront to his credibility.
A systematic review of the literature emanating out of the mid to late first century reveals that the only prophets and apostles which Paul could have viewed as being in competition with him, and whose message was opposed to his, were Yahowsha’s Disciples and perhaps those who had learned from them – and thus those filled and equipped by the Spirit on Shabuwa. That makes this next statement especially toxic. “For such are false prophets, treacherous and deceitful (dolios – tricky and clever) workmen (ergates – perpetrators) masquerading as (metaschematizo – converted and transformed so as to appear, disguised and pretending to be) [the] Ma’aseyah’s (ΧPΥ) Apostles (apostolos – prepared messenger who is sent out).” (2 Corinthians 11:13)
At the time Paul wrote this letter to the Corinth Assembly, he alone was a “false prophet, treacherous and deceitful, masquerading as the Ma’aseyah’s Apostle.” And history tells us that no one outside of Paul and his followers feigned Apostleship to the Corinthians. Moreover, since there is no evidence that Paul ever issued an accurate prophecy, there is no reason to view this as a prediction of future events either. (Paul’s lists of future human attributes in Romans and elsewhere were already common to his day, especially in Rome. And since it has not yet occurred, Paul’s prediction that the “rapture” would take place during his lifetime was untrue.)
Most every English translation ignores the inclusion of “autos – himself” in this next statement, because of what it implies. And of course, they aren’t keen on providing a complete translation of thauma, because this sounds like a confession. Literally, in the order Paul wrote the words, the next sentence reads: “And (kai) no (ou) wonder, himself a great object of worship (thauma autos – himself a wonderful, marvelous and miraculous vision and individual to be admired).” (2 Corinthians 11:14) But before we conclude that Satan was being called “great,” and a “wonderful object of worship,” a word of caution is in order.
There is no direct Greek equivalent to the English word “do” with regard to “do not,” so it could be, and probably should be, supplied. This reshapes the text to read: “And do not marvel (thauma – be amazed or wonder) ”
Also, while autos, translated “himself,” follows the noun “thauma – wonder” in the Greek text, and proceeds the conjunction “gar – for,” which begins the next thought or sentence, depending upon the punctuation, it is common for conjunctions to follow pronouns if the thoughts are being combined, as opposed to being isolated in separate sentences. But adding to the potential confusion, Paul routinely omits pronouns in his letters, so the specific inclusion of autos, after thauma, would normally convey “himself a marvel.” Moreover, there is no denying that Paul was taken in by Satan’s “glorious manifestation and radiant brilliance” in 2 Thessalonians, a passage we’ll review in a moment.
Yet since there is a way to avoid the problem of praising Satan here in 2 Corinthians, by adding “do” in front of “not,” and then repositioning the pronoun, I’m compelled to join the first and second halves of the 14th verse into a single sentence. Combined, they would then read: “And (kai) [do] not (ou) wonder (thauma – marvel at this miraculous vision, nor be amazed in admiration) [at this], for indeed (gar), he (autos), the Adversary Satan (Satanas), changes his appearance (metaschematizo – masquerades, disguising himself, transforming his image) into (eis) a spiritual, heavenly messenger (angelos – divine representative) [of] light (photos).” (2 Corinthians 11:14)
And while that solves one problem, it creates another. This is exactly like Paul experienced him. And as always, Paul’s inadequate writing style remains especially prone to misinterpretation, leaving us wondering what he actually meant to say. Further, Satan’s origin and name, a “malak – spiritual messenger” named “Halal ben Shachar,” tells us that he is a “spiritual, heavenly messenger radiating light,” so this is hardly news.
Paul’s next line is as clear as it is telling. It is designed to deflect attention away from him being judged a false prophet. So Paul says that, rather than evaluate him objectively based upon his words, comparing them to God’s, he wants to be evaluated subjectively based upon his “motivation.”
“[It is] not (ou) surprising (megas – great) therefore (oun) when (ei – if) also (kai) his (autou) servants (diakonos – ministers who execute his commands) masquerade (metaschematizo – pretend to be) as (hos) ministers (diakonos – servants) of righteousness (dikaiosyne – whose doctrine is acceptable to and approved by God), of which (o on) the end result and motivation (telos – their ultimate purpose and intent) will be (estai) according to (kata) their works (ergon – deeds).” (2 Corinthians 11:15) But yet judging someone’s motivation, their intent, is pure speculation. So Paul would have us move from facts and reason to opinions. That doesn’t sound Godly to me.
Illuminating this problem, telos, rendered “end result and motivation,” is based upon tello, and that’s telling because it describes someone who “sets out to achieve a particular goal.” It infers that the ultimate evaluation of these people should focus on their “motivations,” as opposed to the content of their messages, and it should take place at the end of time, as opposed to when the message is being delivered.
Further, Paul’s evaluation is also predicated upon a person’s “deeds” rather than what they have to say. As such, Paul’s means to determine whether a person is a false prophet bears no resemblance whatsoever to Yahowah’s tests. Of this, we should not be surprised.
But this is Paul’s message, Paul’s test, and Paul’s defense on behalf of his spirit. It also reflects Paul’s less than divine grammatical style. “Furthermore (palin – also and again) I say (lego), not (oe) someone (tis) I (me) presume (dokei – be of the opinion) I am (einai) ignorant and irrational (aphron – foolish, stupid, senseless, and devoid of reason). But (de) if (ei) not (me) really (ge – even) and (kai) as (os – like) foolishness (aphron – ignorance and senselessness), I (me) you will receive (dechomai – believe and welcome) in order that (ina) and I (kago) little (micron – small) someone who (ti) I boast (kauchaomai – brag and glory in).” (2 Corinthians 11:16)
Or if I may be so bold to reorder the words a bit and interpret them in accord with what Paul has written, I suspect he said: “Furthermore (palin – also and again) I say (lego), let no one (me) presume of me (oe tis me dokei – someone should not be of the opinion) that I am (einai) ignorant and irrational (aphron – foolish, stupid, senseless, and devoid of reason). But (de) even if actually like this and foolish (ei me ge kai os aphron – if perhaps ignorant and really senselessness), you will receive (dechomai – believe and welcome) me (me) in order that (ina) I (kago) as someone little (to micron – small) I may boast in myself (kauchaomai – might brag and glory in me).” (2 Corinthians 11:16)
Since a literal reading appears to be gibberish, let’s consider what the scholastic sources reveal. The Nestle-Aland McReynolds Interlinear conveys: “Again I say not some me might think unthinking to be if but not indeed if also as unthinking welcome me that also I little some might brag.” That wasn’t an improvement.
Moving on to the English Standard Version Interlinear, we find that it departs significantly from the text, ignoring and adding many words: “I repeat, let no one think me [being (omitted)] foolish. But even if [you do (added)], [not also (omitted)] accept me as [a (added)] fool, so [that (added)] I [too may (added)] boast a little.”
The New International Version Interlinear suggests: “Again I say not anyone me think foolish to be [if (omitted)] otherwise [not really (omitted)] even if as foolish receive you me, [in (added)] order [that (added)] I also [a (added)] little [bit (added)] [someone (omitted)] may boast.”
Moving from the most trusted interlinears to the supposedly literal New American Standard Bible, we find: “Again I say, let no one think me foolish, but if you do, receive me even as foolish, that I also may boast a little.”
No matter the interpretation, this statement is actually worse in content and style than anything we have encountered in Galatians. And once again, we can’t blame this on scribal error. The words are the same in Papyrus 46 (from the late first-century) as they are in the Nestle-Aland. The incomprehensible, even arrogant, nature of the text is Paul’s fault. (Of course, if you are a Christian and believe that this verbal diarrhea was the inspired word of God, then your god is a nincompoop, which is probably worse.)
“What (o) I say (lalo) [is] not (ou) according to (kata) [the] Lord/Master’s (KN) way of speaking (laleo – sayings), but to the contrary (alla) as (os) in (en) foolishness (aphrosyne – recklessness and thoughtlessness, senselessness and folly) in (en) this (houtos) substance and nature (hypostasis – essence or objective aspect and underlying reality behind everything; a compound of hupo, under, and histemi, standing upright) of (tes) boasting (kauchesis – pride and glorifying oneself).” (2 Corinthians 11:17)
If this is correct, Paul is admitting the obvious. He was not speaking for Yahowah or Yahowsha’, but was instead speaking foolishly by bragging on his own behalf—or worse. And I say “or worse” because this follows an explanation of how Satan influences false prophets.
Not to belabor the point, but the Nestle-Aland interlinear isn’t any clearer: “What I say not by Master, I say but as in thoughtlessness in this the substance of the brag.”
The NASB supports my conclusion: “That which I am speaking, I am not speaking as the Lord would, but in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.” Try as they would to shade the meanings to protect Paul’s credibility, this remains extremely incriminating, even damning.
And Paul wasn’t finished exposing himself. “Because (epei – since) many (polloi) may boast (kauchaomai – brag and glorify themselves) according to (kata) [the] flesh (sarx – their physical prowess), I also (kago) glorify myself and brag (kauchaomai – boast).” (2 Corinthians 11:18) His personality and Satan’s are beginning to morph, becoming indistinguishable. But even if you aren’t yet comfortable with this assessment, surely you recognize that the man who wrote these words was not inspired by God.
Paul’s testimony has become so self centered, so braggadocios, so irrelevant, so unlike Yahowah and His prophets, let’s continue to seek verification of these words from other translations: In that regard, the NASB wrote: “Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also.”
“For indeed (gar – because), gladly (hedeos – with delight and enjoyment) you accept (anechomai – bear, endure, and put up with) the senseless and foolish (aphron – ignorant and irrational) being (ontes) wise (phronimos – shrewd and intelligent).” (2 Corinthians 11:19)
This was hardly the place for sarcasm, and yet that is what we find. I’m beginning to think that Paul has either become psychotic, and thus has lost touch with reality, or that his disdain for his audience has caused him to taunt them by pulling back the veil hiding his hideous nature. It is as if Paul’s arrogance, his sense of superiority, has led him to believe that his audience was so stupid, they’d never figure him out, much less hold him accountable.
However, that is not how things materialized. Based upon what Sha’uwl wrote Timothy in his final letter, most everyone abandoned him. “You know this, that all of those in Asia have turned away from me.” (2 Timothy 1:15) But alas, with Marcion as his future publicist and promoter, those who did not know him nearly as well would become fooled – billions of them. They are known as “Christians” today.
According to the NASB, Paul wrote: “For you, being so wise, bear with the foolish gladly.” While this is no better, to achieve this translation, they had to upend Paul’s arrangement of words.
This onslaught of “foolishness” begs the question: are we witnessing psychosis in Paul (from the Greek psyche – mind and soul and osis – deranged and abnormal)? Most every aspect of his behavior, his attitude, and his testimony fit the textbook definition of psychotic. His letters increasingly suggest that he has lost contact with reality. He has suffered hallucinations that he calls revelations, and his claims are often delusional. He has been violent and his judgment is seriously impaired. In the immediate aftermath of his interlude with Satan on the way to Damascus, he was nearly catatonic.
Paul is displaying signs of the psychosis of schizophrenia, as well. There is a complete breakdown of rational thought processes in his writings. His arguments, even the best of them, are borderline insane. His emotional outbursts are atypical and inappropriate. His speech and thinking are disorganized. His antagonism toward Yahowsha’s Disciples screams paranoia – it’s most telling symptom.
Paul is even projecting bipolar tendencies, a mood disorder characterized by manic or prolonged periods of irritability. This manic expression of bipolar psychosis is evidenced by his extravagant claims, by his egotistical self-esteem, and by what’s known as the “pressure of speech.” Here, the psychosis is present in his frenzied style, an approach that is cluttered and often unintelligible, tangential and unrelenting, all motivated by an urgency which is not apparent to the audience.
Therefore, when we compare what we are reading in Paul’s letters to the most common and telling symptoms of psychoses, we discover a near perfect match. It has become evident that the founder of the Christian religion was mentally ill.
And if not psychotic, then surely nauseating. This is making my stomach turn... “Because (gar) you put up with (anechomai – you accept as valid or true and forebear) someone who and something which (ei tis – whosoever and whatever (singular masculine)) makes you subservient, completely enslaving you (katadouloo umas – imposes their unrelenting authority over you), someone who and something which (ei tis – anyone and whatever) is exploitive (katesoiei – devouring and destructive, taking complete advantage by being divisive), someone who and something which (ei tis – anyone and whosoever) is controlling (lambano – grasps hold of and acquires, possesses and takes advantage of), someone who and something which (ei tis – anyone and whatever) is exalted (epairomai – is highly regarded), even someone who or something which (ei tis) flays the skin (dero) of your (umas) person (prosopon – being and head, frontal proximity, appearance, and presence).” (2 Corinthians 11:20)
Before I share why I’m especially troubled by this, let’s first consider the rendering proposed by the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear: “Endure for if some you enslaves thoroughly, if some eats up, if some receives, if some lifts up on, if some into face you beats.” The reason for the wide variation is that ei, as a standalone concept, conveys “if,” but when used in conjunction with an indefinite pronoun, ei tis becomes “whoever, whatever, anyone who, or whosoever.” Also, while the verbs “katadouloo – makes subservient,” “katesoiei – is exploitive and destructive,” and “dero – flays the skin” are decidedly detrimental, “anechomai – put up with,” “lambano – grasp hold of and control,” and “epairomai – is exalted” can be good or bad depending upon the subject and context. Also, while prosopon means “face” in Greek, it also conveys “person, frontal appearance, outward presence, and a particular place in front of an individual demonstrative of a relationship.” It is a compound of “pros – before and with regard to” and opt, a “visage or feature which allows one to be seen in a particular way.”
Moving from grammar and etymology to content, Paul’s statement is very troubling for multiple reasons. It starts off suggesting that the Corinthians willingly accepted someone who and something which enslaved them, making them subservient. To this ill treatment the Corinthians allegedly endured, Paul added exploitation and control mechanisms. So what’s bothersome about this is when we return to Galatians, we will discover that Paul contends that Yahowah and His Torah are responsible for this abusive influence. He refers to them as “paidagogos – a pedagogue who instructs in a particularly pedantic and dogmatic manner using strict, old-fashioned methods, with an overbearing demeanor as slave-trainer, being a harsh, arcane, and enslaving, taskmaster,” in Galatians 3:4. Furthermore, in the context of history and Paul’s letters, apart from Yahowah and His Torah, there are no other candidates. None.
At this time the Greeks living in Corinth weren’t being enslaved, they weren’t being exploited or controlled, much less flayed, by anyone. They had become beloved and highly esteemed members of Roman society. But if you think that there was a political, religious, economic, or military presence in Corinth between 50 to 55 CE that was actually enslaving Greeks, forcing them to be subservient, that was exploiting and controlling them while savaging their bodies, then please share this history with me.
Recognizing how horrendous this statement and the one which follows becomes when we realize that Paul is calling Yahowah and His Torah enslaving, exploitive, destructive, controlling, and mutilating, I conducted an investigation to see if something else may have been afoot in Corinth at this time. But there was no Roman Legion garrisoned there. In fact, Corinth enjoyed a return to prominence during the 1st century CE. Paying homage to Poseidon, the Isthmian Games were recommenced, second in their fan appeal only to the Olympics. The isthmus put Corinth in control of two major harbors, both of which were booming, as well as in command of the most popular trade route between Asia and Rome. While much of Corinth had been torched by Rome in 146 BCE for being a member of the Achaean League, the Romans left the old marketplace and Apollo’s Temple intact. And then showing that bygones could be bygones, between 46 and 44 BCE, Julius Caesar used Roman capital to rebuild Corinth, naming the shining new metropolis “Corinth – the praise of Julius.” All of the old temples were restored, even enlarged, while new shops and public buildings were constructed. The Romans rewarded this thriving metropolis with a grand 14,000-seat amphitheater and a combined agora forum edifice that was larger and more beautiful than any in Rome. Even new waterways were built to quench the growing city’s thirst. The population, which was almost entirely Greek, with a smattering of retired Romans, Phoenicians, and Phrygians, lived in what historians consider then to be the most beautiful, modern, and industrious community in the whole of Greece.
Further, there was a very small Jewish presence there. And they had no political or religious authority in what was an overtly pagan place. Roman law made it illegal for them to proselyte. So there is no rational way to attribute rabbis or their oral law into this equation.
Therefore, recognizing that the Pauline adversary could be none other than Yahowah and His Torah, the final atrocity becomes circumcision – which Paul sees as a cruel and counterproductive mutilation of the flesh. The symbol of the Covenant would become his primary foe. Therefore, set in the midst of this Corinthian lecture, and aware of what Paul has written in Galatians, the most rational interpretation of this train of thought is that Satan is suggesting through Paul that Yahowah is someone only a fool would accept.
The NASB published: “For you bear with anyone if he enslaves you, if he devours you, if he takes advantage of you, if he exalts himself, if he hits you in the face.” Considering the fact that Paul will soon say that his enemies are “Hebrews, Yisra’elites, and descendants of Abraham” who ran afoul of him by promoting the merits of the Torah, this is clearly an attack on Yahowah’s witness and witnesses.
In his next statement, Sha’uwl is now saying that Yahowah and His Torah are an “atimia – disgrace,” and that they are “disparaging and dishonorable.” Rather than prescriptions for living, according to the pretend apostle, God’s guidance “astheneo – weakens” mankind, “incapacitating” people, while causing humanity to be “powerless.” And the solution to this tragedy is “tolmao – to dare to become extremely” “aphrosyne – stupid, irrational and ignorant, thoughtless. If that isn’t psychotic and delusional, then Webster needs to redefine its terms.
“Relative to (kata) this disgrace and shame (atimia – this dishonorable approach, this vile ignominy and disparaging way), I say (lego), in this manner (os) that (oti) we (emeis) have been weakened and have become powerless (astheneo – we have become incapacitated and diseased, infirmed and feeble, through corruption and perversion).
But (de) in (en) this (o), whomsoever (an tis) might dare be so extreme (tolmao – may be so bold and fearless, defiantly go so far regardless of the opposition (present active subjunctive)) in (en) foolishness (aphrosyne – thoughtless ignorance, foolish folly without reflection or consideration, reckless stupidity, and rash senselessness and irrationality), I say (lego), I also (kayo) am extremely daring and bold in opposition (tolmao kago – have the courage to actually and actively defy (present active indicative)).” (2 Corinthians 11:21)
If you think that the Creator of the universe, the Architect of life, the Author of the Towrah, the Father of the Covenant, and our Savior is a “disgrace,” and that “the way” He provided for us to “approach” Him is “dishonorable and ignominious, disparaging” us, in addition to being “enslaving, exploitive, and controlling,” then you may be aphrosyne. But better that than tolmao – or if you prefer English, psychotic and delusional.
So ladies and gentlemen, we now have Paul’s answer to God: ignore Him. Disregard His Towrah. Don’t think. Ignorance is bliss. Faith indeed.
You can almost hear him saying, “Sure, my opposition to God is senseless, and you would have to be an idiot to believe that I’m speaking for God when I am constantly contradicting and demeaning Him, but if you don’t think about any of this, none of it will bother you.”
To be “bold and senseless,” at the same time, is to be patriotic, to be resolutely religious, or to be a political zealot. This mantra reflects Machiavelli’s approach to power, where the ends justifies the means, where truth is irrelevant, and where daring in the extreme becomes the ultimate weapon.
The Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear renders Paul’s words in this fashion: “By dishonor I say as that we have weakened. In what but [n/a] some might dare in thoughtlessness I say dare also I.” Also dealing with 2 Corinthians 11:21, the New American Standard Bible ignored “lego – I say” toward the beginning of this rather ignorant and irrational statement, and added “my,” “must,” “by comparison,” and “else,” as well as the parenthetical, without textual support. “To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am just as bold myself.”
Noticing the parenthetical, I am compelled to tell you that the NASB added “(I speak as if insane)” in the midst of Paul’s comments in the 23rd verse of 2nd Corinthians 11. And should you wonder, it is in the 22nd and 24th verses that Paul lists his adversaries who, as I’ve mentioned, are not-so-coincidently Satan’s foes: “Hebrews, Yisra’elites, the descendants of Abraham, and Yahuwdym (Jews).” Not only have Yahowah’s Chosen People been ensconced as Paul’s enemies, there is something very troubling about Paul’s continued focus on himself, his delusions and paranoia, rather than Yahowsha’.
Before we move on, note that “astheneo – we have become incapacitated and diseased, infirmed and feeble, weakened and powerless through corruption and perversion” is the verbal form of astheneia – something Paul will revel in and boast about. Here he is attributing the incapacitation borne of corruption to God and His Torah. But soon he will ascribe this condition to himself, to Satan, and to the Graces. It is one of the most astonishing and awkward juxtapositions ever recorded.
So now that Sha’uwl has openly acknowledged that he is more daring in his pursuit of stupidity than anyone, and that he is in bold opposition to evidence and reason, let’s examine his list of those whom we must assume are his foes, and thus irrational representatives of the truth...
“Are they (eisin – presently and actually existing as) Hebrews (Hebraios – a transliteration of the Hebrew ‘Ibry – a Realm Set Apart and a Place Beyond Passover), as am I (kayo – and likewise me)? Are they (eisin – presently and actually existing as) Israelites (Israelites – an adaptation and transliteration of the Hebrew Yisra’el – Individuals who Engage and Endure with God), as am I (kayo – and likewise me)? Are they (eisin – presently and actually existing as) the seed (sperma – the descendants and offspring) of Abraam (Abraam – a transliteration of ‘Abram – Uplifting Father (from ‘ab – father and ruwm – to uplift), as am I (kayo – and likewise me)?” (2 Corinthians 11:22)
As is the case with most duplicitous individuals, Sha’uwl wants to claim every scrap of legitimacy for himself, even when trying to undermine the very same sources he is claiming affiliation. It is as if he wants the reader to believe that since he is a Hebrew Yisra’elite, that it is somehow appropriate for him to discredit them. I suppose it is like some African Americans believing that it is excusable for them to refer to their race using the “N” word, while it would be considered hateful for someone outside their community to say it.
In this light, it is telling that Sha’uwl not only changed his Hebrew name to Paulos, which is of Latin origin, but also has chosen to disregard the name Yahowah gave to Abram after he responded to the terms of the Covenant: Abraham – Merciful and Enriching Father. It speaks volumes about Sha’uwl’s disrespect for all things Yahowah and His Covenant.
