4/2/2010 The Son of Man, exploring the Biblical concept
A Commentary on Immanuel
The Gospel of Truth
by Mel West
Fables and Endless Genealogies
When we review the writings and sayings of Paul we discover that he relies very little upon any Gospel accounts and tends to prefer ministering from the Old Testament, using as it were, his rendition of Salvation in Jesus based upon fulfillment of types and shadows in the Old Testament prophesies and accounts. Again, we have seen in Paul that the Old Testament is useless except in relation to its service as being types and shadows of Jesus. Now that Jesus is here, the New Gospel of Jesus is preached and nothing else can be above it or more important.
Reviewing Paul's Gospel we find little reference to significant points made in the synoptic Gospels. We are left, in fact, with the impression that Paul knew nothing of them. He, for instance, does not appreciate the significance of the Virgin Birth, nor is he preoccupied in justifying Jesus's Deity through John the Baptist's recognition of Him. Rather, what we are given is an account that Paul received His Testimony directly from Heaven, from Jesus, who is at the right hand of the Father. Paul's Gospel, then, is not dependent upon other points of view, and it quite effectively shows it.
In Timothy 1.4 there is this opinion expressed by Paul:
Timothy 1.4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
1.5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
1.6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
1.7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
1.8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
1.9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
The Law of Moses was made from the beginning to bring sinners into repentance. Since the Suffering Messiah was introduced in prophesy as a vehicle of Sin Atonement, does it follow, then, that the Suffering Messiah is Himself a means of bringing sinners to repentance? He is part of the Law. Just as the Sacrificial Lamb was, through the Law, a vehicle of Sin Atonement, so too is the Sacrificed Messiah. He becomes a substitute for that part of the Law. Extending this we can even say that the Sacrificed Messiah has the power to forgive sins. What determines sin? The Law. He, therefore, can forgive infractions against the Law. This Jesus did.
Timothy 1.10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
1.11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
What was Paul really speaking about, concerning the fables and endless genealogies?
It is apparent that Paul had some "gospel;" material with him; but it is not apparent just what that material is, except his gospel references tend to coincide with the precepts and scriptures of Matthew.
Apart from the few comments from Scripture we have mentioned above, Paul goes little beyond the basic teachings of Jesus concerning loving one another, being humble, etc.; and these teachings are so generic to Jesus that it is difficult to assign them to a specific "gospel" work or origin. It seems in fact that Paul taught from some teachings passed on to him from the time of his "conversion" to Christianity, and those teachings are rudimentary to say the least.
But he does mention a gospel or gospels, perhaps to be taken in the context of the source of his information and teachings:
Timothy II, 1.8: Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.
Timothy II. 2.8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.
2.11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
2.12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
2.16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2.17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
2.18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
2.14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
2.15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2.16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
3.11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
3.13 The cloke that I left at Toras with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
Titus 1.10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the Circumcision:
1.11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake,
1.14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
3.9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
3.10 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject;
3.23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus;
3.24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers.
Hebrews 7.14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
7.15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedek there ariseth another priest.
7.17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedek.
7.12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
7.22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
7.27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
8.7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8.9 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
8.9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
8.10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
8.13 In that he saith, A New Covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
9.24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands..
9.26...but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
When we examine the sayings of Paul it is evident that he is preoccupied with the establishment of a new gospel, as opposed to the gospels then prevalent. Those gospels, it appears from his comments, were probably versions of Matthew and Luke, since those two gospels are characterized as being based upon genealogies. And neither one agrees with the other. In one Joseph is born of Jacob and the other his father is Hilel. Scholars have attempted to explain this away, making Hilel Joseph's father-in-law, but this leaves plenty of room for further self-examination concerning the truth. For we do have other gospels, the Infancy Gospel of James, for instance, which controvert these hypotheses. This gospel remembers a considerable amount of detail concerning Mary's genealogy and names her father as a rich man from Nazareth whose name is Joachim. And Joachim was a son of David, according to the story. Mary's mother, Anna, also is believed to be a daughter of David, but in the story attributed here and the canonized gospels Mary is related to Elizabeth who is married to a priest who is a Levite. And Elizabeth herself is also a daughter of Aaron, making her cousin, Mary, part Levite. According to this Gospel, then, Jesus is part Levite and part of Judah. Zacharias and Elizabeth produce the voice in the wilderness called John the Baptist. We are led to believe, then, that both Mary and Elizabeth are daughters of David; yet, their relationship as cousins links between them the houses of Levi and Judah/David.
Mary's mother, Anna, must have also been a daughter of David, but we have no evidence to prove it. Now the Infancy Gospel of James had been created to counter claims that Jesus was not born a son of David; yet, it remembers very little concrete information concerning his grandmother's origin to prove it.
Another gospel, the Gospel of Nicodemus, of a man, Nicodemus, who was a member of the Sanhedrim, the council which convicted Jesus, and who was a secret disciple of Jesus by night, deals with Jesus's deity: i.e., being born of a Virgin with no father except God. That gospel gives a great deal of detail concerning the events leading up to the conviction and crucifixion of Jesus from a point of view inside the council. Though it contains much material which had to be interpolated perhaps in the second century, there is information in that gospel which does focus on events which are not clearly described in the canonized gospels. Again, the Gospel of Nicodemus was probably written to counter arguments against the then existent gospel accounts of Jesus, whatever those accounts, being at least genealogies and fables in Paul's mind, were.
Some gospel accounts border on the ridiculous. One such account shows Jesus as a mean and vengeful little child, turning his playmates into goats, etc. This gospel, and others like it, were written to account for what happened in Jesus's childhood. It is apparent from these gospels, and all others so far exhumed from the past, that no one knew anything about Jesus's childhood; only a few, in fact, realized that he and John the Baptist, who were cousins by their mothers' relationship, ought to have known each other long before their meeting on the Jordan river. This fact, along with many others, causes us to wonder what was going on in the minds of the disciples of both John and Jesus that they would not be interested in him sufficiently to inquire of him on a biographical nature. Of all the gospels written on Jesus, only one attempts to show, in fact, details on the nature of Jesus's personality. A writer of an apocryphal gospel complains that the voice Jesus used on one occasion was not hard and stern, as it usually was. From this we can deduce that Jesus was a hard and stern man with his disciples. The canonized gospels, on the other hand, remember only events and sayings and little in the personality of Jesus.
Now all but four gospels of the biblical heritage were thrown out of the Bible for lack of evidence to their authenticity to a particular Apostle or disciple who knew Jesus. The four that survived in the Bible barely made it on the grounds of authenticity themselves. Matthew, for instance, has always been the most revered book in the New Testament, but there is no certainty that Matthew wrote it. His name is mentioned early in the book, emphasizing his name in the book, but the book most assuredly rests itself upon anonymity.
The Gospel of Mark has the same problems. No one knows for sure who wrote it. By tradition, like that of Matthew, it is believed to have been composed by Mark. As to which Mark, there is utter confusion. Some say it was Mark (who was also called John): John — Mark, the son of the other Mary. But we know from Peter's epistle that Peter had a son named Mark; furthermore, we know that Clement, the third Bishop of Rome, succeeding Peter, even taught directly by Peter, connects Mark with possessing Peter's notes and refining them into his gospel. A significant reason why that Mark would have Peter's notes would be from the fact that the Mark of the Gospel Mark was Peter's son.
