Questioning Paul

Volume 1: The Great Galatians Debate

Chapter 12 part 2

With this in mind, I’ve taken the liberty of color coding the first chapter of Chabaquwq, with burgundy pointing to Sha’uwl and blue addressing Babylon. I suspect that you will enjoy the specificity of God as He lowers His sights and takes direct aim at the world’s single most hideous person.

Even the prophet’s name, "Chabaquwq – Embrace This" is telling when considered next to "Sha’uwl – Question Him."

"The prophetic pronouncement which beneficially was received as a vision and revelation by Chabaquwq (Embrace This), the prophet who proclaims the message of God regarding future events. (1:1LEB) For how long, Yahowah, shall I plead for relief? But You will not actually listen to my genuine and continuous appeal for help.

Toward You, there are cruel lies and great injustice, error leading to death and destruction, so You continuously withhold salvation. (1:2LEB)

For what reason are You having me witness this evil corruption, wicked injustice, and distressing and miserable situation brought about as a result of considerable labor that You are evaluating and considering?

Cruel lies and great injustice are conspicuous to me and are related. So he has been and continues to be contentious, taunting, and quarrelsome, insulting in a dispute, and hostile in opposition, harboring a different perception regarding the proper standard which put God and man in conflict. And also, strife and dissention, even argumentative objections with regard to vindication, he brings, actually lifts up, and continuously advocates. (1:3LEB)

So likewise, therefore, based upon this, he consistently incapacitated and genuinely paralyzed the purpose of the Towrah (the source from which teaching, instruction, direction, and guidance flows). So he did not bring forth the glorious and eternal approach to vindicate by justly resolving disputes.

For indeed, wickedness encompasses and guilt abounds, hemming in the hopeful against the righteous and innocent. So therefore, in this manner, his judgment regarding his ongoing means to vindication is perverted and distorted, twisted and false. (1:4LEB)

Witness among the Gentiles, observing, considering and evaluating, so as to be astonished and astounded, amazed and surprised that indeed, a work will be done in your days that you will not find credible even when it is written down and he is held accountable. (1:5LEB)

Rather, look to Me, paying attention to Me, standing upright, established, and restored against the Chaldeans (a synonym for the Babylonians), the nation of heathens and pagans that is disagreeable and poisonous, impetuous and senseless. He makes his way to the vast expanses of the world as if an inheritance, taking possession of inhabited places that are not his. (1:6LEB)

Terrible, dreadful, and intimidating: this from his decision, his plan, and lofty status which he brings forth, advances and spreads. (1:7LEB)

And they recede more swiftly and are despised because they are more vile in the contempt than the dregs of a scummy remainder. His horsepower is as fierce and menacing as wolves, harmful, destructive, and predatory at dusk in the darkness of night.

His dispersed and fast running chariots and mobile weaponry come from afar flying and darting, continually and actually hovering about like birds of prey, swooping down to consume and destroy. (1:8LEB)

With all of his violent and destruction pursuits, killing without restraint, he eagerly assembles and brings vast hordes. Facing east, he assembles together and then moves like the sand to control other countries and capture territory. (1:9LEB)

And he at the kings mocks, deriding, and the governors scoffs in scorn, toward them and to all their fortifications and defenses, he laughs in amusement. Piling up rubble, he seizes them. (1:10LEB)

Then at that time, he will actually go with a new and completely different spirit, exchanging the existing Spirit for a totally dissimilar spirit. He will become arrogant, meddling, intoxicating, and alienating. He is totally guilty and will actually suffer punishment, genuinely enduring recompense for his acknowledged offenses. For this is the influence of his god. (1:11LEB)

Are You not from eternity, an unlimited duration of time, Yahowah, My God, My Set-Apart One? You cannot die and cannot be killed, Yahowah. Concerning this, judgment You have appointed for him.

And the Rock, You have established to argue against and rebuke him, You have positioned, appointed, and ordained to prove that he is wrong, to chide him, accusing and judging him. (1:12LEB)

Too flawless and clean are eyes to witness such malignant and displeasing evil. To look upon, consider, and evaluate such grievous and perverse labor, the travail of childbirth this painful and full of iniquity, You cannot endure.

