A brief, basic review of mankind’s history: (Col. 1:12-17 esp. V.16 keywords: all things were created by him and for him– God) Man was created with a basic need in his soul to worship. BUT:
(Gen. 3:1-24) The man and woman told God by their actions; “We will worship God our own way!” God said; “OK, go do it your way, follow the devil out of Eden and die.” And Eden was gone. (Gen. 6:1 thru 8:22 keyword: offered) Again, except for the linage that produced Noah, man told God; “We will worship God our own way.” God eventually said; “OK, now you are all going to die except Noah and his family. Then the flood came.
(Gen. 11:1-9) Once more man told God; “We will worship God our own way.” They built their own tower to get to heaven but God would not accept that concept and said; “I will confound their language and scatter man.” Then God confounded their language and scattered man over the whole earth. Tribalism had begun.
Man’s basic need to worship manifests itself and man will worship something or someone either real or imaginary (occult, idolatry, mysticism, etc.). These scattering bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers formed races, tribes, and eventually nations. In that long process of time they devised their own religions and methods to worship God but they were saying; “We will worship God our own way!”
(Gen. 11:10 thru 17:21 esp. 15:13-16) Then God chose the lineage of Noah through Shem, Noah’s son, to eventually make a covenant with Abraham that eventually led to the formation of the nation named Israel (Gen 1:1 thru Deut. 34:12) with its history, method of worship and laws given by God in their Torah.
(2Ki. 17:7-17) Again, man told God; “We will devise our Talmud (traditions) and worship God our own way.” (2Ki. 17:18-23 esp. V.18 keywords: none left) “The Lord was very angry with Israel” and Israel, the northern kingdom of the divided nation of Israel, disappeared into the Assyrian Empire.
(Matt. 23:5-7 keywords: the works they do for to be seen of men, and 23-28 key: look holy on the outside but are unclean on the inside, (Mark 7:1-13 keywords: Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions) The southern kingdom of divided Israel named Judaea said; “We will worship God in our own way regardless of your laws.” (Luke 19:41-44 AND common history) Judaea was destroyed and the surviving Jews disappeared into the Roman empire. AND (Josh. 1:1- thru 4:4) Israel, the unified nation, (Deut. 7:6-7) the “Chosen People” of God, disappeared!
What is the common thread, the key pattern, the common denominator, these nations had in common?
(Gal. 1:16, 2:9 & 3:8 keyword: heathen) Every heathen (the Greek word used for heathen is ethnikos/ethnos from which the English ethnic is derived: and is defined as; Gentile, non-Jewish, a race, a tribe, a nation, and by implication pagans) society had devised their own list of rituals and their own list of behaviors and were proud of their own method of worship.
(Rom. 3:1-2) To the Jews had been committed the oracles of God. BUT: (Matt. 23:5-7 keywords: the works they do for to be seen of men, and 23-28 key: look holy on the outside but are unclean on the inside, Mark 7:1-13 keywords: Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions) The Jews had written their own list of rituals and their own list of behaviors (the Talmud comprised of the writings of various rabbis) and were proud of their own method of worship (1Chron. 16:13) because they were God’s chosen people (Deut. 7:1-8 esp. V.7) even if they were the fewest of all people.
(Acts 2:1-4) At the beginning of the church, (Gal. 1:16) the Holy Bible recognizes heathen (Gentiles) (Gal. 2:7-8) and Jews (circumcision) as the only two types of people. AND both types worshipped God by their own lists of rituals and their own lists of behaviors, expected God to OWE them salvation, (a passport to Valhalla, Nirvana, Happy Hunting Ground, etc. and Heaven) were proud of their “religion” and “knew” theirs was the one true way to whatever their concept of paradise was. BUT God said; (Rom. 3:9-10) “Proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” and “There is none righteous, no, not one:”
The key factor in all this was that before the time of the church nobody had a personal relationship with God (John 1:29-51) until Jesus came (John 14:5-9) but that was a physical, quasi-spiritual relationship of teaching, prophesy and sometimes barely understood parables (John 20:22-23) even after Jesus’ resurrection.
Yes, such people as Noah, Elijah, Daniel, Moses, Abraham and etc. received from God, sometimes face to face, various prophesies, visions, covenants, instructions, laws and etc. (Eph. 2:22) but it was still somehow impersonal and not a “joining” of personalities between God and man. (Acts 2:1-4) Then the Holy Spirit was given (Jer. 31:33 & Heb. 10:9-20 then John 14:23-26) to live within Christians (a joining) to teach all things and bring to our remembrance all the things Jesus said. End of Review.