Mark's Gospel, from the standpoint of authenticity and historicity, is the most important of the four canonized gospels. For it is commonly held that both Matthew and Luke used a version of the Gospel of Mark in their preparation. But we shall see that the versions of Mark they both used had some rather substantial variations between them.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels, coined by a scholar to reflect that one can lay them all down side by side and read them together; as the three gospels track one another sufficiently to appear identical to the view, column by column.
This is not particularly a fair and true way of portraying the three gospels. For it conveys a false sense of common identity. The only real commonality was in the fact that Luke and Matthew both drew from a common gospel like that of Mark's. Beyond this the identification of Matthew to Luke is rather shaky. In the comparison of them, in fact, it appears that neither gospel knew of the other. This shall become evident in a cursory review of the matrix comparing the three gospels which we have enclosed for your examination.
We have all been taught that the New Testament, along with the Old Testament, is the Word of God. A substantial portion of the New Testament, which is that written of and/or by Paul, disclaims the validity of many Old Testament promises (such as the restoration of the Children of Israel to their land after they have been scattered and the restoration of their Tabernacle); and, in fact, converts the Old Promise of the Old Testament to a new people, a new Chosen People called by God by Paul. In the conversion Paul disclaims the Jews' rights to the inheritance originally promised to them, and apart from that just mentioned, the inheritance disclaimed includes the reign of the Latter Day Messiah in Jerusalem (upholding the Laws of Moses).
When we examine this portion of the New Testament from Paul's point of view, we find that The Word of God, called the Old Testament, is not really the Word of God, but, rather, inspired writings of God. They could be true or not true, depending upon your interpretation. But it is clear in Paul's commentary that Paul's Gospel is True: The Old Testament may not be True, but Paul's is. Here Paul has raised himself up above the Old Testament prophets, even Moses. Modern writers tend to agree with Paul's positioning of himself. Smith's Bible Dictionary, for instance, calls Paul the second most important person in the Bible next to Jesus.
When we begin to explore truth, most people are found not to be ready for it. And it is true, indeed, that because of this reason, the fear of truth, the truth is not easy to see or readily found. More often than not, it is rejected. For one curious nature of Truth is that it digs out falsehood and exposes it. Those who have been false generally know it and therefore are the greatest opposition to the truth.
We mention this because Jesus is portrayed recognizing in himself as the bearer of truth; yet, he mentions that the people of Israel are not prepared to receive it. Contrasting himself with the Pharisees, chief priests, and scribes, he calls them thieves, robbers, and vipers. In the contrast he claims that they are not being truthful to the people of Israel. They had, in fact, gotten caught up in following traditional doctrines and practices which were controverting the Law of Moses. They, for example, were raising extra tithes in the temple to support themselves in fine homes, etc. This practice would have been an abomination to Moses, as it was to Jesus.
We preface ourselves with this comment on truth because there is yet another truth you will be shown, not for malice or any evil purpose, but for the sake of understanding the truth. This truth is easily seen in our Matrix of the Synoptic Gospels. Our Matrix says that the Synoptic Gospels were not well in agreement and therefore cannot be the Word of God. They may be about the Word of God and How He became Flesh and what He is remembered to have said and done, but the writing of them could not have been by God. For God (we trust) would not contradict Himself as blatantly as is done and shown in our Matrix.
We, of course, are not the first to notice the discrepancies among the Canonized Gospels, one to another. Certainly Biblical scholars, even in Paul's day, were beginning to scrutinize the accounts of Jesus and his sayings. Undoubtedly those accounts, probably prefiguring the Canonized Gospels, at the least, reflected the same inconsistencies the canonized gospels inherited. This makes sense, for once a generation had passed from the day of Jesus's death, then any scholar attempting to inquire and relate the Gospel of Jesus would be dependent upon what he had heard or read. We recall the manuscripts and scriptures Paul mentioned. Undoubtedly they were not all Old Testament writings and probably contained New Testament Gospel information. Paul's comment concerning the fact that if you deny Jesus Jesus will deny you comes from Matthew and undoubtedly some version of proto-Matthew was in his hands. That version, we might add, would reinforce Paul's Gospel, that the Jews had lost their inheritance, the Torah (five books of Moses) called the Law is now passed away and only a shadow forecasting Jesus; that Jesus is the Son of God and is the authority for a New Covenant replacing the Old Covenant of Moses and Abraham. Matthew fills this requirement.
Between the three Gospels there are really Two Versions. One version was basically addressed to the Gentile church which had been taught by Paul that the Old Law (the five books of the Torah) is now passed away and superseded by a new Law: that of the Son of God called Jesus the Christ. Jesus, in the new perspective, is a god equal to God. This at first caused considerable argument and, after several centuries, the church attempted to reconcile the view of Jesus as God through a new precept called the Holy Trinity which was created to show how God the Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost are three separate entities yet One in the Father. Through the Holy Trinity Jesus could be called God and understood as such; though oblique it was in its point of understanding. These arguments that Jesus is God, the Son of God and part of the Holy Trinity all rest upon the foundations laid by Paul and reflected in the Gospels addressed to the Gentiles.
In contrast to this point of view, there were the accounts of Mark and Luke which tended to go the opposite direction, thinking of Jesus as The Christ. To the Old Testament Jews the precept of the Son of God was not commonly linked to the Messiah. David briefly mentions the relationship in his second Psalm. But based upon the questions put to Jesus in all the four canonized Gospels, most thought him to be a prophet or maybe Elijah raised up or even the Christ, the Messiah, but connecting the name Messiah to the Son of God involved a sophistication of thinking far beyond even the scribes. Only in the Gospel of John do we see a continuing exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees, chief priests, and scribes, indicating that he is claiming to be the Son of God in their eyes, which is, as complained by the priests, being equal to God. While Matthew and John show a bias of Jesus as the Son of God, making Jesus the Son of God was not a preoccupation of the gospels of Mark and Luke. We say this because the theme of Matthew and John is written around the demonstration that Jesus is the Son of God. Often his divinity in Matthew is reflected by devils, as they leave men Jesus had healed. Curiously, in these accounts the devils recognize Jesus as the Son of God but the people don't.
Matthew, reflecting the Son of God syndrome, was written at a time when the disciples had plenty of time to sit down and think about who Jesus was. When Matthew was written the gospel writer had concluded that Jesus's deity would justify Paul's renunciation of the Old Testament and its Law. Again, Paul's experience tells us that Jesus told him directly (from heaven) what to say and do. In simple terms Paul would have us believe that Jesus told him to renounce the Old Testament and the people of the Jews and condemn them.
We say this, in our exploration of truth, because this is exactly what Paul did under the auspices of Jesus, as he claimed.
