Were The Twelve The Others Who Paul Warned Preached "Another Jesus"?
Paul was actually concerned that some were preaching about a different Jesus than the one Paul preached about:
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough (2 Cor. 11:4, NIV)
Paul says the Christians at Corinth were easily putting up with teachings about "another Jesus." Paul recognized that the believers were swayed to believe someone else had claimed to be teaching Jesus' teachings that were different and distinct from those taught by Paul.
Some understand in this passage that Paul was saying there was an imposter Jesus being taught by others. "2 Corinthians 11:3-4 exhorts us to beware of imposters named 'Jesus.'" (Onewayjesus.weebly.com.)
Could Paul have in mind the teachings about Jesus by the 12 apostles? Yes.
As explained below, in 1 Corinthians 9:5 and Galatians ch. 2, Paul speaks disparagingly about the 12 apostles, in particular about Peter. As J.K. Elliot explains in Essays and Studies in New Testament Textual Criticism (Bloomsbury Publishing 2015) at 132:
[Paul speaks] of the pillars of the Jerusalem church [in Galatians ch. 2]. Paul is against them -- see especially Gal. 2:11. Paul speaks against them with ill-concealed sarcasm in the repetitve words "reputed to be something," and "those of repute" (Gal. 2:2,6,9). Several commentators on I Corinthians argue that the Kephas [i.e., Peter] party (1 Cor. 1:12 [Cephas]; 3:22) are the judaising party in Corinth -- Paul disapproves of this faction. Similarly at 1 Cor. 9:5, Paul speaks disparagingly of Kephas [i.e., Peter] and the brothers of Jesus, i.e., the Jerusalem pillars....The rivalry between Paul and Peter is most strongly apparent in these chapters of Galatians and 1 Corinthians...."
Based upon Paul's put downs of the 12 apostles in Galatians 2, discussed in detail below with Luther's obvious concurrence, it is fair to infer that in 2 Corinthians 11:4 Paul is aware that the 12 preach another Jesus than Paul teaches. Rather than believe the Jesus Paul met was an imposter, Paul was implying the twelve were following an imposter. It is self-evident Paul assumed the 12 were following the wrong Jesus because Paul boasts that he did not desire to learn about anything which their Jesus taught them. Paul speaks of the "false apostles," and then denigrates learning anything from the "apostles" at Jerusalem -- referencing Peter, James, John, etc. Paul in the same context denigrates those "false apostles" preaching a conditional gospel -- that requires more than just faith alone. Because Matthew's Gospel clearly matches that so-called 'false gospel' per Galatians, there is little doubt Paul thought the true 12 were the "false apostles," and that they preached an "imposter" Jesus rather than Paul ever suspecting he, Paul, is the one who met the imposter Jesus on the Road to Damascus.
Luther's Apparent Recognition Paul Thought The 12 Were Following Wrong Path
Here is Luther's description of Galatians, and with no comment from me, you will see Luther says Paul thought the 12 taught another Jesus -- a different gospel than the one Paul received from the 'Jesus' Paul assumed was the true Jesus. So here is a pertinent portion of Luther's Commentary on Galatians (1535) -- a sermon given in 1531 -- where he unwittingly or perhaps even deliberately believed Paul had a superior revelation to that of the 12:
Chapter 2, pp. 48-60
VERSES 4,5. And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
Paul here explains his motive for going up to Jerusalem. He did not go to Jerusalem to be instructed or confirmed in his Gospel by the other apostles. He went to Jerusalem in order to preserve the true Gospel for the Galatian churches and for all the churches of the Gentiles.
When Paul speaks of the truth of the Gospel he implies by contrast a false gospel. The false apostles also had a gospel, but it was an untrue gospel. "In holding out against them," says Paul, "I conserved the truth of the pure Gospel."
Now the true Gospel has it that we are justified by faith alone, without the deeds of the Law. The false gospel has it that we are justified by faith, but not without the deeds of the Law. The false apostles preached a conditional gospel.
Not satisfied with teaching an untrue gospel, the false apostles tried to entangle Paul. "They went about," says Paul, "to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage."
When Paul saw through their scheme, he attacked the false apostles. He says, "We did not let go of the liberty which we have in Christ Jesus. We routed them by the judgment of the apostles, and we would not give in to them, no, not an inch."
VERSE 6. But of those who seemed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me.
This is a good point in Paul's refutation. Paul disparages the authority and dignity of the true apostles. He says of them, "Which seemed to be somewhat." The authority of the apostles was indeed great in all the churches. Paul did not want to detract from their authority, but he had to speak disparagingly of their authority in order to conserve the truth of the Gospel, and the liberty of conscience.
The false apostles used this argument against Paul: "The apostles lived with Christ for three years. They heard His sermons. They witnessed His miracles. They themselves preached and performed miracles while Christ was on earth. Paul never saw Jesus in the flesh. Now, whom ought you to believe: Paul, who stands alone, a mere disciple of the apostles, one of the last and least; or will you believe those grand apostles who were sent and confirmed by Christ Himself long before Paul?"
