Was Paul of Tarsus really an Apostle or a Deranged Imposter?

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When I was a Freshman in college I took an Old Testament Class and New Testament Class. I learned very little from the teacher and the discussions in class. Most of what the teacher taught was, in my opinion, the same weak messages often heard in most churches/TV today. However, when reading the Old and New Testament I learned, in my opinion, quite a lot. When reading the New Testament I noticed in Paul’s letters that he would often say one thing in the chapters and books he wrote and turn around and say the complete opposite in another location. In other words I thought he often contradicted himself.

Am aware of Paul being referred to as an Apostle 22 times in the Bible and 20 of the 22 times he referred to himself as an Apostle and two times his travelling companion Luke referred to him as an Apostle. So, the 12 Apostles never one time called Paul an Apostle and neither did Jesus or anyone else. Paul sometimes said he was the greatest Apostle, at other times said he was the least Apostle and at other times said he was not deserving of being called an Apostle.

It was always my understanding that there were supposed to be only 12 Apostles. If Paul was an Apostle then he would be the 13th Apostle. It is also my understanding that the 12 Apostles were selected by Jesus except for the replacement of Judas and the other 11 Apostles selected Matthias to fill Judas’s position. Have heard that Jesus taught the 12 Apostles three and one half years but never met, much less taught Paul.

Have also noticed that Paul seems to teach a different Gospel/message than Jesus or the 12 Apostles. Some of Paul’s teachings clash with the teachings of Jesus and the 12 Apostles.

Went to Southern Baptist Churches when growing up and remember the ministers and sunday school teachers quoting Paul more than Jesus or the 12 Apostles. Would guess they quoted Paul 95% of the time. It seems strange to me that Paul would be quoted most of the time and leave Jesus and the 12 Apostles out of the discussion.

Another thing I have read about Paul is that he delivered Christians to be punished and imprisoned. Paul apparently hated Christians and wanted to destroy them and stop the Christian Movement. Stephen died at the feet of Paul and Paul was, as far as I know, in agreement with Stephen’s death. The details of what Paul did to cause Stephen’s death are not stated but at least this leaves Paul was an accessory to Stephen’s death. In the Old Testament it plainly says that when man sheds man’s blood then that person is to be stoned to death. It seems strange to me that Jesus would appoint or accept anyone to be His Apostle that was a murderer or an accessory to murder.

If I remember correctly the vision of the sheet coming down with unclean/gentiles was a vision given to Peter and not to Paul. Paul was not even mentioned when Peter had the vision. Paul may have been rounding up Christians at the time of Peter’s vision and having them put into prison or maybe even executing them. So, God first gave the go ahead to accept gentiles to Peter. Am sure everyone will be able to read their Bibles and verify this fact. Paul later claimed to be the one that had been given the authority to teach the gentiles. And, if you will read closely the 12 Apostles had very little to do with Paul. Even lots of the gentiles Paul supposedly took the gospel to also had lots of problems with Paul’s teaching. (“This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me.” 2Timothy 1:15)

Am seriously thinking some may have been reading the Bible with blinders covering their eyes. This would be a serious problem if some are reading and not paying much attention to what they are reading. The whole purpose of reading the Bible, in my opinion, is to be able to comprehend/understand it. 

I Am certainly not saying all of Paul’s teachings were incorrect. I am saying Paul often contridicted himself. If all of Paul’s teaching were out of line then am sure none of his books would have been included in the Bible but he put just enough truth for some to think he was correct in some of his teachings. On Paul’s incorrect teachings some just think they are not undersanding what he was teaching/saying and gloss over it amd gp on to somethng that he says that they can agree with. I often think of Paul as being like Judas.

Here is one of many issues that Jesus and Paul taught differently:

Jesus Says Only God Is Your Spiritual Father, and Call No Man on Earth Your Father, But Paul Says He Is The Corinthians’ Only Spiritual Father.