Luke was based upon a form of Mark, just as Matthew had drawn from Mark, but it appears that Luke is more sympathetic to maintaining the temple tradition and the Laws of Moses than was the Gospel of Matthew. There are comments in Luke, if one were Paul for instance, that might cause the hackles on the back of one's the neck to raise. Paul would never accept any endorsement of going to the temple or obeying the Law of Moses; yet this is maintained in Luke's Gospel and is incorporated in the final verse of the gospel. On this basis alone, the Gospel of Luke must not have been acceptable to the eyes of Paul. Yet, we have an anomaly here, because Luke and Paul were traveling companions, ministering together midst the uncircumcised world: the Gentile. And it is believed that Luke wrote the book of Acts, a continuation of his gospel; and the book of Acts [of the Apostles] most definitely is a book sympathetic to Paul. Within a few chapters (after the seventh) it has dropped the history of the other Apostles, namely Peter, and shifted to Paul. Most of the book of the Acts of the Apostles is based upon the life and times of One Apostle: Paul.
In reviewing our Matrix, we wonder whether the writer who wrote the Gospel of Luke is the same as the one who wrote the book of Acts.
The two sets of gospels do not agree with each other as to where Jesus last appeared to his disciples. One says he left in the clouds in Galilee and the other puts him near Jerusalem. By virtue of the two different accounts we have to ask whether the rest of the gospel memories are true. The only true way of exposing this event is to say that Jesus went up to heaven from both places at two different times.
When we examine accounts such as these we are left with a gnawing feeling that the canonized synoptic gospel accounts are suspect from the outset; and from the standpoint of being accurate historical accounts are far from bonafide histories of past events. Contemporary historians of the gospel writers, such as Livy or Tacitus, would probably be reluctant to even call such documents, had they been exposed to them, as historical accounts of Jesus. For whoever wrote the gospels had done little in the way of research concerning the actual events and sayings in Christ's life. We note, for instance, that our Matrix will show how Matthew will track Mark quite faithfully and then reach a point where it fails to endorse certain verses of Mark. We wonder, are these points in Mark's Gospel later interpolations, added after Matthew's plagiarism of Mark?
In reconciling these things we take the position of Paul, that the New Testament writings were inspired of God, but not necessarily God's Word. For God could not lie. Certainly, the Gospel accounts, as compared to each other, suggest certain versions are lies. Which one is true is hard to determine. In searching for the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we find that even the oldest of the four gospels may not necessarily be more true because of later interpolations by devout scribes wishing to give the more honor to Jesus. Unfortunately, from our point of view, the interpolations have done more to discredit Jesus's claim to the Messiahship than to honor him.
But scholars have wrestled with the contradictions in the gospels for now thousands of years. For this reason matrixes like ours have been written and poured over by many monks and scholars since the time of Jesus. None of them seem to have been published for common public consumption, however; and certainly none of them seem to have been taught from the pulpit sufficiently that the common man would be aware of the contradictions. Perhaps this is a first for our book.
As may be readily discerned in reviewing our Matrix, there would be good reason for a liar not to desire to discuss the things the Matrix shows, for the Matrix shows too many contradictions apparent in the Gospels, not readily apparent without the Matrix. Our Matrix causes us to be more aware of Paul's ban against endless genealogies and fables and unprofitable arguments over the Law. These comments point to the inconsistencies in the gospel accounts themselves.
Tradition has it that a version of Matthew was used by the Hebrews. Two gospels are mentioned by early church writers (Clement, Origen, etc.): these are the Gospel of the Hebrews and the Gospel of the Ebionites. Both gospels in Paul's Gentile church would have been heresies. They probably followed Luke and Mark's thesis of Jesus being the Christ, but not connecting him necessarily to being the Son of God or God himself. We suppose this to be true. However, as indicated earlier, the Second Epistle of Peter suggests that Peter had a profound belief that Jesus is the Son of God. And if Peter had this belief, then the Gospel of the Hebrews ought to have coincided with it.
Our Matrix is not only revealing in terms of the similarities and dissimilarities of the Gospels, it offers a brief summary of what the New Testament Gospels are about.
Our Matrix is also intended for those who would really like to explore the origin and development of the Gospels, how they reflect the Word of Jesus, and how they pertain to the fulfillment of the Old Testament Word (or prophesy) or God. Perhaps the reader can add to our Matrix and refine it for further self edification.
We shall thus begin our commentary on the Matrix. We do have a bias which ought to be mentioned. We have no doubts that Jesus has quite adequately and timely fulfilled the Suffering Messiah prophesies called for by Isaiah and the Psalms. He is the only person in history, we might also add, who can fulfill the prophesy of Immanuel, the son of the Virgin. Since her sign is geared in prophesy to appear before the scattering of the Jews, which happened in 70 A.D., it follows that only persons appearing before that event of 70 A.D. can claim to be Immanuel. Jesus is the only one recorded who has claimed that character of prophesy. And now, since Israel has been restored to Palestine again, after a 2,000 year absence, it behooves us to consider the fact that no man can claim to be born of a Virgin and fulfill that particular prophesy: for it is a truth that any such claim would now be out of sync with the time in which the claim is designed; i.e., before the scattering, meaning before 70 A.D. Though we may find Jesus's Testimony to reflect some confusion in him in his early ministry, we must admit that he is the best offering we have in fulfillment of the sign, Suffering Messiah and Son of the Virgin. As a man fulfilling that offering, he has done well, we have no doubt. Of course, as concerning this time and its events, it is too late for anyone to contest Jesus on this aspect of God's prophesies.
The gospel accounts seemed to have originated by means of responses to certain questions concerning Jesus and his claim to Messiahship. We had, for instance, one basic story circulating around (probably among the Jews in Jerusalem — called the Gospel of the Hebrews — and there was a need for someone to write an opposing argument, reflecting the bias of the Gentile church. The need for this opposing argument is two-fold: First the Gentile had to be excused from owning up to the food laws and the law of circumcision. They had to be freed from the Law in order to proselytize them. Secondly, to give them their fair share of the inheritance of Jesus, a New Covenant had to be written which provided a rational for the transfer, moving the inheritance of the Chosen People of God from Jew to Gentile. The rational would be founded on the argument that Jesus is now the New Covenant and all that is required is faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus then would superficially appear to negate the need for works. Hence, on the first count, being freed from the Law, the Gospels would be rewritten to justify the new Freedom. On the second count, concerning the inheritance, the Gospels would emphasize the need for Jesus to be the Source of the New Inheritance.
Son of Man, Son of God, Son of David
In tracing these New Testament needs, we find a common theme appended to the Gospel signifying that Jesus is the Son of God and One with God. To be the Son of God he had to be the Son of David; thus the Gospel accounts attaching to the Son of God theme would be dependent upon establishing the Son of David attributes. Everything hinged now upon the saying in Psalm 2, "Thou art my son; this day I have begotten thee."
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have those who were confused as to whom Jesus was. They may have believed him to be the Messiah but not impressed with him being the Son of God. These Gospels would tend to reflect Jesus as a man, a prophet, and not a god or equal to God. He would be viewed more probably as another Moses or Elijah. From such biases we received gospel accounts conflicting with each other. These conflicts are more readily seen with a matrix such as the one we are about to review.