Why would You look at or consider treacherous betrayal that is neither trustworthy or reliable? You are silent and still, inactive, neither listening, speaking, nor taking action in devouring the wicked more righteous than him. (1:13LEB)

So You act and engage with humankind in similar fashion to fish of the sea, as creatures which move freely about without a ruler in control claiming dominion over them. (1:14LEB)

In everything associated with him, a fishhook, a small, sharp implement used as a lure to snag, bait, and catch fish, is used to withdraw, and he catches and drags away in nets designed to trap and destroy, and he gathers them, harvesting and removing them in his dragnets. But concerning this, he actually and continually rejoices, and he is glad and exults, shrieking and shouting as if this was favorable and good. (1:15LEB)

So therefore in this way, he kills every living thing, slaughtering those approaching and ensnared in his trap. And he blows smoke to illicit worship; fumigating a living space to drive out the occupants for them to move toward his dragnet. For indeed, with them he shares seductive words regarding an easy life without any work, offering a persuasive plot which appears satisfying but is fattening, so that his bread grows, therefore with him they share the same fate. And so his food is fashioned to be consumed leading to obesity. (1:16LEB)

So how is it that he continues to bring out his sword and ensnaring net, banning and destroying the devoted, only to constantly and continually kill Gentiles, showing no mercy, sparing none while incapable of pity or compassion." (1:17LEB)

I don’t suppose that it would be possible for a rational individual who has carefully considered these words to think that this was all about Babylon circa 609 to 538 BCE instead of Sha’uwl’s ongoing influence commencing in 52 CE.

But if you are predisposed to see all of this as God’s fixation on the brief and flickering history of the nation of Babylon, a brief history may be in order. In that Chaldea includes Assyria, this story begins with the initial Assyrian conquest of Yisra’el which was led by Tiglath-Pileser III and Shalmaneser V. It began around 740 BCE, more than a century before this prophecy was written. Sargon II and his son, Sennacherib, completed the twenty-year campaign, ending with the captivity and demise of ten of Yisra’el’s twelve tribes. This story is told in 1 Chronicles 5 and 2 Kings 15. By 722 BCE, Samaria was the final Northern Kingdom city to fall (2 Kings 17 and 18). Assyrian cuneiform tablets reveal that 27,290 captives were hauled away from Samaria as slaves.

Shortly thereafter, with 185,000 Assyrians returning to finish off Yaruwshalaim and the Kingdom of Yahuwdah, King Chizqyah / Hezekiah found a copy of the Towrah. After reading it, he decided that destroying all vestiges of religion while observing Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First-Born Children would be the only way to spare the lives of his people. God agreed, killing the assailants instead.

But the means to salvation was soon forgotten, and throughout most of the 7th century BCE, Yahuwdah became a client state of the Assyrian empire. However, once the Babylonians defeated the Assyrians, Egypt became concerned about its survival and launched a preemptive strike, seizing territory up to the banks of the Euphrates River in Syria. Babylon counterattacked, bringing Yahuwdah into the fray, killing King Yowshyah / Josiah in the Battle of Megiddo in 609 BCE. This was within five years of the time Yahowah inspired Chabaquwq to pen this prophecy.

Upon losing the battle, Yahuwdah became a client of Babylon, forging a treaty of alliance in Yaruwshalaim which kept Yahuwdah sovereign. But just a decade later, Yahuwdym revolted against Babylon. So in 599 BCE, they picked the fight that ultimately led to their demise, just as Rabbi Akiba and the warlord Bar Kocpha would do in 133 CE, repeating this history with the Romans. As a result, Nebuchadnezzar II began the Siege of Yaruwshalaim in early 597 BCE, with resistance crumbling a few months later. While the city was not destroyed, it was pillaged and a few prominent Yahuwdym such as the prophet Yachezq’el / Ezekiel were taken to Babylon.

Then, against the warnings Yahowah made through the prophet Yirmayah / Jeremiah, King Tsidqyah / Zedekiah entered into an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt and revolted once more against Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar returned, defeated the Egyptians and laid his sights on Yaruwshalaim, destroying the city wall and the Temple. Zedekiah was blinded and taken to Babylon along with many other Yahuwdym, and Yahuwdah became the Babylonian province of Yahuwd Medinata (the Aramaic word for "province") in 587 BCE, briefly losing its sovereignty.