There is another aspect of this statement which is indeed troubling to those who are informed and rational. In Galatians, Paul’s first letter, he initiates his assault against the Torah by stating in 3:16 that the “seed” of Abraham was singular, and that it thereby referred exclusively to “Christos,” thereby excluding all other descendants of Abraham, and thus the Hebrews and Yisra’elites – and by implication, the Torah. But now, he has expressly stated that he, himself, is the “seed of Abraam.” This either means that Paul is presenting himself as the “Christos,” and thus as the Christian Messiah, or that he is an irrational hypocrite because by doing this he just undermined his premise for discarding the Torah.
This next “are they” should have been cataloged with the previous three. It is designed to undermine Hebrews, Yisra’elites, and the offspring of Abraham, disassociating them from Yahowsha’, so that their testimony can be disregarded.
“Are they (eisin – presently and actually existing as) servants running errands (diakonos – helpers, attendants, and ministers) for Christou (ΧΡΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey Ma’aseyah)?” (2 Corinthians 11:23)
And here is the payoff line, proving that our diagnosis of Paul is valid. This man who became both psychotic and delusional wrote:
“Having become insane (paraphroneo – having become deranged, completely irrational, and out of my mind, being senseless and devoid of understanding, manic and mad; from para – of, with, and from, and phroneo – to hold an opinion of one’s self regarding the inability to be perceptive and rational (scribed in the present tense this is his current status, in the active voice he is doing this to himself, in participle form he is defining himself as deranged using a verbal adjective, in the singular masculine this pertains to Paul alone, and in the nominative the verb should be written to be irrational or having become insane)), I speak (lalo – I currently, actively, and actually say (present active indicative)) for the sake of, about, and beyond (hyper – for, of, and above) I (ego – me and myself) in (en – with) exceedingly great works and extraordinary burdens (kopos perissoteros – labors beyond compare in abundance and superiority, but also beatings and bothersome difficulties beyond what others could bear) in (en – with) overwhelming imprisonment by an abundance of guards (phylake perissoteros – an exceedingly great number of prisons, jails, and posted guards, all beyond compare), in (en – with) extremely severe beatings and blows (plege hyperballontos – floggings and punishments beyond measure, a greater degree of wounds and sufferings than endured by anyone else, exceedingly severe plagues and diseases), in (en – with) death (thanatos – dying) many times (pollakis – often, again and again).” (2 Corinthians 11:23)
The man, who will admit to being demon-possessed thirteen sentences hence in this very letter, has now admitted to being insane – to being completely out of his mind. And to prove it, he is now hallucinating. Paul has lost all touch with reality. He has become the very definition of psychotic.
So how is it that the ravings of this madman have become the basis of the world’s most popular religion? How is it that billions believe him, even when he contradicts and demeans God? Why would anyone in their right mind consider this rubbish to be Scripture?
While Paulos will soon blame Satan for all of his foibles, including being beaten and guarded, at this point in his narrative, he would like us to believe that it was all the fault of those dastardly Jews. Satan’s enemy had become Paul’s foe. They had made him crazy and then they had excessively burdened him, constantly imprisoning him, savagely beating him, only to kill him over and over again – well, that is if you’re prone to believe Paul. However, if you prefer sanity, Yahuwdym (Jews) did not have the authority nor the inclination to do any of these things in Corinth, Thessalonica, Galatia, Rome, Damascus, Tarsus, or any of the other places Paulos traveled, proving once again that the founder of the Christian religion was now delusional. And if you would prefer simple logic over history, anyone who claims to have been killed often, as in many times, might not be entirely sane.
While I’ve had more than my share of near death experiences, having nearly lost my life seven times, boasting about them would never occur to me. I’d much rather share the joy associated with living in Yah’s Covenant. And while I’ve taken more than my fair share of lumps for opposing Muhammad and Paul, the abuse I’ve endured pales in comparison to the satisfaction associated with sharing Yah’s Word. I’ve never once been anxious, not even during any of the many thousands of radio interviews. I’ve never wanted for anything that God did not provide. I’ve never felt alone. I have always recognized that I’ve gained vastly more than I’ve given. So based upon my personal experience, as someone devoted to conveying Yahowah’s message, it’s obvious to me that there is something dreadfully wrong with Paul.
Continuing to hallucinate, the delirious and deranged wannabe apostle wrote...
“By Yahuwdym (Ioudaios – a rather pathetic attempt to transliterate Yahuwdym – Related to Yah; further corrupted to Jews) five times, forty besides one, I received. (2C11:24) Three times I was beaten with sticks, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. A night and a day (nychthemeron – for 24-hours), I was caused to drown in the depths (bythos – plunge to the bottom, sinking into the deep or abyss; from bythizo – sinking, plunging, and drowning as cause and consequence and bathos – deep and depth). (2C11:25)
Many times in perilous journeys, in dangerous rivers, in threats from bandits, from perilous kin, from dangerous races, in a threatening city, in perilous solitude, in a dangerous body of water, by pseudo brothers, (2C11:26) in bothersome and difficult work and in toilsome hardship, in constant sleeplessness, in prolonged, severe hunger and thirst, in frequently going without food, in cold and nakedness, (2C11:27) independently and by myself (choris – without help, apart, alone, disassociated, and separated, estranged without a relationship), besides the addition of the constant stopping to quell rebellions (o epistasis – of halting to suppress attacks and upheavals, of the pressure, concern, burden of authority, and disturbing hindrance associated with riotous mobs) of the extent of my daily anxiety and distracting care of all of the called-out assemblies. (2 Corinthians 11:28)
Yes, not only was Paulos killed multiple times, evidently facilitating his own personal resurrections, he was the first to cruise in a submarine, having spent twenty-four hours at the bottom of the sea. In that the maximum depth of the Aegean Sea is 11,624 feet just east of Crete, it’s easy to see why he put this remarkable feat on his resume.
Every reference to that which was perilous, dangerous, and threatening came from kindynos. It was repeated after journeys, rivers, bandits, kin, races, a city, solitude or perhaps a desert, and a body of water, which I suppose was a lake because he’d already mentioned his misfortune on the high seas. So maybe it’s just me, but if in addition to all of this, I had been overburdened, severely beaten, and killed multiple times, and had received thirty-nine lashes five times, had been attacked by sticks and stones, even shipwrecked, I might look for a better god. I realize that Yahowah isn’t a micromanager, but He protected the Children of Yisra’el when they were in the wilderness with Him. He fed them, quenched their thirst, and tended to their clothing. He bore their burdens, doing all of the heavy lifting Himself. He even quelled their rebellions. So it is obvious that the God of Yisra’el and Paulos’s god are remarkably different.
Pathetic as ever, the naked, emaciated, and mutilated apostle of an absentee god was annoyed because he had to “epistasis – constantly stop what he was doing to quell rebellions, to halt upheavals, and to suppress attacks from riotous mobs which became a disturbing hindrance.” So the world’s most infamous punching bag must have simultaneously been a one-man army. And all the while there was anxiety over the distracting care of all of those assemblies. Quite simply, in his own mind, he was the most important and interesting man in the world. He was also demon possessed and insane, but who of us is perfect?
Rather than explaining Yahowsha’s journey through Passover and Unleavened Bread, and His suffering on these days to enable the Torah’s promises to facilitate our salvation, Paul was fixated on delineating his personal afflictions, both real and imagined, even though they are absolutely of no value to anyone, nor do they have any bearing on anyone’s salvation.
Moreover, based upon the fact that Paul described three different variations of what happened to him on the road to Damascus, that his accounting of his time thereafter as well as his depiction of the Yaruwshalaym Summit were all contradictory and inaccurate, the likelihood that Paul endured any of these things is remote. And yet it is hard to miss the intent: it appears as if Satan was auditioning Paul for the role of his Messiah.
Problems abound in his last statement. First among them: by using “parektos – in addition” and “choris – separately and estranged” in succession, we are compelled to render choris as “without any help,” as in “independently, apart from any relationship,” as opposed to translating it “besides.” In other words, Paul isn’t saying “in addition besides,” but instead, “in addition to being beaten up, and going to bed hungry and cold, I alone have borne the burden of suppressing riots and caring for all of the assemblies.” So now, even the pretense of representing the real Ma’aseyah is gone. It is Paul against the world in addition to being against God.
It isn’t often that we are afforded a window into a deranged and psychotic mind, but Paul in addition to being insane was a megalomaniac, so he was ever ready to share his afflictions and affinities. And now he seems to be telling us that when he is empowered, Yahowah and His Torah are weakened, becoming incapacitated and impotent. And that so long as he isn’t shot down in flames, God’s credibility is questioned, with His Towrah becoming unbelievable as a result of having been slandered and scandalized.
“Who is weak and incapacitated (tis astheneo – what is powerless, incapable, and impotent by being corrupted and perverted) when I am not incapacitated nor weak (kai ouk astheneo)? Who stumbles, ceasing to be credible (tis skandalizomai – what is slandered and scandalized becoming unbelievable, even offensive, being trapped, distrusted and deserted) when I am not (kai ouk ego) myself destroyed in the fire (pyroomai – myself consumed by flames, burning with passion, greatly worried and distressed, tempted with desires, or aroused sexually, incensed or indignant)? (2C11:29) So since it is necessary to brag (ei kauchasthai dei) of my limitation and weakness (ta tes astheneia mou – of this infirmity, lack of insight, frailty, incompetence and inadequacy of mine), I will boast (astheneia – I will brag, glorifying myself).” (2 Corinthians 11:30)
Commenting upon 2 Corinthians 11:21, I alerted you to the fact that Paul would transition from attributing the process of astheneo, and thus the concept of astheneia, from God to himself. That is beginning here. Paul is saying that the negative aspects of astheneo / astheneia befall God when they are not attributed to him. Therefore, it is germane for you to realize that astheneo / astheneia depict: “perversions which have made us ill, inadequacies and infirmities caused by our corruptions, sicknesses borne of our dishonesty, weakness which results from our tendency to defile, to profane, and to dishonor that which is set apart, and incapacitation, weakness, and lack of insights derived from our willingness to pollute and sully the established conditions.” And while I will prove the validity of this amplified definition, especially in the context of the work of the Ma’aseyah, when we consider 2 Corinthians 12:9 in concert with Satan’s influence on Sha’uwl’s life, and with the effect of the Graces, for now, just pause long enough to consider the implications of what this man just wrote in this light.
The implication is that Paul is suggesting that even bridled by Satan, even beaten and bruised by Jews, even starved and naked, even distracted by riotous mobs, even fighting off pesky thieves, even fording perilous rivers and dangerous waters, oh my, that he is still able to thwart God by perverting His testimony? And if these afflictions are not what he is bragging about overcoming to incapacitate the most trustworthy and noteworthy foe, then what and who is he boasting about?
The notion of glorifying oneself in association with God makes me nauseous. When individuals mistakenly credit something I’ve written with being somehow responsible for them coming to know Yah, I cringe. All I’m doing is conveying His message. It is His testimony, not mine, and He’s doing all of the work. I’m just along for the ride. So at most, I’m nothing more than a flawed implement, and I know it. So to brag about besting God is beyond my comprehension. It is beyond my capacity to understand why anyone would knowingly and purposefully try to slander and undermine the most brilliant, powerful, wonderful, loving, and generous individual in the universe. I love my Dad, and I’m grateful for everything He has done for me – especially since I’m so undeserving. This is therefore hard for me to deal with. It is insane.
And speaking of psychosis, after what we have just read, Paul’s next statement borders on schizophrenic.
“The God (o ΘΣ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty) and father (pater) of the Lord (tou ΚΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey ‘edon, the Upright One, or Yahowah’s name) Iesou (ΙΗΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey Yahowsha’, meaning Yahowah Saves) has known (oida – has actually and completely been aware of and has recognized and acknowledged) the one being (o on) praised and worthy of commendation (eulogetos – one being blessed; from eulogeo – with praiseworthy words and beneficial speech) throughout the universe and forever (eis tous aion) because (hoti) I absolutely cannot lie (ou pseudomai – could never deceive or mislead by speaking falsely or conveying anything that is not true).” (2 Corinthians 11:31)
While God is our Father, Yahowsha’ as the diminished corporeal manifestation of Yahowah is the antithesis of “the Lord.” The Lord is Satan’s title because it describes his ambition.
That mistake acknowledged, in the midst of this braggadocios diatribe, and with Sha’uwl presenting himself as the source of universal and everlasting truth, the most rational conclusion is that Paulos is presenting himself as commendable and praiseworthy – the source of healing words and beneficial speech. As further affirmation, he has already told us that God knew him and chose him before he was born. As such, this may be Sha’uwl’s most presumptions, egotistical, and delusional statement thus far.
However, there may be a glimmer of truth in these words, especially when we recognize that Sha’uwl’s Lord is auditioning for the role of God. Through Paulos, Satan wants to father a different covenant by way of his new testament, thereby causing the existing one to be considered obsolete. And as the means to this madness, the Adversary needs to recast Yahowsha’ as his ally and Yahowah’s adversary. So what the Devil could not achieve by tempting Yahowsha’ in the wilderness, he would accomplish by having Paul claim that he was the lone authorized apostle for Iesou. This enabled him to change His identity, to corrupt His testimony, and to counterfeit every aspect of His life. By claiming to be the chosen one, the one whose words were praiseworthy and commendable, the one whose message was universal and eternal, and as the one who could never lie, for the gullible, it was mission accomplished. All Sha’uwl and his Lord had to do now was play the cards from the hand they had dealt to themselves.
As for Yahowsha’, He never seeks commendation or praise. His every inclination was to direct our reverence and esteem toward where it is deserved, which is toward the Father not the Son. So there is no rational way to see this as anything other than Paul not only claiming that his every word was eternally true, even beneficial, but also that he could never deceive nor mislead. Once those lies are ingested, believers begin to see his testimony as Scripture. Then it is mission accomplished. The Devil is worshipped as if he were God.
While every aspect of this premise is delusional, especially since Paul is an egregious liar and also insane, once the poison is ingested, the antidote, which is the Torah, is discarded. And with the remedy removed, the venom paralyzes each victim. For example, this very statement is irrational. In the midst of discrediting and invalidating God’s previous testimony, Paulos is claiming that this same unreliable source can be trusted to provide him with this stellar endorsement. Equally absurd, God whose testimony is to be forgotten is being presented as knowing and remembering, while the newly minted source of universal and everlasting truth is unaware and forgetful.
Only an insane man would say that he cannot lie. It is yet another telling sign of his insecurity. Those who suffer from this infirmity habitually deceive, all while claiming that they are “truth tellers.” Paul is a classic case. And few things he said were more incriminating than what he had previously stated to this same audience: “And (kai) I became (ginomai) to the (tois) Jews (Ioudaios – a crude transliteration of Yahuwdym, meaning Related to Yahowah) like (hos) Jews (Ioudaios) in order that (hina) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over (kerdaino) Jews (Ioudaios).
To those (tois) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon), in such a way to show a weak relationship (hos) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon), not being himself (me on autos) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon), for the purpose that (hina) those under (tous hypo) Towrah (nomon) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over (kerdaino). (1C9:20)
To those (tois) Towrahless and thus without the Towrah (anomois), in such a way to show a weak relationship with (hos) Towrahless (anomois), not being (me on) Towrahless (anomois) of God (theou), to the contrary and making a contrast (alla), in the Torah (ennomos) of Christou (Christou – foolishly transliterated from the Greek as “Christ” and errantly used as if a name; from chrio – which speaks of the application of drugs and medicinal ointments) in order that (hina) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage and winning over (kerdaino) those without the Towrah (tous anomois). (1C9:21)
I came to exist (ginomai) to the (tois) unable and morally weak (asthenes), incapacitated and inadequate (asthenes), in order that (hina) those (tous) impotent and sick (asthenes) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over (kerdaino).
To everyone (tois pasin) I have become (ginomai) every kind of thing (panta) in order that (hina) surely by all means (pantos) some (tinas) I might save (sozo).” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)
I would be remiss if I did not tell you that when Paul admitted to being “weak and sick” he used asthenes, the adjective variation of the verb astheneo and the noun astheneia. Therefore, he was admitting to being: “weak as a result of his corruptions and sick due to his perversions.”
But we don’t have to turn back the clock to find a deliberate lie. What follows is not only inaccurate, it is both irrelevant and incongruous.
“In Damascus (en Damasko), the official appointed by (ethnarches – the governor with the royal authority of) King Aretas (tou basileus Areta) was posting guards against the city (phroureo ten polis) of Damascus (Damaskenon) to capture and arrest me (piazo me – to catch and seize me). (2C11:32) But through a small opening in a wall (kai dia thuridos – and by a diminutive aperture, tiny window, or little door) in a woven basket (en sargane – with a twine hamper), I was let down (chalao – I was lowered, released gradually by slackening the line) through a city wall (dia tou teichos) and I fled, escaping (kai ekpheugo – I ran away to avoid) the hands of him (tas cheir autou).” (2 Corinthians 11:33)
In Galatians 1:18, Paul wrote that three years transpired prior to his initial visit to Yaruwshalaim. He said that he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia thereafter in 1:21. Then in Galatians 2:1, Paul stated that another fourteen years passed before he, Barnabas, and Titus went back to Yaruwshalaim for the summit with the Disciples Yahowchanan, Shim’own, and Ya’aqob. That meeting took place in 50 CE. King Aretas was assigned administration of Damascus no earlier than 37 CE. You do the math and subtract eighteen years from 50 CE and see if it doesn’t place the basket rescue in 32 CE, a year before Yahowsha’s fulfillment of the first four Miqra’ey, and at least five years before a Damascus official could have been appointed by Aretas. Moreover, there would be no reason that Sha’uwl would be sought out for arrest by anyone, much less by a Nabataean king, within days of his encounter with lightning bolt.
Further discrediting Sha’uwl’s testimony, in Acts 9:23-26, we were told that “Jews plotted together to do away with him,” and that “their plot became known to Sha’uwl.” These same Jews “were watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death,” which is why “his disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall, lowering him in a basket.” But now the foe is King Aretas, a Nabataean, and therefore not Jews.
Even more incriminating, Aretas would never have deployed Jewish guards. His daughter had married Herod Antipas, but when Herod divorced Phasaelis to take his brother’s wife, Aretas, to avenge his daughter’s honor, invaded Yahuwdah and defeated Herod, capturing the West Bank of the Jordan River. When Herod complained to Emperor Tiberius, he dispatched the governor of Syria to attack Aretas, an action which wasn’t actually carried out because of the emperor’s death in 37 CE. So, suffice it to say, there is no chance that Aretas had control over Syria, and thus Damascus, prior to 37 CE, and at the time, the last people he would have assisted would have been Jews. Therefore, by reviewing Aretas’s history, Paul’s evolving and conflicting stories are exposed as complete fabrications.
This means that Paul was not only a false prophet, he was unable to keep his own history straight. So much for the myth that he wasn’t able to lie.
Paul is doing such a great job incriminating himself, let’s stick around a little longer to see how this plays out. After all, this is serious business. This psychotic megalomaniac bamboozled billions of people with this soaring rhetoric.
“It is necessary to brag (kauchaomai dei), not advantageous (ou symphero – not beneficial). But now (de) as affirmation (men – indeed, surely and truly), I will go (erchomai – I will come) onto supernatural visions (eis optasia – to what appears to the mind by supernatural means) and (kai) revelations (apokalypsis – revealing disclosures, uncovering and unveilings) of the Lord (ΚΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey ‘edon, the Upright One, or Yahowah’s name).” (2 Corinthians 12:1)
I stand corrected. Paul has finally conveyed something that is true. While only an idiot would brag about doing something that is disadvantageous, Paul has provided plenty of proof that his visions and revelations came from the Lord. And since the Lord is Satan, that indeed is detrimental.
In that this soliloquy is condemning in the extreme, as we make our way through it, let’s also consider the Christian spin of Sha’uwl’s stunning confessions. Here is what was scribed in the King James Authorized Version: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” Francis Bacon, the egotistical occultist and humanist who guided the publication of the King James Bible on behalf of his pontiff, purposefully deceived Christians with this rendering. Turns out it was an inaccurate paraphrase of the Latin Vulgate: “If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.”
Always ready to put lipstick on their favorite swine, the authors of the New Living Translation published: “This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord.”
One way to avoid lying I suppose is to say that you can’t remember. But when they are allegedly transformative events in your life, encounters which provide your authority, that won’t fly. Nonetheless...
“I am aware of (oida – I know, recognize, recall, or acknowledge) a man (anthropos) in (en) Christo (ΙὨ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey Yahowsha’, meaning Yahowah Saves) before fourteen years (pro etos dekatessares) whether if (eite) in (en) body (soma – as a physical being) I do not know (ouk oida – I am unaware and do not recall) or if (eite) outside the body (ektos tou somatos – disassociated from a physical being) I do not recall or remember (ouk oida – I do not know, I am unaware, and I will not acknowledge).
The God (ΘΣ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty), He has known and has remembered (oiden – he has recognized, recalled, and acknowledged) having been violently seized and snatched away (harpazo – having been viciously attacked, ravenously plundered, forcibly possessed, harshly controlled, carried away, swindled, and extorted) like this (ton toioutos – in this kind of way) until (heos – as far as) the third heaven (tritos ouranos).” (2 Corinthians 12:2)
So if he cannot remember how he encountered this individual, whether he was out of his body or just out of his mind, how does he know whom he met or what he was told? And if he can’t recall what happened, why did he provide three detailed, albeit conflicting, accounts for Luke to record in Acts? Also, if God can be counted upon to remember either, then there would be no reason for Paul to ask us to forget what He said. Or should we consider all of this deranged musings and hallucinations – the product of an insane mind?
While it is a minor point, Paul seems to have forgotten his prior testimony, leaving off the three years he claims that he spent in Arabia getting his message approved by God, and his subsequent march through Syria and Cilicia. And while that would mean that he lied about how he claimed that God, Himself, had prepared him for his mission, it means that he went directly from killing to preaching, one week to the next. Also, if you are doing some recalculations, even with the passage of only fourteen years, it still puts Paul in Damascus a year before Aretas was given dominion over the city by Rome.
And speaking of psychotic delusions, since God is the subject of both “oiden – He has known” and “harpazo – having been violently seized and snatched away,” in the sequential application of verbs, this means that “God, Himself, knows and acknowledges that He has been viciously attacked, plundered, possessed, controlled, swindled, and extorted in this way.” And once again, it is true. Sha’uwl and Satan have attacked God, snatching away that which is most dear to Him, His Covenant, swindling Him of His Torah, and plundering Him of countless children.
