Answer for yourself: Have you personally investigated Paul's doctrine of salvation as contained in the New Testament as to its origin?
Answer for yourself: Are you aware that Paul's ideas concerning salvation and atonement are totally foreign to Biblical Judaism and cannot be traced to Sinai, the Law, the Prophets, or even to Yeshua's teachings?
Probably not! If you are like me since childhood I would read the New Testament and believe unquestioningly all that I read there. "For after all, it is in the Bible isn't it?" For years I rested secure that since such was in the New Testament nothing could be in error. I never knew the origin for such beliefs and was continually reassured when reading the New Testament since I was told it was "inspired and God breathed". Then I went to Seminary and all the while there I was never informed that such doctrines of salvation as espoused by Paul found their origins in anti-semitic Gnosticism and Pagan Mystery Religions. Somehow I never felt the need to investigate the origin for the salvation beliefs as taught in the New Testament. Being a typical zealous Christian at that time in my life I also had only a cursory familiarity with the Old Testament. For after all I was a New Testament Christian. Not being an authority in Old Testament studies, I "assumed" that the New Testament was the Old Testament "fulfilled" for after all that is what I was taught.
Follow graduation and beginning my Pastorate I continued to use the skills I learned in Seminary to advance my knowledge of God. Over time in my pursuits for more knowledge of the God I loved I ran into many things that "challenged" my Protestant religious belief system. Wanting to justify myself before God as well as my conscience I used such "challenges" to provoke me to do further research into these areas to prove my beliefs in what the New Testament avowed was correct. The rest is history. Over the last twenty years much of my "religious belief system" as based upon New Testament passages has been shattered by undeniable facts and demonstrable evidence to the contrary. I had spent the majority of my life believing "lies" in place of "truth". I was ashamed and appalled because I had not searched out this before. But finally realized that it was grace of God that allowed me to see these things because for years I never knew we had such problems within the New Testament let alone with Paul's doctrine of salvation.
I hope to demonstrate to you beyond any shadow of doubt on these next pages that Paul's doctrine of "salvation" to which the vast majority of Christianity ascribes has its origin in Gentile gnosticism and Pagan Mystery Religions and has almost nothing in common with Yeshua's teachings or Biblical Judaism.
If you have the courage to read these articles then you will see for yourself that most of what Paul teaches concerning his doctrine of salvation originated with Gnosticism and the Pagan Mystery Religions of his day and has very little to do with Biblical Judaism and the faith held by Yeshua when he lived.
If you are honest most will say no I have not researched the origin of Paul's doctrine of salvation as to its origin. Most of you are where I was at years ago .one who read and accepted the New Testament without questioning anything that Paul said. One customarily, if he is a Christian, reads the New Testament unquestioningly. Most accept all that is said there by faith; for after all it is contained in a leather bound book called The Holy Bible. Few know the Old Testament well enough to spot the divergences of doctrine as contained in the New Testament. Let us never forget our God is the God who changes not. Simply if you find salvation doctrines in the New Testament which contradicts what the God of Israel taught in the Old Testament you should be on alert and investigate the differences as well as their origins in the New Testament. As I said before few know the Old Testament well enough when reading the New Testament that such contradictions and conflicts stand out in their reading. We gloss over them with abandon never realizing that we have a land mind in the text. It is to these people I appeal to share with them necessary information in these areas which their study or lack of has failed to reveal.
But let us never forget Yeshua, for the Christian, is his model. It is Yeshua the Christian is to imitate and not Paul if Paul opposed Yeshua and what he taught. Again, if you knew the Old Testament of your Bibles well enough with the corresponding background and origin of doctrines you read in the New Testament, and can hold these in balance long enough to contrast and compare them, then you could see more easily of what I speak. As a Christian you look to Yeshua and not Paul as your Savior dont you? Then if you do, then let us examine the message of Paul that most Christians trust for their salvation and let us see if Paul's doctrine of salvation can be found in the Biblical Judaism of Yeshua or if we have to look to pagan anti-semitic Gnosticism and Pagan Mystery Religions for such doctrines. The answers which will come from such scrutiny of Pauline doctrine will be possibly the most startling and alarming thing you ever discovered. Besides unsettling your Spirit it will hopefully bring your heart and head to repentance as you reevaluate your position before God in light of the information and knowledge you receive. It is time to humble ourselves and return to the faith of Yeshua which went into all the world whereby the true salvation message of God is again preached to every living creature.
