"[V]isions, dreams, and miracles as a means for establishing [authority]...are some of the most dangerous imaginable in their ability to produce falsehood and deception amongst the unwary." (E.L.Martin, Secrets of Golgatha (1996) at 218-19.)


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Only Jesus (great song by Big Daddy)

What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Jesus' Gospel v Amoral Non-Yahweh Gospel of Paul

Jesus Says Atonement Has No Effect Until After Moral Action aka Works Worthy of Repentance

Jesus taught if you stood at the altar of atonement with an atonement offering, but you knew someone had something against you, the offering would not be effective to atone for you. You had to leave the atonement offering there, and first do whatever it takes to be reconciled to the one you offended. You had to appease the anger of the one whom you wronged. See Matthew 5:22-26. If this were God alone you offended, then the same principle applied. 

Once you do this moral action -- which Jesus and the Baptist call "works worthy of repentance" -- to appease the one offended, now you can bring your atonement offering. You will find a full discussion of this passage in our chapter one of Jesus' Words on Salvation.

An example of this gospel in action is when Jesus tells Zaccheus that as a result of his promise to return four-fold what he stole from the poor, "this day salvation has come to this house." (Luke 19:8.) Some of such works to be done for forgiveness -- hence prior to atonement offerings --  are specified in Leviticus 6:1-7. For more on Jesus' Gospel of works worthy of repentance, please see this article.

Jesus thus intends us to understand that believing in the effect of atonement has no effect on whether it validly applies to yourself. God is the sole measure of its effectiveness on you personally - and it is not acquired by merely believing you have brought an effective atonement to God. Thus, Jesus' atonement, although it paid for your sins, and belief this is true is a correct belief, mere belief there has been a payment for your sins does not make such payment force God to grant you forgiveness. It merely represents a legal satisfaction of a debt but only if God accepts it to apply to you personally. Your belief about its effect does not cause any forgiveness by God unless His conditions of Mercy aka Grace for you personally are satisfied.


It is like a voter under 18 who is prohibited from voting even though the machinery works satisfactorily. He lacks the right to use the voting machine. His vote, if cast anyway, is null and void. Likewise, Jesus taught the unrepentant and stubbornly disobedient are disqualified from using atonement -- even an atonement that could satisfy God's wrath for one's wrong. The underage voter and the unrepentant and disobedient are in the same boat: they can try to use a valid mechanism the law permits others to use, but for themselves, the result for each is void.


Prophetic Condemnation of Workless-Atonement.

The prophets excoriated as serious error any belief that atonement is effective on you personally despite your personal lack of repentance and turn to obedience. Jesus and the Bible condemns those who believe their disobedience and unrepentance are no barrier to use of a sacrificial atonement. These condemnations equate such a wrong-idea to some of the most egregious crimes. Any notion that you think you can literally force upon God a duty to forgive you without any moral condition is equated to the worst of sins in the Bible. As we find in 1 Sam 15:22, when the Benjamite king Saul tried bringing an atonement offering from war booty which God told Saul beforehand not to take back to Israel, God responds:

"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry." (1 Sam. 15:22.)

The amoral atonement is compared to the sins of divination and idolatry.

Similarly, Yahweh-God in Isaiah 66:1-6 explains that the amoral atonement sacrifice itself makes "whoever sacrifices a bull is like a person who kills a human" -- a murderer -- when they did not change from doing "evil in my sight." (Isaiah 66: 2,3, & 4 NIV.) 

Hence, amoral atonement was rejected by God as equivalent to murder of the sacrificial animal as if it were legally a human. Amoral atonement was further rejected in King Saul's case as like divination and idolatry against Yahweh. This is despite the fact that ordinarily an atonement would be effective had love for God and restored-obedience preceded it. Mercy is not predicated solely upon sacrifice. As we shall see in Exodus 20:6, mercy (grace) is predicated first and foremost on sorrow for sin and turning toward obedience besides loving Yahweh.

As Jesus also said: "But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ Matthew 9:13, quoting Hosea 6:6. "If only you had known the meaning of 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent." Matthew 12:7. Jesus is also alluding to the similar  words that Yahweh spoke which the prophet Samuel relayed to the Benjamite king Saul. 