Sha’uwl, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, in a previous letter to the Thessalonians, associated the same term with his false prophecy regarding the “harpazo – rapture,” the vicious snatching away that he errantly predicted would occur during his lifetime. So he remained fixated upon the characteristics so often ascribed to wolves: violently seizing and snatching away the most vulnerable prey, viciously and ravenously attacking.
It is interesting here that Yahowah’s description of the Taruw’ah Harvest of souls known to Christians as “the rapture” (from Mattanyah 24:40), is transcribed using the Greek word paralambano, which means “to receive at an appointed time, to welcome and accept, to gather individuals, bringing them together, and joining with them.” It is from para, meaning “with, beside, and near, speaking of proximity and association,” and lambano, “to take someone by the hand, to remove them, and to carry them away.” But speaking of this same event, Sha’uwl used harpazo (in 1 Thessalonians 4:17), which speaks of being “seized and violently snatched away, to attack, to gain control over, to possess, to physically harass and injure, to carry away by force, to spoil, and to secretly steal, plunder, and loot.” The verbs paralambano and harpazo describe the difference between how the Spirit of Light and the spirit of darkness operate.
Also relevant, there are two “shamaym – heavens” according to Yahowah. The first is comprised of everything from the earth’s atmosphere to the furthest galaxies, and thus everything comprising the physical universe. The other is the spiritual abode of God, also known as His home. By why let God’s testimony get in the way of a good story?
Once again, the KJV: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven” copied the LV: “I know a man in Christ: above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth), such a one caught up to the third heaven.” NLT: “I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows.”
Having invested six years of my life to studying everything which is known about Muhammad and his formation of Islam, I realize that he made the same pronouncement, albeit his claim to have flown upon a winged ass was more colorful. Even Muhammad’s initial confrontation with Satan’s envoy in the cave was described identically to harpazo. Muhammad said that he was “forcibly and violently seized by the spirit,” that it “attacked and controlled him,” and that it “possessed” him. The only difference is that Muhammad went from the “third heaven” to the “seventh heaven,” where he met Allah, who told him that he wanted to be “mooned,” 50 times a day, with repeated religious prostrations. (These parallel stories are revealed in the “With Whom Am I Speaking” and “Delusions of Grandeur” chapters of Prophet of Doom.)
So that is why this all reminds me of Muhammad’s “I cannot say for sure. Allah knows best.” And along those lines, the Islamic Hadith and Qur’an also speak of multiple heavens. According to the Islamic scriptures, Adam, men with camel mouths with rocks emerging from their behinds, in addition to tortured women hanging from their breasts, lived adjoining the first heaven—along with a damsel with red lips who pleased Muhammad much. Issa (the Qur’anic “Jesus”) and Yahya (the Qur’anic “John”) were relegated to the second heaven. Rising above Yahowsha’ and Yahowchanan in Allah’s third heaven, Sha’uwl would have met “Joseph,” at least according to Muhammad. Climbing the prophetic ladder, the Qur’an and Hadith reveal that Sha’uwl would have encountered Enoch and then Aaron in the fourth and fifth heavens. According to Muhammad, the sixth heaven was occupied by the man whose Torah Sha’uwl will renounce: Moseh. Then in the seventh heaven, we find the Pen, Allah’s House, angels performing prostration prayers, a tree whose fruit resembled clay jugs, and the headwaters of the Euphrates and Nile Rivers. Muhammad’s myths were more imaginative than Paul’s.
Although from a stylistic perspective, the out of body experience of referring to oneself as “anthropos – a man” is pretty weird...
“And (kai) I recall (oida – I know and remember, I am aware and acknowledge) as such (ton toioutos – like this) a man (anthropos) whether if (eite) in (en) body (soma – as a physical being) I do not know (ouk oida – I am unaware and do not recall) or if (eite) without the body (choris tou somatos – apart from a physical being) I do not recall or remember (ouk oida – I do not know, I am unaware, and I will not acknowledge).
The God (ΘΣ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty), he has known and has remembered (oiden – he has recognized, recalled, and acknowledged) (2C12:3) because (oti) he was viciously attacked and plundered, harshly controlled and extorted (harpazo – He was violently seized and snatched away, forcibly controlled, carried away, and swindled) approaching (eis – inside and with reference to) the paradise (ton paradeisos – a Babylonian / Persian Sanskrit word for garden enclosure and hunting preserve) and he heard (kai akouo) words which cannot be spoken (arretos rhema – unspeakable and unsaid statements or matters which cannot be expressed; literally the unexpressed words) which it is not permissible, possible, or lawful (a ouk exesti – which ought not be obligatory; literally out of existence) for a man (anthropos) to speak (laleo).” (2 Corinthians 12:4)
There are no physical beings in the spiritual realm. Bodies would be useless and counterproductive. But beyond this, how is it that we are to believe someone who cannot remember fundamental aspects of his alleged encounters with God?
From a purely grammatical perspective, there would be no reason to conclude that there is a transition between God and man with reference to the successive presentation of “the God,” “he who has known,” and “he was viciously attacked” approaching paradise. So while Christians would tell you that it is Paul who is being snatched away and that it is Paul who heard that which could not be spoken, there is no justification for any of that. It is as impossible to support as is “hearing words which are unspeakable.”
Not recognizing that an “unspeakable word” is an oxymoron, and not realizing that Yahowsha’ is the Word, and thus the place Paul went is the opposite of paradise, the KJV wrote: “And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” LV: “And I know such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I know not: God knoweth): That he was caught up into paradise and heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter.” There is nothing “secret” about arrhetos. It is simply “the negation of rhetoric,” which speaks of “the nullification of effective communication.” It is the antithesis of “studying persuasive written texts” such as the Torah.” NLT: “Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.” They all missed the point: Satan took Sha’uwl to the place where the Word does not exist, and where its benefit has been nullified. It is the same place Paul has taken Christians. Today they call this godless place a “church.”
Loosely translated, he just told us: “I can’t say what I didn’t hear.” It reminds me of the old line: “I realize that you think that you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure that you recognize that what you heard is not what I meant.” So why bother?
But to Paul, hearing what he didn’t hear and saying what he could not say was reason for him to brag which he did while not boasting, unless self-glorification was in incapacitating timidity. I kid you not.
“On behalf of such things like this (hyper tou toioutos), I will actually boast (kauchaomai – I will brag, engaging in self-glorification, expressing pride in myself) for the sake of it (hyper). But myself (de emautou – so on my own accord) I will not brag (ou kauchaomai – I will not engage in self-glorification) if not (ei un) in the (en tais) incapacitating inadequacy of corruption and perversion (astheneia – infirmity and illness borne out of dishonesty, timidity and limitations associated with fraud, weakness and sickness derived from defiling and profaning, inadequacy and lack of insights caused by polluting and sullying the established conditions).” (2 Corinthians 12:5)
As I have promised, the transition is complete. Paul is not only associating “astheneia – the incapacitation of perversion and the inadequacy of corruption” to himself, bragging about the sickening fraud he is perpetrating. But other than to say that a person would have to be insane to trust this man, since I am unaware of any way to make any sense of any of this, let’s move on to the payoff line – the reason we took this tour through Paul’s mind. So while we’ve considered what follows previously, this will be the first time that we’ve approached Paul’s astonishing admission to have been demon-possessed from his perspective. He is on the cusp of explaining how he became “astheneia – inadequate, corrupt, incompetent, perverted, incapacitated, and defiled.
This has been a gut-wrenching journey to a place more horrible than I could have imagined. All I can hope for at this point is to keep as many souls as possible from following Sha’uwl to Satan’s Abyss – and that is why we are continuing to evaluate this material. KJV: “Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” LV: “For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or any thing he heareth from me.” NLT: “That experience is worth boasting about, but I'm not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses.”
Next we discover what incapacitated Paul’s ability to glorify himself, and learn what made him ill. Although to be fair, all attempts at the former failed, and with regard to the latter, it made billions spiritually sick.
“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 (hyperbole ton – preeminence and exceedingly great, transcendent, magnificent, and awe-inspiring aspects of the exaggerated and 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 12:7)
“Skolops – a sharp pointed stick used as a prod, a stinger, and a scorpion” is akin to Paul’s use of “kentron – a sharp pointed stick used to prod animals and control them, the poisonous stinger of a scorpion” in Acts 26:14, where Paul says that he was told by Dionysus, in the guise of “Jesus,” that it would be hard to rebel against him. And that means that Acts 26:14, which describes Paul’s meeting with the flashing light on the road to Damascus where he was told that he could not repel, and Second Corinthians 12:7, which describes the way Satan possessed and controlled Paul, are related. The common denominator is a false prophet and a wannabe god.
Since this passage is so incredibly incriminating, you might be interested to know that Greek words which are related to “skolops – a sharp pointed prod,” include skopeo: “something dangerous to be on the lookout for, to notice by being carefully observant, and to be very concerned about.” Skopos: “a goal toward which someone is being directed, striving for a specific purpose.” Skorpizo: “to scatter, disperse, and separate.” Skorpois: “a supernatural demonic power and stinging scorpion.” Skotia: “a dark and evil realm.” Skotos: “the abode of evil and demonic spirits.” And skolios: “to be unscrupulous and morally corrupt, to be perverse and deceitful, and to warp a path making what was once straight crooked.”
Here are the Christian interpretations of 2 Corinthians 12:6-7 for your consideration. KJV: “For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” LV: “For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or any thing he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satanae/Satan, to buffet me.” NLT: “If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won't do it, because I don't want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” The most influential Catholic translation, the “Authorized” Protestant translation, and the most recent Evangelical translation, all say that “a messenger from Satan” was used to control Paul. And yet not one Christian in a million associates Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” with Satan, or with demon possession. Their religion has blinded them.
And now speaking directly to the Lord of demons, Satan, himself, Sha’uwl wrote...
“Regarding this (hyper toutou – because of and about this), three times (tris) of the Lord (ton kupion – of the supernatural master who controls a person, the owner of slaves to whom someone belongs, the one who lords over and exercises supremacy, and the power to possess), I asked (parakaleo – I begged, urged, and pleaded) in order that (ina) it might be repelled (aphistamai – at some point it might possibly leave and be kept away, departing (aorist active subjunctive)), separated from me (apo emou – out of and disassociated from me).” (2 Corinthians 12:8)
I don’t suspect that Paulos much liked being demon-possessed. It must have been maddening and manipulative. So he pleaded with his spiritual accomplice, begging Satan to “aphistamai – to repel” the demon, not only “making it leave” but also “keeping it away. He knew, of course, that every “messenger of Satan,” and thus every “demon,” served the Adversary and thus would obey its Lord. And just as arrhetos was the “negation of the Word,” aphistemi is the antithesis of Yahowsha’s purpose: “to stand up for us so that we might stand with Him.” Therefore, to be aphistemi is to be separated from God’s purpose.
If you are looking for God’s help, if you what Him to respond to you, that will never happen if you call Yahowah or Yahowsha’, “Lord.” This is not only Satan’s title, and the name God uses to identify the Adversary, in that the name Ba’al means “Lord,” it is the antithesis of the way our Heavenly Father wants us to relate to Him in the Family Covenant. This is why Yahowsha’ said:
“Not any one saying to Me, ‘Lord, Lord (kyrie – master, owner, one who rules over, controls, or enslaves),’ will actually as a result enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but by contrast the one presently acting upon the purpose and desire of My Father, the One in the heavens. (7:21)
Many will say to Me in that specific day, ‘Lord, Lord, in Your name, did we not actively speak genuinely inspired utterances, and in Your name, we drove out demons, and in Your name, many mighty and miraculous things, we made and did.’ (7:22)
And then I will profess to them that because I never at any time knew you, you all must depart from Me, those of you who are opposed to the Towrah.” (Mattanyah / Yah’s Gift / Matthew 7:23)
Demon possession is yet another thing Paul and Muhammad had in common. And that is relevant because the Islamic Qur’an and Hadith reveal that Allah was modeled after Satan. Describing the vicious bout with Satan in a cave outside Mecca, Muhammad’s Hadith report: “The commencement of divine inspiration to Allah’s Messenger was in the form of dreams that came true like a bright light. The prophet loved the seclusion of a cave near Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Then the angel caught me forcefully and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more .Then the Apostle returned from that experience; the muscles between his neck and shoulders were trembling, and his heart was beating severely. He went to Khadija and cried: “Cover me! Cover me!’ She did until his fear subsided. He said, “What’s wrong with me? I am afraid that something terrible has happened to me.” (Bukhari’s Hadith: Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3 & Volume 6, Book 60, Number 478)
“The truth came upon him while he was in a cave. The first form of revelation was a true vision in sleep. He did not see any vision but it came like the break of dawn.” “The Prophet said, I had been standing, but fell to my knees and crawled away, my shoulders trembling. When the terror had left me, he came to me and said, ‘You are the Messenger of Allah.” Muhammad said, ‘I had been thinking of hurling myself off a mountain cliff I feared for my life.’” (Tabari’s History: Volume 1, page 67)
“Aisha said that when Allah desired to honor Muhammad, the first sign of prophethood was a vision of brightness of day shown to him.” “He stayed seeing and hearing things as long as it pleased Allah. Then Gabriel came to him with the gift of Allah’s Grace.” (Ishaq’s Sira: page 105)
“He pressed me so tightly that I was near death. When I thought that I was nearly dead, he said: ‘Read in the name of your Lord who created man of coagulated blood. Read! Your Gracious Lord taught by the pen.’” “I remained gazing at him and that distracted me from committing suicide. I could not move. Khadija sent her messengers in search of me and they gained the high ground above Mecca so I came to her and sat by her thigh. I said, ‘Woe is me. I am possessed.’ ‘I’m afraid I’m going out of my mind and being possessed by an evil spirit.’” (Ishaq’s Sira: page 106)
“In the beginning of the Messenger’s prophetic mission he used to spend a month every year in religious retreat on Hira. This was part of the practice of Tahannuth in which the Quraysh used to engage during the Jahiliyyah [period of ignorance before Muhammad’s recitals]. Tahannuth means self-justification.” (Tabari’s History: Volume 1, page 70)
Then, at the end of his life we find: “Aisha, the wife of Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him), reported: ‘Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) left my apartment during the night. Then he came and he saw me in an agitated state. He said: “Aisha, what has happened to you? Do you feel jealous?” I said: “How can it be that a girl like me would not feel jealous in regard to a husband like you?” Thereupon Allah’s Messenger said: “It is your devil who has come to you.” I said: “Allah’s Messenger, is there a devil with me?” He said: “Yes.” I said: “Is there a devil attached to everyone?” He said: “Yes.” I said: “Allah’s Messenger, is there a devil attached to you also?” He said: “Yes. But my Lord has helped me against my devil and as such I am absolutely safe from his mischief.”’” (Muslim’s Hadith Chapter 14, Book 39, Number 6759)
And by way of confirmation: “Allah’s Messenger said: ‘There is none amongst you with whom is not an attaché from amongst the jinn, a devil.’ The Companions said: ‘Allah’s Messenger, is there a devil with you too.’ Thereupon he said: ‘Yes, but Allah helps me against him so I am safe from his hand and he does not command me but for good.’” (Muslim’s Hadith Chapter 14, Book 39, Number 6757)
Evidently, Muhammad’s and Sha’uwl’s Lord didn’t trust his messengers any more than we should, because in both case the Devil was unwilling to remove the demon he had used to possess and control them. So now completely and forever estranged from Yahowah, Satan offered Paulos an attractive pagan substitute...
“And he has actually spoken this to me (kai eiphon moi), ‘It is sufficient and satisfactory for you (arkeo soi – it is currently enough and presently adequate, so you should be content to possess) my (mou) Grace (Charis – the name of the lovely and lascivious Greek goddesses of merriment, known to the Romans as the Gratia, from which “Grace” is derived), because (gar) the ability and power (dynamis – the mighty miracles, supernatural capability, authority, and strength) in (en) weakness and sickness (astheneia – illness, timidity, inadequacy, infirmity, limited insights, and incapacitation, being frail, feeble, profaned, and defiled as a result of perversions and corruptions) is fulfilling and complete (teleo – is brought to fruition).’
Gladly (hedeos – with delight), therefore (oun), more willingly and readily (mallon – to a greater degree) I will boast (kauchaomai – I will brag, expressing pride in myself, glorifying myself) in the (en tais) lack of insights and inadequacy derived from corruptions (astheneia – weakness, illness, timidity, sickness, infirmity, incapacitation, being frail, feeble, polluted, profane, and defiled through perversions) of mine (mou) in order that (hina) it might take up residence (episkenoo – it may reside and indwell) on me (epi eme) the (e) ability and power (dynamis – the mighty miracles, supernatural capability, authority, and strength) of the (tou) Christou (ΧΡΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey Ma’aseyah).” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Translating Jerome’s Latin, the King James Bible published verses 8and 9 as saying: “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” LV: “For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And he said to me: My gratia/grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity.” NLT: “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’”
Satan is a proponent of the Graces, which is why he called the Charis his own. Cavorting naked, they were the principal pagan proponents of lust and licentiousness, after all. And considering Paul’s admission to uncontrollable cravings in this regard in Romans 7, Satan’s declaration that the aphrodisiacal Charis / Gartia were “arkeo – sufficient and satisfactory” for Paulos, and that “he should be content” with the goddesses’ contribution to his “astheneia – sickening weakness” is creepy. And the idea that he is disclosing this to us, even boasting about it, is insane.
Sha’uwl has become truly and genuinely fixated with “astheneia – inadequacy and infirmity, being corrupt and sick, being frail and feeble, incapacitated and weak, lacking insights and being defiled as a result of corruptions and perversions.” This is doubly bizarre because God heals, perfects, empowers, and enriches His Covenant children. In fact, this is the stated purpose of the Covenant. Our imperfections and infirmities, our relative weakness and lack of insights are resolved. So why is Paul wallowing in his? More troubling still, Paulos is writing about his “astheneia – illness” while simultaneously admitting that he is both insane and demon-possessed. And even if a Christian apologist might suggest that this is Paul’s way of demonstrating humility, that becomes laughable in the midst of constant bragging. And speaking of being hypocritical, how can a man who has the ability to survive multiple deaths, drowning, lashings, stoning, et al, be “astheneia – inadequate and weak?”
The Disciple Mattanyah describes Yahowsha’ defining astheneia for us by referencing Yasha’yah / Isaiah 53:4 in Hebrew and then having a scribe translate choly, the word he wrote, into the Greek astheneia. So first, let’s consider the defining statement regarding the work of the Ma’aseyah. Yahowah, speaking through Yasha’yahuw, predicted:
“Surely (‘aken – truly and indeed, emphasizing this point) our perversions which have made us ill (choly – our fraud-borne sickness and wounds; from chalah / chalal – becoming weak through corruption, becoming sick through pollution, becoming diseased by being sullied and defiled, and becoming grieved by profaning and dishonoring that which is set apart, treating it as common, corrupting the truth while violating the established conditions), He (huw’) lifted up and completely carried away (nasa’ – endured (the qal stem encourages a literal interpretation of actual events while the perfect conjugation addresses that which is total and complete)), and our mental anguish and physical suffering (wa mak’ob – our grief, sorrow, and pain), He bore and sustained them (cabal – incurred them). And yet we (wa ‘anachnuw) assumed and considered Him (chashab – imagined, thought, calculated, determined, imputed, and devised a plan to reckon Him) touched and struck (naga’ nakah – reached and beaten, contacted and destroyed) by God (‘elohym), even (wa – and also) responding and answering through affliction (‘anah – replying by being distressed).” (Yasha’yah / Salvation is from Yahowah / Isaiah 53:4)
So now, based upon what we just discovered, the Greek translation of Mattanyah’s testimony should read:
“The purpose was to fulfill (opos pleroo – the intended result was to completely proclaim, providing meaning which prompts thinking, and to perform as promised) the statement having been spoken (to rethen – the word having been prophetically declared in advance) through (dia) Yasha’yahuw (Esaiou – a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yasha’yahuw – Salvation if from Yahowah), the prophet and inspired spokesman (tou prophetou), saying (legontos – communicating to instruct): ‘Himself (autos), the perversions which have made us ill (tas astheneia emon – the inadequacies and infirmities caused by our corruptions, the sicknesses borne of our dishonesty, the weakness which results from our tendency to defile, to profane, and to dishonor that which is set apart as common, the incapacitation, weakness, and lack of insights derived from our willingness to pollute and sully the established conditions), He received and took hold of (lambano – He grasped, acquired, and relationally experienced), and the (kai tas) mental anguish and physical suffering (nosos – sicknesses, diseases, and illnesses, grief, sorrow, and pain), He removed and bore (bastazo – He accepted, endured, provided for, and carried away).’” (Mattanyah / Yahowah’s Gift / Matthew 8:17)
If Yahowah told the truth, if Yahowsha’ performed as promised, and if Sha’uwl capitalized upon what God has done, why, pray tell, is he still “astheneia – inadequate, infirmed, incapacitated, and weak as a result of perversions and corruptions?” If you are a Christian, if you are prone to believe Paul, don’t move on with your life until you can answer this question.
And since Paul is continually boasting about his astheneia, ought we not be concerned that it is psychotic to be proud of being: sick as a result of one’s perversions, ill because of one’s corruptions, weak due to one’s dishonesty, and inadequate as a consequence of one’s willingness to defile and profane the Word of God?
It should be noted here that Satan’s Gratia is said to fulfill and satisfy as a result of incapacitating corruptions, while the same sickening perversions promoted by Paul reside with Christou. This not only equates the Ma’aseyah with a pagan deity, but also with Paul’s profanity. As a result, Satan’s fingerprints appeared on Paul’s letter when he wrote, speaking of the Lord: “And he has actually spoken this to me (kai eiphon moi), ‘It is sufficient and satisfactory for you, and you should be content to possess (arkeo soi) my (mou) Charis or Grace (Charis), because (gar) the supernatural ability and power (dynamis) in (en) weakness and perversion, sickness and corruption (astheneia), is fulfilling and complete, brought to fruition (teleo).’ Gladly (hedeos), therefore (oun), more willingly and readily (mallon) I will boast, glorifying myself (kauchaomai) in the (en tais) lack of insights and inadequacy derived from such perversions and corruptions (astheneia) of mine (mou) in order that (hina) it might take up residence (episkenoo) on me (epi eme) the (e) ability and power (dynamis) of the (tou) Christou (ΧΡΥ).” (2C12:9)
In other words, not only is Sha’uwl’s Christou a perverted corruption, he isn’t nearly as satisfying, nor are his fulfillments as relevant, as those of the Charis. And that means Paul’s Christou bears no resemblance to the actual Ma’aseyah.
