We saw in earlier articles that the Ebionites record that Paul's rejection by the High Priest from marrying his daughter was one of the many reasons why Paul would turn his back upon Judaism. Whether or not the tale of Paul and the High Priest's daughter is a fiction created by Paul's adversaries among the Jewish Christians, Paul did experience rejection of his precepts by Jews; in particular the Jerusalem Church and James. His response was to turn his back on them and seek a more fertile field in which to sow his ideas.
Paul contributed greatly to a synthesis of Judaism and Hellenism and thus the creation of Gentile Christianity. With his infusion of ideas from the mystery religions and mythology, along with a perfusion of Gnostic religious ideas, Paul found himself at odds with the leaders of the Jerusalem Council. Paul spoke to the Gentiles in their own language, literally and figuratively. He preserved familiar pagan beliefs and removed all the "stumbling blocks" or difficulties of Judaism. In Gentile Christianity (the type of Christianity which Paul laid the foundation) the convert no longer had to fulfill the deeds and acts incumbent on him as imposed by God as stipulations of his Covenant. These "stipulations" were called "Laws" and the Gentiles as well as the Jews had their very own specific laws pertaining to each's particular Covenant with God. For Paul faith in "his gospel" and "his personal vision on the Damascus road" replaced the Torah. Belief in Yeshua's salvific death, resurrection, and divinity (as patterned after dying sun-godmen which the Gentiles already worshiped) guaranteed entrance into heaven and life everlasting according to Paul's ("my") gospel. If one would like to see the details on how the Gentiles evolved their concepts of their dying sun-godmen then we at Bet Emet have provided a website that details the steps in this sun-worship synthesis which were the backbone of all Gentile false worship in one way or the other: http://paganizingfaithofyeshua. netfirms.com. The demands of the Law for specific observances and behavior in personal, family, and social file, as were required by God in the Gentile's Covenant with God were revoked by Paul. When Paul's Galatian followers took him too literally and engaged in incest, the Apostle to the Gentiles backtracked and admonished them to refrain from such behavior, which is forbidden in the laws of the Torah. One must understand the "times" of the first century to understand Paul as confusion exists when one fails to discern which "laws" were commanded by God and which were "optional" but expected by God. Paul's whole letter to the Galatians was an attempt to stop imposing "mandatory" circumcision upon the non-Jew for Jewish acceptance in the Israel of God and this was noteworthy; however God expected the Jew and Gentile to be "one" and that would mean the voluntary submission to other commandments by the Gentile in order that the Jew and Gentile could "fellowship" together. For example, the Sabbath was given to the Jew only but God has said in Isa. 56 that He approves of the Gentile who "chooses those things that please Me and takes hold of My Sabbaths." In such a manner for example the non-Jew was "EXPECTED" to go beyond the minimum and take upon himself personally more than the Laws of Noah (minimum) and in so doing aid in the fusion of the Jew and Gentile becoming "one" in the Israel of God. Such inconveniences as refraining from work on the Sabbath, undergoing circumcision, or abstaining from certain foods, were abolished by Paul in his "evolutionary" religious synthesis following his continued rejection by the Jerusalem Church.
An even more serious obstacle was removed: Judaism's pure, uncompromising monotheism which tolerated no other deity. The Pauline nature of God which included the perceptions of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, was a concession to the polytheism of the Gentile converts. Paul referred to Yeshua as "Lord" or "the Lord Yeshua" which are adjectives of divinity. Incarnation, also a pagan concept, was as familiar to Paul as to his proselytes but yet totally foreign to Judaism. Judaism insists that a person is responsible for his own behavior and no one else's sacrificial death can exonerate him of his sins. Paul introduced into Christianity the idea of a sacrificing god who absolves a wrongdoer and brings salvation by means of the sinner's faith, not because of any effort or behavioral change on his part. Again this is totally foreign to Judaism but when Isa. 53 was altered in it's translations over the years such ideas were "read" into the texts and today it is rare for a Christian to know and read the "original" Isaiah before it was "Christianized."
Consequently, the split grew between Judaism and Christianity. The one demanded observance of ethics and morality according to God's given Law and the other required a faith in Yeshua that superseded the Law. The one offered salvation through deeds, the other, the grace of God through faith. "The Law ... is the strongest element of contention between Judaism and Christianity, for its existence spells the negation of Christianity and its abrogation, the negation of Judaism." For Jews, performing good deeds does not exclude their belief in God. It is not an "either-or" situation. Observance of the Law for many Jews and Gentile believers is rooted in their faith in God. The paradox of Paul's assertion that he was a Jew was his denial of, and attack on, what Judaism holds most precious: the Torah.