But after the fall of Babylon to Persia under the leadership of Cyrus the Great in 538 BCE, the occupiers were gone and the enslaved Yahuwdym returned to Yahuwdah to join those who had remained. And that was the end of Babylon – at least as a nation. Its menacing influence over Yahuwdah lasted less than fifty years. Whereas Sha’uwl’s influence is still being felt 1,938 years after he penned his first letter.

Moreover, when Yahowah had an issue with a Chaldean king, He called him out by name. But the only individual named here is Sha’uwl, and no one by that name ever ruled over any Mesopotamian nation. In addition, Yahowah devoted most of Yirmayah / Jeremiah, a man much closer to the scene, to presenting His overt condemnation of Babylon. And the prophets Yachezq’el / Ezekiel, Zephanyah / Zephaniah, and Dany’el / Daniel were all better positioned to tell its story.


While that was the end of the first chapter of Chabaquwq, as we discovered early in Questioning Paul, Yahowah was just getting warmed up. God’s haunting prediction regarding Sha’uwl continued by telling us that He isn’t about to alter any of the requirements to participate in His Covenant or change the approach that He has taken to facilitate our salvation – no matter what Paul has led billions to believe.

"Upon (‘al – on this) My requirements and responsibilities (mishmereth – My mission which functions and serves as a safeguard to watch over and preserve the observant; from shamar – to observe, closely examining and carefully considering, retaining My focus), I have decided I will literally and continually stand (‘amad – I will always be present, actually standing and thereby genuinely enabling others to consistently stand, sustaining and enduring (scribed in the qal stem which addresses actual events which are to be interpreted literally, imperfect conjugation which reveals that God’s presence here will continue throughout time, and in the cohortative which expresses volition and desire)). And (wa) I will choose to always stand and present Myself (yatsab – I will consistently stand firm, appearing and presenting Myself (the hithpael stem tells us that God alone is taking this stand, the imperfect conjugation reveals that His stand is consistent, continual, and enduring throughout time, and the cohortative form conveys the idea that where and how He presents Himself is His choosing)) upon (‘al – on the Almighty’s) that which protects and fortifies (matsowr – the defensive stronghold which safeguards, preventing a successful attack by the adversary).

So then (wa) I will be on the lookout (tsapah – I will of My own volition continually keep watch (scribed in the piel stem where the object of the verb suffers its effect, imperfect conjugation which reveals that God is constantly observant, and cohortative form, affirming that this is His decision)) in order to see (la ra’ah – so as to observe, consider, and perceive) what he will say about Me (mah dabar ba – posing a question concerning what he will communicate regarding Me and what message he will convey in association with Me). But then (wa) how can I be expected to change My attitude, My thinking, or My response (mah suwb – why should I reverse course and mislead) concerning (‘al – during and upon) My disapproving rebuke (towkechath – My complaint, correction, reproof, and strong disapproval, My rational arguments in response and subsequent punishment)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:1LEB)

When God announced that He would be on the lookout for the likes of Sha’uwl, ready in advance to rebuke him for falsely testifying that He had changed His plans, it should have stopped Paul dead in his tracks. No one other than Sha’uwl in all of human history fits this prophecy. He not only tried to change God’s requirements for participation in His Covenant relationship, he sought to replace God’s conditions and provisions with his own. Worse, he claimed to speak for the God he was contradicting and undermining.

And that is why Yahowah has infused this prophecy with an affirmation that He isn’t going to replace His specific requirements for participating in the Covenant with something as nebulous as faith, especially in Grace. He isn’t going to shirk His own commitment to become the living embodiment of His approach to salvation through His participation in Passover, Un-Yeasted Bread, First-Born Children, or the Promise of the Sabbath.

Life was conceived in the real world by the one and only real God. His one and only Covenant was affirmed in this same corporeal realm, its conditions and benefits written down and communicated to us in the flesh, with Yahowah providing His Guidance in His Towrah. And so God became corporeal, the living manifestation of His Towrah, to fulfill His promises in the flesh. This is God’s accounting, and it is wholly different than the Gnostic agenda that permeates Paul’s letters.

