Muslims do not claim that Jesus' true disciples tampered with the Bible, but that others claiming to act in their names did so later on. This is attested to by the fact that the Trinitarian church felt it necessary to totally obliterate all Gospel manuscripts written before 325 AD when they officially introduced the "Trinity" to the world. This is why we find such serious contradictions in even the most basic of it's teachings. For example, we are told that Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul) is the author of the majority of the books of the New Testament. He is claimed to be the author of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Phillippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews. We would expect such a pivotal character in the Bible and the author of the majority of the New Testament books to be able to keep his stories straight at least in such fundamental matters as how he became a Christian and was "saved." However, we can find in the Bible a sworn affidavit by Paul that he is guilty of fabrication. Sound incredible? Let us have a look:
If we read Acts 9:19-29 and Acts 26:19-21, we will
find that Paul was busy persecuting the followers of Jesus in
Jerusalem and dragging them from their homes to be tortured, killed
or converted, when suddenly one day he decided to branch out and
persecute them in Damascus. For this reason, he goes to the High
Priest asking for letters sanctioning such actions in Damascus.
Why he would do this since the High Priest of Jerusalem had no
authority over Damascus remains a mystery to many, however, let
Shortly after setting out to continue his evil work
in Damascus, Paul is supposed to have "seen the Lord in
the way " and accepted Christianity
after being a staunch enemy of Christians and having become famous
for his severe persecution of them. Barnabas (one of the apostles
of Jesus) then supposedly vouched for him with the other apostles
and convinced them to accept him. Paul then went with all of the
apostles on a preaching campaign in and out of Jerusalem
and all of Judaea preaching boldly to it's people. Paul
then appointed himself the twelfth apostle of Jesus (in place
of Judas who had the devil in him) as seen in his own books Romans
1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1 ..etc..
The verses mentioned are:
" And when he (Paul) had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul (Paul) certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. "
" Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me."
" But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. "
With regard to the first two passages, Reverend Dr.
Davies in " The First Christian," says: " These
assertions are not inconsistent with each other, but are damaging
for another reason,: they are contradicted by Paul himself in
his letter to the Galatians (Chapters 1 and 2)." Rev.
Davies draws attention to Paul's oath: " Now concerning
the things which I write to you, indeed, before God I do not lie,"
which makes his account a sworn affidavit. He goes on to say:
" To the story in Acts, this contradiction
is disastrous. There never was a teaching campaign at Jerusalem
and through all of the county of Judea (Acts 26:20). If Paul was
unknown to the Judean communities as he says, then he had undertaken
no mission among them. In fact he had never joined the Judean
movement or even attempted to join it. He only saw Cephas, and
Jesus' brother James. Even of the other apostles, not to mention
more ordinary believers, 'I saw none' he admits. Instead of his
having gone 'in and out of Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the
name of the Lord' the Jerusalem community had not even known that
he was there. 'They only heard' he tells us 'that he who once
persecuted us now makes the faith of which he made havoc'; but
they never heard him preach it in Judea."
Rev. Davies concludes that
" ..if there is any portion of the New Testament that is authentic, it is Paul's letter to the Galatians. If we cannot rely upon this letter, we can rely upon nothing and may as well close our inquiry. But the fact is that we can rely upon it. The letter to the Galatians is from Paul himself and by every test is genuine."
" The First Christian," A Powell Davies,
Farrar Straus & Cudahy, pp. 30-31
According to the narration in Acts, Paul saw his
alleged vision. " Straightway" he began preaching in
the synagogues of Damascus. He built up a reputation through his
bold preaching that amazed the masses. He confounded the Jews
of Damascus. Many days later, the Jews tried to kill him
so he escaped to Jerusalem. He met Barnabas who introduced him
to the apostles for the first time. They were all terrified
of Paul, but Barnabas convinced them to accept him. Now Paul and
all of the apostles went on a preaching campaign in and
out of Jerusalem speaking
boldly in the name of Jesus.
However, according to the narration in Galatians,
Paul saw his alleged vision. " Immediately" he did NOT
confer with " flesh and blood" nor did he go to Jerusalem
to see the apostles, but rather he traveled to Arabia then back
to Damascus. He mentions no preaching in any of these places.
After at least three years he goes to Jerusalem for the
first time and meets only Peter and James and no other apostles.
He stays with them for fifteen days but, once again, he mentions
no preaching campaign either with all of the apostles, with some
of them, or alone. He also has never been here in the past nor
performed a preaching campaign here in the past since he is unknown
by face to them and they have " heard only" of his claimed
Some of the contradictions are:
1) Galatians claims that after his alleged vision, Paul " Immediately" spoke to " no flesh and blood" but rather traveled to Arabia and then to Damascus. So he did not " straightway," if at all, preach boldly in Damascus as claimed by Acts (How long would it take to travel from Damascus to Arabia to Damascus? Could he go and come back " straightway" ?).
