Christ in Genesis: the Tower of Babel

Like the account of Noah, the account of the Tower of Babel seems at first glance to indicate nothing more than God’s wrath and punishment. Yet Christ is present even in this short section of the Bible. We perceive the wisdom of God’s judgment, and we also pick up a clue about the final reconciliation of the world to God through Jesus Christ from this account.

The descendants of Noah gathered on the plain of Shinar, which is now in modern Iraq. Here they decided to bake bricks and build a city which would include a tower with its top in the heavens. These actions violated no specific commands of God, nor does God frown on our modern cities with their many towers and skyscrapers. The purpose of the builders, however, contradicted the will of God. They said, “Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” God had said, “You, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it” (Genesis 9:7).

The people who wanted to make a name for themselves said, “Come, let us build.” God said, “Come, let us go down.” Father, Son, and Holy Spirit investigated the city and the tower and the hearts of the builders. God said, “Nothing they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” In my opinion, this statement of God was meant as irony. He was echoing what the builders believed, not what God knew to be true.

God’s response to their pride was to cause them to speak a variety of languages so they could no longer understand each other. Not only did each of them hear the others speaking other languages; each of them was convinced that he or she was speaking the right language while the others were speaking the wrong languages. Humble people learn how to communicate with one another in spite of language barriers. Proud people, even today, insist that they are speaking the right language; they say that other people should learn their language if they have anything to say to them. Because these people were proud, they were unable to work together. They abandoned the city and the tower and were dispersed over the face of the earth. This dispersal was exactly what God had wanted, and it was exactly what the builders had hoped to avoid.

Judgment and punishment are one answer to sin. Forgiveness and reconciliation are another answer to sin. God prefers the second answer. Therefore he sent his Son, the Word made flesh, to atone for sin and to reconcile the world to God. When the time was right, Jesus offered his body as a sacrifice. He died and was buried. On the third day he rose again from the dead. He spent time with his disciples, explaining what he had done and why. Then, forty days after his resurrection, he ascended into heaven to fill the universe in every way.

Fifty days after his resurrection, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on his Church. Everyone in the city heard the sound of a rushing wind—a signature event, since in the Biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek) the same word means both wind and spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were marked with tongues of fire. They began to talk about Jesus, and the various people from various parts of the world all heard the Christians sharing the good news of Jesus in different languages—each listener heard the Gospel in his or her own language.

With this miracle, God showed that sins were forgiven and reconciliation had happened. The results of sin—including the judgment which resulted in many languages—were reversed by the work of Jesus. God dispersed the many nations, but from those many nations he has assembled one Kingdom, which is the Holy Christian Church. In this Church, the work of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit continues to be accomplished all over the world. When God gathers his people, they come from every tribe and nation and language, united by one Savior and by one Holy Spirit. J.

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57 thoughts on “Christ in Genesis: the Tower of Babel

  1. Beloved brother Salvageable, chosen vessel of God,
    I know you have been conditioned to think that anyone who would dare to question Paul is a heretic. Many religions have their one special person who, they believe, isn’t god- but yet this special person never intentionally did anything specific that was “wrong” – at least one practically speaking. This special person has a special title – “The Virgin”, “The Prophet”, “The Apostle to the Gentiles’……..

    What were Paul’s specific sins and mistakes as a Christian? Here are 5 to get the discussion started:

    .1) Paul’s boastful conflicting false testimonies, exaggerating and making things up about his conversion experience in Acts 22 & 26, compared to what actually happened (recorded by Luke in Acts 9).

    .2) Paul lying to the Ephesian elders saying he was “compelled by the Spirit” going to Jerusalem, when in truth he was clearly disobeying God. [Acts 19:21 – 22:21]
    .
    3) Paul exaggerating his ministry in Ephesus claiming it was “3 years night and day with tears” when really it was 3 months in the synagogue and 2 years daily in a lecture hall.
    [Acts 20:31 vs Acts 19:8-10]

    .4) Paul abandoning the Church in Corinth after a year and a half for no obvious reason, and going off on another long trip, mostly on his own, without appointing anyone else in Corinth as overseer, or giving anyone else any specific authority in the Church in Corinth. [Acts 18] After that, Paul was acting as an abusive absentee overseer / elder / pastor to the Church in Corinth years after he abandoned them, and clinging to all power and claim to control of money and all aspects of the church ministry, while he was hundreds of miles away teaching full-time in his own school in Ephesus. [1 & 2 Corinthians.]

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    • Dear Matthew,
      If I were to join you in renouncing Paul and all his works and all his ways, what doctrines of the Church would I also have to abandon? Please leave the greatest commandment off the list; I acknowledge that Jesus firmly stated that Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is the Greatest Commandment, and I will not disagree with Him. But what else has Paul written that has been taught by Christians but is against the will of the Lord?
      I will also concede that some of Paul’s decisions regarding his ministry appear to be faulty–especially his rush toward martyrdom in Jerusalem when he was clearly warned what was to happen. I am not sure that such sinful errors in judgment impeach him from apostleship. Some of your other examples are cases where different details are given on different occasions about the same event, much as Matthew, Mark, and Luke sometimes describe an event with different details without contradicting each other. J.

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      • Salvageable,
        you wrote QUOTE: “I acknowledge that Jesus firmly stated that Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is the Greatest Commandment, and I will not disagree with Him. But what else has Paul written that has been taught by Christians but is against the will of the Lord?”
        And you Paul’s acknowledge POSSIBLE “ministry errors” in a vague, general, theoretical, theological sense – where Paul MIGHT have been wrong – MAYBE. But in the same breath, you then backpedal and provide cover for Paul- maybe it’s not so clear, or it wasn’t really so bad as to “impeach him from apostleship”……

        You, me, and basically the entire Evangelical church establishment, has been programmed to immediately reject the notion that “Paul was wrong.” At heart, you believe that’s heresy, and if Paul did or said something, then it must be basically right or basically true – it couldn’t be flat out WRONG. There must be some good logical reason for it, and if we just search the Bible enough we can find a plausible explanation which would provide mitigating circumstances to defend Paul and his behavior or words. We’ve been trained to elevate Paul and put down Peter and the other true Apostles, and really almost everyone else Paul came in contact with and disagreed with. Paul must be right, and they all must be wrong. Paul’s heart was in the right place, and he “did it for evangelism”, so even if he might have been technically wrong, it’s OK – we have been trained to think. Because Paul was special, and not under the Law, so the normal rules don’t apply to Paul – why, he’s THE Apostle to the Gentiles, after all….. right?
        WRONG.

        So “Jesus firmly stated that Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is the Greatest Commandment, and I will not disagree with Him.”
        But,
        Paul DID disagree with Jesus, and you still can’t bring yourself to say Paul was wrong.
        This is a spiritual stronghold, due to you repeating Paul’s “mantra” that I wrote about earlier here. “All Scripture is God-breathed” (or “inspired by God.”)
        Only Paul said or wrote this – once. No one agreed with Him in the pages of the Bible. And anyway, it doesn’t refer to “the 66 Books of the Bible”, it doesn’t say every word in the Bible is the word of God or all equal. In terms of Paul’s personal ministry, Paul didn’t write Acts, and there is no reason to believe Luke didn’t record some Paul’s sins and mistakes along the way. We have no biblical basis to assume that simply because Paul did something it must have been right. or simply because Paul said something recorded in Acts it must have been true. The Gospel writers recorded Peter denying 3 times he knew Jesus. It’s true he SAID it – it doesn’t mean what he said was true.

        I’ve laid out the facts from the pages of the Bible about what an “Apostle” is. They were 12 faithful and personally appointed men, qualified to testify about the entire earthly ministry of Jesus. The 11 appointed by Jesus, plus Matthias, the final and 12th Apostle. That’s it. Simple. Luke’s editorial comments in Acts 14 don’t prove anything about Paul being appointed an Apostle. In Acts 15, Luke and the voices of others Luke records go out of their way to indicate that Paul and Barnabas WERE NOT apostles.

