Questioning Paul

Chapter 5

part 1

Kataginosko – Convicted and Condemned

Judging Paul by Judging Peter…

What follows isn’t pleasant. But we find it written nonetheless. It shows Sha’uwl attacking Shim’own unmercifully. This diatribe is one of many reasons why the "presumed and supposed pillars" perspective Sha’uwl articulated with respect to Shim’own, Ya’aqob, and Yahowchanan was an accurate reflection of his derogatory attitude toward Yahowsha’s Disciples.

Having spent much of my life building businesses, I recognize that this all smacks of a turf war—of one individual trying to expand his territory, his area of responsibility if you will, vying for the jurisdiction of others. Additionally, the arrogant statements which preceded this upcoming bout of character assassination, the repeated attempts to seek the approval of others only to tear them down, as well as the name-calling that ensues at the opening of the third chapter of Galatians, suggests that Paul was masking his insecurity with arrogance. I have witnessed its divisive influence on multiple occasions, all with devastating consequences—which is why I am attune to its telltale signs.

While I am admittedly over-sensitized when it comes to any manifestation of insecurity, having seen it destroy everything in its wake, there can be, at least in rare instances, a silver lining. If mild insecurity, or more accurately, inadequacy, is mediated by reliance upon Yahowah, where He fills the void, then human insufficiency becomes an opportunity for God to demonstrate His power through a flawed implement. Moseh / Moses had a speech impediment. Dowd / David battled with adultery. Solomon was gluttonous. Shim’own was impulsive. They are all testaments to the fact that Yahowah does His best work through people who recognize that they are useless without Him. That, however, was not the case with Sha’uwl.

Those who have not experienced the insanity of this cancer may be confused, thinking that insecurity would make someone shy, which flies in the face of Paul being an egomaniac (by his own admission in Colossians 1:24: "now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions" and elsewhere). But those who suffer from deep seated insecurity compensate with conceit, because it masks their infirmity and fills the void. They are aggressive, even conniving, tearing others down to lift themselves up. And knowing that they are vulnerable, they constantly tout their own "truthfulness," while at the same time proactively and dishonestly besmirching the reputations of all those they perceive may be a threat. But more than anything, an insecure individual comes to view himself or herself as being imminently important, even indispensible, so much so they will accept no rivals. Paul was a textbook case, as was Muhammad – even Stalin and Hitler. The malady of insecurity makes an individual particularly vulnerable to the wiles of Satan.

In that an entire chapter has passed before us since we last contemplated a Galatians passage, before we continue, here is a quick review of what Paulos has written up through the first ten statements of the second chapter:

"Paulos, an apostle or delegate, not separating men, not even by the means of man, but to the contrary and emphatically on behalf of Iesou Christou and God, Father of the one having roused and awakened Him for public debate, raising Him out of a dead corpse, (1:1) and all the brothers with me to the called out of the Galatias, (1:2) Grace to you and peace from God, Father of us and Lord Iesou Christou, (1:3)

the one having produced and given Himself on account of the sins and errors of us, so that somehow, through indefinite means, He might possibly gouge or tear out, pluck or uproot us from the past circumstances and old system which had been in place which is disadvantageous and harmful, corrupt and worthless, malicious and malignant extended downward from and in opposition to the desire and will, the inclination and intent of God and Father of us, (1:4)

to whom the assessment of the brilliant splendor, the opinion regarding the glorious radiance and appearance of the shining light, the characterization of a manifestation of God’s reputation, by means of the old and the new systems, Amen, let it be so. (1:5)

I marvel, am amazed and astonished, wondering and surprised that namely in this way quickly and in haste you change, desert, and depart, becoming disloyal apostates and traitors away from your calling in the name of Grace to a different healing message and beneficial messenger, (1:6)

which does not exist differently, if not conditionally or hypothetically negated because perhaps some are the ones stirring you up, confusing you, and also wanting and proposing to change and pervert the beneficial messenger and healing message of the Christou, (1:7)

but to the contrary, if we or a messenger out of heaven conveys a healing messenger or beneficial message to you which is approximate or contrary to, beyond, or positioned alongside what we delivered as a beneficial messenger and announced as a healing message to you then a curse with a dreadful consequence exists. (1:8)

