List of Major Problems with Paul
God says He allows false prophets because "The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deut. 13:3 NIV.
In God's plan, He sent a special prophet whose every word would be God's very own (which we now know was due to the Father indwelling Jesus per John 14:10). And God injoined a special command over obeying this particular Prophet:
19And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deut. 18:19.)
Peter in Acts 3:22-23 quotes this passage, and applies it to Jesus.
Jesus revealed to us that Satan's plan was to target Himself -- this Prophet promised in Deuteronomy 18. Satan would send out false prophets who would be imposter-Jesus-es.
Jesus warned repeatedly of false prophets who come in His name when Christians would be waiting for Jesus return from Heaven. Jesus said these false prophets would say "I am Jesus" in the wilderness. Jesus says, 'do not be fooled, when I return every eye will see me, from the eastern to western sky.' (Matt 24:5, 24-27.) Thus, God is allowing false prophets to come as a TEST OF YOUR LOVE FOR THE TRUE JESUS OVER ANY IMPOSTER. Ultimately, this is a test of your love for God-the-Father who spoke directly through Jesus.
Thus, if Paul claims someone in the wilderness says "I am Jesus," years after Jesus ascended and at the point the church for several years was already waiting for the second coming, this is someone coming in the name of Jesus. Unless Paul claims every eye on earth saw Jesus, Jesus has told you this is an IMPOSTER JESUS. (In Acts 9, Paul said even those with him "saw no one," so this cannot have been the true Jesus. See our link discussion.) Jesus also warned that even the 12 apostles could be duped.
So even if Paul truly experienced what he claimed happened in the wilderness, Jesus warned us not to follow that imposter-Jesus or one like Paul who unwittingly promoted the imposter-Jesus. Jesus said "Do not follow them." (Luke 17:23.) Thus, whether you sincerely apply Jesus' warnings to assess those who claim to have seen Jesus in a wilderness area after His ascension will prove whether you TRULY LOVE JESUS / YAHSHUA / YESHUA. And ultimately, whether you truly love YAHWEH / GOD.
On this page, we will assemble the main points to consider about the validity of Paul with this Berean-like concern in mind. In Acts 17:11 we read: "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. " So we do right if with eagerness we test to see if what Paul was teaching is true or not.
However, if Paul does not pass a Berean-like test, then the consequence is nothing more than you will treat Jesus as your sole teacher, pastor and King from now on. You will then obey God's command in Deuteronomy 18:17-19 which told us about a Prophet to come whose words we must obey, and any disobedience from Him, "God will require" it from us, i.e., hold us accountable.
What is the worst that can happen if you disqualify Paul? If you come to agree that Paul's words are not inspired, there will no longer be any competing message on how to be saved other than what Jesus tells you. This might free you to consider what Jesus is truly teaching on how to be saved. Can that harm you? I don't think so!
Here are the main problems regarding Paul, mostly from our Lord Jesus:
- Paul claims a vision of Jesus on a wilderness road on the way to Damascus, when Jesus says we are not to believe someone saying they are "Jesus" in the wilderness is truly Jesus after His ascension. See Matt 24:24-27. See our webpage discussion.
- To detect false prophets, Jesus said to examine their fruits. Jesus says those who do miracles in Jesus' name were "never known" by Jesus if they work ANOMIA. (Matt 7:15.) This Greek word means "lawless" or "negator of the Law (of Moses)." Paul numerous times says he is ANOMOS -- not under the Law, and in numerous verses abolishes the Law, including the Sabbath. See JWO Chapter four ("Did Jesus Warn of False Prophets Who Negate the Law?") See also "Did Paul Abolish the Law?" See also our webpage discussion of Matt 7:15 in conjunction with Matt 24:24-27.
- Paul's Jewish name was Saul. As a Roman citizen from birth, Paul had to have a Roman name from birth. Paul or Paulos in Greek is the Roman name Paulus. It is a short-form of Pauxillus. This name means "least." Jesus in Matt 5:17-19 identifies that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven are those who teach and obey the Law (given Moses - in context). Jesus goes on to say those in the kingdom will call "least" the man who teaches you to loosen obedience to the Law. See "Who Did Jesus Identify As the Least?" There is no more specific prophecy aimed at Paul than this one! Jesus does not intend to be flattering at all toward Paul by this prophecy.