2) According to Galatians, Paul did not go to Jerusalem where the apostles were. Rather, he went to Arabia then to Damascus. Now, after at least THREE YEARS (not many days), he goes to Jerusalem. It explicitly states that " Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles." So this is claimed to be his FIRST visit to Jerusalem after his claimed vision. This FIRST visit is claimed to have occurred at least THREE YEARS after Paul's alleged vision. However, Acts claims that MANY DAYS after his vision he traveled to Jerusalem and performed a bold preaching campaign with all the apostles. Acts also mentions no intermediate journey to Arabia.
3) According to Galatians, upon Paul's arrival in Jerusalem he met Peter and James and no other apostles. He can not have met any apostles in Jerusalem before this because he claims that immediately after his vision " Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles" Rather, it claims that he FIRST went to Jerusalem at least " three years" after his claimed vision. On the other hand, Acts claims that the first time he met the apostles was many days after his claimed vision at which time he met ALL of the apostles. This too is obviously his first meeting with them since they all feared him. Notice the words " they were ALL afraid of him." This would not be the case if Peter and James had already met him since even if they had never mentioned him to the other apostles, still, at the very least they themselves (Peter and James) would not fear him. Also notice that it was only Barnabas who stood up for him and not Barnabas, Peter, and James.
4) Galatians claims that after Paul's first visit
to Jerusalem all the apostles feared him but then Barnabas convinced
them to accept him and they ALL went hand in hand " in
and out of Jerusalem" preaching " boldly"
to the Jews. However, Acts claims that his first visit to Jerusalem
was after THREE YEARS and upon this FIRST visit he met ONLY Peter
and James. He is not claimed to have gone with Peter and James
on a preaching campaign in and out of Jerusalem,
nor could he have done so in the past with ALL of the apostles
since if he had done so he would not have been " unknown
by face to the churches of Judea," they would also not
have " heard only" of his conversion but would
have eye-witnessed his bold campaign with all of the apostles
with their own eyes.
If the author of the majority of the books of the
New Testament can not even keep
the narration of his own " salvation" straight then how
are we expected to believe him in such critical matters as the
" true" meanings of Jesus' words, or other matters?
The fact that Paul never actually met Jesus during
his lifetime, never traveled with him, ate with him, or learned
directly from him would obviously make the apostles of Jesus the
first source of guidance for those followers of Jesus who wished
to know what Jesus taught. Jesus' apostles also did not have a
previous history of persecuting his followers. The only reason
why anyone might want to bypass the apostles to speak to Paul
is if Paul began to receive a series of holy visions from Jesus.
The apostles did not claim to be receiving visions from Jesus,
so obviously, Paul's claims that he was receiving divine visions
from Jesus would go a long way towards drawing the followers of
Jesus away from them and to his interpretation of the message
of Jesus. Paul himself proudly proclaims that he has no need of
learning from any human being, not even the apostles, he is completely
independent of their knowledge and all he needs is his visions:
" But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
As we shall soon see, a direct result of this unwillingness
to receive anything from the apostles or to learn from them resulted
in Paul following the sad trend of never being able to verify
his claims through words of Jesus. It is next to impossible to
find Paul quoting Jesus when attempting to spread his doctrine,
rather, he always refers to his own personal philosophy based
upon " visions" he claims to be receiving and inspirations
from the Holy Ghost. When he would differ with an apostle on a
given matter, he could not claim to have first hand knowledge
of the teachings of Jesus since he had never met him. Therefore,
he found it necessary to always resort to extensive philosophization
and then claim that Jesus and the Holy Ghost were " inspiring"
this philosophy. As we shall see below, he claimed to have been
singled out from among all of mankind to receive visions denied
all of the apostles, and to have been allowed through this inspiration
to gain new converts " by all means."
He also would claim that " All things are lawful
The careful reader will notice many other holes in
the story of Paul's alleged " conversion." For instance,
in Acts 22:9 Paul claims that when he spoke to Jesus (pbuh), those
traveling with him " saw the light," but " they
heard not the voice." While in Acts 9:7 those
who were with Paul are claimed to have " stood speechless,
hearing a voice, but seeing no man." Don't take
my word for it, by all means
" prove all things." The teachings of Christianity
as they are known today are built upon the claims of Paul, the
author of the majority of the books of the New Testament.