As we have said already, and even just now, immediately thereafter, repetitively, I say, if under the condition someone delivers a helpful messenger or communicates a useful message to you contrary or in opposition to, close or approximate to, even greater than that which you received, it shall be (in fact I command and want it to exist as) a curse with a dreadful consequence. (1:9)

For because currently and simultaneously, men I persuade, I presently, actively, and actually use words to win the favor of, seducing, misleading, coaxing, convincing, appeasing, and placating, or alternatively, the God? Or by comparison and contrast, I seek and desire to please and accommodate humans? Yet nevertheless, if men, I was pleasing and accommodating, exciting the emotions of and lifting up a slave of Christou, certainly not was me. (1:10)

But nevertheless, I profess and reveal to you brothers of the beneficial message which having been communicated advantageously by and through myself, because it is not in accord with man. (1:11) But neither because I by man associating myself with it. Nor was I taught or instructed as a disciple. But to the contrary, by way of a revelation, an appearance serving to uncover and unveil Iesou Christou. (1:12)

For because indeed you heard of my wayward behavior in some time and place in the practice of Judaism, namely that because throughout, showing superiority, surpassing any measure of restraint, to an extraordinary degree, and better than anyone else, I was aggressively and intensely pursuing, persecuting, oppressing, and harassing the Called Out of God, and I was and am devastating her, continuing to undermine, overthrow, and annihilate her. (1:13)

And so I was and continue to progress, accomplishing a great deal, and I persist moving forward in the practice of Judaism, over and beyond many contemporaries among my race, excessively and over abundantly enthusiastic, zealous and excited, devoted and burning with passion, vehemently adherent to belong to the traditions and teachings handed down by my forefathers. (1:14)

But at a point in time when it pleased and was chosen enjoyable and better for God, the one having appointed me, setting me aside out of the womb of my mother (1:15) to reveal and disclose, uncovering and unveiling the Son of Him in order that I could announce the healing message among the races, immediately. I did not ask the advice of or consult with flesh or blood. (1:16)

I did not ascend into Yaruwshalaim toward the goal of being with or against the Apostles before me, but to the contrary I went away, withdrawing to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (1:17) Then later in the sequence of events, after three years time, I ascended up to Yaruwshalaim to visit and get acquainted with Kephas and remained against / with him fifteen days. (1:18) But other of the Apostles, I did not see, I did not pay attention to, or concern myself with except Ya’aqob, the brother of the Lord. (1:19)

But now what I write to you, you must pay especially close attention in the presence of God, because I cannot lie. (1:20) Thereafter, I came to the regions of Syria and also of Cilicia. (1:21) But I was not known and was disregarded, I was either ignored or ignorant, not recognized or understood, personally by appearance as an individual by the Called Out of Yahuwdah in Christo. (1:22)

But then only they were constantly hearing that the one presently pursuing and persecuting, systematically, hastily, and intensely approaching, oppressing and harassing us at various times now he presently proclaims a healing message of faith which once or now at some unspecified period he was attacking and continues to annihilate, he was consistently ravaging and destroying and he is devastating and overthrowing. (1:23)

And so they were praising and glorifying, attributing an exceptionally high value and status, considering illustrious and magnificent, holding the opinion of an especially high rank, thereby supposing to honor, extol, celebrate, dignify, and magnify in me for the God. (1:24)

Later, through fourteen years also, I went up to Yaruwshalaim along with Barnabas, having taken along also Titus. (2:1)

I went up, but then downward from uncovering an unveiling revelation which lays bare, laying down to them the beneficial messenger which I preach among the races down from my own, uniquely and separately, but then to the opinions, presumptions, and suppositions, not somehow perhaps into foolishness and stupidity, without purpose or falsely, I might run or I ran (2:2) to the contrary, not even Titus, a Greek being, was compelled, forced or pressured, to be circumcised – (2:3) but then on account of the impersonators who faked their relationship brought in surreptitiously under false pretenses, who sneaked into the group to secretly spy upon and clandestinely plot against the freedom from conscience and liberation from the constraints of morality that we possess in Christo Iesou in order that us they will actually make subservient, controlling for their own ends, (2:4) to whom neither to a moment we yielded, surrendered, or submitted in order that the truth of the God may continue to be associated among you. (2:5)

