Way of Essenic Studies
The Problem with Paul
It must be remembered that Paul never met Jesus. His description of his “conversion” is quite sparse, mentioned or alluded to in just three of his letters:
I Corinthians 9:1: "Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?"
I Corinthians 15:3-8: "For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me."
Galatians 1:11-17: "For I would have you know…that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it…so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus."
Luke, however, filled in many of the blanks Paul failed to mention in any of his letters to the churches. The problem is, Luke told three versions of Paul’s claimed conversion, and none of the three agree on the details:
Acts 9:3-17: "…[Saul] was approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'…The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.…there was a…disciple at Damascus named Ananias…laid his hands on Saul and said, `Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Acts 22:6-21: "While I was…approaching Damascus…a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying…Saul,Saul, why are you persecuting me?...those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice…I could not see because of the brightness of the light…those with me…led me to Damascus…Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there…said…get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name."
Acts 26:12-18: "…I was traveling to Damascus…I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 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…the Lord answered, `I am Jesus whom you are persecuting…get up and stand on your feet…"
Which Version is the reader to believe? Saul alone fell to the ground; those with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one; Saul was without sight for three days; Ananias was a disciple who laid hands on Saul to restore his sight and fill him with the Holy Spirit.
Saul alone fell to the ground; Those with him saw the light but did not hear the voice; No mention of three days without sight or food; Ananias was "a devout man according to the Law and liked by the Jews."
Everyone fell to the ground; the voice spoke in the Hebrew Language; no blindness, no Ananias, no baptism, no restoration of sight, no “filled by Holy Spirit”!
Remember: Luke wrote all three of these accounts! It matters not that he put two of the versions into the mouth of Saul, who was by then known as Paul. LUKE WROTE ALL THREE VERSIONS!
Luke also wrote the following just four chapters before the first "Conversion" story:
Acts 5:3: "`Ananias,' Peter asked, `why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?'"
And Luke also mentioned the very important name, Pyrrhus:
Acts 20:4-6: "[Paul] was accompanied by Sopater, son of Pyrrhus of Beroea…these went ahead and were waiting for us at Troas…where we stayed for seven days."
One of the early translators did a strange thing with the name, Pyrrhus: He omitted it! And the King James Version did the same.
Who was Pyrrhus to the Greeks? Pyrrhus, The Fool of Hope, was a story Plutarch wrote and titled at about the same time Luke's gospel was being penned. It includes the following:
"Pyrrhus also sent some agents, who pretended to be Macedonians. These spies spread the suggestion that now the time had come to be liberated from the harsh rule of Demetrius by joining Pyrrhus, who was a gracious friend of soldiers."
"And so without fighting, Pyrrhus became King of Macedonia…" (Emphases added.)
Another piece of information about Pyrrhus is of great importance, and it's probably the reason his name was expunged from early biblical texts: According to the Legend of Troy as told by Homer, Pyrrhus was one of the soldiers who participated in the Trojan horse saga. And that is the best-known legacy from the legend of Troy. It's what everyone thinks of when Troy and the Trojan War are mentioned. The name Pyrrhus was inserted here in Luke's gospel in the same sentence as Troas to direct the reader to the legend of the Trojan Horse. According to both Homer and Plutarch, Pyrrhus was the most famous spy in history at the time Luke's gospel was being written!
Plutarch wrote Pyrrhus, The Fool of Hope after the early churches had begun using Paul's epistles as their "gospel." Luke wrote about this Fool of Hope to alert “Theophilus” to the truth about Paul, knowing that some would eventually see the parallel he had drawn between Pyrrhus and Paul.
Some excerpts from one of Paul's letters that offer support for this astonishing claim:
2 Corinthians 13:11: "I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these superlative apostles, even though I am nothing."
Also notable here is the underlying purpose behind Paul's writing of this letter: he was trying to "set the record straight" about his status among Jesus' apostles. It seems that the Corinthians considered Paul to be inferior to the Apostles and their doctrine, and he was offended.
Paul also refers to himself as "a fool" at 2 Corinthians 11:16-29: "I repeat, let no one think that I am a fool; but if you do, then accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. What I am saying in regard to this boastful confidence, I am saying not with the Lord's authority, but as a fool; since many boast according to human standards, I will also boast. For you gladly put up with fools, being wise yourselves! For you put up with it when someone makes slaves of you, or preys upon you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or gives you a slap in the face. To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever any dares to boast of–I am speaking as a fool–I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? I am talking like a madman–I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death."