If we approach the gospels, understanding how one writer is defending his biased point of view, as opposed to another, we shall get along quite well in furthering our understanding of the Holy Scriptures.
Let's begin with the crucifixion. After the crucifixion, the disciples were confused as to who Jesus really was. Some argued that he had to be a deity of God (i.e. the Son of God) based upon David's Psalm: Thou art my son; this day I have begotten you). Others, probably reflecting the common consensus of the Jews, thought of him as a Messiah like David. David was a man, not a god or God or the Son of God in the context used. Most of the Gospel accounts represent the disciples and others questioning Jesus in the context of being a prophet of God. Even when reports of Jesus's resurrection are brought to the Disciples, there is universal doubt among them that Jesus has been raised from the dead. This doubt alone, more than any other, reflects that the common opinion of Jesus in his day did not give much thought to the fact that Jesus is a god. If the disciples were incredulous that Jesus had been resurrected, it follows that they would have considered him to be a mortal just like each and every one of us. And since he was always praying to God the Father in their presence, that act alone would have reinforced in them the awareness that Jesus is the Servant of God and not God Himself.
Jesus called himself the Son of Man. There are conflicting accounts, represented at his trial before Pontius Pilate, that some believed him to claim to be the Son of God and others believed he claimed to be the Messiah and King of Israel. They are not necessarily a common identity.
One thing is common throughout all the gospel accounts. Jesus consistently called himself the Son of Man. That personification of himself was probably understood by the common man then in his times as it is now understood by the common man today: namely, nobody really understands what it means. And probably if a common man on the street were asked what the Son of Man means they might suggest that it represents something on the order of a messenger of God.
The gospel writers seem not to have understood this term of Jesus as well. None of them open their gospels explaining where the term comes from and what it means. Had they done so, it would appear they might have taken a different tack as to explaining why Jesus is the Messiah and what that thing is to mankind.
The Son of Man is described in the Old Testament in two significant places, both appearing from about the same time in history. The book of Daniel, written during the Captivity, circa 600 B.C., describes a future King who will rule over all the world, sanctified or anointed by God, who will have supreme power over all men and establish God's Kingdom on earth. He may not be God, or the Son of God, but he certainly has the power and authority second only to God, the originator of the prophesy.
Another Son of Man mentioned in the Bible is the Son of Man mentioned by Ezekiel. Ezekiel referred to himself as the Son of Man. In this context we understand the term to be interchangeable with Prophet or messenger of God. Daniel also called Himself by the Son of Man and John, in Revelation, refers to himself as the Son of Man.
In all probability the disciples and those around him understood Jesus to be representing himself as a prophet of God. Thus, in the inquiries as to who he is, there is always the suspicion that he is Elias raised up again or another prophet. In one answer, Jesus says that he is the one whom Moses spoke about; but that one is really one of two personages: one is an "Angel who will be sent before you"; and the other is a prophet, "like unto Moses", who will be raised up to the Children of Israel. The gospel accounts which reflect upon this saying connect Jesus to the prophet like unto Moses, thereby fulfilling that prophesy of Moses.
As pertaining to the Old Testament Prophesies against which the Messiah candidate Jesus can fulfill, all of them, except Genesis 49.10, made by Israel himself, can trace their roots back to Moses. For Jesus to pertain to those prophesies, then, he must at the first maintain that he is he whom Moses predicted. Once admitted, which thing Jesus did, then all the other prophesies of later prophets apply and must be compared to Jesus. These prophesies may be grouped into two categories: those prophesies which pertained to the scattering of Israel (i.e., the Sign of the Virgin) and those which pertained to the gathering and restoration (redemption) of Israel. Most of the prophesies pertaining to the Messiah and his times involve the Messiah of the Gathering Phase. Those pertaining to the Scattering Phase generally narrow down to the person of a Messiah who is ignored, rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and killed. We refer to him as the Suffering Messiah. In contrast, during the gathering phase a person of the Messiah in the character of the Deliverer, like unto Moses, or another King David, predominates. The prophesies of the Deliverer, unlike that of the Suffering Messiah, describe and call for a successful Messiah. He is not necessarily rejected of men, but rather one to whom all the world will kneel; he is certainly a King and he is seen ruling over the world from Jerusalem. Nevertheless, we do have an account of him coming from Bozrah towards Jerusalem with his robes and sandals stained from the winepress of the Lord. In this account He works alone.
The Four Gospel accounts (with the exception of Luke perhaps), which we shall now review, do not seem to have been written by one who is really familiar with the essential fundamentals of the rejection of Israel and its final redemption, and how the Messiah interrelates to each phase. The role of the Messiah in the rejection of Israel, such as the Sign of the Virgin, certainly requires a character far from that of an accepted and revered king. By the same token, it seems difficult to imagine how the Deliverer Messiah could be one who is rejected and killed by Israel. It is difficult even more so to relate his rejection and death at IsraelÕs hands, with Israel (and the world) kneeling down to worship him at the time of Israel's Restoration. After all, in the scenario of these two contrasting prophesies we have to provide for the condition that Israel must be scattered to all the nations of the world before it can be redeemed. The children would also be burned and refined, as one refines silver and gold, before they are restored to their land. This takes a lot of time! The prophets were not saying that Israel would kinda sorta be scattered to a few nations here and there; most definitely the scattering is severally described as to all the nations. That process, as we have so well discovered, looking back through time — which is easier than looking forward — took nearly two thousand years.
When we examine God's prophesy of scattering Israel to all the nations, we have to consider how such a thing could be achieved. If we were to try to simulate such an event, we would have to program the world to hate the Jews sufficiently that wheresoever they went they would be a scorn and a derision, a cause of the wagging of the head. Such a prophesy is frequently repeated in the Old Testament. It tells us that the Jews would be caused to keep on moving, for wheresoever they would settle down they would be caused to leave and seek out a new home.
This process of the scattering began in 70 A.D. At that time Rome destroyed the Israeli nation and scattered its people: more accurately, we might add, the people were chased and arrested, their synagogues burned, their property confiscated, and their persons shipped off to foreign shores as slaves. Many, according to our historians, were shipped away as slaves and thousands were sent to the various coliseums around the empire to fight the animals. And after the debacle of the diaspora the empire turned its attention elsewhere, to the Gauls, etc. The Jews commingled wherever they landed and reestablished their synagogues.
The Godless People
The prophesies, beginning with Moses's Curse, called for a continuing scattering event, causing the Jews to keep on moving. The Roman Captivity scenario could not answer to this requirement. After all, the Jews did blend into their new homes in the empire and ceased to be a problem to Rome. Perhaps the reason for this is the fact that a new problem arose in the empire, of which Tacitus records, which involved a faction of Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews. And these people, called after Jesus who is called the Christ, were called Christians. Tacitus says they were contemptible because they hated mankind. Rome, beginning with the Emperor Nero, turned its attention upon the Christians and began to occupy itself with rounding up and punishing these, as Tacitus called them, "godless" people. Earlier, as the diaspora of the Jews took form, the Romans had been calling the Jews the godless people; but now with Nero the term had been transferred to the Christians.