Jesus was also alluding to Psalm 51:10-19 KJV which reads:

"For thou desirest not sacrifice; else I would give it; though delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are [or my sacrifice to God is - NIV]  a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou will not despise." (Psalm 51:16-17 KJV.) 


In fact, Yahweh made very clear elsewhere that He never gave any Law of atonement to the ancestors before they left Egypt so that the people would know OBEDIENCE comes before ATONEMENT. God explains He did not give atonement laws until after He first gave the Law on moral rules for this very reason:  

22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:

23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. (Jeremiah 7:22-23 KJV.)

What Did Jesus Mean by Mercy?

The Gospel of Mercy also translatable as Grace / Favor in the Original Hebrew Bible was predicated not on atonement alone, but first and foremost upon repentance and a turn toward obedience. "These are the ones I look on with favor; those who are humble and contrite of spirit, and who tremble at my word." (Isaiah 66:2 NIV.)

If it were obtained on a conditionless moral-free atonement based upon merely a belief that it applied, and thus was effective to force God to forgive you, atonement would become merely an incantation. Pagans always relied upon incantations with sacrifices to manipulate God. But the God of Israel was different than the pagan gods who had no morality. You will find Zeus had no moral code. Apollo had no moral code. Athena had no moral code. You simply believed in them, and said a few words of honor over a sacrifice made to them, and you now could supposedly believe you were blessed and in good-stead with such god. But the God of Israel said MERCY also synonymous with the word GRACE depends upon something more.

This true Gospel of Mercy and Grace was stated in the Ten Commandments. Jesus' messages repeatedly hit on this statement in that section of the Law. In Exodus 20:6 KJV, we read just before the second commandment:

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

The same Exodus verse is quoted at Qumram, and is translated in The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians (2004) at page 314 by non-Christian scholars (hence unbiased scholars who do not have an agenda to obscure the truth) as God "showing GRACE" unto thousands, etc. "Grace" is a used there as a synonymn for "mercy."

The famous prayer of the prophet Daniel in his chapter 9 likewise reveals the link between this passage of the Ten Commandments and the Messiah's atonement. In this prayer by Daniel, he first confesses sin for himself and his people, and admits disobedience, etc. He then quotes the same principle of mercy from the Ten Commandments as he next pleas for mercy, wherepon God hears and, as I describe it, a DOOR OPENS. The door opens to a prophecy every Christian should read regularly. It was a promise God would send a Messiah to "make atonement for iniquity." What was the principle of Daniel's prayer of mercy that God responded to with this offer of a future atonement payment for sin?

Daniel quoted from the Ten Commandments -- Exodus 20:6 -- wherein God gives His principle of mercy and grace: 

And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; (Daniel 9:4 KJV)

The bolded portion is Daniel quoting Exodus 20:6: the true gospel of grace aka Mercy.

So how did you, and Daniel and the people of Israel get mercy? By calling on atonement? No. By bringing a sacrifice? No. You and anyone else who seeks to use atonement obtains mercy only by first loving Yahweh, and obeying Yahweh's commands. You do so by praying Daniel's prayer for yourself and everyone around you FIRST -- confessing and acknowledging sin (Nu 5:7; Lev 5:5) -- and doing the works of repentance consistent with that. God will then through the Messiah provide you a means to offer atonement. Not just once, but every time you fall and plead again for God's grace. His mercy.


What about the Atonement? What is its purpose?

The traditional atonement was a payment by you required by God to deter you from doing it again -- a guaranteed cost. But in Daniel 9, God had a new way of doing the same thing. It is vital first to see God is responding to Daniel's prayer for mercy which acknowledged that God's mercy depended upon satisfying repentance on God's terms stated in the Ten Commandments. Daniel was acknowledging its two conditions, and only after this plea for mercy did God send Gabriel to explain a Messiah would provide the atonement. Gabriel explains that God heard his "pleas for mercy" (Dan. 9:23 ESV), and then God commanded Gabriel to tell Daniel he was "highly esteemed" and that God would send a "Messiah" who would "make atonement for iniquity." (Daniel 9: 24). So a plea for mercy on the conditions stated in the Ten Commandments was responded to by God with a promise to send a Messiah to atone for sin of which Daniel repented for himself and for Israel. In that prayer, Daniel promised love and obedience to God as the condition for mercy, quoting those requirements from Exodus 20:6.