Luke has Paul say, Acts 23:6: ". . . I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead."
Paul speaks again when Luke writes at Acts 24:15: "I have a hope in God–a hope that they themselves also accept . . ."
Paul again, Acts 26:6-7: ". . . I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, 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!"
And again, Acts 28:20: ". . . it is for the sake of the hope of Israel . . ." (Emphases added.)
Luke put quite a lot of effort into connecting Paul to Pyrrhus, the "fool of hope" who was in fact an infiltrator. Paul called himself a fool in a ranting essay to the Corinthians that sounds as if it came from the mind and mouth of a madman, and he says so himself. Luke also has Paul speak of "hope" repeatedly in a relatively small space in Acts. More than any other of the coded messages, it seems that Luke wanted to convey the message that learning about Pyrrhus will reveal the truth about Paul.
Luke couldn't write a story called Paul: The Spy Who Pretended to be Jesus' Apostle Who Infiltrated the Movement and Destroyed It from Within. That story would have been censored by the Orthodox Church leaders supporting Paul. So he did the next best thing. He associated Paul with Pyrrhus in such a way that the connection could not be missed. No wonder the name Pyrrhus was removed from some of the translations of the Bible. Any fool could pick up on the message because virtually everyone knew that Pyrrhus hid inside the Trojan Horse! It was fortunate that some earlier texts were salvaged, saved, and passed on through time. Otherwise, this story could not be told even today.
Which version is the reader to believe? NONE OF THEM! They cannot all be correct; therefore, none of them can be trusted. Allegorically, Luke was saying, “Paul Lied! Like Ananias, Paul lied about his conversion! Paul was in infiltrator, a spy, an agent. He hijacked the Nazarene doctrine and created a religion that kept power in the hands of the Herodians and the temple priests an put money into their pockets.”
The name Pyrrhus appears in just one place in the Bible: Acts 20:4. However, as already stated, those who trust in the King James Version would not know the name was ever used in scripture:
King James Version: "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea…" (The name Pyrrhus was removed.)
Darby Translation: "And there accompanied him as far as Asia, Sopater [son] of Pyrrhus, a Berean…"
New Revised Standard Version: "He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea…"
Latin Vulgate: "comitatus est autem eum Sopater Pyrii Beroensis…" (Filius is the Latin word for son. It is missing from the Latin Vulgate's version of Acts 20:4; therefore, Jerome's translation from the original Greek did not identify Sopater as "son of" Pyrii; that designation is an assumption.)
The original Latin Vulgate was commissioned in 382 by Pope Damasus I. The modern version is not the original version created by Jerome; it is the result of combining a variety of sources that include Jerome. It is, however, one of the earliest sources for the original texts. Therefore, it seems safe to conclude that Luke's original story included the name, Sopater Pyrrhus Beroea.
From: http://www.e-classics.com/pyrrhus.htm (Pyrhhus: The Fool of Hope bu Plutarch)
Plutarch wrote: "Many men came from Beroea to Demetrius' army, praising Pyrrhus as an invincible warrior, who was kind to his prisoners. Pyrrhus also sent some agents, who pretended to be Macedonians. These spies spread the suggestion that now the time had come to be liberated from the harsh rule of Demetrius by joining Pyrrhus, who was a gracious friend of soldiers…The Macedonians cheered and left their ranks to unite their fortune to that of Pyrrhus. As his army crumbled in mutiny, Demetrius put on a disguise and sneaked off to safety. And so, without fighting, Pyrrhus became King of Macedonia."
Luke wrote: Acts 19:38: "If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint…" and Acts 20:1-6: "After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples and having exhorted them took leave of them and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through these parts and given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he determined to return through Macedonia. Sopater son of Pyrrhus of Beroea accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. These went on and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days."