"Then (wa) Yahowah (efei) answered, approaching me (‘anah – responded to me), and He said (wa ‘amar), ‘Write (katab – use the alphabet to inscribe) this revelation (chazown – this communication from God), and then (wa) expound upon and reiterate it using those letters (ba’ar – teaching others its significance by plainly and clearly declaring it using large and distinct alphabetic characters) upon (‘al) writing tablets (luwach – engraving it in stone) so that (ma’an – for the express purpose and intent that), by reciting this (ba qara’ – by reading this), he might run and go away (ruwts – he might flee)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:2LEB)

The lines of demarcation are clear, and the consequence of being deceived are severe, so Yahowah left little doubt regarding this man, naming him as we shall soon see, in this prophecy. And let’s be clear: this entire prediction has been positioned against one solitary man, which is why "he" is deployed throughout using the third person masculine singular.

While a handful of individuals have earned a rebuke of this magnitude, only one man meets all of the criterion that has been provided – and he is a perfect fit, right down to his propensities, peculiarities, and personal and proper name. Sha’uwl deceived billions during the "mow’ed – meeting times." He was in Yaruwshalaim, studying to be a rabbi, when Yahowsha’ was fulfilling the "Mow’ed Miqra’ey – Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with God." And as a rabbi, he did an about face to attack God from an entirely new direction. Sha’uwl even admitted to being conceited, to being demon-possessed, to being preoccupied with Gentiles and circumcision – things which will loom large in a moment.

Since it would be six centuries before Sha’uwl would question God’s Word, earning His disapproval, Yahowah encouraged those who first read these words to be patient. This warning was for another day...

"Still indeed (‘owd ky – so therefore the expectation and subsequent realization of), this revelation from God (chazown – this divine communication) is for the Mow’ed Appointed Meeting Times (la ha mow’ed – for the time of the Mow’ed). It provides a witness to and speaks, pouring out evidence (puwach – it reveals facts which condemn, trapping and ensnaring) in the end (la ha qets). The extended period of time required for this question to be resolved (‘im mahah – question him, because no matter how long it takes) shall not prove it false (lo’ kazab – this revelation shall not deceive, delude, nor fail). Expect him in this regard (chakah la – be certain concerning this) because indeed (ky), he will absolutely come (bow’ bow’ – he will certainly come upon the scene and make his appearance), neither being delayed nor lingering (lo’ ‘achar)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:3LEB)

The first four "Mow’ed – Meeting Times" – Pesach, Matsah, Bikuwrym, and Shabuw’ah – were fulfilled by Yahowsha’ and the Set-Apart Spirit in year 4000 Yah, more commonly known as 33 CE. They enabled the Covenant’s promises and our salvation. Sha’uwl was in Yaruwshalaim at this time training to be a rabbi. Shortly thereafter, he began undermining the Mow’ed, beginning with this letter around 52 CE. So I find it interesting that now, in 2013, just twenty years shy of Yahowah’s return, we are finally studying this prophecy and identifying it with Sha’uwl. Better late than never.

And speaking of late, can you imagine God telling a prophet just a handful of years removed from the Babylonian conflict: "this revelation is for the Appointed Meeting Time. It provides a witness to and speaks in the end. The extended period of time required for this question to be resolved shall not prove it false?" Since that approach would be utterly absurd, this was not about what was going to occur in six years (from 615 to 609 BCE), but instead in 666 years (in 52 CE).

Lest I forget, Yahowah loves to provide hints which facilitate understanding among those who are observant. The "mahah – question to be resolved" was to "sha’uwl – question him." If you think about it, you will come to realize that God has to be a bit coy. If he had written one-hundred years before the Classical Hellenistic Period or the Roman Republic had begun that "a religion named ‘Christianity,’ as a transliteration of a Greek word for ‘drugged,’ would sweep like a virus throughout the Roman world as a result of some letters scribed by a "Jewish" man who changed his Hebrew name from Sha’uwl to the Roman, Paulos, beginning in year 52 CE" in a calendar that had not yet been invented, by providing such specificity and making it easily accessible, He would have negated the validity of the prediction, assuring that it would no longer occur. So while God provided copious and convincing clues as to the identity, character, scheme, and consequence of the perpetrator, only those who treasure Yahowah’s Word sufficiently to closely examine and carefully consider what He had to say become sufficiently informed to understand. This is the same approach He has taken with all of His end-times prophecies. They are all there for the taking, but most of the fruit is out of the reach of those bowing down to false gods.