Jesus said: and ye may not call [any] your father on the earth, for one is your Father, who is in the heavens, (Matt. 23:9 YLT)

But Paul says:  For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. (1 Cor. 4:15, NLT)

Furthermore, Jesus’ likely primary point was He intended people to stop venerating Abraham, calling him “Father Abraham” in place of “Our Father” in heaven. Jesus makes this subtle point in a parable about one in hell who called out to “Father Abraham” in a prayer rather than to God Himself. (Luke 16:24.) In that light, then it is significant Paul violates Jesus’ words a second time when Paul refers to “Abraham is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16.) Only “Our Father” in heaven is the “father of us all.” To exalt Abraham to that level, Jesus intended us to understand, is idolatry – putting Abraham on the same level as God. Jesus wants to call no one father in that venerating sense. Paul invited such spiritual veneration of himself as the spiritual “father” of the Corinthians as well as for Abraham — all in contradiction to Christ’s words.)

. I am well aware that most churches have given Paul more credit for explaining the truths/concepts of the Bible than the 12 Apostles and Jesus combined. It seems that in some people’s minds Paul has been elevated to a bright shining star of the Bible and the others, the Prophets, 12 Apostles and Jesus, have been demoted to merely assistants.

Some are probably not going to be able to comprehend the problems with Paul’s teaching. If some have slowly read the Bible several times and not found any issues with Paul’s teaching then they will probably never see any disagreements/contradictions with what Paul wrote compared to what the 12 Apostles and Jesus wrote/taught. 

Here is another topic of disagreement between Jesus and Paul:

Jesus Says Not To Eat Meat Sacrificed to Idols, But Paul Says It Is Ok

Three times Jesus in the Book of Revelation condemns eating meat sacrificed to idols, even saying this is the doctrine of a false prophet. (Rev. 2:6, 14 (Ephesus); Rev. 2:14-15 (Pergamum); Revelation 2:20 (Thyatira).)

This absolute prescription also was set forth in James’ ruling at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:20. Then it is repeated when it was put in a letter. (Acts 15:29.) Finally, James reiterates this for a third and final time in Acts chapter 21. James tells Paul that many claim Paul is teaching lawless doctrine. So James reminds Paul what was the ruling at the Jerusalem Council. He tells Paul that previously “we wrote giving judgment that they [i.e., the Gentiles] should keep themselves from things sacrificed to idols….” (Acts 21:25.)

However, Paul clearly teaches three times that there is nothing wrong in itself eating meat sacrificed to idols. (Romans 14:21;1 Corinthians 8:4-13, and 1 Corinthians 10:19-29.) The first time Paul addresses the question of “eating meat sacrificed to idols,” Paul answers: “But food will not commend us to God; neither if we eat not….” (1 Cor. 8:8.) Paul then explained it is only necessary to abstain from eating such meat if you are around a “weaker” brother who thinks an idol is something. (1 Cor. 8:7, 8:10, 9:22.) Then, and only then, must you abstain. The reason is that then a brother might be emboldened to do something he thinks is sinful. The brother is weak for believing eating meat sacrificed to an idol is wrong. This is thus a sin for him to eat, even though you know it is not sinful to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Thus, even though you know better than your weaker brother that it is no sin to do so, it is better to abstain in his presence than cause him to sin against his weak conscience and be “destroyed.” (1 Cor. 8:11.)

As Wikipedia says:

A major controversy among Early Christians concerned whether it was permissible to eat meat that had been offered in pagan worship, see also Council of Jerusalem. Paul of Tarsus, who agreed to the Apostolic Decree, also wrote that it was permitted to do so, as long as a blessing was pronounced over it, and provided that scandal was not caused by it. (“Idolatry and Christianity,” Wikipedia.)
For more discussion, see Chapter Six of Jesus Words Only, available at this link to an html page.)

Here is another of the major contradictions by Paul of things Jesus taught:

Jesus Says The Law Continues, But Paul Says No

CAVEAT: The Law given Moses applicable to “foreigners/sojourners” (Gentiles) is a relatively small set of moral commands primarily from Leviticus, incorporating most of the Ten Commandments. So if the Law given Moses applies to Gentiles, it is not a burdensome list. Yet, we are still applying literally the Law, just as James did in Acts 15, by treating the term “foreigner/sojourners” versus “Israel” as literally as possible. This distinction perfectly explains why James said circumcision does not apply to Gentiles, i.e., Leviticus 12:1-3 only requires sons of “Israel” to be circumcised. See this webpage where we discuss this issue in more depth.

