”An Epic Tale of the People of the Covenant” slide show Episode 4：The Challenge of Paul
＜Slide show Episode 4＞
Paul, who had never been taught directly by Jesus, preached "A Gospel of Son of God" from the beginning of his missionary life and set himself apart from Orthodox Christianity led by Jesus' younger brother James the Less who taught "A Gospel of Son of Man," argued not only with Jewish denominations such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, but also with Hebraists inside the Jerusalem Church, thus established Christianity especially for Hellenists.
Pauline theology gave the keynote to the New Testament
In the New Testament canon of 27 books, 14 (52%) belong to the Pauline corpus. And even the total number of pages of the Pauline Letters accounts for 31% (127 pages of total 409 pages) of the New Testament in Japanese, according to The SasakuraChristChurch (笹倉キリスト教会). And with that, these Pauline letters were systematically disseminated from Paul's life time and before the other documents of the New Testament were completed one after another after the Jewish war. As a result, Pauline theology became the keynote of the entire New Testament.
Conflict between spirit and flesh
While James the Less preached the theory of "practice and faith are one
." Paul preached the theory, "justification by one's faith," saying "A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Paul stated that he had received this gospel directly from Jesus in a vision, and took a stance of disregarding Jesus' teaching during his lifetime and teachings of Jesus' direct disciples.
Therefore, the author of 《the Gospel of John》 says, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." (1 John 4:2-3) He also violently accuses Paul's followers, saying, "I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist." (2 John 1:7) and is warning, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work." (2 John 1:10-11)
And the author of 《the Gospel of Matthew》, who seems to have been felt threat by the rise of Hellenist believers, rings the alarm bell and says, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it (Mat 11:12)." In contrast, 《the Gospel of Luke》 welcomes this situation and says, "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. (Luke 16:16)" Apparently, the people described as "everyone is forcing his way into it (the kingdom of God)" are the group of Hellenists led by Paul and Luke itself.
'Seventy Weeks prophecy' and Founding of Jerusalem Church
A movement to organize its own synagogue, Ecclessia (church), has emerged among the Gentile Jews which had been explosively growing, as the Jews were scattered all over the world, following the kingdom of Israel, which had been divided into north and south after Solomon's death, destroyed by Assyria and Neo-Babylonia. Amid rising expectations for the arrival of the Savior based on the 70-week prophecy of the Old Testament, a plan to set up the headquarters of Ecclesia in Jerusalem on Pentecost in 32 AD. seems to have been fostered.
High Priest Caiaphas, who had been aware of these trends in the early stages, might have thought of setting up the headquarters at the meeting place of the Essenes, next to his mansion and putting Jesus' younger brother James (James the Less), who had been the legitimate lineage of the High Priest representing both the Davidic royal family as well as a priestly Aaronic Lineage, served as the high priest for the Nazirites entering into the holy areas of the Temple, at the top of the new organization. Around this time, Jesus seems to have often visited the meeting place of the Essenes.
It seems that it was Saul, who was later renamed Paul and was a leader of 'the Synagogue of the Freedmen-Jews' at that time, he brought information about the developments of Gentile Jews to the High Priest Caiaphas. And the plan of Caiaphas appears to have been with the consent of the Sanhedrin, the Roman Governor, and the Herod royal family.
Parallel run of Jerusalem Church and Antioch Church
The high priest Caiaphas' prophecy (John 11:49-52) came true. Jerusalem Church was established barely one and half month after the Crucifixion. However, conflicts between Hellenist (Mainly uncircumcised Gentile Jews whose common language was Greek) believers that had dominated the overwhelming majority and Hebraist (Jews who spoke Hebrew fluently) believers surfaced immediately.
Hellenist leader Stephen was stoned after the hearing of Sanhedrin, and Hellenist believers were expelled outside Jerusalem.
Paul, who had commanded the habitat segregations for Hellenists and Hebraists
, got a charter from the High Priest, and immediately went to Damascus and started to his missionary work under the support of the Hellenic believers.
Jerusalem Church sent Barnabas to Antioch after they had heard of the news that a great number of non-Jews turned to the Lord with the missionary works of those who had been scattered to Antioch in connection with the martyrdom of Stephen.
Barnabas brought Saul, who had once withdrawn to his hometown Tarsus, to Antioch and they established the Antioch church over a period of 1 year. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
The birth of the Apostle Paul
Barnabas and Paul, who had successfully set up Antioch Church as a model of the Christian Church, went on a missionary trip to the region of Asia Minor and the Mediterranean Sea in an aim to gain more believers.
Barnabas and Paul traveled to Cyprus on their first missionary trip, and visited Sergius Paulus, a Roman proconsul of Paphos. Apparently, this person was a proconsul of Senator class in Rome and was higher than proconsuls belonged to Knight class, such as Pontius Pilate who was born in southern Italy.