This does not mean that keeping all 613 laws in the Torah is incumbent on all people. Paul did not have to found a new religion for Gentiles who sought salvation without accepting the whole Torah. Gentiles who could not or did not want to observe such laws as circumcision, dietary restrictions, ritual cleanliness, Sabbath and festival observances, and other regulations and ceremonies, could still be considered morally upright. Again "culturally" this might impose problems for Jews and Gentiles fellowshipping together but again was voluntary in God's eyes but againIsa. 56 gives clear indication what God desires the non-Jew do in such situations. In the Jewish tradition non-Jews are subject to the Seven Noachic Laws (categories) or Natural Law (consisting of 66 sub-laws). They are prohibitions against blasphemy, idolatry, theft, murder, incest, and eating flesh torn from a living animal and the requirement to establish courts of justice. Better understood these 7 Laws of Noah are "categories" containing 66 separate Laws which are the non-Jews' Covenant Stipulations whereby he can obtain and maintain right standing with God. By observing these laws the righteous of all nations have a share in the world-to-come. This is the Jewish way of saying heaven, an expression which most approximates the Christian concept of salvation. Thus Judaism, the religion of Yeshua, does not restrict salvation to its believers or followers of the Torah. People do not have to embrace Judaism to be deemed virtuous on this earth and worthy of the next world. Christianity, however, as a result of Paul's influence, has led many of it's adherents to the conviction that salvation is limited to those who believe in Paul's vision and personal understanding of Yeshua's resurrection, messiahship, and divinity. Of course, this view is not shared by all Christians today, especially, not by those espousing liberal views of their religion. Of course this goes double for the Jews who know how their precious Jewish Scriptures were corrupted by the Essenes and concepts of sun-worship were written into them only later to be applied to others; in particular Jesus. Anyone wanting to know this important deviation from Biblical Judaism and the corruption of the Jewish Scriptures need only to read in detail the information provided by this ministry at: http://firstname.lastname@example.org
As for the laws from which Paul had "freed" the people, Christians soon realized how important they are for the functioning of an orderly, ethical society. They also recognized the need or desire in people to observe rituals and ceremonies. From early on, Church leaders introduced laws which were both detailed and voluminous. They dealt with the organization of the Church and clergy, with rites and customs, and with matters of divinity and God's relation to people. Thus, Pauline Christianity ironically incorporated from the bosom of Torah laws into ecclesiastical canon.
Paul's roots and upbringing (remember he was a Gentile convert) made him familiar with the thinking and mentality of the people among whom he proselytized. He was intimately acquainted with their prejudices, fears, and hopes and knew how to appeal to them. He seemed to know more about them than he did about his fellow-Pharisees and their faith and feelings.
Answer for yourself: That is strange don't you think?
Among the Nazarenes in the Jerusalem Church he was an outsider. Not having been one of Yeshua's original disciples or a member of his family, Paul did not belong to the "old-boy network."
Beyond the borders of Judea the world had many more Gentiles than Jews. It has been estimated that Jews constituted ten per cent of the population of the Roman Empire. Together with Gentiles sympathetic to Judaism, the extent of Jewish influence may have reached twenty per cent. Even with these numbers, the Hellenistic world held many more possibilities for Paul than the Jews did. More significantly, having come from that background, Paul was familiar with the people who lived in the Roman Hellenistic world of Greece and Asia Minor. He could identify with them and their beliefs and they could find in him a kindred spirit. Outside of Judea he was released from the constraints and dominance of a long established religion and its strictly monotheistic adherents. He was free to give vent to his imagination and creativity. He could formulate a new religion blending familiar and dearly-held ideas of the Gentiles with some monotheistic concepts which he could add for freshness and inspiration.
Although Paul claimed in one of his letters (2 Cor. 10), that some of his rivals criticized his rhetorical skills, he undoubtedly was blessed with great oratorical talent and power of persuasion which made him a formidable opponent in religious disputes. In that same letter and chapter he spoke of demolishing arguments against his beliefs. The Apostle's organizational ability is amply demonstrated by his having developed a new religion complete with infrastructure and followers.
Paul's constant travels and references to cities he had been to and planned to visit testify to his enormous energy. He was undaunted by the hazards of transportation in his time, and seems to have had no more hesitation or apprehension about undertaking an intercontinental journey than a jet traveler of today.