While we have received more than we could have anticipated through this review of Paul’s correspondence with the Corinthians, let’s remain a little longer. It is not often we are invited to visit such insanity. And seldom is malignant malfeasance so prominently displayed as it is in these words.
“Therefore (dio – for this reason it should be self evident), I am pleased with and prefer, delighting in (eudokeo en – I enjoy and take pleasure in, I consider good and consent to) sickening perversions (astheneia – the inadequacies and infirmities caused by corruptions, illness borne of dishonesty, weakness which results from the tendency to defile, to profane, and to dishonor that which is set apart as common, incapacitation, weakness, and lack of insights derived from a willingness to pollute and sully the established conditions), in (en) presumptuous maltreatment and outrageously damaging insults (hybris – injurious treatment and harmful behavior, the invasion of the basic rights of others, ignominious hardships and impudent insolence, pride and haughtiness, wanton violence, and tempestuous wrongdoing), in (en) the necessity and inevitability of compulsion and punishment (anagke – obligatory trouble, unyielding pressure, the destiny and advantage of distress and tribulation as well as imposed calamity), in (en) persecution and oppression (diogmos – harassment and molestation which causes people to flee in fear, driving them away through terror), and (kai) the difficulty of the distressing restrictiveness (stenochoria – the troublesome narrowness and resulting calamity and extreme affliction) regarding (hyper – associated with and because of) Christou (ΧΡΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey Ma’aseyah) is the reason (gar – indeed, because) I am sickened by my perversions (astheneia – I am inadequate and infirmed through my corruptions, ill as a result my dishonesty, weakened by my tendency to defile, to profane, and to dishonor that which is set apart as common, incapacitated with a lack of insights derived from my willingness to pollute and sully the established conditions), and at the same time (tote) I am (eimi) empowered, competent and capable (dynatos – plausible, expert, and important, mighty, powerful, and influential).” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
If nothing else, we have Paul’s stamp of approval on our working definition of “astheneia – sickening perversions,” and we now know that he is in favor of them, and worse. But this is so bad, it takes your breath away... “Therefore, it should be self-evident (dio), I am pleased with and prefer, delighting in, I enjoy and take pleasure in, even consider good and consent to (eudokeo en) sickening perversions, the inadequacies and infirmities caused by corruptions, and weakness borne of dishonesty (astheneia) in (en) presumptuous maltreatment and outrageously damaging insults which are injurious and arrogant (hybris), in (en) the necessity and inevitability of compulsion and punishment, the advantage of obligations and unyielding pressure (anagke), in (en) persecution and oppression, harassment and molestation (diogmos), and (kai) the difficulty of the distressing restrictiveness and troublesome narrowness (stenochoria) associated with (hyper) Christou (ΧΡΥ) is the reason (gar) I am sickened by my perversions and made inadequate by my corruptions (astheneia), and at the same time (tote), I am (eimi) empowered, competent and capable, plausible, expert, and important, mighty, powerful, and influential (dynatos).” (2C12:10) That may be the single most perverted and twisted thing I’ve ever read. If this man is your apostle, if he is a spokesman for your god, I’d recommend replacing both.
At this point I am beginning to think we are witnessing the impossible, a miracle of sorts. Paul is actually driving nails into his own coffin while burying himself. I’m surprised that he didn’t list this among his achievements.
Christian apologists will claim that Paul is saying “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” but that isn’t permissible, not only because Paul claims to have been killed multiple times, but also because our suffering is irrelevant. The message of the Miqra’ey is that Yahowsha’ suffered so we wouldn’t have to. Also, those who speak on behalf of God should never claim that their problems empower them, making them competent or capable, because it is Yahowsha’s fulfillment of Pesach, Matsah, Bikuwrym, and Shabuw’ah that accomplishes these things on behalf of the His testimony, and thus His influence, not ours.
So by claiming these things, Paul is saying that his sacrifices and sufferings matter, making him a more credible and capable influence in the lives of others. By doing so, he is positioning himself as the savior of his religion.
No sane individual delights in or prefers any of the horrible things on Paul’s list. By saying that he has come to enjoy them, he is affirming the consequence of being demon-possessed. These are the kinds of things Satan delights in.
Galatians, as we will learn, perverts and corrupts Yahowah’s testimony to infer the inadequacy of His Torah. Thus far in it, we have read Paul outrageously insult Yahowsha’s Disciples, presumptuously maltreating them. Then in the manner of all hypocrites, after besmirching Yahowah’s Torah, calling it enslaving, and thus unyielding in its obligations, Paul says that he is in favor of compulsion, calling the threat of punishment advantageous. And I suppose this is why he favors oppression, harassment, and molestation.
And yet these problems pale in comparison to “‘stenochoria – the difficulty of the distressing restrictiveness and troublesome narrowness’ associated with Christou.” At its root, stenochoria wouldn’t be so bad if not for its associated baggage, in that it is comprised of “stenos – narrow strait” and “chora – the space lying between two places.” The path to God is indeed “narrow and straight,” and as a result, few find it. But unfortunately, Sha’uwl uses stenochoria to speak of “anguishing tribulation” coming upon the “doers of evil” in Romans 2:9. It is presented as a “distressful tribulation” leading to “persecution” in Romans 8:35. Earlier in this letter, stenochoria was deployed in 2 Corinthians 6:4 to convey “affliction.” So by concluding his statement with “...the difficulty of the distressing restrictiveness and troublesome narrowness (stenochoria) associated with (hyper) Christou (ΧΡΥ) is the reason (gar) I am sickened by my perversions and made inadequate by my corruptions (astheneia), and at the same time (tote), I am (eimi) empowered, competent and capable, plausible, expert, and important, mighty, powerful, and influential (dynatos),” Sha’uwl is associating what he perceives to be the negative effects of Yahowah’s unyielding and unrelenting specificity regarding His Way to redemption, the way Yahowsha’ lived, with his rise in influence. And while nothing is truer, nothing is more devastating.
If we were to distill the whole of Pauline Doctrine down to one thought it would be the negation of the narrow path Yahowah presented and Yahowsha’ walked by replacing it with unspecified, unsubstantiated, and unrestricted faith. This is what made Paul popular, and thus influential. And the more popular he became, the more plausible and credible his letters were perceived to be. But unfortunately for those who have bought into the myth that salvation comes to those who “believe Jesus died for their sins,” the source of that deception lied as a result of being demon-possessed and insane.
Like those watching a train wreck unfold, it’s hard to divert our eyes away from what Paul is writing, even though we know that souls are dying in the carnage. And speaking of a wreck, consider the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear’s amalgamation of Paul’s next statement: “I have become unthinking you me compelled I for owe by you to be commended nothing for I lacked of the very beyond delegates if even nothing I am.”
“I have come to be (ginomai – I have become) ignorant and irrational (aphron – senseless and foolish, stupid, acting rashly, essentially out of my mind, lacking judgment). You (umeis), yourselves, compelled me (anagkazo me – forced this upon me, drove me to this, necessitating it). For this reason (gar), you all (umon) are obligated to me, and under me, you owe me (opheilo upo umon – you are indebted to me and it is indispensable and obligatory that you are required) to be commended and recommended (synistemi – to be approved, established, and legitimized). For indeed (gar – because), I lacked nothing, never falling short of (ouden hystereo – I wasn’t the least bit inferior to or lacking any benefit or advantage of) the (ton) preeminent (hyperlian – super and exceptional) if even (ei kai) I am (eimi) nothing (oudeis – a worthless, meaningless, nobody).” (2 Corinthians 12:11)
Paul has already revealed that he had become a covetous and lustful libertine because of the Torah. Now he says that the Corinthians have made him stupid. And let us not forget, Satan made him humble.
It should be noted that Paul isn’t paying Yahowsha’s Disciples a fleeting and backhanded endorsement here by claiming to be as good or better than the preeminent apostles, because he uses hyperlian in 2 Corinthians 11:5 ironically, saying “I suppose I was not a whit behind the super duper apostles.” And here he is so obnoxious that he says that even if he were worthless, he’d still be better than those Yahowsha’ chose and trained.
And in spite of being a self-admitted pervert, a murderer, insane, demon-possessed, and now ignorant and irrational, Paul is demanding a letter of accommodation, a recommendation from those he has deceived and demeaned. So since he claims that we owe him, that we are in his debt and are obliged, let’s all pull out our pens and give this man who says he lacks nothing the one thing he craves: approval. Or, on second thought, let’s give him what he deserves: condemnation.
While I’m normally opposed to using English translations for any purpose other than to incriminate them, the New Living Translation does such a wonderful job of indicting Paul that I thought I’d share it with you.
“You have made me act like a fool—boasting like this. You ought to be writing commendations for me, for I am not at all inferior to these ‘super apostles,’ even though I am nothing at all. When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you. The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!” (2 Corinthians 12:11-13)
“Some of you admit I was not a burden to you. But others still think I was sneaky and took advantage of you by trickery. But how? Did any of the men I sent to you take advantage of you? When I urged Titus to visit you and sent our other brother with him, did Titus take advantage of you? No! For we have the same spirit and walk in each other's steps, doing things the same way. Perhaps you think we’re saying these things just to defend ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 12:16-19)
Previously, we witness a summation of one of Sha’uwl’s most chilling confessions. So before we press on, let’s reconsider the testimony of the ultimate chameleon and the world’s most notorious charlatan. And once again as we approach his defense, please note that this is all about Paul trying to justify his controversial tactics and mission before a skeptical audience. In these incriminating words, we find Paul refusing to abide by even his own rules. As a chameleon, he was ever ready to change his colors to take advantage of whatever audience he was trying to beguile. And here he is admitting to this very thing (in his own pathetic style):
“And (kai) I became (ginomai – I came to exist) to the (tois) Jews (Ioudaios – a crude transliteration of Yahuwdym, meaning Related to Yahowah) like (hos – in such a way to show a weak relationship with) Jews (Ioudaios) in order that (hina – for the purpose that) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over (kerdaino – I may gain financially by avoiding or winning over) Jews (Ioudaios).
To those (tois) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon – the means to become an heir and to be nurtured by an allotment (accusative of nomos)), like (hos – in such a way to show a weak relationship) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon), not being himself (me on autos – not existing self (note: on was written in the singular nominative masculine and thus cannot be translated “myself being” and autos was scribed in the third person intensive predicative and thus does not convey “myself” either)) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon), in order that (hina – for the purpose that) those under (tous hypo) Towrah (nomon) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over (kerdaino – I may gain financially by avoiding or winning over). (1C9:20)
To those (tois) Towrahless (anomois – without the Towrah, devoid of an allotment or inheritance), like (hos – in such a way to show a weak relationship with) Towrahless (anomois – without the Towrah, devoid of an allotment or inheritance), not being (me on) Towrahless (anomois – without the Towrah, devoid of an allotment or inheritance) of God (theou), to the contrary (alla – making an emphatic contrast and definitive differentiation), in the Torah (ennomos – by the allotment and inheritance) of Christou (Christou – foolishly transliterated from the Greek as “Christ” and errantly used as if a name; from chrio – which speaks of the application of drugs and medicinal ointments) in order that (hina – for the purpose that) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over (kerdaino – I may gain financially by avoiding or winning over) those without the Towrah (tous anomois – the Towrahless). (1C9:21)
I became (ginomai – I came to exist) to the (tois) unable and morally weak (asthenes – incapacitated and inadequate, sick and impotent), incapacitated and inadequate (asthenes – unable and morally weak, sick, powerless, and impotent), in order that (hina – for the purpose that) those (tous) impotent and sick (asthenes – incapacitated and inadequate, unable and powerless) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over (kerdaino – I may gain financially by avoiding or winning over).
To everyone (tois pasin – literally: to the in all) I have become (ginomai – I have come to exist as) every kind of thing (panta – everything) in order that (hina – for the purpose that) surely by all means (pantos – in every way with certainty) some (tinas – someone important or something indefinite, anyone or anything, everyone or a certain individual) I might save (sozo – I may deliver).” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22)
As I’ve mentioned before, even Machiavelli, the man who postured the amoral slogan of despots everywhere, saying in essence: “the ends justify the means,” wasn’t this blatant.
Turning to the ultimate authority on Sha’uwl, as if he were admonishing him, Yahowsha’ used kerdaino, the very same verb deployed here four times, to warn us: “For what will be accomplished and who will be helped (tis gar opheleo – what value would there be and who would be benefited) by a man if (ean anthropos – on the condition an individual) the entire universe (ton holos kosmos – the totality of the whole world) he might gain, winning over, taking advantage of and profiting from (kerdaino), but (de) his soul (autou psyche) he forfeits (zemioomai – he damages undergoing punishment)?” (Mattanyah / Yah’s Gift / Matthew 16:26)
God’s insights are stunningly appropriate, especially when we consider Sha’uwl’s elaborate justification for personal payment in 1 Corinthians 9:1-12. If we knew where he was buried, this should be written on his tombstone.
The tactic Paul is bragging about is what we might expect from an unscrupulous politician or businessman, who will say and do anything, no matter how deceptive or fraudulent, to garner an unfair advantage. But from someone claiming to speak openly and honestly on behalf of God, this is unjustifiable. Yahowsha’ never pretended to be other than He was and is. But by admitting this, Paul has just told everyone that his words, his behavior, and his claims (such as representing the Ma’aseyah) cannot be trusted.
While He was also driving nails into an already sealed coffin, Yahowsha’ is recorded in Mattanyah 10:8 saying: “You have received without paying, give without being paid.”
To eliminate any misunderstanding regarding the dubious tactics of this charlatan, the primary meaning of kerdaino, translated “I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over,” is related to “gaining an advantage over someone in the pursuit of wealth, influence, and acclaim.” To the common man of his day, kerdaino spoke of “desiring worldly things to such an extent that a person would cheat others while feeling no compunction against being crafty, clever, or cunning.”
Metaphorically, kerdaino can be used to speak of “winning someone over,” but that option is torn asunder in the context of clandestinely and deceptively metamorphosing oneself to gain an advantage. And interestingly, the secondary meaning of kerdaino is “to avoid problems in the process of trying to spare oneself.” But that connotation is only applicable when used as part of a hypothetical situation or an instructional parable.
Even if we were to give Paul the benefit of the doubt – something he no longer deserves – and render “kerdaino – win,” Paul’s statement would remain lamentable for the admission that he was always willing to operate under false pretenses. It’s called “fraud,” and in most places, fraud is a crime.
Since we have been so inundated by Paul’s relentless rejection of the Torah, we may now be somewhat callused to it, but nonetheless, the troubadour of troubled testimony just affirmed: “To those (tois) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon), in such a way to show a weak relationship (hos) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon), not being himself (me on autos) under (hypo) Towrah (nomon), for the purpose that (hina) those under (tous hypo) Towrah (nomon) I might make a profit by procuring an advantage over (kerdaino).”
I suspect that Sha’uwl was deploying this dubious tactic in his defense, the one recorded in Acts 22:3, when he was trying to convince a Hebrew audience that he was the perfect religious Jew. However, since the Towrah provides the lone means to relationship and redemption, by the admission that he wasn’t himself beholden to Yahowah’s Guidance, he has condemned his soul.
And while Sha’uwl earned an express ticket to She’owl with those words, we must ask: what did he mean by: “To those (tois) Towrahless and thus without the Towrah (anomois), in such a way to show a weak relationship with (hos) Towrahless (anomois), not being (me on) Towrahless (anomois) of God (theou), to the contrary and making a contrast (alla), in the Torah (ennomos) of Christou (Christou)?”
There is no “Towrahless” association with God, and the only Towrah the Ma’aseyah referenced was the one Paul disassociated himself from in the previous sentence. Further, to suggest that there are two different Torahs, one authored by Yahowah and the other by Yahowsha’ is to contradict God’s testimony on the matter. So this man’s language was as duplicitous and misleading as were the pretenses under which he operated.
If that were not enough, Paul specifically states that he “was like the ‘anomos – Towrah-less,’” a condition he explicitly associated with Satan in his previous 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9 statement. That was akin to proclaiming: “I, Paul, am just like the ‘Antichrist’.” While true, it’s bad.
No matter how “asthenes – morally weak, incapacitated, inadequate, impotent, and ill” is translated, it isn’t something we ought to be bragging about. This is especially true for the Children of the Covenant who are perfected, enriched, and empowered by God.
Even his parting salvo, “To everyone (tois pasin) I have become (ginomai) every kind of thing (panta) in order that (hina) surely by all means (pantos) some (tinas) I might save (sozo),” provides a window on this man’s grotesquely egotistical soul. Yahowah, Himself, couldn’t save everyone. And Yahowsha’ didn’t try. And while this says “tinas – some,” it was for “pasin – everyone.”
For those of you who have read The Prince and are familiar with Machiavelli’s infamous and immoral advice to wannabe religious and political potentates, it is likely that Sha’uwl’s statement inspired the Prince’s assertion that “the end justifies the means.” All manner of horror has been perpetrated on humankind as a result of this mantra. It serves to this day as the justification for political oppression and religious terrorism.
If Paul hadn’t just wallowed in delusion and hypocrisy, not to mention deceit and pride, I might have skipped his parting salvo. But after hearing him say that he would impersonate anyone to save everyone, we are compelled to question what he meant by:
“But (de) all (pas – everything) I do (poieomai – I perform) by (dia – through) the healing messenger and beneficial message (to euangelion) in order that (hina) joint-partner (sygkoinonos – co-partner and fellow participant; from sun, with, and koinonos, partner) of his (autou) I might become (ginomai – I may exist as).” (1 Corinthians 9:23)
While you can make of this what you will, it is important to recognize there was no common ground between Sha’uwl’s message and Yahowsha’s. And Yahowsha’ explicitly condemned hypocrisy, so Sha’uwl’s approach isn’t Godly.
Lest we forget, Yahowah has no partners. That is why Yahowsha’ means “Yahowah Saves.” But in this pathetic plea, we once again see Sha’uwl pretending to be his Lord’s partner, a fellow participant, and thus the co-savior.
Since we have been comparing Sha’uwl and Muhammad, detailing the similar nature of their conversion experiences and challenges with demon possession, I thought I’d share a few more interesting comparisons.
Just like Muhammad, Sha’uwl was a sexist. In his world, men would lord over women: “But (de), I want and propose to (thelo – desire, hold the opinion, take pleasure and delight in, and intend to impose upon) you (umas) to be aware (oida – to realize and remember) that (oti) every (pas) man (andros – adult male) is of preeminent and superior status as head (kephale – uppermost). The Ma’aseyah exists as (estin) the head, and thus is superior (kephale – hold preeminent status). But (de) [with] woman (gunaikos), man (aner) is of preeminent and superior status as the head (kephale – uppermost), and then (de) of the (tou) Ma’aseyah God (theos).” (1 Corinthians 11:3)
They would be considered shameful, and women would be forced to covered up for fear of being abused. “But (de) all (pas) women (gune) praying or prophesying (proseuchomai e propheteuo), uncovered (akatakalyptos), the head (te kephale) shames (kataischyno) her head (autes ten kephale). For one (gar en) it is (eimi) also the same as (kai to auto) having been shaved (xyrao). For if (gar ei) the woman (gyne) is not covered up (ou katakalyptomai), (kai) let’s shear her (keiro – cut off her hair) but (de) on the condition (ei) the disgraceful and shameful (aischros) woman (gyne) to be sheered (keiro) or (e) shaved (xyrao) is covered up (katakalyptomai).” (1 Corinthians 11:5-6)
Just like Muhammad, Sha’uwl wanted women veiled and out of sight: “In (en) you (umin – plural second person, dative (speaking of indirect objects for whom something is done) these things (autois – plural masculine dative) exist which are (estin) fitting, proper, and appropriate (prepei): Separate and judge (krino –evaluate) a woman (gunaika) who is uncovered (akatakalyptos – unveiled, literally not hidden by a veil) praying (proseuchomai) to God (theo).” (1 Corinthians 11:13)
Just as in Muhammad’s Qur’an, Sha’uwl wanted men to lord over women. So he wrote: “The (ai) woman (guvaikes) [to her] own individual (idios) man (andrasin – adult male) like (os – as) the Lord (kurio – master, owner, ruler, and supreme authority).” (Ephesians 5:22)
For those who may protest, suggesting that Yahowah said something similar to Chawah in the in Bare’syth / Genesis 3:16, such claims are based upon errant translations. God actually said: “And toward your husband and man your strong emotional feelings is why he will liken this to you and he will govern with you (mashal ba – he will make a proverb of this similarity and he will have his way with you, he will rule with you, he will speak of himself in comparison to you).” The concluding preposition, ba, means “with,” not “over.”
Also, just as Muhammad created a religion named “Islam – Submission,” Sha’uwl served his Lord by demanding submission: “To the contrary (alla), just as (os) the called-out assembly (ekklesia) is submissive to and controlled by (hypotassomai – is subordinate, submits and obeys, is brought under firm control, is yoked and subdued, is subjugated and placed in submission under) the Ma’aseyah in this way (houto). And the woman (gunaikes) to the (tois) man (andrasin) in (en) everything (pas).” (Ephesians 5:24)
Hypotassomai is a compound of hupo, meaning “under,” and tasso, “an assigned and orderly arrangement.” It is the antithesis of freewill. And it should be noted that the “mal’ak / aggelos – spiritual messengers” errantly known as “angels” or “demons,” based upon their allegiance, are “saba’ – arranged as conscripts in a command and control regimen in which they are required to fall in line and submit.” It is little wonder Paul’s entire Damascus Road affair smacks of falling in line and surrendering – all of which is the antithesis of freewill. Sha’uwl, on behalf of Satan, wants to completely control mankind, raping humans of their freewill, so that they will suffer his fate. It is a destiny far worse than returning to bondage in the crucible of Egypt.
Those who trust Yahowah, rely upon Him. There is never a reason to be anxious. As children of the Covenant, our job isn’t to quell rebellions or to stew over the called-out assemblies. And that is because the sacrosanct nature of freewill precludes us from hindering the choice to rebel. Moreover, the Set-Apart Spirit is responsible for nurturing and protecting Her children—not us and not Paul. And Yahowah is responsible for us because He is our Heavenly Father. And yet Sha’uwl, in competition with God, inappropriately put himself in that role: “I do not write this to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children.” (1 Corinthians 4:14)
Yahowah encourages us to expose lies and witness to the truth. We do this by observing and reciting the Torah, and by following Yahowsha’s example. All we are asked to do beyond this is to clear the dirt off of the table, set Yahowah’s invitation upon it, let people know that it is there, remain available to answer their questions, and then let them make up their own minds. His is a take it or leave it proposition. There is no debate, no negotiation—and most certainly nothing for us to contribute or worry about. We do not bear any responsibility for what happens, good or bad.