        The Beatles said “all we need is love”, and Paul agreed with them.
        They were wrong. You need to face that directly, prayerfully, and with courage. There is already plenty written here to consider.

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      • Matthew, I appreciate your efforts to defend the position that Paul was a false apostle. I am still interested in discussing, not the history of Paul’s ministry, but his doctrines. Aside from identifying the greatest commandment and claiming the mantle of apostleship, where else do you find Paul at fault? Which of his teachings (aside from those I mentioned) are opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ? J.

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      • Salvageable,
        I was thinking to suggest that we go through Paul’s ministry recorded by Luke in Acts and expose the truth. That way, we already agree theologically and theoretically that we are simply examining a narrative about imperfect men, (Like David’s adultery & murder, Peter lying 3 times denying Jesus, etc.) But perhaps you already can see enough about Paul in Acts to realize that his ministry is like Swiss cheese.

        While there are dozens of examples of Paul’s false teaching, I’ll share one with you that I just came across myself last week. I simply believed Paul for over 20 years on this, without checking, and I was blinded to the text of the 10 commandments even after reading them hundreds of times.

        Ephesians 6:2-3
        Is this really “the first commandment with a promise” in the 10 commandments as Paul said –
        or is it really the LAST commandment with a promise?
        Look for yourself.
        Exodus 20, or Deuteronomy 5.
        I see 3 other promises before this one, in the commandments relating to Loving God with all my heart and soul and strength – and mind.

        I look forward to your response.

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    • Mr. Perri – I acknowledge your right to share your opinion, but the adamant proclamation of it regarding Paul, seems to be a deep-seated conviction and personal dogma which begs for examination and clarification. While on one hand you appear to accept the scripture as valid, you retain the private interpretation of it as equally legitimate, even though THAT notion contradicts Scripture a whole. You have declared things about Paul’s motivations that would require you to have at the very least personally interviewed the man. How do you determine him to be lying about being “compelled by the Spirit”, just because others were persuaded differently? You would also have to have literally been with him 24/7 to confidently judge whether or not his claim, “3 years night and day with tears” was expressed as to be taken literally of merely as an expression. Your 5 questions are completely redundant. You ask, “What were Paul’s specific sins and mistakes as a Christian?” If those things were indeed ‘sins’ and ‘mistakes’ – Paul is NOT a true Christian, but rather a heretic! If he is a heretic, then A full third of the NT is also heretical. But if this were so, then ANY references to Paul by other passages in scripture would also be heresy. But your logic is based on circular reasoning, whereby you base your arguments on evidence you question. If scripture is true and an accurate record of the events you question, then the reports of Paul’s ministry must also be authentic. If NOT, you have no basis for your argument against Paul, merely a question of divine inspiration. If they are factual, then how could divine inspiration have misrepresented Paul’s true ‘motivations’? Are you frustrated by the fulfillment of the Law by Grace?

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      • “How do you determine him to be lying about being “compelled by the Spirit”, just because others were persuaded differently? You would also have to have literally been with him 24/7 to confidently judge whether or not his claim, “3 years night and day with tears” was expressed as to be taken literally of merely as an expression.”

        .1)
        Just read Acts 19:21- Acts 22:21. That’s just 3 chapters.
        Either Paul was right in this singular claim about himself,
        and Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the disciples in Tyre, Agabus, Luke, and everyone else was wrong- or
        They were all right, and
        PAUL was wrong.

        .2)
        For the record, how long WAS Paul in Ephesus, approximately? About 3 years, or about 2 years and 3 months? Not how long Paul might have felt he was there, or what Paul really must have been thinking, or what Paul really meant, or what Paul believed in “good faith”…
        How long was Paul actually there? 2 years 3 months, as Luke recorded? or 3 years, as Luke recorded Paul boastfully claiming?

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      • Mr. Perri – In due respect, you do realize that Paul visited Ephesus more than once? 1st, in the spring of 52 A.D (Acts 18:18 – 21) he established the church there, but stayed only an unnumbered amount of ‘days’. The term ‘days’ could be literal 24 hour periods, or a much longer spam of time as in the title “Ancient of Days”. Paul visited Ephesus a 2nd time when Luke reports the duration of THAT stay was 3-1/2 years. Acts 19: 1-6 reports that visit and shows Paul’s qualification as an apostle similar to Peter’s when the Holy Spirit fell on those gathered and spoke in tongues.

        Mind you, Paul’s ability to introduce the Holy Spirit is in stark contrast to Luke’s other report of Simon the sorcerer of whom Luke said, “when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” This is in Acts 8, where Paul is still referred to as Saul and Luke most assuredly reports his actions as sinful, persecuting the church and even being an eye-witness consenting to Stephen’s execution.

        Later Luke says, “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ Ac. 9:22” Then, in this SAME chapter, Peter’s ministry is expounded upon. How are we to discern where Luke is reporting accurately opposed to the inaccurate reports Luke gives regarding Paul? Your question, “How long was Paul actually there? 2 years 3 months, as Luke recorded? or 3 years, as Luke recorded Paul boastfully claiming?” is absurd, since it is the SAME author reporting both seeming contradictions! Either both are true and accurate – where it is NOT Luke’s reports that are flawed, but your comprehension of them – or, Luke is a false witness and BOTH reports are wrong. That would render the entire book of Acts NOT divinely inspired, and therefore no more reliable than the Apocrypha. I seriously doubt you actually graduated and received a Master’s degree. You may have attended Talbot for a brief time, but NEVER graduated under a designated degree. Your knowledge is far too limited to the simplicity of common error frequently supposed as valid criticism by uneducated self-proclaimed wizards. Care to give DIRECT answers to my questions? How about producing a copy of your degree?

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      • Luke accurately reported what happened, and then accurately reported Paul lying about what happened, about two different items in the same speech to the Ephesian elders. (his reason for going to Jerusalem, and how long he ministered in Ephesus.)

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    • Dear Matthew,
      Thank you for your interesting replies. Rather than discussing details about the greatest commandment or the first commandment with a promise, I would like to ask you about Paul’s more significant statements. Do you agree or disagree with each of these? (Feel free to address them individually.)
      1. “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
      2… Jesus our Lord… was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
      3. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works….”
      4. “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with
      God something to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
      5. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” J.

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      • Ephesians 6:2-3 is a very specific statement by Paul about the 10 commandments. Like some of his other specific statements, Galatians 5:14, Romans 13:8-10, 1 Corinthians 13, it eliminates God from the picture. It puts the focus on man, WITHOUT God, just as in the Tower of Babel.
        Rather than dodging the issue yet again, lets face it.
        In the first 4 commandments, about how we should love God, I see 3 specific promises by God. I didn’t see them until last week, amazingly, but they were always there. I just was blinded to the truth by believing Paul’s very specific statement in Ephesians 6:2-3.
        Do you see those 3 promises BEFORE the last promise in the fifth commandment?

        I’m not going to play Paul’s game by letting Paul define or re-define words according to his own ideas. (like “one rule” or “apostle” or “grace.”)
        If you have a “Red Letter edition”, you can see that the only time “grace” appears in the “Red Letters” is Paul claiming that Christ spoke to him personally, telling him “my grace is sufficient for you.” No other place. Yes, the Gospel writers and true Apostles used the term a few times- but Jesus did not, except this once – and It’s a provable fact from the text of Acts that Paul exaggerated, made things up, and put words in God’s mouth that God never said. Compare Acts 9 with Acts 22 & 26.

        Jesus is my standard of comparison, backed up by the Law and the Prophets which He came to fulfill (not “abolish” or “do away with,” as Paul falsely claimed.)
        I don’t have to agree with Paul to be a follower of Jesus. No one does. The church in Acts 8 was doing great without Paul’s teachings.

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  2. Mr. Perri – How rather arrogant to imply that sound doctrine is merely an opinion and then completely refute your own argument by inserting your own opinion. You make reference to verse FIFTEEN – “we mistakenly believe Paul could have been referring to the letter he was in process of writing, and the 66 Books of the Bible, which is impossible. You can see 2 Timothy 3:15, yes FIFTEEN, the verse before 3:16”. Why NOT the ENTIRE third chapter – the point in CONTEXT – that many deceivers will come (just as Jesus taught)? “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” 2Tim. 3: 5-7.