Jesus’s View on the Law. Jesus emphasized the validity of the Law up through the passing away of Heaven and Earth, thus confirming its inspiration and ongoing validity. In Matthew 5:17-19 we read:
(17) Think not that I came to destroy the Law [of Moses] or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. (18) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the Law, till all things be accomplished [i.e., all things predicted appear on the stage of history]. (19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (ASV)  Compare Luke 16:17 similarly says at a different time than the Sermon on the Mount — meaning Jesus repeated the same point twice:

” It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. (Luke 16:16-17 NIV.)

Thus, Jesus can never be accused of seducing any Christian from following the Law. Jesus cannot be a false prophet under Deuteronomy 13:5 (false prophet is anyone who has miracles and wonders but seduces you from following the Law). Jesus said the Law remained valid until the Heavens and Earth pass away. This passing of heaven and earth occurs at the end of the Millennium. This is 1000 years after Christ’s Second Coming, according to the Book of Revelation.

Paul’s View on the Law

Paul says the opposite.

Paul is blunt in Ephesians 2:15, Colossians 2:14, 2 Cor. 3:11-17, Romans 7:1-3 et seq, and Galatians 3:19 et seq. The Law is “abolished,” “done away with,” “nailed to a tree,” “has faded away,’ and was “only ordained by angels…who are no gods.” If we were to cite Paul’s condemnations of the Law in one string, the point is self-evident that Paul abrogated the Law for everyone. See Eph. 2:15 (“setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations”); Col. 2:14 (“having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross;”) 2 Cor. 3:14 (“old covenant”); Gal. 5:1 (“yoke of bondage”); Rom. 10:4 (“Christ is the end of the law”); 2 Cor. 3:7 (“law of death”); Gal. 5:1 (“entangles”); Col. 2:14-17 (“a shadow”); Rom. 3:27 (“law of works”); Rom. 4:15 (“works wrath”); 2 Cor. 3:9 (ministration of condemnation); Gal. 2:16 (“cannot justify”); Gal. 3:21 (cannot give life); Col. 2:14 (“wiped out” exaleipsas); Gal. 3:19, 4:8-9 (“given by angels…who are no gods [and are] weak and beggarly celestial beings/elements”).

Finally, in Romans 7:1-6, Paul claims when Jesus died, the husband died and this dissolved the Law’s bonds between the husband (God of Sinai) and wife (God’s people). This henceforth made the “law dead to us.” (Romans 7:4.) This death-of-God-the-husband released the Jews, Paul contends, and when Christ resurrected the bonds of marriage with the old God were not renewed. (The implication, we contend, was Paul meant a new God emerges or otherwise if the same husband-God resurrected, why wasn’t the bond to the Law renewed? Paulinists come near to admitting this is the only logical meaning while even confessing they are uncomfortable with the passage’s ‘seemingly’ polytheistic explanation… Uggh. On our thorough analysis of Romans 7:1-6, see our webpage discussion.)
For more discussion on Paul’s abrogation of the Law, see chapter five of Jesus Words Only excerpted at this link.

How do those devoted to every word from both Paul and Jesus resolve the contradiction? Here is a perfect example:

If [Jesus] is saying [in Matt 5:17 by saying He fulfilled the Law, and meant] he is the ‘end of the Law’ [as Paul taught in Romans 10:4], then why does he say in the next verse that the Law will never disappear? …There is something exasperating about trying to understand a verse like this….What the verse seems to say contradicts what we know from other verses in the New Testament. The truth is we cannot be expected to understand this verse.

This is the source of the above paragraphs:

http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/175-pauls-contradictions-of-jesus.html


Paul humbly (???) Boasts that he is the Greatest of the Apostles

Paul boasts that he was the greatest Apostle. This is a part of the article I recommended:

Paul, the greatest apostle!

Paul’s view of himself as an apostle didn’t stop at only claiming to be an apostle. He also did what he could to communicate to his followers that he topped them all. He even had the nerve to belittle the very apostles that Yahshua had called and trained for three and a half years to be his witnesses! Among this braggadocio’s self-flattering quotes are the following.

