The central issues of Paul's letter to the Romans were how to become a member of God's new people and how to maintain membership in it. At least that is what he started out to do with his Galatian's letter which was no more than his treatise on the Covenant of Noah and the non-Jew's exemption within this Covenant of the requirement of circumcision. Circumcision was being required of the Gentile by the Jews due to their hatred of the Gentile and this enforced procedure outside of their Covenant was an effective deterrent in keeping the Gentiles apart from the Israel of God. Paul was originally going to set the matter correct. However we see over the life-time of this man an evolution of his beliefs where he will reject the totality of the Torah for both Jews and non-Jews.
Answer for yourself: Before we begin were you aware that the vast majority of Romans, chapter 9-11, were not in the First New Testament in 150 A.D.?
Answer for yourself: What does that say about Pauline authorship of these very anti-Semitic passages?
Marcion, himself strongly anti-Semitic and a Paulinist, is responsible for collecting and producing the first New Testament containing ten of the Pauline writings.
Answer for yourself: Marcion, Being such a "Pauline" disciple, then what reason could there have been for Marcion's rejection of these chapters which were written by Paul as seen by their complete absence from Marcion's collection of Paul's letters?
As you can see this is a sticky issue. The "theology" within Romans 9-11 was definitely not written by an apostle or even Paul for that matter. However, most scholars admit today that the writer of these chapters continues in the Pauline vein of thinking and expresses the further evolution of Paul's ideas in these texts. That being the case and since our Bibles have these chapters under the heading of Pauline authorship then I will address the matter as if Paul is the writer for our purposes in this article
Coupled with this "theological evolution" of Paul's rejection of the Torah (Law and Covenant requirements) we see the rejection of the Jewish people as the Israel of God and with their rejection of Paul's religious thesis in its ultimate form we find the abundance of literature surfacing, some by Paul and others who carry on his ideas, that seem to cast the whole of Israel as the "rejected" of God for not accepting Paul's unique Gospel. This is born out by the fact that missing from the First New Testament collected by Marcion in 150 A.D. are such passages we have today that include Rom. 9:1-33, 10:5-11:32 and all of chapters 15 and 16:26. I find it rather amusing that these three chapters, Rom. 9-11, the vast majority which were not in the New Testament, until after 150 A.D. and most likely written by Irenaeus in 200 A.D., begin with "I lie not." All of chapter 9 did not appear until the Second New Testament appeared with Irenaeus in 180 C.E. The whole treatise of chapter 9 that ends with the "cornerstone" becoming for this Pauline writer a "stumbling stone" because of the rejection of the Jews of Paul's "gospel of righteousness apart from the Torah." As if that was not enough we again have the purposeful misquotations in v. 33 where we are mistakenly informed that the Scripture says to "believe on him shall not be ashamed" when it says differently in Isa 28:16 16 from which we are told to believe is a quote:
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (KJV)
Belief was to be in God and His Torah for that is the "foundation stone" of Isaiah 28 and not Jesus as Paul or this Pauline writer would have you believe. As if that was not enough we find that not only is all of chapter 9 of Romans missing until 180 A.D. but only 5 verses existed in Marcion's pro-Pauline New Testament from chapter 10 through chapter 11:32. This means only 8 verses existed from all of Romans 9-11 in 150 A.D. Let us not forget Marcion was rich and nothing could have stood in his way from collecting all of the known Pauline corpus of writings and being pro-Pauline and anti-Torah these verses from our now existing Rom. 9-11 would have been exceptional verses for Marcion to use in his rejection of Judaism and the Torah. For the thinking believer who is familiar with any of the anti-Semitism that crafted the foundation of the New Testament the only conclusion available is that the lack of their presence in the First New Testament is due to their not being in existence then. We have here the continual writing of anti-Jewish propaganda by the non-Jews and the passing it off under the name of apostolic authority. This is by far not the only example of the continual alteration of not only the oral traditions but written records by the non-Jewish Church. But be not mistaken.....this is nothing more than the elaboration of the Pauline religious thesis.