    If Paul is to be rejected because he teaches his OWN doctrine opposing Christ’s, then why did the original apostles receive him, and acknowledge him as one of their own? “Barnabas took him (PAUL), and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. “ – Ac. 9:27. “Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul…” – Ac. 14:14. Is the book of Acts also NOT scripture?

    Then you argue – “What is an indisputable fact from the text of 1 Corinthians 13 is the GOD has disappeared.” Proper understanding of contextual renderings (NOT taking passages out of their original context) demands that any evaluation of 1Cor. 13 necessitates the full comprehension of 1Cor 12 which leads into the “the most excellent way” – 1Cor. 12:31. God and His gifting of the Body of Christ is the topic that leads into the discussion about ‘perfect love’. It is NOT a heresy, that introduces some ‘godless love’ like you imply. In fact, it is a personification of GOD working in and through true born again believers. It is the evident ‘fruit’ by which Jesus said, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them” – Mt. 7:20.Or do you also reject “It is God working in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure” – Phil. 2:13? That is Paul’s explanation referring to the Holy Spirit’s residency in true believers that Jesus promised. “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells WITH you and will be IN you” – Jn. 14:17.

    Your quaint little analogy of “Paul the Painter” fully supports your notion that Paul is “an arrogant megalomaniac with a messiah complex, proclaiming; ‘I am not under the law’ but yet making up his own laws as he goes along, that everyone else has to obey”. Sadly, it denies the factual history of Saul of Tarsus, his true conversion to Christ and his anointing by God to expand the Gospel to the Gentiles (which the original apostles had not yet done) – which unless you’re a biological Jew – your very knowledge of Jesus Christ is through his obedience to Christ’s call to preach the kingdom of God to ALL the nations. How is Paul’s declaration, “If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord” – 1Cor. 9:2 any less valid than yours – “I have a Master’s Degree” as some endorsement of your theology?

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    • Dear beloved brother MJThompson, chosen instrument of God,
      How about we begin by agreeing on some basic facts about the text of the Bible first, on two points.

      .1) Which commandment is the first and greatest, most important one,
      according to Jesus,
      speaking in complete consecutive sentences,
      giving a direct specific answer to a direct specific question,
      quoting the Law of Moses,
      twice?
      The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18?

      .2)
      You quote “Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul…” – Ac. 14:14″
      According to the same author in the same book, neither Barnabas nor Paul were ever appointed apostles or recognized as apostles in any way in Acts 1, 6, 9, 13, or 15.
      Neither Jesus, nor any other author of Scripture except Paul writing about himself, ever refers to Paul as an apostle in any way at all, except for Acts 14, written by Luke, Paul’s Gentile travelling companion and biographer.

      So please quote me Scripture showing me exactly who appointed Paul (and Barnabas) apostles, when, and where? Luke isn’t recording anyone else’s words or actions, these are Luke’s editorial comments. Are you saying Luke appointed Paul an apostle? Then why didn’t Luke or anyone else in Acts 15 recognize Paul as an apostle? Luke came along decades after Jesus rose from the dead. And since Luke himself, was not an apostle, what gives him the right to appoint apostles? When? Where? Who in the pages of Scripture acknowledged that?

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      • Mr. Perri – I shall not dignify your 1st request because the common ground that can be established between us already exists – if you accept it – we can respectfully agree to disagree. It matters NOT what opinions about the 1st & greatest commandment, because we diametrically oppose each others theology on the topic. Christ came to fulfill the Law, and introduce a NEW COVENANT (which replaces the OLD). Since we disagree about that, any further elaboration is merely self-serving redundancy.

        Regarding your point #2 – “…neither Barnabas nor Paul were ever appointed apostles or recognized as apostles in any way in Acts 1, 6, 9, 13, or 15.” The historical record proves you wrong. The chapters you cite (Acts 1, 6) declare church history BEFORE Paul’s conversion, so quite naturally, THEY would not include him as an apostle. Chapter 9 of course includes the full story of how Paul became an apostle, have you ever read it?

        Precisely in Acts 13, the account explains that the HOLY SPIRIT sent Paul. “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Ac. 13:2). The manner in which ‘appointments’ were bestowed (“appointed apostles”) in the early church was by the ceremonious ‘laying on of hands’ –designating the anointing of God. “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away” – Ac. 13:3. Notice this was the result of the Holy Spirit’s direction AFTER they had fasted & prayed. So your dispute over Paul’s apostleship is CONTRARY to scripture and the Holy Spirit’s approval.

        As you said, Luke was NOT an apostle – but to imply that he ‘twisted’ facts in writing Acts. is to say that Acts is NOT by divine inspiration. Further consistent with every true work of God, the subsequent immediate ‘fruits’ of Paul’s endeavor resulted the preaching of THE WORD OF GOD. John accompanied them as an endorsement, quite contrary to your argument.- “neither Barnabas nor Paul were ever appointed apostles or recognized as apostles in any way”.

        Your other statement – “Neither Jesus, nor any other author of Scripture except Paul writing about himself, ever refers to Paul as an apostle in any way at all…” Is equally errant. Peter spoke of Paul recognizing him as a true ‘brother in the Lord’, hardly the kind of fond endorsement one would expect if Paul was indeed a deceiver and heretic as you claim. “…consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you…” – 2Pt. 3:15.

        Finally, to address your questions – “When? Where? Who in the pages of Scripture acknowledged that?” The 15th chapter in Acts presents very clear evidence that Paul had long ago recanted of his FORMER association with the Pharisees. They represented a faction that came to be known as the ‘Judaizes’ demanding that all new converts to Christ be obedient to Mosaic Law and undergo ceremonial circumcision. Read the ENTIRE chapter – it is very clear that the apostles determined that no such burden be placed on Gentile believers. Also, It is by the direction and anointing of the Holy Spirit that Paul was sent out from the conclusion of the Council to proclaim the results to the Gentiles – very strange to send a heretic with such an important message.

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      • You have not (yet) agreed with Jesus on which one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one – The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18. If we can’t agree on that, we don’t have common ground.

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  3. Dear Salvageable,
    Secondly,
    You wrote above QUOTE:
    “No evidence exists that the apostles rejected Paul’s claim to be called by Jesus as an apostle–Peter even says this of Paul’s letters: “…just as our beloved Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable do to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (II Peter 3:15-16).”

    This statement from Peter IS evidence, my beloved brother Salvageable!
    The Apostle Peter was familiar with a number of Paul’s letters, where over and over Paul claimed he was an “apostle” -yet Peter never affirmed or implied this anywhere in his own words! Peter never recognized Paul as an apostle! He said “beloved brother.” In context, it’s a sort of kind, polite, but direct put-down. He said Paul had “wisdom” – like Proverbs perhaps – not “revelation” or “God’s words”. And Peter warned us that “some things in them that are hard to understand.” That is not an endorsement, it’s advice not to take them too seriously. Anyway, if you look at the context of Peter chapter 3, you will see that Peter was referring specifically to Paul’s comments about “these matters”, meaning the “end times.” Not everything Paul taught. Not everything Paul claimed about himself. Not every word Paul ever said and wrote. Just “these matters.”

    Evidence DOES exist that JESUS rejected Paul’s claim to be called by Jesus as an apostle. This was recorded by the Apostle John [Revelation 2:1-2]

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    • “… as they do the other Scriptures.” If Paul’s writings are among the Scriptures, then Paul is an apostle. Regarding twelve and thirteen apostles, there is precedent–the tribes of Israel were twelve, yet there were thirteen of them. J.

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      • ……”If Paul’s writings are among the Scriptures…..”
        Where are you getting your definition that “the Scriptures” means “the 66 Books of the Bible”?
        And where are you getting the idea that every word in “the Scriptures” is “God-breathed” or “inspired by God” or “The Word of God” and is EQUAL in authority, importance, accuracy, relevance, and value to the Words of Jesus, or the Law of Moses and the Prophets?

