Chapter Twenty Three

                  SAUL/PAUL THE APOSTLE  (V).

       We have seen that the Nazarenes, and other Jewish groups as well,
preached to the so-called G-d Fearers who congregated at the synagogues of
the diaspora on Sabbaths and holidays. Many of these gentiles who were
enamoured of the Jewish way of life simply found it impossible to take the
final step, that is, comversion to Judaism. Those who did were usually
women. Sometimes the adult G-d Fearers would have their infants converted.
But for many men, the idea of circumcision prooved to be an insurmountable
obstacle. Paul knew this. He had lived in close geographical and emotional
proximity to gentiles for most of his life. The mere fact of his Roman
citizenship proves this. He was BORN as a Roman citizen and so his family
must have had strong economic and social ties with the upper class gentile
world. Paul understood the reluctance of many of the gentile G-d Fearers to
fully embrace Judaism. He understood it emotionally as well as intel-
lectually. He came to identity with it as ultimately he came to identify
with all things gentile.

       Paul's mind had evolved to the position that only the gentiles would
be preached to by himself and Barnabas. He also had arrived at the
conclusion that gentiles need not convert to Judaism in order to enter the
Nazarene brotherhood. In as much as he accuses the Jerusalem community of
preaching "another Jesus", then logically he himself must also have wound
up preaching "another Jesus", distinct and separate from the original Jesus
of history and of the original Nazarene com- munity. We will very briefly
explore who and what the Jesus of Paul was.

       The core of the teachings of Paul appears in the so-called epistles
which bear his name although New Testament scholarship denies that every
book bearing the title of an epistle of Paul is genuinely Pauline. Those
which are accepted as genuinely authored by Paul include the letters to the
Thessalonians, Colassians, Phillipians, Ephesians, Galatians, Corinthians,
and Romans, and the letter to Philemon. It is from these letters that we
learn the substance of the theology of Paul, more importantly the
CHRISTOLOGY of Paul. It is easy to discern the development of this
Christology even while the genesis of the Christology remains obscured. No
doubt Paul began to formulate his "religious" beliefs during his ten year
exile in "Arabia".

       Yet even with the Pauline material that we possess, we must be
circumspect in its use as a pristine picture of Paulinism. It is highly
possible that this literature was severely edited so that we are left with
inexactitude regarding what he originally wrote and what later Christian
scribes ammended. The well known anti-Jewish verses found in chapter 2 of I
Thessalonians is generally accepted as a later Christian gloss since it is
out of character for Paul to be so blatantly antisemitic. Nowhere in his
writngs does Paul ever accuse the Jewish nation of "killing Christ", and
Paul had several occaisions in which he might have made this accusation if
it had been an original part of his thought. Therefore, these verses in I
Thessalonians serve as a good example of edited Pauline writings.

       Bearing in mind the above, we present a synopsis of the major
aspects of Pauline Christology, not because it forms an essential part of
these essays, which focus on the JEWISH followers of Jesus, but merely
because it serves to show the reader just what the Judaizing Nazarenes
fought against.

       Let us begin at the first logical place then, where Paul's own
emotional makeup and his view of Judaism drew him to see a parallel between
himself and his perception of the reluctance of certain non-Jews to
completely accept the commandments of the Torah.

     "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? G-d forbid. Nay, I had not
      known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the
      law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by
      the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For
      without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law
      once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And
      the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto
      death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me,
      and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment
      holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death
      unto me? G-d forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working
      death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment
      might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is
      spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I
      allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that
      do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law
      that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that
      dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,)
      dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to
      perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I
      do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do
      that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that
      dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good,
      evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of G-d after the
      inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against
      the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of
      sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall
      deliver me from the body of this death? I thank G-d through Jesus
      Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of
      G-d; but with the flesh the law of sin.

                             Romans 7:7-25

       What we see here plainly is a picture of a man tormented by his
desires, and whose guilt is intensified by his knowledge of what the Torah
commandments demand of the Jewish individual. What Jews call the YETSAH
HA-RA (the Evil Impulse Within) is personified and externalized by Paul
as something called "Sin". Paul cannot say that the Evil Impulse comes from
within himself (because he is created in G-d's Image), therefore he
attributes it to an outside force which is at war with G-d and His
commandments. He then finds it necessary to generalize his own weakness.
Since he cannot save himself from this evil force, he believes that no man
can save himself and thus has to look elsewhere for salvation. Conveniently
Paul found a ready-made saviour in Jesus. NOT the Jesus of Galilee who
walked among his people and suffered execution under Pilate as a rebel
against Rome, but the Jesus who had spoken to him out of heaven on that day
he travelled to Damascus to cause havoc among the Nazarenes. That Jesus was
the messiah according to the Nazarene belief. But it was clear to Paul as
to everyone else that since Jesus' comming and since his death, the Kingdom
of Heaven had not come. It is true that the Nazarenes said he would shortly
return to usher in the messianic age, but he had NOT returned. Yet Jesus
was a messiah, a Christ as the Greeks called him. He had been anointed by
G-d to save Israel and the world. He had died in order to overcome death
and the power of human institutions - government and military might - so
that that very salvation might be effected. Yet he had not returned and the
world continued in its way. But if Jesus were the messiah-Christ, then he
must, of necessity, have effected some sort of salvation else his death and
the intervening lapse of time he was away from the world must have been in
vain. In time, the battle against Satan, represented on earth by evil men
and evil systems would be met and waged by the messiah of G-d in the
final battle.