He is trusted blindly because he claims to have seen Jesus (pbuh)
in a heavenly vision, to have been vouched for by the apostle
Barnabas, to have met and been accepted by all of the apostles,
to have preached with all the apostles boldly in the name
of Jesus throughout the land of Judaea, and as a result of this
to have endured severe hardship and persecution. However, anyone
who would simply read their Bible will find that Paul himself
swears in the name of God Almighty that this is a fabrication
because Judaea had never even seen his face and had " heard
only" of his alleged conversion. Further, he never met any
of the apostles save Peter and James. Even with all of this the
church insists that we interpret the words of Jesus within the
context of Paul's teachings.
There are so many more similar examples of how Paul
openly and blatantly made major changes to the religion of Jesus
that flagrantly contradicted both the teachings of Jesus and his
apostles. Another example can be seen in the following analysis:
God Almighty commands in the OT:
" This is my Covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant."
So, according to the OT, God himself is telling us
that His covenant can only be had through circumcision. The significance
of circumcision was also noted by Biblical scholars as being not
merely an external act:
" This was His own sign and seal that Israel was a chosen people. Through it a man's life was linked with great fellowship whose dignity was it's high consciousness that it must fulfill the purpose of God"
Interpreter's Bible, p. 613
Circumcision was considered of such critical
importance to Jewish faith that they would even violate the Sabbath
to circumcise their children if the eighth day
fell on the Sabbath.
" and ye on the Sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day?"
Jesus himself was circumcised on the eighth day just
like all faithful Jews:
" And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS."
John the Baptist was also
circumcised (Luke 1:59). After the departure of Jesus, circumcision
became an issue of personal conflict between the apostle Peter
who insisted upon it (preach to Jews only) and Paul who wanted
to do away with it (preach to non-Jews also).
" I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised."
Paul then goes into great details about how the apostles
were wrong and he was right and how even Barnabas followed in
their " hypocrisy"
and it was necessary for him to show the apostles the truth (in
the King James Version, the actual word used by Paul in Galatians
2:13 is diplomatically translated as " dissimulation.."
However, in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible which was
compiled from more ancient manuscripts than the KJV, the word
Paul used is honestly translated as " hypocrisy" ).
Paul now mentions James (James the Son of Thunder,
James the Just), Peter (the Rock), and Barnabas (Paul's teacher
and protector) in the following manner:
" I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel."
So now it becomes apparent from Paul's words that,
in addition to all the above, the apostles were also misguided.
It would have been interesting to have heard for instance Barnabas'
version of these matters had he been chosen as the " majority
author" of the Bible rather than Paul. According to many
similar passages, it seems that the apostles were constantly in
need of Paul's guidance to recognize the truth. To get Barnabas'
version of these matters, his opinion of Paul, as well as what
really happened at the cross look for " The Gospel
of Barnabas," ISBN 0089295-133-1,
at your local library, or obtain your copy from one of the addresses
listed at the back of this book.
It is interesting to note that Paul himself was not
even sure about his own " visions." We read:
" It is expedient for me to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth; such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth; How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.."
2 Corinthians 12:1-5
So Paul did not know if the man in his " visions"
was " in the body" or " out of the body." Paul's
vision also contained " unspeakable words" which were
" not lawful for a man to utter."
If I told you that I had seen someone in a " vision,"
had heard " unspeakable words that
are not lawful to utter" in this vision, and had been
commanded by this person to nullify the commandments which Jesus
(pbuh) had upheld his whole life and had commanded mankind to
uphold till the end of time, who would you say this described?
Who had I seen?
God Almighty says in the Qur'an:
" And if it be said unto them: Follow that which Allah has revealed, they say: Nay, but we follow that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though the devil was inviting them to the torture of the fire?"
The noble Qur'an, Lukman(31):21.
What is wrong with this picture? Even if we were
to disregard Paul's sworn admission of fabrication and were to
accept the established beliefs of Paul's inspiration and infallibility
(a very big " if" ), then we are still left with the following
Paul, a man who according to his own admission " beyond
measure" severely persecuted countless Christians " slaughtered"
them, and also " wasted"
the church (Galatians 1:13-15, Acts 8:1-3, Acts 9:1-2, Acts 9:41,
Acts 6:5.. etc.), a man who never met Jesus face to face, underwent
a miraculous conversion from a persecutor and killer of Christians
into a more perfect teacher of Christianity than
the apostles themselves. He was singled out by Jesus' ghost to
receive " visions" which were denied the apostles who
had accompanied Jesus (pbuh) during his lifetime (Galatians 1:10-12).
Paul had acquired such a terrible reputation as a persecutor of
Christians that no one was willing to accept his claims of conversion.
