Apostle Paul and the Brotherhood Communities



Paul was a Pharisee, Greek speaking young Jew. Paul was borne in Tarsus and he was a Roman citizen. He was borne to a relatively rich family. He was an educated, intellectual, intelligent, and refined man. He knew Greek philosophy and he had studied Judaism. He was aware of the mythologies and the theologies which were practiced by other religions. Being a Roman citizen provided him some rights and protections. As a young man Paul was recruited by the Chief Priest of the Jewish Temple to preserve Judaism and fight against any Jewish movement which might undermine the Jewish traditions. But later on when he became a member of the Jesus movement, he was a practical leader with the full intension to succeed.

Paul had the wisdom to have a long term view of the issues which were essential for the survival of the Jesus movement. Paul very skillfully adopted some changes for the Jesus community which were totally against the foundation of the Judaism. He clearly saw the aspiration and the brotherhood which the members of Jesus movement were practicing was the essence of the Judaism and that issue had to be focused on and to be promoted. The brotherhood was very attractive and it had wide spread appeal amongst many people. He clearly observed; just that issue was the main aspirations for many religions but because of their tradition and their stated customs they were hand coughed and they could not free themselves from the old shell. Some of the Judaism laws were exactly the obstacles which were needed to be pushed aside in favor of the Universal Brotherhood.

Inline with the rigid Judaism laws yet there was, and still is, another deeply rooted issue with Judaism. Gentiles were hearing about the invisible God which Jews were worshipping in their synagogues in Judea, Galilee, Damascus, Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus, and other places. But they could not convert into Judaism, since Judaism is based purely on blood line and Judaism is not an open religion which the other people could join them. In fact non Jews can NOT convert to Judaism because they don't have Abraham blood line. Judaism is bundle of rules which hold the Jewish race together and give them an identity. Judaism claims the superiority of the Jewish people over all the other people of the world. It is ironic the Jews who preach so strongly against the racists people and against the anti-Semitic remarks, they own the oldest race club in the world! This reminds me of the proverb; "whoever lives by the sword he will die by the sword!" We have a complex life to explore and to figure out our way through these extraordinary issues.

Paul learnt about the beauty and the benefits of his Universal Brotherhood from the Jesus community which Peter had established after Jesus crucifixion. Based on this model Paul envisioned the Universal Christianity for entire world community. This model gave Paul the inspiration and the hope that such a world wide community is doable and could be achieved. As a bright and visionary leader Paul played his role on this task brilliantly.

As a young Man Paul got instruction and was persuaded by Chief Priest in Jewish Temple to chase and destroy the Jesus followers everywhere. This was purely in the interest of the Chief Priest to destroy Jesus followers and to stop the very damning rumors which this group was spreading against him. Paul as a very energetic and na´ve Jew accepted the Chief Priest's twisted agenda on this issue and he lent his services on this task. While he was pursuing the Jesus followers he came to know them more closely. He learnt how pure and honest these people were. They were practicing pure and peaceful Judaism which nobody could accuse them for any wrong doing. In those days majority of people was living in extreme poverty and they were destitute. Their lives were extremely harsh and difficult. On top of that, Jesus community also had to endure the attacks which were directed toward them by the Chief Priest. Under these extremely unfavorable conditions the Jesus community was doing okay. The community had accepted the concept of sharing and supporting each other and acting as a single unit. They were doing much better than the general public who had hard time making the ends meet. Cooperation has the magic of achieving amazing results. Almost similar pattern of the cooperation and unity has been practiced amongst the Jewish people throughout their history. In today society we are practicing such concept in many organizations like cooperative markets, cooperative farming, cooperative housing, kibbutz communities in Israel, labor unions, and so on.

Paul woke up to realize the manipulation of Jewish Chief Priest and he desired to join to this dynamic and well organized Jesus brotherhood community. Entering the Jesus community gave Paul a chance to excel his leadership skills. Paul was much more refined than the other Apostles and he had good political skills too. The other Apostles hardly had the skills and the visions to guide the movement to any particular directions. They were very simple mined and they only thought of a simple life for Judaism as it was commanded by the Old Testament Scriptures. To comply with the God commandments they were following Jesus model to somehow educate Jews of the evil deeds of the Chief Priest and cleanse the Great Temple. This was their focus and their aspirations. Even though they had the Jesus crucifixion as an example to prove their point against the Chief Priest, but such a limited vision was not going far against the well-established and well-organized Chief Priest political machinery.

