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Old 01-20-2008, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
485 posts, read 370,466 times
Reputation: 153

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Paul's citizenship became a very important factor in his ministry as the apostle to the gentiles. He was a Roman citizen which allowed him to wield great importance in Jerusalem as a servant to the High Priests and, according to Acts, to repeatedly save himself from punishment and/or death.

The tribune came and asked Paul, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" And he said, "Yes." The tribune answered, "It cost me a large sum of money to get my citizenship." Paul said, "But I was born a citizen." (Acts 22.27-8).

Herod was the Roman appointed bad guy who, according to scripture, has John the Baptist beheaded and contributed to Jesus being killed. Herod appointed the priests in the Temple who allowed the contaminating Roman statues and pagan sacrifices. Herod was hated by zealot Jews and even many (most) non-zealot Jews. He was extremely wealthy and extremely powerful. And yet, Paul (Saul) has amazing connections to this man and his family.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells of his kinsman Herodian ("little Herod"). At the same time, he sends regards to Aristobulos. Herod Aggrippa's brother and successor, Herod of Chalcis (44-49 CE) was married to Agrippa I's daughter Bernice and they had a son named Aristobulos who married Salome - the very woman connected in the gospels to the death of John the Baptist.

Paul, as a Roman citizen, wielded great importance in Jerusalem as a servant to the High Priests and, according to Acts, to repeatedly save himself from punishment and/or death.

Acts also refers to a nephew of Paul's who discovers a plot "by the Jews" (probably the zealots) to kill Paul. This nephew reports this to the Roman Temple guards(!) who with "seventy horsemen, two hundred soldiers, and two hundred spearmen" rescue Paul and take him to Felix in Caesarea where he is not imprisoned, but "kept in Herod's Palace." It sure would be nice to know who was the mother of this nephew of Paul's who got him such an incredible escort.

This also indicates Paul's family was, if not of Herod's immediate family, at the very least connected to Herod's family.

Now, if one knows of the Herod who tried to kill all the first born babies (gospel stories say, anyway) and the Herod who condemned Jesus and the Herod who appointed priests that allowed defiling of the Temple and then one connects Paul to even one of these Herods, one has some very interesting things to contemplate, indeed.

Paul was of Tarsus, a great philosophical community known as the "Athens of the East." This is no small praise for its high levels of education and its Greek influence. That Paul was raised in the community leaves no doubt of the Greek influence on his life. We know he wrote in Greek and we see the Greek philosophical influences in his views. One his strongest (and best financially supported) churches was in Ephesus - another wealthy, Greek and Roman community where the largest Temple in the world at that time was located - the Temple of the god of hunting, wild nature, and fertility: Artemis. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. That Paul preached to the Greeks and Romans there is also a certainty.

And so what do we say of this Paul, the Greek and Roman Jew who created Christianity? What was his motive? What were his plans? Certainly he used his influence, his citizenship, his philosophical upbringing and his Judaism to create his message. As I noted in an earlier blog, he was either genius or mad - I believe perhaps a touch of both. Understanding his background, however, is critical to understanding his message. I urge all readers to study Tarsus and the philosophies taught there; Ephesus and the religions worshipped there; the Herods and their influences on 1st Century Judaism and the Temple; and then see how this makes the words of Paul bloom with new meaning and understanding.

Last edited by Father John; 01-20-2008 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:59 PM
 
Location: NC
11,918 posts, read 13,595,055 times
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Quote:
And so what do we say of this Paul, the Greek and Roman Jew who created Christianity? What was his motive? What were his plans?
Hi, I don't believe that Paul would say that he created Christianity but this is his account recorded in Acts 26:

Quote:
1. Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and began to defend himself:2. "I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews,3. because you are especially familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg of you to listen to me patiently.4. "All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, a life spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem.5. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I have belonged to the strictest sect of our religion and lived as a Pharisee.6. And now I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors,7. a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship day and night. It is for this hope, your Excellency, that I am accused by Jews! 8. Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?9. "Indeed, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10. And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death.11. By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was so furiously enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.12. "With this in mind, I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests,13. when at midday along the road, your Excellency, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.' 15. I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' The Lord answered, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.16. But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you. 17. I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles-- to whom I am sending you18. to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'19. "After that, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,20. but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance.21. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.22. To this day I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place:23. that the Messiah must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."
(Revised Standard)


God bless.

Last edited by ShanaBrown; 01-20-2008 at 03:08 PM..
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
485 posts, read 370,466 times
Reputation: 153
Shana, that is NOT Paul's account, but "Luke's" account of Paul. There are startling differences between what Luke wrote of Paul and what Paul wrote of himself. ("Luke" - really an anonymous author later attributed to Luke - wrote Acts.)

More historical study than just an English translation of the Bible is critical to true understanding. That is why I suggested study of the culture, religion, geography, etc. of the times and places. It will tell a lot.

And whether Paul would say he created Christianity or not, the truth is, the Christianity of Salvation by faith is something he did invent himself. It is a blending of Greek religions and philosophies, Roman religions, and with some Jewish influence tossed in, too. Paul could only write of Jesus what he HEARD - he never met Jesus.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:12 PM
 
Location: NC
11,918 posts, read 13,595,055 times
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Hi Father John, I would say that this is Luke's account of Paul's account of who he was , respectfully. Paul did meet Jesus according to this account.

Quote:
"With this in mind, I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests,13. when at midday along the road, your Excellency, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.' 15. I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' The Lord answered, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting
Galatians 1:

Quote:
"11. For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; 12. for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
God bless.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
485 posts, read 370,466 times
Reputation: 153
Ah, revelations - the "because I told you so" answer to every religious question. Jim Jones had a revelation to drink Kool Aid. The Mormon President had a revelation to include blacks after the US Government threatened lawsuits. And Paul had a revelation to explain how his new religion was revealed to him by Jesus.

What is the difference?
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:33 PM
 
Location: NC
11,918 posts, read 13,595,055 times
Reputation: 1322
Hi, I guess you either accept Paul as an apostle of the Lord or you don't. I do accept Paul as an apostle of the Lord and consider that the writings attributed to him are included in the Christian scriptures. Thanks and God bless.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:48 AM
WBR
 
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I would Like to know what Father John is implying?
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:51 AM
WBR
 
2 posts, read 16,316 times
Reputation: 10
I would Like to know what Father John is implying? And Who (priest? as his name suggests) and what his agenda is. He is apparenty sure of Paul's agenda, yet I do not have a clue as to his... Well maybe a clue.
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