"Paul is the apostle of the heretics." Tertullian, Adversus Marcion 3:5 (207 A.D.)

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The 12 Apostles Rejected Paul

 

James J. posted a challenge against the Jesus' Words Only principle. He wrote a message in October 2016 that contended:

"Surely, the apostles would have caught on to these details [i.e., the claims that Jesus spoke against Paul in Revelation 2; in Matthew 5:17 and Matthew 24:4-5, 24-27] or why would God allow Paul's writings to be a part of what is known to be the Bible for about centuries. "

Here is my reply.

Reply Proving Apostles Rejected Paul

However, the apostles did catch on -- a fact that the "Jesus of Damascus" tried to delay taking place as long as possible. The earliest church that traces to the 12 apostles known as the Ebion -- the Poor -- did exclude Paul from canon -- a well-known fact that is generally ignored. Here are 12 proofs:

1. After the Jesus of Damascus visited Paul on a road outside Damascus, Paul rushed to Jerusalem to see the 12 Apostles to tell them what happened. However, the Jesus of Damascus told Paul in a trance at the Temple that the 12 apostles will not believe he met the true Jesus, and this "Jesus" told Paul to leave Jerusalem without meeting them for that reason. See Acts 22:14-22. This strange fact is discussed in full at this link.

2. Then three years later, Paul went to Jerusalem, and spent a brief time with Peter over two weeks. There Paul also met James, the brother of Jesus, but no other apostles. (Gal. 1:18.); (Gal. 1:19), Paul speaks about a point up through fourteen years where he can still brag in all his encounters the apostles "imparted nothing to me" (Gal. 2:6). In context, this was to prove apparently that his revelations from Jesus alone suffice.

3. Then in Acts 9:26-31 - apparently 14 years after this 3 year visit, according to Gal. 2:1 (Barnabas with him); 2:6 -- Paul is brought to Jerusalem by Barnabas. But the 12 apostles still had the same disbelief and lack of trust in Paul: "And Saul, having come to Jerusalem, did try to join himself to the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, not believing that he is a disciple,... (YLT)." See this link.

4. Luke records no positive apostolic response in Acts 9:26-31 et seq to Barnabas' introduction of Paul to the apostles. All Luke records is their distrust, then Barnabas's introduction of Paul, and then it moves into the general peace of the churches since Paul's persecution stopped. But Luke says nothing about the 12 accepting Paul as a believer, let alone as a 13th apostle of the true Jesus which Barnabas' speech does not claim for Paul. See link. Luke provides an entirely mute response from the 12 other than the rejection of Paul cited in verses 26-31 quoted above.

5. Luke's negative only response from the 12 is consistent with Paul's record of this first meeting of all twelve after the Damascus experience. For in Galatians 2:6, Paul recounts that after meeting with the apostles / leaders of the Jerusalem church that the apostles still "imparted nothing to me," and the esteem others had in them meant "no difference to me."

6. This distrust of Paul by the apostles continued. First, James, the Bishop of Jerusalem and brother of Jesus (Gal. 1:19), and whom Paul identifies as an "apostle" (Gal. 1:19), confronts Paul in Acts 21:21 about charges that Paul is guilty of "apostasia" - Greek for APOSTASY - from the Law God gave Moses. (See Greek tab.)

7. Apostasy is a charge that one is violating Deuteronomy 13:1-10 where one with true prophecy and signs and wonders is a false prophet solely because one tries to "seduce" and "turn away" another from "the Law given you here today" -- the Ten Commandments and concurrent Mosaic commands. In the Greek Septuagint of 257 BC, the Hebrew word for "seduce" or "turn away" is translated in Greek in Deut 13:10 as the active verb form of "apostasia" meaning to "turn away." See our article at this link

8. In Acts 21:21, this James known as James the Just -- who was one of the "apostles" in Paul's mind -- asks Paul to reassure everyone that Paul is not guilty of "apostasia" by performing a vow and ritual that comes from Numbers 6 -- part of the Mosaic Law. Paul complies, and says nothing to dissuade James' confidence that Paul is not an apostate from the Law. Paul is hanging by a thin reed here. We must wonder about what would happen when the apostles of Jerusalem find out what Paul's true views were, such as in Romans 7:1-7.