But now from the ones currently reputed, presumed, and supposed to be someone important based upon some sort of unspecified past, they were actually and continue to be nothing, completely meaningless and totally worthless, to me. It carries through and bears differently the face of the God of man not take hold of, acquire, or receive, because to me, the ones currently presuming and supposing, presently dispensing opinions based upon reputed appearances, of no account, utterly meaningless and worthless, was their advice and counsel, their cause and contribution in the past. (2:6)

Contrariwise, nevertheless notwithstanding the objection, exception, or restriction, having seen and perceived that because namely I have been believed entrusted with the healing message and beneficial messenger of the uncircumcised inasmuch as Petros / Rock of the circumcised. (2:7)

Because then namely, the one having previously functioned in Petro to an apostle for the circumcision, it actually functioned also in me to the nations and ethnicities. (2:8)

And having known and having recognized, becoming familiar with the Grace of the one having been given to me, Ya’aqob, and Kephas, and also Yahowchanan, the ones presently presumed, regarded, and supposed to be pillars, and thus leaders, the right place of honor and authority they granted to me, and to Barnabas fellowship as a result. We to the nations and ethnicities, but they to the circumcision. (2:9)

Only alone by itself the lowly and poor, the worthless beggars of little value that we might remember and possibly think about which also I was eager and quick same this to do." (Galatians 2:10)

If you are scratching your head wondering how anyone in their right mind could possibly consider this disjointed, jaundiced, self-serving, and egotistical rant to be inspired Scripture, you are not alone. But nonetheless, you are up to speed with Paul’s race against Yahowah, Yahowsha’, their prophets and disciples.

Even though "the Rock" is credited for having welcomed and listened to Sha’uwl in Yaruwshalaym, when Shim’own went to Syria, the niceties were not reciprocated...

"But (de) when (hote) Kephas (Kephas – the Rock) came (erchomai) to (eis) Antioch (Antiocheia – then the capital of Syria, but now in the southern tip of Turkey; derived from a transliteration of Antiochus, which was the name of a Syrian king, meaning to drive against), I was opposed to and against (kata) his (autos) presence (prosopon – face, person, and appearance). I stood in hostile opposition (anthistemi – I took a firm stand, resisting; from anti, against and opposed to, and histemi stand and presence) because (hoti) he was (eimi) convicted and condemned (kataginosko – judged to be guilty, to lack accurate information and to be devoid of understanding; from kata, opposed to and against, and ginosko, knowing, and thus ignorant)." (Galatians 2:11)

Shim’own was seen as a threat to Sha’uwl’s authority overall and his dominion over every nation in particular. It is as simple as that. This has nothing to do with what "Peter" was doing, but instead with what "Paul" craved.

If we were to consider the entirety of the Greek lexicon, it would be difficult to find words more condemning than anthistemi and kataginosko. Bereft of the negation, histemi speaks of Yahowsha’ standing up for us so that we could stand with Him, established upright at His side. Therefore, to be anti-histemi is to be opposed to Yahowsha’ and His purpose. Since Shim’own Kephas was not anti-histemi, it was not appropriate for Sha’uwl to confront him this way.

Ginosko is the Greek equivalent of yada’, the operative aspect of name of the book Yada Yah, meaning "to know Yah." Therefore to be kata / against ginosko / knowing, is to be opposed to recognizing and acknowledging God.

One of the most telling traits of chronically insecure individuals is that they are sufficiently cunning to ascribe their own flaws to their perceived foes. So by doing this to Shim’own, he is compelled to respond and defend himself, demonstrating that he isn’t "against knowing God." Then by inciting this response, Sha’uwl has effectively deflected attention away from himself, while at the same time blurring the issue in people’s minds. This strategy makes it more difficult for Shim’own / Peter to demonstrate that Sha’uwl / Paul is actually the one who is opposed to knowing Yahowah, because the audience is at the very least confused by the name calling, the labels, and the subsequent smoke.

