Questioning Paul

Chapter 4

part 1

Anomos – Without an Inheritance

To those without the Torah, I was Torahless…

The reason we have taken a detour into the book of Acts, in the midst of our review of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, is that Luke’s historical portrait provides the best contemporaneous platform from which to judge the veracity of Sha’uwl’s writings. And now that we are here, there are many additional things we can learn – some of them surprising.

Shim’own, meaning "He Listens," but more commonly known as "Peter," is going to be our star witness. He, with Luke serving as our narrator, reveals that a wide-ranging controversy had arisen between Yahowsha’s handpicked Disciples and the self-proclaimed "apostle Paul." Not only was Sha’uwl’s message the antithesis of what Yahowsha’ had taught Shim’own, and indeed in irreconcilable conflict with Yahowah’s Word, the man who has come to be known to many as Paul was also claiming exclusive rights to preach his contrarian message to the world.

So that we regain the perspective that has been provided by Luke, let’s quickly review what had transpired before we consider the additional testimony Shim’own Kephas provided to deliberately undermine and discredit the entirety of Sha’uwl’s premise.

"And some, having come down from Yahuwdah, were teaching the brethren that if you might not be circumcised as prescribed by Moseh, you are not able to be saved. (15:1)

So an openly heated and hotly disputed argument, which was substantial and pervasive, arose pertaining to the individual Paulos and to Barnabas.

Regarding them, they gave the order to stand up to Paulos and Barnabas, and some others among them, on behalf of the Apostles and elders in Yaruwshalaim with regard to this controversy associated with this point of dispute and inquiry." (15:2)

"Then having arrived in Yaruwshalaim, they were acknowledged and received by the Called Out, the Apostles, and elders. So then they reported as much as God did with them. (15:4)

But some important individuals steadfastly stood up, the ones now disassociated from the religious party of the Pharisees who having come to trust and to rely, said that it is a necessary requirement, it is established, right and beneficial, to circumcise individuals, not only to provide instruction as a messenger, but also to observe the Towrah of Moseh. (15:5)

So then demonstrating leadership, the Apostles and the elders paid attention concerning this statement from the Word. (15:6)

But then with considerable and extensive debate happening, the Rock having stood up said to and against them, ‘Men, brothers, you all have examined the evidence, thought about it, and have come to understand that from the beginning you all chose Yahowah for yourself on account of my spoken words, listening to and considering the Word of the healing message and beneficial Messenger to the races and nations, and considered it to be trustworthy and reliable.’" (15:7)

While the elders’ testimony on behalf of the Torah and then Shim’own’s claims on behalf of everyone’s shared experience with Yahowah, have completely pulverized Paulos’s position, Shim’own wasn’t finished pummeling God’s foe. He continued to say...

"And (kai) Yahowah (ΘΣ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples, like Shim’own, and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty, in addition to Yahowah’s name), the One (o) who knows hearts (kardiognostes – addressing the individual’s attitude and what they have incorporated into their lives), provided testimony and spoke of (martyreo – witnessed on behalf of and vouched for) having given (didomi – having produced and granted, appointing, assigning, and bestowing) to them (autois) the Set-Apart (to agion – and purifying) Spirit (to ΠΝΑ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples like Shim’own and in the Septuagint to represent the ruwach – Spirit of Yahowah) just as (kathos – for the same reason and to the same degree) also (kai) to us (emin). (15:8)

And no one (kai outhen) can make a distinction (diakrinomai – can create a difference) between (metaxy) us (emon) and also likewise (te kai) them (auton), in that which is trustworthy and reliable (pistis), having cleansed (katharizo – having healed and purified) their (auton) hearts (kardias – addressing the individual, their desires and attitude)." (Acts 15:9)

This is a brilliant opening statement by Shim’own Kephas, especially considering the nature of his adversary. In direct opposition to Paul’s "but I say," Yahowsha’s Disciple affirmed that, with regard to salvation, "Yahowah’s testimony" is all that matters. Then, the Rock further differentiated himself from Sha’uwl when he identified the source of his effectiveness: "the Set-Apart Spirit" – the same Spirit which Yahowah had previously spoken about and had provided to His Covenant children. By contrast, however, in the previous chapter, we learned that Paul’s power came from a masculine spirit whom he later identified as "a messenger of Satan."