       But even now, salvation was manifest among men, he believed. The
Christ had power to redeem men in many ways, not the least of which was the
power of redemption from the Evil One, Satan, Sin Manifest. When one
accepted the Christ as his saviour, as his lord, that Christ, that Jesus,
removed the burden of sin placed upon him by the Torah of G-d. That Christ
had, in fact, been offered up as a SACRIFICE of atonement for the sins of
the believer, thereby insuring the believer of G-d's complete and
everlasting pardon, and of a place in the blessed afterlife of bliss for
all eternity.

     "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us
      accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his
      blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his
                         Ephesians 1:6-7

       That Anointed, by virtue of one's belief in him as such, gave the
eternal life that the Torah laws, by self-justification, could no longer
give, perhaps could never give. This mollifying concept so enraptured Paul
and relieved his guilt that he never for once thought of Israel's G-d as
the sadist who gives man a law that he can never fullfill, a law that
intensifies his "sin" rather than diminishing it.

       Jesus, embodied as the Christ, had now become a "new Torah" for
those who believed in him. Barely recognizable to Jesus' followers in
Jerusalem, the Jesus of Paul was now elevated to Lord and Saviour of the
world. Yes, he was Christ, which still meant "anointed", but Christ was no
longer the narrowly constructed POLITICAL messiah of the old Israel. He was
the New Way, the Life and the Resurrection, whose death was not a martyrdom
for the Jewish people, but the very instrumentality of salvation from Sin
and Death for the world. If so, then Caesar was no longer the enemy of
mankind. Even though Caesar paraded himself before the world as a god,
Caesar himself was in the clutches of Satan, and SATAN was THE PRINCE OF
THIS WORLD, the real ruler of humanity. He it was that tore away the will
of man to accomplish the Will of G-d, the Torah of G-d. Indeed, the Prince
of this world had ordered his demon powers (who are also called "princes of
this world") to destroy G-d's Christ, and it is only because of their own
foolishness in having Jesus crucified, that they suceeded in bringing
about men's salvation and their own destruction. (I Corinthians 2).

       And Jesus was more than Lord and Saviour to Paul. He was PAIS THEON.
This Greek translation of EVED ELOKIM, a phrase probably first used by the
Jerusalem Nazarenes, originally meant "Servant of G-d", which is how Jesus'
immediate followers perceived him. In the Greek, however, PAIS has two
meanings, "servant" and "son". If the Jerusalem community had ever referred
to Jesus as the Son of G-d (a supposition which cannot be proven) then it
certainly was as an acknowledgement that the king of Israel, as well as
other kings of the ancient Middle East, held this as a title. In Israel, it
probably came about due to the verse in II Samuel 7:14 in which the prophet
Nathan tells David that his son Solomon shall build the Temple, and that
G-d shall be his Father, and Solomon shall be His son, as well as the
verses in Psalm 89:26,27 where G-d refers to Himself as the special Father
of David. Jews never had a problem with this concept; they believed that
all men were the sons of G-d, as well as the sons of Man (Adam). But in the
mind of Paul, the phrase PAIS THEON took on a more celestial meaning. To
him, Jesus was more than a royal son, more than a human son, he was somehow
a specially chosen DIVINE son whose sonship had been preordained since
before the foundation of the world. Even if Jesus' Sonship had been
conferred upon him only at his baptism (see Mark 1:11), it was a very
different sonship from that of other men.

       In this context, by the way, Paul attatched a completely new
significance to baptism, making it essentially "Christian". Previously both
John and Jesus had seen baptism as a means of cleansing from sin in
preparation for the Kingdom of G-d. After the death of Jesus, it had
become, for the Nazarenes, the means of inducting Jews into the Assembly of
the Faithfull, and the traditional means of converting gentiles to Judaism
as a necessary prior step to their becoming Nazarenes. To Paul, it became
THE significant ritual mystery act of complete IDENTIFICATION of the
Christian initiate with Jesus Christ, his death, and his resurrection.