While the Romans were now turning their attention to punishing the Christians, the Jews could settle into obscurity.
What is it that suddenly caused the Christians to occupy the attention of the Roman world? Was it really because of their godless behavior and the fact that they hated mankind? Was this sufficient reason for Nero to blame the Christians for burning Rome? After all, the historians pretty well agree that it was the Vile Nero himself who set Rome afire out of a whim. Gibbon tells us that Nero and his cronies used to roam the streets of Rome and "roll" unsuspecting citizens; the idea of burning Rome came out of this collusion of street villains.
The Roman people were much like the American people. We tend to forget that. They were democrats, for the most part. They recognized right away that to rule the world they had to be tolerant but stern. Young America is still trying to come to grips with this need.
In their toleration, they recognized that all gods had an equal right of being worshipped at Rome. By the same token, the coin turned the other way, where Rome expected that its gods could be equally worshipped in their provinces; and, as mentioned, among their gods were their Caesars.
Enter the Jews, having been chased off their land. They brought with them synagogues (to the Romans they would be temples) to a nameless God. The Roman historian, Tacitus, called these people "godless". Still, the Jews were no problem because they minded their own business. They raised their "temples" and left the other Roman temples alone. They probably behaved exactly the same way then as they behave today. They do their own thing and are very effective at avoiding problems with other people over their religion. They kept separate, as they could not eat at the same table as the Gentile. After all, the Romans were probably eating pork, and relishing it, just as we Americans do today.
We must look at the Jews of the dispersion, as they were during the Roman Empire, through the same glasses that we would look at them today. They had to separate themselves then as they do today (though many Jews have not been able to resist the pressure to succumb to the Gentile's ways). They had the same problem then as they had today. If they made friends with a Gentile and the Gentile invited them to dinner, they would probably have to decline, because the Gentile would probably offer a forbidden food (pork) and they would have to decline it, insulting their host. The only solution, so to not offend others not appreciating your ways, would be to avoid others altogether. As a nation, then, the Jews would have to become Separated, in Hebrew, Nazarites, unto themselves. We mention this in terms of a Nazarite because it is a thought we would like you to store away until we bring it up again in a new context.
We have corrupted the term Nazarite and ought to again remind you of the true definition of a Nazarite. Moses established it. To become a Nazarite one must not cut his or her hair, must not drink wine or vinegar, and must live off the abundance of the wilderness, eating honey and locusts, for instance. A good model of a Nazarite is found in John the Baptist. To survive in the wilderness the Nazarites would wear animal skins with the hair turned next to the skin. It was not a pleasant experience, on the surface, to become a Nazarite.
We thought Jesus might best be described as a Nazarite, but he was a wine imbiber and was thus disqualified. The people questioned him, how he was so different than John the Baptist, whose followers fasted and avoided drinking wine, etc. but Jesus and his disciples did the opposite. Jesus was certainly not a Nazarite and should not have been confused as one.
Neither is the nation of Israel a Nazarite, as pertaining to its separation of itself from others; which is, on the surface, what a Nazarite is. But like Jesus, we suspect the nation as a whole were wine imbibers. But the nation did become separated just as much as a Nazarite might separate himself, and we mention it for comparison.
Because of their separation, however, the Jews were probably not high on the invitation lists of the Romans. Neither were the Jews standing in line, waiting to be invited to dinner at a Roman home.
One man was standing in line waiting to be invited to dinner. His name was Paul and he was a Roman citizen by birth, from Sardis, a town in southeastern Turkey. His family were Jews and he, himself, had very ardently participated in the persecution of the early Nazarenes, or followers of Jesus. Although he never met Jesus personally, he subsequently converted to Christianity or, at that time, Nazarenism, on his way to Damascus. On that road Jesus appeared to him and told him to go preach the gospel to the Gentile. Paul then went into the wilderness of Saudi Arabia for about three years and then went home to Sardis. It was about ten years later, after his experience on the road to Damascus, that he began to preach his new gospel. At least, from his writings, we can see that then he began writing about what he had been preaching. What he had been preaching was, in fact, an entirely new Gospel concerning the Messiah of the Jews. All this, he says, came directly from Jesus as he manifested himself to Paul on the road to Damascus. Among the things Jesus manifested to Paul were the following (says Paul):
The Jews had broken their covenant with God.
♦ The Jews were no longer the Chosen People of God
♦ The Jews were no longer covered by the Covenant of God and that there now was a New Covenant
♦ Jesus is the New Covenant
♦ Because Jesus is the New Covenant and because the Old Covenant expected Jesus, Jesus replaces the Old Covenant;
♦ Therefore, the Old Covenant (Old Testament Bible) is now passed away.
♦ But there are those who might ask, "Does not Jesus gain his credibility as Messiah based upon the Old Testament?"; they alluded to the fact that you can't use the Old Testament to justify Jesus and then throw it away once Jesus appears. ♦
Paul and his associates answered that the Old Testament, once true, is now only relevant as a type and shadow of Jesus. For the Old Testament was created to Produce Jesus; once the Messiah is produced then the Old Testament no longer is needed or has a function except for being types and shadows of the real truth which is Jesus.
These are things which are still preached today, amazing as it may seem, to a Gentile world which knows little difference between what Paul was preaching and what the early Nazarene church, under the guidance of Peter and James, the Lord's brother, believed and taught.
Although the Christian Ministry today would lead you to believe that there is no conflict between Paul and the Nazarene Church in Jerusalem (under Peter and James), the truth is there had to be a major conflict between the two contending teachings of Paul and Peter.
Although we have covered this conflict elsewhere, it is worthy to recall the basic fundamentals of the Nazarenes which were in conflict with Paul:
The Nazarene Church in Jerusalem, under the guidance of Peter and James, was a Jewish sect. Their religion was Judaism, meaning:
Maintaining all the Law, the temple practices, and the teachings of the Old Testament. In the teachings Jesus the Messiah is blended into the Old Covenant, taking his place as the legitimate Messiah of the Bible. Again, they circumcised themselves and obeyed the food laws; namely, they did not eat pork. Jesus was not above the Law but one who confirmed the Law.
They believed that man is judged by his works; therefore he must obey the Law of Moses (the Torah). They believed that Jesus would return on His Second Coming to judge the quick and the dead and at that time a New Heavens and a New Earth, under the King Jesus, would be founded.
Paul took exception to these fundamentals. In effect his position was:
Because the Law forecasted Jesus and was dedicated to producing the Messiah, when the Messiah is finally seen on earth to claim his Kingdom all the Old Law becomes void and null. Paul argues that it must be this way otherwise Jesus would come in vain. In addition, he uses the argument that the Messiah is prophesied to establish a New Covenant, eliminating the Old, and transfering the Law from "works" to now matters of the heart, or "faith". Paul argues that one's works to obey (or disobey) the law are really dedicated to the Law and not necessarily God. He points to the hypocrites among the Jews who go to temple and appear to be of good works but whose hearts are like open sepulchres.
