Questioning Paul

Volume 1: The Great Galatians Debate

Chapter 12 part 1

Metanoeo – Change Your Perspective

Are You Prepared to Change Your Thinking and Your Perspective…

As is often the case, we achieve a better perspective when we step back. All too often we get so close to our subject that we fail to see what is occurring in the greater context of the human experience. In this light, I recommend that we commence our closing arguments in the case of Yahowah v. Sha’uwl with God’s opening statement regarding this man and his religion.

Approximately 666 years before Sha’uwl penned his first letter, sometime around 615 BCE, Yahowah chose a man named "Embrace This" to expose and condemn an individual named "Question Him." God’s concern was that this heinous man would lure billions of souls back to Babylon by negating His Towrah and replacing His Covenant. This stunning prophetic witness began with these words...

"The prophetic pronouncement (ha masa’ – the published prophecy) which beneficially (‘asher) was received as a revelation by (chazah – was revealed and witnessed by way of a prophetic vision to (the qal stem is the voice of genuine relationships and of literal truth while the perfect conjugation reveals that this revelation was totally complete, lacking nothing)) Chabaquwq (Chabaquwq – Embrace This, which is to receive, accept, and act upon what is being revealed), the prophet (ha naby’ – the individual who proclaims the message of God regarding future events)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:1LEB)

Therefore, we know that Yahowah brought Chabaquwq / Habakkuk to a place in time where he was able to see the future. And based upon his reaction, what he saw was horrible. The man cried out to God, pleading for what he was witnessing to end.

"For how long (‘ad ‘an – where and when will the ancient and continual), Yahowah (efei), shall I plead for relief (shawa’ – should I vocalize this request for help during a desperately horrible and dangerous situation (in the piel stem the object (those observing this prophecy) are affected by the plea while the perfect conjugation reveals that the call for help is sufficient, lacking nothing))? But (wa) You will not actually listen (lo’ shama’ – You will not actually hear for an ongoing period of time (the qal stem is the voice of reality and imperfect conjugation conveys that this condition endures)) to my genuine and continuous appeal for help (za’aq – to my cry and summons as a result of this emotional anguish (qal imperfect)). Toward You (‘el – toward the Almighty) there are cruel lies and great injustice (chamac – there is Towrahlessness as a result of unrighteousness and error leading to death and destruction, ruining and wronging the people, plundering them), so (wa) You continuously withhold salvation (lo’ yasha’ – You do not provide deliverance (in the hiphil stem the subject (Yahowah) causes the object (in this case those influenced by the promotion of the lies) to suffer the effect of the verb, which is the denial of salvation and in the imperfect, this condition is ongoing))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:2LEB)

There are those who will say that Habakkuk’s lament was over the treatment of Yisra’elites in Babylon after they were drug off into captivity. But since that horrific reality was imminent and would become a current event in Chabaquwq’s lifetime, something he could have witnessed with his own eyes, there would have been no reason for Chabaquwq to use "masa’ – prophetic pronouncement," "chazah – prophetic vision received as a revelation," or "naby’ – prophet who proclaims God’s testimony regarding future events" in his introductory statement. In addition, Yahowah had been clear, revealing to other prophets precisely why the Yisra’elites would be taken from the Land.

But also keep in mind that Yahowah is prone to foreshadowing, to using contemporaneous events to shine a light on those which are of even greater significance in the future. And in this light, Babylon represents corruption, and thus religion. To this day, it remains the greatest impediment to salvation. It is the first thing Yahowah asks us to leave in the Towrah before engaging in His Covenant. And it is the last plea Yahowsha’ makes to humankind, asking us in the waning chapters of the Revelation to Yahowchanan to come out of Babylon, which is the realm of religion – and most adroitly, Christianity.

Seeking the answer to the questions we have been pondering, Chabaquwq, asks...