     "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him
      through the faith of the operation of G-d, who hath raised him
      from the dead."
                     Colossians 2:12

     "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized unto Jesus
      Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried
      with him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised
      up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
      should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted to-
      gether in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the
      likenessof his resurrection."
                      Romans 6:3-5

       Paul also has a secondary genesis for the divine sonship of Jesus,
namely, that he became the special Son of G-d at the time, not of his
baptism, but of his resurrection.

     "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the
     seed of David, according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son
     of G-d with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the
     resurrection from the dead."
                     Romans 1:3-4

       Note again Paul's use of the term "Lord", a term he uses because the
later gentiles that he preached to were unable to understand the
significance of "Christ" alone, this term having been disassociated from
its Jewish meaning of "anointed" or "messiah".

       So then, we have Jesus, according to Paul, as the Lord Christ, who
is the Son of G-d, come into the world for the sole immediate purpose of
redeeming man from sin by his self sacrifice on the cross. (Romans 4:25; 2
Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:7; and elsewhere). Yet not even this status
long sufficied for Paul. He must elevate Jesus to an even loftier place in
the divine plan of salvation.

       For Paul, the ultimate identification of Jesus, the Christ who had
spoken to him from out of heaven, was something outside the natural order
of created things.

     "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every
      creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven,
      and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be
      thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things
      were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and
      by him all things consist."
                       Colossians 1:15-17

     "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye
      are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and
                       Colossians 2:9-10

       Paul says of Jesus that he is G-d's own EIKON, a likeness of G-d,
(see also 2 Corinthians 4:4) which of course can be said about any human
being. But Jesus is more than just a likeness of the Deity. He is the
instrument through which all things have been created, which is the
description that Judaism gives to the Torah, which was pre-existent before
the creation of the world and was the Divine blueprint for its creation. It
is the celestial Torah through which G-d made all things. And as we have
said, Jesus now becomes, for Paul, the new Torah in which dwells the very
essence of the G-dhood. By this, Paul states that he believes the Christ to
have been pre-existent with G-d before the creation of the universe and
then to have entered into history as the Galilean Jew known as Jesus the
Nazarene, made manifest as flesh and blood for the immediate purpose of
freeing man from sin, which means freeing him from observance of the
commandments of the Torah given through Moses at Sinai. For it is that
Torah which teaches man about sin and makes him painfully aware of his
propensity toward it and of his inability to rise above it on his own
(despite what is written in Genesis 4:7).

     "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the
     body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him
     who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto
     God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were
     by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto
     death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead
     wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit,
     and not in the oldness of the letter."
                       Romans 7:4-6

     "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one
    that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of
    the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
    But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say
    not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring
    Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that
    is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The
    word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the
    word of faith, which we preach;"
                         Romans 10:4-8

       From here we can see clearly that Paul thinks of Jesus as the new
Torah, replacing the old Sinaic one of Judaism. Paul even goes so far as to
use the very words of Deuteronomy 30:11-14, which Moses had used to
describe the Torah, to now describe Jesus, however with one small but
important difference. When Moses said that one did not have to ascend to
heaven or descend to the deep to find the Torah because it is nigh to us
all, he said it was nigh so that we "may do it" (keep the commandments)
whereas Paul said that Jesus' coming signalledthe end of commandment

      We recall that Paul said that the law within him members, which is
the evil impulse, is at war with the external law, the Torah. Again, Paul
generalized from his own feelings of inadequacy, feeling overwhelmed by the
Torah's demands, he taught that the Torah itself was inadequate to address
man's salvation. As time passed, his statements about the Mosaic Law became
more and more negative. He taught that the Law was given to man only to
show him how hopelessly he was a slave to sin and therefore unable to meet
the requirements of justification through works of law (Galatians 3:19;
Romans 5:20), that no man could therefore be justified by its observance
(Romans 3:20), that the Torah was in fact a curse (Galatians 3:10-13)
mediated to mankind through the mediation of angels (Galatians 3:19). It is
for this very reason that Jesus came as the new Torah through which man
could find his salvation via belief in and identification with him.

       Yet even this is insufficient for Paul. His elevation of Jesus went
far beyond anything that could possibly be tollerated in the Jewish world:
the equation of Jesus, not only with the pre-existent Torah of G-d but,
with G-d Himself.

     "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who,
      being in the form of G-d, thought it not robbery to be equal with
      G-d: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form
      of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found
      in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto
      death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore G-d also hath highly
      exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That
      at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
      and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every
      tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
      G-d the Father."
                               Philippians 2:5-11

     "Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ
      came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."
                               Romans 9:5

     "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that
      every one may receive the things done in his body, according to
      that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
                                2 Corinthians 5:10

       There can be no doubt here where Paul stands, and how far from
Judaism his stand has taken him. For the fact is that in Judaism there is
only One before Whom every knee should bow, and only One befoe Whose throne
the living and the dead will come to judgment. Now Paul has taken these
divine perrogatives and has presented them, for his Christians, as those of
the now-deified Lord Jesus Christ.