What could Paul say to that? He answered: "What they say has no bearing on the argument. If the apostles were angels from heaven, that would not impress me. We are not now discussing the excellency of the apostles. We are talking about the Word of God now, and the truth of the Gospel. That Gospel is more excellent than all apostles.
VERSE 6. God accepteth no man's person.
Paul is quoting Moses: "Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty." (Lev. 19:15) This quotation from Moses ought to shut the mouths of the false apostles. "Don't you know that God is no respecter of persons?" cries Paul. The dignity or authority of men means nothing to God.
We have seen how Paul refutes the argument of the false apostles concerning the authority of the apostles. In order that the truth of the Gospel may continue; in order that the Word of God and the righteousness of faith may be kept pure and undefiled, let the apostles, let an angel from heaven, let Peter, let Paul, let them all perish.
VERSE 6. For they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me.
The Apostle repeats: "I did not so confer with the apostles that they taught me anything. What could they possibly teach me since Christ by His revelation had taught me all things? It was but a conference, and no disputation. I learned nothing, neither did I defend my cause. I only stated what I had done, that I had preached to the Gentiles faith in Christ, without the Law, and that in response to my preaching the Holy Ghost came down upon the Gentiles."****
Clearly, Paul is describing the 12 apostles as those whom he would not listen to if they preached another Jesus -- another Gospel of Jesus. And Paul boasts he did not in fact learn anything from them. (Gal. 2:6.) Paul depended exclusively on the messages he learned from revelation, apparently from the "Jesus" Paul assumed was Jesus whom Paul met on the wilderness road outside Damascus.
And in context, Paul did have a different gospel and the quote in 2 Cor. 11:4 shows a conscious awareness of that fact. For Matthew's and Luke's Gospel do preach the works of the Law continue (Matt 5:17-19; Luke 16:16-17). Also, Matthew and Mark teach disobedience by a believer is still sin -- damning sin. For Matthew's and Mark's Gospels teach Jesus said that we "who believe in [Jesus]" can go to heaven "maimed" -- by cutting off body parts causing us to sin (FYI - cutting them off in our spirit), or hell whole, i.e., not having done so. (Mark 9:42-47; Matt 18.)
This is why Paul also spoke jealously about "my gospel" three times rather than the gospel of "Jesus Christ." He knew others claimed to have a gospel of Jesus, but Paul was aware it was regarding a different "Jesus" than whom Paul was preaching. Listen to the tone of these three quotes:
God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ
to my gospel." [Romans 2:16]
"Now to him that is of power to stablish you
according to my gospel,
preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation
of the mystery, which
was kept secret since the world began," [Romans 16:25 ]
"Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David
was raised from the
dead according to my gospel" [2 Timothy. 2:8]
Likewise, Luther clearly saw that the doctrinal dispute Paul was fighting over was not just about circumcision, but also against the notion that obedience has anything to do with salvation, as he interpreted Paul. And Luther has no trouble in his commentary realizing that this is a doctrine of a different Jesus than Paul taught.
Thus, Luther by 1531 overlooked the true meaning of passages like Matthew 18 and Mark 9:42-27 -- the "heaven maimed or hell whole" principle, and the numerous other passages discussed in my work Jesus' Words on Salvation. And Luther clearly had no trouble to depict Paul fighting against the very doctrine that we can all see fills Jesus' words in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. (John's Gospel matches the Synoptic Gospels when pisteuo eis in John 3:16 and elsewhere is more properly translated as obey unto, and not as believe in, as explained in JWOS ch. 26, available at this link.)
Paul's reference that the Corinthians easily put up with someone else teaching them about "another Jesus" appears to be another reference, similar to Galatians ch. 2, where Paul believes the true 12 apostles were teaching about "Jesus," but that Jesus was different and distinct from the one whom Paul was teaching about. Sadly, Paul never sought to make sure that Paul had known the teachings of the true Jesus. Rather, Paul in Galatians 2 is proud he learned "nothing" from the 12 about Jesus, and it shows in his epistles -- for Paul does not make any quotation of Jesus, or even a very close allusion to something Jesus said, except Paul quoted the liturgy contained in the last supper. And that perhaps is the only thing in common between the Jesus of Paul and the Jesus of the 12 -- and Paul recognized that in 2 Cor. 11:4.
In Why Paul's and Jesus' Teachings Differ, the author states:
This article shows that there is no evidence that the Christianity spread by Paul was the same Christianity of the disciples in Jerusalem or was the same Christianity
that lead to the production of the Gospels. Indeed, Paul had so little interest in what the disciples had to say about Jesus that he never mentions any person, who,
according to Paul, saw Jesus while he was alive.
Indeed, Paul had so little interest in what the disciples had to say about Jesus that he couldn't be bothered to talk to most of them, even when he had made a special
trip to Jerusalem.
Paul did not regard being a companion of Jesus as anything special. As far as he was concerned, the earthly life of Jesus had no interest and being a companion of
Jesus did not mark one out as an apostle. How could this be if Jesus did all the things attributed to him in the Gospels?
Where did Paul learn all of this? Paul claims revelation.
Paul Claimed He Learned A Mystery Never Before Known
Could this be related to the 'other' Jesus whom Paul knew?
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Messiah Yeshua‘
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 2 Cor .4:3.