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Paul's Admission of Blasphemy & Compelling Christians to Blaspheme

 

Introduction

What are the implications that Paul confesses in1 Timothy 1:13 that he was "once a blasphemer?"

What are the implications that Paul inActs 26:11 KJV testifies in Court about his life as a persecutor as follows:

And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. KJV.

What does this mean? Paul as a Pharisee-persecutor would likely force Christians to say Jesus did his miracles by Beezelbub. This statement by Pharisees to Jesus was equally explained by Jesus to be an insult / blasphemy of God. See Matt 12:28-31. Hence probably Paul meant he did what other Pharisees did...that is, attribute Jesus' miracles to Beezelbub, and Paul thus likely forced believers to do likewise or be killed / maimed. See Acts 22:4 ("I persecuted followers of the way unto death.") Thereby Paul compelled blasphemies upon Christians to avoid physical harm or death.

These two verses where Paul admits such guilt raise several issues:

1. Witness Disqualification Under the Law. Would the true Lord Jesus have chosen someone as a witness of his resurrection who is a notorious sinner? For in the Damascus-appearance accounts, viz.Acts 22:12-15, Paul says Ananias relays the Holy One told him that Paul would be a "witness" to what "you have seen and heard"  - the post-Ascension physical appearance of Jesus outside Damascus.

Or are such prior sinful acts by Paul evidence Paul would not under the Mosaic Law qualify to be a witness at all? If so, and our Lord Jesus certainly knew this Law, why would the true Jesus select Paul as a witness when Paul was discredited by his prior life? Does this constitute more evidence that Paul met an imposter Jesus outside Damascus, as we contend is the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:4-5, 23-27? See this link.

 

2. Contradicting Jesus; Drawn to an Imposter Jesus Who Offers Pardon of Blasphemy. And does Paul's admissions he was a blasphemer, and forced others to blaspheme or be killed, mean Paul committed a sin that could not be justified under the Law of Moses? If so, is this why Paul in many places abrogates the entire Mosaic Law, and claims that one could be forgiven by Jesus of even blasphemy, as Paul implies in Acts 13:39 when Paul says:

and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified  by the law of Moses.  


In Paul contending that now pardon was available for sins that could never be justified by the Law of Moses, e.g., blasphemy of God being the unpardonable sin in Exodus 20:7 and Matt 12:31, did Paul contradict Christ?

If so, is this more proof that (a) Paul could not be in communication with the true Jesus? and (b) that Paul felt compelled to follow the "Jesus" of his Damascus experience -- the one who implicitly abrogated the Law -- for otherwise, Paul as a blasphemer knew under the Law of Moses that Paul could not be justified and thus pardoned of this sin? 

We shall try to address these questions after exploring the nature of blasphemy.

The Unpardonable Sin of Blasphemy

Jesus once directly and multiple times indirectly alludes to the UNPARDONABLE nature of blasphemy. 

Jesus said in Matthew 12:31: “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.”  

The same principle is stated again in Mark 3:29: "but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation."  

Jesus was distinguishing mere insults that are not against the Holy Spirit (God) versus insults against the Holy Spirit (God). We know this because the Third Commandment is known as the Blasphemy Command, and is unpardonable. Thus, Jesus is using "Holy Spirit" as a substitute for Yahweh, God, etc.

In this Third Commandment, God specifies that it is UNPARDONABLE by means of the expression that "the Lord [Yahweh] will not hold guiltless" any person guilty of such sin. This means no repentance and no effort at asking for Jesus' atonement will save this person. This is the consequence of the sin of blasphemy. Here is the Third Commandment:

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7 KJV.)

When translated into Greek in Leviticus 24, it is translated by the Greek word blasphemeo (verb) or blasphemia (noun). Thus, we know this sin as blasphemy. It means "slander." See Strong's 988.