NOTE: You can check your computer and find a seemingly endless number of timelines, dates, events, missionary journeys, assaults, meetings, writings and etc. taken from the original KJ Bible, Roman history, church history, other historical sources and endless speculation concerning the apostle Paul. It is not my intention to draw from those sources and simply repeat the same old information.
I want us to know Paul the man, the personality. The only way to know Paul the man is to scripturally examine what he is, trace that backward in the Pharisee child rearing process and start there. What natural gifts did Paul possess from birth? What events shaped Paul’s personality? What were those “small things” that contributed to Paul being who he was? ALSO: From this point onward, the Law of Moses- the Law of Judaism- will be referred to as simply the Law. END OF NOTE.
The Pharisees preached and taught that God was a God of fury and judgment and they believed in a future resurrection. The Sadducees worshipped a God of pomp and circumstance and disavowed the resurrection.
The Jewish people were in bondage to a religion of two radical extremes.
The Pharisees were proud, harsh and judgmental and the Sadducees were rich, worldly and compromising. Jesus came to set the Jews free from the dead law of sin and death. He came to break the seesaw where the Pharisees were perched on one end and the Sadducees on the other. Jesus gave the Jews and the rest of the human race an accurate and surprising picture of God’s identity.
The Pharisees were zealously committed to the truth of God’s word yet missed God’s love. The Sadducees were more philosophical and were more concerned with outward appearance than eternal consequences.
The Pharisees were proud, zealous and self-righteous. (Deut. 6:6-7 & 11:16-20 esp. V.18 keywords: Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul- and V.19 keywords: And ye shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when thou sitttest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up) Many other O.T. scriptures also instruct the Jews to constantly teach their children about the word of God.
The Pharisees followed these educational instructions with passion, ardor, zeal and urgency and they also taught that attitude to their children hand in hand with God’s word. (Acts 23:6 & Phil. 3:5-6) Paul was a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.
The Pharisees committed to memory the Torah or Pentateuch (defined as Instruction; and is comprised of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and contains the entire Jewish Law) It was their Bible. The Jews also believe God gave Moses the Torah as a written text AND that God gave the Talmud (learning) as an oral version commentary of the Torah and it explains the meaning behind the written text of the Torah so it would be easier to apply the written texts of the Torah to their lives.
The Talmud is actually comprised of two books. The Rabbis, Jewish scholars and sages such as Hillel, Shammai, Yochanan ben Zakkai and etc. compiled the oral traditions into a book called the Mishnah. From that time on until well into the 1800’s AD other Rabbis and etc. also wrote commentaries which were compiled into a book they named the Gemara. These writings were usually a consensus of authoritative opinions of those scholars.
They also had the scrolls of their history, Jewish hero stories, Psalms, Proverbs and the prophets- everything in our Old Testament. They did not have a New Testament (Covenant). “We have our own covenant from God through Abraham and we have our own Law of Moses! We have our Torah and Talmud! Why should we need anything else? We are God’s chosen people! (Luke 23:18-24) What is this business about a new covenant brought by Jesus, a Jewish renegade, calling himself the Son of God?”
We will call him Paul from this point onward. (Acts 22:3) Paul was a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia which was a Roman province located on the southern coast of what is now modern-day Turkey. (Acts 21:31 keyword: Jerusalem thru 22:3 keywords: brought up in this city) As a child Paul was sent to Jerusalem (Acts 22:3 at the feet of Gamaliel) to be reared by Gamaliel (Acts 5:34 keywords: doctor of the law and reputation- fame- among all the people- the whole population) a famous doctor (teacher) of the Law (Acts 22:3) who taught Paul the perfect (straitest) manner (exactness) of the Law.
Five things are obvious here. #1) Gamaliel possessed a vast knowledge and understanding of the Law. #2) (Luke 2:41 keywords: feast of Passover & V.46 keyword: doctors) It is very probable Gamaliel had seen Jesus and even talked to Him when Jesus was a child at the feast of Passover. #3) The only way Gamaliel could have been famous to all the people was because he owned and taught in a prestigious school of Phariseeism. #4) (Acts 23:6) Paul’s father was a Pharisee and sent his son to be taught by the famous Pharisee. #5) Paul’s father was wealthy enough to afford to send Paul to live at and study in Gamaliel’s school in Jerusalem.