Answer for yourself: What was Paul's religious thesis?
Paul alleged that God's promises to the prophets were realized with Jesus, that Gentile Christians were heirs to the covenant God made with Abraham, that Israel's possession of the Law had not made them more obedient or better than Gentiles, and that no one is justified before God on "legal performance." Furthermore, Paul's religious thesis continues, Israel's rejection of Jesus had paradoxically given Gentiles a chance to enter the covenant. He stressed that the worship of God was spiritual, not physical, as with burnt offerings at the Temple, and that Jesus was a human sacrifice for the expiation of the sins of his believers (Rom. 5:6, 8; 1 Cor. 5:7, 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Thes. 5:10).
If the Epistle to the Romans has affected Christian theology more than any other book, then it may also be said that Chapters 9 to 11 of the letter have been among the most influential passages in Christian literature. In them Paul, or the Pauline writer, consolidated his credo which included, at its core, mixed feelings and messages with regard to Judaism and it's adherents. To some Christians, much of the New Testament's anti-Judaism reached its culmination in Rom. 9-11. Other Christians have read a less adverse view of Jews in these crucial chapters. In his inimitable way, E.P. Sanders summed up the ambiguity as follows: "All the scholarly labor that has been spent on Paul's attitude to the law has resulted in no consensus....We know what law Paul was talking about. Yet the search for what he "really meant" goes on (E.P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People, p. 3).
As regards Paul's "real" message, let us listen to what a few students of his teachings have heard. This is the conclusion which the Catholic theologian, Gregory Baum, drew about Rom. 9-11:
"All attempts of Christian theologians to derive a more positive conclusion from Paul's teachings in Romans 9-11 (and I have done this as much as others) are grounded in wishful thinking. What Paul and the entire Christian tradition taught is unmistakably negative" (Gregory Baum, Introduction to Faith and Fratricide, p. 6).
Here is the view of another scholar, Gunther Bornkamm, whose opinion is:
"That the Jews in Rom. 9-11 are Paul's opponents and that the epistle is 'throughout polemical against Jews and their understanding of salvation'" (Gunther Bornkamm, Paul, as quoted in K. Stendahl, ibid., p. 132).
There is a virtual unanimity among scholars on the impact Paul's writings have had on Christians. As Stendahl has said:
"Christian use of Scripture, and not the least of the Pauline epistles, caused developments of Satanic dimensions" (K. Stendahl, op. cit., p. 126).
John Gager said in the same vein:
"Put simply the most thoroughgoing and systematic repudiation of Judaism in early Christianity was articulated under the banner of Pauline authority" (John Gager, The Origins of Anti-Semitism, p. 175).
Unfortunately, this repudiation was not confined to early Christianity but is prevalent to this day. The reason is not hard to find. It is due to a widespread, shared understanding by most Christians, whether scholars, clergy, or laymen, of what Paul was saying.
The messages most Christians have registered in their reading of Romans 9 to 11 are:
Now understand that the above anti-Semitic ideas were not written by Paul but a pro-Paulinist around the years of 180 A.D. as these writings make their first appearance through Irenaeus and his response to Marcion's First New Testament...we now have a Second New Testament....Was Paul on life-supports to have written this?
The anti-Judaism by the Gentile Church is continually written and passed off as Scritpure....I wonder what YHVH thinks of this???
Numerous verses in these three chapters of Romans, as in the rest of the letter, (and in his other epistles) accord with Paul's antinomian (against the law) doctrine (Ephraim Urbach, op. cit., p. 670-671). Paul's charges contained one which Matthew (23:31) and Luke (11:47- 48) repeated, namely that Jews had killed their prophets. They carried this wickedness of old into their current behavior as they envied and begrudged Gentiles the salvation God had given them. Finally, Jews became "the enemies of the gospel," because they did not believe Paul's teachings. Paul went on, in a subsequent chapter, to cast Jews in the role of a menace. He asked his respondents to pray that he would be "rescued from the unbelievers in Judea" (15:30) thus implying that Jews posed a threat to his life.