Also in direct contrast to Sha’uwl, the Rock said that "no one should make a distinction between us and them," which was to say that the world should not be divided between Yahuwdym and Gowym, or even into past, present, and future circumstances. All of Yahowah’s Spirit-filled troubadours are called to share God’s healing message, and to anyone and everyone—to all those whose minds are open, regardless of race, place, or time.

As a result of the fulfillment seventeen years earlier of the Torah’s promises regarding Seven Sabbaths, where the beneficiaries of Passover, Un-Yeasted Bread, and FirstFruits were enriched and empowered, our Heavenly Father’s Covenant family grew in numbers and capability. And consistent with the Towrah’s Instructions, Gowym and Yahuwdym, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, free and slave were all invited to participate. While there was still a distinction nationally and communally, individually the door was wide open. Regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, or economic status, the path to become Yahowah’s children is the same, because there is and always has been only one Way to God and one way to witness on His behalf.

Therefore, Shim’own asks Sha’uwl and company a rather poignant question, one which casts Paul in the role of Satan...

"Now (nyn), therefore (oun), why (ti) do you test and tempt (peirazo – do you (speaking to Sha’uwl and Barnabas) look for mistakes and try to exploit and trap) God (ΘN – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey ‘elohym, the Almighty), to place upon and impose (epitithemai – to lay on, subjecting, and inflicting) a yoke (zygos – a mechanism for controlling the movement of animals) upon the neck (epi ton trachelos) of the Disciples (ton mathetes – followers who are committed to a relationship and who as students are instructed and tutored) which (on) neither (oute) our (emon) fathers (pateres) nor (oute) we (emeis) were given the authority (ischuo – were able to enforce, were competent to validate, and sufficiently empowered) to accept, support, or put up with (bastazo – to comprehend, take up, carry, or endure in our walk)?" (Acts 15:10)

While it is a translation of what Shim’own actually said, since this discussion would have been conducted in Hebrew, or possibly Aramaic, there is no dismissing the fact that peirazo is an unsavory term. It is used in reference to Satan "tempting" Yahowsha’ in the wilderness prior to the beginning of His witness in Mark 1:13. Mattanyah is also translated using the same word in relation to Satan, calling him the "tempter" in Mattanyah 4:3. Then peirazo was supplied by a scribe in Mattanyah 16:1, showing the Pharisees and Sadducees trying to "tempt" Yahowsha’, so as to manipulate Him.

Therefore, the Disciple Shim’own is implying that Sha’uwl was acting like Satan and his religious minions in his attempt to "test and tempt" God, "searching for mistakes to exploit and trap" God. He has done so by misquoting God. And the issues at play were Torah observance, especially circumcision, and messaging, particularly the audience. So since Yahowah’s instructions in this regard are clear and invariable, to claim otherwise and to expect God to acquiesce, is to tempt fate. It is a losing hand, and Shim’own knows it.

Then Shim’own said that Sha’uwl was inappropriately trying to control Yahowsha’s Disciples, imposing restrictions upon them which they could never support. He is in effect, telling us that all of Sha’uwl’s claims regarding God changing His approach and then authorizing one man to proclaim those alterations were completely bogus. This is a refutation of everything we have read thus far in Galatians.

The Disciples were specifically asked by Yahowsha’ to carry His message to the world. So they’d have to refuse God’s direction to accept Sha’uwl’s mandate. And they wisely were unwilling. But beyond this, Shim’own was quick to point out that Yahowah didn’t give any of us the authority to change His testimony, and most especially the terms and conditions associated with His Covenant. So what Paul was preaching was something the Disciples "could not and would not accept, support, or put up with."

In the next chapter, we are going to consider another of Yahowsha’s prophetic warnings regarding Sha’uwl, this one directed at Shim’own, and directly germane to the Rock’s most recent affirmation. Seventeen years before Sha’uwl would attempt to do this very thing to Shim’own, Yahowsha’ warned His Disciple...