Thus, if one admitted one was a blasphemer, it meant you admitted violating the Third Commandment. This was its short-hand label.  There is no sin in the Bible for blaspheming / insulting another than God, although an insult in the face of another person would put you in danger of judgement (for provoking hatred--a sin in another person), Jesus taught. Hence, an insult of anyone other than God was not per se a sinful blasphemy unless it provoked hatred, in which case one became complicit in the hate it causes.

The Ten Commandments Say Blasphemy of God is Unpardonable

Dennis Prager, a Jewish scholar, in his new book, The Ten Commandments Still The Best Moral Code  (Regnery: 2015) explains blasphemy against God is unforgiveable, according to God.

Dennis discusses the Third Commandment this way:

So then what is the worst sin? The worst sin is [violating]... the Third Commandment of the Ten Commandments. This is the only one of the Ten Commandments that states that God will not forgive who violates the commandment. What does this commandment say? 

It is most commonly translated as, 'Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. For the Lord will not hold guiltless' -- meaning 'will not forgive,' -- whoever takes his name in vain. (Prager, The Ten Commandments (2015) at pages 20-21.

Here, this Jewish scholar helps us understand that when one commits this sin of violating the Third Commandment against blaspheming God, God will never pardon / forgive that sin. 

Don't Assume It Is Easy to Commit This Unpardonable Sin

Many people try to water down Jesus' words so a blasphemy is easy to commit. They do so to then argue that God could not truly have such a sin that is unpardonable, because this one is so easy to commit. Therefore, we should supposedly not take Jesus seriously on this. (I have received this as one reply counter-argument to this truth about Exodus 20:7.) 

So they say blasphemy is simply using God's name lightly like we might say 'Oh my gosh... [name of God].' Blasphemy is rather an insult on God's name (Yahweh). How does one SLANDER God's name?

By associating God (Yahweh) with vulgar evil things, such as declaring God is evil, authors evil, that the evil you do you say was done in God's name; or you claim God lies, deceives, etc.

The word "blasphemy" in Greek means SLANDER -- such as an insult, casting evil falsely on the name or reputation of someone, which in this command against blasphemy means upon God's name.

A blasphemy that violates Exodus 20:7 must insult the name of Yahweh. As generally understood, the violator must have attempted to defame Yahweh by name to others, or implied Yahweh is the object of the insult.

The Pharisees attributed Jesus' miracles to the devil Beezlebub, which Jesus said insulted the Holy Spirit because by implication they called the Holy Spirit "Beelzebub."

Incidentally, the blasphemy of the NAME in Exodus 20:7 is another time called "blasphemy of the Lord" or "reviling the Lord" (ESV) and the action provoking this categorization is translated as "sins defiantly" in Numbers 15:30 (NIV) or as "brazenly violates" God's Law (NLT). This appears to be another way of describing the sin of Exodus 20:7 - this time emphasizing that one flagrantly disavowing obedience to God openly in front of others thereby reviles (blasphemes) God in the process. 

 

Jesus' Reference that Blasphemy Damns Even Christians Who Fall In This Manner

Jesus in Matthew 10:28 NIV contrasts a Christian being given a choice between accepting loss of life physically to resist some damning act or sparing one's life by doing something that would cause God to throw your body and soul in hell: 

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell 

Jesus was talking about persecution in context. 

What was the damning behavior that a Christian could commit to avoid a threat of physical death that would cause God to throw them into hell?

Paul's Persecution Coerced Christians to Blaspheme

Paul in Acts 26:11 testifies in Court that prior to his Damascus encounter with a voice and light Jesus, Paul previously forced Christians to blaspheme as part of his persecution of them:

And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them

even unto strange cities. KJV.

