Yaruwshalaim – Source of Reconciliation
Since this has been Sha’uwl’s personal revelation, his testimony, and his race against Yahowsha’s Disciples, and, indeed, his pursuits against everything Yahowah has established and offered, in the context of him running this race, it is time we return to Chabaquwq / Habakkuk. While we briefly considered Yahowah’s foreboding testimony through this largely unknown prophet in the previous chapter, this time we will linger and be more thorough.
But first, this reminder. Sha’uwl wrote: "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)
With this in mind, Yahowah’s haunting prediction regarding Sha’uwl begins by telling us that God 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 by way of His Invitations. This alone is sufficient to put Sha’uwl in opposition to Yahowah.
"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).
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 2:1)
Just as God announced that He would be on the lookout for the likes of Sha’uwl, ever ready to disapprove and rebuke him or anyone suggesting that God has changed His plans or approach, so should we have been. And specifically Sha’uwl because no one else in all of human history fits this prophecy besides him. He not only tried to change God’s requirements, specifically His stand on participation in the Covenant relationship and the path to salvation, replacing God’s approach with his own, he claimed to speak for God while consistently contradicting and undermining Him.
And that is why Yahowah has introduced this prophecy in this way. By affirming that He isn’t going to replace His specific requirements for participating in the Covenant with something as nebulous as faith, especially in Grace, nor shirk His own personal responsibilities, whereby He has promised to become the living embodiment of His approach to salvation through His participation in Passover, Un-Yeasted Bread, FirstFruits, and Seven Sabbaths. God has established Himself as being forever disapproving of Christianity, based as it is upon Sha’uwl’s repudiation of the Torah.
A connection worth noting in what follows is that Sha’uwl’s preferred conduit of misinformation was letters, often large and distinct ones from his own hand. And not only has Sha’uwl admitted that he was running, he should have been, just as we should be running away from him.
"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 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 (ruwts – he might flee and go away)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:2)
Yahowah realized that Sha’uwl would attempt to deceive His children. Therefore, He not only warned us about him, He provided the means to rebuke him so that we would not be fooled by him. Therefore, by reciting this prophecy, we distance ourselves and all who will listen from Sha’uwl and his letters.
Yahowah finds the perpetrator of this scheme sufficiently deadly to warn us specifically about him, and that is because this charlatan would claim that God had authorized him to undermine His credibility and competence. The lines of demarcation being so clear, and the consequences being so severe, Yahowah left no doubt whatsoever regarding this man, naming him as we shall soon see, in the prophecy.
And while only one man is guilty of every charge which is being laid out before us, which is why "he" is identified in the third person masculine singular throughout, there are three additional men who have earned a rebuke of this magnitude. So pushing aside the principle culprit for a moment, chronologically, the first of the remaining three is Rabbi Akiba. He was responsible for establishing the Jewish religion as it is practiced today. He was a schemer of the highest order, and extremely arrogant, but not much of a writer. And while he operated in Yaruwshalaim, his promotion of the false Messiah bar Kocpha in 133 CE led to the Yisra’elites being thrown out of Yahuwdah and to the Diaspora in Europe. It’s so immediately obvious to anyone other than an orthodox Jew that his proclamations were deadly, there would be no reason to waste a prediction on him.
Then there was Muhammad, the self-proclaimed "Messenger of God." And while his Qur’an recital in 600 CE in Arabia was based upon qara’, the verb of the last sentence (2:2), he spoke for Allah, not Yahowah, and he was illiterate. Moreover, a literate person wouldn’t need this warning to remain clear of Muhammad’s verbal diarrhea, because he was simply too stupid for words. There would have been no chance whatsoever that someone reading Yahowah’s prophets would have been fooled by Allah’s messenger. Although it is interesting to note that while Muhammad claimed that his Qur’an confirmed the Torah, it is actually its antithesis. And while called a prophet, Muhammad never got one prophecy right.
One millennia after Akiba and five centuries post-Muhammad, Maimonides codified the principles of Judaism. He was a prolific writer, but rather than change the Torah, he preferred instead to augment it and then misinterpret it. Maimonides, however, was never in Yisra’el, as he lived his whole life around Muslims, not Jews, in Islamic Spain, Morocco, and Egypt. Also, like Akiba, the Rambam never pretended to speak for God.