- Jesus told us to beware the "ravening wolves" who are false prophets in sheep's clothing. There are only two other passages in all of the Bible that use the term "ravening wolves." One in Ezekiel prophesies of "ravening wolves" -- leaders of the people -- whose priests teach based on visions that did not come from God that all food laws and Sabbath are abrogated. The second is a prophecy of Jacob about each of his twelve sons that became a tribe. Judah's tribe is prophesied to have a Shiloh, a prince of peace, with the "blood" of grapes splattered on his garments. Clearly, this is a prophecy about Jesus. But next is a prophecy about Benjamin. His tribe will be a "ravening wolf" who will kill in the morning and then in the evening "divide the spoil." Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin. He killed Christians in the morning of his career. Then in the evening Paul divided up the church so he was authorized supposedly to exclusively recruit Gentiles. Paul taught "all food is clean" and Paul taught the "Sabbath" is a "shadow of things to come," and "let no man judge you about keeping Sabbath," and every day is alike, etc. The post-conversion Paul fulfilled Ezekiel's warning of "ravening wolves." Likewise, Jesus' point in identifying the "ravening wolf" as in sheep's clothing meant to warn about one professing to believe in Christ / to be a "sheep" of Christ. Jesus thus clearly gave this as a warning about the post-conversion Paul. Equally, the prophecies of Jacob in Genesis about Benjamin "dividing the spoils" (which Paul's taking of the Gentiles represents) line up to be warnings about the post-conversion Paul, and not solely the pre-conversion Paul. See our chapter from Jesus' Words Only and see also our supplemental webpage.
- Jesus commends the Ephesians in Revelation 2:2 for  identifying those who falsely claim to be apostles and  not accepting a 'prophet' who claims it is permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul wrote in the Epistle to the Ephesians that he was an "apostle of Jesus Christ" (Eph 1:1) and three times Paul says it is permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Then Jesus calls this person a New Testament Balaam. (Rev. 2:14.) Balaam was a soothsayer who God commandeered to give a true prophecy of Jesus' birth being signaled by a star rising over Judah, but who later apostasized by teaching it was permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul falls into an identical pattern: proclaiming the true Christ with a true message that Jesus was Messiah and Son of God, but then injecting ANOMIA -- negation of the law, and this freedom to disregard the Bible's idol-meat prohibition in particular. See "Did Paul Contradict Jesus over Idol Meat?" and see also our chapter "Why Did Jesus Reference Balaam?"
- Paul's message garbles Jesus' message of salvation. Jesus taught us we are saved by faith, repentance, and works worthy of repentance. By contrast, Paul teaches a conflicted message that most read today to (a) require faith alone; (b) that any effort to comply with the Law to remain just (after repentance) is a works heresy that "severs" you from Christ; and (c) no repentance from sin is ever necessary for salvation, just as God saved Abraham supposedly based upon faith alone while yet "ungodly." (Romans 4:3-5.) For this, Paul relied upon the Septuagint 257 BC mistranslation of Gen. 15:6. He also thereby contradicted Jesus' message that each of us has a stark choice on salvation: you can go to heaven maimed (by repenting of sin) or hell whole (unrepentant). (Mark 9:42-47; Matt 5:29-30; 18:6-9.) To Jesus, repentance from sin and toward obedience to the Law was essential. It was how the Prodigal became "alive again" - synonymous with the term "born again." See "Paul's Contradictions of Jesus."
- Paul had messages that directly blasphemed God, or are easily interpreted as blasphemy. It was blasphemy of Paul to say "God does not live in temples made by human hands." When Paul said this, the Temple at Jerusalem still stood, and God still resided there, as Jesus said "God lived" there. Also, God lived there as of 70 AD when both Roman and Jewish historians recorded a voice spoke from heaven in 70 AD that it was "leaving" when the Roman troops were about to enter the Temple. Paul elsewhere said words that border upon blasphemy, or easily are construed toward blasphemy, when he said that without the Law he would not have known sin, and the Law actually incites sin. See "Paul and Blasphemy."