"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you were girding yourself, fastening the ties of your own garments, preparing yourself for work, and you were walking, traveling around, conducting, and directing your life, wherever you were intending and whenever you decided. But when you grow older, you will extend, holding out and stretching forth your hands and another will gird you, placing a yoke on you to control you (se zosei – will fasten a strap around your midst; from zugos – imposing a yoke of bondage to manipulate and control, used to depict the burden of troublesome religious laws and commands) and he will move, manipulating and driving you to a place where you do not presently intend or desire.’ (21:18)

And then this, He said, making the future clear, signifying and foretelling what kind of deadly plague he will attribute to Yahowah. And this having been conveyed, He said to him, ‘You should choose to follow Me and My Way, actively engaging as My Disciple.’" (Yahowchanan / Yahowah is Merciful / John 21:18-19) With Yahowsha’s warning still ringing in his ears, Shim’own told Sha’uwl that he would not accept his yoke.

While there is no "test," "yoke" nor "trap," nor a reference to "neck" nor to the ability "to endure" a burden associated with the concluding statement of Moseh’s public pronouncement in Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 27:26, Christian apologists in a wild and unsupported leap of faith, say that "Peter" was referencing this verse to suggest that a person is trapped by the Towrah unless they obey everything it says. But not only is that conclusion in irreconcilable conflict with Yahowah’s testimony on this subject, and Yahowsha’s, it’s not even what the Towrah reveals.

After saying that a person will invoke harm upon themselves if they make religious idols or images that are detestable to Yahowah, if they dishonor their Father or Mother, if they confiscate their neighbor’s land, if they mislead a blind person, if they deprive an orphan of justice, or if they have sexual relations with a parent, animal, sibling, in-law, or if they secretly strike down a fellow countryman, or if they take a bribe which damns an innocent soul, we read: "Relationally, he invokes harm upon himself who (‘arar ‘asher) does not take a stand (quwm – is not established and affirmed, raising up) with regard to (‘eth – in association with) the words (dabarym – the statements and message of) this (ha ze’th), the Towrah’s guidance (ha towrah – the teaching, direction, and instruction), for the purpose of (la – and to approach by) engaging in and acting upon them (‘asah ‘eth – endeavoring to exert considerable effort to gain and profit from them). And the entire family (wa kol ha ‘am) said (‘amar), ‘Surely this is truthful and reliable (‘amen – this is acceptable and true).’" (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 27:26) So as with most things Christians claim on behalf of their religion, the inverse of their argument is true. We are being asked to take a stand with regard to the words which comprise the Towrah’s guidance, thereby acting upon God’s instructions.

When it comes to analyzing the words, themselves, there is an enormous difference between Paul’s letters and the testimony found in the historical and eyewitness accounts. In the former, Paul’s epistles were originally written in Greek to those who were fluent in Greek. Therefore, Paul, himself, selected each of the Greek words we are reading. However, the conversations presented in the eyewitness and historic accounts were all spoken in Hebrew or Aramaic, making the Greek text a translation, typically by a scribe, and often hundreds of years later, rather than a transcript. This is important because it means that, in his next statement, Shim’own said "chen – mercy" not "charis – grace." Luke, who at the time was traveling with Paul, may have provided the errant rendering, but it could also have been added much, much later by a Roman Catholic scribe in the late fourth century. While there is an extant pre-Constantine manuscript of Acts, this next statement was omitted.

So here we find Shim’own, after telling Sha’uwl to go to She’owl with his arrogant and condescending attitude, with his grossly inappropriate turf war which sought to anoint him lord of the world and purveyor of the word, and with his contrarian message which conflicted with everything Yahowsha’ said and did, in addition to everything he personally had said and done, transitioning away from Sha’uwl and back to reality...

"Nevertheless (alla – to the contrary, yet certainly and emphatically), through (dia – by and on account of) the mercy (charis – was errantly selected by a scribe to convey chen, the Hebrew word for undeserved kindness and unmerited favor) of Yahowah (tou ΚΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey either ‘edon, the Upright One, or Yahowah’s name), in Yahowsha’ (ΙΥ – a placeholder used by Yahowsha’s Disciples and in the Septuagint to convey Yahowsha’, meaning Yahowah Saves), we presently trust and actively rely (pistos – we express actual conviction and confidence so as to genuinely depend (present active indicative)) to be saved (sozo – to be healed and delivered) according to (kata – in accord with) this manner, this means, and this way (on tropos – direction and fashion by which something is accomplished), the same as them (kai ekeinos – and also those, a conjunction and pronoun referencing a similarity with people who were relatively distant in time and thus referring to the way of the forefathers in the previous sentence)." (Acts 15:11)

Shim’own is saying what I’ve been saying, and he’s saying it because it is what Yahowah said: God is the source of mercy. He always has been and always will be. Yahowsha’ is simply Yahowah’s delivery mechanism. When it comes to our salvation they are inseparable. The mercy Abraham, Yitschaq, and Ya’aqob enjoyed, and the means they availed themselves of it, was the same as that experienced by Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and their fellow Disciple Ya’aqob. There is only one God, one Torah, one Covenant, one Way. Shim’own had chosen appropriately in every case, consistently siding with God. Sha’uwl, well not so much. His mission was to change everything, including God.