"For what reason (mah – for whom and why) are You having me witness (ra’ah – are You showing me, revealing to me, and having me look at and consider (in the hiphil imperfect God wants this revelation to influence the witness forever)) this evil corruption (‘awen – the vain and wicked injustice, this immoral iniquity that has been perpetrated, this misfortunate act of deceit, this troubling presentation of idolatry (from an unused root meaning to pant, exerting oneself in vain)) and (wa) distressing and miserable labor (‘amal – abysmal situation brought about as a result of birth pangs) that You are considering (nabat – You are evaluating (hiphil imperfect))?

Cruel lies and great injustice (chamac – Towrahlessness as a result of unrighteousness and error leading to death and destruction, ruining and wronging the people, plundering them) are conspicuous to me and are related (la neged – are present before my eyes and they correspond to one another from my perspective). So he has been and continues to be (wa hayah – so he is continuously (imperfect conjugation scribed in the third person masculine singular)) contentious, taunting, and quarrelsome (ryb – insulting in a dispute and hostile in opposition, harboring a different perception and opinion regarding the proper standard which put God and man in conflict). And also (wa), strife and dissention (madown – a source of contention regarding judgment and argumentative objections with regard to vindication) he brings, actually lifts up, and continuously advocates (nasa’ – he consistently raises, carries forward and actually advances, he desires, honors, and exalts (qal stem imperfect conjugation scribed in the third person masculine singular))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:3LEB)

If Yahowah had taken Chabaquwq to Babylon to view his immediate future, he would not have questioned why he was there. He could warn his contemporaries because much had already been revealed to explain the justifications behind the "timeout." Chabaquwq knew that it was coming, and that it was both required and deserved. However, if we move 666 years forward in time to witness the quarrelsome contentiousness of Sha’uwl, it would be natural for Chabaquwq to ask God this question, realizing that the people who would benefit from this warning wouldn’t be born for another six centuries.

Babylon is based upon the Hebrew word for "corruption," and clearly, the Babylonian religion was "perverted." But the Yisra’elite captivity in Babylon was not an injustice. The people deserved what befell them. So while "chamac – the cruel lies and great injustice" that grow out of "Towrahlessness" leading to "error, death, and destruction" was prominent in Babylon, including a steady diet of "ryb – contentious taunts and quarrelsome insults," this vision is directly analogous to Sha’uwl and his derisive arguments against the Towrah. And that is why ryb, speaking of this "insulting dispute and hostile opposition" was scribed in the third person masculine singular, and thus identifying a lone individual man who would be responsible for "harboring a different perception and opinion regarding the proper standard which ultimately put mankind in conflict with God." Similarly, this "madown – source of contention and dissention regarding the means to vindication" was "nasa’ – advocated and advanced" by one solitary soul. Babylon was a nation of millions. And the only named perpetrator is Sha’uwl, and no one named Sha’uwl reigned over Babylon, not then or ever.

And now that we have completed our review of Sha’uwl’s first letter, we know that Chabaquwq 1:3 is a fitting summation of it. But that is just the tip of the iceberg gouging an irreparable gash in the hull of Christendom.

"So likewise, therefore (ken), based upon this (‘al), he consistently and completely incapacitated and genuinely paralyzed the purpose of (puwg – he invalidated the function, weakening by causing a numbness toward (qal imperfect)) the Towrah (Towrah – source from which teaching, instruction, direction, and guidance flows). So he did not bring forth (wa lo’ yatsa’ – then he did not bring out or extend (qal imperfect)) the glorious and eternal approach (la netsah – the unending and everlasting means) to vindicate by justly resolving disputes (mishpat – to exercise good judgment regarding the Judge’s plan and prescriptions to resolve relational issues).

For indeed (ky – rather because), wickedness encompasses and guilt abounds (rasha’ kathar – hostile and unrighteous criminality surrounds and encircles, hemming in the hopeful (hiphil participle)) against (‘eth) the righteous and innocent (ha tsadyq – the upright who are vindicated and acquitted). So therefore in this manner (‘al ka), his judgment regarding his ongoing means to vindication (yatsa’ mishpat – his angry expression to actually bring forth justice and to continuously resolve disputes (qal imperfect)) is perverted and distorted (‘aqal – is twisted and false (in the pual stem the object, which is judgment, suffers the effect of the verb’s action which is to change, misrepresent, and twist))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:4LEB)

The Babylonians were never a party to the Towrah. The nation did nothing to incapacitate Yahowah’s Guidance nor twist His purpose. But the modern incarnation of Babylon that grew out of Sha’uwl’s relentless assault against Yahowah’s Towrah has done these very things. Moreover, throughout Galatians, Sha’uwl’s hostility abounded against Yahowsha’s Disciples, represented here as the "tsadyq – righteous and innocent." There were no such souls in Babylon.