It is not difficult to see how these vivid and ugly portrayals of Jews, traced to a man who was elevated to sainthood as well as others who carried on his tradition, created a feeling of hatred and revulsion in generations of his readers.
In Rom. 11:2-3 and 1 Thes. 2:15 (considered by some scholars as an interpolation (addition) several decades after his death) Paul quoted Elijah's complaint that Israel had killed God's prophets and had torn down His altars. So far as it goes, this is a true citation from 1 Kings 19:10,14. But there is more--much more--to the story which Paul did not tell. The Northern Kingdom of Israel at this period in Elijah's life was ruled by Ahab and his Phoenician wife, Jezebel (ca. 876- 855 B.C.E.). She completely dominated her husband, especially in religious matters. She had been a Sidonian princess and brought her pagan Baal worship into Israel when she wed Ahab. She had altars built to the heathen cult and installed priests of Baal to lead the idolatrous worship. She persecuted the prophets of Israel and ordered many slain when they protested against her immoral regime (Kings 18:4). She clashed with Elijah and threatened to kill him following a dramatic contest on Mount Carmel between him and her prophets of Baal. After Elijah proved the impotence of the pagan god, he had to flee from Israel into Judah to escape Jezebel's rage. It was at this moment, when the great prophet was in hiding, that he cried to God that Israel had killed His prophets. It happened in Israel; but the deed was done while Israel was under the domination of a ruthless Phoenician heathen who had instructed her foreign henchmen to pursue and murder the Hebrew prophets. The Israelites who defended their prophets and opposed Jezebel and her idolatry were also her victims. Eventually, Ahab was killed in battle and Jezebel was executed by the Israelites.
In the history of Israel, prophecy lasted from Samuel to Malachi, a period of about 600 years. During that time there was not a single well-known prophet who was killed including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve Minor Prophets, Nathan, Elijah and Elisha. All were forthright and boldly outspoken, expressing views which clashed sharply with the popular mentality or with those in power. Yet, in all of those six centuries the Bible recounts only one case of murder of a prophet under the auspices of Jewish rule. Jer. 26:20-23 relates that King Yehoyakim of Judah (607-597) killed Uriah, an otherwise unknown prophet, for his prophecy. This record hardly warrants the portrayal of Jews as prophet-killers, a picture the New Testament repeatedly drew in the Gospels and Epistles.
Paul or a pro-Pauline writer claimed that salvation was given to the Gentiles because of Israel's transgression in order "to make Israel envious"! Nothing is said about the worthiness of the Gentiles or their lack of transgression.
It is understood from many teachings in the Old Testament that God is just, and that being so, then you should have a hard time reconciling the above premise as stated by Paul; namely, that God saves the Gentiles in order to make a nation envious. This is utter nonsense. It is a known fact that God judges mankind according to their Covenant with Him and how they lived according to their Covenant stipulations. The Gentiles are basically under the Adamic, Edenic, and Noahide Covenants. Within these the non-Jews find their responsibilities toward God as well as their privileges and blessings. This is a fact that Paul should have known if he was a "Pharisee of Pharisees" since this was basic "Bible 101" to any Pharisee. Yet the writer of these "Pro-Pauline" passages in Romans 9-11 writes as if the Gentiles, up to that time, were without relationship with God or without Salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth than this perverted premise. But this is not the only problem. Paul would have us believe that God all of a sudden created Salvation for the non-Jews in order to make the Jew's jealous.
Answer for yourself: Where is the Godliness in this, the fairness no less? What about the non-Jews who died before Paul and Jesus...were they without a way to God?
The writer of Romans 9-11 would have the Gentile readers of this epistle believe such a thing as if they were without God and simply that was not the case. These Gentiles, not familiar with Judaism, would not necessary know this for themselves but anyone familiar with Judaism knows this basic fact that God had always extended Salvation to mankind and it did not begin with Jesus or Paul. But the problem with this Pauline ideas goes even deeper.