♦ Paul concluded that we are all sinners (because of Adam's sin) and therefore can never be justified by works or the Law. Just because you eat clean food it does not mean that your heart is clean. Therefore, to properly clean oneself, to be free from spot, as he would say, one must follow a New Law. That New Law is expounded in Paul's Gospel and forms its basis on the conclusion that you can only be justified by your faith in Jesus. Because you are already a sinner, your works will probably continue towards sin, no matter what you try to do about it. But, in effect, while you are sinning, if you devote yourself entirely to Jesus, by Faith in Him, you will be saved. While on the surface the premise is a treat for those who are wearied by all the Laws of the Jews, many of which were based upon tradition (and not Moses), it tends to get bogged down in the argument of faith versus works when one inquires what it means to have Faith in Jesus. Does it mean that one's works must conform to what Jesus said? Can one be faithful to Jesus whilst one's works disagree with what Jesus said?
The answer Paul offers is a new perspective on Judgment. He concludes that no Christian can be condemned as long as he has faith in Jesus. In the Judgment of the Christians there can only be praise and glory, with some Christians being awarded greater crowns and glory than others. Christian judgment then is dedicated to the allocation of rewards (some greater than others) to the faithful. All those who do not believe in Jesus, according to the party line (which is Paul's Gospel), are condemned to the eternal fires of Hell and damnation. Under Paul's Gospel Peter and James and the Nazarenes in Jerusalem who obey the Law are condemned to damnation.
♦ Finally, because Jesus's Second Coming is immanent, Paul believed that all those who did not confess Jesus — according to Paul's Gospel — would soon be committed to the fire and eternal damnation. No wonder the Romans thought Paul's church was a church of haters of men!
The argument between Paul and the Nazarene church comes into focus in an event recorded in Acts. It seems that some Nazarenes (later called Judaizers — Jews who require the Christian Church to obey the Jewish Laws) had come to Paul's Gentile church, probably investigating what he had been teaching. The reason for the visit was most probably as a result of the fact that Paul had been condemning the Jews (and the Nazarene Church in Jerusalem) in his sermons.
Among those who came from Jerusalem was Peter and James. They all sat down to dinner. At the dinner were apparently at least two groups of tables. One group was a table set for the Gentiles who, according to Paul, need not circumcise themselves, obey the food laws, or follow the teaching of the Old Testament. This table, from the standpoint of the Nazarenes, is a table full of rebels and sinners.
Peter, perhaps not knowing the table at which he was sitting down was a table full of Gentiles, quickly got up when someone informed him that he was sitting with Gentiles and moved to the table of the Jews where he belonged. Paul, seeing this and later reporting it in his letter to the Galatians (2.11) was shocked and called Peter's act an act of hypocrisy. Here he focuses his argument, saying, the Jews are to blame (actually he says Peter is to blame) for they do not practice what they preach. Paul was appropriately offended because he thought it hypocrisy to invite a Gentile into the church and not being decent enough to sit at table with him. Peter, of course, could not eat at the same table as the Gentiles because their table probably had pork being served on it. We have offered other speculations, alluding to another than Peter who sat with the Gentile table, earlier. It was undoubtedly Peter. Whether Peter knew the table was a Gentile Table or not, the fact remains that Peter did get up and move to the place where he belonged: Separated from the Gentile.
Chapters 10 and 11 of Acts record that Peter was not consistent in his position towards the Gentile church. As mentioned earlier, the first Gentile converted to the Nazarene church was Cornelius, a Roman Centurion. In the conversion, as the story goes, God told Peter not to be concerned about what goes into the mouth, that the bans God had previously cited in the Law were no longer applicable. Accordingly Acts records Peter bringing a Gentile into his church and even sitting down to eat with him. According to Acts 11.2,3 Peter's action offended the Nazarene Church in Jerusalem (called the Circumcised Church by Paul):
Acts 11.2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
11.3 Saying, Thou wentest into men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
11.4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them saying,
11.5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision. A certain vessel descended, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me;
11.6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
11.7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
11.8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
11.9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
11.10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
Peter then went on to tell how the voice sent him to Cornelius to convert him under the new premise: that what Cornelius eats has nothing to do with his salvation. He can maintain his Gentile customs and apparently need not become a Jew.
The modern Christian Church does not know of the problems one has in being a Jew in a Gentile environment. Jesus and Peter, the head of Jesus's church according to the Gospels, had problems eating at Gentile tables. Jesus, for instance, was described as eating at a publican's (gentile's) table. Jesus frequented the company of publicans and sinners. Publicans and Sinners fall into the same category, for those of you who are not familiar with the Laws of Moses. The Publicans included the chief tax collectors of the Romans. They were probably Gentile and very rich. Jesus described the plight of the sinner and the rich man in publican terms. Both can be redeemed by God but, as he illustrated in the case of a rich man, a camel has a far easier time to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man. The Apostle Matthew was a tax collector and probably regarded as a publican by Jesus. Jesus's Aunt Mary was also called a sinner.
So Jesus ate with people who obviously had little regard for the Jewish law. They could be Publicans or sinners. In the scenarios, Jesus is never portrayed as being tempted to adopt Gentile ways. In the Gospels he is never accused, like Peter, of sitting at meat with the Gentiles, for instance. He may have sat at a table with Gentiles (Publicans), however; whatever he ate, in all probability, was kosher. After all, he was a Jew.
The world after Jesus and Peter seems to have forgotten that Jesus was a Jew. Paul convinced us of that. In fact, though Peter and Paul had to have been in the deadliest combat (figuratively speaking), over the Jewishness of the new Christian Religion, it is regretful that modern commentaries tend to show the two in complete unison on their doctrines. Modern Christian ministers would have you believe, for instance, that Peter, like Paul, condemned Jews. It was to the contrary: Peter Defended the Jews and the Jewishness of the new Nazarene Church. The conversion of Cornelius is, in fact, contrary to the record of Peter and his sayings. The epistles of Peter emphasize the importance of Works to Salvation and, therefore call for full obedience to the Law. James makes the same argument in his epistle. James's Righteousness was so great, we might add, he was named The Righteous, referring to his righteous behavior before the Law.
In the story in Galatians which Paul recites, concerning Peter moving away from the Gentile table, we have an acknowledgment that Peter's attitude to the Gentile in the new church was not with acceptance. Further confirmation of Peter's attitude to the teaching and practices of the Nazarene Church is cited again in Galatians:
Galatians 2.7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the Uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the Circumcision was unto Peter;
2.8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
2.9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the Circumcision.
2.11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
2.12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
2.13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
2.14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
2.15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
2.16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
2.17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
2.18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
2.19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
2.20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me.
2.21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
To present this new foundation of Faith, Paul literally had to scrap every vestige of Judaism. We see him categorizing Peter, James, and John among the Jews; and the Jews quite clearly are the enemy of Paul's teaching. To continue the argument Paul went on beyond derision of the Jewish Faith of Peter and James to the full condemnation of Judaism. The record is so consumed by this new thesis of condemnation we find Paul's letters more devoted to negative presentations, running counter to Peter's Judaic teaching than any other subject. In the Negation, Paul robbed the Jews of their inheritance, he condemned their law, and he condemned their rights as the Chosen People of God. All this he transfered to the pork eaters: the Gentile. Such a thing would have been an abomination to Moses, let alone Jesus, and certainly had to be offensive to Peter and the Nazarenes (or circumcised church) in Jerusalem. Remember, Jesus could not have eaten Pork and he certainly was never accused of disobeying the Food laws!