Further, if we are reciting Yahowah’s Word, and affirming His plan, we never have to say: “know that I am not lying,” as Paul does in Galatians, and then again in the 31st verse of 2nd Corinthians. But since he was doing neither, he was actually doing precisely what he denied.
If we say anything in the name of God which is contrary to the Torah and Prophets, we are lying, and it is obvious to those who care. And if we convey His Word accurately, it makes no difference whether or not we are liars. No one is saved based upon our credibility. Other than to determine whether or not he is a false prophet, Paul’s veracity is irrelevant. And that makes his focus on himself, and his unsupported protestations, completely inappropriate.
So you may be wondering why Satan would be this overt regarding his relationship with Paul, and why he would encourage Paul to disparage the “Adversary” elsewhere in his letters. And yet the answer is obvious. By having Sha’uwl dismiss the Adversary, Satan makes it appear as if he isn’t the Adversary. This is precisely how Allah, who was modeled after Satan, positions the Devil in the Qur’an. And thus while it’s blatantly obvious that Allah is the Adversary, this ruse is sufficient to fool most Muslims. Satan has to shed the Adversary title to be worshipped as God, which is why that aspect of his nature is assailed in Paul’s letters and Muhammad’s Qur’an.
But what bothers me the most about all of this is that Satan and his accomplices are so “bold in their foolishness,” it is obvious that they think people are essentially stupid—too “ignorant and irrational” to figure out who they are or what they are doing. It is as if Satan was thumbing his nose at God, saying: “Why do you care about these morons? They are complete idiots and will believe anything. Just watch, I’ll tell them exactly who I am, and with whom I work, and they will still willingly drink the poison right out of my hand.” So while the evidence in favor of Paul being a false prophet is overwhelming, my purpose in sharing Paul’s Corinthians commentary was simply to encourage you to think about the distinct possibility that there is more to all of this than one man foolishly speaking for himself.
And now that we are on the subject of Satan, and before we return to the book of Acts, since I had mentioned that Paul referenced “signs and wonders” to affirm his calling and to expose Satan’s and Torah-lessness, here is what the Devil’s Advocate had to say about himself and the spirit who apparently facilitated and empowered him. Harkening back to the confession found in Galatians 2:8, we read:
“For (gar) the one (o) of mystery who is the essence of religious doctrine (mysterion – secrets concealed in the symbols, slogans, rites, and rituals of religions which are known only to the faith’s initiates and participants) is already (ede – at this present time, even right now) currently and actually functioning (energeo – presently and reliably producing, operating, effecting, and at work granting the ability and power) of Torah-lessness (tes anomias – of negating the Torah).
Only the One alone (monon o – all alone, exclusively without help, a single solitary masculine individual) currently restrains this, holding fast, actively trying to prevent this (katecho – is continuously controlling, unwilling to change His mind, steering and holding the course) now (arti – presently) until (hoes – up to the point) the One might appear, existing (ginomai – the One may arrive and could become known in the flow of human history) from out of (ek) the midst (mesos).” (2 Thessalonians 2:7)
If you recall, we discovered in Galatians 2:8, where the adjective and verb “energeo – facilitate and functionality” was rendered in the masculine, this meant that the one working through Paul could not be the Set-Apart Spirit, who is feminine. And now here, we have an even more revealing insight into the identity of Paul’s ally and enemy. In the opening sentence, the article o, which denotes the subject as “the one,” was scribed in the singular neuter, which is a perfect fit for a solitary and asexual spirit like Satan. It was also written in the nominative, as was “mysterion – mysterious religious doctrine.” This tells us that “one who is genderless” is not only being religious, but also that religion comes from “o – the one” currently “energeo – effecting” the negation of the Torah.
That is especially troubling considering Yahowah’s and Yahowsha’s testimony, because God tells us that the Torahless One is Satan. Also telling, “energeo – functioning and producing” was presented in the third person singular, or “it” in English, not “he” because it isn’t masculine. Further, by conveying energeo in the present indicative, Paul is revealing that “the one” currently allied with him to effect the negation of the Torah is actually accomplishing that mission. This, thereby, forms an affinity between Sha’uwl and Satan.
Following this confession, we confront the asexual Torahless one’s foe. And this time the article, “o – the One,” was scribed in the singular masculine, as was the verb “katecho – trying to prevent this.” Therefore, unlike the fallen spirit known as Satan who is one of many, God who is the One and only was designated as “monon – the only such entity in His class.” Also revealing, rather than deploying the decisive indicative form which conveys actual results, in reference to the Restrainer, God is merely presented in the active participle form, and thus is being characterized by His energetic effort. Worse, when speaking of His return, this verb was written in the aorist subjunctive, and thus as a mere possibility in some point in time unrelated to any process or plan.
Bringing these insights together, if your mind is open and if you are in tune with the things of God and the character of Sha’uwl and his associate, what you will see is Satan using Paulos to negate the Torah, replacing it with religion, while Yahowah, alone, is attempting to thwart them. So while the axiom suggests that confession is good for the soul, I suspect that depends upon what an individual is admitting.
From a translation perspective, it should now be obvious that since katecho was not written in second person, there is no justification for adding the pronoun “he” that we find in many English translations. Further, as a result of its gender, the “restrainer” cannot be convoluted into a metaphor for the Set-Apart Spirit, as most English translations want us to believe.
So upon close examination, this is a treasure trove of evidence. Not since Galatians 2:4 have we confronted so much secrecy surrounding Sha’uwl. Paul was, of course, resolutely anti-Torah. He was also a huge proponent of religion. He even personally admitted to being restrained by Satan in 2 Corinthians 12, collectively providing the perspective required to interpret these bizarre statements.
And speaking of strange, Christian eschatologists are wont to make anomos “the man of Lawlessness,” or “the Lawless one,” and thus serve as the name or title of the “Antichrist,” but there is no reference to “man” or “one” in that portion of the text, and anomos is an adjective, not a noun. Further, while a serves as a negation in Greek, nomos, as we have learned, is “an allotment which facilitates an inheritance,” not “law.”
However, by advancing this train of thought, Christians must promote a statement written in the present tense as being prophetic, trying to make it appear as if Paul was addressing the Tribulation. But not only were the initial verbs scribed to depict current actions, both were reinforced by “ede – already” and “arti – right now.” It follows then, if Paul was actually addressing the actions of the “Man of Lawlessness” or the “Torahless One, that individual could be none other than Sha’uwl, himself, as he alone was presently doing what he was ascribing to this individual. Therefore, in these words, Paul is admitting that he is not only the founder of the Christian religion, the individual most responsible for its scheme to replace the Torah with religious myths, but also indistinguishable from the “Antichrist.”
And let’s not dismiss the potential for prophetic error. If Paul was attempting to predict what would occur during the last days, as his next statement seems to indicate, then his timing was off by a scant nineteen and a half centuries. It is then a second false prophecy, the other being predicting that the “rapture” would occur during his lifetime. And one misfire earns this designation.
In this light, and from this perspective, please once again consider: “For (gar) the one (o) of mystery who is the essence of religious myths (mysterion) is already (ede) currently and actually functioning, effecting (energeo) Torahlessness by negating the Towrah (tes anomias). Only the One alone (monon o) currently restrains this, holding fast, actively trying to prevent this (katecho) now (arti) until (hoes) the One might appear, existing (ginomai) from out of (ek) the midst (mesos).” (2T2:7) And to further reinforce this malfeasance, especially regarding the tenses and timing, please consider the scholarly Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear’s rendition: “The for mystery already operates of the lawlessness, alone the one holding down now until from middle he might become.”
But that’s hardly the end of the bad news for Christians. In 1st Corinthians 9:21, Paul will brag: “To those (tois) without an inheritance from the Towrah (anomos – the Towrah-less, to those lacking the nourishment which is bestowed to be possessed and used to become heirs, to those without the precepts which were apportioned, established, and received as a means to be proper and approved, to those devoid of the prescriptions required to become an heir and grow; based upon a negation of nemo – that which is not provided, assigned, or distributed precluding inheritance and nourishment), I was like (os) the Towrahless (anomos – those without an allotment, an inheritance, or the Towrah).” It is yet another chilling confession – one which should never be disassociated from his statement here in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7.
Anomos, as a negation of everything Yahowah’s Towrah represents, was deployed next in Sha’uwl’s distressing letter to Thessalonica to further beguile them. And in so doing, Paul spoke of the ongoing future consequence of his current mission, all while demonstrating that he was oblivious to Yahowah’s timing, having no concept of how His seven-step plan of reconciliation would play out over seven-thousand years of human history.
Lastly, remember that Yahowsha’ has said that He will expressly deny entry into heaven to anyone and everyone who refers to Him as “the Lord.” Such individuals, He says, have no association with Him, because He does not nor will ever know them. And that’s hard to square with Pauline professions like this one.
“And then (kai tote – so thereupon) the negation of the Torah (o anomos – that which becomes Torahlessness, the lack of nourishment which was bestowed to become an heir, being without the precepts which were apportioned, established, and received as a means to be proper and approved, being devoid of the prescriptions required to be given an inheritance and grow) will be revealed and disclosed (apokalypto – it will be uncovered, made known, and unveiled) whom (on – pronoun relative accusative singular masculine) the Lord (o kurios – the owner, master, one who controls and possesses, ruling over slaves) ‘Iesous (‘Iesous – [since the oldest witness of this passage is three centuries removed from its author, and is highly inaccurate, it would be inappropriate to presume that Sha’uwl correctly stated Yahowsha’s name or title]) will embrace or kill (anaireo – he will put to death and do away with, he will murder and destroy, he will take away and abolish, or he will choose for himself, lifting up and adopting; from ana – up into the midst and haireomai – to choose to take for oneself) with the (to) spirit (pneumatic – non material being (dative singular neuter)) of the (tou) mouth (stoma – often used as a metaphor for speech) of him (autou), and (kai) will put an end to (katargeomai – will invalidate and unemploy, will bring to an end and render idle, will put a stop to and abolish, will inactivate and cause to be inoperative) in the (te) illustrious appearance and conspicuous manifestation (epiphaneia – form or expression; from epiphanies, to be conspicuous and illustrious) of the (tes) personal presence (parousia – coming arrival or advent in person) of him (autou) (2T2:8) whose (ou) is (eimi – exists as) the presence (e parousia – the coming advent in person, the arrival) according to (kata – down from, against, and with regard to) the functional power (energeia – working energy, activity, and supernatural influence) of the Adversary (tou Satana – the Satan, the name and title of the Devil; from the Hebrew Satan – Adversary) in (en) all (pas – every and the totality of) miracles (dynamis – supernatural power and ability, mighty deeds and influential activities, resources and wonders) and (kai) signs (semeion – miraculous signals and distinguishing characteristics), and (kai) deception (pseudo – fraud, a lie, and falsehood, deceit and error (dative, thereby relating pseudo with teras)) which is wondrous and marvelous (teras – given portent, which arouses, garnering attention (genitive, thereby associating teras with pseudo)).” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9)
Since there are more questions than answers here, let’s review this same text as it is rendered in the Nestle-Aland McReynolds Interlinear: “And then will be uncovered the lawless whom the Master Jesus will kill in the spirit of the mouth of him and will abolish in the appearance of the presence of him whose is the presence by operation of the adversary in all power and signs and marvels of lie.”
To begin, when we connect the present activity currently underway in the last statement with this one, it becomes obvious that Paul incorrectly presumed that he was living in the last days just prior to Yahowsha’s return.
Second, the Torah will never be annulled. So while individuals like Paul can advocate its abrogation, such pontifications are invalid and ineffectual.
Third, by deliberately referring to Yahowsha’ as “o Kurios – the Lord” in a document originally written in Greek, Paulos has disassociated himself from Yahowsha’ while excluding himself from heaven. This then contradicts his claim to being His apostle.
Fourth, Yahowsha’ is not going to “anaireo – embrace or kill” Satan. No matter how we render anaireo, Paul’s statement is wrong. Spirits like Satan cannot be killed, even by Yahowah. They are eternal, which is why She’owl exists to eternally separate and imprison them. Likewise, Satan’s spirit cannot “anaireo – be abolished or destroyed.” And we know from Mattanyah’s testimony that Yahowsha’ expressly rejected Satan, which means that He will not “anaireo – choose, embrace, lift up, or adopt” the Adversary. Yahowah is going to incarcerate Satan in She’owl temporarily and then one thousand years later, forever.
Anaireo, translated “will do away with or accept,” is a compound of ana, meaning “into the midst,” and haireomai, “to take for oneself, to choose and to prefer.” Therefore it would be presumptuous to translate it “kill” without also considering the other equally valid alternatives.
Fifth, while Yahowsha’ can breathe out the Spirit unto a receptive audience, Satan isn’t receptive and the Word of God is what usually comes out of Yahowsha’s mouth. He is going to excommunicate Satan by citing the Towrah.
Sixth, Yahowsha’ isn’t going to “katargeomai – put an end to” Satan. He isn’t going to “unemploy” the Adversary, render the Devil “idle,” nor “inactivate or abolish” him, much less make Satan “inoperative,” upon His return. He is simply going to banish him to She’owl for one thousand years, whereupon he will be released, both employed and operational – at least for a while.
Seventh, epiphaneia, which speaks of an illustrious expression and conspicuous manifestation, is invalid. As Sha’uwl knew from his personal experience with him, Satan’s form is illustrious, but the Adversary is seldom if ever conspicuous. Also, during the Tribulation, Satan will be concealing his presence, possessing and manipulating the False Prophet and Towrahless One (a.k.a. the “Antichrist”), as they attempt to fool the gullible. Instead of revealing himself for who he actually is, Satan, as he has always done, will conceal his true identity to fool people into worshipping him as God.
But that’s not the end of the duplicity. Epiphaneia, which could be translated “glorious appearance,” was used by Greeks of Paul’s day to describe the “brilliant and illustrious divine manifestations of their pagan gods.” It is from epiphanies, “to be conspicuous and illustrious.” Epiphanies in turn is from epiphaino, meaning “an appearance which brings light and thereby enlightens.” It is a compound of epi, meaning “by way of,” and phaino, “bringing light.” As such, it serves as the basis for the Latin name “Lucifer.” Along these lines, phaino means “to shed light, to shine brightly, and to have a brilliant appearance.” Phaino is based upon phos, the Greek word for “light.”
So Sha’uwl is telling us that his Lord, the one controlling him, who is Satan in the guise of Iesou, the manufactured god who has become known as the Christian “Jesus,” is going to destroy the concept of the Adversary, invalidating it, rendering it inoperative. In this way, and therefore after shedding the Adversary moniker, Satan will present himself as God. So speaking of his rendezvous with destiny, the arrogant and yet brilliant, the hideous and yet beautiful, the dark and yet radiant spirit known to the world as “Satan – the Adversary,” will stop functioning as God’s opponent long enough rise above the Most High – at least in the hearts and souls of the faithful. And true to his character, he will show off right to the bitter end, performing all manner of miracles, signs and wonders, every one of which will be crafted to deceive.
That is why in these words we find that Satan especially keen to have his favorite witness proclaim that the clandestine fraud he will be perpetrating on the unsuspecting will appear wondrous and marvelous – especially to the Towrahless. Thereby, the Adversary is once again displaying a condescending attitude toward humankind, in essence saying that we are so stupid we won’t recognize him even when he tells us the truth.
Sure, Satan knows that his days are numbered, but that doesn’t seem to diminish his self image or desire to go out in a blaze of glory, extinguishing countless souls in the process. Therefore, rather than serve as a victorious declaration, this passage is a duplicitous lament. It’s reminiscent of the Wicked Witch’s sorrowful mourning as she melts away at the end of the Wizard of Oz, only to find that the wizard was a fraud.
Also troubling, the very signs and wonders Paul has claimed served as proof that he was an Apostle have now been attributed to Satan. So this is rotten, no matter where we look.
And besides associating “signs and wonders” with Satan while praising him, the “glorious and radiant manifestation of power and light” of the beguiling messenger, known to many as Lucifer, will perpetrate the most marvelous deceptions the world has ever seen. It will all occur to negate the concept of the “Adversary” for reasons that become clear once you come to understand the Deceiver’s ultimate strategy and motivation – one manifest in the title he craves: the Lord.
Since it unlocks a treasure trove of understanding, it bears repeating, Satan doesn’t want to be known as “the Adversary.” The Devil wants humankind to confuse his “gloriously brilliant appearance” with God. His goal is to have his “marvelous deceptions” become religious doctrine. Lucifer (from Latin meaning Light Bearer) or Halal ben Shachar (from Hebrew meaning Arrogant and Radiant Son of the Rising Sun) inspires his messengers to promote him as God. And this is why Paul and Muhammad alike demean Satan. This adversarial title stands in the way of the duplicitous one becoming the Lord of religion. So by condemning the idea of being God’s foe, Satan is delivered from this antagonist epithet.
“And in (kai en) every (pas) seductive, beguiling, and deceitful delusion (apate – deception, temptation, or trickery) associated with an injustice (adikia – of unrighteousness, evil, wrongdoing, and wickedness), to the ones being destroyed (tois apollymai – those who are unaware and thus lost, those ruined and destroyed, deprived of life) instead of (anti – in place of) this (on), the love (ten agapen – the devotion and brotherly love) of the (tes) truth (aletheia) they have not welcomed or received (ouk dechomai – they have not accepted or believed) for (eis) them (autous) to be saved (sozo – to be rescued). (2T2:10)
And (kai) through (dia) this (touto), the (o) god (theos) sends to (pempo) them (autois) a powerful and effective (energeia – a working, functioning, and operational) misleading deception (plane – delusion, corruption, and perversion which leads astray) for (eis – to) them (autous) to believe (pisteuo – to put their faith in) the lie (to pseudo – the deception or falsehood, the erroneous claim).” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11)
The writing quality is so poor, even intentionally duplicitous, we are all too often forced to interpret the ravings of an insane mind. So while I’m not sure what this means, it isn’t good. Not only has Paul been the world’s most prolific distributor of seductive and beguiling delusions, no one has ever been more hostile to the truth. But this inverted presentation of reality is child’s play compared to the hypocrisy of the man who perpetrated the most beguiling deception ever foisted on humankind claiming that it is God who will mislead believers.
And yet, that is the nature of Sha’uwl’s Lord. He is “apate – seductive, beguiling, deceitful, and delusional,” using “trickery and deception to tempt” unsuspecting souls. Satan is also the Lord of “akikia – injustice, unrighteousness, wrongdoing, and evil.” Those he and his apostle fool “apollymai – are unaware and lost, and thus destroyed and ruined, ultimately deprived of life.” Having been seduced by Paul to reject Yahowah’s Towrah, they “ouk dechomai – are adverse to, neither welcoming nor receiving” the “aletheia – truth.” As a result, no Pauline Christian has ever been “sozo – saved.” Having preferred the “plane – misleading corruption and deceptive delusion of the way,” they have been “led astray.” Their “theos – god,” one conceived by man, has “energeia – perpetrated and powerful and effective” religion, the faith born out of Paul’s epistles.
So when Sha’uwl finally tells the truth, it turns out to be even more hideous than his lies. And that reminds me of one of Yahowsha’s most foreboding and sorrowful statements: “I (ego), Myself, have come (erchomai – I have shown Myself, appearing and becoming manifest) in the name (en to onoma – with the one and only name belonging to the person and reputation (dative singular)) of the Father (tou pater – the masculine archetype parent of the family) of Mine (mou), and yet (kai) you do not receive Me (ou lambano me – you do not actually accept Me nor grasp hold of Me, you do not choose or prefer Me, and thus you do not take hold of My hand nor take advantage of and experience Me). But when (ean – on the condition whenever) another (allos – completely different individual and entity) comes (erchomai – might appear, showing himself, and coming forth, presenting himself) in his own name (en to onoma to idio – with his own individual, unique, and distinctive, private, and personal name), that individual (ekeinos – that lone and specific man, him, then and there (the demonstrative singles out the individual, the accusative associates this man and name, while the singular masculine limits this to a single male individual)) you all will actually receive (lambano – you will all accept, choose, and prefer).” (Yahowchanan / Yah is Merciful / John 5:43)
Yahowsha’ came in His Father’s name. He was the corporeal manifestation of everything Yahowah had said, done, promised, and predicted. His message and mission, His character and purpose, were identical to God’s. It is as if He walked out of the pages of the Towrah. And yet, even with all the credibility of being the very Creator of the universe, as few as one in a million souls have chosen to accept Him for who He is, for what He said, for what He did, and for whom He was named.
Christians changed His name, replaced His title, misrepresented His sacrifice, and drove a wedge between Him and His Father, foolishly discarding the unity of their message by calling one old and the other new. They even claimed that Rome was able to kill their god. But to reject Yahowsha’ in this way, Christians have to disregard most everything He said and did, which means that their faith is utterly worthless. And that is why His quote is so painful to read.
Paulos came in a name wholly unrelated to Yahowah and His Towrah testimony. Given the name “Sha’uwl – Question Him” at birth, the world’s most infamous charlatan deliberately changed his name to embrace the culture of Rome – the pagan empire responsible for the destruction of Yahowah’s Temple’s and land, Yisra’el.
And as estranged as this lone individual’s preferred moniker was from all things Yahowah, his message was even more divergent. Paulos, Latin for “Lowly and Little,” denied and demeaned the Towrah, preaching his own mantra in complete opposition to God. He acknowledged being demon-possessed and insane, being perverted and murderous. He attacked Yahowsha’s Disciples, demeaning them. He equated the Lord with God. And yet billions of souls have chosen to believe him, accepting his poorly crafted message while discarding the most brilliant words ever written.
When it comes to Yahowsha’ and Sha’uwl, to choose one is to deny the other. You can embrace the merciful Hand of God or the rotten hand of man. It does not seem like a difficult choice. So why have a million men and women chosen Paul for every one who has accepted Yahowah’s hand?
The moment Sha’uwl finished incriminating himself at the Yaruwshalaym Summit with his testimony about the “signs and wonders he had performed,” Yahowsha’s brother stood up. Ya’aqob had heard more than enough. His brother, who just happened to be the corporeal manifestation of God, had made it abundantly clear that the Disciples were all called to share His healing and beneficial message with the entire world. Gentiles were not Sha’uwl’s private domain. This reality had then been further underscored when on the Invitation to be Called Out and Meet with God of Seven Sabbaths, the Set-Apart Spirit had equipped each of them with the ability to speak the languages of the Gentiles.
