Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Many Interpretive Doctrines of the Apostle Paul

As I listen to the religiously indoctrinated expound on the epistles of Paul, I feel myself glazing over in questioning contemplation, once removed from the actual brow beating that is taking place. I am born again and I am Torah observant, because I believe that is what it is, to follow Messiah. I do not believe in the religious hu-ha of grace vs. law. Grace and salvation appeared in the Hebrew Scriptures before the Instructions, on two well know, outstanding occasions. We read in Genesis 6:8 that Noah found grace in the eyes of Adonai, then did he have some serious instructions to follow . . . a boatload of them! Most everyone has at least heard of the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. Remember the blood on the doorposts? There is not a Christian denomination that doesn't draw the connection between the symbolism of the blood of those lambs to the perfect Blood of The Lamb of G-d. That was Exodus 12, then the exit, then the parting of the Red Sea, recorded in Exodus 14 depicting the full deliverance from and the defeat of Egypt, Exodus 15 holds great promise, then Exodus 20 begins the recording of the Instructions.

Since Peter quoted Isaiah in stating The Word of YHWH stands forever, that indicates the Word is still in effect. How would we follow Messiah and not live as he lived. He lived perfectly as a Jewish man, keeping kosher, seeking YHWH, and setting our example. His death did buy our pardon, and his resurrection did clearly defeat death, but where did all the debatable doctrine come from after that? Matthew 28:19-20, a.k.a. The Great Commission says nothing about leading anyone in the sinner's prayer. It says and I paraphrase: Go, teach, baptize in the Name, salvation, and power of YHWH, {Father, Son, and Holy Ghost] and then again teach them what He, The Word commands.

I have a great deal of respect for Paul and I don't believe he taught against Torah, but I have to ask this. Since it was Constantine and his Nicene council that collated the New Testament, for basically political reasons, what would be lost besides discord and denominationalism, if Paul's 12 epistles were not included? Again, I am not saying Paul's writings are wrong, I believe he confirms Torah, and I was told by YHWH Himself that I was to have a ministry like Paul's. So here I am, writing . . . and as Paul did over and over and over again, trying to convey the message that this is not a new religion, but an invitation to a relationship with the one and only Creator of the Universe. The death of the Son of G-d was never intended to put an end to G-d's Holy Word or replace Israel with Rome. As I continue to ponder this curiosity of the conversations, I find most Christians are actually following Paul, or rather; their interpretation of Paul. The interpretation of Paul's writings are as varied as the steps in interpretive dance. Since YHWH G-d is not the author of confusion, surely this was not intended to be so.

If Paul's writings had not been included, but were just left to be letters laying around, like my books are, would any of the amazing awesome love of G-d and perfectness of Messiah be left out of the Bible? If The New Testament contained the four accounts of the Gospel, we'd still have all of Y'hshuwah's miracles and John 3:16. If the book of Acts were still included, we'd realize believers were still going to the Temple and synagogue, as well as continued observance of Holy Days, including Sabbath. We would also probably take note that Paul remained observant of Torah, but set aside the teachings of the Pharisees and the Talmud. Now, if we skipped over the writings of Paul to the book of Hebrews, author unknown, but powerful and historic, the book of James, written by the brother of Messiah, the book of Jude, also a brother of Messiah, which would leave the rest of the writings of Peter and John, who were eye witnesses and walked with Messiah. If Paul's writings were not included would we know less about the glorious grace of G-d in Messiah? I don't think so.

Since Messiah connected written Torah to living Torah in himself, we cannot separate the two and call ourselves followers of Him. I was awakened early this morning with a passage from Torah that has raised a question worthy of consideration. When Jacob had his children gathered round, and he was doling out the blessings and prophesying their futures, it was Benjamin whom he referred to as a ravenous wolf. Paul proclaimed his legacy of the tribe of Benjamin. I'm certainly not calling Paul a ravenous wolf, but how many wolves in sheep's clothing have used his writings to justify their own behavior to "divide the spoil," mentioned in Genesis 49:27, regarding Jacob's prophesy of the end of days . . . For those claiming to be "grafted in," is that grafted into the root that is Israel or the tribe of the prophesied ravenous wolf of the end of days?

What if G-d allowed Constantine to include Paul's writings, so we could know that someone who didn't physically walk with Messiah through His earthly ministry, could still walk in His power in their life? What if that's the reason? No doctrine, no deep teachings, just the testimony that the power of YHWH was available to those who would come later and follow Messiah. What if G-d has allowed Paul's writings to begin the sifting between those who would follow The Word which stands forever, and those who would follow their own interpretations?

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as YHWH our G-d shall call. Acts 2:39

I suggest we embrace Paul's teaching as the glorious evidence that the same power YHWH demonstrated through him, is also available to those of us who would follow The Word, Messiah The Word in the flesh, and Torah, The Word written in stone and on our hearts, because The Word stands forever.