"But if we must focus on Paul's letters to establish the Christian faith, then truly the servant has become greater than his Master." (BercotTheologians (2010) at 40.)

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Why Paul Did Not Realize His Error About the

'Jesus' on the Road Outside Damascus'? or

 

Paul Errs That The Return of Christ Is Not

Accompanied by a Universally Seen Jesus by Both

Christians and non-Christians at the same time

 


Paul never realized that he met the wrong Jesus by having a private wilderness experience with Jesus prior to Christ's return where every eye on earth would see him. [See full discussion of this point in Jesus Identified Imposter Come in Wilderness Not Universally Seen.]

 

Why?

 

Because the impostor Jesus told Paul that when the true Jesus returns, not every eye will actually see Jesus.  The fact Paul never knew this is that Paul describes the  Coming of Christ as if Christians only hear a call from earth to heaven, and we remain with Jesus forever in the clouds. No one on earth sees any appearance of Jesus in the sky by which Jesus taught Christians would see and use as a key factor to know it is the true Jesus, and not an impostor.

 

Paul's delusion that Christ will not himself appear at his return to those on earth -- matching his own similar experience outside Damascus -- is clearly reflected in the latest Left Behind Movie. Nicholas Cage and his family are chronicled, but never is there any physical appearance of Jesus to everyone on earth, even Christians, for all to use to discern this is truly Jesus and not an imposter. See Left Behind at minutes 32-42.

 

Why does Paul not see things as Jesus does in Matthew 24?

 

Paul tells us -- in obvious reliance upon the impostor -- that instead only the spiritually discerning will realize Christ returned and 'see' Christ in a spiritual sense when we find ourselves supposedly in heaven at the return of Jesus. Those on earth will supposedly not see Christ's appearing although they apparently will hear a trumpet and Jesus' voice. The nonbelievers will only realize many are missing, and the explanation from Paul is they did not see Jesus because  they did not love or look forward to Jesus' return.

 

Thus, supposedly true Christians will not experience seeing Jesus' universally appear above us while we are still on earth. We instead will be whisked secretly away into heaven while no one on earth will see Jesus. It is only those who look forward to Jesus' appearance who will see him once we join him in the sky. That is, we believers thus supposedly will see Jesus only when we arrive in the clouds.  Paul never says we return to earth. Instead, he says we remain forever in heaven with our Lord.  

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God.  The dead in Christ will rise first; then we, who are left alive, will be snatched up with them on clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

 

These verses from Paul, along with others mentioned below, negate that while on earth we will experience a visual-universal event of Jesus's appearance on the clouds of glory to not just us but all on earth. As mentioned, this is how the Left Behind movie depicts it as well. The world is left wondering why all these millions of people disappeared. None of the left behind got to see Jesus from east and west when Jesus came to take the "Christians" away.

 

This is credulously explained by Herbert Lockyer in All the Parables of the Bible Explained (Zondervan: 1988) at page 255:

 

"'Every eye shall see Him.' His return for His church, however, as indicated by Paul will likewise be sudden but not universally discerned. He will appear for those who look for Him, and who love such an appearing."  [Alluding to 2 Tim. 4: 8, love his appearing; 1 Thess. 4:16-17, 5:23, come down with a shout, and rapture us into the clouds; he reports 1 Thess. 2:9 says we are with Jesus at His parousia, thus preceding the event, precluding us from first seeing Jesus' presence while we still are on earth's surface. See  Barnabas' Epistle to the Hebrews 9:28 -- those who eagerly await Jesus will see him at his return, implying the lost will not see him. Barnabas was a companion of Paul in Acts. ]

 

Thus, Paul -- including Barnabas' comparable view in Hebrews -- mentions when Christ next appears to Christians, we will not see Jesus until we arrive raptured into heaven. This is because those not loving the appearing of Jesus will not see Christ's return at the time Jesus supposedly raptures Christians from earth. The only apparent universal fact is that all occupants of earth might  hear a trumpet and a "voice of an archangel"  -- not even a voice from Jesus. 

 

As a result, Paul implies that we never will have an opportunity to validate this Jesus is the true Jesus if we use Jesus' standards in Matthew 24. Jesus said in that chapter that Christians can only know if such an appearance event is the true Jesus actually returning is if we are able to validate it is a universal experience seen by everyone on earth including by non-believers. 

 

Thus, what does Paul teach on validating this is truly Jesus?

 

It is no different than Paul's own inaccurate standard for the Damascus Road experience. Paul and the writer of Hebrews -- which Catholicism claimed was Paul -- says no one while on earth will see Jesus in this event. All inhabitants of earth only supposedly hear a voice and then Christians alone are raptured off earth to a place where only those who looked forward to the appearance of Jesus will now actually see Jesus. Those who did not look forward to Jesus' appearance will not see Jesus. We will thereafter be forever with the Lord in heaven, and apparently not on earth.