If you pay close attention to political campaigns, you will notice that this approach is as ubiquitous as it is disingenuous. It is also the way powerful conspirators behave towards those attempting to expose their schemes. The one trying to alert others so that they don’t become victims of those actually plotting against them are discredited and labeled "cooks," thereby forcing them to defend themselves. In so doing, the audience is distracted, often confused, and the truth is lost in the midst of the slanderous attacks and accusations. An ocean of evidence is tossed aside by a single mocking sound-bite. It is a clever, albeit immoral, tactic.

For Sha’uwl, this was personal. Paulos was against the very presence of "the Rock" in Antioch. He went out of his way to demonstrate his hostility. He publicly declared his opposition to one of Yahowsha’s closest and most beloved Disciples. And then he judged him, saying that Shim’own was "convicted and condemned," even "ignorant and irrational." Save overtly besmirching Yahowah, denouncing the Torah, and denying Yahowsha’s purpose, there was nothing Shim’own / Peter, of all people, could say or do which would justify this level of attack. And of course, Sha’uwl was guilty of each of these things.

Shim’own may have been wrong about something, and if he was, it wouldn’t have been the first time. But, as passionate as Kephas was, he never bothered to defend himself personally. He turned the other cheek, and left Syria. Sha’uwl, however, would press his case against this amazingly important individual. And in the process, he would incriminate Ya’aqob, Yahowsha’s brother, as well.

The Nestle-Aland McReynolds Interlinear by inadequately translating the two most telling verbs, rendered the Pauline declaration: "When but came Cephas into Antioch by face to him I stood against because having known against himself he was." In the King James, this passage reads: "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed." Their rendering, which is inadequate, was derived from the Latin Vulgate: "But when Cephas had arrived at Antiochiam, I stood against him to his face, because he was blameworthy." Uncomfortable conveying the inflammatory nature of kataginosko and anthistemi, the New Living Translation followed in the footsteps of their predecessors. "But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong."

To put this in perspective from a geographic perspective, Antioch is less than one-hundred miles from Sha’uwl’s hometown, Tarsus, and that may have been part of the problem. It is nearly 400 miles, due north, along the coast road, from Jerusalem. "Peter" was a long way from home.

As we turn to the next accusation, we find another conflict between the late first-century manuscript of this passage and modern renderings, whereby "multiple individuals" instead of one "certain individual" arrived while Shim’own was eating. Therefore, following Shim’own Kephas’ long journey, we find Sha’uwl saying:

"Because (gar), before (pro) a certain individual (tina – someone) came (erchomai) from (apo) Ya’aqob (Iakobos), he [Shim’own] was eating together (synesthio – consuming a meal in association) with (meta) the (tov) people of different races (ethnos – a group of individuals from many ethnicities and nations), but (de) when (hote) he came (erchomai), he was withdrawing (hupostello – he was timidly hesitating and cowering, keeping silent while trying to avoid contact) and (kai) was separating (aphorize) himself (heautou), out of (ek) fear (phobeomai – frightened and afraid) of the circumcised (peritome – read Yahuwd, or Jew)." (Galatians 2:12)

By saying that Shim’own / Peter "hupostelo – withdrew," Sha’uwl / Paul was announcing to anyone familiar with Greek, that Shim’own should no longer be considered an "apostello – Apostle (one who prepared to be sent off)." And as such, we can be assured the Paulos meant for us to render "dokei – presumed and supposed" in the most negative light.

Shim’own Kephas was doing what Yahowsha’ had asked of him. He had left home to bring Yahowah’s redemptive message to the world. He was breaking bread in fellowship with brothers whom we can only assume had been called out, and thus were children of the Covenant. Then, we are told that a Yahuwd / Jew arrived. And even though Sha’uwl would have had no way of knowing if he had been sent out by Ya’aqob, it’s certain that Shim’own wouldn’t have been afraid of him if that had been the case. Also, if the crime of which "the Rock" was guilty, was timidity, if it was withdrawing rather than engaging, and if that was what constituted Shim’own’s "conviction and condemnation," no one could ever be saved.