Luke's use of the key words from Plutarch's story of Pyrrhus suggests a purpose. Luke's primary purpose in his work was to use allegory to tell a story that was being suppressed. To place Pyrrhus with Beroea, Macedonia, Troas (aka Troy) and Demetrius leads directly to Plutarch's Pyrrhus, men from Beroea, Macedonia, and Troy. The key words in Plutarch's works, however, are omitted from Acts: "Agents," "pretenders," "spies," and "disguise." Philo's Rule for Allegory #19 applies: The important allegorical information is to be found in the "noteworthy omissions."
What Luke transmitted via allegory was: "And so, without fighting, Paul became the leader of the new religion."
(Philo's Rules can be found at www.thenazareneway.com/Philo's%20Rules%20for%20Allegory.htm.)
By infiltrating, claiming conversion, and assigning himself the title, Apostle, Paul (who never revealed his birth name was Saul) changed the doctrine and set out to destroy all evidence of the Nazarene sect that produced Jesus the Nazarene.
Paul admitted he had persecuted those who followed Jesus, although he never revealed that he had done so under another name, Saul. If not for Luke, we would not be aware that he had ever been called Saul. If not for Luke's important information about his birth name, Paul could never have been associated with the Saulus whom the Jewish historian Josephus accused of participating in the stoning death of James, Jesus' brother, c. 62, long after
Paul's claimed conversion on the road to Damascus. Josephus' Saulus was the grandson of Salome (Saulome?), sister of King Herod the Great. (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 20.9.1-4; www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-20.htm.)
Did James, Peter, and the authentic Apostles accept Paul as "one of them," or did they accuse him of lying? Did their followers accept him as "an authority on the gospel of the Nazarenes," or did they reject his teachings? The answers to these questions can be found in the letters attributed to Paul:
Romans 9:1: "I am speaking truth in Christ, I am not lying..."
2 Corinthians 11:31: "The God and Father of the Lord Jesus…knows that I do not lie."
Galations 1:19-20: "But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. (In what I am writing to you, befor God, I do not lie!)"
1 Timothy 2:7: "For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth."
Why the emphatic protests if he had not been accused of lying?
Paul argued that his gospel was the authentic "gospel of Christ" and that "another gospel" (that of James, Peter, and John) was false. His letter to the Galatians contains his argument supporting "Justification/salvation by faith, not by works." However, the Gospel of James (2:14-17) proclaimed: "What does it profit…if a man says he has faith, but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, `Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead." The teachings of Jesus, as described by the gospel writers, agreed with James.
But Paul begged to disagree:
Galatians 1:6-7: "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ."
Galatians 1:8-9: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed…if he is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed."
Galatians 2:1-2 "…I went up to Jerusalem…I went up by revelation; and I laid before them (but privately before those who were of repute) the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain."
Galatians 2:4-9: "…because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage – to them we did not yield submission…and from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no paritaility) – those I say, who were of repute added nothing to me; but on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel…and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised…" (What Paul seems to say is that he rejected James, Cephas, and John as being "pillars" – and their gospel – but they still welcomed him to preach his gospel to the Gentiles! Remember, Paul did not lie!)
Galatians 2:11-12: "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face…" Galatians 2:14: "…when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, `If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?' We…who are Jews by birth…yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law because by works of the law shall no one be justified."
Galatians 3:1: "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you…"
It seems the underlying theme that separated Paul from the authentic apostles who walked with Jesus was whether "Justification" came by Faith or by Works or by a combination of both.
The Dead Sea Scrolls contain references to "The Spouter of Lies," and many scholars suggest this referred to Paul. Paul's letters and his insistence that he was NOT a "spouter of lies" seems to support that position. "The Orthodox Church," however, supported Paul's gospel; his teachings evolved into today's fundamentalists' version of "Christianity." Rarely do their spokespersons quote from anything other than Paul's letters and scripture that seems to support them. They reject The Nazarene Way of Jesus and the authentic Apostles and have labeled it "an early heresy" for nearly two thousand years!
In addition to the issue of “Faith” versus “Works” discussed in Part #3, the gospel preached by Paul differed significantly from the gospel preached by James, Peter, John, and the other authentic Apostles. These differences can be identified by examining the letters attributed to Paul and the answers he gave to those who questioned him:
Assumed Question: “James, Peter, and John taught us that women may preach the Nazarean doctrine. Women traveled with Jesus, and women are teaching in their homes. Should women be allowed to preach?”
I Corinthians 14:33-36: “…women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.”