Since then the author of the Acts of the Apostles has changed not only the name of Saul into Paul but also the order of the names of "Barnabas and Saul" into "Paul and Barnabas" to make it clear which of them plays the leading role of their missionary activities. More over, Paul and Barnabas boss have got honorific title, "the Apostle," thereafter in the Acts of the Apostles, much earlier than the first Apostolic Conference, which acknowledged their status of the Apostle to the Gentiles, was held.
Though the Acts of the Apostles does not describe anything why he stopped the use of the Hebrew name of Saul and started the use of the Greek name of Paul, the book suggests strongly that the encounter with Sergius Paulus is the key to solve the question.
The First Apostolic Conference
Some missionaries came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.
So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. Then so-called "the first Apostolic Conference" was held.
Thus, the Hebraist believers and the Hellenist believers came to a compromise. Then the apostles and elders decided to write to the Antioch Church and other gentile churches to notice them the proposal by James as the resolution of the first Apostolic Conference. And the Council also acknowledged Paul and Barnabas' status of the Apostle to the gentiles and James, Peter and John should go to the circumcised to preach. (Ga 2:9)
Paul refuses Mark
Paul and Barnabas, who had returned to the Antioch Church from the First Apostolic Conference, which had given them the status of the Apostle for Gentile believers, immediately started another missionary trip in order to deliver the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.
At that time, Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them again, but Paul adamantly refused to be accompanied by Mark. After all, Paul went to Asia Minor with Silas who had been sent by the Jerusalem Church. Barnabas took Mark, who had been refused by Paul to be accompanied, and sailed for Cyprus.
The forbiddance of the Holy Spirit
However, Paul had to change the course three times due to the forbiddance of the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. It is believed that an interference from either side in order to avoid friction with the "Synagogue of the Freedmen-Jews" based in Asia.
Paul started his another missionary journey immediately after returning to the Antioch Church from his second missionary journey, focusing on evangelism in Asia province where he could not have entered during his last missionary journey. (Acts 18:23)
Paul dared to carry out missionary work in Asia province though he had been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in that province. His such decisive action seems to have resulted in not only worsening the relationship between Paul and the Jerusalem church but also deepening the difference between Paul and some members of the Antioch Church, such as Barnabas.
Paul touched Dragon's Reverse Scale
According to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul stayed and preached in Ephesus for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. (Acts 19:10)
As it means that Paul seems to have preached the way of Jesus which makes one right with God through faith but not by Mosaic law (Roma 3:28) not only to Gentiles who spoke Greek and had not been circumcised but also to the Jews who had been circumcised.
Such conduct by Paul must have been perceived as a departure from the agreement of the First Apostolic Conference not only by the members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) -Jews but also by the mainstream of Jerusalem Church and the House of Hanan (the clan of the High Priest Caiaphas and his father in law Annas).
Paul perceived Jews' plot against him and organized a cheering squad
When the uproar had ended, Paul set out for Macedonia. He traveled through that area and finally arrived in Corinth, where he stayed three months. Because the Jews made a plot against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he went back through Macedonia and sailed from Philippi with Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, and arrived at Troas, a port city at the west edge of Anatolian peninsula.
The Acts of the Apostles does not mention specific contents of the plot of the Jews. However, Paul might have received a summon from the Jerusalem church or the high priest, regarding his missionary work in the province of Asia, which might have been perceived by them as a violation of the agreement of the First Apostolic Conference. And Paul might have perceived the risk put his live in jeopardy in the wake of changes in the situation occurred in Jerusalem. He also might have felt the risk to fall into helpless isolation in Jerusalem as it means that he could not expect supports not only from Peter and James the Less but also from Barnabas and Mark. That is why he returned to Macedonia to discuss the countermeasure with Luke. As a result, they organized a cheering squad consisting of representatives from churches around the region, including Luke from Macedonia, Sopater from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy from Lystra and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. Paul seems to have decided to go to Jerusalem together with them and to receive the interrogation.
Paul expressed his sorrow at parting
Paul told the elders of the church, who had gathered in Miletus, his tragic resolution as if he went into the jaws of death. "Now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood."
Furthermore, he said, "I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." (Acts 20:18-31)
He described missionaries, who would be dispatched by the Jerusalem Church after his departure as "savage wolves."
They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20:37-38)
Paul visited James the Less just at that time when the fate of the gear began to rotate toward the Jewish war, which would end an era of Israel. All the elders were present and they asked Paul to serve as a witness of "The Nazarite Vow" and to pay the cost of the ceremony on behalf of the petitioners and to prove the innocence of himself. Paul accepted their proposal.