While I understand that "Peter" wasn’t perfect, it’s perfectly clear that this onerous rant against him wasn’t godly. The problem is no longer just the message, it’s the attitude. And it’s also Paul’s style. Given his previous propensity for spin, it’s likely that Shim’own had a valid reason to leave (like being allergic to Sha’uwl), but Paul left this reason out in order to make the man Yahowsha’ named "Kephas – the Rock," appear as if he had crumbled.

Rather than recognize Shim’own’s enormous liberty with respect to the Towrah and its Covenant, Sha’uwl was cleverly trying to infer that Kephas was compelled to leave because of the crushing control mechanisms of Rabbinical Judaism. He then was positioning himself as the brave Paladin of God, standing in the gap for the benefit of all mankind. None of it was true, but that didn’t seem to matter.

In the context of Paulos’s offensive assault on Yahowsha’s handpicked Disciple, we are compelled to consider Sha’uwl’s behavior in light of what he called "the deeds of the flesh" and "the fruit of the spirit," both of which are delineated in Galatians 5. While I won’t repeat those attributes here, when the time comes, juxtapose these accusations to that presentation, and you will conclude that either Paulos wasn’t, himself, imbued with the Spirit or he was a complete hypocrite.

Of this unfortunate incident, the Nestle-Aland McReynolds Interlinear conveyed: "Before the for the to come some from Jacob with the nations he was eating with when but they came he was withdrawing and was separating himself fearing the ones from circumcision." The KJV published: "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision." Jerome’s Latin Vulgate reported: "For before certain ones arrived from Iakob, he ate with the Gentibus. But when they had arrived, he drew apart and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision."

Feeling at liberty to adlib, the liberated NLT scribed: "When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision." Sha’uwl never wrote the word "Christian." The name cannot be found in any Greek manuscript attributed to him. Further, there was absolutely no indication in the text that the issue was an "insistence on the necessity of circumcision." To the contrary, this point had already been vetted.

Sha’uwl continued his assault: "And (kai) they (autos) were hypocritical (synypokrinomai – pretending to join in the hypocrisy, acting falsely), and also (kai) the remaining (oi loipos) Yahuwdym (Ioudaios – transliteration of the Hebrew Yahuwdym, meaning Related to Yah). As a result (hoste – therefore) even (kai) Barnabas (Barnabas) was led away (apago – he was led astray) with them (auton) in the duplicitous hypocrisy (to hypokrisis – in the insincere pretence)." (Galatians 2:13)

This is yet another affirmation that Galatians was written after the Yaruwshalaym Summit in 50 CE, but before Barnabas and Sha’uwl split up the following year. And based upon what we read in Acts, this may well have been the disagreement which led to their less-than-amicable parting. As such, and considering all of the internal evidence, we can be certain that this was Paulos’s first epistle.

Yahowah, and thus Yahowsha’, encourages us to be critical of false teaching, telling us to expose and condemn lies and liars, but "the Rock" was neither a false teacher nor a liar. If he was either of these things, his acknowledgement that "Yahowsha’ is the Ma’aseyah, the Son of the Living God," would have to be stricken from the record. And the books of First and Second Peter would have to be expunged from the canon.

If this were the case, it would have dire consequences for Christian theology. The lone, thin, truncated, misquoted, and misunderstood pretext for considering Paul’s letters "Scripture," is allegedly found in 2 Peter 3:12-17. But if Shim’own is guilty of what Sha’uwl is accusing him, if he was a man who "was convicted and condemned, judged to be guilty, devoid of understanding, and thus ignorant," then "Peter’s" letter would not be credible. Moreover, considering what Sha’uwl just wrote, and what had been said earlier this year in Yaruwshalaim, it isn’t even remotely plausible that Shim’own would have written a ringing endorsement of Sha’uwl.

Constructively criticizing the way Shim’own had left a meal might well have been appropriate if it engendered a conversation on how Paul’s and Peter’s interpretations of the Torah might have differed in this regard. But all we have been offered is a personal condemnation and name-calling—devoid of enlightenment. So while my feelings are irrelevant in this matter, this makes me nauseous.