Paul's political acuity kept him safe from the even greater dangers of running afoul of the Roman authorities as he traversed the empire. Eventually, he did get into trouble with the Roman civil authorities who seized, questioned, and killed him because his success with Gentiles became a threat to them. But this did not happen before he had spread his message for a quarter of a century and laid down a firm foundation for the dissemination of his faith. Prior to his imprisonment, Paul managed to direct the religion he adopted so that it and he stayed on the right side of power. To accomplish his purpose, he used every artifice of diplomacy, not excluding expediency and duplicity. He told us this about himself in his first Epistle to the Corinthians:
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I become like a few, to win the Jews. To those under the law I become like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I become like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I become weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men...(1 Cor. 9:19-22).
Paul's aptitude for political maneuvering, however, came to the fore in his dealings with the Jerusalem Council, the central authority for the followers of Yeshua. In his letter to the Galatians Paul related that he delayed three years before going to Jerusalem to meet Peter and James, the leaders of the Council and Nazarene Church. On the surface it might seem strange that an apostle in the new faith would remain aloof from his co-religionists. Ostensibly, they were working toward the same objectives and were facing similar problems. It could be expected that Paul, as the new man on the job, would seek out the older members for support and advice. Instead he chose to work alone or with one or two apostles of his choosing whom he could influence and dominate. Paul was veering off on his own and setting up a new cult. He knew that his doctrines of faith and repudiation of the Torah for his converts were opposed by the men in Jerusalem. Paul did not want any interference or hindrance in building a base for his ideology. Nor did he wish to be subservient to the authorities in Judea or anywhere else. He wanted to be at the helm and in command.
Only when Paul had established his own missions in Asia Minor did he appear in Jerusalem; and then he came for a brief two weeks. He was less than forthright about the religious beliefs he was imparting to his converts. After that visit, Paul avoided Jerusalem and the Nazarene leadership for the next fourteen years. Only after he had a large following did he confront the leaders of the Jerusalem Council again. He came with two apostles, one of whom was a Gentile, Titus who, he said, was not compelled to be circumcised. Paul had returned to Jerusalem in triumph. He had proven himself a powerful adversary. He had established many churches according to his doctrines and had numerous converts. We are led to believe that he was received by the pillars of the Jerusalem Church as an equal which is highly doubted by those who know the dynamics at work between Paul and the Jerusalem church. We are again led to believe that he said that they gave him "the right hand of fellowship," which meant that they realized his power, accomplishments, and authority; they could not impose their religious ideas on him. We are again led to believe again that Paul faced them down on issues on which they differed and he was given a free hand to spread his ideas of Christianity among the Gentiles. Let us never forget that "winners" write the history and we only have to look at Roman dominance after the destruction of the Ebionite believers in the fourth century to know how the New Testament was slanted for a pro-Paul and pro-Roman bias. Paul's imprisonment and execution by the Romans left the field wide open to the Jerusalem Church to spread its Jewish Christian doctrines. This continued until the outbreak of war in 66 C.E. which annihilated the ranks of the Nazarenes, as it did the Essenes. The Nazarenes fled to Perea in Trans-Jordan. The movement survived in weakened form until the fifth century. Sadly, the original followers of Yeshua, once considered as Orthodoxy, was now considered heretical by both Jews (Pharisees and Rabbinical Judaism) and Gentile Christians. Most of its members eventually joined Pauline Christianity.
The Nazarene leaders in Jerusalem sent evangelists to Egypt and Rome. They were either less active or less effective in the Gentile world than Paul for his brand of Christianity became dominant.
Perhaps Paul's most outstanding characteristic was his driving ambition which fueled his other attributes. This overwhelming urge for achievement and success, combined with his skills, talents, and stamina made him invincible. Paul gave us an insight into his ambition and competitiveness in one of his letters. Explaining his background prior to his acceptance of Yeshua in his Epistle to the Galatians, Paul wrote, "I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age..." What a strange way to speak of a sacred calling like religion, especially by a man who has been considered a model of devoutness. Paul sounds more like a modern-day "Yuppie" discussing his profession or business. He put everything he had into it: his strength, his time, and his considerable talents. Like most successful people, Paul neither spared himself nor hesitated to use any means to achieve his goals. Even though his opponents in the Nazarene movement had the advantage of a direct link with Yeshua and a clear monotheistic message, Paul prevailed. His successors built a religious empire on his philosophy. His legacy lives on. If you have been diligent to study the materials provided by this ministry on this website then you the legacy of Paul: the purposeful corruption of the Jewish Bible, the Bible Jesus used, in order to spread and give falser support to pagan religious ideas as if they had been God ordained. If you have been faithful to read them then you have noticed but in the prior articles the hundreds of purposeful mistranslations and twistings of the Jewish Scriptures by the Roman Church. This whole website is devoted to examining and understanding Paul's legacy. Let us study to show ourselves approved before God. Shalom.