Paul's vast knowledge of world religions enabled him to make choices which were essential for the growth of the community. Those changes created new theology which eventually took the direction of its own; which was far different from what Jesus had ever imagined for or had ever hoped for! Paul had many advantage over the other Apostles; he was a Roman citizen, this gave him the protection to express his opinions without fear of reprisal from the Chief Priest. Also this allowed him to travel freely and to promote his ministry to other cities. Paul's education allowed him to formulate a structure for the new movement. And this also allowed him to articulate a popular theology which would be attractive to many. Paul had these unique advantages over the other Apostles and he played much more active role in the expansion of the Jesus movement. His leadership which has been demonstrated through his letters reveals his communications were essential for the birth of the new movement.

Paul saw it clearly the admissions of the gentiles and especially the Romans to the community could enormously enhance the community's power base. Paul was eager to bring the gentiles to the Church. He was the catalysts in that task. Paul would point out about the story of Jesus' opens friendship and association with Levi (according to Luke "Levi", and according to Mathew gospel "Mathew"), the tax collectors, to defend his position. That story was perfect pretext for expanding the movement to the gentiles and especially to the Romans. By the way, it is not clear whether Paul also made up the Jesus friendship with the tax collector story or that story was a genuine story which really existed before Paul's alteration to the Judaism.

Paul knew those converts would be their only chance against the Chief Priest's powerful establishment. He had to broaden the base and to increase the numbers of the followers in order to have a viable and effective voice. A well established movement required many diverse followers from all members of the society. The bigger their number would get the better chances that their community could succeed and prosper.

With all his advantages still Apostle Paul did not have any controlling voice in the Jerusalem Community to implement his vision. He had to comply with the decisions which the long time disciples like Simon Peter, Andrew, sons of Zebedee; James and his brother John, Philip, Nathanial, Thomas, James; Jesus brother, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon the Canaanite would be making on the issues for the Jesus community. Paul strongly urged the other Apostles to consider the advantages of the Romans' converts. Those converts would secure the safety of their community and they would be a perfect defense against the Chief Priest's hostility against Jesus movement. The movement was practically under siege from the Chief Priest hostile activities. So the leadership in Jerusalem reluctantly authorized Paul to bring the gentiles Converts into the Jesus Movement.

The Temple Chief Priest was actively spreading the rumors that the Jesus movement was a branch of the "God Kingdom Movements". Chief Priest was pressing that the Jesus followers were calling Jesus as their "Savior" and their King. So he managed to stir up the Jewish King and the Romans to move against the group. As a result of this negative image the Jewish king arrested Apostle James, son of Zebedee, for political activity against the Jewish King Herod Agrippa. Apostle James was killed by order of the Jewish King. This event again scared Peter and he left the group in Jerusalem and he disappeared for awhile. Then James, Jesus brother, took the leadership role for the community.

By this time Barnabas had already established a Jesus community in Antioch. Barnabas was a close friend of Paul, and he was the one who assured the Jesus community of Paul's sincerity and he helped Paul to enter to Jesus movement in Jerusalem, otherwise Paul could not be trusted because of his past activities. Paul decided to Join Barnabas in Antioch in Syria which was about 300 miles north of Jerusalem. City of Antioch was the center of Romans' power for the region. Paul needed the freedom to implement his vision for the growth of the Jesus movement. Paul thought that was perfect city to implement his vision. Besides, he was friend of Barnabas and they could get along with each other very well.

Paul and Barnabas joined together to promote their Jesus movements in Antioch. But now they combined Jesus message of love, peace, and brotherhood with the apocalyptic messages of "God's Kingdom people" which was God's kingdom is about to ascend from Heaven and God will destroy the established power of Rome, and he will save the followers of the Messiah. Messiah is on his way to establish the God's Kingdom on earth. Messiah will arrive soon, maybe tomorrow, or next week, or next month, but for sure before the end of year, or this decade. This message is still with us today!

