Today, points are shared on why the apostle Paul served as a persecutor of the early church. As we see in modern times, many responded to Jesus and his teachings with rejection and skepticism in place of careful study and thoughtfully listening to receive sacred knowledge. While multitudes witnessed healings, miracles, and prophetic demonstrations, the Temple establishment and government officers were stirred more by political ambitions, fear, exaggerated pride, and beliefs that were stagnant and spiritually unfruitful. The writer at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Sally” (Level 6 with 22,200 points, a member since March 26, 2016) posted the following:
Why did the apostle Paul just go around killing and persecuting Christians before he was born again? What was the reason for this?
THE GOLDEN ARROW: And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. (Acts 9: 1-9, King James Version, KJV)
THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Proclaiming A New Kingdom? (04/13/2017); Benefits of His Kingdom? (04/11/2017); The Spirit and Prophecy (01/04/2017); The Cross and Judaism? (05/27/2016); Priesthood and The Cross (03/20/2016); Sadducees and The Cross? (03/13/2016); A True Apostle? (09/20/2015); Saul of Tarsus (03/26/2014); The Nature of Scripture (03/27/2014)
“Sally”, in Paul’s time, the ministry of Jesus Christ was condemned as corrupting and divisive of the covenant relationship with GOD that had been established through Moses and those who left Egypt. Paul would be recruited to identify and completely destroy the Christian believers as a special agent of the Temple community at Jerusalem. While Jesus, in fact, introduced few teachings that were not on record as “the law and the prophets,” thousands of years had been spent promoting customs, traditions and interpretations that advanced institutional practice, rather than the full expression of faith from GOD. (For example, Jesus was charged with blasphemy for presenting himself as a son of GOD; yet, Moses and King David both are recorded in the holy writings acknowledging GOD as “our father.”) The High Priests and leadership in the Sanhedrin Court of 70 Elders that insisted upon crucifying Jesus, condemned doctrine on angels and spirits; and they rejected most of the Savior’s important teachings that proclaimed the promises of GOD as the foundation of faith, and the coming gifts from the Holy Spirit (we also say, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit of Truth). As a member of the Pharisees, who sought to be the “caretakers” of the law, Paul was keenly aware of various principles that gave overwhelming force and weight to the process and presence of divine law. Examples are (a) the principle that sacred promise by GOD is continued and fulfilled after ones death through their heirs (we say, inheritance or dynasty); (b) the rule of joint accountability (the entire body will come under punishment for the error of one member); and (c) for the sake of survival (as occurred with Babylon), those in captivity or exile must cooperate with foreign oppressors as the agents of GOD for good. Consider again the following:
(1.) Joshua 22: 15-20, King James Version (KJV): 15 And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying, 16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the LORD, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the LORD, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the LORD? 17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD, 18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the LORD? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the LORD, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the LORD, wherein the LORD’s tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the LORD our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.
(2.) Deuteronomy 14: 1-2, KJV: 1 Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. 2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
(3.) 1st Chronicles 29: 10-13, KJV: 10 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. 11 Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
(4.) John 11: 47-53, KJV: 47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, the words from Paul (5.) 1st Timothy 1: 12-17, KJV: 12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.
THE BLACK PHOENIX