It was only the intervention of the apostle Barnabas, who's words
obviously carried a great deal of weight with the rest of the
apostles, which allowed the apostles to grudgingly accept him.
Barnabas then traveled extensively with Paul building up his reputation
among the Jews as a true convert. Once Paul acquired a reputation
of his own, he had a falling out with Barnabas (Acts 15:39, Galatians
2:13). They parted company. Paul now claimed that Jesus (pbuh)
wanted him to " relax" the law in order to make it a
little more palatable for new converts, and this is when Paul
began to make drastic changes to the law of Jesus (pbuh).
Paul decided that his visions were sufficient authority
to contradict the teachings of the apostles and consider them
hypocrites. Even Barnabas, the apostle who traveled with Paul
teaching him and preaching to the Jews, who was willing to accept
this persecutor of Christians claims of conversion at face value,
and the man who single handedly convinced all of the apostles
to accept this same persecutor of Christians is now considered
by Paul a hypocrite and less able to understand the religion of
Jesus (pbuh) than himself. Paul also believed that
" ...I labored more abundantly than they (the apostles) all"
1 Corinthians 15:10.
So, the apostles of Jesus were such lazy layabouts
that Paul was doing more work than all eleven of them put together.
All of this even though the apostles spent countless years with
Jesus (pbuh) learning directly from him while Paul, who has never
met Jesus in person, practically overnight transforms from a persecutor
and killer of Christians and the apostles to a more perfect
teacher of Christianity than the apostles themselves. It is quite
lucky for us that Paul received these " visions," otherwise
we might have been lead astray by the lazy, misguided, hypocritical
apostles. For Barnabas' version of these matters, read " The
Gospel of Barnabas."
Let us time out for a quick analyses of the above verses:
Summary: If the
apostles who lived, preached, ate, and drank with Jesus for so
many years are all, according to Paul, lazy, misguided, hypocrites,
who were not able to see the " truth" of Jesus' message
as clearly as himself, and if Paul, who never met Jesus in the
flesh but is the author of the majority of our New Testament,
is more truly guided than all of the apostles combined because
of his claimed " visions" even though he never quotes
Jesus nor needs to learn from the apostles, but is, according
to his own gospel, more truly guided than all of them despite
all of this, then why did Jesus need to preach the law of Moses
to mankind at all? Why did he himself observe it so strictly?
According to Paul, Jesus' only use is as a body to be hung on
the cross. Jesus (pbuh) felt it necessary to command
his followers to strictly and uncompromisingly observe the law
of Moses. He even felt it necessary to live his life in strict
observance of this law as a supreme example for us. He never once
explicitly mentioned an original sin, an atonement, a crucifixion,
a redemption, or a nullification of the law of Moses. However,
no sooner does Jesus depart this earth than Paul uses his claimed
visions to completely nullify everything Jesus ever taught and
practiced. He does not need to learn from the apostles, all he
needs is his visions. That is indeed why he almost never quotes
Jesus himself. He always resorts to his own philosophization rather
than quoting Jesus. Why then did Jesus not simply come to earth
right after Adam sinned, not say a single word, quickly
anger some enemies of God, let them crucify him, and have it over
with quickly? Even if Jesus decided to wait hundreds of thousands
of years and only come 2000 years ago, then why preach a law that
is going to be thrown out the window in only a couple of years?
Why observe this law so devoutly himself? Why command everyone
to strictly observe this law " till heaven and earth pass" ?
Why threaten them that anyone who would forsake a single commandment
would be called " the least in the kingdom of heaven" ?
Is he not going to die for everyone's sins and then come back
in exclusive visions to Paul and command him to nullify the law
of Moses? Is he not going to come back in visions to Paul and
command him to tell everyone that " a man is justified
by faith without the deeds of the law." ? Why not preach
such a doctrine himself while he is still among
his apostles instead of waiting to first mention it to Paul in
a vision after his death?
These apostles that Paul looked down upon as lazy
misguided hypocrites are the selfsame apostles who had accompanied
Jesus (pbuh) during his lifetime, who taught all of mankind (including
Paul himself) the teachings of Jesus (pbuh), and who endured the
persecution of many (including Paul himself) to convey this message
without compromise, as Jesus had directly taught it to them. The
Pauline Church (the Roman Catholic church which later gave birth
to other churches such as the Protestant church) was to later
go on and officially adopt the doctrine of the Trinity
a couple of centuries after the departure of Jesus, to severely
condemn, persecute, and kill any Christians who did not convert
to their own personal brand of Christianity, to have presided
over the death of millions of Christians who did not adopt this
belief. To have presided over the destruction of many hundreds
of " unacceptable" gospels (some sources claim thousands)
some of which were written by the apostles themselves, and to
have issued death warrants for all those found concealing them...
and on and on.