The Pulpit Commentary concedes that: "The "compelled" of the A.V. [Authorized Version = KJV] is the natural rendering of nankazon (Matthew 14:22Luke 14:23Acts 28:19, etc.);"

Thus, in Paul's day, the ruling authorities gave heretics a choice between death or in Jesus' view an escape from death by blaspheming God.  Obviously, the religious authorities did not directly believe they were defaming Yahweh.  That is what Jesus' view was about what they were doing. The religious authorities must have thought they were only insulting Jesus. And in the Gospels we learn from Jesus that the Pharisees had blasphemed God by claiming Jesus' miracles were done by Beezelbub.  And, that is what likely Christians were being forced to say. The Pharisees like Paul were blithely unaware that they were guilty of blaspheming God when they themselves forced others to say this statement.  After Paul became a believer in Jesus, he realized that what he was doing was forcing Christians to blaspheme God.

 

Thus, the Christian familiar with the gospels was being given a choice that was particularly horrible -- blaspheme God by attributing Jesus' miracles to Beezelbub, or otherwise suffer having a body part cut off /death. If you were cowardly, you would blaspheme God by such a statement about how Jesus did his miracles. As Revelation 21:8 records, the lake of fire (hell) is filled with such types besides the unbelieving, implying cowards are believers:

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Rev. 21:8 NIV

Although some doubt Christians could commit such a damning sin, Paul says in fact he made it happen.  The word here is "force" or "compel." See Perseus Tufts Univ. dictionary at link

Jesus' words too in Matthew 10:28 speak of an act a Christian can do to save their skin but which will cause oneself to be cast into hell. Jesus exhorts the Christian to make the right choice, and fear hell more than physical death. Jesus too thus implies that there is a sin a Christian can commit to avoid death by a persecutor which will cause the Christian to go to hell. This remark by our Savior perfectly fits what Paul is talking about: compelling Christians to blaspheme on threat of death / other harm. This has to be blasphemy of God to match the Savior's lesson. We discuss this in the next subject.

Could Paul Ever Have Been Saved?

Paul confesses in 1 Timothy 1:13 that he was "once a blasphemer." Paul is using a term that is well-understood in that era -- Paul is signifying he blasphemed God. The High Priest found Jesus blasphemed when Jesus said He would return in the clouds of heaven at the Right Hand of Power -- God. (There is nothing truly blasphemous about that statement.) The High Priest did not have to say it was a blasphemy "of God," or "of the Holy Spirit," or other synonyms, to mean the blasphemy of which he spoke came from Exodus 20:7:

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. (Matt 26:65.)

Hence, by Paul's admission, we can only reasonably conclude Paul committed the unpardonable sin prior to becoming a Christian. Therefore, from what Paul himself says (we exercise no judgment on this point), Paul could never be covered by Christ's atonement under the Law given Moses as this is the one sin that is unpardonable under the Law.

Was Paul Self-Aware He Violated A Command That Was Unpardonable Under the Law?

Also, there is strong evidence that Paul realized he committed what is an unpardonable sin under the Law given Moses. Paul claims Christ's dispensation can now allow justification of acts unjustifiable under that Law, implying you could be pardoned of a blasphemy that violated Exodus 20:7- the only such unpardonable offense under the Law.

For we can see there is one sin, and one sin alone, that one could never be justified from under the Law-- the sin of blasphemy of God's name. Paul by admitting he had previously blasphemed, Paul knew ordinarily that he could not be saved. Paul thus knew that unless the Law given Moses is set aside, and new principles divorced from the Mosaic Law apply, Paul could not be saved. Thus a Jesus outside Damascus who apparently taught Paul abolition of the Law would have an instant magnetic attraction for Paul. Otherwise, Paul must die on earth with no hope of salvation.

Now with ears to hear, let's ask what did Paul mean in these two quotes:

Acts 13:39

and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Titus 2:14

who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Thus, Paul insists that faith will justify you from "all things" from which "you could not be justified by the law of Moses." This can only be referencing the blasphemy of God's name. This is the only sin from which one can not be justified by the law of Moses.

Paul then emphasizes again that "every lawless deed" can be redeemed by Jesus. Paul made no exclusion of the unpardonable sin, and thereby Paul expanded the scope of atonement and mercy to include implicitly blasphemy in Exodus 20:7 which one can not be redeemed from under the Law.