 

It appears Paul died before the Book of Revelation showed Christians are not raptured, and instead are present when Christ puts his foot down on earth. It shows Jesus first rapturing away by a scythe the evil-doers on earth to bring to judgment. Nor did Paul appear to have the Book of Revelation concept that the New Jerusalem would come to earth as a new home for Christians. When we join Jesus in the clouds, Paul says we will "forever" be with him there. Otherwise, as a scholarly evangelical article noted, "we may add that nowhere does Paul say that Christ will come to reign on earth." ("Paul and the Parousia," The Old and New Testament Student (1892) Vol. 15 at 134.)

 

Hence, these Christians can be duped that the place they find themselves -- and very much are not yet dead -- is "heaven." But as they mill around, I hope they call to mind Jesus' words, so they realize that the "Christ" they think is Christ did not actually qualify to be Jesus because Paul's Christ is able to appear non-universally at his return but the true Jesus must be universally seen by everyone -- Christian and non-Christian -- so we can discern whether to trust him. The fact we are 'raptured' to somewhere is merely a sign and wonder -- something Satan as an angel of light can imitate.

 

An Aside on What Can Happen in the Future.

 

Incidentally, think about this scenario, and ask yourself how a Paulinist would resolve the quandry if this happens:

 

What if one day all Pauline Christians are taken to a cloud-covered place on earth but it was done in a way the people could think they left earth to heaven. Then these Pauline Christians are all told they are in heaven, and forever will remain there for eternity. They are overjoyed. However, how do they know it is the true Jesus? They cannot because they did not share with everyone on earth first in what must be a universal visual experience where every eye on earth saw Jesus in the sky first. They are therefore trapped for eternity in a Pauline Nightmare because they did not have a clue themselves on the validation requirement in Matthew 24. Paul's statements above prove that Paul still had the mistaken view that private experiences with "Jesus" that the world does not experience at the return of Jesus is somehow the true Jesus

 

Are Paulinists on notice? They must be because Jesus never speaks of a rapture of Christians to heaven. The book of Revelation speaks only of rapture of evil-doers from earth by use of a threshing scythe. Their end is condemnation and punishment, not salvation. See our article Paul's View on the Rapture Is At Odds with Jesus and the Bible. 

 

Paul's View Mismatch Jesus, Conceded by Major Scholar.

 

N.T. Wright - a renown and worthy Christian theologian -- put it after quoting 1 Thessalonians 14:16-7 -- Paul's claim of  a future rapture of Christians mismatches Jesus' views: 

What on earth (or in heaven) did Paul mean?  It is Paul who should be credited with creating this scenario. Jesus himself, as I have argued in various books, never predicted such an event. [FN 2] (N.T. Wright, Bible Review, August 2001 reprinted at this link.)

 

Wright's footnote 2 reads in part: "See my Jesus and the Victory of God (1996) ... The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (1999)....

 

The Second Reason Paul Did Not Recognize an Impostor

 

At the same time as Paul misconceives how Jesus would return post-Ascension, Paul said he declined to listen to the twelve apostles. Paul preferred instead his direct revelations from the Lord Jesus whom he met during that first experience. In Galatians 1:12, Paul explained: "I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." In Galatians 2:6, talking expressly of the twelve apostles, Paul says:

But from those who were reputed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth not man's person)-- they, I say, who were of repute imparted nothing to me: (Galatians 2:6 ASV.)

 

Paul thus was helpless against the Jesus of his revelation. Paul did not have the criteria of the true Jesus' words on how to test the encounter which Paul had with the "Jesus" of the wilderness. Paul refused to hear them, or ask their spiritual input on whether his experience matched the Jesus' they all knew.

 

Paul thereby mistakenly accepted an impostor Jesus whom the true Jesus intended Paul to reject had Paul learned the warning of non-universally seen imposters claiming to be Jesus in the wilderness or private place. [See Jesus' Prophecy On How to Recognize Impostor Jesuses.]

 

Sadly, it is Paul's own fault for he boasted that those in repute -- the true twelve -- "imparted nothing to me." Paul preferred the "revelation from Jesus Christ" -- the Jesus of that very first encounter -- the clear impostor. Paul will have to bear the consequences of that flagrant rejection of any words from Jesus that the 12 could have shared with Paul. For Jesus told the 12 (including Matthias who was present and later replaced Judas, according to Acts ch. 1) what are the consequences to Paul for Paul's admission he refused to learn anything from the 12 about the true Jesus:  

14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.  (Matt 10:14-15 KJV)

 Excerpt from Jesus' Words in Matt 24 on Paul's Experience outside Damascus.