Collectively, these men deceived billions, but they did not promote their delusions during the "mow’ed – meeting times" – something common only to Sha’uwl, and which we shall learn in a moment is germane. Sha’uwl alone was in Yaruwshalaim when Yahowsha’ was fulfilling the Mow’ed Miqra’ey – Invitations to be Called Out and Meet with God. And he not only became infamous for his letters, he was a rabbi who did an about face to attack God from an entirely new direction. Further, Sha’uwl admitted to being conceited and demon possessed – things which will loom large in a moment.
Speaking through the Prophet Chabaquwq around 600 BCE, it would be six centuries before Sha’uwl would question God’s Word, earning Yah’s disapproval and punishment. Therefore, 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 Appointed Meeting Time (la ha mow’ed – for the time of the Mow’ed). It provides a witness to and speaks (puwach – it pours out evidence and maligns, 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 2:3)
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 enable the Covenant’s promises and our salvation. Sha’uwl was in Yaruwshalaim at the time training to be a rabbi. Shortly thereafter, he began undermining them.
I find it interesting that now, in 2013, just twenty years shy of Yahowah’s return, we are reading this prophecy and identifying it with Sha’uwl. Better late than never, I suppose.
As bad as this is, it is about to get much worse. This specificity suggests that Yahowah read Sha’uwl’s letters and is responding to them...
"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 the Torah 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 upright and vindicated (tsadyq – those who are right, innocent, and acquitted) shall live (chayah – they shall be restored to life, being nurtured and growing)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:4)
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 Christianity.
And yet in Galatians 3:11, in the midst of his initial assault against the Torah, Sha’uwl misquotes this verse, the very one which condemns him for mocking God, removing it from its context and truncating it, all to promote a faith based on ignorance... "But because with regard to the Torah absolutely no one is vindicated or justified by God becomes evident because: ‘Those who are vindicated, justified, and righteous out of faith will live.’"
But as is 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 again, 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 1:17) Sha’uwl and Satan are taunting God. 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 years before he incriminated himself. But one clue in particular removes any doubt about whom God is warning us about because Yahowah identifies His foe by name. If you are a Christian, you may want to pay special attention to this...
"Moreover (‘aph), because (ky) the intoxicating wine (yayn – the consequence of the inebriating spirit) 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 – an arrogant and meritless presumption), 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 name of the person in question who is being indicted and the name of the place of separation, the realm of the dead, the dominion of questioning (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, receiving him (‘acaph ‘el – those who associate with and join him, those who are removed and withdrawn from the company of God, 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 2:5)
In 1 Corinthians 11:20-21, 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 core of Yahowah’s plan is the epitome of presumptuousness and immorality. Those who ascribe to such moral turpitude die. Those who promote it will find themselves in She’owl along with Sha’uwl. And yet, Pauline Doctrine is popular, providing for those who are open to it, man’s broadest path to destruction. Yahowsha’ will differentiate this same immensely popular and broad path from the Towrah in His Instruction on the Mount, revealing that religious affiliations lead to death and destruction.
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 find no satisfaction or contentment. They will remain estranged from God because, unlike Yahowah’s assurances in the Towrah, Sha’uwl’s hallow promises will all 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 mention of the Gentiles, or the "ethnos – races" in Paul’s parlance, Rabbis Akiba and Maimonides have now been eliminated from the potential list of contentious culprits – not that it isn’t already obvious. These religious stalwarts corrupted Yahuwdym not Gowym.
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 inferred that God had authorized him to alter the requirements upon which Yahowah has already taken His stand.
Sha’uwl, like Satan before him in the Garden, shortchanged Yah’s testimony, removing His directions from their context to beguile individuals into believing that God had instituted the changes. Every time Sha’uwl quotes Yahowah, it is always a terse reference which is lifted as an object of scorn to ridicule the Torah, most often with these allusive references serving as clichés – simple adages which are easy to articulate and remember.
In spite of this, and even though 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 and increases his offspring (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 2:6)
Sha’uwl dismissed all those who would dare question him, claiming that by doing so they were opposed to God, that they were Satanic, when the opposite was true. And speaking of truth, the reason religious belief systems like Christianity are adverse to questions is because those who do so lose their faith. Evidence and reason seldom matter in matters of religion. It is only the believer’s pledge of allegiance which is considered binding.
Besides, now you know why this book is entitled Questioning Paul. Turns out, it wasn’t my idea.
