Those who contend against Paul contend against the Lord Jesus Christ. While they do so in His Name, trying to justify themselves with strained arguments from the Scriptures, the Word of God readily refutes them.
The Nazarean Way ~ The Esoteric Teachings of Jesus and the Nazarean Essenes
In an article on this site, “The Gospel of Paul,” the author says: “It must be remembered that Paul never met Jesus.” Coming from one who professes faith in Christ, this is an especially ignorant and wicked statement. The author has never received faith from above and plainly doesn’t believe or comprehend the Scriptures, which wholly testify that those who believe have met and presently know Jesus after the Spirit, not the flesh:
“So as we now know no one according to flesh, but even if we have known Christ according to flesh, yet now we no longer know Him so. So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 MKJV).
How can one be IN Christ and be made a new creature without having met Him?
Such was the case with Paul, who wrote those words. His epistles are themselves ample evidence that he met and knew Jesus, because in them he speaks throughout by revelation of the Lord. It is the author of the article who’s never met Jesus or he would recognize the Lord’s voice speaking through Paul, as He speaks through all His servants and writers of Scripture:
“We are of God. He who knows God hears us. The one who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6 MKJV).
The author further denigrates the Biblical record, saying that Paul doesn’t give much of an account of his conversion in his letters and that Luke’s three accounts in the Book of Acts are contradictory.
Regarding Luke’s apparent contradictions, the author gets into silly reasoning readily answered, if need be. What is far more serious, the author accuses Paul of lying to the Holy Spirit because of superficial differences in the three accounts of his conversion, but it is the author who lies against the Holy Spirit and blasphemes. He doesn’t prove Paul lied, yet condemns the work of God through Paul authenticated throughout Acts and Paul’s letters.
The article devolves into even more fantastic absurdities, claiming that Luke was dropping a hint by including a certain Greek name in Acts that linked Paul to “The Fool of Hope” described by a Greek biographer. The author proposes that Luke, afraid to outright admit disapproval of Paul because of certain religious, subtly signified Paul was a false apostle and enemy of the Gospel. Here’s the verse giving birth to this harebrained theory, what the Scriptures call “evil surmisings”:
“Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus” (Acts 20:4 ESV).
Now prepare yourself for the theory’s “proof,” as tenuous a tale of malarkey such as you’ve never heard, spun from nothing:
“Who was Pyrrhus to the Greeks? Pyrrhus, The Fool of Hope, was a story Plutarch wrote and titled at about the same time Luke’s gospel was being penned…”
“Luke couldn’t write a story called Paul: The Spy Who Pretended to be Jesus’ Apostle Who Infiltrated the Movement and Destroyed It from Within. That story would have been censored by the Orthodox Church leaders supporting Paul. So he did the next best thing. He associated Paul with Pyrrhus in such a way that the connection could not be missed. No wonder the name Pyrrhus was removed from some of the translations of the Bible. Any fool could pick up on the message because virtually everyone knew that Pyrrhus hid inside the Trojan Horse! It was fortunate that some earlier texts were salvaged, saved, and passed on through time. Otherwise, this story could not be told even today…”
“Allegorically, Luke was saying, ‘Paul Lied! Like Ananias, Paul lied about his conversion! Paul was in infiltrator, a spy, an agent. He hijacked the Nazarene doctrine and created a religion that kept power in the hands of the Herodians and the temple priests an put money into their pockets.’”
What do you think? Need we say more? Is it necessary to examine anything else this fellow writes against Paul when his arguments have no connection whatsoever to reality? He is a prime example of how those who presume to serve Christ by fabricating a case against Paul make fools of themselves. And those who listen to such fools are destroyed with them.
One more thing, addressing the false premise of this group – that Jesus was a “Nazarite,” which on their site is linked to esoteric Jewish teachings and ways whereby you achieve salvation through special knowledge and works. This is another case of life-denying word folly. The Scriptures state in over a dozen places that Jesus was a Nazarene, not a “Nazarite,” the former simply meaning He came from Nazareth:
“And he [Joseph] came and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23 MKJV).
From Strong’s Concordance:
From G3478; a Nazoraean, that is, inhabitant of Nazareth; by extension a Christian: – Nazarene, of Nazareth.”
“And I [Saul] answered, Who are You, Lord? And He said to me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, Whom you persecute” (Acts 22:8 MKJV).
Jesus was telling Saul that, yes, the One Saul had been persecuting was the One Who appeared in the flesh and was crucified by the Jews, thereafter resurrected, ascended and returned to lead His disciples by His Spirit, whom Saul was persecuting. One Lord and Body.
But these people follow another “Jesus,” one they call “The Nazarite,” teaching another way:
“The Nazarene Way wasn’t simply a religion or a philosophy; it was a way of living. When either a man or a woman took the vow to become a Nazarene, they separated themselves from certain food, drink, and traditions. They were recognizable by their appearance – their long hair, their white garments, and their peaceful demeanor. There is nothing in the letters of Paul that suggests he had any appreciation for The Nazarene Way of Jesus. How puzzling that Paul’s gospel became orthodox and the gospel preached by James, Peter, John, and Jesus was rejected as an ‘early heresy’ and virtually cleansed from the history of Christianity.”
Paul rightly identified and warned the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ how to deal with such as these “Nazarenes” in their midst:
Titus 1:10-14 MKJV
(10) For there are indeed many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
(11) whose mouth you must stop, who subvert whole houses, teaching things not right for the sake of ill gain.
(12) One of them, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.
(13) This witness is true; for which cause convict them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith,
(14) not giving heed to Jewish myths and commandments of men, turning away from the Truth.
“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him” (Titus 3:9-10 ESV).
As for those without, Jesus said:
“Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14 MKJV).
These people have built their sacrificial temple on the sand of a single grossly misinterpreted word – not because they’re ignorant of language, but because they haven’t a love of the Truth.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 KJV).
The Nazarean Way claims are like the biological anthropologist who concocts a “missing link” in his evolutionary fairy tale of the origin of the human race from the fragment of a bone of a jackass. Jackasses are precisely what these people make of themselves, speaking by a jackass’s jawbone. The Lord will straighten them out.
“Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD” (Psalm 58:6 KJV).
“Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:5-6 KJV).
June 21, 2017