As bad as this has been thus far for Paul and Christianity, it is about to get much worse. What follows strongly suggests that Yahowah is directly responding to what Sha’uwl would later write in the letters that now dominate the "Christian New Testament." Above all else, this wannabe Apostle was egotistical and irrational...

"Pay attention (hineh – behold), he will be puffed up with false pride (‘aphal – his head will swell and he will be haughty and arrogant, he will be lifted up for being boldly presumptuous heedless of the truth). His soul (nepesh), it is not right nor straightforward (lo’ yashar – he does not consider anything appropriately and is circuitous in his reasoning, he wanders away by twisting and convoluting the teaching, and nothing is on the level) in him (ba).

So then (wa) through trust and reliance (ba ‘emuwnah – by being firmly established, confirmed and upheld by that which is dependable and steadfast, always truthful and reliable), those who are righteous and vindicated (tsadyq – those who are upright, innocent, and acquitted) shall live (chayah – they shall be restored to life, being nurtured and growing)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:4LEB)

While narrowing in on Sha’uwl in the first stanza, in the second, Yahowah reminds us that vindication and life everlasting come to those who trust and rely on His firmly established and always dependable testimony. This is and always has been the antidote for religion, especially Paul’s Faith.

In Galatians 3:11LEB, in the midst of his initial assault against the Towrah, Sha’uwl misquoted this verse, the very one which condemns him for mocking God. Removing it from its context and truncating it, he used his perverted variation to promote his faith: "But because with regard to the Towrah absolutely no one is vindicated or justified by God becomes evident because: ‘Those who are vindicated and righteous out of faith will live.’"

As is often the tendency of a daredevil when faced with the specter of death, Sha’uwl was so transfixed by this damning and deadly prophecy regarding him, he cited it once more, this time at the beginning of his most famous letter: "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from belief to belief, as it has been written, ‘But the righteous shall live by belief.’" (Romans 1:17LEB) Sha’uwl and Satan were taunting God. In this way, their collective arrogance is unmatched.

Moving on, there are six specific details in this next prophetic statement from Yahowah, all of which implicate Sha’uwl six-hundred and sixty-six years before he incriminated himself. But one clue in particular removes any doubt about whom God is warning us because Yahowah identifies His foe by his personal and proper name. If you are a Christian, you may want to pay attention to this...

"Moreover (‘aph), because (ky) the intoxicating wine and inebriating spirit (yayn – the consequence of the inebriation) of the man (geber – the individual human being) of deceptive infidelity and treacherous betrayal (bagad – of adulterous and offensive behavior, of handing people over to the influence and control of another without justification through trickery and deceit) is a high-minded moral failure (yahyr – is arrogant, meritless presumptive), he will not rest, find peace, nor live (wa lo’ nawah – then he will not succeed, achieve his aim, or reach his goal, not be beautifully adorned nor abide (qal imperfect)), whomever is open to the broad path (‘asher rachab – the wide, greedy, opportunistic, duplicitous, and improper way) associated with (ka – according to) Sha’uwl (Sha’uwl – the personal and proper name of the individual in question, it is also the name of the place of separation, the realm of the dead, the dominion of questioning: She’owl (she’owl and sha’uwl are written identically in the Hebrew text (consider Strong’s 7585 and 7586))). He (huw’) and (wa) his soul (nepesh) are like (ka) the plague of death (maweth – a pandemic disease that kills a large population of people).