The changes to the leadership in Jerusalem emboldened Paul to excel his changes for the Jesus movement in Antioch at full speed. So, just at this point Paul revealed his Gospel, and he claimed that he had received it from Jesus! What the other Apostles could say to an Apostle who had direct contact with Jesus!? Paul was revealing new revelations one after another to justify his actions! The other Apostles were honest and very na´ve people. But they could not betray their own integrity and lie and make up their own revelations and confront Paul. At the same time they could not reject Paul's revelations either! That was totally counter productive and that could nullify their own positions. But Paul was a different kind of leader. He would do anything, approve any methods to achieve his goals. To him those revelations were absolutely necessary to promote the movement.

The movement was in need of very decisive and savvy maneuvering to survive, there was no other way. The straight talk and honesty would not make it. And Paul was that man with good knowledge of religion structures, and the reality of political movement. Without those revelations the movement had no chance to achieve anything.

Book of Acts gives an account of spreading the Jesus message to many communities in different cities. It sounds the book of Acts is written long after the Apostles were gone and Jesus Movement had already expanded and established in many cities. Book of Acts talks about the "Day of Pentecost". With Pentecost the Apostles received the "Holy Spirit". Now the Apostles were empowered to do healing and even reviving dead. They also through Apostleship could pass on the Holy Spirit to their disciples. Even Peter's shadow healed many people. With this account Peter's healing miracles passes beyond that of the Jesus healing miracles! May God save us to keep our sanity and not falling to these incredible shameless claims!

According to Paul's writings Paul and Barnabas were traveling to many other cities to promote their message. They were preaching in synagogues and they were trying to recruit gentiles into Jesus movement. In book of Acts it mentions in cities of Pisidian Antioch and Iconium Apostle Paul, and Barnabas faced hostility from the crowds; because the Jews were objecting of gentiles' participation in their rituals. Then, both Jews and gentiles were unhappy with the new doctrine and they kicked out the Apostles out of both cities. Then, Apostles Paul and Barnabas went to city of Lystra. Over there Apostle Paul healed a lame man who had never walked before. This miracle excited the crowd and they wanted to accept word of God. Then some Jews from Pisidian and Iconium arrived and they turned the crowd against the Apostle Paul and Barnabas. So crowd stoned Paul and dragged him out of city and left him there, presumed to be dead.

Now, this story impeaches the whole account of Apostleship. Apostle Paul possessed the power of Holy Spirit, and he could do miracles. He already had done a miracle and the people believed in him. He already had won the people's hearts. Then, the people of Lystra hear some negative remarks from couple Jews who had come from Pisidian and Iconium and then the whole crowd hated Paul to the point that they stoned him with the intent to kill him, and left him outside the city presumed to be dead.

Now, how was that possible!? How could Paul lose his debate against these new comer Jews who were just couple laymen with no special credentials!? How soon people of Lystra forgot Paul' healing miracle! What happened to Paul's power of Holy Spirit!? How could the couple strangers Jew convince the people in Lystra town that Paul was fake and should be opposed? If Apostle Paul with all his advantages loses this debate so badly to couple new comer Jews then this proves the falsehood of this story and voids the entire claims of the Apostleship healing miracles.

We can sense the reason for the people hostilities. Jews did not like Paul's message because his message of including the gentiles in Judaism was flawed and it was totally against the foundation of the Judaism. Gentiles did not like them because they put down their Gods. Paul was preaching the Kingdom of God was immanent. This message also started to falter. After a decade of false promises some followers were disenchanted with the movement and they became hostile toward Paul, and they moved away.

The event of Paul and Barnabas' beatings in city of Lystra alarmed the leadership in Jerusalem. They feared by converting gentiles Paul was rocking the boat and was bringing undesirable attention to their community and was putting the existence of their community at risk. So they sent a commission to Antioch to evaluate Paul and Barnabas mission. The commission disapproved of gentiles' unconditional entry into the Jesus movement. They expected that the gentiles also had to observe Jewish laws of circumcision and the kosher food. Relaxation of those laws was undermining the essence of the Judaism altogether. But, Paul thought such requirements would hinder the growth of community in Antioch which Paul and Barnabas had worked so hard to promote it.