In presenting this information my total desire is to inform you of the truth behind the Pauline doctrines within the New Testament. Understand that the Apostles and the Jerusalem Church had problems with Paul for good reasons. There were reasons men from James would follow him and try to undo what he was teaching to the non-Jews in his many journeys. Let us be wise enough to understand that labeling such men from James and the Jerusalem Church as judaizers is nothing more than a ploy by the opposite camp who wished not to be in subjection to the Torah and the Commandments of God.
Now get ready .Paul and his salvation message as you have never understood it before awaits your scrutiny. It is my hopes that this will awaken the Church to the true Gospel of Yeshua before it is too late.
The question of whether, or how far, Paul was influenced by the mystery religions has been much debated. The History-of Religions school of scholarship, including Richard Reitzenstein, Wilhelm Boussetand Rudolf Bultmann, were struck by similarities between Paul's doctrine of salvation and that of the mystery religions, and felt constrained to see an influence on Paul from this Hellenistic source.
But I want to be fair. Their view, however, has come under attack from many angles by Christians not willing to admit to the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Paul's doctrine, it was argued by ardent Christians, despite superficial similarities, differed fundamentally from that of the mystery religions. Some would even go so are to say that such elements of similarity that existed could have arisen from influence in the other direction: mystery religions might be influenced by Christianity. This very scenario was what I wanted to believe myself when "stumbling" onto this information. But in all fairness it can easily be proven that long before, even thousands of years before the advent of Christianity in the first century C.E. there existed such doctrines among pagan religions which would be "borrowed" by Paul for his doctrine of salvation. I will prove it to you in the following pages (http://paganizingfaithofyeshua.netfirms.com).
Again some Christian thinkers have argued that the doctrine of a dying-and-resurrected God could not be proved to have existed in mystery religion until after the advent of Christianity. To these I would recommend they study harder and read more accurately into the subjects they comment upon for such statements I have seen to be utterly false. There is no way when one honestly examines the evidence that such a scenario can be maintained. They are simply wrong. A good encyclopedia Britannica is an easy place to begin to prove such Christian arguments wrong.
Another line of argument from the Christian camp is that Paul's whole doctrine could be sufficiently explained as deriving from Jewish sources, though it was admitted that the latter might have been influenced by Hellenism. Thus even elements in Paul's thinking that came ultimately from Hellenism did not prove any immediate Hellenistic influence on Paul, and did not cast doubt on his account of himself as coming from a strictly Pharisee background.
Let us begin by considering the latter claim.
Answer for yourself: Can Paul's doctrine of salvation be derived from Jewish sources, either by way of direct derivation or of logical development, or is it something entirely new and unprecedented in relation to Judaism?
Answer for yourself: If Paul's doctrine of salvation was "entirely new and unprecedented in relation to Judaism" then was Paul's doctrine entirely his own creation, or were there non-Jewish, influences at work in it?
In order to answer the above questions let us summarize Paul's doctrine of salvation to make sure everyone fully understands what it entails
Paul's doctrine of salvation may be summarized as follows. Mankind is in the grip of sin and Satan. This sorry state of affairs cannot be broken by any moral effort on the part of man, since his moral nature is too weak. Consequently, mankind is doomed to everlasting punishment. God, however, in his mercy, has provided a way of release by sending his divine Son into the world to suffer a cruel death, which atones for mankind's sin. By accepting this death with faith and thankfulness, mankind can mystically share in it and also share in the resurrection and immortality of the Son of God. Those who do not have faith in this concept and do not accept this doctrine, and persist in thinking that they can escape condemnation by their own moral efforts (guided by the Torah) are doomed to eternal damnation.
The myth contains the following elements:
Answer for yourself: Which of the above elements in Paul's doctrine of salvation are to be found in the Judaism of Paul's time or before?
Before we proceed with the next article I want you to use the above listing as a quiz. Test yourself at this point in your study. Answer the above question and keep the answer handy and compare it with what you learn as you continue to study these articles. I won't tell you now but we will deal in the forthcoming articles on each of these issues in depth. I know that many will believe at first all of the above are contained in the Old Testament and Biblical Judaism. If that is correct then you will have to also agree that Yeshua would have believed the same. But if it can be proven that the above are foreign to Biblical Judaism then it stands to reason that a Rabbi and expected Messiah would not adhere or agree with such Gentile pagan beliefs. Let us continue our investigation in the next article.