And so (wa) those who are brought together by him, accepting him (‘acaph ‘el – those who associate with and join him, those who are removed and withdrawn by assembling with him, moving toward him and thereby gathered in and victimized by him) will never be satisfied (lo’ saba’ – will not find contentment nor fulfillment (based upon the Dead Sea Scrolls)). Most every Gentile (kol ha Gowym – the people from every race and place) will gather together unto him (qabats ‘el – will assemble before him), all of the people from different races and nations (kol ha gowym)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:5LEB)

The oldest extant copy of this text from the caves above Qumran also infers that "he cannot be satisfied." This reveals that Sha’uwl, like all chronically insecure megalomaniacs, is never satisfied. There is never enough adulation or prestige, never enough power or devotees. This thought is then carried into the text of the next verse.

And speaking of the Dead Sea Scrolls, most of Chabaquwq is extant, including the specific reference to Sha’uwl. His identification cannot, therefore, be dismissed to subsequent scribal exuberance.

In 1 Corinthians 11:20-21LEB, Sha’uwl / Paulos tells those who have joined his assembly not to participate in Passover, which is the ultimate plague of death, and not to drink wine in association with it, which thereby nullifies the symbolism associated with the blood of the Passover Lamb. This serves as a treacherous betrayal of Yahowah’s instructions regarding the narrow path He provided to salvation. Attacking the heart of Yahowah’s plan in this way is the epitome of presumptuousness and immorality. Those who ascribe to such lies die. Those who promote it will find themselves in She’owl along with Sha’uwl. And yet, Pauline Doctrine is popular, providing those who are open to it, man’s broadest path to destruction.

Yahowsha’, Himself, picks up on this same theme, saying that the popular and broad path away from the Towrah leads to death and destruction. He offered this affirmation of Yahowah’s prophecy at the outset of His Instruction on the Mount, so it is hard to miss.

Sha’uwl promises the gift of life, but his religion, the most popular ever conceived, is the plague of death. Sha’uwl promises heavenly rewards to those who place their faith in his Gospel of Grace, and yet those intoxicated by this myth will never be satisfied. They will remain estranged from God because, unlike Yahowah’s assurances in the Towrah, Sha’uwl’s hallow promises will go unfulfilled. And that means that the people Sha’uwl claimed as his own, the Gentiles – individuals from many different races and places – will suffer the consequence of his New Testament.

Even if Sha’uwl had not been condemned by name, with the specter of the Gentiles being raised twice, it’s hard to miss the Pauline fixation on the "ethnos – races" throughout his letters. Pauline Doctrine has influenced more people in more places in this world than any other corruption of Yahowah’s testimony. And the means to this madness is consistent with Yahowah’s prophecy, in that Paul egotistically and irrationally claimed that God had authorized him to alter the requirements upon which Yahowah had already taken His stand regarding eternal life.

In spite of the fact that Sha’uwl means "Question Him," nary a Christian considers the irresolvable conflicts between Paul’s letters and God’s Word. So while the following continues to identify the culprit, most Christians remain oblivious to Yahowah’s prophecy regarding them or him...

"They do not ask questions, any of them, about him (ha lo’ ‘eleh kol ‘al – nor are any of them against him). Terse references to the Word they lift up as taunts to ridicule (mashal nasa’ – simplistic and contrived equivalencies, often easy to remember aphorisms (clichés, dictates, and adages) become bywords with implied associations with that which is well known to mock and to exercise dominion through comparison and counterfeit), along with (wa) allusive sayings and mocking interpretations (malytsah – derisive words wrapped in enigmas arrogantly spoken).

There are hard and perplexing questions which need to be asked of him (chydah la – there are difficult enigmas to be solved, dark and hidden secrets, and double dealings, to be known regarding him). And (wa – moreover) they should say (‘amar – they should declare), ‘Woe (howy – alas, expressing a dire warning) to the one who claims to be great so as to increase his offspring, acting like a rabbi (rabah – to the one who thrives on numbers and who considers himself exceedingly great (the basis of rabbi, something Sha’uwl claimed to be)),’ neither of which apply to him (lo’ la – which is not his). For how long (‘ad mathay – until when) will they make pledges (‘abtyt – will they be in debt) based upon his significance (‘al kabed – pursuant to the weight and burden of his testimony and the grievous honor afforded him)?’" (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:6LEB)

The Qumran witness does not include the phrase "‘ad mathay – for how long" before the last sentence, turning a rhetorical question into a simple statement of fact. It then becomes: "They continue to make pledges based upon his significance."

End of part 2