Furthermore, if we were to distill Galatians down to core, we find Sha’uwl "attempting to incapacitate and invalidate the Towrah’s eternal means to vindicate by justly resolving disputes." And as we know, he did so by assaulting the innocent, expressly Yahowah and Yahowsha’, Abraham and Moseh, Shim’own and Yahowchanan. Throughout his letter, the means to Sha’uwl’s madness was consistently "‘aqal – perverting and distorting, twisting and falsifying" the "Towrah – Teaching and Guidance" of God.

That is not to say that Yahowah wasn’t adverse to Babylon. He was. He is. The nation became His eternal metaphor for religious and political corruption, for the negative influence of militarism and jaundiced economic schemes, for the integration of religion and politics. It is the state of mind from which He most wants us to disassociate. Leaving Babylon, even for those who live two-thousand years after the nation was destroyed, remains His prerequisite for participating in His Covenant, and thus for salvation.

Throughout Yirmayah / Jeremiah, God’s most sweeping prophetic revelation to Gentiles, replete with denouncing Christmas, Easter, Sunday Worship, and calling Him "Lord," Yahowah consistently paints Babylon as Christianity. And He methodically presents all of the reasons He is adverse to the religion and culture predicated upon Paul’s New Testament.

"Choose to witness (ra’ah – elect of your own volition to actually view and consider (the qal stem denotes reality while the imperative mood expresses the volition and will of all parties) among the Gentiles (ba ha gowym – in the people from different races and places), and elect to be consistently observant, carefully considering and evaluating (wa nabat – pay attention (hiphil imperative)), and be astonished and astounded, amazed and surprised (tamah tamah – bewildered and stunned (hithpael and qal imperative)), that indeed (ky), a work will be done (po’al pa’al – to be carried out (qal participle)) in your days (ba yowmym) that you will not find credible (lo’ ‘aman – you will not find reliable (hiphil imperfect)), even when it is written down and he is held accountable (ky caphar – even if what is known about him is recorded and reported (the pual stem and imperfect conjugation addresses the continual consequence that befalls the object of the verb, also scribed in the third person masculine singular))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:5LEB)

"Rather (ky – indeed), look to Me, and pay attention to Me (hineh – look up and notice Me), standing upright (quwm – take a stand and become established, rising up restored (hiphil participle)) against (‘eth – regarding) the Chaldeans (ha Kasdym – a synonym for the Babylonians), the nation of Gentiles (gowy – the heathen and pagan from different races and places) that are disagreeable and poisonous (mar – bitter and anguished), impetuous and senseless (mahar – the rash and disturbed (niphal participle)). He makes his way (ha halak) to the vast expanses of the world (la merchab ‘erets) as if an inheritance, taking possession of (la yarash) inhabited places that are not his (mishkan lo’ la)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:6LEB)

"Terrible, dreadful, and intimidating (‘aym yare’ – frightening through shock and awe (the niphal stem indicates genuinely but passively)): this from his decision, his plan, and lofty status (huw’ min mishpat wa se’th) which he brings forth (yatsa’ – which he advances and spreads (qal imperfect))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:7LEB)

In that our goal is to align our perspective so that we are standing in a place where our viewpoint is the same as God’s, the inclusion of "Kasdym – Chaldeans" makes an essential contribution. Immediately before Yahowah asked Abraham "to walk away from his country," establishing the Covenant’s lone prerequisite, God told us that Abraham was living in "Ur of the Chaldeans." Therefore, by negating the Towrah’s presentation of the Covenant, Sha’uwl took believers back to the poligious and militaristic realm God wanted His children to leave. And that is why, in the Revelation of Yahowchanan, Yahowsha’ concludes His prophetic message to humankind asking those enduring the Tribulation to come out of Babylon. The nation is long gone, but thanks to Paul, not its influence.