        No one in the page of the Bible ever said that all Scripture is EQUAL. Not even Paul said that.
        And why are you so sure about Paul’s supposed “apostleship” when Paul himself was not so sure? In the face of people in Corinth who knew better, Paul backed down, and resorted to an argument for relative truth.
        “”Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you!” [1 Corinthians 9:2]
        So Paul admitted he was not an apostle to you or to me. Why are you insisting he was?

        Many self-professed “Bible-believing Evangelicals” won’t listen to the words of Jesus, because they are brainwashed through reciting their “mantra” – “all scripture is God-breathed.”

        This “Evangelical Mantra” has been accepted by the collective subconscious mind of “The Evangelical Church” without thought, question, reflection, or even 2 witnesses from the Scripture itself. It’s based on a misinterpretation, out of context, of one verse in one letter written by one man, Paul the Pharisee, who was unfamiliar with the personal ministry and teaching of Jesus.

        But, “Once an idea has been accepted by your subconscious, it remains there and it governs your behavior until it is replaced or changed.” [ as a pastor named Bishop Dale C. Bronner observed in one of his sermons]

        (Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary.) Mantra (noun) (Hinduism.) A sacred formula believed to embody the divinity invoked and to possess magical power, used in prayer and incantation.

        When cult members repeat their mantra, it makes them deaf to the voice of God, unable to hear God. Instead, it puts their focus on their one “special man” above all others – his personality, words and teachings, character, life example, feelings, experience, intentions, mind, will, emotions, etc. Their cult leader is their hero – he is always right, could never be wrong about anything specific, and he must be obeyed in all things and never questioned. He will give himself a special title, write at least one special book, and claim special authority, with no need for a second witness to back him up.
        Here are 3 examples.

        .1) Fuhrer. The title of Adolf Hitler as the leader of the German Nazis, author of “Mein Kamph”. Mantra: “Heil Hitler.”

        .2) The self-appointed Prophet Muhammad, author of The Koran. Mantra: …..”and Muhammad is his prophet.”

        .3) Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed Apostle to the Gentiles, whose 13 letters comprise one third of what, today, we call the “New Testament.” (The first, original “New Testament” was composed by the second century heretic Marcion, and he coined the term “New Testament.” His new “book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. There were no other “New Testament” books, and the Hebrew Scriptures were the “Old Testament” which was irrelevant, according to the heretic Marcion.) Mantra: “All Scripture is God-breathed….”

        I got my Masters Degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. I was attracted to the school because they put Paul’s mantra of “All Scripture is God-breathed” above everything else, and I wanted to heed Paul’s command and “Preach the Word” like Paul….

        This mantra is a misinterpretation out of context of 2 Timothy 3:16. It ignores the previous verse, 2 Timothy 3:15, which clearly indicates that Paul was NOT referring to his own letters when he wrote the words “All Scripture.”

        Paul was probably making reference to some of the Hebrew Scriptures, quite likely including the Law and the Prophets. We cannot be completely certain exactly which “Scriptures” Paul meant in “All Scripture”, and what Paul meant by “God-breathed.” Why can’t we be certain?

        Because we must establish a matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses, especially something as important as “What is the Word of God.” No one else in the pages of the Bible besides Paul ever said anything like “All Scripture is God-breathed”. And Paul only said it here, one time, in the middle of a personal letter.

        The Apostle Peter made reference to “Prophecy of Scripture,” not “All Scripture,” and no it’s not the same thing at all. Jesus never said anything like that. And no one, not even Paul, ever said that all Scripture was equal.

        I remember the general approach to the Bible at Dallas being that “every word in the 66 Books is the Word of God”….. and we should interpret it based on “the intended meaning of the author in the historical grammatical context.”

        That is the basic idea of the heavy-duty seminary language we were being trained in. It sounds so right, so intelligent, so professional, so “godly”….. but it is fundamentally flawed.

        When we look at Paul’s teachings and testimony about himself, (in his letters that make up 1/3 of the New Testament,) we should NOT immediately ask ourselves; “what did Paul say, what did Paul mean, and how does this apply to my life?” The fundamental question is NOT “what was in the mind of Paul?”

        Before any of that, the FIRST question to ask is; “does Paul agree with Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?”

        Paul contradicted himself, and his teachings and testimony about himself don’t harmonize with the teachings of Jesus (or with Luke’s record of his life.) Let’s not waste our time with endless debates about “what Paul really meant” with his wacky teachings about “baptizing the dead” or “there is neither male nor female.” Paul was wrong. Jesus reminds us from The Law “at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female.” [Matthew 19:4, Genesis 1:27]

        As to the question of “whether the Bible is ALL truly Gods WORDS”…

        The underlying unspoken assumption is that “The Bible” (66 Books) was given to us by God as “one book” and it’s all “equal” in level of authority, priority, and importance. This comes from unconsciously believing Paul’s mantra, the “Evangelical Mantra”, that “All Scripture is God-breathed”, and falsely assuming Paul was referring to every word in the 66 Books of the Bible. Yet even here, not even Paul, not even once, ever said that “All Scripture is EQUAL” in authority, priority, and importance.

        No one in the pages of the Bible ever said or wrote that “all Scripture,” or “the Bible,” is “all truly God’s words”. Jesus never said anything like that, and Jesus did not see it that way. Jesus did not see even the Hebrew Scriptures, what we call the “Old Testament”, as a whole unit or book that was all equal or “all truly God’s words.” Jesus spoke of The Law, or The Law and the Prophets, holding these 2 sections of the Old Testament above the third, least important sections the “Writings.” And Jesus held the Psalms, the first book of the “Writings” section, above the other books in the “Writings” section in importance, since some parts of some Psalms are prophetic.

        Obviously, the New Testament Scriptures were not written when Jesus was walking the earth. But if we want to get closest to The Source, Jesus himself, it makes sense that we should look first to the eyewitness testimony of two of His appointed Apostles who walked with Him faithfully for over 3 years, Matthew & John. (Also to other eyewitness testimony, recorded by Mark and Luke.) This is more accurate, important, and authoritative than personal letters written by Paul the Pharisee, who never knew Jesus personally, had no part in His ministry, and had no eyewitness testimony.

        We should follow the Jesus of the Gospel writers. We should not follow the “jesus” of Paul the Pharisee or Muhammad or any other man, who had their own ideas of who “jesus” was and what He did.

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      • Mr. Perri – I have remained silent until now regarding the idea that Paul (who under inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote 1/3 of the New Testament) is less reliable in doctrine than “Moses and the Prophets?” Theology has always been a hotly debated subject and I entertain absolutely NO notion that my feeble interjection here will remedy that. However, as with every exacting science (and I do NOT imply that Theology is as precise) there are certain ‘rules’ of evidence that must be agreed upon to establish common parameters. Were you absent from college the days your Professor presented those?

        You claim to hold a Master’s Degree in Theology from Talbert? I doubt that, since your method of argument is NOT your own, but obviously borrowed from either the spurious text – ‘The Jefferson Bible’, which is rejected as legitimate Scripture by a consensus of scholars of ancient manuscripts. Or, perhaps you’ve been influenced by an article “The Anti-Christ Paul” written by Abdullah Smith, who claims to have become a new convert to Islam? Regardless the source, you have NOT introduced any NEW arguments about Paul that haven’t been debated for centuries by those who confuse, reject or deny the GRACE God has lavished upon mankind through the New Testament – which is indeed an absolute REPLACEMENT of the former (as is ALWAYS the case with any ‘new’ testament). Anyone holding a Master’s Degree certainly KNOWS that.

        In both Historic & Systematic Theology a three-fold ‘rule’ has been used for centuries to avoid false doctrine when interpreting scripture. 1) Did Jesus Christ CLEARLY proclaim it? 2) Is their evidence that the early church practiced it? 3) Do the Epistles address the topic and/or admonish believers to adhere to it? Obviously, a brief reading of the NT will show one or two of these ‘rules’ evident. But SOUND DOCTRINE requires ALL three. AS to the statement – “And where are you getting the idea that every word in “the Scriptures” is “God-breathed” or “inspired by God”…” Is that too simplistic to qualify as good methodology?