This final statement is associated with the previous prediction. It is rendered from the Dead Sea Scrolls because the Qumran text differs considerably from the Masoretic. "And (wa) he loads himself down (ta’an – he burdens himself) with (‘eth) thick (‘aphelah – dark and wicked) mud (tyt – dirt and dust to be swept away)." God is saying that the only thing "kabed – weighty and significant" about Sha’uwl is that he has covered himself and others in muck. Methinks Yah was poking fun at Sha’uwl’s murky and messy prose.
We cannot say that we were not warned or advised. God even told us how to respond to this horrible individual. He wants us to stand up against all forms of corruption: political, religious, military, and economic. We are to confront lies and liars.
"Why not (ha lo’) quickly for a short period of time (peta’ – instantly) rise up and take a stand (quwm)?
And (wa) those of you who are bitten and are making payments to him (nashak – those showing interest, earning money, or becoming indebted to him) wake up from your stupor (yaqats – take action and alter your state of awareness) moving away in fear of him (zuwa’ – in dread of him, abhorring his terrifying and vexing nature).
Because (wa) you will be (hayah) considered (la) plunder, victimized by them (mashichah la – as booty, spoiled by them)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:7)
Only Paul among those who claimed to speak for God solicits money. It is why Christian clerics embrace him. So following his example, his instructions, Christian institutions have made merchandise of men – and worst among them has been the Roman Catholic Church. Yah is trying to rouse these victims before it is too late.
But there is a consequence...
"Because (ky) you (‘atah) have plundered, stealing the possessions of (shalal – you have looted and victimized) so many (rab – such an enormous number of; and serving as the basis of rabbi) Gentiles (Gowym – people from different races and places), so (wa – therefore (from the DSS)) they shall loot and victimize (shalal – plunder and rob) all of (kol) the remaining (yether – the residue of the wealth of) nations (Gowym – Gentiles from different races and places) by means of (min) the blood (dam) of humankind (‘adam – mankind) and also (wa) through the violent and cruel destructive forces terrorizing (chamac – the immoral maiming and murdering which oppresses) the Land (‘erets – the Promised Land, singular, and thus Yisra’el) and (wa) Yah’s city (qiryah – to Encounter Yah, Yaruwshalaim – the source of teaching regarding reconciliation, also singular; from qarah – to encounter and meet Yah – an abbreviation of Yahowah), and all of those (wa kol) living in her (yashab ba – dwelling in her (Yaruwshalaim is a feminine noun))." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:8)
Paul mercilessly attacks "Jews" throughout his letters, making them the enemy of his new religion, thereby creating the anti-Semitism that ultimately took root in the Christian church. Paul, a Roman citizen, seeded the hatred of God’s Chosen People that boiled over seventy years later with the destruction of Yisra’el and Yaruwshalaim by the empire’s legions. It happened just as Yahowah predicted it would. Seven hundred years from the time this prophecy was committed to writing, Yaruwshalaim was sacked, Yisra’el was salted, and those not murdered by Rome where hauled off into slavery.
According to Yahowah, to be "cut off" from Him is to be estranged from the Covenant, thereby, excluded from this relationship and forsaken – which is to be damned. Therefore, you do not want God to say of you what He said of Sha’uwl...
"Woe (howy) to one who is cut off, coveting (batsa’ – to one who is greedy and dies), while wickedly (ra’ – harmfully and immorally, adversarialy and malignantly) soliciting ill-gotten gain (betsa’ – theft through deception, and threat of violence, immoral solicitation and plunder) in relation to him setting (la sym – for him to place and appoint) his house and temple (la beyth – his household and establishment) in association with heights of heaven (ba ha marowm – in an advantaged, desirable, elevated, and high place or status in association with God’s home in heaven) so as to spare (la natsal – for the purpose of snatching away and delivering the plunder) the acquired property and possessions (qan – what has been confiscated through envy and religious zeal, the nest egg and snare) from the paws (kaph – hands and palms, the control) of fellow countrymen (ra’ – of those living in close proximity)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:9)
It is difficult to know if qan is the contracted form of "qana’ – to acquire wealth," "qanan – nest," "qenets – snare," or more likely "qanah – acquire property and possessions," even "qana’ – jealousy, envy, religious zeal, and sexual passion." But in this context, I suppose they would all apply.