The religion Paul conceived has more in common with the mythos of Babylon than any other. As was the case with the Babylonians, Christians are fixated on their Trinity, on their Cross, on the celebration of the Winter Solstice and Easter Sunday when their god is born, dies, and is resurrected, a god whom they call "the Lord," using Satan’s title.

And while there are a handful of nations which could claim the title of most Christian, such as Italy, Greece, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and America, Babylon was condemned for more than just being religious. Their relentless deployment of their military, one which was overwhelming in its day, and their corrupt mercantilism where the empowered cheated and controlled the masses, were also hallmarks of Babylonian influence. So when we bring these elements together, today one nation stands naked and exposed before God – America.

Finally transitioning from "he" to "they," at least for a moment, Yahowah temporarily broadens the scope of His warning from the man we know as Sha’uwl to the warmongering nations and lethal institutions he inspired.

"And they recede more swiftly (wa qalal – they are disdained and despised because they are vile in the contempt (qal perfect)) than the dregs of a scummy remainder (namer – a filtrate or panther). His horsepower (cuwc) is as fierce and menacing as wolves (wa chadad min ze’d – is harmful, destructive, and predatory (qal perfect)) at dusk (‘ereb – following sundown in the darkness of night). His dispersed and fast running (puwsh – his spread out and swift (qal perfect)) chariots and mobile weaponry (parash wa parash – mechanized weapons of war which pierce and separate) come from afar (min rachowq bow’ – arrive from a great distance, pursuing by (qal imperfect)) flying and darting about, even hovering (‘uwp – continually and actually airborne (qal imperfect)), like (ka) birds of prey (nesher), swooping down (chuwsh – moving very rapidly (qal participle)) to consume and destroy (‘akal)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:8LEB)

Since this warning has focused on the most vicious weapons of war, and especially on fighters, bombers, helicopters, and drones, it is all too easy to see America’s immense war machine, particularly its menacing birds of prey, in these words. The nation has been in a continual state of way, dispatching its military horsepower far and wide to swoop down, destroying nations around the world, most recently focusing on the Muslim fiefdoms of the Middle East while engendering shock and awe. And sadly, no nation on earth is more Babylonian, more influenced by the vicious wolf known as Paul. No other nation has engaged in fifteen wars in sixty years. No other nation has a military so enormous, it exceeds the cost of all others combined. And that is sobering considering the fact that Babylon was never duped by Sha’uwl and Rome never deployed aircraft.

This still sounds an awful lot like America, which facing east has fought on behalf of and supplied twenty-five times more weaponry to Israel’s Islamic foes than it is to God’s Chosen People, even right down to the nation’s cobbled together coalitions and insatiable desire to impose its will on other countries.

"With all of his (kol) violent and destructive pursuits (la chamas – terror and killing without restraint), he eagerly assembles and consistently brings vast hordes (bow’ magamah – eagerly arriving and assembling in mass (qal imperfect)). Facing east (paneh), he assembles together and then moves (wa ‘acaph) like the sand (ka ha chowl) to control other countries (sheby – to capture territory)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:9LEB)

"And he at the kings (wa huw’ ba ha melek) mocks (qalac – he makes fun of, scoffing at, deriding (the hithpael stem reveals that the mocker causes others to scoff at and deride him (as we are doing with Sha’uwl) and the imperfect conjugation speaks of ongoing behavior)), and the governors (rozen – rulers) scoffs in scorn (mischaq – as if at an object to be derided), toward them and to all their fortifications and defenses (la huw’ la kol mibtsar) he laughs in amusement (sachaq – he considers a joke (qal imperfect)). Piling up rubble (wa tsabar ‘aphar - making a massive mess (qal imperfect)), he seizes them (lakad –seeking to control them (qal imperfect))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:10LEB)

The most Pauline nation in world history, and thus a living embodiment of Babylon, has made a habit of vilifying world leaders while ridiculing their alleged weapons of mass destruction. America has amused itself with inferior fortifications, all while turning one nation after another into piles of rubble. So while our focus is on the natural extension of Pauline Christianity, for those who might also be looking for references to America in prophecy, perhaps we have found common ground.