Obviously, Paul was taught how to be a Pharisee from infancy as the solemn eyed baby observed the Pharisee traditions, washing, prayers, rituals, worship and etc. from his Mother’s arms. In a Pharisee household every aspect of Phariseeism was the common daily ritual. The Pharisees lived, breathed, practiced and taught their religion in every aspect of their lives
What did Paul’s father know before he sent Paul away? As Paul’s father watched baby Paul develop he noticed Paul’s curiosity emerge, then his great ability to concentrate became apparent. When Paul was very young his father was well aware he had a certain tenacity of character and ability to focus. Little Paul wanted answers and would fuss, fume, struggle and question until he got them. He had a certain intensity in his character from his very beginning.
Can you see and hear five year old Paul’s reaction and questions when his father read the story (2Ki. 22:1 thru 23:25 their scrolls did not have chapter and verse) from their Book of the Kings of Israel (scrolls) about King Josiah that had happened more than six hundred years earlier? (1Ki. 13:1-10) And King Josiah’s activities had been prophesied nearly two hundred years before that. (2Chron. 35:25) Paul’s father read to him how Jeremiah the prophet had lamented at Josiah’s death. Any child would want to emulate that hero.
In addition to Paul’s normal teaching concerning the rote and ritual of the Pharisee religion Paul’s penetrating questions about Josiah’s world and his father’s answers consumed weeks of evenings that at times his father wished he’d never started. That’s when Paul demanded that he be taught to read and write. He brought in teachers to teach Paul to read and write and they were astonished when Paul’s quick, penetrating intellect started revealing itself.
When Paul was about eight, Paul and his father started an in-depth study about King David. As far as Paul was concerned, even with his flaws, David was the greatest hero in all of Judaism. Paul’s father was astonished by how quickly Paul understood King David’s greatness came from God’s anointing. AND: Paul was enthralled to be a member of God’s chosen people. “I sense that Paul is “somehow” a special child.”
Later on, Paul’s father was amazed when various friends told him they had seen Paul fight his boy fights. Paul had never told him about them and the swollen lip or blood on his shirt from his mashed nose was answered with a shrug and a few unintelligible words when his father had questioned him about them. More than one friend spoke admiringly when they told Paul’s father that Paul never quit. He would fight until he won or was not able to fight anymore. And he never cried either. Paul’s father looked at his small for his age son and mused; “He’s got a quiet courage about him.”
Living in a Jewish community in a “foreign country” Paul was exposed to foreign languages. His father was amazed by how quickly Paul was gaining fluency in Greek, Latin and the Aramaic languages in addition to their native Hebrew. Languages were also added to Paul’s studies. The various languages of the Aramaic were rather easy for Paul because they were all “foreign adaptations” of basic Hebrew.
As was Jewish custom after Paul’s bar Mitzvah at his twelfth birthday signifying he was entering his thirteenth year and ready to start learning to be a man Paul’s father took stock of his brilliant, intense, tenacious, tough minded, courageous son and “decided” he could well afford the expense of sending him to Jerusalem to study in Gamaliel’s prestigious school. “After all, he sometimes asks me questions I cannot answer and he is actually teaching me a thing or two, now and then, about our holy writings. Who knows what he will accomplish with his amazing desire to serve God?”
With his Mother’s copious tears and his lump in throat Father, Paul, accompanied by a trusted servant, was loaded on a ship headed across the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea bound for Caesarea then overland with the first available caravan on south to Jerusalem. He did not want his son to fall victim to some vagrant band of robbers. Paul’s mother had cried even harder because Paul was so bright faced with excitement to be going to Jerusalem and Gamaliel’s school. “He’s glad to leave!” Only the brightest and best were accepted into that stellar rabbinical school.
Paul arrived safely at his destination in Jerusalem and the tired, tired servant refreshed himself, visited relatives for a couple of days and headed back to Tarsus; “Whew, that Paul wore me out with his constant talking, questioning and reasoning. I’ll bet he knows how to sail a ship by now the way he was all over the place talking to sailors and passengers and he’ll probably be a noted rabbi too.” Nobody knew it then (2Tim. 4:13) but years later in his full-blown Christian ministry and church founding all over the near east Paul would be a lifelong student.
It did not take Gamaliel very long to realize Paul was a “special” student and Paul started visiting Gamaliel’s home for evening discussions and a little later Paul moved in (Acts 22:3) “Brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God.” Children will be children wherever they are and they will be of lesser or greater abilities but this child named Paul seemed “particularly blessed”.