“But after (de meta) their silence (to autous sigao), Ya’aqob (Iakobos – a transliteration of the Hebrew Ya’aqob, describing one whose walk is steadfast as a result of digging in his heels; changed by Christians to “James” to honor the English king) responded, saying (apokrinomai lego – answered the question by saying), ‘Men, brothers (andres adelphos), listen to me (akouo mou). (15.13)
Shim’own (Symeon – a transliteration of Shim’own, from shama’, meaning He Listens) made fully known to us (exegeomai – told the whole truth, providing detailed information, carefully describing, explaining, and teaching), in the same way as (kathos) previously (proton – earlier and formerly) God (theos) carefully chose to care, doing what was required (episkeptomai – He sought to visit, to look after, to help, and) to receive (lambano – to acquire and grasp hold of) from (ek – out of) the races and nations (ethnon – different ethnicities) people (laos – ordinary individuals) in His name (to onomati autou).” (Acts 15:13-14)
According to Yahowsha’s brother, Ya’aqob, the Disciple Shim’own, and God, Himself, witnessing to the Gentiles wasn’t a new marketing ploy under the new management of Sha’uwl, but instead was something Yahowah had promised by way of His prophets including Shim’own. This is why Yahowah’s children, whether they be naturally born or adopted, are called “Yahuwdym”—Related to Yah. We are called to Yahowah’s name, not Paul’s.
And you’ll notice, rather than telling us to “believe” him, Ya’aqob said that Shim’own, just like God, Himself, “exegeomai – told the whole truth, providing detailed information, carefully describing, explaining, and teaching to make everything fully known to us.” It is in this way that we demonstrate our compassion and concern for people the world over. Making known by teaching is what is required for men and women to be received by God.
To prove his point, Ya’aqob quoted Scripture. So, let’s take this opportunity to compare the Greek translation to the Hebrew original.
“And regarding this (kai touto), the words (oi legos) of the prophets (ton prophetes) agree, (symphoneo – are consistent, a perfect match), inasmuch as (kathos) it has been written (grapho): (15:15)
‘With (meta – beyond) this (houtos) I will return (anastrephomai – I will come back) and (kai) I will repair and rebuild (anoikodomeo – I will reestablish) the sheltered dwelling place (ten skene – tent and tabernacle) of Dowd (Dauid – transliteration of Dowd, meaning love in Hebrew) that has fallen (ten pipto – that has prostrated itself and has been destroyed), and (kai) that which has been torn down (ta kataskapto autes – the things which have been razed and demolished, being dug asunder). I will reestablish (anoikodomeo – I will repair and renew) and (kai) I will restore them, making them upright again (anorthoo auten – I will straighten them up from a position which is bent over).’” (Acts 15:15-16)
Skene, translated “sheltered dwelling place,” is synonymous with Sukah, which is most accurately translated “Shelters.” It serves as the name of Yahowah’s seventh Called-Out Assembly, where we are invited to campout with our Heavenly Father. As a “protective covering,” skene speaks of the role our Spiritual Mother plays in our salvation. By way of Her Garment of Light, we become Yahowah’s “tabernacles” on earth.
The lexicons tell us that skene is related to skeuos, which is “a vessel,” “an implement,” and a “protective covering” – all of which are descriptive of the Spirit’s purpose. Along these lines, skene is also associated with skia, which is “a lesser dimensional representation and representative of something which serves as a foreshadowing of something bigger and better.” When we are born anew from above by way of our Spiritual Mother, we become more like God, holding onto the promise that we will continue to grow as His adopted children. So, by using skene in this translation of Yahowah testimony, we find acknowledgements of His Spirit and affirmations of His love, all in concert with Shelters, His final Feast.
Ya’aqob elected to quote the prophet, Amos, who spoke of the destruction of the nation of Yisra’el. Fleshing out the context of this citation, we discover that as a result of Yisra’el’s forming a covenant with the Lord (“ha Ba’al” in Hebrew, and thus Satan), Yahowah’s judgment had become inevitable. The Yisra’elites had separated themselves from God, so He told them that the house of Ya’aqob would be shaken. He said that those among His people who erred, and thus missed the way, would die, and that those who remained would encounter an evil calamity which would cause great suffering. He was speaking of the Roman invasion which resulted from Rabbi Akiba’s insistence upon a false-Mashiach. It led to the Diaspora and eventually to the Holocaust.
But Yahuwdym would be restored in Yisra’el, according to the words Yahowah revealed to the prophet, Amos. This then is the very Word of God, the testimony which Ya’aqob quoted at the Yaruwshalaym Summit:
“In (ba) that (huw’) day (yowm), I will stand, rise up, and establish (quwm – will stand upright, enabling) the Sukah (sukah – seventh Miqra’, meaning sheltered dwelling place and protective covering, tent and tabernacle) of Love / Dowd (dowd – the beloved), which has fallen (napal – been neglected).
I will repair and restore (gadar – rebuild) its (henah) cracks and breeches (peres – that which is exposed, broken, or torn, that which is foolhardy and dissipates) and that which is in a state of disrepair (harycah – is lying in ruins). I will raise it up (quwm huw’ – cause him to stand) and (wa) rebuild, restoring (banah – renew and reestablish) Her (hy’) like (ka) days (yowm) everlasting (‘olam – of antiquity and forever into the future).” (Amos 9:11)
This is Yahowah’s promise to restore Yisra’el and to establish the Millennial Sabbath in harmony with the prophetic symbolism of the Miqra’ of Sukah. The timing of this anticipated reconciliation coincides with His return on Yowm Kippurym in Year 6,000 Yah (sunset in Yaruwshalaim on October 2nd, 2033).
Worth noting is the fact that “Sukah – Shelters” is a feminine noun, identifying God’s protected enclosure with our Spiritual Mother who “shelters and protects us.” So by using “hy’ – Her” in reference to “rebuilding, restoring, renewing, and reestablishing,” we discover that Yahowah intends to renew the “Sukah – protective enclosure,” “restoring this home to days everlasting.” This is particularly significant because Sukah is synonymous with the Gan ‘Eden, where gan also describes a “protected garden enclosure” and ‘eden speaks of “great joy.”
This also suggests that during the Miqra’ of Sukah, the whole Earth will resemble the Garden of Eden, making the time when we are invited to campout with God especially enjoyable. And since the Millennial Sabbath commences on the Called-Out Assembly of Shelters, we know that God’s plan is to restore and renew, to repair and rebuild our world during this time, taking us back to the perfect realm and relationship we once enjoyed. And that means that there is no “New Testament,” but instead the renewal of the existing Familial Covenant Relationship. This is something Yahowah affirms in no uncertain terms in Yirmayah / Jeremiah 31, when He speaks of the still future renewal of His Covenant.
Recognizing that the translation of this passage had to pass through three languages, Hebrew to Aramaic, Aramaic to Greek, and then Greek to English, and through the hands of countless scribes, Ya’aqob’s quotation was reasonably accurate. And in some ways, it was akin to what is found in the Septuagint, although not entirely. For example, Luke’s interpretation of Ya’aqob’s quotation begins “With this (μετα ταυτα),” while the Septuagint reads “In that day (εν τη ημερα εκεινη),” putting the Septuagint in accord with Yahowah’s citation, but Acts in discord.
Next, the Septuagint uses “anhistemi (αναστησω),” to say: “I will stand upright, rise up, and establish,” mirroring the Hebrew quwm in Amos 9:11, and yet Luke’s Greek transcript reads “I shall return (αναστρεψω),” which is inconsistent with God’s word, and thus errant.
From this point, the Codex Sinaiticus (our oldest witness to Acts 15:15) jumbles the Septuagint’s word order. Agreeing with the Hebrew text, the Septuagint reads: “the Sukah of Dowd which has fallen, and I will rebuild her things that are broken, as well as her things that are in a state of disrepair, (from: την σκηνην Δαυιδ την πεπτωκυιαν καὶ ανοικοδομησω τα πεπτωκοτα αυτης και τα κατεσκαμμενα αυτης).” But, the Codex Sinaiticus, while conveying a similar message, is again imprecise: “And I shall rebuild the Sukah of Dowd / David which has fallen, and her things that have fallen into a state of disrepair I shall rebuild, (from: καὶ ανοικοδομησω την σκηνην Δαυιδ την πεπτωκυιαν και τα κατεσκαμμενα αυτης ανοικοδομησω).” Recognizing how easy it would have been for Luke, and the scribes responsible for the Codex Sinaiticus, to get this right (recognizing that the Septuagint is correct), we have to ask ourselves: who was responsible for these mistakes? And acknowledging that these errors exist, we must deal with the fact that passages which are not found in extant first-, second-, or third-century manuscripts are especially suspect, and thus unreliable.
But that’s not the end of the disparities. The Septuagint continues with: “I shall stand up and repair her just as the days that are everlasting (from: αναστησω και ανοικοδομησω αυτην καθως αι ημεραι του αιωνος),” which is as close to the Hebrew text as different languages allow. But in the Codex Sinaiticus, we find Luke’s hearsay transcription of Ya’aqob’s quotation changed to: “And I shall straighten her (και ανορθωσω αυτην),” which is inconsistent with the Hebrew reads. Therefore, either Ya’aqob speaking Hebrew misquoted the Hebrew verse, Luke’s source misquoted Ya’aqob, Luke mistranslated his source, or subsequent scribes were either careless or trifling.
This exercise serves to affirm that one of the most revered of all codices, Sinaiticus, isn’t reliable. One might even argue that this manuscript was written in Rome on the order of Emperor Constantine and then sent to Egypt where it remained in the Roman Catholic monastery named in honor of Constantine’s mother, “Saint Catherine,” on the mythical Mount Sinai (replete with the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, and Sirach) until the goatskin hides were plucked from the trash by Leipzig archaeologist, Constantin von Tischendorf, moments before they were burned in the ovens. Giving further weight to its Roman origins, the chapter divisions in the Codex Sinaiticus’ rendition of the book of Acts coincide only with the Codex Vaticanus and early copies of Jerome’s Vulgate, adding considerable weight to the conclusion that the Codex Sinaiticus was politically and religiously inspired.
More recent history aside, Luke’s hearsay presentation of Ya’aqob’s citation of Yahowah’s next revelation through the Prophet Amos, reads: “So that (hopos) then (an – conveying a possibility in an uncertain time of an if-then proposition) will diligently scrutinize and seek out (ekzeteo – will search out, investigate, pursue, and / or bring charges against) this remnant (oi kataloipos – those who remain) of mankind (ton anthropos) of the (ton) Upright Pillar of the Tabernacle (KN – a placeholder used in the Septuagint for either ‘edon, the Upright One or for Yahowah’s name), and (kai) all (pas) of the races and nations (ta ethnos – of the ethnicities) upon (epi) whom (ous) has been called and surnamed (epikaleomai – has asked for help, appealing to a higher judge and as a result had the name put upon them, permitting oneself to be surnamed after someone, and to be called and summoned as a witness (in the perfect tense this describes a completed action in the past which has current ramifications, in the passive voice, the individual is being acted upon, and in the indicative mood, this describes an actual occurrence)) in association with (to) My (mou) name (onoma) upon (epi) them (autous) says (lego) Yahowah (ΚΣ – placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and throughout the Septuagint for Yahowah’s name using the Greek kurios), doing (poieomai – performing) this (tauta) (15:17) which was known (gnostos – is that which could be known) from (apo) world and universal history (aionos – from long ago and at all times since).” (Acts 15:17-18)
Unfortunately, this wasn’t an accurate citation of Amos 9:12, a fact which we will consider in a moment. But since it is so remarkably different than what the Hebrew prophet quoted Yahowah saying, let’s verify the Greek text by way of the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear: “So that [not applicable] will seek out the rest behind of the men the Master and all the nations on whom has been called on the name of me on them says Master doing these known from age.” The New America Standard Bible, which erroneously claims to be a literal translation of the oldest manuscripts, suggests: “In order that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.”
There isn’t an extant first- through third-century manuscript of this particular citation in Greek, so scribal error may have contributed to some of the discrepancies. Of particular issue is ‘Edowm, usually transliterated “Edom,” which is the name of a place in the Hebrew text. But since it is related linguistically to ‘adam, the Hebrew word for “man,” and because it is also associated with ‘edon, the basis of Yahowsha’s title, meaning “the Upright One and the Upright Pillar of the tabernacle and its foundation,” scribes could easily have become confused. Therefore, in place of ‘Edowm, we find both “anthropos – mankind” and a placeholder for “kurion – lord and master.”
Noting these issues, based upon the much older Hebrew witness, Amos 9:12 reads: “So that (ma’an – for the purpose and intent that) those who (‘asher) have summoned (qara’ – called out and invited) My (‘any) name (shem – personal and proper designation) upon (‘al) them may inherit (yarash – receive as an heir and possess) the remainder of (sha’eryth – remnant and rest of) ‘Edowm (‘edowm), every (kol) Gentile nation (gowym – people from different races and places), prophetically declares (na’um – announces ahead of time) Yahowah ( ), who will engage, enacting (‘asah – will do) this (zo’th).” (Amos 9:12)
Beyond the unwarranted omission of Edom, and the additions of “mankind” and “Master / Lord,” in the Greek hearsay translation of Ya’aqob’s quotation of the Hebrew passage, the Acts transcription replaced “inherit” with “seek,” and turned another affirmation of the importance of Yahowah’s name into a muddled mess. So while we’ve come to expect imprecision in Paul’s letters to the Galatians, Thessalonians, and Corinthians, these mistakes were recorded in the book of Acts, now causing Luke’s historical presentation to be suspect as well.
Turning to the Septuagint as a point of reference, we find that it isn’t a particularly good match for the Hebrew text of Amos or Luke’s Greek rendering of Ya’aqob’s quotation. It reads: “So that the remnant of men and all the nations shall seek out, upon those whom My name is called upon them, says Yahowah, the God who does these [things].” To this, the Codex Sinaiticus adds “an – it is possible” and “ton KN – the Lord and Master,” in addition to what is now found in Acts 15:18, which reads “which was known from world and universal history.” Adding to the confusion, the oldest Greek witness of this proclamation then omitted the placeholder for God’s title (ΘΣ) from the Septuagint’s translation, albeit ‘elohym wasn’t actually written in Amos 9:12.
Perhaps more concerning than the inaccuracy of the quotation, this passage, while it is profoundly important in that it speaks of an inheritance and not a witness, wasn’t especially germane to the point Ya’aqob was making, which means he shouldn’t have cited it to refute Sha’uwl. And my guess is he didn’t. I say that because our only options are to conclude that either Ya’aqob was wrong for citing it, that Luke was wrong for attributing this quotation to Ya’aqob, or that a later scribe added it because a subsequent mischaracterization of the citation seemed to fit. If you are among those who believe that the “New Testament” is “the inerrant word of God,” pick your poison.
On the positive side, we have another confirmation that the placeholder, ΚΣ, which was based upon the Greek kurios, was used to represent Yahowah’s name. At first blush, however, unless it was a legacy of the Septuagint, it is curious that the Disciples would have actually chosen a placeholder which was based upon a title, as opposed to one predicated upon YHWH. But then, recognizing that these Divine Placeholders consistently begin and end with the first and last letter in the title or name they are attempting to convey, and often include an internal consonant, we discover that it would have been impossible to write an abbreviation for Yahowah’s name in Greek because the four vowels which comprise it have no counterpart in the borrowed alphabet. There is no “Y,” “oW,” or soft “aH” among Greek letters. (The capitalized characters which share a common appearance with the English alphabet’s “Y” and “H” represent Upsilon and Eta, respectively, and thus do not convey a similar sound.)
Also, ‘Edowm is the land of Esau and his descendants. Most notably, it is the realm of those who were related to Ishmael by way of his daughter, who became Esau’s wife (See Bare’syth 25:16-18 and 28:8-9). So Yahowah may well have been prophetically speaking about today’s Muslims by referencing ‘Edowm. Elsewhere in Scripture, Yahowah talks of Muslims plundering Yisra’el. He also addresses His response to them, which will be to annihilate Allah’s jihadists. Today, these Islamic ‘Edowmites covet the Promised Land, and they have demonstrated that they are willing to kill every Jew living in Yisra’el to capture it. But in the end, it will be the Yisra’elites who will be the beneficiaries of their land instead. The irony is sweet.
If Ya’aqob’s statement wasn’t associated with Amos 9, the testimony ascribed to him could be reordered to say: “So that (hopos) if (an) the remnant (kataloipos) of mankind (anthropos), and (kai) all (pas) the races and nations (ethnos) upon (epi) whom (ous) My (mou) name (onoma) is summoned (epikaleomai) upon (epi) them (autous), will diligently seek (ekzeteo) the Upright One (KN), says (lego) Yahowah (ΚΣ), doing (poieomai) this (tauta) which is known (gnostos) from (apo) world and universal history (aionos).” (Acts 15:17-18) But alas, this revision of the text is invalidated knowing that Ya’aqob specifically said that he was quoting Scripture, and thus there was no justification for “mankind (anthropos)” or “Upright One (KN).”
While Ya’aqob didn’t cite the final three verses of Amos’s prophecy, there is no reason we shouldn’t consider them. They read: “Look now and see (hineh – behold, stand up, look up, and reach up to God), the day (yowm) is coming (bow’), prophetically declares (na’um) Yahowah ( ), when I will return and restore (suwb – come back and reestablish) the property and that which makes life easier and more secure for (sabuwt – the fortunes, restoring that which is good and establishing more favorable circumstances for) My (‘any) family (‘am – people and nation), Yisra’el (Yisra’el – individuals who engage and endure with God).” (Amos 9:13-14)
This is a powerful statement. It not only affirms that Yahowah will return in person, but also that His purpose will be to “suwb – reestablish” His family and to “sabuwt – fortuitously restore all that is good.” And that is why the related title Shabuwa’, is defined as Yahowah’s “vow, His sworn and contractual promise between parties in a relationship to truthfully attest to our innocence.” The fact is, the Miqra’ey of Shabuwa’ and Sukah are related, with one leading to the other. And it is Yahowah’s Ruwach/Spirit who makes us appear innocent, indeed perfect, before our Heavenly Father.
In His closing statement, Yahowah may be describing what occurred in 1948 and thereafter: “And they will rebuild (banah) their desolate (samen) cities (‘iyr) and live in them (yasab – inhabit). And they shall plant (nata’) vineyards (kerem) and drink (satah – consume) wine (yayn – fermented grape juice). And they shall fashion (‘asah – make) gardens (ganah) and eat (‘akal – consume) fruit (pary – their harvest) from them. And I will root them (nata’ humah – firmly embed and plant them, establishing their encampment) upon (‘al) their (humah) soil (‘adamah – earth and land). And they shall never (lo’) be uprooted (natas – pulled up and expelled) again (‘owd) from (min) upon (‘al) their land (‘adamah – soil) which relationally and beneficially (‘asher) I gave (natan) to (la) them (humah), says (‘amar) Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym).” (Amos 9:14-15)
Those who are careful observers of Yahowah’s Word recognize that God does not always present future history sequentially, so it would not be unusual for Him to discuss His return prior to presenting the conditions which will precede it. He isn’t doing this to be evasive, but instead because He doesn’t want His prophecies to influence, and thus change, future events. So long as His reports regarding future history are challenging to unravel, then only those devoted to Yahowah’s Word, and thus to Him, appreciate them, keeping the disingenuous from trying to sabotage His predictions.
In this prophetic declaration, Yahowah said He would personally see to it that following an “evil calamity,” He would reestablish Yisra’el. But also, that once His people returned, they would never be uprooted again. Therefore, there is no reason to worry about another Islamic invasion, nor an Iranian nuclear attack. After the Roman Diaspora and German Holocaust, Yisra’elites are home for good. Islamic terrorists are not going to prevail, try as they might.
Returning to the book of Acts, according to Luke’s hearsay testimony, after citing Yahowah’s prophecy in Amos, Ya’aqob said: “Therefore (dio) I (ego) conclude (krino – decide and judge by way of separating fact from fiction, right from wrong, exercising judgment), not (ue) to make it more difficult (parenochleo – cause trouble for, excite, annoy, or disturb), by separating (apo) the races and nations (ethnos) who are returning (epistrepho – who are changing their perspectives, attitudes, thinking, and ways).” (Acts 15:19)
The Nestle-Aland’s Interlinear reads: “Wherefore I judge not to annoy along the ones from the nations returning on the God.” As was the case with the first nine verses of the fifteenth chapter of Acts, starting with the nineteenth, we again benefit from the witness provided by Papyrus 45, a third-century manuscript. In it we discover that the phrase “epi ton theon – on the God” was added by a fourth-century scribe at the end of this passage and thus should not be considered.
I suppose that had the reference to Edom been retained, and with nomos conveying the “inheritance” aspects of the Towrah’s instructions, the fact that the Amos prophecy reveals that Yahuwdym would have influence over Gowym for thousands of years to come, it’s entirely possible that this combination of things led to Ya’aqob’s conclusion that he and others be excluded from witnessing to different ethnicities.
In the next verse, the phrase “tes porneias kai – the perversion, corruption, or sexual immorality” is not found in Papyrus 45, and may have been added by a scribe to harmonize Ya’aqob’s statement with the subsequent letter memorializing this compromise. So while the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear reports, “But to write letter to them the to hold off the pollutions of the idols and of the sexual immorality and the choked and the blood,” the oldest manuscript of this passage reads:
“To the contrary (alla – nonetheless and notwithstanding), to write to them a letter (episteilai autois – to send them an epistle) for the (tou) sufficiency of receiving in full or holding separate (apechesthai – the primary meaning is to receive, the secondary connotation is to be enough or sufficient, the tertiary definition is to be away from, the fourth implication is to experience, the fifth is to avoid or abstain, and the sixth is to close an account) of the (ton) polluted and defiled (alisgema – condemned religious rituals which corrupt and make impure) of the (ton) idols and objects of worship (eidolon – the overt or outward appearance of religious worship, imagery, likenesses, idolatry, and false gods), and the (kai tou) strangled (pniktos – choked to death or suffocated as part of a bloodless religious ritual), and the (kai tou) blood (haima).” (Acts 15:20)
Apechesthai, which is the present middle infinitive of apechei is an awkward term because it is based upon an internal contradiction. It is a compound of apo, which speaks of “separation,” and “echo – to have and to hold.” Most English translations, therefore, ignore its primary definitions, and render the verb “abstain.” Also telling, since there is no Hebrew word associated with abstaining of abstinence – this admonition is not based upon God’s Word.