9. The Ebionites Exclude Paul's Writings as Written by an Apostate. It does not require us to wait for long to learn the apostolic conclusion to what began in Acts 21:21 -- examining Paul for apostasy. The Ebionites -- the Jerusalem Church under the twelve, as we will prove in ## 10-13 below, declared Paul's writings are "excluded" from being read by believers, because Paul is guilty of "apostasy." For example, Irenaeus (early 100s -202 AD), wrote that the Ebionites from an early stage "use the Gospel of Matthew only, and repudiate...Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the Law." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.26.) Eusebius in 325 AD likewise said the Ebionites "thought it was necessary to reject all the epistles of the apostle [Paul] whom they called an apostate from the Law." (Eusebius, Hist. of the Church 3.27.)

10. How do we know the Ebionites were the Jerusalem Church under the twelve? Many proofs. First, look how tight the connection is between Acts 21:21 where James tells Paul that he heard Paul was an "apostate," and then after Paul's deflects James' concern by performing a Mosaic law vow, the Ebionites find Paul is an "apostate" against the Mosaic Law. Given Paul's epistles could not be hid for long, James and the Apostles who followed Deuteronomy 13:1-10 would have in a reasonable time after Acts 21 have found out about Romans 7:1-7. This passage beyond all doubt clearly makes Paul an apostate under Deuteronomy 13:1-10.

11. Second, "Ebionites [was] a designation at first...a common name for all Christians, as Epiphanius (d. 403 AD) testifies. Adv. Haer. xxix." (G. Ulhorn, "Ebionites," A Religious Encyclopedia (ed. Philip Schaff) (1891) vol. 2 at 684 (PDF)). This name meant The Poor in Hebrew from EBION meaning 'the poor.' Thus because the name Ebionites was used earliest to refer to all believers before the term "Christians" was first used at Antioch (see link and this link), it is logical to infer this was the earliest name of the church under the apostles.

12. Proof for this is even in the pages of the NT. Paul writes in Galatians 2:10 that the Apostles asked Paul to "remember the poor at Jerusalem." We can now deduce Paul meant the "Poor" -- capital "P" -- representing the EBION of Jerusalem. For it is unlikely the apostles singled out help monetarily for only the poor of Jerusalem when the poor are everywhere.

13. More proof the Ebionites were the apostolic church was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There scholars found a remnant writing for the community known as the EBION at Jerusalem whose leader -- the Zaddik - the "JUST ONE" in Hebrew -- was battling the "Spouter of Lies" over whether "works" were necessary for righteousness besides faith. They were arguing over Habakuk 2:4 - Paul's frequent proof text for faith alone. James, the bishop of Jerusalem, was in fact known as James the Just. This fits the label Zaddik -- a Hebrew word meaning Just One. The debate with Paul, who often deflects charges he is "lying," was over the proof text Paul misused twice - Habakkuk 2:4. It takes no stretch to deduce the Ebionites were the church of James and the twelve depicted in Acts 15. As Professor Eisenman, an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, persuasively argues about this Dead Sea Scroll document, that it has an uncanny parallel to Paul and the Just One - James the Just, as well as the name of the earliest Christians being the EBIONITES. See JWO ch. 12. Hence, we can confidently say that the Ebionites were the same as the Jamesian apostolic church at Jerusalem.

15. Incidentally, this means also that the Dead Sea Scroll document at issue -- known as the Damascus Document -- is further proof of the apostolic rejection of Paul. In fact, Paul says James, the bishop of Jerusalem, was an "apostle." (Gal. 1:19.)

16. In line with the Apostolic decision to exclude Paul, in 62 AD the Epistle of James the Just appears. Who was this James? He was the first bishop of Jerusalem, Jesus' brother. As noted above, Paul called James in 57 AD an "apostle." (Gal. 1:19, "Other apostles of the Lord, I saw none except James, the brother of the Lord.")

In this epistle, James expressly refutes salvation is by faith alone, without works. See James 2:14-24. "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone." (James 2:24 RSV.) Luther said put the 'dunce cap on me' if you can reconcile this with Paul, viz., Romans 4:3-5 or Ephesians 2:8-9. In F.F. Powell's Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (2009) at 67, Powell aptly says: "James obviously believes that Paul is adding an erroneous tenet to the gospel."

