I want you to know that I consider the information in this series of articles possibly the most important "religious knowledge" that a Christian can posses. If you have a love in your heart for the Jesus of the Bible then you desperately need to know what is contained in these following articles. Having grown up in church like most, the information which follows was not given to me by my Pastor or my Church. It was not given to me by my Seminary either. Being like most Christians, I read few book dealing with religion before going to Seminary. Why should I? I was assured I had the truth when others did not Sunday after Sunday by my Pastor and my denomination. As if that was not enough the television had multiple channels filled with the same propaganda. I was so content at that point in my life. After an experience with God in my life where I was called into ministry and later attended Seminary, I encountered many things in my religious studies which just did not add up and contradicted what I was led to believe about Paul before my religious studies began. Too many times the professors did not have the answers. I was told to "have faith", that is all I needed. But there was a small problem. Facts should never contradict my faith, rather they should reinforce my faith not destroy it. Through the years of diligent study I found that too often the facts discovered in my study and research too often did just that; what I was learning too often exposed what I had believed "by faith" to be anything but true. Having always been an inquisitive person I set about procuring the answers for these problems in my Christian study. That was almost 18 years ago when I started out my quest for God and His truth. When in Seminary I was on "their track" so to speak and had little time for such investigation until I had graduated. After graduation I devoted time, while Pastoring, to gathering the answers for the problems and questions which remained after graduation. To say the least I was never prepared for what I found. The results of my studies in these areas led me to uncover one of the the greatest deceptions ever in the history of mankind, and it involved the characterization and presentation of the Paul of the New Testament.
The Jesus/Yeshua of the New Testament is far from the real Yeshua of history. In other words we have a false Yeshua of which we read and hear preached from the pulpits of our churches today. Few know the truth, and cannot even hope to unless they go beyond their New Testaments to find facts and truths about the real Historical Jesus/Yeshua. But part of finding the "truth" about the Jesus/Yeshua of the New Testament involves finding the "truth" about Paul as well because, as you have seen if you read the articles contrasting their "messages," the Paul of the New Testament often contradicts what Jesus teaches (the message of Eternal life for example). I challenge you to listen to what I have to say, but believe nothing. I only hope to arouse you to your own study whereby you can prove to yourself what I say is truth. Take the challenge because what I write angers you, troubles you, intrigues you, or brings doubt to your minds. But by all means take the challenge. If you can separate your emotional response to defend what you have heard preached which you have accepted your whole life by "faith only," then there is hope for your instruction in truth concerning the real Historical Yeshua.
Don't believe me but please see it for yourself.
In a nutshell what I found upon my study over the years, and which these articles will prove, is that Yeshua as well as his immediate disciples, James and Peter were lifelong adherents of Pharisaic Judaism. They never wanted to create a new religion. Paul, however, was not, as he claimed, a native-born Jew of Pharisee upbringing, in fact he was a Sadducee before trying to become a Pharisee. I found to my satisfaction that it was Paul alone who created a new religion through his vision of Yeshua as a divine Savior who died to save humanity. This concept goes far beyond the messianic claims of Yeshua or messianic claims of the Jewish Scriptures, in fact this concept that is so foreign to Moses, the Torah, the Prophets, & the writings as taken from the Jewish Scriptures and not the Greek translation of them, is to be found in the multitude of religious writings for the sun-worshipping Gentile nation (http://paganizingfaithofyeshua.netfirms.com). Unknown to me at the time, and to the vast majority of Christians unfamiliar with the material, is that Paul's religious belief system was an amalgamation of ideas derived from Hellenistic religion, especially from Gnosticism and the mystery cults which had their origin in Egyptian religion. Having had time now to study for myself these pagan religions and mystery cults, the combination of pagan and Biblical ideas is obvious, even to a blind man. As a typical Christian you just have not heard of this yet for yourself. I found that the accepted Christian view that Yeshua was the incarnation of God and that his crucifixion was for the salvation of mankind creative fiction which was recorded by neo-pagans who held such beliefs and recorded them in documents which would later be revered as "Holy Scripture" by the masses under their authority. The Jewish people could not accept such a paganized concept of their Messiah and they still cannot. It is mainly these Gentile followers of this New Testament Jesus, who are basically totally ignorant of Biblical Judaism, who fall for this paganized message of this non-Jewish Messiah of the New Testament Scriptures (http://bennoah1.freewebsites.com). Christians believe that Paul taught the truth about Jesus and what Paul believed was what Yeshua believed as well. This is possibly the greatest mistake a man can make other than failing to believe in and love our Creator. As a Christian we have been taught and assume that Paul taught the truth about Yeshua and that "Paul's gospel" was the same as Yeshua's gospel." Nothing again could be further from the truth. Being indoctrinated as we have as Christians and followers of Jesus because of the Pauline New Testament (his letters were written first and influenced all writings concerning Jesus that would follow) we basically assume that what Paul taught was Yeshua's own teaching and that of his disciples, led by Peter and James, who worked together to establish Christianity as a world religion. Such is far from the truth. The truth is that Paul, a Gentile convert, was finally disowned by the Jerusalem church and the followers of Yeshua because of his religious ideas that he taught to others; both Jews and non-Jews.