The scope of both comments only have importance regarding the blasphemy committed in violation of Exodus 20:7. This was the only sin one would not be pardoned by God no matter what. You could never have justification for it. So Paul would have a special personal reason to specifically say that one of faith can be justified of those things that one could not be justified from under the Law -- which only is blasphemy under Exodus 20:7.

Paul's Responsibilty for Coercing Blasphemy

Further, as we saw above, in Acts 26:11, Paul admitted his guilt of causing Christian people to blaspheme. This casts on Paul the same spiritual state he forced upon others by means of coercion.

We saw that Jesus warned about persecution that would give Christians a choice between physical death and damnation. Matt 10:28. What could one coerce you to do that would cause damnation? Jesus told us: the crime of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (God) which Jesus said was the unpardonable sin. We saw above, this is Exodus 20:7 - the crime of blasphemy of Yahweh's name directly or by implication. Jews still today recognize Exodus 20:7 as the unpardonable sin because 20:7 says of that sin God will never hold one "guiltless." This persecution about which Jesus spoke fits precisely what Paul was doing: persecuting Christians to blaspheme, in which they would suffer damnation if they were cowardly about physical death, as Jesus said in Matt 10:28.

Thus, clearly Paul made Christians blaspheme unto eternal unpardonable damnation, as his actions fit what Jesus in Matthew 10:28 warned Christians about as the choice they would be given: unpardonable damnation in hell or physical death. This is likely what explains Paul's remark that "I was a blasphemer" in 1 Tim. 1:13.

That's because Paul likely realized that by causing their unpardonable state, Paul thereby equally committed the same sin of blasphemy by forcing others to commit such unpardonable sin. For when one coerces another to do an act of blasphemy in violation of Exodus 20:7, the one forcing such action is at least equally a PRINCIPAL -- a violator of the Law against blasphemy in Exodus 20:7 that another was coerced to commit. You don't need a Torah provision to know this. Yet, legal codes spell out such common sense, such as California Penal Code section 31 (one "who, by threats, menaces, command, or coercion, compel another to commit any crime, are principals in any crime so committed.")

Thus, this additional fact about Paul forcing Christians to blaspheme is another proof from Paul's own words that Paul could never be saved unless Paul were correct that the Mosaic law was abrogated on this and all other points. This fact also likely explains 1 Tim 1:13, proving that Paul clearly intended us to know he meant that he blasphemed God, although he contended the Mosaic law prohibition on justification on this sin in particular is set aside.

As a result, by putting 1 Tim. 1:13, Acts 26:11, Matt 10:27 and Exodus 20:7 together, it appears clear that Paul committed a blasphemy of God / the Holy Spirit (likely by following other Pharisees who said Jesus' miracles were done by the demon Beezelbub) and thus NEVER could be forgiven this sin of blasphemy. 

Jesus too alludes to this principle, implying a WORSE punishment will befall the one causing a believer in Jesus to sin in a damning way than it is for the believer who so falls. This is Jesus' millstone warning, as we will discuss next below. This makes sense too -- that the one who coerces under physical threat a Christian to do a damning wrong is more guilty than the one who sins under a strong coercion. 


Jesus' Millstone Warning Applies to Paul

Now we can understand better Jesus' words about a millstone. Jesus is talking about a believer who is ensnared in sin by means of a third-person -- just like Paul admitted ensnaring believers by forcing them to blaspheme. Jesus gives this warning to such a bully pressuring a believing Christian:

and whoever may cause to stumble one of those little ones who are believing in me, it is better for him that a weighty millstone may be hanged upon his neck, and he may be sunk in the depth of the sea. Matt 18:6 YLT

Jesus will then explain that a "believer in me" allowing a body part to be destroyed on threat of persecution is the better outcome than "stumbling" and ending up in hell. Jesus puts this succinctly -- saying you can go to "heaven maimed" or "hell whole" (unmaimed). See also Mark 9:42-47.