Forgetting Paul’s affinity for the Graces for a moment, "believing Yahowsha’" hasn’t saved anyone. Salvation has nothing to do with our "faith." Satan believed that Yahowsha’ was the Ma’aseyah, and he understood the merit of His sacrifice, but it didn’t do him any good. Our salvation is a function of choosing to pass through the door (Passover) that Yahowah has provided, and then walk along His path from Unleavened Bread to Shelters, trusting and relying upon Yahowah every step of "The Way" to "Life." And that’s the "Truth."

This explains why the Disciples and the entire Called-Out Assembly in Yaruwshalaim responded so coldly and unreceptively to Sha’uwl. Sigao, meaning "to hiss while holding one’s peace," suggests that they were trying to disassociate themselves from Paul’s message. And the more he tried to impress them, the less they were impressed.

"So then (de) the entire (pas to – everyone associated with the) large assembly (plethos – multitude and great crowd) was actually hissing while keeping their perceptions to themselves (sigao – they were holding their peace, keeping relatively closed-mouthed, actively concealing their reactions; from sige – to utter a hushed hiss), as (kai) they were listening to (akouo – all the while they were using their sense of hearing to actively and actually consider (imperfect active indicative)) Barnaba (Barnaba – a transliteration of bar naby; meaning in Aramaic, the son of a prophet, transliterated Barnabas) and (kai) Paulou (Paulou – of Latin origin meaning Lowly and Little, transliterated Paul) telling (exegeomai – revealing, explaining, and describing) the quantity and extent (hosos) they performed (poieomai – they did, created, caused, constructed, worked, fashioned, made, and brought about) of (o – the definite article in the nominative case indicating to become) Godly (ΘΣ) signs (semeion – miracles) and (kai) wonders (teras – portentous events or extraordinary omens) in and among (en) the (tois) races and nations (ethnos – the ethnicities) through (dia) them (auton)." (Acts 15:12)

God is not a show off. He seldom performs miracles. It isn’t His style. He prefers words. He wants us to think our way to Him. It isn’t about impressing us. His testimony is more than sufficient.

Therefore, if Barnaba and Paulou wanted to impress this assembly, they would have done so by citing the Torah, equating its message to their own, while affirming Yahowah’s Covenant, His Invitations, and His mercy. But no, with Paul (we have to be careful lumping Barnabas in with him because immediately after this meeting he would soon reject Paul as well), it is all about him, his magnificent message and his mighty deeds. So as a result, the Assembly hissed at the self-proclaimed assassin and libertine.

We must always be careful with regard to Paul, or anyone, when they claim to have produced "signs and wonders." Rather than serve as proof of God’s influence, they usually provide another nail in the pontificator’s coffin.

In Mattanyah / Yahowah’s Gift / Matthew 24:4-5 and then in 23-24, seventeen years in advance of the day they would benefit from this advice, Yahowsha’ warned His Disciples to be especially wary of the likes of anyone who would make the claims Paul has now professed. In the midst of His Olivet Discourse, we find:

"And Yahowsha’ (ΙΣ), having responded judgmentally (apokrinomai – having answered using discernment to separate fact from fiction; a compound of apo – from, and krino – separation, thereby being discriminating), said to (eupen – spoke to) them (autos – speaking of His Disciples), ‘It’s important that you are observant and that you pay attention, presently being aware and perceptive (blepete – choose to look closely and watch out, consider carefully and be discerning, think so that you understand (present active imperative)), lest (ue) someone (tis) will try to cause you to wander away from the truth (planeon umas – he will intentionally deceive and will probably try to delude you, attempting to lead you astray (aorist active subjunctive). (24:4)

