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The Blinding Angel of Light

Paul's three visions accounts of Jesus never mention anything but a blinding light and a voice:

"The journey is interrupted when Paul sees a blinding light, and communicates directly with a divine voice." ("Conversion of Paul," Wikipedia.)

Paul never specifically says he saw Jesus in the flesh. In fact, Bultmann contends 2 Cor. 5:16 means Paul did not ever meet Jesus in the flesh in Jesus' post-resurrection state. Bultmann claims Paul rightly believed this made Paul's experience superior to the experience of the 12 apostles who could claim they heard Jesus speak in the flesh and not by visions. (See our link for discussion.)

But Jesus went out of His way to prove to Thomas that His post-resurrection state included true flesh - with wounds in His hands and side. And in Acts, as Jesus in the flesh ascended, an angel told the apostles that in the same way He departed, He will return: "This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11.)

That means as Son of Man in human flesh Jesus will be seen by us when He comes in judgment on the clouds of glory. That means Jesus should have had flesh had Paul truly met Jesus. But Bultmann says Paul insists otherwise. At least this is how Bultmann, the famous theologian, reads 2 Cor. 5:16 (where Paul says we 'once knew Jesus in the flesh but no more in that way'). Bultmann even emphasizes this Jesus-without-flesh whom Paul supposedly met differentiates the Jesus whom Paul met from the Jesus whom the 12 knew.

So who is this blinding light figure that Paul met if not Jesus because it lacked flesh?

Let's see what the Bible and commentators says about Satan as a blinding angel of light.

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" (Isaiah 14:12.)

"The Hebrew word, helel, which is translated Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12, entered English through Greek and German. In the Greek we have Helios, the sun god. In German, this became hellen, from which came the word helder, meaning, "clear" or "shiny." But there is also a sense of "blinding," that is, blinded by the light, in this; and thus helel entered English as "hell," a covered place, a place of darkness as if blinded, a place "far off from God." Helel, when split apart can read bright or clear god, or god of hell. The early Christian church clearly understood that Helel was a proper noun, and that Lucifer matched him not only in the meaning of the name, but also in character." ("Lucifer, Angel of Light, Father of Lies.")

"Helel, a shining oneStrong's # 1966

"Lucifer [in Isaiah 14:12] is the Latin translation of Helel, which means “brightness.” ("Satan, the True Father of Cain.")

The original Hebrew word translated as Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12 (helel) comes from a verbal root that means "to shine brightly." See "halal," in Strong's #1984.

"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14 NIV)

"He snatches away the Word of God sown in the hearts of the unsaved (Matt. 13 :19), sows his counterfeit Christians among the sons of the kingdom (Matt. 13 :25, 38,39), blinds the minds of men to the Gospel (II Cor. 4:3-4), and induces them to accept his lie (II Thess. 2:9-10). Often he transforms himself into 'an angel of light' by presenting his apostles of falsehood as messengers of truth." (II Cor. 11: 13-15)." ("Satan," PICTORIAL BIBLE DICTIONARY (Zondervan, 1971).)

"Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." (Ezekiel 28:12-15)

"The journey is interrupted when Paul sees a blinding light, and communicates directly with a divine voice." ("Conversion of Paul," Wikipedia.)

"I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." (Jesus, Luke 10:18.)

Paul claims to have continued to have messages from this "Lord" he met that day on the road. Are there any particular doctrines which Paul taught that proves Paul was listening to a Blinding Angel of Light / Lucifer and not our Divine Lord Jesus?

There are two such doctrines that stand out among many examples:

  • Paul teaches us to obey Roman rulers (Romans 13:1-2), treating their words as from God Himself -- Paul says they are God's agents, and thus Paul says our conscience must afflict us if we disobey. Yet, Jesus says the worlds' rulers are part of Satan's domain, not God's. Lk 4:5-8 (Satan offers his authority to Jesus to rule the kingdoms of the world), Jn 18:36 ("my kingdom is not of this world") 19:18 ("they crucified him"), Acts 4:26 ("rulers of the world rise up against the Annointed One") Jesus also says as Sons of the Kingdom we are truly exempt from obligations to them. However, we obey so as not to offend them (thereby avoiding them to suffer anger and then sin) rather than because they enjoy any holy agency from God. See our link discussion.
  • Paul three times teaches it is acceptable to eat meat sacrificed to idols, which Jesus three times condemns in the Book of Revelation. See our link discussion.