- Paul strangely said that he was subjugated to a thorn / stinger (skolops), a Messenger of Satan, and he (Satan) tormented him thereby to "keep me from being too conceited." As a result, Paul thought being handed over to Satan, as the "Lord" did so when Paul asked his "Lord" relief from Satan, was thus a proper means of chastisement. Paul even believed Satan's objectives sometimes included keeping one from sinning, and hence there was this advantage to hand someone over to Satan. So Paul twice teaches when brothers sin, we too can "turn them over to Satan" to teach them to stop blasphemy or incest. And while Paul unwittingly was led to think expanding Satan's jurisdiction helped God's kingdom, we should not be surprised in Acts 16:16 that the "Spirit of Python" -- a demon-possessed young and popular prophetess -- for weeks promoted people to believe Paul had the "way to salvation." However, if Paul served the true Jesus, this influential "rockstar" demon spirit should have sought not to help Paul in that specific way but instead to harm his ministry. See "A Skolops Sent as A Messenger of Satan." See "Spirit of Python." Hence, Paul was unwittingly serving Satan, unawares therefore that the one who said "I am Jesus" on the wilderness road outside Damascus was none other than Satan himself. That "blinding light" was an imposter Jesus. (For Lucifer as a "blinding light" in the Bible, see this link.)
- Paul also brought Trophimus to Jerusalem in 58 AD after a Prophet Agabus (per Luke) and other "believers" who had prophetic messages from the Holy Spirit told Paul that God does not want him to go to Jerusalem. Paul went anyway. On that trip, Trophimus defiled the Temple. One of the key lessons of this is that if Paul were truly in prophetic connection with the true Jesus, then why does Luke record that God had to try to reach Paul through believers and Prophet Agabus to have him stop? The answer is obvious: because Paul was not in prophetic communication with the true Lord Jesus. See 'Why Did God Have to Send Prophets To Paul If Paul Were in Communication with the True Jesus? Paul mistook the vision of a voice and light in the wilderness outside Damascus who said "I am Jesus" as the true Jesus when it was not. The imposter Jesus did not confirm the message of the prophet Agabus and the prophetic message of other believers, and hence Paul went anyway, leading to the defilement by Trophimus of the Temple.
- Paul also gave commands or made statements contradictory of the Law. For example, Paul told Christians not to support widows under 60. (See our webpage.) Paul also expressly abolished Sabbath - one of the Ten Commandments. (See our webpage.)
- The worst and most horrifying heresy of Paul is Paul's belief that at Jesus' death, the God of Sinai, the Immortal One -- the "husband" to Israel who gave the Law -- not only died (thereby supposedly freeing God's wife / Israel from the Law), but also that the God of Sinai did not Himself resurrect when Jesus resurrected; that Jesus represented a new distinct husband whom we can marry without any linkage back to the old Law which only applies as long as the original husband was alive. And because the old husband is dead, Paul declares the Law is "dead to us." Paul gave this explanation in Romans 7:1-7 as why the Law is now "dead to us," and we are free no longer to have to obey the Law. Our new husband is Jesus; our old husband -- the God of Sinai -- is supposedly dead. Of course, Paul side-stepped saying who was the "husband," but it is plain when you study the only possible meaning in Paul's explanation. For only the death of the God of Sinai explains how the death of the husband of God's people supported Paul's view that the Law given Moses became "dead toward us" when that husband dies. This shocking truth is no less true because it is shocking. Please study to show yourself approved. We have canvassed every possible view to consider, and thoroughly present the case at "Paul Claims The God of Sinai is Dead."
The above should give us courage to apply to Paul the test God gave us in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 to distinguish false from true prophets. This particular test applied even when the false prophet has "signs and wonders" that "come to pass." God / Yahweh tells us not to believe a prophet if the prophet "seduces you from following the way Yahweh commanded you to follow." God explains that such a false prophet with great signs and wonders exist to test our love for Yahweh Himself:
1If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
To interpret this passage, I will rely upon a devout follower of Paul, Vincent of Lerins. In his Commonintory work of 434 AD, Vincent used Paul's example of cursing foes to vigorously curse / anathemetize all who denied the trinity. Little did Vincent know his words would be employed now to help us understand God's word puts Paul in the dock as a false prophet. Vincent quoted the passage above and then commented:
Moses most certainly is here giving us an Idea of a very powerful Preacher -- such a gifted Man as may pass among his Flock for one that not only knows all that Man can know but also foreknows such Things as pass all human Understanding exactly --- such a Character as the several Disciples commonly bestow upon their Masters.... (The Commonitory of Vincentius Lirinensis Concerning the Rule of Faith In Opposition to All Heretical Innovations in The Apologies of Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Minutius Felix in Defense of the Christian Religion (W.B. for A. and J. Churchill, 1709) Vol. 2, at 277.)
What are the strange gods but foreign errors which thou didst not know that is new and unheard of. "And let us serve them" -- that is let us believe them, let us follow them. Id.
Then at page 278, Vincent gets down to the key question. What is at stake?