For (gar – because) many (polys) will come (erchomai) in (en – [from Papyrus 70]) My (mou) name (onoma – reputation), saying (lego – claiming), ‘I (ego) represent (eimi – am, exist for, belong to, and I stand for) the (o) Ma’aseyah (ΧΣ – a placeholder used to convey Ma’aseyah, the Implement Doing the Work of Yah). And so (kai) many (polys) they will mislead (planaomai – they deceive and delude, causing to go astray). (24:5)

"Then (tote) if (ean) someone (tis) might say (eipon – may speak) to you (umeis), "Behold (idou – indeed, suddenly now, look, and pay special attention, emphasizing that), here in this place (hode), the Ma’aseyah (o ΧΣ)," or (e), "In this case, over there (hode)," you should do not think that this is trustworthy or reliable (me pisteuo). (24:23)

Because (gar) those pretending to be the Ma’aseyah (pseudochrestui) and (kai) false prophets (pseudoprophetai) will arise and take a stand (egeiromai – arousing and stirring the comatose), and (kai) they will give (didomi – they will claim the authority to provide, offer or bestow) many great (megas – significant and surprising, important and astonishing) signs (semeion) and (kai) wonders (teras – miraculous and portentous events) in order to (hoste – therefore as a result to) momentarily deceive and mislead (planao – to in a moment in time attempt to delude, temporarily wandering away from the truth so lead astray (aorist active)), if possible (ei dynatos – if able), even (kai) the chosen (tous eklektos – those who choose to be called out based upon the word, those who select and are selected because of the word, from ek, out of, and legos, the Word).’" (Mattanyah / Yah’s Gift / Matthew 24:24)

In a private meeting in which only His Disciples were present, and thus speaking to Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and Ya’aqob, Yahowsha’ "told them to pay attention, to be especially discerning and judgmental, being observant and careful, lest someone will cause you to wander away from the truth, deceiving and deluding you." Since this warning was stated specifically to the Disciples, might this someone be Paul, and the occasion be the Yaruwshalaym Summit? And if not him, who? If not then, when?

I realize that Christian apologists will say that this warning was meant for others—including for us today. And by way of extrapolation, that might ordinarily be possible, except for the fact that all of the pronouns and the translated tenses suggest otherwise. "Blepete – it’s important that you are observant" was presented in the present tense, and thus was not addressing encounters nearly two-thousand years later. Further, "planeon – he will intend for you to wander away from the truth" was scribed in the aorist, which while in the subjunctive mood, reveals that the attempt to "deceive and delude" would be both probable and intentional, it does not specify when the wayward and misleading individual would attempt to beguile them. But it would be them, specifically, which is why "umas – you" was deployed. Also, "tis – someone" is singular and masculine as is planeon, the deceiver.

So I say again, if not Paul and before them at this meeting then we have no record of who or when, rendering the prophecy either inaccurate or irrelevant. Yet with Paul at the Yaruwshalaim Inquisition, we have Shim’own’s eyewitness testimony that it was precisely and accurately fulfilled. And since this is the opening statement of the Olivet Discourse (Yahowsha’s most comprehensive prophetic revelation) in which everything else Yahowsha’ said has or is coming true before our eyes, I don’t suspect that His first prediction was erroneous or superfluous.

And by the way, there is considerable evidence to suggest that Paul’s deliberate attempt to mislead prevailed. While the Disciple’s never accepted him and are seen as his opposition, they were not nearly aggressive enough. And as a result, Paul’s faith has deceived and misled billions.

Since it is easy to blend Yahowsha’s thoughts together, let’s consider them one at a time. Initially He said: "many will come in My name," and indeed, many have, but not all of those who have claimed to represent God have been deceitful.

Fortunately, or sadly, depending upon our perspective, the remedy was and remains simple, available, and infallible: be observant and judgmental. When we exercise good judgment, when we are discerning and discriminating, based upon what we have learned by God by closely and carefully examining His Towrah, we cannot be deceived and we can prevent others from being misled. This instruction was written in the imperative because God wanted us to realize that few things are as important as choosing to observe His Guidance. Turning to the Towrah is always the best answer. And that is where this meeting began.

Turning to the second statement, the most literal rendering of eimi in the middle clause would suggest that Yahowsha’ predicted that many people would say "I am the ‘Messiah’." And while there have been a number of isolated nutcases, with the most famous being Rabbi Akiba’s Shim’own Bar Kokhba, and the more recent being Sun Myung Moon, their victims are relatively few and are usually counted in the hundreds, sometimes thousands, but seldom millions or billions.