        Scripture DEFINITELY claims Divine influence about itself in several places! If one reads the Bible entertaining any doubt about that, then it is unlikely that their comprehension will be guided by the Holy Spirit. Jesus warned that many desire to look into “the perfect law of liberty” yet seeing they remain ‘blind’ and ‘hearing, they remain ‘deaf. “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” – 2Tim. 3:16. “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in ALL the scriptures the things concerning himself (Jesus Christ)” – Lk. 24:27. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (Jesus)” – Jn. 5:39.

        The important thing is NOT discerning which passages, verses, books, etc. are the authentic “God-breathed” scriptures, but as both Jesus and Paul proclaimed – becoming truly BORN AGAIN. I submit that there are many among us who profess to be born again believers who have NEVER actually experienced the ‘second-birth’ described in Scripture. Apart from being born again, God is Not resident in a person and THAT person remains spiritually DEAD with absolutely NO legitimate spiritual discernment.

        Finally, even Peter (an ‘original apostle) endorsed Paul. “As also in all his (Paul) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” – 2Pt. 3:16. “Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God…” – 1Cor.1:1. “When the apostles, Barnabas and Paul… “ Acts 14:14. “Am I am not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” – 1Cor. 9:1. “Where unto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” – 1Tim. 2:7. To ignore the apostleship of Paul is to decide yourself by private interpretation what is or is not true Scripture, (which is really the ONLY recourse a not yet born again person has). Any idea that Paul’s preaching contradicts Jesus Christ is purely erroneous and evidence of a severe LACK of disciplined research into Scripture and Divine inspiration from the Holy Spirit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • MJThompson,
        you said QUOTE:
        “Any idea that Paul’s preaching contradicts Jesus Christ is purely erroneous and evidence of a severe LACK of disciplined research into Scripture…”

        Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

        “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

        Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

        Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed apostle, wrote otherwise:
        Galatians 5:14 & Romans 13:8-10.

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      • Let’s assume for the moment that, like Marcion, you are able to distinguish the true Word of God from the imposters within the canonical Scriptures as accepted by the first generations of Christians. (Even Martin Luther dares to reject the epistle of James as “an epistle of straw.”) Limiting the New Testament to the apostolic writings (with the omission of Paul), we have two or three gospels and five or six epistles (with Mark and Jude on the cusp due to their relationship with the apostle Peter) and the Apocalypse. Aside from Deuteronomy 6:4-5, what are the central teachings of these books? What does it mean to follow Christ Jesus, based upon the text of these books? J.

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      • Salvageable,
        Marcion was a heretic. His teachings were false. The Church Father Tertullian, in his writings “Against Marcion”, said that “Paul is the apostle to the heretics.”
        You obviously skimmed what I wrote above, and misunderstood. I said:
        The first, original “New Testament” was composed by the second century heretic Marcion, and he coined the term “New Testament.” His new “book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. There were no other “New Testament” books, and the Hebrew Scriptures were the “Old Testament” which was irrelevant, according to the heretic Marcion.

        The Apostle Peter, in his 2nd letter, chapter 3 verse 2, points us to the correct priority in terms of “Scripture.”
        The Law, the Prophets, and “the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.” That would be found in the words of Jesus, recorded by Matthew and John primarily, followed closely by Mark, who had a long-term relationship with Peter and other true Apostles.
        (Not Paul’s commands, or testimony about himself….”)

        Before we rush off to talk about “the application” of the most important commandment, we need to know which one it is. Jesus told us that – can you agree with Jesus? You haven’t given an answer to that yet…. it’s not a new commandment, it’s not “love” or “love your neighbor”. The most important commandment to Jesus is an OLD commandment, and He quoted it…..

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      • No, lets NOT put aside what is most important.

        Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one, (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)
        Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses.

        Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

        “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

        Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

        Like

      • Matthew, I did not misunderstand your reference to Marcion. I quite deliberately used him as an example of one person who took it upon himself to determine which writings reflected the will of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit and which writings did not. Leaders in the early Church met and discussed and prayed about this matter and created a canon of twenty-seven books on the basis of three qualifications. The first is that they were written by a man chosen by Jesus to be an apostle, or by someone closely associated with the apostles (Mark, Luke, James, and Jude). The second is that they were consistent with the teachings of the Church, which came from Jesus through his chosen apostles. The third is that they were known by congregations throughout the Christian world rather than merely in one region. The thirteen epistles signed by Paul, in the opinion of the leaders of the early Church, easily met all three qualifications. No one then doubted that Paul had been chosen by Jesus as an apostle. Aside from your references to Deuteronomy 6:4-5, you have not presented any conflicts between the teachings of Jesus given to the original twelve apostles and the writings of Paul. J.

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      • Salvageable,
        There are many conflicts between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Paul. Since we’ve already been dealing with two, why don’t we resolve those first.
        .1) Which commandment is the first and greatest most important one – the one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 or the one in Leviticus 19:18? We can listen to Jesus speaking in complete sentences and get the definitive answer, without dodging the issue and running to check what Paul said, or rationalizing “what Paul really meant”. The church in Acts 8, before Paul and his writings, before “the road to Damascus”, was doing just fine without any help or input or teachings from Paul – (in spite of Saul the Pharisee’s persecution, actually.) We don’t need to change Jesus’ teachings to “harmonize” them with Paul’s teachings. Where they conflict, and they do multiple times, Paul was wrong.

        .2) Specifically when and where was Paul appointed an apostle, by whom? Paul said so- that’s all you have. Luke’s editorial comments in Acts 14 don’t answer that question. No one appointed him. There are only 12 Apostles, and the 12 is Matthias – this is the unanimous teaching of Jesus and the Apostles Jesus appointed. Paul had a different opinion

        Like

      • Salvageable
        You wrote QUOTE: “the tribes of Israel were twelve, yet there were thirteen of them.”
        No, this reflects lack of knowledge of the Torah. There are only 12 Tribes, from the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel). One of the 12, Joseph, had 2 sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and their descendants are counted as the 2 HALF TRIBES of the Tribe of Joseph. It’s the same people who were present together, starting as a group of 12, since the beginning. It’s not a 13th tribe or a new tribe, it’s just a new way of naming the same people.

        Likewise Matthias was together with Jesus and the 12 appointed Apostles since the ministry of John the Baptist – and only Matthias and one other man met that qualification. There was only 1 position open, the 11 all knew that, and they knew the true meaning of the title “Apostle” (unlike Paul) and Matthias was chosen. They were not picking some outsider like Paul to be the 12th (or 13th) Apostle. That would be like naming the Philistines as the 12th or 13th Tribe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, there was no tribe of Joseph. There was a tribe of Ephraim and a tribe of Manasseh–the tribe of Manasseh was divided into half-tribes, one half east of the Jordan and the other west of the Jordan. Even a very casual reading of the book of Joshua makes this clear. The only mention of a tribe of Joseph is in Revelation 7:8, where the twelve tribes are listed. To keep the list at twelve, both Ephraim and Dan are omitted–possibly because of the idols that Jeroboam erected in those places. J.

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      • Salvageable,
        Numbers 32:”Then Moses gave to the Gadites, the Reubenites and the HALF TRIBE OF MANASSEH son of Joseph the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites.”

        People later on used the term “tribe” more loosely, rather than typing out “half-tribe”, which I can’t blame them for.

        Numbers 1:32 “From the sons of Joseph:
        From the descendants of Ephraim: ……
        1:34 “From the descendants of Manasseh:”

        Numbers 26:28 “The descendants of Joseph by their clans through Manasseh and Ephraim were:…..”

        Deuteronomy 33:13 “About Joseph he said…..’
        33:17 “Such are the tens of thousands of Ephraim, such are the thousands of Manasseh.”