Paul and Barnabas went back to Jerusalem to seek the relaxation of the Jewish rules for the gentiles. But James, Jesus brother, and the others stood firm on their convictions in favor of preserving the Jewish laws. Now Peter was back in the group in the Jerusalem. Paul argued: "God did not restrict his kingdom to Jews only, God wanted to unite his kingdom to all followers, Jews and gentiles together. Paul was from Diaspora he had seen bigger part of the world so he examined the situation with different prism. Paul pointed out to the leadership the advantages of having the Romans converts. He argued the Romans would bring prestige and security into their movement which could make the Chief Priest to back off from chasing them and prosecuting them. Actually the group at this point was between the rock and the hard place; in one hand the Romans patronage would give the movement the security but abandoning Jewish laws was not an option either. Their main aspiration and hope was by purifying their own lives Jehovah would intervene to take care of the rest. However, Jehovah had not intervened yet and they needed to save their neck for the time being. This was a strong persuasion because up to that point they were constantly under the fear of attacks from the Chief Priest's gangs. Finally Peter managed to mediate between the restrictive view and the liberal view. So in meeting in Jerusalem they approved a special mission for Paul to continue with his mission and bring in the gentiles and the Romans' converts but in separate setup.

After the Jerusalem meeting Peter also Joined Paul and Barnabas in Antioch. Peter was quiet about the rules which Paul was putting in place for the gentiles in Antioch community. Paul thought the unity of group was important and eating together was strengthening the fellowship of the community. So he was encouraging the two groups, Jews and gentiles, to join each other's eating tables with less restriction. Sometimes Peter too was joining to the gentiles table for food which was not kosher.

Everything was fine, until couple observers from the Jerusalem leaderships arrived to examine the progress in the Antioch community. These observers were astounded to see how grossly Judaism had been ignored. They strongly objected to the Antioch community arrangement. They totally dismissed Paul for such a setup. They charged that the Sacred Laws of the Judaism had been violated to its core. Apostle Peter who was participating in Gentile meal table, then he withdrew and Joined to the Jewish kosher meal table. The following Passage is from Galatians which it describes Apostle Paul's outrage of the incident:

Paul Rebukes Peter

Galatians 2:11 But when Cephas(This individual is generally identified with the Apostle Peter ) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong. 2:12 Until certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. 2:13 And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy.

In Jesus community in Antioch Paul's views were totally pushed aside. This incident very clearly indicates that all the surviving Super Apostles unanimously rejected Paul's position and Paul's revelations. Now that the entire surviving Super Apostle rejected Paul's revelations then how can we accept them as genuine instructions from Jesus? This proves Paul's revelations are void.

It defies any logic that Jesus for such Major Reversals in his own belief system and the initiation of such Critical Changes to the Judaism he would have completely ignored all his beloved Disciples, and he only had communicated such Earth Shaking Changes just with Apostle Paul. It is inconceivable that we ignore Jesus personal beliefs when he was alive along with all the Super Apostles beliefs and just simply depend on Paul's words. How did Paul acquire such a prominent position which he even over-rides Jesus? Apostle Paul was a very clever man. He knew absolutely there was no chance for him to suggest those changes on his own account then he implemented them in the name of Jesus.

After the confrontation in Antioch community Paul was very disappointed and he traveled to the cities in Greece, Macedonia, and Asia Minor to establish his own version of Jesus movements fresh. Paul was promoting a version of Judaism which would bring Jews and Gentiles together for a unified brotherhood without emphasizing on the Jewish laws and Jewish bloodline. This is the version which at the end succeeded and was labeled as Christianity Faith. Paul's letters and his vision of making the brotherhood movement easy for the new Roman converts were the keys for the creation and the success of the Christianity. We can confidently claim that Apostle Paul on his own initiative used Jesus' Fame to establish the new Christianity Faith.

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