But if God were going to use Paul's message in the future, should not have God said 'Daniel, you and your people don't need to change or obey or love me; you only need to believe that I am sending a messiah who will die for your sins. If you believe that, you will be saved.' That's what Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:1-5 saves you, as we will quote below. But that's not how the promise of Messiah was first delivered to Daniel as a future atoning Messiah.

Now why can a prince-Messiah's atonement be better than the cost of animals and money for atonement for us?

Precisely because once the Messiah came to make atonement for you, and made it 100% clear that if you bring such an atonement offering to God's mercy seat, then you must scrupulously notice the same Messiah's condition that you cannot do so unless you do whatever it takes to have "reconciliation" by every means possible with the one you offended, i.e., works worthy of repentance (Matt 5:21-26). God used a human messiah to personally deliver that message to thereby overcome all the nonsensical claims that atonement by itself is effective without works of repentance.

Sadly, the entire point of Jesus' atonement appears lost on several hundreds of years of Protestant-misinformed generations due to Luther's mistake in emphasis on faith alone found in Romans 4:3-5 and 1 Cor. 15:1-5. In turn this influenced preachers to use translations which obscure Jesus' meaning in Matthew 5:21-26. 

For the wiles of Satan are pervasive, as few translations let you readily see Matthew 5:21-26 uses all the terms of atonement -- the words for the atonement gift in Hebrew — doron —transliterated into the Greek with no change in sound or meaning, and the word for sacrifice altar. Thus, you are left prey to the wolves who want you to believe instead you can use an atonement on a works-free, repentance-free basis at odds with God's terms.

What are those terms again from Exodus 20:6? Loving God and obeying his Commandments which means you have done all the works in his commandments that it takes to reconcile with God and man. Many are specified in Leviticus 5 and 6. A thief must repay with interest, etc.

Thus, based on Jesus' principles and the Law of Mercy and Grace in the Ten Commandments, if you have presented to God an offering because you "believe" it happened as a fact, such as believing Jesus died for your sins, but without personal repentance and a turn to obedience first, such an offering will obtain NO MERCY, NO FAVOR, and NO GRACE with God.

The promise of an atoning Messiah was only specifically given after God heard Daniel's prayer for "mercy" quoting Exodus 20:6. Gabriel specifically points this out to Daniel. That cannot be a meaningless detail that Gabriel mentioned it was not upon the confession of sin, but only after God heard the plea for "mercy" --"grace" -- correctly stated with God's true conditions in Exodus 20:6, that God "commanded" Gabriel to visit Daniel to tell him about a promise of a Messiah who would atone. You only have the Messiah's atonement if you pray heartfelt the same prayer for mercy that Daniel did, and acknowledge the same promise to God to fulfill the conditions for that atonement by the Messiah.


What does Paul teach? The Opposite! 


Paul twice underscores that if you hold steadfastly to two beliefs about Jesus that you are saved. Another time Paul adds to such beliefs a "calling" on the name of Jesus. 

First, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-6, Paul teaches us that if we hold two beliefs steadfastly - belief in Christ's atonement and in His resurrection, we are saved:

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scripturesand that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by....etc.

Then in Romans 10:8-10, Paul speaks of "confession" of Jesus' name saves you, along with holding one of the two beliefs mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:1-5 -- that Jesus rose from the dead:

 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”[a] (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10 NKJV.)

What does it mean to "confess" the Lord Jesus? Well, Paul testified in court that when he became a Christian, Ananias told him to "call" on the name of Jesus as part of the condition of being baptized. We read in Acts 22:16 NKJV the following quote of Ananias by Paul: 

16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

There is nothing expressly stated here by Ananias that repentance is involved. This is unlike Peter who said baptism had to be preceded by repentance for sins. See 1 Peter 3:21. In Ananias' baptism of Paul, it is possible repentance was required from Paul, but it seems unlikely. For Paul's lesson in Romans 4:3-5, Ephesians 2:8-9, and Galatians 5 is that any salvation that requires any kind of works (obeying God's commands to perform the same) is not salvific. Paul even says to Gentiles that making an effort of reform to keep the Sabbath would "sever you from Christ." This despite the fact that God always had Sabbath-observance as an express condition in Torah-Prophets' prophecies of what a sojourning Gentile must follow. See Topic #9 in Paul's Error Believing Atonement of Christ under the Law Can Be Invoked by A Gentile Who Does Not Put Himself under the Law. 