The Roman Catholic Church, which was founded on Pauline Doctrine, not only constructs gold-laden cathedrals and has storehouses filled with tens of billions of dollars of ill-gotten gain, they have positioned themselves as having sole possession of the keys to heaven. It is interesting, however, that recently they have had to return more than a billion dollars to the families of children their priests have molested, priests following the Pauline mandate not to marry.
We are not yet at the point in this book where I came to first understand the ploy Paul was using to foist his plot on the unwary. But six hundred years before he conceived and articulated it, Yahowah was cognizant of his scheme.
"You have deliberately decided upon and conspired at the advice of another to promote a shameful plot to confuse (ya’ats bosheth – after consultation you have come to an informed conclusion through deliberation to conceive and perpetrate a lowly plan with the intended purpose to confound while displaying an adversarial attitude; note: bosheth – shameful, lowly, and confusing is from bashan – the serpent, associating this adversarial scheme with Satan, with whom Sha’uwl admittedly consulted (read 2 Corinthians 12:7)) those who approach your house (la beyth – those who enter and are associated with your household and your construct), ruining and reducing by cutting off (qatsah – severely injuring and destroying by scraping away and ending the existence of) many (rab – a multitude of) people from different races and places (gowym – Gentiles; Greeks in Sha’uwl’s parlance who he claimed exclusively for himself) and in the process (wa) losing (chata’ – forfeiting by impugning guilt upon through missing the way and bearing the loss on) your soul (nepesh)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:10)
This answers a question I’m often asked: did Paul deliberately perpetrate this fraud or was he misled. It also affirms the now obvious connection between Paul and Satan, the very spirit Sha’uwl claimed had possessed and goaded him.
Since beyth serves as the basis for beryth – covenant, God is inferring that Sha’uwl’s "new covenant" is a shameful plot designed to confuse the unwary. And make no mistake, Paul routinely referred to himself as the father of his faithful children, and thus of his covenant family. He wrote about life in the household he had conceived.
To be cut off from Yahowah’s one and only Covenant, the very Covenant Sha’uwl condemned in Galatians, is to die with one’s soul ceasing to exist. So while the perpetrator of this crime will endure forever in She’owl, the souls of his victims are reduced to nothing, their lives squandered as a result of Sha’uwl’s shameful scheme.
God has a lot more to say about Sha’uwl, and while we need to move on and continue to expose his letter, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a couple of additional thoughts. First...
"Woe (howy) to the one who causes and allows his companions and countryman to drink (shaqah ra’), thereby associating them with (caphach) this venomous wrath (chemah – snake poison which antagonizes and thus a reference to the Adversary’s toxicity), but also (wa ‘aph) making them drunk (shakar) for the purpose of (ma’an) observing (nabat) their genitals (ma’aowr).
You will get your fill of (saba’ – you will be met with an abundance of) shame and infamy (qalown – dishonor, slander, and scorn) instead of (min) honor and glory (kabowd – the reward which is to manifest God’s power).
Inebriated (shathah), in addition (gam), you (‘atah) also (wa) show yourself unacceptable, going round about over the lack of circumcision (‘arel muwcab – your circular reasoning in opposition to circumcision for religious reasons which makes your victim unacceptable and unharvestable).
Upon you is (‘al – before you is) the binding cup (kowc) of Yahowah’s (efei) right hand (yamyn – serving as a metaphor for judgment), therefore (wa) public humiliation and indignity (qyqalown – shame, ignominy, and dishonor) will be your reward and status (‘al kabowd – your reputation)." (Chabaquwq / Embrace This / Habakkuk 2:15-16)
Pauline Doctrine is poison, venom from the most vile of serpents. But more indicting still, Sha’uwl, who never knew the love of a woman, provocatively expressed his love for a young man, Timothy. And even though Paul detested circumcision, and spoke hatefully about the sign and requirement of the Covenant, he personally circumcised Timothy. Furthermore, Sha’uwl so craved recognition and status, he heaped it upon himself. But here God is saying that Sha’uwl’s poisonous attack against circumcision will come full circle and slather him in shame. The man who claimed to be God’s exclusive apostle to the Gentiles has become the man of infamy.
I dare say, in the whole of Yahowah’s prophetic testimony, no prediction is as dire as this one. But that is because no one ever did what Paul has done. It was not required of anyone else.