Confusion aside and duplicity aside, the first item on this list has merit, in that it is a derivative of the Second of Three Statements God etched in stone on the First of the Two Tablets. Yahowah specifically asked us to avoid being religious. However, the reference to “pniktos – strangled” (which will be discussed in reference to the 29th verse) is a subset of Rabbinical Law, and thus does not come from the Torah. It is not appropriate. Further, while Yahowah asks us not to drink blood (thereby undermining the Catholic Eucharist), in conjunction with strangulation, this reference to blood would only serve to enrich Kosher butchers. So if this list was deemed sufficient, it makes you wonder why God bothered to write the Torah or inspire the Prophets.
Considering that these largely inappropriate conclusions were attributed to Ya’aqob, for his sake I hope that they were a product of scribal error. Yahowsha’ made no attempt to summarize His Scriptural instructions, only His Ten Statements – and this bears no resemblance to His recap. Also, while Yahowah did provide a synopsis of some of His Instructions by writing the Ten Statements, only one aspect of one of the statements memorialized on His Tablets of Stone was reflected in this list.
But alas, at least there was one worthy contender among the three prohibitions. Alisgema, translated “polluted and defiled” and describing “something which has become corrupt and impure by way of a religious ritual,” is often associated with “sacrificial meat and drink offerings made to pagan deities.” A portion was usually taken by the priests, but the remainder was either sold in the marketplace by the donor or eaten by the religious practitioner. So, by including it in his brief list, Ya’aqob was suggesting that we should avoid all contact with anything associated with religion, its imagery, rituals, and sacrifices.
However, when a similar list reappears in the “Apostles’ letter” (documented in Acts 15:29), the one thing which changes is the reference to “idols, objects of worship, and polluted and defiled religious rituals which corrupt.” The more ubiquitous prohibition was replaced by saying that it is only necessary to avoid meats which have been sacrificed to idols. As such, the letter was a step backwards from an already impoverished position.
Ya’aqob’s next comment, however, was manna from heaven. “Because (gar – for indeed) Moseh (Mouses – a transliteration of the Hebrew Moseh, meaning to draw out, the scribe of the Towrah), from (ek) generations (genea – ancestors from the same ethnic group) ancient (archaios – antiquity, therefore existing for a long time), the ones announcing Him (tous kerysso auton – those who proclaimed Him and made Him known), is actually and actively held (echei – is genuinely grasped hold of, possessed and experienced) in (en) the synagogues (tais synagoge – a transliteration of the Greek word meaning assembly meetings). In accordance with (kata) every (pas) Sabbath (sabbaton – a transliteration of the Hebrew shabat, meaning rest, promise, and seven), it is being read (anaginosko – it is publicly recited aloud so that it might be known and understood).” (Acts 15:21)
Before we dissect this fabulous verse, please note that Papyrus 45 omits “[throughout / accordingly (kata) their towns and cities (polis)].” Also, “echei – is actually and actively held,” shown as εχει in the third person, singular, present, active, indicative in the Nestle-Aland 27th Edition, was scribed as ekei (εκει), meaning “there, in that place,” in Papyrus 45. But since most early manuscripts reflect the later form, which also works better within the flow of the sentence, methinks the oldest witness reflected a scribal error which is why I have neglected it. However, “tous – the ones” should have been written in the singular as “the one” making Him known.
The bookkeeping behind us, understand that Ya’aqob referenced “Moseh” to say “Torah” the same way we would designate the books of Yasha’yahuw, Zakaryah, or Mal’aky. By doing so, he eliminated the potential confusion between Yahowah’s Towrah and Rabbinical Traditions.
There are three revealing verbs in this passage, all of which manage to convey an aspect of Yahowah’s intent regarding His Towrah. The first, kerysso, translated “announcing,” means: “to proclaim a message publicly with the intent of encouraging people, urging and warning them to acknowledge the instructions.” The Towrah is Yahowah’s message to mankind. It is comprised of His prescriptions for living. He wants His guidance proclaimed publicly in hopes that people decide to listen to His advice. This is the reason Yahowah dispatched Yahowsha’.
It is written: “The entire (kol – the whole and every, the totality of the) Word (‘imrah – the promise and the prescription) of God (‘elowha) is pure, tested, and true (tsaraph – refined, precious, and worthy), a shield for (magen – an enclosure which surrounds, defends, and saves) those who put their trust in (chacah – those who seek salvation through reliance upon) Him.” (Marsal / Word Pictures / Proverbs 30:5)
The second verb describing the intent of the Torah is echei, a variation on echo, which was rendered “actually and actively held” in association with unfurling the scroll of the Towrah so that it can be read and recited aloud in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Echo’s primary meaning is “to grasp hold of something and then hang on to it.” In relational terms, it speaks of “embracing” someone whom or something which you care deeply about. Secondarily, echo speaks of “being clothed in something” or of “wielding it as a tool or implement.” Echo’s tertiary connotation is “to figuratively and literally accept something [in this case the Torah] so that it keeps you safe, preserving you.” Other definitions of echo are also germane relative to the Torah and include: “coming to possess something, owning it, carefully considering it, respecting and regarding it favorably, revering and enjoying it.” These are the most appropriate responses to the Towrah.
It is written: “Yahowah’s ( ) Towrah (towrah – teaching, instruction, direction, and guidance) is complete and entirely perfect (tamym – without defect, lacking nothing, correct, sound, genuine, right, helpful, beneficial, and true), returning, restoring, and transforming (suwb – turning around and bringing back) the soul (nepesh – consciousness). Yahowah’s ( ) enduring testimony (‘eduwth – restoring witness) is trustworthy and reliable (‘aman – verifiable, confirming, supportive, and establishing), making understanding and obtaining wisdom (hakam – educating and enlightening oneself to the point of comprehension) simple for the open-minded (pethy).” (Mizmowr / Song / Psalm 19:7)
This all echoes Yahowah’s consistent advice, whereby God continually encourages us to read His Towrah Instructions, especially in our homes and to our children. He has asked us to take His Towrah Guidance with us when we travel, to have it with us when we go to bed at night, and to embrace it when we wake up in the morning. God advises us to place His Towrah between our eyes, on our hands, upon our doorposts, and on our front gates so that it provides the proper perspective, guides our actions, and defines our relationship with Him and others. Yahowah wants us to clothe ourselves in the Torah, and to wear and wield its promises as if they were shields and tools. Yahowah wants us to closely examine and carefully consider what He has to say in His Towrah, so that we come to know Him and appreciate what He is offering. He would like us to respect His Word, and as a result to revere and enjoy the Torah’s Author, grasping hold, and hanging onto Him as if our life depended upon it. Just imagine what the world would be like if everyone echoed the Torah.
Many speak of loving God, but few understand the way to achieve this: “Love Yahowah, your God, with all your mind and heart, with all your soul and consciousness, and with all your might and strength. The Word (dabar) exists to be a prescription for living upon mind and heart. Repeat these prescriptions so as to teach them by rote to your children, and speak the Word (dabar) among them where you live (yasab – and where you are joined in marriage), in your house and home (beyth – family and household), during your travels (halak – your walk) on the way (derek – the path), and when you lie down and when you stand up (quwm). Bind them as a sign on your hand and as a sign between your eyes. And write them on the doorframe of your home and the gate to your community.” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 6:6-8)
The third verb in this translation of Ya’aqob’s statement before those who had gathered to judge Paul was also directed at the Towrah. Anaginosko, which was translated “it is being read” affirms that Yah’s Teaching was being “recited” in order to reveal God’s instructions. Listeners were coming to know the Torah, its Author and plan, as a result of it being “publically proclaimed.” While anaginosko is most often used to describe an “open and unrestricted presentation of a written document,” its literal meaning is represented by its parts. Anaginosko is a compound of ana, meaning “in the midst of,” and ginosko, which means “to learn and to know, to perceive and to understand, to become acquainted with, and to acknowledge.” So the verb conveys the idea of “publicly reciting [the Torah] in a way that those who listen to it come to accurately recognize and acknowledge its message.” This is akin to Yahowah’s repeated instructions to “shama – listen to” and “shamar – observe” the Torah.
It is written: “Gather together and assemble (qahal – summon people to a central place for a particular purpose, uniting and congregating) the family (‘am – people), the men (‘iysh), the women (‘ishah), and the little children (tap), and the people from different races and places (ger – strangers and foreigners from different cultural, ethnic, or geographical communities who are visiting, even just passing through, temporarily living in your midst (i.e., Gentiles) who (‘asher) are within (ba) your gates and doorways (sa’ar – your property, towns, cities, and communities) so that (ma’an – for the intended purpose that) they can listen (shama’ – hear the message and receive the information), and so that (ma’an – for this intended purpose) they are instructed and learn (lamad – so that they gain access to the information which is required to be properly guided and respond appropriately) and respect and revere (yare’) Yahowah, your God (‘elohym), observing (shamar – closely examining and carefully considering) and acting upon (‘asah – engaging in, celebrating, and profiting from) all (kol) the words (dabar) of this (zo’th) Towrah (towrah – teaching, direction, guidance, and instruction.” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 31:12)
“Now (‘atah) write (katab) for all of you the words (dabar) of this (zot) song (sirah – these lyrics with an emphasis on instruction), and teach this to (lamad – provide information, guidance, instruction, and training for) the Children of Yisra’el (ben Yisra’el – children who engage and endure with God). Put them in her mouth (peh), so that they will exist (hayah) with (‘eth) Me, these lyrics (sirah) serving as an everlasting witness (‘ed – as eternal evidence and restoring testimony) amongst (ba – within) the Children who Engage and Endure with God (ben Yisra’el).” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 31:19)
By affirming God’s instruction on the Towrah’s role in our lives, Ya’aqob’s declaration not only negated Paul’s position, it changed the nature of the debate. It was no longer the wannabe apostle against Yahowsha’s chosen Disciples. It was now Sha’uwl v. Yahowah.
If you are still a Christian, or if you are trying to liberate a Christian from their faith, consider this conundrum: to side with Paul against Yahowsha’s hand-picked and personally-trained Disciples in this debate over the role of the role of Yahowah’s Towrah in our lives is to conclude that Yahowsha’ was incompetent, failing on both accounts. This undeniable conclusion mirrors another even more profound realization: if the Towrah, which was authored by God and is arguably the most important and brilliant document ever written, is incapable of saving anyone, how is it then that letters written by a man claiming to be inspired by the Author of the Towrah he discredits are believable relative to mankind’s salvation? This has to be the single most irrational position that has come to be widely held.
Beyond the three insights provided by the verbs Luke deployed when trying to convey Ya’aqob’s declaration, there was another treasure in the Disciple’s statement. The Torah “was read aloud and became known” “in the synagogues in accordance with every Sabbath.” The Christian fixation on Sunday Worship, the Lord’s Day, even Easter Sunday, is unjustifiable in every respect.
It is written: “Remember and recall (zakar – recognize, memorialize, and be earnestly mindful of) that the Sabbath (shabat – the seventh day, the time of observance, of rest, and of ceasing and desisting from ordinary labor) day is set apart (qodesh – separated unto God). Six days you shall work (‘abad) and do (‘asah) all your service of representing the Messenger and proclaiming the message (mala’kah – Godly duties and heavenly labor). The seventh (shabiy’iy – seven; from shaba’, meaning solemn promise and oath, and shaber meaning to interpret and explain the meaning or significance of a communication) day, the Sabbath (shabat – the time of promise to reflect) of Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym), you shall not do (‘asah) any part of the work of God’s Representative and Messenger (mala’kah – from mal’ak, the ministry and mission of the heavenly envoy and dispatch; the labor of God’s corporeal manifestation), not your son, not your daughter, not your servants and employees, not your means of production, nor those visitors in your home or property.” (Shemowth / Names / Exodus 20:8-10)
Preachers lie when they say that “the first Christians went to church on Sunday to worship the Lord by proclaiming the Gospel.” They weren’t “Christians,” but instead were called “Chrestucians.” Christian means “drugged,” and Chrestucian means “upright servant and useful implement.” The first to accept Yahowsha’ were Towrah observant referred to themselves as “Followers of the Way.” As a result, they gathered on the Sabbath, in accordance with Yahowah’s Torah instructions and Yahowsha’s example. And they met in synagogues, not churches. There were no “Gospels.” They listened to Yahowah’s Torah being recited to them.
In the presence of Yahowchanan (John), Shim’own Kephas (Peter), and all of the other Disciples and elders of the Yaruwshalaim (Jerusalem) Ekklesia (Called Out), Ya’aqob (Yahowsha’s brother who has become known as James), admonished Sha’uwl (Paul) and warned subsequent believers in the religion predicated upon his writings that nothing is more important than observing the Torah – coming to know it, understand it, and share it, because it is the source from which all good things flow, including our relationship with God and our salvation.
This next line suggests that Yahowsha’s Disciples did not trust Sha’uwl. “Then (tote – at that time) the Apostles (apostolos – those who were prepared and sent out) and the elders (presbyteros – the community leaders), along with (syn – in association and together with) the entire (holos – and complete) Called-Out Assembly (ekklesia – from ek, called out and kaleo, to call), concluded that it would be appropriate to (edoze – after consideration and thinking they were disposed to) themselves select spokesmen (eklegomai andras – choose men to speak out, from lego, to speak and affirm and ek out and andras – man) from (ek) among them (auton) to send (pempo –dispatching messengers with the Word) to (eis) Antioch (Antiocheia – the capitol of Syria based upon a transliteration of King Antiochus) with (syn) the Little and Lowly (to Paulos – the Paulos (of Latin origin following the definite article meaning the insignificant)) and (kai) Barnabas (Barnabas – a transliteration of the Aramaic bar, son of, and naby, a prophet) – Yahuwdah (Ioudas – a transliteration of the Hebrew Yahuwdah meaning Related to Yah), called (ton kaloemenon – the person named) Barsabbas (son of Sabbas) (Barsabbas – a transliteration of the Aramaic bar, son of, and saba’ meaning military conscript) and (kai) Silas (Silas – of Latin origin meaning woody), [who were] leading men (hegeomai andras – highly regarded men with the authority to provide direction and leadership) among (en) the brethren (adelpois).” (Acts 15:22)
It was the unanimous conclusion of Yahowsha’s Apostles, the elders, and the entire Yaruwshalaym Ekklesia that Sha’uwl required supervision. Yahuwdah and Silas were given the authority to act on behalf of the Apostles to control the Lowly one. It is a shame they did not prevail.
While this all blew up in Sha’uwl’s face in Antioch, if we flip back through the pages of Acts, we find that Paul had previously been in Lycaonia, which was just north of Cilicia, before traveling south through Syria. That’s relevant because of the addressees listed on the Apostolic letter. “Through (dia) having written (grapho) by their hand (auton cheir), the Apostles (oi apostolos – those who were prepared and sent out) and the elders (presbyteros – the community leaders) amongst (kata) the brethren (adelpos) to the (tois) Antiocheia (Antiochian), Suria (Syrian), and Kilikia (Cilician) brothers (adelphos), to the ones (tois) from (ek) the ethnicites (ethnos – different races, nations, and places): Joyful Greetings (chairo – a happy hello)!” (Acts 15:23)
You’ll notice, and these facts are significant, this meeting had been called to confront Paulos’s contrarian testimony, but upon its conclusion the letter which was drafted wasn’t from Paul and that it was addressed to the places the man being judged had previously spoken. The real Apostles were leaving nothing to chance. Far too much was at stake to allow Paul’s attack on the Torah to prevail.
But that is not to say that they weren’t in a horrible predicament. Paul had positioned himself as God’s messenger to the nations and had traveled the world preaching his perverted Gospel. He was a Roman citizen, and they were not, giving Paul an enormous advantage. Paul was smarter, better educated, far more ambitious, and a much more prolific writer.
The Apostles could have silenced Paul, but that would have required killing or imprisoning him, for which they had no legal authority. They could have openly opposed him, but that would have created an aurora of distrust between the Disciples and the people this charlatan had been soliciting. Or they could have tried to work with him—but that required compromise, something wholly unacceptable to God. And frankly, what was to be gained by negotiating with a self-proclaimed murderer and pervert, with a man who would soon admit to being both insane and demon-possessed? It would be akin to making concessions with a Muslim regarding peace in Israel.
What follows suggests that Yahowsha’s Disciples improperly chose the latter in direct opposition to Yahowah’s instructions and Yahowsha’s example. They would try to control Paul by working out an accommodation with him. It was the mother’s milk of politics. Whenever you compromise on essential values, you weaken them, weaken yourself, and postpone the inevitable, ultimately paying a much higher price.
While the Yaruwshalaym Summit had begun and had ended referring to the Torah, the Torah would not be mentioned in their letter. Christianity is the consequence.
And considering the fact that the perpetrator of the contrarian view used “tarasso – intimidation, perplexing his audience by confusing them,” this next statement provides a chilling summation of the meeting held to judge Pauline Doctrine. In that God made Himself known to facilitate trust, his adversary “instilled doubts” to necessitate faith. Knowing that the Spirit he was opposing brought peace though reconciliation, Sha’uwl had used “fear tactics to terrorize” his audience into submission. And all of the “perplexing and unanswerable questions” which arose from his rhetoric, through tarasso we learn the troubling statements “were born out of a complete lack of scruples.”
Here then is the Apostles’ written declaration to the nations...
“Since (epeide – seeing and recognizing that) we heard (akouo – we received news) that (oti) someone (tis) from (ek) us (emon) [went out (exerchomai) (excluded from Papyrus 45)] stirred up trouble by confusing (tarasso – distressing, disturbing, and agitating, without scruples perplexing by causing doubts, frightening and terrorizing so as to intimidate) you (umas) with statements (logos – with words, speech, a message, acquisition, or treatise) with unsettling and troubling words (anakeuazo logos – with distressful and upsetting speech, with destructive and ravaging statements, with mindless and irrational reasoning, with a treatise designed to overthrow, upend, and subvert by being terrifying) for your souls (tas psyche umon – for your psyche) which (ois) we did not authorize (ou diastellomai – we did not arrange, prepare, set into place, or send out), ” (Acts 15:24)
Keep in mind, this was written by Yahowsha’s Disciples, by the hand of the witnesses God had personally trained, to the communities in which Sha’uwl had preached regarding the merits of the self-proclaimed apostle’s message. And that is indeed “tarasso – disturbing” and “anakeuazo – distressing.” These are especially condescending terms – and they were spoken of Paul.
Unfortunately, while everything Paul had promised was now suspect, nothing specifically was repudiated. All the Disciples said was that Paul’s message was confusing, perplexing, troubling, and unsettling, and that they had not “authorized” the “logos – statements” Paul’s audiences had heard.
To be fair, Yahowsha’s Disciples did not know even one percent as much about Paul as we do today. At the time this meeting took place, Paul’s first epistle, Galatians, which would be written as a hostile rebuttal to his censure at this meeting, was still months away. Paul’s next four letters, the two anti-Semitic rants to the Thessalonians and the pair of schizophrenic tomes to the Corinthians were three to five years off. As a result, no one knew that Sha’uwl would admit to being insane or demon-possessed. And Luke’s portrayal of this man’s life wouldn’t be compiled for a decade or more. Therefore, it would be some time before the world was made aware of Paul’s preposterous conversion experience or his duplicitous and conflicting testimony. So all Sha’uwl had to do at this meeting to appear credible was to lie. And that is what he did best.
Having been in their position in business, where information was sketchy and incomplete, and where the participants are naturally prone to give every party the benefit of the doubt, the strategy deployed by the Disciples is obvious. They would never disavow the Torah because it would put them in direct opposition to God. But they didn’t know enough about Pauline Doctrine to categorically state that it was entirely wrong. So victimized by Paul’s misleading testimony, the last thing they wanted was to form a conclusion that would place them in direct opposition to the many thousands, and soon millions, who found Paul’s preaching to their liking. So they deployed a tactic called “the art of emphasis.” The Disciples told the truth as clearly as they knew it, but they did not confront the lies because they were unaware of the vast majority of them. And yet as a result, those unwilling to carefully scrutinize Paul’s letters, systematically comparing his testimony to Yahowah’s, were left to wonder who was telling the truth.
While the art of emphasis may be an effective marketing strategy, it isn’t remotely appropriate in association with God. So I recommend Yahowah’s approach, which is to be clear, consistent, uncompromising, and blunt, while offering as complete an explanation as can be compiled, no matter how many words that requires. Yada Yah is long because of this approach, as is An Introduction to God.
We do not have an answer to every question, and there are many things that we are still learning, but there are some things that can be known. First among them is that we cannot go wrong when we convey Yahowah’s Word accurately, or when we advocate and condemn those things which He advocates and condemns. Yahowah has asked that we circumcise our sons as our sign that we want to be part of His Covenant. And He has told us that we should observe His Towrah and listen to Him. That’s good enough for me.
Based upon Yahowah’s Word, unity with Yahowah is essential, while unity among men is only advisable when those men and women share a common and accurate understanding of the Towrah and its Covenant. In fact, God would prefer that we distance ourselves from the thinking, approach, and institutions of men. Therefore, the Disciples may have erred when they wrote:
“...it occurred (edozen – a derivative of dokei, presumed and supposed) to us (emin) to come to exist (ginomai) with one purpose or passion (homothymadon – common accord emotionally and temperamentally, being similarly angry; from homou, together, and thumos, expressing passion), having ourselves selected a spokesmen (eklegomai andras – choosing men among ourselves to speak out, from lego, to speak and affirm and ek out) to send (pempo – dispatching messengers with the Word) to (pros) you (emas) with (syn) the dear (tois agapetos – the beloved; from agapao – speaking of persons who have been welcomed, even entertained) of us (emon), Barnabas and also Paulo (Barnaba kai Paulo).” (Acts 15:25)
By using a derivative of dokei, Yahowsha’s Disciples were limited to their personal “opinions and suppositions” regarding the troubling message Paul had been conveying. They simply didn’t know enough to be certain. And as such, they could not have been speaking for God.
Homothymadon does not mean that “they were of one mind,” but instead that their “passions and desires were similar.” The Greek word for mind is dianoia, not thumos which addresses “strong emotions,” and in particular, “being angry.” It is also used to convey being “inflamed by sufficient wine to cause the drinker to be mad or kill himself.”
Further, the Disciples were hedging their bets by calling the spokesmen “eklegomai – ones who speaks out, proclaiming and affirming the Word.” When the context is God, the “legos – Word” is the “Torah and Prophets Psalms” in addition to, Yahowsha’, Himself.