Affirming what became obvious when Galatians turned Gnostic, Yahowah warned us that Sha’uwl would promote the wrong spirit in his attempt to elevate Babylon’s god. And in this next statement, our brief exposure to the consequence of the Pauline epistles is over so that God can focus His condemnation on the culprit, himself.

"Then at that time (‘az), he will actually go with a new and completely different spirit (chalaph ruwach – he will discard the Spirit, sweeping Her aside, actually exchanging the existing Spirit for a totally dissimilar spirit (qal perfect)). He will become arrogant, meddling, intoxicating, and alienating (wa ‘abar – he will transgresses and take away (qal imperfect)). He is totally guilty and will genuinely suffer punishment (‘asham – he is liable for complete wrongdoing and will endure recompense for his acknowledged offenses (qal perfect)). For this is (zu – because this is regarded as) the influence (koah – the power and might, the resources and qualifications) of his god (la ‘elowah)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:11LEB)

Paul was "arrogant" to a fault. Rather than create his religion out of whole cloth, he cut, redyed, twisted, and rearranged snippets of Yahowah’s Word, "meddling" with His Covenant. He thereby "alienated" believers from God, "intoxicating" them.

But more than anything, Christianity was born out of the spirit Paulos admitted possessed him – "a messenger from Satan." The resulting religion was, therefore, "koah la ‘elowah – the influence of his god," a wannabe deity known as the Adversary. And while we are addressing his "chalaph ruwach – different and newly conceived alternative spirit" "la ‘elowah – of his god," be aware that like the perpetrator of evil being prophetically exposed and condemned in these words, both were singular. The Babylonians were not "spiritual" and they worshiped a plethora of deities, further isolating this Divine sanction to the lone individual named in the second chapter of Habakkuk.

While Paul’s Christianity, and especially its expression in America, represents Babylon today, there is still a distinction between Sha’uwl and his faith and between ancient Babylon and its modern incarnation. Paul was guilty of corrupting and negating Yahowah’s testimony so he will spend his eternity in She’owl. Beguiled by Paul, most Christians in America will avoid this fate. Also, while there were many rulers and many gods in Babylon, Sha’uwl was a lone individual who had but one false god. So this condemnation continues to fit Paul perfectly while also prophetically predicting the consequence of his faith and spirit on the world – all while using the negative aspects of Babylon as a metaphor for the havoc the integration of religion, politics, economics, and militarism unleashes on an unsuspecting world.

At this point, we find Chabaquwq wondering why anyone would oppose Yahowah, especially by proposing a religion based upon His death, as is the case with Pauline Christianity. And yet while the "death" of the Christian god is reported to be the means to salvation, that wasn’t the most indicting aspect of this next prophetic revelation. God revealed the name He would personally give to the individual He appointed to rebuke Sha’uwl: "Shim’own Kephas – the Rock who Listens."

"Are You not from eternity, an unlimited duration of time (ha lo’ ‘atah min qedem), Yahowah (efei), My God (‘elohym), My Set-Apart One (qodesh)? You cannot actually die (lo’ muwth – who cannot be killed (qal imperfect)), Yahowah (efei). Concerning this (la), judgment (mishpat) You have actually appointed for him (sym – You have placed upon him upon examining him (qal perfect)).

And the Rock (wa suwr), You have established to argue against and rebuke him (yacad yakach – You have positioned, appointed, and ordained to prove that he is wrong, to chide him, accusing and judging him (the hiphil stem causes the object, Sha’uwl, to respond while the infinitive construct presents a verbal noun, making Sha’uwl argumentative))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:12LEB)

Paul was constantly focused upon the alleged "death" of his god on a pagan cross. And yet God "lo’ muwth – cannot die." This is a blow to the heart and soul of Christianity. It is why Sha’uwl has already been judged and found guilty.