        You are right, they kept the number at 12 by shifting around the labels they put on the existing groups of people. There was no “new tribe.” Matthias was together with the true Apostles and Jesus from the beginning, so when Judas lost his place, Matthias was qualified to step in. Maybe the same thing with the tribes. Either way, it is more evidence, on top of everything else, that Paul was NOT an apostle. The quotations I laid out about what an apostle is according to Jesus and the original Apostles are fairly comprehensive and “airtight” so to speak. I’ve posted this on dozens of blogs over the years, and no one in the world has found any way to refute it from the pages of the Bible, other than “Paul said so” – which is not enough. Just reading Acts 1 should make it clear, if you can tune out the echo of Paul’s voice long enough for The Apostle Peter to get a word in edgewise….

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      • Beloved brother Salvageable,
        “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel”….[Genesis 49:28]

        You brought up a great observation from Revelation 8 about “all the tribes of Israel”, listing 12 – the 11 sons of Israel, with Dan missing, replaced by Manasseh, one of Joseph’s two sons.

        My previous answer may have left you feeling a bit “unsatisfied” or unclear, so I have more for you to chew on.
        Try reading the entire two chapters of Genesis 48-49. Pay special attention to what Jacob/Israel says regarding Ephraim, Manasseh, Dan, and Joseph, including the NIV footnotes.

        In terms of a foundation in the Law,
        although I hesitate to say Genesis 48-49 is a “perfect fit” for what the Apostles did in Acts 1, choosing Matthias (not “Joseph called Barsabbas”) to fill the empty slot for the 12th Apostle, it sure is close……

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    • Interesting that you quote Revelation 2:1-2 as evidence that Paul was not an apostle. THAT specific passage actually PROVES the opposite! Written to the “angel of the church at Ephesus” literally condones the ‘angel’ at Ephesus for REJECTING false apostles, but Paul is the ‘angel’ of the church at Ephesus., where he established it, and labored as its over-seer for several years. Read scripture and the rightful relevance of applied Historical Theology, as any real ‘Master of Divinity’ graduate would have required. While you claim Paul to be a false apostle, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

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      • Your claim, ‘…refute it from the pages of the Bible, other than “Paul said so” – which is not enough…” suggests that Whatever Paul is reported as saying is NOT scripture, even though it is in the Bible? So your interpretation of divine inspiration only applies to what Jesus and those original 12 apostles say? Why doesn’t Jude specifically name Paul as one of the false teachers he warns bout? e is quite specific in naming Enoch whose books are NOT considered under divine inspiration. He also mentions Michael by name, so quite clearly, it was consistent with his literary style to name names. Although you reject Luke’s legitimacy as a writer under divine inspiration, his second book – the Acts of the apostles – records the activity of the early church and corresponds PERFECTLY with secular historians writing about the same period. Nearly 90% of Acts is about the Spirit of God’s work through Paul. So, while Luke also reports on Peter, James, and the other apostles, we can accept Luke’s reports about them, but NOT Paul? Talk about private interpretation!

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      • ????? “Paul is the ‘angel’ of the church at Ephesus., where he established it, and labored as its over-seer for several years.” ????
        And your Biblical basis for these 3 wild claims is?
        Paul didn’t establish the church, and never served as overseer there, as far as we know. He started his own school – for 2 years.
        But you’re still chanting Paul’s mantra, “All Scripture is God-breathed”, so you can’t hear Jesus. You can only hear Paul, and Paul must have been right and could never be wrong, because he’s PAUL the great self-appointed “Apostle to the Gentiles” and He’s special – the rules don’t apply to Paul. He’s not under the Law, but he makes the laws for everyone else as he goes along.

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      • Acts 19:1 is evidence that Paul ‘planted’ the church at Ephesus. When read in proper context (chapter divisions NOT included in original text) with the preceding verses from 18:19-19:1 it is clear that he was instrumental in proclaiming Christ initially there and one at least one subsequent visit (Ac. 20). Of course, your rejection of Acts & all Paul’s Epistles as inspired scripture renders ANY “Biblical basis for these 3 wild claims” MOOT. I still await your proof that you have a Master’s degree from a reputable theological university. It is quite obvious that you are a Judaizer, but without the degree you claim to hold, you likely are uneducated about the Historic break from Judaism that opened the Gospel to Gentile nations of which Paul most certainly is an “Apostle to the Gentiles”. You claim to accept only portions of the NT written by Christ’s ORIGINAL 12, so be blessed in that, and hopefully your relationship with God will suffice. Peace!

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      • Why not read the rest of Act 19? And Luke’s record further in Acts? There is no evidence Paul planted the Church in Ephesus, or was it’s overseer, and he never even claimed to be. He started his own school, where he could be Boss and accountable no one, and he taught there for 2 years. As for Paul being “the angel”……
        Ha Ha Ha ! Thank you for making me laugh. You’re doing the Evangelical Mexican Hat Dance around Paul’s sins, and singing the Rapture of:
        BOSS PAUL THE PHARISEE
        [sing it to the tune of “Rapture” by Blondie]

        I’m Boss Paul, the Pharisee
        My hypocrisy’s plain for the world to see
        I travel the land and travel the sea
        to make a convert who is just like ME

        “All have sinned” – we know that’s true
        but it never means ME – it only means YOU
        My sins are all theoretical
        “I’m the worst of sinners”- but don’t ask where

        To be more like Jesus is what some strive
        except for me – I’ve already arrived
        I’m the perfect model since the road to Damascus
        What were Paul’s sins? Don’t ask us!

        I justify everything I do
        If I testify about myself it MUST be true
        I’m the only man in all history
        whose testimony doesn’t need two or three

        If I did something it MUST be right
        Don’t use the Scripture to shed any light
        Don’t do as I say, do as I do
        and then you can be a Pharisee too.

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      • Thank you for proving, at least to you, that ignorance is bliss. I gave you every respectful consideration, yet you are obsessed with ridiculing scriptures that are clear evidence of contradiction to your opinions. Mr. Perri, you’ve had chances to prove me wrong, but won’t provide any evidence to substantiate your claimed credentials. I can no longer waste time responding to such juvenile ideology that claims Paul is a heretic. Goodbye sir.

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  4. In the Tower of Babel, they wanted to “do their own thing” – without God, or God’s instructions.
    Many churches today likewise won’t listen to God’s voice or God’s instructions – they want “love” without God. They don’t know the Most Important commandment. No, it’s not “love.”

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing your poem. I think that, as Paul describes love, he is describing the perfect love of Jesus in His righteous life. Of course we are meant to imitate that love. But Paul’s “if I” beginning is followed by “love is” and “love is not”–the ego disappears. Read I Corinthians 13 again but treat each instance of “love” as “Christ’s love.” You are right about this–if we love our neighbors or our enemies but do not love God more and trust God more and fear God more, then we are turning our neighbors or our enemies into idols. J.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Salvageable,
        Thanks your response, and your thoughts. You wrote, QUOTE:
        “I think that, as Paul describes love, he is describing…..”

        You are giving your opinion about what was in the unwritten, unknowable “mind of Paul” almost 2000 years ago – and someone else might have a different opinion about “what Paul really meant” or “what Paul was talking about”, etc. In the Evangelical Tradition, we were trained that way – to seek the “intended meaning of the author of Scripture” and assume that he must have been correct. We were taught to assume that all Scripture “harmonizes” with the teachings of Jesus – because it’s all “God-breathed” – because Paul said so, once, out of context, and we mistakenly believe Paul could have been referring to the letter he was in process of writing, and the 66 Books of the Bible, which is impossible. You can see 2 Timothy 3:15, yes FIFTEEN, the verse before 3:16.

        Whether “the ego disappears” or not could be a very long discussion. What is an indisputable fact from the text of 1 Corinthians 13 is the GOD has disappeared. There is nothing at all about God – Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, or God’s word in Paul’s famous “love” chapter. It’s love without God, which is Satan’s message.

        Parable of the House Painters

        A homeowner called his friend, who was a painting contractor. “Friend, I want to hire you and your team to paint my house and my garage. Paint the house first, and I’ll stay in the garage until you’re done. Then when the paint is dry, I’ll move back into the house, and you can paint the garage.”