(Prov. 15:3 & Rev. 8:3) Far, far yonder, there in everlasting, from the throne above the great golden altar, God was pleased as He watched.
Yes, you are correct, none of this about Paul is in the Bible. But just like Cornelius Paul had to come from somewhere and was shaped by something and this was the common lifestyle of a Pharisee father and son in those times. Do you see how Paul was born with natural abilities? Do you see by Paul’s NT writings that he is a brilliant OT scholar, by his beatings, stonings and whippings that he was tough, by the fact he never wavered nor ran away that he was tenacious and courageous? Do you see the shaping of Paul’s character? Do you see how badly Paul wanted to serve God in the Pharisee tradition and by the example set by ancient Jewish hero deliverers?
(Acts 6:12-15 keyword: council) Stephen was brought before the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin court, comprised of seventy elders and the high priest. (Acts 8:1) Paul (Saul), the Pharisee, was consenting (assent to, feel gratified with) to Stephen’s death so Paul was obviously a member of the Sanhedrin council. It is also obvious Gamaliel, (Acts 5:34 keywords: one in the council) a member of the Sanhedrin court, would have used his great influence to obtain membership for his star pupil Paul.
Various sources report Paul was born sometime between 1 and 4 anno domini so Jesus and Paul were within one to three years of being the same age, possibly even the same age. We have seen that about ten years had passed (Acts 2:1-41 thru 9:41) since the beginning of the church. SO: Paul was about the same age Jesus would have been, about forty-three or four, if Jesus had continued living on the earth (Acts 8:1-3 & 9:1-2) when Paul started the great persecution of the church after Stephen’s death.
(1Cor. 7:8) Paul stated he was not married. Many sources say being married was a requirement for a member of the Sanhedrin court but upon checking various Jewish references, Jewish encyclopedias and etc. there is no qualification for a Sanhedrin member to be married but they were required to be a Jewish scholar, even a rabbi.
(Acts 22:3 & 23:6, Luke 11:37-44, John 7:45-53 esp. V.47-48, Acts 26:5 keywords: straightest sect of our religion- Judaism and many other scriptures) Pharisees were well known for their rigid adherence to the Jewish Law. Paul might even have been a Rabbi (a Jewish scholar or teacher, a title of honor, a Jewish religious leader) when he was thirty to thirty-three years old. SO:
According to his age (Matt. 3:7, 12:38-42, 23:1-33, Mark 7:5-8 & 10:2-9, Luke 18:10-14, John 8:1-7 keyword throughout: Pharisees) is it possible Paul could have been one of the Pharisees or even one of the rabbis Jesus so many times condemned? (Luke 22:52 thru 23:24) Could Paul have been in the crowd during Jesus’ trial? (Luke 23:35) Could Paul have seen Jesus’ crucifixion and death? The Bible is silent on the subject and we do not know. BUT:
(Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-2 & 22:4-5) We do know Paul hated the Christians with a vitriolic, murderous, fiery, fury. Is his kind of hatred simply because he considered the Christians to be heretics and hated their success in drawing Jewish believers away from Judaism or was it more personal? Various Jewish sects were considered heretic and he did not pursue them to their destruction. Lists of Jewish sects during the time of Jesus is available on the internet. It does not really matter because Paul met Jesus, accepted salvation and was forever changed. (Acts 9:30) BUT: Paul had disappeared!
Much time had passed (Acts 9:29-30) since the brethren had sent Paul back to his hometown of Tarsus because the Grecians (Hellenistic Greek speaking Jews) were planning to kill Paul. (Acts 9:43 thru 11:24) Cornelius and the people in his house had been saved, during the persecution after Stephen had been martyred and believers had gone as far as Phenice, Cyprus and Antioch preaching the word to none but the Jews. (Acts 11:20) Some of the men of Cyprus and Cyrene became preachers and went to Antioch and preached to the Grecians of which a great number believed.
(Acts 9:26-29) Obviously the Holy Spirit had been working on the Grecians with the words Paul had “disputed” with them, who, at the time, would have rather killed Paul than give up their Judaism (Acts 11:19-21) and they were much more willing to listen to the Christian message. I have personally seen this type of event happen, not to the point of murder but of stiff resistance then later the person or persons would admit how the first words had “touched” their heart.