Jesus is talking at least about sins that damn you, and which you must avoid even if it involves a willingness to suffer physical deprivation of body parts to avoid that damning act.

One under physical-based persecution to blaspheme, as Paul did to Christians which Paul admits in Acts 26:11 having done, no doubt would find these commands from Jesus strenghtening their ability to endure suffering / mutilation  and even death, if necessary, to avoid blaspheming unto damnation.

Sadly, Paul pronounced he was successful many times, and "compelled" Christians to blaspheme (Acts 26:11), and hence some Christians did not take Jesus' warnings as seriously as they should have.

Thus, Jesus is clearly implying that the one who has caused a believer to stumble into a damning sin like blasphemy is himself going to be damned. It implies therefore that the one ensnaring the Christian in this sin will be damned and not forgiven. His sin is obviously unpardonable, and his damnation is certain. It appears Jesus at minimum had the crime of blasphemy in mind, aware prophetically of the later practice of the religious authorities as reflected in Paul's admission in Acts 26:11.

For there, Paul says he forced Christians to blaspheme or be killed / harmed. Only then they would be released, now damned by the God they once served but whom they were too cowardly to obey unto death. Yet, their tormentor (Paul here) would not go free, Jesus taught, and would suffer a worse punishment in hell than the Christian who fell.

Conclusion

Hence, let's put together all the facts:

1. blasphemy of God's name is the unpardonable sin that no atonement or forgiveness is ever possible -- God will "not let them go guiltless" (Exodus 20:7), which Jesus reaffirms in Matthew 10:28 - identifying the "blasphemy" of God (referred to as the 'Holy Spirit)' is the UNPARDONABLE SIN;

2. Paul admitted he was a blasphemer before becoming a Christian; and

3. Paul admitted he caused Christians to blaspheme as part of persecution.

4. Jesus warned Christians in Matt 10:28 that persecution was coming that would threaten physical death or an act that would send them to hell, obviously the very type of act Paul admits doing -- a blasphemy that Paul admitted forcing upon Christians. A blasphemy of the Holy Spirit forced upon a Christian is the only sin that fits what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 10:28, thus making it obvious that Paul coerced the unpardonable sin upon Christians before Paul's Damascus experience.

Thus, by Paul's own words (not our judgment on Paul), Paul apparently could not be saved EVER as reaffirmed by Jesus.

The only escape is if one could believe Paul did not mean he blasphemed God / the Holy Spirit, and that he likewise did not mean that he compelled Christians to blaspheme God / the Holy Spirit. For reasons above, that is unlikely.

Why is this important that Paul likely could never have been saved?

A Contradiction of Jesus

This has initial importance to help examine whether Paul truly spoke the words of Jesus at all times. Since Jesus cannot contradict himself, if Paul contradicts Jesus, then Paul cannot truly be speaking for Jesus at all times in Paul's epistles. 

We will find that Paul contradicted Jesus in the very same statement Paul admitted he was a blasphemer.

Here is the full statement by Paul:

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. (1 Tim 1:13 NIV.) 

Paul by admitting he was a blasphemer would be understood by his audience to refer to the Third Commandment. Paul confessed he violated that command. Jesus says it is UNPARDONABLE. Paul in 1 Tim. 1:13 says otherwise, claiming "I was shown mercy." (Yahweh says too it is unpardonable in Exodus 20:7.)

What importance then is there that Paul directly contradicts Christ on this important point?

Here Paul endorses the right conclusion...Paul endorses the Jesus' Words Only principle which we advocate as a test of orthodoxy. Paul states:

If any man gives different teaching, not in agreement with the true words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the teaching which is in agreement with true religion, He has an over-high opinion of himself; being without knowledge, having only an unhealthy love of questionings and wars of words, from which come envy, fighting, cruel words, evil thoughts, (I Tim. 6:3-4, Basic Bible in English.)