        The painting contractor hired a new foreman named Paul, and gave him the homeowner’s instructions. (Paul insisted that all the workers show respect for him by addressing him as “Boss Paul.”) Paul called the team of painters together and told them:
        “Boys, we need to paint this garage and house. The quicker we do it, the more profitable it is for us. So get to work! Since the garage is smaller, we can finish that quicker. Then those who finished the garage can go help the others finish the house.”

        One worker objected: “But Boss Paul, those were not the owner’s instructions! We are supposed to paint the house first. Only after the house is finished and the paint is dry can we go and paint the garage.”

        Paul replied: “I’m Boss, you work for me, and you do as I say. We are painters, and we paint. We don’t have time for debates about ‘which one is first’. We need to get to work applying that paint to the garage and house as quick as we can. Which owner would be upset if we finished early? The job is to paint the garage and house – what difference does it make ‘which one is first’”?

        “It makes a big difference to the owner,” the worker objected. To which Paul replied, “you’re fired.” Paul then took his team of painters, and started painting the garage and the house.

        When the homeowner returned in the evening, he was furious. He had nowhere to sleep, and had to go stay in a hotel for several days. The homeowner’s friend, the painting contractor, apologized, and explained:

        “I hired a new foreman named Paul, but that was a huge mistake. He ignored your instructions that I passed on to him. You don’t know him, and I’ve just barely met him.
        To be extremely polite, I could say that Paul ‘says some things which are difficult to understand.’ To be more direct, I could say Paul talks like an arrogant megalomaniac with a messiah complex, proclaiming; ‘I am not under the law’ but yet making up his own laws as he goes along, that everyone else has to obey. Paul said: ‘I became your father…. therefore I urge you to imitate me,’ and ‘I have become all things to all men.’ Paul thinks he’s Boss, and doesn’t need to listen to your instructions that I gave him.”

        In Matthew 22 and Mark 12, Jesus identified two commandments, saying one of them is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clearly you do not like the apostle Paul and do not believe that he was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Tell me more, please, of your view of Jesus and of his place in your life. J.

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      • Dear beloved brother Salvageable, chosen instrument of God,

        I believe and follow the Lord God Jesus Christ of the Gospels, the Jewish Messiah, only begotten Son of Yahweh the Most High God of Heaven and Earth,
        who said the following, quoting the Law of Moses, which He came to fulfill, not abolish:

        “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

        Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

        I don’t accept the teachings of another man who said otherwise. [Galatians 5:14, Romans 13:8-10]
        How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I also put my trust in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the Word who became flesh to rescue sinners and reconcile them to his Father.In my many years as a Christian, I have never met a follower of Jesus who said that the apostle Paul was not faithful to Christ Jesus. I’m interested in the steps by which you reached this conclusion? Do you mind sharing? J.

        Like

      • Dear Salvageable,
        Since you asked, we can start with what this. Paul claimed he was appointed an apostle – but in the pages of Scripture he was alone with that claim. If you think otherwise, then please tell me, who appointed Paul an apostle, when, where, and who said that. At what point in time did Paul become an apostle, even THE “Apostle to the Gentiles”??
        Please quote me chapter and verse to provide a second witness, beyond “Paul said so.”

        “What is an Apostle?”
        Here is the answer based on the original sources:
        The words and actions of Jesus and the Original Apostles in the text of the New Testament.

        .1) Gospel of Mark – time lag between being appointed and being sent
        “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him…” [Mark 3:13-14]

        Three chapters later,
        “Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” [Mark 6:6-7]

        .2) Gospel of Luke – time lag between being appointed and being sent
        “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon…..” [Luke 6:12-14]

        Again three chapters later,
        “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” [Luke 9:1-2]

        .3) Gospel of Matthew – which is organized by theme, not necessarily in chronological order.
        “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon…” [Matthew 10:1]

        Without any clear time reference, continuing on the theme of the Apostles, Matthew does record “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions…” [Matthew 10:5] Matthew never said that the Apostles were “sent out” immediately after being appointed. If we didn’t also have the clear records in Mark and Luke, it would be a fairly logical assumption that Jesus sent them out right away, but it would still be just an assumption. In this case, that assumption would clearly be wrong. The Twelve Apostles were absolutely NOT sent out right away after being appointed Apostles, according to Mark chapters 3 through 6, and Luke chapters 6 through 9.

        So being an Apostle of Jesus involves being sent by Jesus, yes. But that isn’t the only meaning, or even the first and primary meaning. The first thing was “that they might be with Him” personally, together, for His entire earthly ministry, from the time of John the Baptist until Jesus rose to heaven. Jesus poured his life into the 12 Apostles for 3 ½ years very personally training them to be the leaders of the church, and Jesus chose Peter as first among equals.

        The NIV translation inserts the heading “Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas” for the passage Luke wrote in Acts 1:12-26]. The NIV headings were not part of the original text, and sometimes they can be misleading, but in this case I believe the heading is right on.

        Jesus and the Original Apostles knew what an Apostle is better than anyone else in the world. Why is this a strange idea? Why do so many people frequently attack and tear down and dismiss the Original Apostles, particularly Peter, as if they were all incompetent, stupid, and wrong in so many ways, and they didn’t even know what an “Apostle” was? The answer to that question is, they have been listening to the voice of Paul, rather than the voices of Jesus and the Original Apostles.

        As we consider the question “what is an Apostle”, we should carefully listen to the words of the leader that Jesus personally appointed as first among the Apostles, and trained personally for 3 ½ years, Peter.

        “It is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” [Acts 1:21-22]

        Neither Paul, nor James, nor Luke were with Jesus and the Apostles the whole time, so they were not qualified to be a “witness with the Apostles of Jesus’ resurrection”, which is what it means to be an Apostle. Matthias was qualified, appointed, and later recognized as part of The Twelve. No one except Judas ever lost his apostleship.

        Responding to a question from Peter,
        “Jesus said to them:
        …you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19:28]

        We cannot prove that Judas was present at that time, and we cannot prove that Matthias was absent at that time when Jesus spoke those words. Even if Judas was physically present, as we all realize now, he was not a true follower of Jesus. And even if Matthias was physically absent at that particular occasion, Jesus is still establishing the basic qualification for having one of the twelve thrones as being “you who have followed me,” not someone who will follow Jesus in the future, like Paul, James, Luke or anyone else in the world.

        At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His Apostles:
        “You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred on one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Luke 22:28-30]

        Was Judas present when Jesus spoke those words? Even if someone wants to be argumentative and say we can’t prove that Judas wasn’t there at the time, we certainly can’t prove that Judas WAS there. Judas obviously didn’t stand by Jesus in his trial, as the whole world knows. But that was the requirement Jesus gave to “sit on thrones:” “You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” “You”, speaking to His 11 Apostles who had been walking with Him faithfully for 3 ½ years. Not others in the future who will follow the risen Jesus Christ. Notice that at the Last Supper, when Judas lost his throne and Matthias was definitely absent, Jesus chose to speak of “thrones” rather than “twelve thrones” as he had previously.