Hence, Ananias' lesson to Paul must have been the same workless-atonement principle that we read about in Romans 4:3-5 etc. Hence, while Jesus' principle of salvation required moral change of heart and action, what are called works worthy of repentance, Paul's principles are different. Paul says if you believed Jesus died for your sins, and rose from the dead, and you "called" upon Jesus to save you, you "shall" be saved. It is a done deal without any moral change and action whatsoever, now or in the future.

In Paul's gospel reflected in his epistles, as almost everyone construes it, Jesus' conditions for atonement are gutted. Yahweh's Ten Commandments, with its Gospel of Mercy, are likewise gutted. At the same time, those ten commandments, in particular the command against coveting, are insulted by Paul as inciting sinfulness to even read! (Romans 7:5; 7:7, 11-13.) Paul says we must ignore the "letter" of the Law any further because reading it incites sin and kills us spiritually, and instead we must be led by the "spirit" (Romans 7:6) -- meaning we must now follow what our conscience tells us is right or wrong. This is measured by "expediency," and no longer by any strict rules of right and wrong. (1 Cor. 6:12 "all things are lawful but not all things are expedient".) We no longer should even read the supposedly sin-inciting Law to know and understand what are the commandments of Yahweh. See Romans 7:7 ("I would not have known about coveting except the Law said that 'thou shall not covet.'") See also Romans 7:7-13. See our article Paul and Blasphemy.

And thus Paul's Gospel is identical to the pagan form of salvation for Zeus, Athena and Apollo. Yahweh's Law disappears. It is all about incantations that supposedly can manipulate Christ's favor at no cost whatsoever in terms of any moral reform or acts of repentance. Paul's words thus single-handedly caused the spiritual destruction of all Christians who followed his teachings over those of Jesus.

And no wonder: do you see any attention being paid by Paul to the forgotten God in the room: Yahweh? In Paul's wholesale rewrite of the Gospel, no longer do we seek mercy from the God who issued the Law. No, Paul teaches in Romans 7 Yahweh is the one who created a repulsive moral code that incites sin and offers no hope of salvation in the Law but supposedly only provides a curse. Yahweh, Paul says, is the "husband" of Israel who died at the cross, and with His death, the code created by the marriage to Israel expired when He died. Now we marry the living God - Jesus (see link) -- who Himself is little more than a dying and resurrecting savior who will take you to heaven. In Paul's conception, Jesus is identical to Mithras of Paganism who was favored in the region near Tarsus in what is now called Turkey where Paul grew up. See May 2017 discovery of Mithras Temple in Eastern Turkey.




Jesus' Gospel makes moral sense. Only God has the power to forgive, and He imposed conditions of moral action. In Jesus' gospel, Yahweh is still God, and His Law is honored. Yahweh's Gospel of Mercy in the Ten Commandments is repeated by Jesus numerous times. This makes perfect sense, and aligns with God's revealed nature.


By contrast, Paul's Gospel of salvation is amoral and expunges Yahweh and His law from further vital attention. You can find proof just by going to any "Christian" church today.

Who is God in Paul's system?

In Romans 7, Jesus is Paul's intended replacement for Yahweh -- Jesus is our new husband in place of the old husband of God's people. See our article Romans 7:1-7. However, Paul elsewhere speaks of the "Father" as still God. Jesus will submit the kingdoms of the earth to God the Father. So Paul is confusing on who is the primary God.  

It seems clear that God the Father is a very de minimis figure in Paul's Gospel -- almost an after-thought, it appears. The Father has only one role in all Paul's writings: to receive the kingdom Jesus submits to him.

Otherwise, Paul's Gospel is no different than pagan religions where you believe an account about a dying and resurrecting god who shows you favor, and a promise of an afterlife with no condition other than faith about this god. Paul's Gospel relies upon a salvation formula of belief in atonement alone. As we saw above, such a principle was rejected repeatedly by Yahweh in the Original Testament, as well as by Jesus in Matthew 5:21-26 in the New Testament, as an effrontery to God -- akin to divination, rebellion and idolatry.

Paul thus leads us into confusion, error and an amoral pit where Yahweh has no role any more. No wonder God uses such language of extreme offense toward such a teaching.