Roman soldiers rescue Paul
When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia stirred up the whole crowd and seized Paul, shouting, "This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our law and then to top it off, brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place." When they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. While they were trying to kill him, Claudius Lysias, a commander of the Roman troops took soldiers and ran down to the crowd and rescued Paul. (Acts 21:27-32)
The author of the Acts seems to imply that the security guards of the temple and the attackers made advance arrangements of the raid by saying, "immediately the gates were shut." Furthermore, if Greeks were included among the petitioners of "The Nazarite Vow," the elders of the Jerusalem Church, including James the Less, too, could have been involved in this plot. However, a commander of the Roman troops took soldiers and ran down and rescued Paul. It appears that the side of Paul also knew such arrangements had been made and prepared for it.
Appeal to the emperor
The commander, who had asked Paul, "Aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago? (Acts 21:38)" not only provided him the opportunities to talk regarding his faith to the crowd and the Sanhedrin members but also ordered to get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen and sent Paul to Governor Felix in Caesarea after perceiving a plot to kill Paul made by the Jews. (Acts 23:33)
After all, Paul was detained for two years in Caesarea, but was allowed to interact with his friends and others. While Paul was escorted to Rome, Luke and other Hellenist believers accompanied with him and sailed for Italy. Therefore he seems to have treated not as a prisoner. Then, Paul achieved successfully his original purpose, that is, his evangelism in Rome, on the pretext to appeal to the emperor.
In the last two verses, Acts of the Apostles described Paul's daily life in Rome; For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
After two years of his arrival in Rome, Paul seems to have been martyred between AD 60-62. According to 'Acts of Paul,' because Crucifixion was adapted only to slaves or heavy criminal and Paul was a Roman citizen, so he was not crucified, but was beheaded after the trial.
But Peter seems to have been crucified around AD 64 in Rome. James the Less was also martyred in Jerusalem in AD 62 after worsening relationship with the high priest. He was sentenced to be stoned by the Sanhedrin presided by the High Priest Annas.
Recurrence of infighting between Hellenists and Hebraists in Rome
"The First Epistle of Clement," which the Church of Rome sent to the Church of Corinth at about 95-97 AD, hinted that severe tensions had arisen within the Church of Rome, due to the conflict between the two Apostles after Peter had come to Rome.
The emperor Claudius ordered all Jews to leave Rome in AD 49. There were at least two expulsions of Jews from Rome before this event. In 139 BC the Jews were expelled after being accused of aggressive missionary efforts. Then in AD 19 Tiberius once again expelled Jews from the city for similar reasons. However, there seems to still have been a robust community of Jewish believers when Paul arrived in Rome around AD 59. Perhaps, they were Judaists of gentiles, that is, non-circumcised Judaists. It seems that habitat segregations for Hellenists and Hebraists were taken place in Rome, too, at least three times for past 188 years. However, They were the exact opposite to what Paul had done in Jerusalem. And a pure Jewish community of Hellenists appeared in Rome just as a pure Christian church of Hebraists was born in Jerusalem.
Therefore, it seems to have had an environment easy to accept "the way of Jesus which makes one right with God through faith but not by Mosaic law (Roma 3:28)" taught by Paul. But, because Jews returned to Rome and the Jerusalem Church also sent Peter and other Hebraist missionaries to Rome, the conflict between Paul and the Jerusalem Church surfaced in Rome, too.
The conflict between Hellenists (non-circumcision believers) and Hebraists (circumcision believers) in the Gentile Church persisted after the death of Paul and disappearance of the Jerusalem Church. Perhaps as a result of this, neither James nor Paul, but Peter was canonized as the first Pope of Roman Church. However, the Christian church has overcome such hostility and confrontation since the 4th century and those four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — have come as the canon of the New Testament.
By the way, Valentinus, who is recognized as the founder of so-called 'Valentinian Gnosticism,' is said to have claimed that he learned Paul's secret teaching from Theudas, one of Paul's own disciples, and received from him some kind of apostolic sanction and authority. The Naassenes claimed to have been taught their doctrines by Mariamne, a disciple of James the Just. Hippolytus (170?-235), one of early church fathers, regarded them as among the first to be called simply 'Gnostics' However, originating from Smyrna of Asia Minor, Irenaeus (130-202), who was the Bishop of Lyons in Gaul in the second century, condemns the Gnostic Gospels, such as 'Gospel of Judas' as fake and heretic in his book titled 'Adversus haereses (Against Heresies),' while he emphasized that the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — were the four pillars of the church.
What is "Baptism with The Holy Spirit"?
According to the dialectic of the Gospel of John,
【Thesis】"A man can possess eternal life through accepting testimony of the Son of man and being baptized by him." (John 5:24)
【Anti-thesis】But "The one who comes from the earth cannot accept the testimony by one from heaven." (John 3:32)
How then can a man possess eternal life?
【Synthesis】"If you want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, you can just go back to the word which was with God in the beginning (John 1:1) and certify that God is truthful. (John 3:33)"
When he said, "You are Huichao," Zen Master Fayan thrusted vivid Self in Huichao in front of his eyes.
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