Hence, four facts point toward the notion that Paul met Lucifer, not Jesus, on the road to Damascus:

  • Paul admits He did not meet Jesus in the flesh when Jesus should have had flesh (Acts 9, 22, 26 (blinding light/voice); 2 Cor. 5:16);

  • The angel at Jesus's ascension told the 12 that Jesus would return in the same way that He appeared to them when He ascended, i.e., implicitly in a physical flesh (Acts 1:11);

  • Paul saw a blinding light in a vision accompanied by a voice that Paul took for Jesus but having no way of identifying that it was indeed Jesus because Paul saw no flesh; and

  • Paul's doctrines serve Satan in two clear examples if not many more, i.e., (1) treating the rulers of this world (who Jesus says are under Satan, the prince of this world) as agents of God and (2) the permissibility of eating meat sacrificed to idols.

Thus, it appears likely that indeed Paul met Lucifer, not Christ, on the road to Damascus.

Compare and contrast also that Paul meets "Jesus" in a light-and-voice appearance on earth, but John in Revelation is taken up into heaven where he sees Jesus in bodily form. Why did John see Jesus in heaven? Because the Lord Jesus was not supposed to return until the Second Coming. So who instead was on earth to meet Paul who was bright like lightning? Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." (Luke 10:18.) Again, more reason to believe Paul met Lucifer, not Christ.

Paul was, however, an innocent dupe. Paul mistook the light as goodness, ignoring that it caused blindness which is the mark of Lucifer's light. Jesus's light should have brought clarity, not blindness.

Does anyone have a contrary view? Any reasons to defend that contrary point of view? Write me if you you think I am wrong, and I will post here any credible disagreements. Truth is what we want to discover.

Jesus' Prophecy in Matthew 24:5

In Matthew 24, Jesus gives a series of chronological events that lead up to the end. Some occur very early because Jesus identifies in the Shem-Tob version of Matthew that the first event occurs in the lifetime of His listeners. Verse 5 says:

For many shall come in My Name  saying I am He, the Messiah / Christ; and shall lead you / many astray.

This is not the same as the “false Christs” who come chronologically much later, and are mentioned in verse 24. Rather, Jesus is saying the chronology of future church-history begins with someone coming in His name. He will say he is Jesus, but he is a counterfeit who will deceive “you,” Jesus says. The “you” means the present listeners will be led astray as a result. Thus, this is certainly an early event in the history of what Jesus says is to come to pass.

Where in Scripture do we learn that someone told anyone in the early apostolic church he was Jesus but it could be a deception of that person?

Paul after seeing a blinding light encountered a voice whom Paul asked who this was and the voice replied: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:5.) This identically fits this passage. The spirit-voice came in “my (Jesus) name” and said in substance “I am He, the Messiah.”

Hence, the Shem-Tob Hebrew Matthew, with ancient roots in the original Matthew, points to a first century fulfillment of part one of Jesus' prophecy in Matt. 24:5. The blinding light episode could have duped Paul, and through his claims, many of those in the early church.

Supplemental Evidence

There is other evidence Paul unwittingly did not realize the voice he was listening to was Satan.

Paul admits he has a "skolos" from an "Angel of Satan" with him at all times. Paul tells us this Messenger of Satan tortures him to keep Paul from being Arrogant. (See our fuller discussion here.) However, if Paul truly was a servant of the Creator, then why would Satan want to keep Paul from being arrogant? Satan would want arrogance, and not be torturing Paul to keep him humble. But if Paul's message was from Satan, then Satan would want Paul's natural arrogance toned down to be more palatable to a religious audience.

Also, in Acts, Paul encounters a demon possessed woman popular at Philippi as a soothsayer whom people paid for prophecies.

If this woman is demon possessed and Paul were following the true Christ, then her declaration to others to listen to Paul for salvation represents a house divided against itself. It makes no sense. But if Paul were following unwittingly a false Christ, then this makes perfect sense. (For detailed discussion, see our webpage.)

Hence, this is further confirmation that Paul was unwittingly serving Satan.



Study Notes

What does it mean that Jesus will be called "the Bright and Morning Star" in Rev. 22:16? Satan had a similar but different title in Isaiah 14:12-15. There it means in Hebrew "Shining Star, Son of the Morning." It means that Satan wants to be Christ. But He is the Anti-Christ - an imitation of Christ. Satan is not described as the "Bright and Morning Star" as Jesus is in Rev. 22:16. Lucifer has similarities in title, but not the same. He is a poor imitation. A poor imposter. Satan can imitate or serve as an imposter, but the flock can make critical assessments to figure out who is the true Jesus.

It appears that God is sending us a subtle message that Jesus and Satan may appear the same -- Jesus is a Bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16) while Satan is a Shining Star, Son of the Morning (Isaiah 14:12-15.) They will be hard to tell apart, right? So Paul could easily be fooled by what Paul thought he was seeing as truly Jesus, when the real test was whether Jesus was seen by all peoples from eastern to western sky, which did not happen in Paul's encounter. Thus, the Ascended Jesus and Satan could appear to be almost identical to a human if one judges by appearance. Instead, we must apply a righteous judgment.

3/25/2012