If nothing else, Yahowah has provided His evaluation of Paul and His assessment of his followers. In this light, the only way to view him and his religion favorably is to ignore God and estrange ourselves from Him. The debate now is between good and evil, because the issues are white and black. We will question everything Paul says and writes. And we will hold him accountable. It may be too little, but it is never too late.
In the most favorable light, what comes next, had it been set into a different context, might have been designed to reflect the "shamar – observational" view of the Torah. Many, if not all, of its instructions are vastly more valuable to us when we study and understand them than they are to us when we habitually do them irrespective of their intent. In this regard, the symbolism of circumcision is even more important than the act – although both are essential to our ability to respond to and engage in the Covenant relationship with God.
That is not to say that we should simply disregard our Heavenly Father’s advice. If you want to be included in the Covenant, if you want to be adopted into His family, and if you want to be invited into heaven, if you are not currently circumcised, get circumcised, for example. As we shall see, with Yahowah, male circumcision is a life and death decision, one in which He is unwilling to compromise. Therefore, my point is simply that we should seek to understand all of Yahowah’s instructions regarding life in the Covenant and then respond rationally based upon what we have learned.
These things known, Paul’s statement is misleading. In fact, without the proper perspective, it is actually counterproductive.
"To the contrary (alla – by way of contrast and making a distinction), not even (oude) Titus (Titos – a Latin name meaning nurse), [the one with (o syn) me (ego),] a Greek (Hellen) being (eimi – existing (present tense, active, participle)), was compelled (anagkazo – was forced or pressured, necessitated or obligated (aorist, passive, indicative indicating he was acted upon in the past)) to be circumcised (peritemno – to be cut off and completely separated; from peri, concerning the account of, near, and all around, and tomoteros, to cut something so as to create separation (aorist, passive, infinitive conveying that at that time he was influenced in this way by the verb which has properties of a noun))." (Galatians 2:3) (The reason for bracketing the clause "the one with me" is that it isn’t found in Papyrus 46, the oldest witnesses of this statement.)
Those who may place greater confidence in the McReynolds English Interlinear associated with the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition, here is that rendering for your convenience and consideration. "But but not Titus the with me Greek being was compelled to be circumcised." So much for the myth that the NA27 has been updated to reflect the oldest extant manuscripts. There is nothing posterior to P46 and they ignored it.
Regardless of one’s preference or interpretation, someone actually trying to share Yahowah’s message would have provided some context and an explanation as to why it would have ever been appropriate to "force" anyone to do anything. God does not issue mandates and there are no obligations. We are all free to accept or reject the Covenant. The choice is ours, and it is offered under the auspices of freewill.
So while there is nothing associated with God which is obligatory, and no choice should ever be compelled, an explanation would have gone a long way toward helping people understand the symbolism involved in their decision regarding whether or not to be circumcised. It is after all life and death. And that is because while circumcision does not guarantee participation in the Covenant, or thus salvation, a man who dies circumcised has no chance of either. If Titus remained uncircumcised, his soul no longer exists or it is imprisoned in She’owl.
Few things are more obvious to the observant than Yahowah does not "anagkazo – compel." He is first and foremost a proponent of freewill. The decision as to whether or not to circumcise our sons, or to become circumcised ourselves should our parents fail to prepare us for the Covenant in this way, is ours to make as parents and as individuals. Those who choose wisely position their children and themselves to enjoy the Covenant’s benefits. Those who don’t are automatically and summarily excluded.
The somewhat complementary acts which serve to demonstrate our acceptance or acknowledgment of the Covenant are circumcision and baptism – albeit the former is required and the later is purely symbolic. The Torah’s sign demonstrating a family’s acceptance of the conditions and benefits of the Covenant, and denoting their desire to be included in it, is circumcision. The symbolism is hard to miss, as this sign deals with the part of the male anatomy responsible for conceiving new human life.
And since three of the Covenant’s greatest benefits are eternal life, cleansing leading to perfection, being born spiritually into Yahowah’s family—water baptism became a symbolic act demonstrating life, cleansing, and rebirth. We are immersed in water as an outward declaration that we have chosen to be born anew from above into God’s family, becoming His adopted children. Understanding both is useful. And while circumcising our sons is advisable, and being circumcised as a man essential, there is also expressive merit associated with the symbolism of baptism.