Even with all of this, the Gospel of Barnabas (see
chapter seven) has managed to escape
this campaign of destruction of the Gospels and is available today.
It confirms all that we have said and what the Qur'an has been
saying for centuries. It also presents Barnabas' response to Paul's
claims and his account of what truly happened at the cross
and how Jesus (pbuh) was not forsaken by God to the Jews, but
was raised by God, and Judas the traitor was made to look like
Jesus (pbuh) and was taken in his place. Barnabas, of course,
accompanied Jesus (pbuh) and was an eye-witness to his mission.
Paul was not.
Getting back to our story... Paul had a falling out
with the apostles and decided that " Circumcision is nothing,
and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments
of God" 1 Corinthians 7:19. Even though circumcision
was held in an even higher regard than the Sabbath
itself in the law of Moses and the " commandments
of God," still, Paul taught that it is possible to keep
the commandments even if, contrary to the teachings of Jesus and
the apostles, this foremost commandment of circumcision was abandoned.
In the end, Paul decided that all the commandments
of God through Moses (pbuh) which Jesus (pbuh) had
kept faithfully till the crucifixion and which the apostles had
also kept were all worthless decaying and ready to vanish away
and faith was all that was required, thereby completely nullifying
everything his " Lord" Jesus had taught and practiced
during his lifetime.
" Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
He decided that the laws of Moses (pbuh) (e.g. " thou
shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill, ...etc." ) which Jesus
(pbuh) had taught the faithful during his lifetime were a " curse"
upon them and no longer necessary,
" Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law."
He then went about explaining the " true"
meanings of the teachings of Jesus and Paul's preachings are what
are now known as " Christianity."
Paul himself readily admits that he was both willing
and able to recruit new converts by any means at
" And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law(Gentiles), as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law"
1 Corinthians 9:20
and " ...I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some"
1 Corinthians 9:22
and " ...all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."
1 Corinthians 6:12
We have already seen how Paul also openly admits
that his teachings were not obtained from the apostles of Jesus,
but from a vision of Jesus denied the apostles: Galatians 1:12
" For I neither received it of man,
neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
So, not only are the apostles of Jesus, according to Paul, lazy,
misguided, hypocrites, but everything they ever learned from Jesus
is in Paul's estimation unnecessary. What they have learned from
Jesus from direct contact with him is only useful in as far as
it conforms to his " visions." In other words, they have
need to learn from him and not vice-versa.
The great apostle of Jesus (pbuh), Barnabas (the
defender and benefactor of Paul), in the opening statements of
his Gospel has the following to say about Paul among others:
" True Gospel of Jesus, called Messiah, a
new prophet sent by God to the world according to the description
of Barnabas his apostle. Barnabas, apostle of Jesus the Nazarene,
called Messiah, to all them that dwell upon the earth desire peace
and consolation. Truly beloved, the great and wonderful God has
in these past days visited us by His apostle Jesus (the) Messiah
in great mercy of teaching and miracles, by reason whereof many,
being deceived by Satan, under pretense of piety, are preaching
most impious doctrine, calling Jesus the Son of God, repudiating
the circumcision ordained by God forever, and permitting every
unclean meat: among whom also Paul has been deceived, whereof
I speak not without grief: for which cause I am writing the truth
which I have seen and heard, in the fellowship
that I have had with Jesus, in order that you may be saved, and
not be deceived by Satan and perish in judgment of God. Therefore,
beware of everyone that preaches to you a new doctrine contrary
to that which I write, that you may be saved eternally. The great
God be with you and guard you from Satan and from every evil.
Paul himself admits that there were those who were
preaching a different Gospel than his own and were gaining converts.
He does not name his adversaries, but we can read about his most
noble adversaries in two places wherein Paul uses what Prof. Brandon
calls " very remarkable terms" to describe them. The
" I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
The second is " But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things."
2 Corinthians 11:3-6
These opponents of Paul were clearly preaching " another
Gospel" and " another
Jesus," they were also obviously operating among Paul's
own target group and converting his converts. All of this even
though their teachings did not exhibit the " simplicity"
that Paul preached but required their followers to work
for their salvation. However, Paul displays amazing restraint
when referring to them by not lambasting them with the vehemence
of speech which he is so capable nor questioning their authority.
Rather, he gives a clue to their identity with the words: " ...For
I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles"
and " we, or an angel from heaven," and " unto
another gospel: Which is not another."