Those who have led the most people astray, and thus more completely satisfy this prophetic warning, simply claim to "represent" the Ma’aseyah, which is one of eimi’s most common connotations, along with "exist for, belong to, and stand for." And while Paul would tell the Galatians that they had treated him as if he were the Ma’aseyah, that he died with Him and thus now lives as Him, and even that he should be considered the co-savior by completing Yahowsha’s sacrifice, more typically Sha’uwl claims to speak exclusively for Him – which is to represent Him. So whether you consider Paul to have falsely claimed to be the living incarnation of the Ma’aseyah, or simply to have falsely represented Him, with regard to both he was not unique.

But he was unique when we consider his carnage. The billions of Christians his letters have led away from Yahowah and His Torah, who have been deceived and deluded by placing their faith in his Gospel of Grace, are "many" by any standard. In fact, it would be hard to identify another individual who has misled more people than Paul. It is why I refer to him as the most influential man who ever lived.

Second unto Paul would be "Muhammad," who has also misled billions. But Allah’s Messenger only claimed to be the Ma’aseyah as he approached Yathrib. This brief and failed interlude came immediately following the Satanic Verses when his tattered reputation needed a boost. Moreover, Muhammad never spoke in the Ma’aseyah’s name because he didn’t know it. The Qur’an calls Yahowsha’ "Issa," which is an Arabic transliteration of "Esau." And Muhammad never claimed to represent the Ma’aseyah, but instead Allah. So, he would be disqualified from this prophecy. Not to mention the fact that he lived six centuries after the lifetimes of Yahowsha’s Disciples.

Before we move on, let’s pause a moment and contemplate a most startling fact. Paul has repeatedly claimed to speak for the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’, and yet in all of his sermons and in all of his letters, he only quotes Him once! The lone citation is found in 1st Corinthians 11:24-26, and even it is wrong, with Yahowsha’s "body being broken" in addition to the bread, and forgetting to mention that the blood of the Passover Lamb "was shed for many for the forgiveness of sin." So how is it that a man who never once quotes Yahowsha’ accurately can actually be His spokesman?

Moreover, when we compare Galatians to Mattanyah or Yahowchanan, where Yahowsha’s words and deeds dominate the text, or to Zakaryah or Yashayah, where Yahowah’s words reign supreme, the juxtaposition serves to awaken us to the reality that, unlike the others, Paul was speaking for himself. Simply stated: Paul wrote as if his words were God’s, and yet they seldom if ever were.

Continuing with the Olivet Discourse, Yahowsha’s warning to His Disciples was advanced twenty verses later with a prediction that Paul, alone, is known to have fulfilled. He, in perfect harmony with the prediction, claimed to have seen the Ma’aseyah twice, in one place and then in another, on the road to Damascus and then again in Arabia. The sandal still fits. And it fits Sha’uwl exclusively, because no one else made such claims during the lifetimes of Yahowsha’s Disciples – if ever.

Also, Yahowsha’ has returned our focus to a unique individual with this prophecy, because it is once again focused on "tis – someone" singular. So this then begs two questions: since Christians claim to believe "Jesus," when "Jesus" said, "if someone might say to you, behold, here in this place the "Christ," or in this case, over there, do not think that they are trustworthy," why don’t they believe Him? And why do they trust Paul?

Yahowsha’s next statement isn’t extant in any pre-Constantine manuscript. And since we know that Mattanyah originally wrote his eyewitness account in his native Hebrew, we have no way to tell if the first scribe to translate his testimony into Greek, or one working for the Roman Catholic Church centuries later, wrote "pseudochristoi" or pseudochresui." The former is based upon the christos root which speaks of the "application of drugs" while the later would have been based upon chrestus, meaning "useful implement." The Ebionites, who formed a Called-Out Assembly in Yaruwshalaim under Ya’aqob in the first century, were the first to propose a canon, and they claimed to have read Mattanyah in Hebrew. And while there are a score of credible witnesses to this fact, the oldest Hebrew manuscript in our possession dates to the Middle Ages.