I Timothy 2:11-15: “Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent.”
Assumed Question: “James, Peter, and John taught us that men should not cut their hair. Should we wear our hair long?”
I Corinthians 11:14: “Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him…”
Assumed Question: “James, Peter, and John taught us that we should not eat meat. Are we to be vegetarians?”
Romans 14:1: “…Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables.”
Colossians 2:16: “…do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or Sabbaths.”
Assumed Question: “James, Peter, and John taught us that all people deserve to be free from slavery and oppression. But my owner, a believer, tells me I will not be set free. Why am I, and other men and women, still being held as slaves?”
Colossians 3:22-25: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality.”
I Timothy 6:1-5: “Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved.”
Luke 4:16-20: “And [Jesus] stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down…”
Jesus said he came to free the captives and those who were oppressed. That would surely encompass both slaves and women. Apparently, Jesus wasn’t fond of the gospel Paul preached either.
Numbers 6:1-5: “…The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the people of Israel, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate him/[her]self to the Lord, he/[she] shall separate him/[her]self from wine and strong drink…All the days of this vow no razor shall come upon his/[her] head…he/[she] shall let the locks of hair of his/[her] head grow long…
Isaiah 7:14-15: “Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.”
Judges 13:5: “‘. . . for you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth.
1Samuel 1:11: “She made this vow…I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.’”
Jesus the Nazarene was “consecrated to God” from birth. He was born under the vow of a Nazirite. He demonstrated that he knew how to “refuse the evil and choose the good.” He taught a blend of the Mosaic Torah and Greek philosophy, primarily that of Pythagoras. Pythagoras and his followers lived communally, drank no wine, were vegetarians, wore white garments, and let the locks of their hair grow long. They abhorred animal sacrifice, slavery, and conflict. Women were teachers in their academies. As Philo of Alexandria asserted, they had adopted the Mosaic vow of the Nazirites five hundred years before Jesus was born. They were, in essence, an earlier sect Nazarenes.
The Nazarene Way wasn’t simply a religion or a philosophy; it was a way of living. When either a man or a woman took the vow to become a Nazarene, they separated themselves from certain food, drink, and traditions. They were recognizable by their appearance – their long hair, their white garments, and their peaceful demeanor. There is nothing in the letters of Paul that suggests he had any appreciation for The Nazarene Way of Jesus. How puzzling that Paul’s gospel became orthodox and the gospel preached by James, Peter, John, and Jesus was rejected as an “early heresy” and virtually cleansed from the history of Christianity.
Luke must have considered his allegorical messages about Saul to be of the utmost importantance. He identified him as the enemy of the Nazarenes in Chapter One:
Luke 1:68-73: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people…that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us…that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear…"
To find the person Luke accused of being "the enemy" requires only that the reader find the name omitted from these verses copied almost verbatim from Psalm 18 and 2 Samuel 22:1: "A Psalm of David…who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul…"
Luke ended his second volume, Acts of the Apostles, with a speech to the Jews that he put into the mouth of Saul; it came from Isaiah 6:9-10: "Go to this people, and say, 'You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see, but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.'" (Acts 28:26-27).
What is missing from Saul's speech to the Jews that would contain Luke's allegorical message? What's missing are the verses that followed Isaiah 6:9-10, Isaiah 6:11-13: "Then I said, `How long, O lord?' And he said: `Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without men, and the land is utterly desolate, and the Lord removes men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains standing when it is felled.' The Holy Seed is its stump."
Revelation 22:14-16: "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters and every one who loves and practices falsehood. I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star."
The Tree of Life was one of the most important tools used by the Nazarenes and Essenes to teach their doctrine. (See article at:
Luke's allegorical message is quite clear: The enemy, Saul, aka Paul, wielded an axe and destroyed The Tree of Life, leaving only the stump – "the Holy Seed." Luke, on behalf of Jesus and the Nazarene sect, set about to preserve the story, using Philo's rules for the allegorical interpretation of scripture to say, "The Axe of the Apostle" must not be allowed to destroy our message! The Holy Seed remains; The Tree of Life will once again bear good fruit when the truth about Paul is finally known.
(Excerpted from Plutarch's Parable: http://www.thenazareneway.com/plutarchs_parable.htm)
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Lux Gospel and the Axe of the Apostle