The news of the Grecians conversion to Christianity came to the church seat of power in Jerusalem. (Acts 11:22-25) And the apostles sent Barnabas to verify the story. Can you imagine the uproar and confusion concerning the church spreading in all directions to all different types of people, races and nationalities? A scant fifteen years earlier the Jews had been God’s chosen people and now people from every direction were claiming they had been saved through Jesus’ blood and were God’s chosen people because the Holy Spirit lived within them!
Christianity was still trying to separate itself from Judaism domination and, through His preachers, God was spreading Christianity faster than the apostles could keep up with. (Rom. 8:9 keywords: “now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, (one of the names used to identify the Holy Spirit) he is none of his”) At that time, as it is now, the deciding factor of salvation was, and is, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. <- (See: John 14:15-18 & 23 and 15:1-6 esp. V.5 keywords: for without me ye can do nothing AND 17:14-21) <- I know I have worn you out with these scriptures but they are the core of each Christian experience and they are immeasurably important!
AS YOU CAN EASILY SEE A SORTING OUT OF CHRISTIANITY FROM JUDAISM WAS DESPERATELY NEEDED! As we have already seen, God is infinitely fair and He can do with mankind whatever He wishes on His own timetable.
(Acts 11:22-25 esp. V. 24 keywords: full of the Holy Ghost and of faith) Barnabas had just finished an exhortation (to the church to build up their faith and to encourage them) (V.23) “that with purpose of heart they would cleave (to adhere to, to glue to) unto the Lord” and a salvation (to the lost) revival because (V.24) “much people was added unto the Lord”.
That was when God arranged to bring out (Acts 9:3-16 esp. V.16 keywords: For I will shew him- show him) His especially selected apostle whom He would use to extract Christianity from Judaism (Acts 9:15) “and bear Jesus’ name to the Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel”. AND: (Acts 11:24-25) “Then departed Barnabas (a man full of the Holy Spirit and of faith) to Tarsus, for to seek (search out) Paul.”
Remember that this writer carefully pointed out how God left the power of decision to Paul and Ananias during Paul’s salvation event. God will never force anyone to accept salvation, or to serve Him, or to love Him. (Rev. 20:10-15) But the day will surely come when they will desperately wish they had.
God left Paul’s power to choose intact. (read all these: Heb. 4:12-14 esp. V.12 keywords: discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart then John 1:1-41 esp. V.1-4 and 1John 1:1-4 keywords in all three: the word then think about Jer. 1:1-6 and compare it to Acts 9:15) God knows all things about everything and everybody. God had a purpose and a timetable. SO: Why would God choose a “loser” to give the choice to accept or refuse such an important task. (Acts 11:25) “Then departed Barnabas (a man full of the Holy Spirit and of faith), to Tarsus, for to seek (search out) Paul.”
(Acts 11:26) Barnabas found Paul and brought him to Antioch where the disciples (learners, believers, the church) were first called Christians. Our question of what happened to Paul (Gal. 1:11-18 esp. V.15-18) is answered by his own hand in the Book to the Galatians;
(V.15) “But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, (V.16) To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood (did not ask men what he should do): (V.17) Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me (did not ask the apostles what to do); but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. (V.18) Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”
Paul, the zealot, the firebrand, burning with an all-consuming desire to serve God is giving his credentials as God’s apostle. (Acts 9:10-30) The fact the apostles had rescued him from a murder plot by the Grecians at Damascus and had sent him to Tarsus at the beginning of his ministry is not mentioned. Neither is the fact mentioned that Barnabas had been sent to find him. They are unimportant BECAUSE:
(V.15 again) Paul is revealing his calling from God to be an apostle (Acts 9:16 Jesus speaking; “I will shew- show- him how great things”) which is further explained (Acts 22:6-21 esp. V.14) by Ananias after Paul’s conversion “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.”)
NOTE: As you have already seen throughout scripture Jesus could change His form as He deemed it necessary. (Matt. 17:1-2 esp. V.2 keyword: transfigured) Jesus was transfigured (to change, to transform) before the disciples and his face did shine (to beam, radiate brilliancy) as the sun and his raiment was white as the light (to shine, luminousness). (Dan. 3:24-25) The Son of God showed up to protect the three Hebrews in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. (Josh. 5:13-15) Joshua would not have been allowed to worship an angel. Only Jesus could be considered the “captain of the host of the Lord”.