But Paul, also a Jew, did...And he went to a great deal of trouble to convince the Gentile that it was okay to ignore the Law: i.e, the Torah, the five books of Moses.
This is not a small controversy. Paul was propounding a major rupture in his relations with Peter and the Jews. For he said, among other things, that all are freed from the guilt of the Law (of Moses). In effect he said that you are all free to do what you like.
Now we have heard him classify Peter, James, etc. among the Jews. Here is what he really thinks of the Jews:
Titus 1.10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers specially they of the Circumcision:
1.11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
1.14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
3.9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the Law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Timothy 1.4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which in faith: so do.
1.6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
1.7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
Peter happens to be one of those who teach obedience to the Law, requiring circumcision, etc. Paul is telling his congregation that Peter's concerns with the Law are unprofitable and vain.
Apart from Peter's two epistles, we do not have a record of the Circumcised Church's answer to Paul. But in addition to the many nuances in Paul's writings against the Jews, as if they are against him, we have:
Romans 3.8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
Paul had dumped the Law and mocked those who still follow it. He responded to those who answered him (saying in effect that he is using Jesus to justify sin):
Galatians 2.17 ...Is Christ the Minister of Sin? God forbid...
The Jews in his congregation, no doubt, were squirming over every condemnation of Judaism. They challenged him enough to cause him to devote many a letter to countering their questions. Next he counter thrusts against the Jew's inheritance as the Chosen People of God:
Romans 8.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
8.17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him that we may be also glorified together.
In explaining the new inheritance Paul adds in Romans the metaphor of grafting. The Jews are a sinful branch which is broken off the true vine; and where they were broken off the Gentile church under Paul is grafted in:
Romans 11.19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graphed in.
11.20 Well, because of unbelief they [the Jews] were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear:
11.21 For if God spared not the natural branches [the Jews], take heed lest he also spare not thee.
11.28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
Here Paul is describing the Jews as a pathetic people who had been abandoned by God because they did not believe Jesus.
Romans 11.30 For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.
11.31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
14.3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Now Paul has turned the tables on the Jews. Though the Jews did not believe (and killed Jesus) the Gentile now have a new opportunity that by being merciful towards the Jews the Gentile will themselves be guaranteed mercy. Of course, from Paul's point of view, the true description of being merciful to the Jews is to convert them to Jesus. For Paul also teaches that he who does not believe in Jesus is condemned to hell. And the belief must not be to just any gospel of Jesus but must be to Paul's Gospel:
Romans 2.16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to My Gospel.
I Corinthians 4.15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
4.16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
10.11 Now all these things happened unto them (the Jews) for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
I Timothy 1.11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
Galatians 3.19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Thessalonians 2.14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
2.15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
2.16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
II Corinthians 11.3 Bbut I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
11.4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
II Thessalonians 3.6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he receive of us.
1.7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.
1.8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1.9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
3.14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
II Timothy 2.23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
When we say that Paul and Peter were in heavy conflict we do not understate the seriousness of the problem of Circumcision versus Uncircumcision. Paul's comment in I Thessalonians chapter 2 gets right down to the real scope of the problem: The Jews in Jerusalem were doing their uttermost to stop Paul from preaching his gospel to the Gentile. We, who sit reading this commentary nearly two thousand years later have been led to believe that the Jews of whom Paul chastises are those other evil guys who crucified Jesus. But among that same group of Jews was Peter and James and the church in Jerusalem. In all probability it was Peter and James who were behind the effort to stop Paul's teachings. For he was preaching hatred and contempt for all Jews. Paul's epistles verify the Nazarene opposition to his words.
We are given another instance of the conflict between Paul and the Jews in Jerusalem in Acts, when we are told that Paul went to Jerusalem (carrying tithes to the church in Jerusalem) and appeared before Peter, probably accounting for his teachings. After describing the account, Paul goes on to defend himself, saying that he had not been preaching uncircumcision to the Gentile (which was a boldfaced lie). By the time he appeared in Jerusalem on that occasion he had a highly refined theology justifying the total transfer of the rights and inheritance of the Jews to the Gentile. The Gospel of Barnabas, though Apocryphal we assume, accurately follows Paul's ideas and expands into a quite ludicrous presentation of Types and Shadows as illustrations why the Old Testament is no longer valid.
To fully understand the scope of Paul's transfer of the Inheritance of the Jews (Abraham was promised that in his seed all men will be blessed), we must then delve for a moment into this document attributed to Paul's fellow minister, Barnabas, which justifies the dissolution of the Old Testament through a theory of Types and Shadows:
Barnabas and The Bogus Theory of Types and Shadows
Barnabas VIII.6 Wherefore he has circumcised our ears that we should hear his word, and believe. But as for that circumcision, in which the Jews trust, it is abolished. For the circumcision of which God spake, was not of the flesh.
VIII.7 But they have transgressed his commands, because the evil one hath deceived them. For thus God speaks them; thus saith the Lord your God (here I find the New Law) Sow not among thorns; but circumcise yourselves to the Lord your God.
XII.1 But let us go yet farther, and inquire whether this people be the heir, or the former; and whether the covenant be with us or with them (the Jews).
XII.11 Let us therefore now inquire whether God has fulfilled the covenant, which he sware to our fathers, that he would give this people? Yes, verily, he gave it but they were not worthy to receive it by reason of their sins.
XII.14 And the Lord said unto Moses; Moses, Moses, get thee down quickly, for the people which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt have done wickedly.
XII.15 And Moses understood that they had again set up a molten image: and he cast the two tables out of his hands; and the tables of the covenant of the Lord were broken. Moses therefore received them, but they were not worthy.
XII.16 Now then learn how we have received them. Moses, being a servant, took them; but the Lord himself has given them unto us, that we might be the people of his inheritance, having suffered for us.
XII.17 He was therefore made manifest; that they should fill up the measure of their sins, and that we being made heirs by him, should receive the covenant of the Lord Jesus.
XIII.9 Lastly, he saith unto them: your new moons and your Sabbaths I cannot bear them. Consider what he means by it; the Sabbaths, says he, which ye now keep are not acceptable unto me, but those which I have made; when resting from all things I shall begin the eighth day, that is, the beginning of the Other World.
XIII.10 For which cause we observe the eighth day with gladness, in which Jesus rose from the dead; and having manifested himself to his disciples, ascended into heaven.
XIII.15 Furthermore, it has been made manifest, how both the city and the temple, and the people of Israel, should be given up. For the scripture saith, And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the Lord will deliver up the sheep of his pasture, and their fold, and their tower into destruction. And it is come to pass, as the Lord hath spoken.
We note here that the Gospel of Barnabas knows that the temple had been destroyed. He acknowledges that the Eighth Day began with Jesus on the cross.