However, since we are considering this dire prediction in light of Paul’s fulfillment of it, it is instructive to know that the Ebionites, who were first-century followers of The Way, specifically excluded Paul’s letters from their canon, as they considered him to be a false prophet. It wasn’t until Marcion, in the early second century that Paul was canonized, even promoted, as "the only true Apostle" bequeathed with the foreboding distinction of being "God’s chosen Messenger."

Recognizing that this eyewitness account of Yahowsha’s testimony on the Mount of Olives chronicled a Hebrew conversation in Hebrew, for the Greek text to read "will give (didomi) many great signs and wonders" instead of "will perform (poieomai) signs and wonders," the underlying Hebrew word spoken on this occasion had to be "natan – to give," especially in the since of "offering and providing." It suggests that the alleged "signs and wonders" weren’t actually performed, but were instead "offered" as proof, thereby "provided" as justification for believing them.

So when Paul and Barnabas got up before the Yaruwshalaym Ekklesia and tried to impress them by bragging about the "semeion kai teras – signs and wonders" he had performed, using the exact same phrase Yahowsha’ had warned them about, the Disciples should have remembered God’s prediction regarding "false prophets who would take a stand and offer many great signs and wonders" and seen Paul and Barnabas as the ones attempting to "planao – momentarily lead them astray, actively trying to deceive and delude them." Therefore, they should have done more than "hiss" to have responded appropriately. Paul had failed another prophetic test, this one right before their eyes.

I have always enjoyed the humor in Yahowsha’s approach. Here, rather than just saying that folks would rise up and arouse people, claiming to speak for Him while offering signs and wonders as proof in order to deceive, He said, "if it were possible," they would attempt to momentarily delude "kai tous eklektos – even the chosen." While all of us are given the opportunity to choose God based upon the Word of God, there were twelve individuals who were actually and specifically chosen by God. So by augmenting His false-prophet warning with this particular hypothetical in front of this unique audience, Yahowsha’ was elbowing His Disciples in the ribs—"Hint, hint, I’m talking to you, the chosen, about someone who will falsely claim to have been selected."

While Paul’s testimony isn’t ever credible, it is nonetheless interestingly that even he associates "signs and wonders" with Satan and Torah-lessness, doing so in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, a conversation which we will review shortly. Therefore, even Paul-fixated Christians ought to have been alarmed.

And while they would not have considered the Towrah, Yahowah also associated "signs and wonders" with false prophets and interpreters of revelations, especially with the likes of Sha’uwl who would eliminate the Torah and replace it with their New Testament. Remember:

"With regard to every word which beneficially I am instructing you with accordingly, observe it for the purpose of engaging and acting upon it, not adding to it nor subtracting from it.

Indeed, if a prophet, which is a person who claims to speak for God, stands up trying to establish himself in your midst, an interpreter of revelations, and offers and provides (natan) a sign (‘owth – an omen, promise, or consent decree claiming to be authorized to speak for God) or wonder (mowpheth – miracle which appears marvelous or wonderful, inspiring awe) to you, and the omen or miracle worker appears before you who has spoken thusly to you to say, ‘Let us go after and follow other different or additional gods which you have not known, and let us serve and worship them, do not listen to the words of that prophet or interpreter of revelations, because the test of Yahowah, your God, accordingly for you to know and understand is whether this affirms your love, relationship, and affection for Yahowah, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul.

Following Yahowah, your God, you should walk. With Him, you should always and be respectful. And in concert with His terms and conditions, you should continually and actually be observant, consistently focus upon them, closely examining and carefully considering them.

Concerning His voice, and thus His proclamations and pronouncements, you should always and literally listen so that with Him, you can consistently serve and always engage productively. So to Him, you should always choose to cling.

Therefore, that prophet claiming to speak for God or that interpreter of revelations is deadly. For indeed, he has spoken rebellious renunciations, creating a revolt which leads to disassociation and to being misled concerning Yahowah, your God, the One who led you out, descending to serve you by extending Himself to guide you away from the realm of the crucibles of Egypt, speaking of human oppression and divine judgment, and the One who redeemed you, ransoming you, from the house of bondage, from servitude, from worship and from being enslaved.

His desire is to seduce and scatter you from the Way which beneficially, Yahowah, your God, described, providing you with a complete set of directions for you to walk in. And so, you should choose to completely remove, ridding yourself of that which is disagreeable, displeasing, and evil, malignant, mischievous, and harmful, from your midst." (Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 13:1-6)