(John 1:1-34 esp. V.3 key words: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”- key thought: Jesus was the creator of Adam then next Gen. 2:7 keyword: formed- defined as: squeeze into shape, to mold as a potter, to fashion- key proof: this is the work of fingers) (Micah 5:2 & 1Tim. 3:16 keywords: God was manifest in the flesh) God was obviously in His Jesus form when He “formed man of the dust of the ground”. SO:
(Matt. 1:23-25 esp. V.23 keywords: God with us, Luke 2:1-21 esp. V.6-7 & 21 keywords in both: brought forth her firstborn son Jesus) Jesus was born. Yet: (John 1:1-29 & 1John 1:1-7) God was born into the world as His Son Jesus. Why a son? To a good father, God or man, a son is more valuable than the father. Mankind can deeply appreciate that value. God gave the best He had, worth more than Himself to suffer in the flesh, to bring salvation to mankind.
If you wish to know more about God and Jesus please, please go to the commentary The Holy Spirit & You on this website and read the articles THE KING OF THE THORNS and Who is the Holy Spirit.
(Gen. 1:26) “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen. 2:7 & 1Thess. 5:23) man is body (the living flesh), soul (self, person, me, personality) and spirit (life itself, the spark of life from God that has nothing to do with physical breathing Luke 16:19-31 you will always be you and you will always be alive) in God’s image. And God is body (Jesus) soul (Holy Spirit) and spirit (life itself). God can do anything He pleases (Matt. 3:16-17) and He can separate Himself as He pleases (Mark 13:32 keywords: neither the Son) and Jesus could leave certain knowledge with the Holy Spirit which the Holy Spirit would keep secret.
It is hard for weak, limited, finite man to understand an all-powerful, limitless, infinite God. (Dan. 3:25 & Matt. 17:2) Jesus could change (transform) Himself at will. Below we will see how Paul had the same beginning, the teaching, the taking to school by Jesus in His flesh as did the other disciples (learners). Do not forget:
(V.15 again) Paul is revealing his calling from God to be an apostle (Acts 9:16 Jesus speaking; “I will shew- show- him how great things”) which is further explained (Acts 22:6-21 esp. V.14) by Ananias AFTER Paul’s conversion “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.”) END OF NOTE.
(Acts 1:15-26 esp. V.26 keyword: apostles) We have seen that Matthias was elected to fill Judas’ empty spot as an apostle (Acts 2:1-4) before the Holy Spirit entered the disciples (learners) before they became apostles (sent ones) through the Holy Spirit. Matthias is never again mentioned in the Bible. Ancient church history states that Matthias went on to be a preacher who was martyred in Egypt and some even call him an apostle but the Bible never mentions him again.
(Acts 9:3-18 & 1Cor. 1:1) We have seen that Jesus selected Paul to be an apostle just like he did the eleven and the eleven were taught by Jesus how to be apostles. (Rev. 4:4) There are twenty-four elders seated in heaven which obviously refers to the twelve elders through which God founded Judaism (sons of Jacob/Israel) and the twelve elders (apostles) through which God founded the church/Christianity. (1Cor. 1:1) Paul was called to be an apostle through the will of God.
Again: Paul is revealing his calling from God to be an apostle AND (Acts 9:16 Jesus speaking; “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my names sake.”) which is further explained in (Acts 22:6-21 esp. V.14) Ananias is speaking after Paul’s conversion “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
The above scriptures contain three action words, shew/show, see and hear, that describe (Gal. 1:16-18 keywords: three years) how Jesus taught Paul just like He had taught the other apostles when they were disciples. Jesus and Paul were in the semi-desert area in Arabia for the same length of time the disciples were with Jesus. There could have been additional months but not enough to make a fourth year just like the disciples. Possibly, Paul would occasionally go to some town or another to preach and Jesus would accompany him in His Holy Spirit form.
(Ex. 33:11) “And the Lord spake (spoke) to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh (speaks) unto his friend.” Moses wrote the laws, the temple construction plan and the method of worship service just as God told him which established the Jew’s method of worship (Judaism). SHOW, SEE and HEAR: Obviously Jesus accomplished the same thing with Paul who would write Jesus’ instructions which would establish Christianity (the church) and its method of worship.
Of course, there in the Arabian desert, Paul’s lessons were different because (Rom. 16:25, Eph. 3:1-10 & Col. 1:26-27) Jesus revealed mysteries to Paul that He had hidden from the other disciples by parables so Paul could write them in Paul’s New Testament writings. Jesus taught Paul how to extract Christianity from Judaism, how to establish the Church and that any person (race, gender, or false religion) could partake of Jesus’ blood bought salvation and become a Christian.