“For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles”. ….”As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia.” 2 Corinthians 11:5,10

Sometimes, as though he knew he should be ashamed of challenging the stature of Yahshua’s 12, he would preface his boast with a statement of unworthiness. No doubt he hoped people would embrace him as the greatest of apostles because he was so humble.

“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all…”. 1Corinthians 15:9,10

Aside from the fact that it was a lie to suggest the ministry had been split up between Jews and Gentiles …as though he had exclusive rights to the Gentiles and the 12 were to stay with the Jews…, Paul even had the gall to condescend specifically on Peter, James, and John when he belittled them to the Galatians.

“But from those who seemed to be something – whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man- for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas (Peter), and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” Galatians 2:6,7,9

This is nothing but an arrogant lie. A couple verses later, Paul takes another cheap-shot at Peter. With Peter nowhere around to defend himself, Paul brags to the Galatians how he had determined Peter was a hypocrite, and how he had put him down before the entire church of Antioch.

“But when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews played the hypocrite with him so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straight forward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “if you being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?” Galatians 2:11-14

Earlier, in Galatians 1:8,9, Paul commanded his followers to consider “accursed” anyone who preaches a different gospel than his. There is little doubt that Paul wanted the Galatians to think this way toward Peter, if not James, and John as well. It is obvious to anyone reading the book of Galatians that Paul was demanding the Galatian church follow no one but him, not even the original apostles back in Jerusalem.

Aside from Paul’s incredible arrogance, I also need to point out that Paul himself was the ultimate hypocrite for condemning Peter for accommodating Gentiles when he was around Gentiles and acting like a Jew around Jews. Here is what he claimed to do, and commanded the Corinthians to do as well.

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without the law as without law… that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1Corinthians 9:19-22

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 1Corinthians 10:31-33

When Paul says, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” we should do as he says… because in no way did he imitate Yahshua! Can anyone imagine Yahshua playing chameleon and saying anything like “I have become all things to all men” or “I please all men in all things”?

So here we have Paul, claiming to be greater than any other apostle, belittling Peter, James, and John by saying they only “seemed” to be pillars of the church, and that they “added nothing” to him. Then he brags about how he told off Peter… calling him a hypocrite, and he subtly curses the apostles by telling the Galatians to consider accursed anyone who differs with him. All this, while in fact, he was being the greatest hypocrite of all! The superstitious belief that Paul’s words are infallible is so thick that people can’t see the forest for all the trees that are in the way! If anyone else had even begun to do and say the things that Paul did, we would have recognized their incredible conceit and rejected them a long time ago. Here is something relevant that Solomon said.

“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2

(It seem like a child would be able to undersand it.) 

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus condemns Paul as a false Apostle!

Everyone needs to pay close attention to this. It puts the nail in the coffin as far as the importance ot what Paul taught and as to Paul claiming to be an Apostle. Here is another topic of the same article:

Paul and the Ephesians

Now, look at what was said to the church that we know Paul had been involved in… Ephesus. Among the things that Yahshua commended the Ephesian church for doing right, is this quote:

“I know your works, your labor, and your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.” Rev. 2:2

Yes. I have no doubts Yahshua was referring to Paul and his companions, and that his claim of apostleship, as well as his doctrine, were false! Hang in there and consider all the facts with me for a minute. Here are four of them… with the silver bullet coming shortly after.

1. Paul’s doctrine on the foreknowledge of God is not only groundless (because he had to abuse Scripture to support it), it is blasphemous,
because it outright accuses God of unrighteousness. (See previous chapters)
2. We have record of Paul claiming to be an apostle to the Ephesians.

“Paul, an apostle of Yahshua by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus,” Ephesians 1:1

3. We have no record of anyone else claiming to be an apostle to anyone anywhere, not even to the Ephesians.
4. Paul and his doctrine had troubles being accepted in Ephesus.

“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the way before the multitude…” Acts 19:8,9

Remember, this is recorded from Luke’s point of view and he believed Paul’s doctrine was “the Way”. Notice that those who rejected Paul are men of the synagogue and not atheists or pagans. If these men had stood up in front of the synagogue and said, “Paul’s doctrine is flawed. He is a false apostle, and a liar”, Luke would no doubt have seen this as “speaking evil of the Way”.