Lastly, it is interesting that Barnabas’ name was listed first in this letter, suggesting that he, along with those the Disciples were dispatching, were “tois agapetos – the beloved.” With Paul being second, and following “kia – and also,” he was separated from the potentially endearing term. Elsewhere, it is always the other way around, with Paul receiving top billing. And in that light, it is telling that Barnabas and Paul would soon split up, with Barnabas disagreeing with Paul. Further, the root of agapetos, agapao, simply means that the Disciples “welcomed the man to their meeting and entertained his story.”
“Men (anthropos) having given over (paradidomi – having delivered and instructed; a compound of para, from, and didomi, to give) their (auton) souls (psyche – consciousnesses) for the sake of (hyper) the name (tou onoma) of the Upright One (tou ΚΥ), our Ma’aseyah (ΧΥ) Yahowsha’ (ΙΥ).” (Acts 15:26)
At this juncture, it is not clear whether Yahuwdah and Silas were being described or if this affirmation pertained to Barnabas and Paul. But, even if the identity of those being offered for the sake of Yahowsha’s name wasn’t quickly resolved by what comes next, unlike Paul and Barnabas, most of the Called Out in Yaruwshalaim knew Him personally. And Yahuwdah, in and of itself, is a testament to Yahowah’s name.
“Therefore (oun – wherefore and indeed) we have delegated, prepared, and sent the Apostles (apostello – we have equipped and dispatched for this particular purpose messengers conveying the Word), Yahuwdah (Ioudas – a transliteration of the Hebrew Yahuwdah meaning Related to Yah) and (kai) Silas (Silas), and (kai) through (dia) their (autous) speech (logos – word and statements) reporting and proclaiming the same message (apangello ta auta – announcing; from apo, separation and aggelos, message and messenger).” (Acts 15:27) Therefore, the ones referred to as Apostles, the ones who were prepared and equipped to speak on behalf of Yahowsha’ and His Disciples, the ones proclaiming the same message, were Yahuwdah and Silas, not Paulos or Barnabas.
Before you consider the next codicil, a word of caution is in order. Many people say that their thoughts are inspired by the Spirit. And some may be right some of the time. For example, the accurate revelations found in Yada Yah and An Introduction to God were inspired by either the Spirit or the Word, while all of the errors are a result of a flawed and inadequate implement processing their guidance. I am incapable of being a perfect conduit, and although vastly superior, so were the Disciples.
Unfortunately, the following statement is wrong. I base this conclusion not upon my standards, but instead upon Yahowah’s teaching, His guidance, and the instructions He established in the Torah. That which is in complete accord with the Torah is right, that which conflicts with the Torah is wrong, and that which cannot be affirmed or rejected based upon the Torah is suspect. By that standard, this is not true:
“For (gar) the Set-Apart (hagios – set apart for God’s purpose, dedicated and consecrated, separated from the profane and purifying; a Greek variation on the Hebrew qodesh – set apart) Spirit (ΠΝΑ – a Divine Placeholder representing the feminine ruwach – spirit from the Greek neuter noun pneuma) seemed to be of the opinion (dokei – supposed and presumed), and also (kai) to us (emin), nothing (medeis) more (pleion) of a burden or hardship (baros – of a weight or trouble, suffering or difficult duty) to be placed upon you (epitithemai emin – should you be subjected to) except (plen) these (toeton), the indispensable requirements (ton epanagkes – things which are absolutely essential and necessary): ” (Acts 15:28)
Before we pass final judgment, please consider the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear’s presentation: “It thought for to the spirit the holy and to us nothing more to be set on to you burden except these the necessary.” Beyond more accurately rendering “thought” and “holy,” the reason that the word order differs in these presentations of Acts is that, in addition to translating the meaning of the words from Greek to English, I’ve also tried to transition from Greek to English grammar, where in English subjects precede verbs and nouns follow adjectives.
To begin, the “ruwach – Spirit” of Yahowah is not “holy” nor is She “neuter.” Few things are as essential to understanding Yahowah’s nature and approach than the realization of what it means to be “qodesh – set apart,” and that in a family such as the Covenant, a Father and Mother are required for children to live and grow.
Because the “Ruwach Qodesh – Set-Apart Spirit” is a part of Yahowah, set apart from Him to serve us, She does not “dokei – presume or suppose” anything. She is devoid of “opinions.” As part of God, set apart from Him, the Set-Apart Spirit has complete access to all pertinent information and Her judgment is impeccable. In Greek, you would say that She “epiginosko – has evaluated all of the evidence and has come to know and understand without any hint of uncertainty.” So to suggest that the Set-Apart Spirit “seemed to be of the opinion,” regarding Yahowah’s message generally, and the Torah specifically, is to say that they either didn’t receive Her directions or they didn’t process them appropriately.
Baros, in the accusative case, translated “of a burden or hardship,” speaks of something which is “a tremendous weight or a difficult duty which leads to suffering and sorrow and is oppressive.” Its inclusion in this translation of the Disciples’ letter strongly suggests that this report is fraudulent. While there are five requirements which have to be known, understood, accepted, and acted upon to engage in the Covenant, and thus to be saved by the benefits of the Covenant, these are not “difficult duties,” but are instead easy, and rather than being “oppressive” and leading to “suffering and sorrow,” they are not only liberating, nothing is more rewarding or enjoyable than being adopted into our Heavenly Father’s Family. Not one of the five requirements is a “burden.” They are not a “hardship.” This burdensome view of Yahowah, His Towrah, and His Covenant is Pauline.
While I would encourage you to read the Covenant chapter of An Introduction to God (free at www.IntroToGod.org) for a complete and contextual presentation of the Covenant’s requirements and benefits in Yahowah’s own words, suffice it to say for now, the conditions are as follows: 1) Walk away from your country, including all things Babylon which means disassociating from religion and politics. 2) Come to trust and rely upon Yahowah instead, which means that you will have to come to know Him and understand what He is offering. 3) Walk to God to become perfect, a path which is laid out by Yahowah and a result which is facilitated by Yahowsha’ via the seven Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with God. 4) Closely examine and carefully consider the family-oriented Covenant relationship, so that once you understand its provisions you can respond to God’s offer. And 5) Parents should demonstrate their acceptance of the Covenant and their willingness to raise their children to become God’s children by circumcising their sons.
The benefits of doing these five things are: 1) The Covenant’s children become immortal on Passover. 2) The Covenant’s children become perfect from God’s perspective on Un-Yeasted Bread, their flaws no longer seen or known. 3) The Covenant’s children are adopted into God’s Family on FirstFruits, inheriting everything Yahowah has to offer. Then 4 & 5) The Covenant’s children are enriched with God’s teaching and empowered by God’s Spirit on Seven Sabbaths.
If you’re wondering, it’s true. Yahowah, through Yahowsha’ and the Set-Apart Spirit, enabled each of these benefits by fulfilling the promises He had made regarding the Covenant in succession, on the precise days of these Mow’ed Miqra’ey, in year 4000 Yah (33 CE on our pagan calendars). And it is in this way that we come to the Father through Yahowsha’.
As for the rest of the Towrah, once you embrace these extraordinarily rewarding requirements, the benefits are entirely liberating. There are no other requirements, no burdens, no hurdles, no difficult duties. At this point, like Dowd / David, a person is able to sin without eternal consequence. Ignoring the rest of Yahowah’s guidance is inadvisable and counterproductive, but as Dowd reveals, a child of the Covenant remains righteous and vindicated, immortal and enriched, not because he or she obeys every rule, but because Yahowah honors His promises.
In this light, it is interesting to note, there is no Hebrew word for “obey.” And as you now know, Towrah means “teaching, guidance, direction, and instruction,” not “law.” So the whole notion of “baros – difficult duties and oppressive burdens” is wholly inconsistent with God’s approach to life.
The intent of the Torah is to free us from “oppression,” which is why Yahowah engaged to free His children from slavery. Its purpose is to remove our “burdens” by way of the Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with God. Properly observed, the Torah liberates us from “suffering and sorrow” by bringing us into a familial covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father. Yahowah says as much in the Towrah:
“Indeed (ky), you should consistently and genuinely listen to (shama’) the voice (ba qowl) of Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym), to approach by (la) diligently observing, closely examining, and carefully considering (shamar) His terms and conditions (mitswah – His authorized directions and instructions regarding His Covenant contract) and (wa) His inscribed prescriptions for living (chuqah – His engraved advice regarding being cut into the relationship) in this specific (ba ha zeh) written scroll (cepher – written document) of the Towrah (ha Towrah – the teaching and direction, the instruction and guidance) if (ky) you want to actually and eternally return (shuwb – you want to be genuinely and always restored, forever changing your attitude, direction, and thinking) to (‘el) Yahowah ( ), your God (‘elohym), with all of your heart (ba kol leb) and with all of your soul (wa ba kol nepesh). Indeed (ky), these (ha ze’th) terms and conditions (mitswah – authorized instructions regarding the covenant contract) which relationally and beneficially (‘asher) I am (‘anky) instructing you (tsawah – directing and guiding you by sharing with you) this day (ha yowm) are not difficult or challenging (lo’ pala’ – are not hard, troublesome, or a burden). This is not beyond your reach (hw’ min wa lo’ rachowq).” (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 30:10-11)
If circumcision was a “considerable hardship causing great suffering and sorrow,” then it would have been barbaric for Yahowah to ask parents to do this on behalf of their sons eight days after they are born. As for adult circumcision, all that is required is the removal of a small amount of skin. And if we are unwilling to do this, what does it say about our appreciation for the sacrifice Yahowah made on our behalf, where most of His skin was ripped from His body by metal-studded Roman flagellum, where He suffered excruciating pain by being nailed to the upright pole, and where He endured the separation of His soul from God, allowing Himself to be tortured in She’owl on our behalf?
Said another way, Yahowsha’ is the Torah made flesh, and His Way is easy, because He does all of the hard work, performing the heavy lifting, carrying away our burdens, so that we can walk with Him to approach the Father.
The use of “plen – except” in this context, infers by way of translation that the Disciples were saying that the items on the following list were “baros – tremendous burdens.” And also, that these represented the only “epanagkes – indispensible requirements” of the Torah—neither of which is accurate.
The totality of the list was then comprised of: “ to stay away from (apechomai – to separate and keep a distance from, thereby avoiding and abstaining from) sacrificial meats (eidolothyton – animal flesh offered to pagan idols), and (kai) blood (haima), and (kai) strangled (pniktos – choked to death and suffocated as part of a bloodless religious ritual), and (kai) sexual immorality (porneia – fornication, prostitution, or illegal intercourse), from (ek) which (hos) avoiding (diatereo – keeping or abstaining from) yourselves (eautous) beneficial (eu – healthy and prosperous, good and correct) you do (prasso – you practice, carry out, and accomplish). Farewell (rhonnymai – goodbye, be strong, healthy, and prosperous).’” (Acts 15:29)
As a summation of the Torah, this is inaccurate, grossly inappropriate, and stunningly deficient. Moreover, it is wholly inconsistent with Yahowsha’s statements recorded in Mattanyah 5 through 7 from His Instruction on the Mount. Furthermore, not one of these edicts was sufficiently important to make an appearance in the Ten Statements Yahowah etched in stone. So since this wasn’t God’s list, whose do you suppose it might have been?
Eidolothyton is a compound of eidolon, meaning “images and likenesses,” and thuo, which conveys the idea of “sacrificial slaughter.” It is but a subset of the earlier admonition in Acts 15:20, from which the Gentiles were asked to “stay away from condemned (alisgema – religious rituals and impure) idols and false gods (eidolon).” This diminishment in scope, and distancing of the message from the Second Statement Yahowah etched in stone, is interesting because apart from the addition of “porneia – sexual immorality,” the rest of the list was identical with Ya’aqob’s previous declaration.
Diatereo, rendered “avoid,” is most often translated “continually and carefully keep.” It is from dia, “through,” and tereo, “to observe and attend to, to guard and to keep.” The author of this text first used diatereo in Luke 2:51, where Yahowsha’ returned to Nazareth with his parents and “was subordinate to them. And His mother always ‘remembered and treasured (diatereo – kept and preserved)’ these words in her heart.” So there is considerable room for confusion here.
However, it is true, albeit an afterthought: according to the Torah we should not consume things offered as a sacrifice to a god or goddess. We find this instruction in Shemowth / Names / Exodus 34:12-15, where Yahowah asks us to avoid any association with any religious activity. But as you read though this, please notice that it was Sha’uwl who established and boldly proclaimed a new covenant in association with the inhabitants of the nations he claimed as his own. It became a trap, ensnaring those who came to favor the alters and religious shrines that grew out of his letters – especially his association with the Graces. And Sha’uwl’s religious pronouncements were always focused on an additional and very different god, one whose name was unassociated with Yahowah.
“To approach you should be observant (shamar la – to come near closely examine and carefully consider [Yahowah’s “tsawah – instructions and directions” which was the focus of the 11th verse]) lest (pen) you cut a covenant (karat beryth – you establish a familial relationship) in association with the inhabitants of the land (la yashab ha ‘erets) which beneficially (‘asher) you are coming upon (‘atah bow’ ‘al), so that it does not (pen) become (hayah – exist as) the onset of a snare in your midst (la mowqesh ba qereb). (34:12)
But rather accordingly (ky ‘eth), their altars (mizbeah – their construction of places where gifts and sacrifices are offered during rituals to their deities) you should choose to actually and consistently tear down and shatter (nathats – you should elect to demolish) and with regard to (ba ‘eth) their religious pillars and sacred memorials (matsebah), you should, of your own volition, destroy (shabar). And with regard to his association with ‘Asherah (ba ‘eth ‘Asherah – merciful blessings; the name of the Babylonian and Canaanite goddess of good fortune and merriment (this goddess is the equivalent of the Greek “Charis – Charities” and Roman “Gratia – Graces,” from whom the Christian Gospel of Grace was named and derived)), you should choose to actually and continually sever, cut off, and uproot (karat – banish). (34:13)
Indeed (ky – because) you should not act in such a way that you continually speak (lo’ chawah – you should not make pronouncements with a verbal display of words explaining about or worshipping) with regard to another different god (la ‘el ‘acher – to approach an additional ‘El, the chief deity of the Canaanites whereby “ha Ba’al – the Lord” was the son and nemesis of “‘El – god,” something remarkably similar to the “Christian Lord Jesus” replacing Yahowah’s Towrah with his Gospel of Grace), because (ky) Yahowah ( ), His name (shem – He is known as), is jealous regarding exclusivity in the relationship (qana’ – pertains to zeal, passion, and devotion). He is (huw’) a zealous, passionate, and devoted (qana’ – jealous regarding relational exclusivity) God (‘el). (34:14)
You should not ever make (pen karat – you should not cut, create, or establish) a covenant (beryth – a family-oriented relationship or marriage vow) to approach or with regard to the inhabitants of the land (la yashab ha ‘erets) and (wa) follow after (‘achar) their prostitution to solicitation on behalf of (zanah – their disloyal and adulterous acts designed to profit by offering favors to) their gods (‘elohym).
And (wa) they elect to actually offer a sacrifice (zabach) to approach their gods (la ‘elohym), and he will choose to make an announcement to you (wa qara’ la – then he will elect to summon you, he will of his own volition call out to you with his proclamation, he will ask you to read and recite his calling, inviting you to meet with and welcome him with regard to you accepting his appointment and calling) and (wa) you decide to actually partake in and consume (‘akal – you elect to eat, feed upon, imbibe, and ingest) as part of (min – by means of and because of) his sacrificial offering (zebah – his propitiation or expiation as an act of worship toward a deity).” (Shemowth / Names / Exodus 34:12-15)
It is telling, of course, that in light of what we know, it’s hard not to see Sha’uwl cast as the adversary throughout this presentation. He did everything God has asked us to avoid. He even claimed to have, himself, made a sufficient sacrifice to save believers. Moreover, in 1st Corinthians 8, Paulos not only rejects the Disciple’s letter, renouncing it, but in addition, refutes God. Listen to this duplicitous man renounce knowledge as he preys on the unsuspecting while contradicting himself...
“Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know, but if any one loves god, he is known by him. Therefore, concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no god but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is one god, the father from whom are all things, and we for him. However not all men have this knowledge, but some being accustomed to the idol until now eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to god, we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow becomes a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you who has knowledge dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble.” (1 Corinthians 8:1-13 as presented in the New American Standard Bible)
For those who value consistency, Paul consistently contradicts himself, the Disciples, Yahowsha’, and Yahowah. And his rhetoric continues to be irrational, and perhaps insane. So rather than devote more time to correct all of the errant statements found throughout this diatribe, since the point was to show that Paul was being duplicitous with regard to food sacrificed to idols, let’s move on.
Noting that the first “burden” was only indirectly valid, and totally irrelevant apart from religion, the admonition not to drink blood is legitimate. The Torah asks us not to consume blood in Bare’syth / In the Beginning / Genesis 9:4, Qara’ / Called Out / Leviticus 3:17 and 17:12-4, as well as in Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 12:16 and 23. However, these five statements pale by comparison to the many times Yahowah speaks to us about when and why we are to eat unleavened bread in celebration of Pesach and Matsah, and none of that was even mentioned. Doing one is sickening, while ignoring the other is deadly.
Particularly troubling, is that there is absolutely no instruction from Yahowah in the Torah regarding animals which are strangled. This edict comes instead from Rabbinic Law. Kashrut, the Jewish dietary rules pertaining to how an animal is to be slaughtered for consumption, requires that the jugular artery in the neck be slit while the animal is still alive so that the heart pumps the majority of blood out prior to butchering. While the Torah instructs us not to drink blood, there are much more humane, practical, and effective ways to drain blood from a carcass. So, by including “strangling” in the short list of four things to be avoided, this horrendously shortchanges the Torah, while at the same time endorsing Rabbinical Law (which Yahowsha’ condemned). Further, if Gentiles took this list to be a summation of the essential elements of the Torah, they would enrich Rabbis, as the only place they could purchase meat and be assured that an animal wasn’t strangled was from a Kosher Jewish butcher with a Rabbinical endorsement.
The heart of the Towrah’s story is the Covenant, and yet not one of its codicils nor its sign were mentioned. At the heart of the Towrah, we find Yahowah’s Ten Statements, yet not one of them found their way into this list. Nothing was said about Yahowah, His Word, His Name, His Teaching, His Covenant, His Instructions, His Invitations, or His Way – and those represent the seven things which are the most important to God.
Qara’ / Called Out / Leviticus sits in the middle of the Towrah, and yet not one of the seven Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with God delineated therein was described as essential—even though they provide the lone path to God, the means to the Covenant, and the method of salvation. Not even the Great Instruction: “to love Yahowah, your God, with all of your mind, soul, and might” was found among the “indispensible requirements.” So to say this list of four items (one of which was based in Rabbinical Law) “was inspired by the Spirit” is to demean God and His Spirit.
If this list is accurate, and I suspect that it is not, in trying to compromise with Paul, the Apostles became like Paul: Oblivious. This wasn’t worth the papyrus it was written on.
Pathetic as it was, the letter was sent and read, first in Antioch and then in the other places Paul had been. The audiences cheered, we are told. And we learn that Yahuwdah and Silas shared their “lengthy message” with the Called-Out Assemblies, but not a word of what they conveyed was recorded for our benefit.
It was then just four sentences later that a new rift emerged, this one between Paul and his traveling companion, Barnabas.
“But now (de), there emerged (ginomai – came to be) an intense argument (paroxysmos – a severe disagreement leading to exasperation). As a result (hoste), they separated from one another and parted company (apochorizomai autous apo allelon – they definitely severed their relationship with each other).
And so (ton te) Barnabas (Barnaban), having brought along with him (paralambano) Mark (Markos – the Latin surname used for the Hebrew man who was named Yahowchanan to distinguish him from the Disciple; Yahowchanan Markos became Shim’own’s translator and compiled the historical portrait of Yahowsha’s life that now bears his name (Mark) based upon Shim’own’s personal eyewitness testimony and recollections), sailed (ekpleo) to Cyprus (eis Kypros). (15:39)
But (de) Paulos (Paulos – of Latin origin meaning Lowly and Little), having chosen the name (epilegomai), Silas (Silas – of Latin origin meaning Woody), went away (exerchomai – literally: out of existence), having been given over to (paradidomi – having been betrayed and handed over to the authority of) the Grace (te Chariti – the Greek goddesses of favors, merriment, and licentiousness known as the Gratia, or Graces in Roman mythology) of the Lord (tou kurios – the Master who owns, possesses, and controls, the title God uses in reference to Satan) by the brothers (hupo ton adelphon).” (Acts 15:39-40) They had chosen sides, different sides. And they would tell an entirely different story about entirely different gods – one real, the other His adversary.
Then, in the oddest twist of irony and with a large dash of twisted humor, Paulos, after having chosen “Woody,” circumcised Timothy, the next Greek man who desired him.
“This one (touton) wanted and desired (thelo – enjoyed and took pleasure in, consented to and wanted to have, was inclined to and ready for, aiming at) the Lowly and Little (o Paulos – the insignificant and tiny in Latin), together with him (oun auto) coming out (exerchomai).
And so (kai) he having grasp hold (lambano) circumcised him (peritemno auton) on behalf of (dia) the Yahuwdym (Ioudaious – an inaccurate transliteration of Yahuwdym, meaning Related to Yah, errantly called “Jews” today), the ones being in the places (tous ontas en tois topos) those had known (ekeinois edeisan – the ones having awareness), for (gar) entirely (hapas – all) that (oti) Greek (Hellen) the father (o pater) of him (autou) was existing (hyparcho – identically belonged to).” (Acts 16:3)
Make of that what you will, but I got a chuckle out of it, especially in the beginning. I suspect Luke did as well. You just can’t make stuff like this up.
The Apostolic Council was over. And in its wake, Paul’s letter to the Galatians was crafted as his rebuttal so that he could more easily establish and promote the precepts of Pauline Doctrine. This is the best explanation of why Paul so vociferously detailed his credentials and background, why he referenced and misrepresented what was said during the meeting, why he spoke so derogatorily of the Disciples, especially Shim’own and Ya’aqob (the two men who spoke against him), and why he focused his epistle on discrediting the Torah and disparaging circumcision.
As a result, we can now discard Galatians, Corinthians, Thessalonians, and Romans recognizing that much if not most of what Sha’uwl wrote in them is unreliable. And with regard to Paul’s other letters, when he affirms something which is written in the Torah, rely on the Torah. When Paul contradicts the Torah, ignore him. And when Paul waxes poetic on a subject not covered in the Torah, be careful.