EXAMPLES: (Luke 17:21) Jesus said; “behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Rom. 2:28-29) Paul explains; “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward (external, visible) in the flesh (physical): But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly (concealed, in the soul); and circumcision is that of the heart (spiritual), in the spirit, and not in the letter (Law); whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
(John 3:3) Jesus said; “Except man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (2Cor. 5:17-19) Paul explains; “Therefore if any man be in Christ (born again), he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away: behold (look) all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled (to change mutually) us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation (restoration to divine favor); To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling (to change mutually) the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
(Matt. 26:28) Jesus said; “For this is my blood of the new testament (covenant), which is shed for many for the remission (pardon, deliverance, forgive, put away) of sins.” (Gal. 2:16) Paul explains; “Knowing that a man is not justified (to render innocent- same definition in all) by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Jesus Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh (man) be justified.” AND
(Heb. 9:1-28) (V.1-6) Paul describes the basic articles in the Jewish temple that were used in the blood sacrifice ritual of cleansing that are given in (Ex. Ch. 25) and (V.7-10) Paul explains that the first tabernacle was a foreshadowing of the tabernacle in heaven. The yearly offering of blood by the high priest for himself and the errors of the people was a foreshadowing of a coming blood sacrifice “not yet made manifest” because the high priest’s offering could not make himself nor Israel perfect as pertaining to the conscience and that Judaism is, for effect, a list of rituals and a list of behaviors “until the time of reformation (Messianic restoration)”.
NOTE: At that time in history the Gentile nations as a whole did not have the Jewish Bible (Torah- first five books of the Bible), they did not have a true covenant with God so only the Jews would understand Paul’s explanation. If you are curious the ritual of the high priest offering the animal blood on the mercy seat behind the second veil is given in (Lev. 16:14-15) and (Ex. 25:17-22) the mercy seat sits on top of the ark of the covenant (V.22) “And there (the mercy seat) I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat”.
The only way to express the glory of the Lord Who was upon the mercy seat (Ex. 16:10, Lev. 9:6 & 23, Num. 14:10 & 21-22, & several others: keyword in all: glory: Hebrew word: kabowd: defined: splendor, glorious) is to understand He was God the creator in His splendor, life itself that we cannot comprehend, always associated with glorious, spectacular, brilliant supernatural fire.
Remember in Part 3 (Rev. 11:19) that the ark of the covenant was taken to heaven when the presence of God left Israel. ALSO: (Ex. 12:5-13 esp. V.7 & 13) The blood of the sacrifice had to be shed and it had to be applied before it could work!
(Gen 4:3-4) God had respect for Abel’s offering of blood when he killed the lamb. Able understood that blood meant life, he was under the curse of death and he wanted back the eternal life in Eden Adam had obviously told him about. (Gen. 8:20 thru 9:17) Noah understood that blood meant life. He shed blood in order to offer up burnt offerings to the Lord and God gave mankind the rainbow covenant in front of Noah. (Gen. 15:8-18) God’s covenant with Abraham was sealed with blood. (Ex. 12:1-33 esp. V.6) Blood set the Hebrews free from their bondage in Egypt. Blood is life!
(Lev. 17:11 keywords: atonement for the soul) All the animal blood shed in the above paragraph AND every animal that was blood sacrificed on Jewish altars were all silently screaming the prophesy: (Isa. 53:1-9 esp. V.7 keywords: lamb to the slaughter) “The perfect sacrifice, the unblemished lamb of God, is coming to shed His blood for the remission of sins!” END OF NOTE.
Back to (Heb. 9:1-28): Remember that: (Matt. 26:28) Jesus said; “For this is my blood of the new testament (covenant), which is shed for many for the remission (pardon, deliverance, forgiveness, put away) of sins.” SO: (V.11-12) Paul explained that Jesus is the high priest who offered his own blood in the holy (holiest of all) place in heaven (Rev. 8:3) on the golden alter before God’s throne and “obtained (to get) eternal (perpetual, everlasting) redemption (a ransoming) for us (Christians)”.