If these four reasons are not enough to seriously call into question Paul’s status as an apostle there is one more. It is a most interesting quote from Paul’s own pen that finally seals the fate of his supposed apostleship. It comes from his second letter to Timothy, written during the same Neronian persecution in which John was given the Revelation. This letter is believed by many scholars to contain the last recorded words of Paul. Here he makes a short statement of lament that seems to have gone unnoticed… the implications of which are devastating to Paul if one is able to hear everything that is being said. Paul makes this statement to Timothy.

“This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me.” 2Timothy 1:15

Asia! All of them! Rejecting Paul! And when he says, “This you know”, it sounds like this must have been relatively common knowledge at that time. Asia! The very place that Yahshua told John to write, where his seven churches were! And they were alive, and obviously had been established for some time. Paul did not say that Asia had rejected Yahshua. Obviously they hadn’t rejected Yahshua if there were thriving churches there that Yahshua wanted to address through John. Instead Paul said that all Asia had rejected him personally! This is also corroborated in the book of Acts where men from Asia accuse Paul of teaching against the Law, and bringing an Ephesian friend into the temple.

And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him. crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the Law, and this place: and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) Acts 21:27-29

Try to grasp the profound significance of all this. Here we have in the book of Revelation the words of Yahshua commending the Ephesian church for rejecting someone who claimed to be his apostle, while Paul is the only person other than the twelve original apostles to have claimed to be an apostle… and we know he has made this very claim to this same Ephesian church. At the same time, Paul laments himself of the fact that he has been rejected by them! How could it NOT be Paul and his associates that Yahshua had commended the Ephesian church for rejecting? Could it be much more obvious? Here are the facts, paraphrased, one more time.

Paul to the Ephesians: “I am an apostle of Yahshua”

The Ephesians to Paul: “No you’re not.”

Yahshua to the Ephesians: “Well done!”

This should at the very least raise serious question about Paul. When we add to this the remaining evidence against his doctrine, as well as the documented fact that he outright lied a number of times (as I will show in the next chapter), we have more than enough reason to do as the Ephesian church and convict Paul of the crime of false impersonation of an apostle!

Yahshua’s description of Paul in Revelation was that he was a false apostle, and a liar. Consider his following words.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Paul uses the pronouns, “I”, “my”, and “me” much more than any other author in the New Testament

This is another interesting point about Paul: “I wanna talk about me!”
No other epistle author in the Bible wrote like Paul. This would be true on a number of levels, but one aspect is of particular interest when we are considering how Paul views himself. He had a way of drawing attention to himself with his usage of personal pronouns. When it comes to how often he uses words like, “I”, “me”, “my”, or “mine”, the overall rate in his epistles is almost three times that of his next closest rival. There are a number of reasons why many scholars today believe Paul was not the author of the book of Hebrews. One obvious reason is, in the other epistles credited to him, Paul doesn’t hesitate to identify himself along with his supposed credentials. The author of Hebrews is strangely silent on these matters. Many scholars believe Barnabas was the author of Hebrews, but I think Apollos is a far better candidate… but that’s a different subject. The point is, no one knows for sure. But Paul certainly couldn’t be in the running as the author of Hebrews when one also considers the statistical rate of the personal pronoun usage. The author of Hebrews refers to himself only 9 times, which is approximately 1.3 personal pronouns per thousand words. To help put this in perspective, let’s compare the book of Hebrews to the book of Romans. They are both relatively large books of similar length, divided into 13 and 16 chapters respectively. Yet in only the first half of the first chapter of Romans, which is 16 verses worth, Paul uses twice as many personal pronouns as the author of Hebrews uses in his entire book! In the book of Romans, Paul refers to himself 103 times, which is rate of about 18.2 per thousand! That is 13x greater than Hebrews. In 1 Corinthians, Paul refers to himself 175 times, in 2Corinthians 103 times again, and in the relatively short book of Galatians, he refers to himself 69 times which is a rate of 25 personal pronouns per 1000 words!

It should be evident that Paul is at least as concerned with making a statement about himself as he is in communicating what he believes to be the truth about God.

(The above came from this article http://www.judaismvschristianity.com/paulthe.htm

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