Baranbas XIII.21 Having received remission of our sins, and trusting in the name of the Lord, we are become renewed, being again created as it were from the beginning. Wherefore God truly dwells in our house, that is, in us.
XIII.22 But how does he dwell in us? The word of his faith, the calling of his promise, the wisdom of his righteous judgments, the commands of his doctrine; he himself prophesies within us, he himself dwelleth in us, and openeth to us who were in bondage of death the gate of our temple, that is, the Mouth of Wisdom, having given repentance unto us; and by this means has brought us to be an incorruptible temple.
A common precept in the Oral Torah involves the opening of the Gates of Righteousness. The Gates of the Temple or the Tabernacle equated to the Gates of Righteousness. And these gates equate to Wisdom, the opening up of wisdom. At that time, through the Messiah, we are told, the Pleetim run for cover. The Pleetim is a term for the wise-men who are dumbfounded by the Messiah's Wisdom. He stands in the Gates, even referred to as the King's Palace, and all those Tzaddiqim (Zaddiq's, or Zadocks) who thought they were wise, cannot withstand Him. Thus, the Gates of Righteousness, even the King's Palace, were equated to the Mouth of Wisdom. Barnabas has studied his Oral Torah.
Barnabas XIII.23 This is that spiritual temple that is built unto the Lord.
II Corinthians 3.3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
5.1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
6.16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
I Corinthians 10. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
10.6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Baranabas follows the theme of Paul:
Barnabas V.12 As therefore he shall be then like to what he was on earth, so were the Jews heretofore commanded, to take two goats fair and equal. That when they shall see (our Savior) hereafter coming (in the clouds of heaven), they may be amazed at the likeness of the goats.
V.12 Wherefore ye here again see a type of Jesus who was to suffer for us.
Colossians 2.16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:
2.17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ
11.4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
Paul's thesis against Judaism is dependent upon another criteria. For all these things about Jesus as the Messiah are not sufficient reasons to justify the complete replacement of the Old Testament with Paul's Gospel, which we must emphasize was Paul's very intention. Repeatedly we see Paul talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ; yet scholars since those days seem to have concluded that of the Four Gospels which have come down to us, there were none of them during the time Paul was preaching and writing. It is believed by modern scholars that the four gospels were probably written around and after the time of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem — several years after Paul's death. Clues abound which suggest this. John's Gospel, for instance, addresses the justification of the scattering of the Jews according to scripture. The Gospel of John recognizes the calamity which came upon the Jews in 70 A.D. and reminds them how they had been warned of that eventuality in prophesy. Barnabas's Gospel, we have seen, also chastizes the Jews in this way, reminding them that the destruction of Jerusalem was in fulfillment of prophesy. But Matthew, Mark, and Luke are not necessarily concerned about the scattering of the Jews; and on this measure it is possible that one or the other of them had been written (probably Mark and Luke) prior to 70 A.D. (Luke ends with the apostles still worshiping in the temple).
While Paul's letters seem to lack any real knowledge of the Four Gospels, there are some things which he said which tend to point to the use of (Mark's) Gospel:
Romans 1.3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh
1.4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
Here Paul is relating his source of information to include the facts that Jesus is the son of David and declared the Son of God. How he was declared to be so is not mentioned.
Romans 2.16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
Judging the Secrets of Men: The Three Books
According to the gospels Jesus will come in the clouds to judge the quick and the dead on his Second Coming (see Acts 10.42: And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead).
According to John 12.48 Jesus said, The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. Revelation 20.12 agrees with John 12.48: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. Which books were opened, we may ask? Revelation tells us of one of them, The Book of Life. The other book is mentioned in Malachi 3.17: ..and a Book of Remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. The Third Book, The Sealed Book, is mentioned in Isaiah:
Isaiah 29.10: For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
29.11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
29.12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
29.13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
29.14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
29.15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?
29.16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?
29.17 Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?
29.18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
29.19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
29.20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
29.21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.
29.22 Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.
29.23 But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
29.24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
Psalm 40.7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of me.
Psalm 18.44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.
In pursuing this quest concerning the Three Books and the nature of their revelation, we must ask how the Sealed Book might be configured when it is opened. We are told the answer to this question in the previous chapter of Isaiah:
Isaiah 28.5 In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people.
28.6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
28.7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
28.8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
28.9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
28.10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
28.11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
28.12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
28.13 But the Word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
Genesis Rabbah XCVIII:IX 1.j: " 'He washes his garments in wine' : for he will link together words of Torah."
Zohar: And he will shine like the Zohar of the sky. Which sky? the sky of Moses.
Daniel 12.1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the Book.
12.2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
12.3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
Zohar: The enlightened will shine like the zohar of the sky,
And those who make the masses righteous
Will shine like the stars forever and ever.
Psalm 118.17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
118.18 The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
118.19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and praise the Lord.
As it is said:
Zohar: This is the first opening to enter.
Through this opening, all other high openings come into view.
One who attains the clarity of this opening
discovers all the other openings,
For all of them abide here.
But when Israel comes forth from exile,
All the soaring spheres will touch down upon this opening,
one by one.
Then human beings will perceive wondrous,
precious wisdom Never known by them before
As it is written:
Isaiah 11.2 The spirit of YHVH shall alight upon him:
A spirit of wisdom and insight,
Psalm 73.15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
73.16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
73.17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
Zohar: A spirit of design and power,
A spirit of knowledge and awe of YHVH.
All these are destined to alight upon the opening below,
The opening of the Tent.
Zohar: The Shekhina is the opening to the Divine..
All these are destined to alight upon king Messiah
So that He may judge the world,
As it is written:
He shall judge the poor with righteousness.
Psalm 37.6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Psalm 37.30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
Psalm 9.5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
Psalm 2.9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potterÕs vessel.
Here we have a character called the Word of the Lord who approaches the world with Wisdom, precept by precept, opening a book that the people thought was Sealed. In Isaiah The Word says:
Isaiah 49.1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from afar; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
49.2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
49.3 And said unto me, thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
Psalm 18.11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
Psalm 18.12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hailstones and coals of fire.
Psalm 18.14 yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.
In the Judgment, The Word, as we have seen, will make the wisdom of the wise men perish through the Sword of His Mouth, which must be with Stammering Lips and a Foreign Tongue. He approaches the people precept upon precept, line upon line, but they are so drunken with wine, sleeping in their own vomit, they do not hear. We shall see that He that has a Sword for a tongue will also be called one like the Son of Man who also, in Revelation, is described as the Ancient of Days. And He, the Ancient of Days, we shall see, is the angel in Revelation which holds the keys to the bottomless pit and binds Satan with a chain. Keep in mind, then, though you see many names describing this One Like the Son of Man or Ancient of Days, and though you see many angels performing his work, in reality He is One. Be not confused, then, by the names. So in Isaiah again it is said:
Isaiah 41.28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
Still The Word, who is our Servant, Israel, is unto them, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. And the Lord reassures us more how he shall bring forth judgment:
Isaiah 42.1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
42.2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
42.3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto Truth.
42.4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his Law.