        The Apostle John recorded about the New Jerusalem,
        “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” [Revelation 21:14]

        The Apostles are 12 faithful eyewitnesses who walked with Jesus during His entire earthly ministry, and Matthias is the 12th. That’s the short version of my definition of “what is an Apostle.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Matthew,
        Thank you for your reply about the significance of apostleship. Definitely the reports of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as the account of Acts 1 which defines discipleship, are the foundation of any understanding of who can be an apostle.
        In Acts 22:21, Paul quotes Jesus as saying to him, “Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.” The Greek word translated “send” in that sentence is exapostelo, from which the noun “apostle” is derived. Paul concedes that he was called by Christ at an awkward time, “as to one untimely born” (I Corinthians 15:8). But in passages such as
        Romans 1:1-6, he defends his call as an apostle. No evidence exists that the apostles rejected Paul’s claim to be called by Jesus as an apostle–Peter even says this of Paul’s letters: “…just as our beloved Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable do to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (II Peter 3:15-16).
        As the New Testament was being formed in the early church, no one doubted the authority of Paul’s letters–they did question the place of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation in the canon. If they had known of any reason to question Paul’s authority as an apostle, that would have been the right time to do so. The seven ecumenical church councils and the writers of the early Church all quoted Paul with approval.
        If your chief argument against Paul’s apostleship is based upon Galatians 5:14 and Romans 13:8-10, I respectfully respond that you are taking Paul’s words out of context. Nowhere does Paul deny the primary truth of Deuteronomy 6:4-5. At worst, Paul is conflating the two greatest commandments and emphasizing the second because of the context of his letters and their original readers. I see no evidence that Paul intended to cancel Deuteronomy 6:4-5 or ignore the three times Jesus emphasized that passage as the greatest commandment.
        Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I think that I too have the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 7:40). That was part of his defense of his apostleship. If you are seeking more counter-evidence, proof that Paul was not guided by the Spirit of God, you will need to offer more than Galatians 5:14 and Romans 13:8-10.
        God’s blessings to you. J.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dear beloved brother / chosen instrument Salvageable,
        You have put some thought into this subject, and responded, which I am glad to see.
        Yet, respectfully, I must note that you have dodged the big issues. You are going around and ignoring the text of the Bible itself. Instead, you are appealing to other outside sources. You appeal to writings of some theologians who agree with you, who came hundreds of year later, while ignoring other sources which disagree with your tradition, which you may be unaware of. You “beg the question” quoting a dictionary about the meaning of “apostle” (Rather then quoting Jesus, or the Apostles Jesus appointed, in the text of the Bible itself.) If you do quote the Bible, you are quoting Paul’s own testimony about himself, which disagrees with basically everyone else.

        Firstly,
        Regarding Apostles, you ignore the words of the Apostle John in Revelation 21:14 about “the names of the twelve apostles of the lamb” on the twelve foundation of the New Jerusalem. There is no 13th Apostle.

        Who appointed Paul an apostle, when, where, who said that? Who recognized Paul individually as an apostle? Who gave Paul the title “The Apostle to the Gentiles?”
        No one in Acts 1, 6, 9, 13, or 15. No one at the Council of Jerusalem every said anything about Paul being an apostle. Neither Jesus nor Peter ever said anything at all about Paul being an apostle. Can you acknowledge that?

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      • Dear Matthew, Are you saying that Paul lied in Acts 22:21 when he quoted the Lord Jesus, and that Luke repeated the lie without correction? Otherwise, the Greek stands–I’m not quoting from a dictionary, I am quoting from the original text of the Bible. As to the number of apostles, see my other comment. J.

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      • Dear Salvageable,
        I think Paul probably told the truth in Acts 22:21, recorded by Luke. And Luke also accurately recorded Paul’s personal intentions, agenda, and plans, which Paul decided on his own, without God’s guidance, in Acts 19:21-22. These, and other clues such as Acts 21:4, and 21:10-11, are part of a mountain of evidence that shows Paul lied in Acts 20:22.
        He also exaggerated his ministry in Acts 20:31. “Three years…night and day with tears” is an exaggeration. Really it was accurately recorded by Luke in 19:8-10.

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  5. Good look at the passage. I also think the echoes of Babel continues in Acts in not only the reversal of tongues in bringing people together, but later God will scattered them but this time to make disciples as part of the Great Commission which parallel the Cultural Mandate.

    Good study once again J!

    Liked by 1 person

    • SlimJim,
      …..”make disciples as part of the Great Commission….”

      Jesus, speaking to the 11 Apostles He appointed, the 11 men from Galilee, commissioned them to be going into the world and “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded YOU.” [Matthew 28:20]
      These 11 men who knew Jesus personally were to pass on everything that Jesus had commanded THEM.
      Only 3 of them wrote Scripture – Matthew, John, and Peter – Peter didn’t really quote Jesus directly in his letters. Gospel of Mark is generally understood to be the teaching of Peter and other Apostles who were illiterate at the time, so Mark wrote down their testimony about Jesus and Jesus’ teachings.

      Of course there is a direct, specific application to us today, which is essential and very important.
      However, the end of Matthew’s Gospel is NOT Jesus speaking directly to us, telling us to teach people to obey everything PAUL commanded the church he abandoned in Corinth. Jesus is not telling us to obey ANYTHING Paul commanded, or to believe Pau’s testimony about himself, or to imitate Paul or think of Paul as our “father”….

      Paul did not get his teaching from Jesus, or from the 11 Apostles Jesus appointed. He boasts about that in Galatians chapters 1 & 2. So [Matthew 28:20] is not at all about Paul’s teachings – expect to contradict them where they are wrong.

      Like

      • Dear beloved brother SlimJim, chosen instrument of God,
        Since you love Scripture so much, why don’t you quote some to prove me wrong once and for all ?
        Then you can stop doing
        The Evangelical “Mexican Hat Dance”

        Sin is always specific, not general.
        The “Hat” is, “What were Paul’s sins?”

        The music starts, with a cheery blast of trumpets in a melody that is familiar to most North Americans- the “Mexican Hat Dance.” (The national dance of Mexico, taught in Mexican public schools since 1921, and officially named “El Jarabe Tapatio.”)

        A couple in rather elaborate traditional costumes begins the dance. The man throws his huge sombrero hat on the floor, and the couple dances around it, but never steps on the hat. (The “Hat” is, “what were Paul’s sins?”) Here are the basic steps- (there may be one or two other basic steps, but they are very similar to these.)

        What were Paul’s sins?

        STEP 1) Paul said; “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.” [1 Timothy 1:13]
        (Response- Those were Saul’s sins, before Jesus called him. What were Paul’s sins as a Christian? )

        STEP 2) Paul said; “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.” [1 Timothy 1:15]
        (Response- Sin is alwasy specific. What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

        STEP 3) Paul said; “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [Romans 3:23]
        (Response- Again the same question; What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

        STEP 4) Paul said; “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” [Philippians 3:12-13]
        (Response- They say third time’s a charm. Same question; What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

        STEP 5) Paul said; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing.” [Romans 7:15-19]
        (Response- One more time! This is getting boring. Same question; Specifically, what were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian based on specific verses of the Bible? )

        STEP 6) LOOP- REPEAT steps 1 through 5, until your dance partner gives up, the audience gets bored, or the music stops. The rule is- never step on the “Hat,” just keep dancing around it.

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  6. That is a great insight into a passage of scripture traditionally passed over as mere narrative. The Word of God being quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, is indeed, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and many ‘layers’ deep! The more one ‘digs’ into it, the better one’s comprehension. Good work, well done, thou faithful servant.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Greetings beloved brother Salvageable
        Here’s a new poem – all “quotes” are from the Bible.

        The message of The 11 (The narrow gate)

        “The eleven disciples went to Galilee”
        “Where Jesus had told them to go”
        They heard His voice and obeyed His will
        Despite uncertainty down below

        Jesus spoke to them at length
        He wasn’t really a Tweeter
        Only 3 of them wrote Scripture
        Matthew John and Peter

        “Feed my sheep” said Jesus, for though
        “Heaven and earth will pass away”
        I have the words of eternal life and
        “My words will never pass away”

        “Enter through the narrow gate”
        The voice of Jesus through the eleven
        Believe in Jesus “through their message”
        And “eat from the tree of life” in heaven

        Jesus commissioned the eleven
        With “everything I have commanded you”
        “Teaching THEM to obey” Jesus
        And “THEM” means me and you !

        “The command given by our Lord and Savior”
        Is not a Pharisee speaking alone
        It came rather “through your apostles”
        Matthew Peter and John

        If a Pharisee boasts proudly
        Those men added nothing to my message
        He doesn’t speak for Jesus
        His words are nothing more than garbage

        Bibliography
        All “quotes” in “quotation marks” are from the writings of the Apostles Matthew John and Peter in the Bible, mostly the “Red Letter” words of Jesus. [Matthew, John, Revelation, 2 Peter – NIV]

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