But it is hard to imagine anything more incriminating than the concluding sentence of this verse. Sha’uwl’s admitted foe was Shim’own, the "Kephas – Rock" – the Disciple who stood up against Paul in Yaruwshalaim to rebuke him. It was even the moniker Paulos used to identify his adversary in this debate.

"Too flawless (tahowr – too pure and clean) are eyes to witness (‘ayn min ra’ah – is understanding from observation to see (qal infinitive)) such malignant and displeasing evil (ra’ – such saddening and troubling wickedness, such distressful and miserable, disagreeable and unpleasant injustice). To look upon and consider (wa nabat – or to observe and evaluate (hiphil infinitive)) such grievous and perverse labor (‘amal – the travail of childbirth this painful and full of iniquity), You cannot endure (lo’ yakol – You are unable because it is opposed to Your nature (qal imperfect)).

Why would You look at or consider (mah nabat – why would You pay attention to, attend to, or show any regard for (hiphil imperfect)) treacherous betrayal that is neither trustworthy or reliable (bagad – the adulterous transgressors and offensive deceit (qal participle))?

You are silent and still (charash – You are inactive, neither listening, speaking, nor taking action (hiphil imperfect)) in (ba) devouring (bala’ – swallowing and destroying) the wicked (rasha’ – the unrighteous guilty of violating the standard) more righteous than him (tsadyq min – more upright and proper than him, less wrong and guilty than him)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:13LEB)

This is to say that that the founder of the Christian religion was so vile, so wicked, that Yahowah could not remain silent regarding his treacherous betrayal. It also reveals that a copy of Sha’uwl’s letter made it to the Almighty, because God is taking exception to the wannabe apostle’s claim to having endured a painful labor to give birth to the faithful.

For the most part, however, Yahowah pays no attention to those who pay no attention to Him. Live and let die is His motto in this regard. The malignant and displeasing victims of religion are unknown to God, and thus when they die apart from the source of life, their souls simply cease to exist. That is the reason Yahowah is reporting that the promises manifest in religions like Christianity are not reliable, making the faith a treacherous betrayal of trust.

Paul was fixated upon presenting himself as second to none, as not taking a backseat to anyone, including Yahowah, Yahowsha’, or the Disciples. He pronounced himself to be the lone authorized apostle to the Greek and Roman world. He ordered the faithful to follow him and obey him. And he spoke on behalf of his Lord, the Adversarial spirit, who sought to possesses and control humankind as if we were slaves. Therefore, Yahowah had His prophet write...

"So You act and engage with (wa ‘asah – You fashioned (qal imperfect consecutive)) humankind (‘adam – men and women who have a nesamah / conscience) in similar fashion to (ka – as and according to) fish (dag) of the sea (ha yam – in the water), as creatures which move freely about (ka remes – like the multitude of highly mobile animals) without a ruler in control claiming dominion (lo’ mashal – without a controlling governor who claims to be in charge (qal participle)) over them (ba – among them)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:14LEB)

Fish don’t have lords, and they don’t submit to governmental authority, nor should we. And fish are free to swim wherever they like, even at different levels, some in the depths of darkness and others near the glistening waves of light. They even swim in schools, which symbolically suggests that they, unlike the religious, are receptive to proper instruction.

I suppose that it would be naïve to suggest that it is just a coincidence that each and every criticism fits Sha’uwl as if every one was written to indict him. And it is just per chance that nary a statement has been made that does not apply to the author of half of the "Christian New Testament."

Baiting and hooking his audience, and netting vast numbers of souls, Sha’uwl killed everyone who took his bait. Worse, he was so depraved that he rejoiced in what was nothing less than mass murder.