Acts 21:21 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou (Paul) teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. (KJV)
Paul's undermining of Biblical Judaism could no longer be tolerated by the Jerusalem Church in light of Yeshua's Great Commission. The Gentile world was to come to the knowledge of the God of the Jews and their place within the Israel of God; not be taught to break from it and create their own religion that would persecute the mother faith and replace it.
Answer for yourself: Who is to blame for this grave injustice and false teaching that has created such a horrible mess, let alone been responsible for the untold deaths of the Jewish people throughout recorded history because of this erroneous teaching?
This I understand comes as a shock to most Christians who are unfamiliar with the sources which testify to such happenings. But these facts have for too long been buried in dusty books long unread by the Christian Church and it is time I cry to the rooftops the truth too long buried.
In the Synoptic Gospels, Yeshua speaks and acts as a Pharisee, though the Gospel editors have attempted to conceal this by representing him as opposing Pharisaism even when his sayings were most in accordance with Pharisee teaching. If the reader had a working knowledge of Biblical Judaism then when reading the New Testament he could see though this deception which can be found all they way through the New Testament. The reason most Christians read these conflicts with Pharisees and believe them is that they lack fundament knowledge of the Pharisees and their belief system. If one possessed such basic knowledge of Judaism, you could see right through the conflicts for what they are .narratives contrived to pit Yeshua as opposed to the religion of his day and the religion of his day, Biblical Judaism, against him. This was a literary necessity if one was to give license to Yeshua to promote and sanction the creation of a new religion. If one examines the evidence for himself, he will see that Paul, whom the New Testament wishes to portray as having been a trained Pharisee, never was one. The consequences of this for the understanding of early Christianity are immense.
Much evidence exists, especially in the writings of Josephus, Epiphanius and Eusebius will will prove my point. We will examine it later in the following articles. Let me state right up front that the statements of Josephus, Epiphanius, and Eusebius must be weighed in relation to their particular interests and bias because they are very evident. But when such bias has been identified and discounted, there remains a residue of valuable information which will prove my points. Exactly the same applies to the New Testament itself. Its information is often distorted by the bias of the author or editor, but a knowledge of the nature of this bias makes possible the emergence of the true shape of events.
In considering the background of Paul, we will look at sources which most Christians have never heard of before. We must look to one of the earliest accounts of Paul in existence, that given by the Ebionites, as reported by Epiphanius. Epiphanius is a Church historian and his writing are very telling. Epiphanius' account of the Ebionites has been neglected by too many for too long. In fact I discovered it quite accidentally when reading about the Ebionites. Robert Graves and Joshua Podro in The Nazarene Gospel Restored did take Epiphanius' Ebionite account seriously; but, though they made some cogent remarks about it, their treatment of the matter was brief. I hope that these articles will do more to alter the prevailing dismissive attitude towards the evidence of this fascinating and important ancient community.
So as we conclude this short introduction let us understand beyond any doubt according to Acts 21:21 that the James and the Jerusalem church had a problem with Paul. It is to this issue we must now turn to discover the hidden Problem of Paul in the writings of the New Testament.