But once again, the problem isn’t with the fidelity of the Greek manuscripts, but with the words Sha’uwl dictated. The Nestle-Aland McReynolds Interlinear reported: "And they were hypocritical together to him [and] the remaining Judeans so that even Barnabas was led off together of them in the hypocrisy." This known, it’s hard to be critical of the KJV: "And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation." The LV is reasonably accurate as well: "And the other Iudæi consented to his pretense, so that even Barnabas was led by them into that falseness." The NLT, however, created a conversation to suit their constituency. "As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy."

While it pains me to ponder the consequence of these words, we must. Collectively, Paulos has written:

"But when Kephas came to Antioch, I was opposed to and against his presence. I stood in hostile opposition because he was convicted and condemned, even ignorant. (2:11)

Because, before a certain individual came from Ya’aqob, he was eating together with the different races, but when he came, he was withdrawing and was separating himself, out of fear of the circumcised. (2:12)

So they were hypocritical, and also the remaining Yahuwdym. As a result even Barnabas was led away and astray with them in the duplicitous hypocrisy." (Galatians 2:13)

In that it is especially germane to our discussion, let’s pause here in the midst of Sha’uwl’s vicious attack on Yahowsha’s Disciple Shim’own Kephas to consider what the victim had to say about his accuser. For that, we must turn to Second Peter 3:12-17.

By way of introduction, Pauline devotees and Christian apologists alike cite errant translations of a portion of Second Peter 3:16 completely out of context to justify affording Scriptural status to Paul’s letters specifically, and to the whole corpus of their "New Testament" generally. It is ironic, however, albeit not surprising, that "Peter," the man "Paul" condemned in Galatians for being wrong in opposing him, is somehow right when he is construed to be providing an endorsement. Also paradoxical, when Shim’own’s evaluation of Sha’uwl’s veracity is considered in the context of this presentation, rather than endorsing the wannabe apostle’s letters, the Disciple is seen trashing them.

The damage "Peter" inflicts on Paul’s credibility is so devastating, Eusebius and Jerome claimed that "Peter" wasn’t the author of this epistle. And Calvin wrote: "I do not here recognize the language of Peter." He postured the notion that the letter may have been compromised by mental atrophy: "now that he was in extreme old age...and near his end." Then, demonstrating religious duplicity, Calvin said that the criticism of Paul’s letters in Second Peter, where they are called, "hard to understand," suggests that the Apostle Peter could not have written that work. The patriarch of the Christian reformation in his commentary on 2nd Peter 3:15, wrote: "And yet, when I examine all things more narrowly, it seems to me more probable that this Epistle was composed by another according to what Peter communicated, than that it was written by himself, for Peter, himself, would have never spoken thus."

And while it would be impossible to prove that Shim’own did or did not write either or both of the letters ascribed to him, it does not actually matter. If Yahowsha’s Disciple authored them, and if he was inspired, all of Paul’s letters have to be discarded as "misleading," because Shim’own wrote this of them. And if Second Peter is fraudulent, then there is no justification whatsoever for considering Paul’s epistles Scripture.

The reason Christian theologians like Eusebius and Jerome, and later Calvin, want Second Peter expunged from their "New Testament" is because it accurately and effectively denounces Paul’s letters, calling them nonsensical. Their religion, and thus their livelihood, was predicated upon those epistles. Should they, along with Hebrews and Luke’s account of Paul in Acts, be stricken from the canon, nothing of Christianity would remain.

And yet, no informed and rational person disputes the fact that Paul’s letters are poorly crafted and are thus difficult to understand. And that’s indeed strange, because when Paul convolutes and contradicts Yahowah’s Torah and Yahowsha’s testimony throughout his letters, Christians universally believe Paul rather than God.

Turning to the text of the letter, itself, we find Shim’own conveying:

"Waiting expectantly (prosdokao – looking forward to the future) and (kai) having been eager regarding the suddenness (pseudo – having urged the hastening) of the (ten) presence of the coming day of Yahowah (parousia tes tou ΘΥ hemera – arrival of the day of Almighty God) on account of (dia – because) which (en), the sky (ouranos – the heavens) will be ablaze (pyroomai – being on fire, fiery, flaming, consumed, and burning in distress), with the elements (stoicheion – the substance and power of nature, its most basic principles and materials) being released (luo – they being untied and loosened, breaking apart), even (kai) becoming molten (tekomai – melting and dissolving, turning from solid to liquid) as a result of becoming intensely hot (kausoomai – being consumed by fire and heat while appearing to burn feverishly)." (2 Shim’own / He Listens / Peter 3:12)

This statement can be construed conveying one or both of the following ideas. Yahowah’s return will be so spectacular, and He will be so brilliant, the sky itself will be ablaze. This is akin to what Yahowsha’ had told His Disciples on the Mount of Olives. The inference was, appearing more like the stars in the heavens than a man, the whole world would simultaneously witness the glory of God.