Answer for yourself: If Person A sins (the Jews) does that automatically make Person B (the Gentiles) deserving of reward?
This Pauline statement is simply stupid and goes against every teaching on righteousness in the Old Testament!
Perhaps Person B (the Gentiles) sinned also, or sinned even more than Person A (the Jews..and this is understood since they lived without codification of the Laws of God to the extend possessed by the Jews) and neither merits salvation. The apostle's words seem to express the attitude of a man who wants "to show" people who, he felt, rejected him that he has surpassed them. This "idea" is what I have been sharing with the readers of this website since the beginning. What better way than to elevate "his Gentiles" over "those Jews" and arouse their envy.
Answer for yourself: But is this "perversion of the teachings of the Old Testament" a theology, or an adolescent nonsense?
Among Paul's or a pro-Paulinist writer's more baffling passages in Romans, verses 11:30-32 stand out. Here they are:
Just as you (Gentiles) who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their (Jews) disobedience (30), so they too, as a result of God's mercy to you, have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy (31). For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all (32).
This is possibly the most convoluted backward reasoning that mankind has ever devised and we can lay it at the feet of Paul. In other words, for Paul the Jews' disobedience brought God's mercy to the Gentiles and the Gentile's disobedience would eventually obtain mercy for Jews. For Paul not obedience, but disobedience, would provide everybody with a reward from God. For Paul, furthermore, God has consigned all men to disobedience; they are forced into this state. This is a pessimistic view of God and a sad outlook on, and for, mankind. Paul's doctrine, that God acts on the basis of grace, hardly creates an incentive for good behavior. It would make more sense from an ethical standpoint to portray God as rewarding good behavior and punishing bad. Paul did not convey such a message here. He was so intent on refuting the value of the Law with its demands for good deeds that he sent confusing and paradoxical messages, viz.:
The more Paul assailed Jews, the more he reminded his audiences that he came from Jewish ancestry (Acts 23:6, 26:5; Gal. 2:15; Phil. 3:5; Rom. 9:3-4). As if it were necessary to offer proof in the face of a real or imagined challenge, he identified the specific tribe from which his forbears came. It was not enough for him to say simply that he was a Jew. He claimed descent from the tribe of Benjamin (in two of his epistles, Romans and Philippians) and in so doing, he overstated his case.
Two thousand years ago it would have been preposterous for a Jew to claim that he had exclusive descent, or could trace his descent, from any one tribe. It would be especially difficult with Benjamin because it was a small tribe and got absorbed into its large neighbor, Judah. There is an excellent chance that some progenitors of any Jew were from Benjamin (or Dan or Simeon). But a declaration that implied descent only from Benjamin--or even Judah--could not be taken seriously. For this to happen would require that a certain branch of a tribe remained isolated and never intermarried with members of other tribes--for over 1800 years. Not only did members of the tribes intermarry but after the exiles of Israel and Judah, tribal distinctions were lost. Since Judith had been the dominant and largest tribe, most people were affiliated with it and took its name as their identification, It would be impossible, after several hundred years, to trace one's ancestry to a specific tribal affiliation. If Paul were really a Jew, it is unlikely that he would have made such a fantastic claim. Nor is it likely that he would have called himself a "Hebrew of Hebrews" (Phil. 3:5) which expresses the superlative. Even the leading rabbis in the Sanhedrin and the academies did not arrogate to themselves such a title.
Paul's choice of Benjamin as his ancestral tribe may be related to: the name Saul, by which he was called in Acts by Luke before he went into the Greek world. King Saul, of course, came from the tribe or territory of Benjamin.
Answer for yourself: Now having been told the truth concerning the anti-Semitic pro-Paulinist religious ideas of Romans 9-11 that were not written until 180 C.E. with Irenaeus then should we possibly not rethink this whole matter of a "righteousness apart from the Torah?"