       Did the identification of Jesus with the pre-existent Torah lead to
the identification of him with the pre-existent G-d? Or was it from another
source? Although there is an aphorism in Judaism that says that G-d,
Israel, and the Torah are one, I do not believe that Paul got the idea from
this Jewish source but from elsewhere, - from the common source of ancient
Jewish mysticism and Greek gnosticism.

       Throughout the Hellenistic world in which Paul moved, there was a
great feeling of hopelessness and despair. Men felt that they were not
masters of their own destiny, and that their helplessness was due to their
inherit evil impure nature. They shared this impure nature with all the
created universe, a universe emeshed in filth and imperfection. All of
materiality, so degraded, could not be in close intimate touch with the
Divine. The Divine was seen as something completely other, untouchable
and incomprehensible, pure and aloof. To be sure, the Divine had made
possible the creation of the universe through various emanations of Itself,
It had created creations which then created lesser creations, all of these
moving further and further away from the Ultimate Divine Source, becoming
more and more impure as it became distanced from the Ultimate Other, until
this present universe came into being through the mediation of a demiurge,
or quasi-god. Now all of materiality was wrapped in shells of gross
impurity, unable to reach directly the True Divine. Therefore man was in
need of a SOTER, a mediator who would partake of both the Pure Divine
nature and the impure material nature at the same time. Only such a being
could somehow reconcile man with the First Divine Father. This
divine-material being would itself be an emanation from the Father, sent by
His mercy to enable the sinfull universe to throw off the impurities and be
reunited with the Divine. On his own, man was unable to accomplish this by
his own efforts. In fact, to attempt such a salvation by his own efforts was
an act of hubris, and impeded the gift of grace sent by G-d. Of course the
Lesser Powers, jealous of their own power through dominating the universe
and the souls of men, would try to hamper this act of salvation, but those
who listened to the message of salvation and believed it would escape their
clutches. Implanted in all religions was the prophecy of a coming saviour,
sent from the Divine Father, to free men from evil (including the evil of
death) and to release them to eternal freedom and reconciliation with the
Father. Paul, himself a man possessed by thoughts of sin and impurity,
believed that he was the chosen vessel, commissioned by the SOTER who had
become the historical Jesus, yet who remained the celestial emanation of
the G-d of Abraham who was the Ultimate Divine. This emanation of G-d, the
Son of G-d, had been sent as the promised messiah to the Jews. The Jews had
misunderstood the Divine plan and had turned its understanding of it to no
more than a hope of national liberation from the mortal powers of this
world. They thereby misconstrued G-d's objective in history and rejected
the Saviour He had sent. So now, he, Paul, had been sent to bring the
message of salvation to the gentiles. All those who received the Christ
into their lives would not only be saved from corruption, they would also
constitute the new TRUE Israel of G-d (Galatians 6:16). As to the
"physical" Israel of history, Paul devotes all of what has become chapter
11 of his epistle to the Romans to the description of a divine plan to save
them also. According to Paul's scheme, the Jews have rejected Jesus as part
of this divine plan so that the ministers of Christ (namely himself) may go
out among the gentiles and give them G-d's message of salvation. But in the
end of time, all Israel shall receive Jesus and also be saved in a future
world where there is neither Jew nor gentile but all are one in Christ.

       It was this completely alien Pauline view of who and what Jesus was
that scandalized the Judean Nazarenes, and caused Paul to be anathema to
them, regardless of what else Luke reports. In times past, he had been
their adversary from without. Now again, he was a much more dangerous
adversary from within because what he spoke, he delivered in their name and
in the name of their crucified master. Their list of grievances against him
were manifold: he preached a false Jesus to non-Jews, he claimed to be the
true apostle of Jesus while relegating them to a lesser position of those
who only knew Jesus "after the flesh" and not in his true heavenly
grandeur, he dishonored Israel and Israel's Torah, saying that that perfect
Torah was an instrument of lesser powers and was now voided, saying also
that the people of Israel were no longer the special Chosen ones of G-d,
and he completely ignored and mocked the directions given to him by James,
the viceroy of Jesus and head of the Nazarene community, Jesus' government
in exile, those directions of the Jerusalem Council, acting as Jesus' own
Sanhedrin, which were to be given to any gentile entering the Nazarene

       Such a false prophet, they deemed, must be silenced and  his
harmfull work among the nations must be undone. This they set out to do
and, but for an unforseen turning point in history, they came close to

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