17. Augustine -- the 'father' quoted most often by Luther and Calvin in support -- likewise said the epistle of Apostle Peter known as Second Peter confirmed James' critiques, and that Peter added a critique of Paul's epistles as "hard to understand." Augustine then explains Apostle Peter says that due to that flaw, many "ignorant and unstable" fell from Christ into Lawless lives. Augustine said this carelessness was due to adopting "faith alone" from reading Paul's verses that support such a view. Augustine points out that Paul contradicts faith alone in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Gal 5:19-21. There Augustine quotes Paul teaching believers they will "not inherit the kingdom" if guilty of various sins which Paul enumerates. So Augustine concludes:

"Apostolic Epistles of [Second] Peter, John, James and Jude direct their aim chiefly against it" [i.e., faith alone doctrine from Paul's "difficult to understand" words] so as to maintain with vehemance that faith without works profits not."  (Augustine, Faith and Works (republished 1847) at 57.)

 

18. As Augustine even confessed in the last quote, in 75 AD, Jude, the third bishop of Jerusalem, and thus a subsequent successor to James' office, as well as another brother of Jesus, writes his epistle in obvious disdain once more for Paul. In Jude, George Reber in The Christ of Paul (1876) Ch. 16, defending Paul, says: "The epistle of Jude is nothing but a bolt hurled at the head of Paul...."

Why? Because in Jude 4 and 11, we read an obvious indictment of none other than Paul for following a different Jesus:

"(4)For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (11) Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion.

Why is this about Paul? This person / persons "secretly gained" admission among Christians, and "perverted" grace / favor as taught by the true Jesus, rendering it "licentious." This term means "unrestrained by law / lawless."

These wolves in sheep's clothing thereby denied the authority of the true Lord Jesus. How so? Obviously first because the true Jesus endorsed the Law in Matthew 5:17-19. And because this view of grace was contrary to the true Jesus' teaching in Luke 16:32-34 and 17:8-9 about a merited grace ("charis" used 4x by Jesus). Jesus four times says "charis" (Grace) is earned by exceptional good behavior beyond what sinners do. (See link). Incidentally, translators never once render "charis" as anything but "credit" or "thanks" in these Lucan passages, obscuring our ability to discern Jesus even had a message on grace. It should not surprise us.

Next, Jude compares this false teacher and his followers to Cain who resented the grace / favor that a superior offering by Abel earned in God's eyes. See link. Paul taught that earning grace this way necessarily leads to human boasting (Eph. 2:8-9) rather than God's pleasure. Grace had to be supposedly unmerited to avoid human boasting. However, this too disowns the authority of the true Jesus as Lord and Master who speaks contrarily. It also directly contradicts Genesis 4:1-9, as explained at this link.

Next, Jude said this person and his followers also teach Balaam's error. What was that? It was eating meat sacrificed to idols (Rev. 2:14) -- something Paul endorses multiple times unless you are around a "weak" brother who thinks it is wrong. You refrain only if a brother might see you exercising the right to eat meat sacrificed to idols, and violates his "weak" conscience. See 1 Cor. 10:28-29; 1 Cor. 8:4-12.

Finally, Jude compares this teacher and his followers with Korah's rebellion. What was that? Korah's rebellion was against Moses ruling over the people. See Numbers 16:1-11. See link discussion. Paul's overthrow of Moses' rule over even Israel in Romans 7:1-7, and exclusion of the Law ever applying to Gentiles at all, is in Romans 7:1-7 as well, and in many other places.

Reber was correct. The epistle of the third bishop of Jerusalem -- Jude -- was a "bolt hurled at the head of Paul."

19. In addition, around 68 AD (some say 97 AD ) Apostle John wrote Revelation, in which Jesus spoke in clear language in Rev. 2 that Jesus condemned as a false apostle one who told the Ephesians he was one of the apostles (the 12) but was not. This fits Paul as Matthias replaced Judas in Acts 1. There was no room for a 13th apostle, as Jesus said 2x that there would only be 12 into eternity. This was repeated by Jesus after Paul's death in Rev. 21. See Link As Ezra Palmer Gould, a Christian professor, explained in The Biblical Theology of the New Testament (MacMillan 1900). 