The verse begins by saying if "anyone preaches differently" -- the Greek is heterodidaskalei  --- and "does not assent" /agree (proserchetai) to the "sound teachings of the Master Messiah Jesus," then such a person has pride and understands nothing. Paul's words! Not mine!

Paul has judged himself.

The True Jesus Likely Would Not Pick As A Witness of His Resurrection A Notorious Sinner.

Finally, Paul's having blasphemed appears to also support our thesis about Matthew 24:4-5, 23-27. We contend that Paul did not meet the true Jesus on the road outside Damascus, as Paul's experience matches Jesus' warning of an imposter in the wilderness coming in Jesus' name, and leading many astray. See link of collected proofs on that issue.

First, we must remember that such an encounter with Jesus, even if true, would not make Paul saved from any prior unpardonable sin or make Paul a prophet to follow. For God has appeared to lost men, and even had his Holy Spirit speak to a corrupt prophet and other times spoke through lost men for a brief time, e.g.,

(1) Yahweh to Cain in Genesis 4:4-9;

(2) Yahweh to Balaam in Numbers 22 -- a corrupt Gentile prophet for hire who took money to curse Israel but to whom an angel spoke, and later the Holy Spirit fell upon him and he had true prophesy of a blessing on Israel; however, Moses later had Balaam killed because Balaam later seduced Israel from the Law by teaching they could eat meat sacrificed to idols, as does Paul;

(3) Yahweh also spoke to pagan-king Nebuchadnezzar who received the vision that Daniel revealed had prophetic content (Dan 2:28); and

(4) God also spoke through the high priest Caiphas while he was conspiring to kill Jesus when Caiphas spoke the words "one man should die for the nation" which words John tells us were from the Holy Spirit (John 11:51), etc.

But this Jesus outside Damascus said Paul would be a "witness" -- in Greek -- a witness of the appearance / resurrection of Jesus in this vision. Acts 9:4-7; Acts 22:12-15.

The term "witness" is very important. A witness could not testify in a Jewish court unless their prior life was moral, or otherwise, they were disqualified before even uttering a word on the case, as proven below.

Can Paul, a blasphemer (whether of God or of a pardonable variety) prior to that event outside Damascus, truly be a witness whom God would choose to be a witness of His Son's resurrection? Can one who like Paul coerced Christians into blasphemy be a witness whom God would choose to be a witness to the resurrection? Could one who participated in the murder of Stephen in Acts 8, and who was "breathing murders" as Luke records in Acts 9 truly be a "witness" in any acceptable sense under the Law? Could one who lawlessly threw James down from the pinnacle of the Temple to stop James preaching Christ, almost killing him (link), be a man of good moral reputation, and thus a legally valid "witness"?

It seems very unlikely as Paul could never qualify in a court as a witness that anyone should believe, due to his prior highly immoral life.

Morever, the events in the appearance accounts in Acts 9, 22, & 26 do not involve Paul first repenting of his murders of Christians, of his prior blasphemy, and his coercions of persons to blaspheme, etc. Paul in fact during the vision does not even ask then for any forgiveness either. 

Thus, would the true Jesus try to engage an unrepentant murderer and blasphemer by his own admission -- Paul --- to be a witness to his resurrection especially as blasphemy is the unpardonable sin?

The answer is NO!

In the Law, Paul would not qualify as a witness. A witness had to be "without sin" - a legal term meaning a morally suitable life. This was determined after a rigorous cross-examination before you could even testify in a case.

Jesus alludes to this when He confronts the crowd who wished to stone the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said "those who are without sin throw the first stone." (John 8:7.) This is a reference to the two minimum testifying witnesses who had a duty to throw the first stone. Deut 13:7 et seq.; Lev. 24:11; Nu 15:33.