But why then, I beseech you, does God permit the Preaching of that which he will not have followed?
Because he saith "the Lord your God proveth you to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." [Deut. 13:3.]
Which leads us to this next unwitting indicment of Paul by Vincent -- for every word in Vincent's construing Deuteronomy in the 400s to address perceived prophets of that age applies equally against Paul's words 360 years earlier. Vincent wrote in 434 AD:
Here then you clearly see for what Reason the divine Providence sometimes permits some celebrated Doctors of the Church to preach up strange Doctrines. It is, faith, Moses 'that the Lord your God may prove you.' And a great and powerful Proof without doubt it is when he whom you look upon as a Prophet or a Disciple of Prophets or a Doctor and zealous Stickler for the Truth when I say [the one] whom you exceedingly revere and love privily drops his baneful Errors and so slyly mixes them with Truth that whilst you are blinded with the Authority of the Deceiver you cannot presently perceive the Deceit and tis very hard to condemn the Doctrine when you admire the Doctor. Id., at 278-279.
In the same spirit, the modern church pours admiration upon Paul - for his sufferings, for his zeal, for his 'success' spreading Christianity, etc. At the same time, we can see clear as day Paul contradicts not only Moses but also Jesus on the eternal nature and continuity of the Law God gave Moses. Paul also abolished Sabbath. (See "Paul abolished Sabbath.")
Yet, Paul appeared a "stickler for truth," cursing those who strayed ever so slightly from his doctrine in Galatians, e.g., those who observed Sabbath, who circumcised themselves anyway (which could not conceivably be wrong), etc., to be "right" before God. (Gal. 1:8.)
Should we be surprised then that Paul even mixed the true gospel with his own, professing correctly Jesus was Messiah and Son of God? No, for as Vincent says, that is to be expected to make the temptation that much more powerful to follow the false prophet. The truth is "slyly mixed" with error.
Indeed, Paul sometimes mixed in the truth that salvation was precarious, just as Jesus taught. However, Paul's other gospel was too clear the rest of the time. Paul trumped any agreement Paul appeared to have with Jesus's salvation doctrine about a precarious faith. Paul did so by SIMULTANEOUSLY delivering a different gospel -- the gospel of faith alone without works / obedience to any law (Romans 4:3-5).
Today, that doctrine has become the INCESSANT TEST OF WHAT SALVATION-DOCTRINE ONE MUST HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED EVEN A TRUE CHRISTIAN! Then we are told Paul means we must accept his view of salvation doctrine or be lost for doubting that we were completely saved upon a single moment of belief. (Romans 10:9; see our page "Eternal Security.") Hence, Paulinists actually teach one can believe Jesus is Messiah and Son of God, but if you believe Jesus expects righteous behavior for salvation, and you even comply all your life with that principle, you are lost, but if you believe Jesus is Messiah and Son of God, and also believe Jesus does not require any righteous behavior for salvation, and you become even a carnal Christian or even abandon any belief in Jesus thereafter, you are saved. Id. Charles Stanley, the leader of 18 million Baptists believes this, so this is not a deviant view.
And thereby the heresy of 160 AD of Valentinus -- faith alone, eternal security, abrogation of the Law, and that sin cannot cause loss of salvation --- has revived. This despite the early church thoroughly stamping it out in favor of Jesus' clear opposite teachings. (See our article "Valentinus.")
Hence, the final conclusion from all this is that Paul was a dupe of an imposter Christ. Paul's sincerity, zeal, and success, and certainly his miracles do not matter. Paul taught us not to follow the way God commanded Moses, which entirely delegitimizes Paul. By contrast, Jesus' upheld the Law, which completely legitimizes Jesus as the promised prophet of Deuteronomy 18. See Matt 5:17-19.
The lesson from all this is to remember the Jesus' Words Only principle in Deuteronomy 18:17-19 -- the promise of a unique prophet to come -- who we were specifically told to follow above all others. He would uniquely be speaking God's words evidently by some special and intimate connection. (We now know what it was.) There was a subtle implication that this Prophet would be different from any other prophet. The Jews always recognized this and called him "The Prophet." This passage in hindsight clearly meant Jesus. It reads:
17And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
From now on, we do not turn to Paul for answers. We turn to Jesus. Anyone who fails to do so violates both Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (the false prophets leads you away from obeying the Law) and Deuteronomy 18:17-19 (the Prophet is coming whose words God will require everyone to obey). How interesting that these two passages are in relative close proximity.