"The Apocalypse [i.e., Revelation of John] ... represents an unqualified opposition to Paul....The Apocalypse [is] anti-Pauline." [Page 125.] "[Revelation is] a writing distinctly anti-Pauline." [Page 131.]

20. Jesus in the same passage of Rev. 2:14 condemned likewise the person teaching it is ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul clearly did so, only restricting doing so when around someone who thought it was wrong to do so. See this Link. Hence, Jesus in Revelation 2:1-14 condemned twice Paul's authority and teachings in just 14 verses. These words cannot be ignored, as they were written by a true apostle among the twelve. This passage is thoroughly treated in Jesus' Words Only. Also, in Revelation 2:20, Jesus quotes Paul's words in 1 Cor. 2:10 in disapproving fashion as what the false prophetess Jezebel relies upon to teach it is ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols (see Revelation & Paul), which Paul does give permission to eat at least 2x. See link.

For these reasons, a Paul-defender, Paul Renan in St. Paul (1875) at 220, said Apostle John's book of Revelation was a "cry of hatred against Paul and his friends." But for true Christians, this was our Savior's words warning us about Paul, not apostle John expressing hate.

21. Next, the evidence is Apostle John supplanted Paul after Paul's death, and brought the churches once under Paul's influence back to orthodoxy. See link. This reflects again that the 12 treated Pauline doctrines of that era with disapproval.

22. Paul's writings prior to the 300s AD were found only in a separate booklet -- not attached to any gospel, or any epistle of anyone else. This is the P46 manuscript. See Canon in this article at this link.

23. The early church commentators and Second Peter spoke of Paul's "wisdom," not his inspiration. See 2 Peter 3:15-18 (Paul speaks with "wisdom" in words "dysnoetas" = "nonsensical" "difficult to understand.") See also Polycarp's Epistle 3:2 ("Neither am I ... able to follow the wisdom of Paul..." (Lightfoot). Notice in both examples that each says this wisdom was "nonsensical," impossible "to follow" or "difficult to understand." Hardly a commendation!

24. This is because Paul many times makes clear he does not generally write under inspiration. The exceptions are few where Paul says something was given by revelation, a trance, vision, etc. See Paul Admits Often He Is Not Inspired. See also Paul Never Served as A Messenger of Meaningful Words from Christ.

25. Luther and many pro-Paul scholars admit Paul's Epistle to the Galatians reflects (1) Paul's putting down the leading apostles, intending us to understand they are "false apostles" who teach "another Jesus" than Paul (see Paul Knew the 12 Taught Another Jesus); and (2) the 12 apostles had refused to give him a commendation in writing as Paul had hoped. See Jason File, Letters of Recommendation in Early Church (2006) at pages 70-72 (refuting contrary views.) See also Eisenman on Paul (detailing proofs that Paul did not receive apostolic letters of recommendation, based upon 2 Cor. 10:9-18; 2 and 1 Cor. 9:1-2 when read together with 2 Cor. 11:13-15 and 2 Cor. 3:1.)

Paul thus himself impliedly admits the 12 rejected supporting Paul's authority in the true church which Paul hoped to receive by a written commendation. Paul had a corresponding disdain, implying the 12 were false apostles.

This conflict boiled over in Paul writing that he did not need anyone else's commendation for he "commends" himself "in every way," by "great endurance,...hard work," and "through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report, genuine, yet regarded as impostors." (2 Cor. 6:3-6 NIV.) Hence, the refusal by the 12 to commend Paul apparently was because they regarded Paul as an impostor apostle.

26. Finally, the Ebionites by the early 200s preserved their opinions about Paul by writing the Clementine Homolies and Recognitions of Clement. These works contend Peter realized that Paul - apparently revised after 325 AD by Catholic historical writers to be named as "Simon Magus" rather than Paul -- followed a different Christ, and was the enemy who teaches against the Law, and invites Christians to eat meat sacrificed to idols as long as not eaten in front of a Christian who thinks it is wrong. See our article Recognitions of Clement.-

Blessings Doug