"In everything associated with him (kol ba), a fishhook (chakah – a small, sharp implement used as a lure to snag, bait, and catch fish) is used to withdraw (‘alah – lift up, sacrificing (hiphil perfect)), and (wa – found in the DSS but not MT) he catches and drags away (garar – in a whirling fashion, he tears apart) in nets designed to trap (ba cherem – he ensnares, bans, and utterly destroys), and he gathers them (wa ‘acaph – so he harvests, collects, and removes them (qal imperfect)) in his dragnets (ba mikmereth – in his fishing nets designed to trap and snare). But concerning this (‘al ken – so therefore in this way), he actually and continually rejoices (samach – he consistently delights and is genuinely elated (qal imperfect)) and he is glad and exults (wa gyl – he shrieks and shouts as if this was favorable and good (qal imperfect))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:15LEB)

Considering the hundreds of millions of people Islam has slaughtered in religious rage, it’s sad to report that Sha’uwl was more murderous still when one considers the number of souls he lured to their demise. And keep in mind, not only does religion constrain our freedom, similar to a net with fish, the reference to "ensnaring fish" is indicative of Christianity, where the faithful used the image of a fish to identify themselves with their religion. This symbol remains prevalent today in the Christian Ichthus, the Greek for "fish," where the letters IXΘΥΣ were formed inside the "sign of the fish." It purports to be an acronym for "Iesous Christos, Theou Yios, Soter – Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior."

"So therefore in this way (‘al ken – so concerning this), he kills every living thing (zabah – he sacrifices and butchers, slaughtering (piel imperfect)), those approaching and ensnared in his trap (la cherem – accordingly those devoted to and destroyed in his snare which banishes). And he blows smoke to illicit worship (qatar – he kindles aromatic incense in a religious setting, encouraging offerings; from qatar – to bind and shut in, fumigating a living space to drive out the occupants (piel imperfect)) for them to move toward his dragnet (la mikmereth). For indeed (ky), with them he shares seductive words regarding an easy life without any work (ba hem cheleq – he offers a persuasive plot which appears satisfying but is fattening so with him they share the same fate). And so his food (wa ma’akal – then his fruit) is fashioned to be consumed leading to obesity (bary’ – is created to be fattening and rank; from "bara barah – created to be devoured")." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:16LEB)

Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the 8HevXII rendering of Habakkuk 1:16LEB suggests that Sha’uwl’s "bread grew large." And if that is what the prophet was inspired to write, it means that it retains its yeast, and thus is rife with sin. This could well be a reference to Paul’s "a little yeast the whole loaf of bread yeasts."

Muhammad inspired the massacre of millions with sharp swords while Paul used seductive slogans. But with both, their religions became deadly.

"So how is it (ha ‘al ken) that he continues to pour out (ryq – he consistently brings out and dumps (hiphil imperfect)) his ensnaring net (cherem – his trap used for netting the devoted, banning and destroying them), only to (wa) constantly (tamyd – continually and regularly into perpetuity) kill (la harag – slay, commit murder, and destroy out of hand (qal infinitive)) Gentiles (Gowym – people from different races and places, the heathens and pagans), showing no mercy (lo’ chamal – sparing none while incapable of pity or compassion)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 1:17LEB)

Once again we are confronted by a discrepancy between the Masoretic Text, first compiled in the 11th century CE, and the Qumran Scrolls, dating to the 2nd century BCE. According to the DSS, Chabaquwq queried: "So how is it that he continues to bring out his sword, only to continually kill the Gentiles, showing no mercy."

Sha’uwl indeed targeted Gentiles. And while professing his "Gospel of Grace," he showed "lo’ chamal – no mercy." The means Yahowah had provided to mercifully save His children was rejected, and a deadly religion was put in its place.

There are a number of reasons that we have returned to consider a wider swath of Yahowah’s prophetic pronouncement against Sha’uwl, and association, against Christendom. But foremost among them was to forestall the inevitable gymnastic apologetics that would otherwise be brought to bear against such compelling evidence in opposition to the world’s most popular religion. So since Paul’s devotees have no hope of refuting the universal condemnation that Yahowah levels against Sha’uwl in the second chapter of Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk, their only hope is to dissuade Christians from considering it by protesting that the prophet was speaking exclusively of Babylon. Therefore, by closely examining and carefully considering the preamble to the most damning prediction found anywhere in the prophets, we have proven that God had Paul’s number – a wrong and disconnected number out of touch with the truth.

End of part 1