AND: (V.13-14) Paul explained that the Jewish blood offering of animals by a priest was temporary cleansing of the flesh (physical) that could purify the flesh (physical) BUT: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit (Holy Spirit) offered himself without spot (without sin, without blemish, faultless) to God, purge (cleanse, purify) your conscience (moral consciousness) from dead (a corpse) works (toil) to serve (to minister, render religious homage, do the service, worship) the living God?” Paul is explaining that Jesus’ blood brings an eternal spiritual cleansing of the conscience of past sins.
(John 1:29) John saw Jesus coming unto him and he said; “Behold (look) the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” (Acts 2:23 keywords: and foreknowledge of God) Peter had said God knew Jesus was going to be crucified. (John 3:8 keyword: Spirit) Jesus compared; The Holy Spirit is like the wind, you can see the effects of the wind but you can’t see where it comes from or where it goes and people born of the Holy Spirit are the same way. You can see the changes, the effects, but you can’t see why.
(John 14:15-26) Jesus promised; (V.16) “the Comforter” (V.17) “the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Who are (V.15) those who love Jesus and keep his commandments. (Mark 1:15) Jesus said; “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” AND (Mark 12:30) Jesus said; “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
Paul explained; (Eph. 1:5-14 keyword: predestinated) that Jesus was predestinated (predetermine) to be the supreme sacrifice for sins and Jesus would build a predestinated church peopled by those who accept Jesus as Saviour. AND:
(Eph. 1:13-14) Christians would be “sealed (to stamp with a private mark for security or preservation, by implication to keep secret and to attest) with that Holy Spirit of promise (pledge, a divine assurance of good), Which is the earnest (part of the purchase price given in advance as security for the rest) of our inheritance (heirship, a possession) until the redemption (ransom in full) of the purchased (acquisition) possession (acquisition), unto the praise of his glory.”
(John 14:6-9) Jesus said; (V.6) “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (V.7) If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (V.8) “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” (V.9) “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Paul explained; (1Tim. 3:16) “And without controversy (question or dispute) great is the mystery (secret) of godliness (piety, holiness): God was manifest (render apparent) in the flesh (the human body), justified (to regard as just and innocent) in (expressing the situation of being enclosed in something else) the Spirit (the Holy Spirit), seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received (to take) up into glory (honor, praise, worship).”
The above verse written again using the highlighted definitions in place of the words, not to change scripture but to promote understanding: (1Tim 3:16) “And without question or dispute great is the secret of piety and holiness: God was rendered apparent in the human body, regarded as just and innocent, enclosed in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up into honor, praise and worship.”
Paul also explained (1Tim. 2:1-6) that it is God’s will that all men be saved through the only mediator between God and man which is Jesus Christ who gave himself a ransom for all men. AND: Basically, God recognizes two races of people, (Eph. 2:11-18 esp. V .17 keywords: to you which were afar off– meaning Gentiles AND to them that were nigh– meaning the Jews) (V.16) and both can be reconciled to God by the cross (Jesus’ shed blood) and have access to God by the Spirit. BUT FIRST:
(John 6:44) Jesus said; “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” AND: (Col. 1:16-17) Paul explains; “For by him (God) were all things created, that are in heaven (the sky), and that are in earth (our planet), visible and invisible—-all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (to set together, to exhibit, to sustain).”
Paul’s explanation screams loudly; “Look at nature! It could not have happened without a creator. It could not consist without a guiding intellect. I AM God. I came here first. I made it and I sustain it.” Nature draws man toward God. (Rom. 1:30 keywords: inventors of evil things) That’s why Satan, the devil, helped man invent the theory of evolution and multitudes of people accept it. (Gen. 3:1-24) The devil draws man away from God (Col. 2:8 keyword: philosophy) thus they worship the devil and his ‘religion’ of humanistic (philosophy) theory.
(Acts 8:1-4) When Paul persecuted the church so badly they (V.3 keywords: men and women) ran for their lives and “they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching (to announce good news, to evangelize the gospel, to declare and show glad tidings) the word.” Paul explained; (Rom. 10:8-17) (V.10) “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” God’s word draws man toward God.
(V.12-13) “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek (a non-Jew, Gentile): for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (V.14) “how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (V.17) “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” The devil draws man away from God when religions, governments and their laws forbid their own people to hear about Jesus and His word.
Jesus said; (John 14:16-18, 23 & 26) Man can have a personal relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote; (Eph. 1:13-14) The Holy Spirit is given when you accept salvation (believed). Paul wrote; (Rom. 8:9) “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” SO: According to the KJ Holy Bible If you do not have the Holy Spirit you do not belong to God.