The second option seems to suggest, at least as clearly as a first-century lexicon would allow, that a nuclear holocaust will precede His arrival. While Yahowah will return as the sun sets in Yaruwshalaim on the commencement of Yowm Kippurym in year 6000 Yah (6.22 PM October 2nd, 2033), those alive during this time will be pleading with God to come quickly, before man destroys this planet and extinguishes all life on it. If this is so, at least regarding the nuclear exchange during the waning days of the tribulation, then this prophecy is one of the most exacting and specific recorded by one of Yahowsha’s Disciples. The depiction of the inherent power of the elements being released in accordance with the principles of nature generating heat so intense solid objects become molten, is apt even by today’s standards.

Beyond this, by saying that Yahowsha’s return is still future, and that the occasion will be so brilliant the sky will appear to be on fire, Shim’own is refuting Sha’uwl. The wannabe apostle has already claimed to have seen Him as a flash of light, an encounter not witness by anyone else on earth.

If you think I’m extrapolating here, please hold that conclusion. Shim’own will soon warn us specifically about Sha’uwl. But first, Yahowsha’s Disciple wants to reassure the Covenant’s children. While the sky ablaze and elements liquefying is a frightening vision, Shim’own knew that it was not the end of the story. The testimony Yahowsha’ shared as part of His Revelation to Yahowchanan, He evidently conveyed to this man as well...

"However (de), a new (kainos – recently created, fresh, and previously unknown) universe and spiritual realm (ouranos – heavens) and (kai) a new (kainos – freshly created and previously unknown) earth (ges – material realm) according to (kata) the promise (to epangelma) of Him (autou) we await and expect (prosdokao – we look forward to with great expectations, favorably anticipating). In which (en ois) the righteous and vindicated (dikaiosyne – upright and approved in the correct relationship as a result of being observant and acceptable) will live (katoikeo – will reside and dwell as a result of being settled)." (2 Shim’own / He Listens / Peter 3:13)

A combination of factors, including the realization that Shim’own relied on Yahowchanan Marcus as a translator, and that the Qumran Scrolls are rife with ordinary letters written in Hebrew, lend credence to the notion that this epistle was translated out of Shim’own’s native tongue into Greek. The reason I share this with you is because I took liberty with the tenses. Since it is obvious that Kephas was speaking about the future, something he makes abundantly clear at the opening of this very chapter, and realizing that in Hebrew there is no past, present, or future tense, I rendered his statements appropriately in English.

Shim’own is looking forward to eternity. He knows, because Yahowsha’ told him, that the Ma’aseyah’s fulfillment of the Towrah’s promises regarding Passover, Un-Yeasted Bread, and FirstFruits will vindicate the Covenant’s children, enabling those who have embraced His Towrah to live forever in the new heaven and earth God will create on behalf of His family. Few realizations are as enticing.

The operative word in this prophetic proclamation is dikaiosyne, which was conveyed "righteous and vindicated," but could just as easily be translated "acceptable, correct, and approved." It is the opposite of "anthistemi – hostile opposition" and the antithesis of "kataginosko – convicted and condemned," the terms Paul used against Peter. Dikaiosyne is "focused upon the manner in which souls are approved by God." It speaks of "being observant and thinking correctly so as to become acceptable." It is based upon dikaios, which is defined as "becoming upright by observing God’s instructions."

Dikaiosyne is, therefore, the fulcrum upon which "Peter’s" evaluation of Paul will pivot in this circumstance, especially since Sha’uwl is seen opposing the Torah. In this regard, it is also instructional to know that dikaios is based upon dike and deiknuo which convey the idea of "exposing the evidence to determine if something is consistent with that which is authorized."