Sanhedrin practice was to first vette and qualify each witness to be "without sin" before allowing them to testify. See also "Adultery," Jewish Encyclopedia (Jesus's words in John 8:7 take on significance in light of Mishna-period Rabbi Akiba saying "only when the man is free of guilt" can the test of an adulterer be applied.)

Jesus was in essence asking whether those two witnesses were present, and if not -- if a single witness caught the woman in adultery, for example, or the husband as a witness was disqualified due his unsuitable moral life, then she cannot be punished.

In the article, "Testimony in Jewish Law," (Wikipedia 2/27/2016), it explains the Jewish application of the law was that a witness must not be "morally unsuitable." Josephus explained that a witness's credibility would be determined by their past life. (Josephus, Antiquities 4:219.)

Thus, the notion that the true Jesus would pick someone as a "witness" in Acts 9, 22 and 26 -- never said to be as an "apostle" FYI -- seems very incongruous. Paul could never qualify based upon his past life.

This corroborates once more that the Jesus whom Paul met outside Damascus was not likely the true Jesus, as we have proven elsewhere. No wonder the events outside Damascus fit perfectly the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:4-5, 23-27 of someone acting as an imposter of the true Jesus, coming in Jesus' name in a wilderness or private place, when Jesus says He will not return from heaven unless it is a universal appearance that everyone on earth can see.

END


QUESTION

Do you think Paul possibly devised the doctrine in his epistles of faith alone with no works worthy of repentance, to give himself justification even for blasphemy? It appears so. Listen now with new ears to hear. Pay particular attention to Paul's statement that "all things" that you could NOT be justified under the Law, now you can be justified in Christ from them -- and the only thing you could not be justified under the law for EVER was blasphemy:

Acts 13:39

and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Titus 2:14

who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Paul needed the sin of blasphemy to be pardonable when under the Law it was not. Unless abrogated, Paul never could be saved. Paul's claim was a superceding doctrine came -- one that could "justify" you from ALL things from which you "could not be justified" - forgiven, which obviously points to the sin of blasphemy - the only unpardonable sin in the entire Law.

Billy Graham Website Says Jesus' Words Are Overcome by Our Hope His Words Are Untrue

Don Wilton at Billygraham.org in a 2013 article simply affirms Jesus can still forgive what Jesus said was unpardonable: 

And, what if you do blaspheme? Here it is again–my hope, your hope, every person’s hope–Jesus Christ loves you. Here are three things you can do. First, look in. Examine your own heart before the Lord Jesus. Next, look out. When you do look out you will see that God is exactly who He says He is–in word, name and deed. And finally, look up. Look into His face and live. He loves you. He died for you. He wants to forgive you. There is hope.

How did he deduce this? By affirming elsewhere that the sin of blasphemy is no longer an unpardonable sin:

Taking the Lord’s name in vain is not the unpardonable sin any more than any of the other Ten Commandments are. This sin can be forgiven because the Lord Jesus Christ came and gave His life. This is exactly what the cross is about. Moses was the law-carrier. If you want Moses to run your life, you will be limited by the law instead of by God’s grace. Jesus Christ came not to do away with the law but to fulfill it. This is why it is imperative for you to repent of all sin and trust in Jesus Christ by faith. 

Wilton actually says Jesus did not come to do away with the Law -- which should mean the Law continues. Jesus even continued in Matt 5:17-19, and said not one jot or title will be expire from the law until the heavens and earth passes away. However, Wilton apparently also believes Jesus' fulfilling the Law's requirements for atonement means the law, including the law of atonement, expired at the cross. This supposedly does away with the 10 Commandments, and if he is consistent, the Law of atonement also expired. This law only supposedly exists under the Law given Moses. (There is no atonement principle pre-Moses recorded by Moses.) Hence, if Wilton were correct, Jesus' atonement no longer has any validity for us living after the Law of atonement expired at the cross -- it worked only for those who were under the Law -- and Wilton says no one is any longer under the Law since the cross. See what odd incongruities these Pauline thinkers end up in.

D