The evidence was so substantial that it .. Galatians 1:12-24

It almost seemed deceptive titling my last post, “It was not of man.” Having become carried away with verse eleven and never really covering the subject; I had to cut it short in hopes of keeping your attention. But, there is no way you can separate Paul’s undefined message of hope from where he got that message.

In my previous post, in focusing on verse 11, I discussed what I believed the message Paul spoke of, may have been. The hypothesis I presented was not a guess, but a logical, scriptural approach, to what Paul said and why. I made the case that Paul preached a message to the Jews that went right along with the lifetime of synagogue training, any proper Jew, would have received.

Since all Jews are awaiting the coming Messiah, then there has to be a fulfillment of all the events they associate with the end of time, such as an associated peace; a restoration of all things; a final judgment, and the endless reign of the Messiah. If this understanding played a role in what Paul said, then what could you say that would make this knowledge better? It seems the only thing that would or could do that is the knowledge that the Messiah has already come. One of the things we hear in church on Sunday mornings is that we are children of the kingdom now. However, because I am alive and breathing; living in varying degrees of pain, both mental and physical, I am aware that something is missing from this simplistic statement about “living in the kingdom.” Sadly, no one is really explaining this or how to achieve this state or condition.

As I told the men I sit with, where we are reading a John Eldredge book entitled, All Things New, where he talks about a restored heaven and a restored us, I find it difficult at times picturing myself in this restored, heavenly scenario. Don’t get me wrong, I believe without a doubt, that this time of restoration is coming, but the question is, when? To be honest, I thought it would have already happened by now; but alas, we are all still here.

Is it possible the Jews feel the same way? Not that long ago, an acquaintance said to me, people have been saying this stuff (he was speaking of the rapture and how we should be looking for it,) for over two thousand years, so don’t get all worked up about it now. In truth, he is right, but hasn’t the Jew been awaiting the Messiah for even longer?

But, as you would have seen in the previous post, the evidence that the Messiah came is there – in the Torah and Tenach. The evidence was so substantial that it:

  • Compelled by His star that pointed to Bethlehem, the wise men came from the East to see the young boy born the King of the Jews.

  • Herod, having called the chief priests and elders of the Jews, demanded they tell him where this baby had been born.

  • And the chief priests and elders of the Jews, when summoned to Herod, answered him by reading the precise information from the Holy Scrolls. This information resulted in the death of many boys two years old and under in that region.

What do I get from all this? The Jews knew and yet chose not to believe.

If we comprehend the message that Paul preached, then where did he get this information, that he obviously missed in previous readings from the law and prophets?

I did not get my message from any other human. The Good News is not something I learned from other people. Jesus Christ himself gave it to me. He showed me the Good News that I should tell people. Galatians 1:12 ERV

It almost seemed deceptive titling my last post, “It was not of man.” Having become carried away with verse eleven, I had to cut it short and hope to keep your attention. But, there is no way you can separate Paul’s undefined message of hope from where he got that message.

In my previous post, in focusing on verse 11, I discussed what I believed the message Paul spoke of, may have been. The hypothesis I presented was not a guess, but a logical, scriptural approach, to what Paul said and why. I made the case that Paul preached a message to the Jews that went right along with the lifetime of synagogue training, any proper Jew, would have received.

Since all Jews are awaiting the coming Messiah, then there has to be a fulfillment of all the events they associate with the end of time, such as an associated peace; a restoration of all things; a final judgment, and the endless reign of the Messiah.

If this understanding played a role in what Paul said, then what could you say that would make this information better? It seems the only thing that would or could do that is the knowledge that the Messiah has already come. One of the things we hear in church on Sunday mornings is that we are children of the kingdom now. However, because I am alive and breathing; living in varying degrees of pain, both mental and physical, I am aware that something is missing from the simplistic statement about “living in the kingdom.”

As I told the men I sit with, (we are reading a John Eldredge book entitled, All Things New, where he talks about a restored heaven and a restored us,) I find it difficult at times picturing myself in this restored, heavenly scenario. Don’t get me wrong, I believe without a doubt, that this time of restoration is coming, the question is when? To be honest, I thought it would have already happened by now; but alas, we are all still here. Is it possible the Jews feel the same way? As an acquaintance said to me, people have been saying this stuff (he was speaking of the rapture and how we should be looking for it,) for over two thousand years, so don’t get all worked up about it. And yes, we have, but hasn’t the Jew been awaiting the Messiah for even longer?

But, as you would have seen in the previous post, the evidence that the Messiah came is there – in the Torah and Tenach. The evidence was so substantial that it:

  • Compelled by His star that pointed to Him, the wise men came from the East to see the young boy born the King of the Jews.

  • Herod, having called the chief priests and elders of the Jews, demanded they tell him where this baby had been born.

  • And what did chief priests and elders of the Jews do? They answered him by reading the information from the Holy Scrolls. The result was the death of many boys two years old and under in that region.

What do I get from all this? The Jews knew.

If we know the message that Paul preached, then where did he get this information that he obviously missed in previous readings from the law and prophets?

I did not get my message from any other human. The Good News is not something I learned from other people. Jesus Christ himself gave it to me. He showed me the Good News that I should tell people. Galatians 1:12 ERV

Wait a minute. Paul, an intelligent man; a man we have to presume had a knowledge of Isaiah’s word, could not see this on his own. The Jewish leaders were able to point it out to Herod, but they could not or would not see it.

How is it that no one else saw this amazing stuff in the scriptures? Anna and Simeon the priest did; two of them, for example, were in or near the temple when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to be circumcised. Anna met them outside the gate; it was as far as Mary would have been allowed to go.

Anna, a prophetess, was there at the Temple. She was from the family of Phanuel in the tribe of Asher. She was now very old. She had lived with her husband seven years before he died and left her alone. She was now 84 years old. Anna was always at the Temple; she never left. She worshiped God by fasting and praying day and night. Anna was there when Joseph and Mary came to the Temple. She praised God and talked about Jesus to all those who were waiting for God to free Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38 ERV

And Simeon was a priest who, knowing what the scriptures said, awaited the Messiah.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.” And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed–and a sword will pierce even your own soul–to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:25-35 NASB

Both of these had been looking for the Messiah. So, the truth was made plain and available.

I already pointed out how the Magi/Wise men, from the East – The East was a region of Babylon, and these men were probably trained in the school that Daniel had established while a captive.) And, I brought out how the priests and elders were able to answer Herod when he demanded an answer. So, many knew of the advent and birth of the Messiah. Did they accept Him as such? Not a chance. Much of this stems from the veil that is over their eyes, preventing them from seeing the truth. None the less, the truth was there, and yet many could not see it, this includes Saul – soon to become the Paul that we Gentiles know of.

Obviously, Saul’s eyes were opened. You find this information in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts.

Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men, and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;” Acts 9:1-18 NASB

Well, an obvious fact is that Saul had good men interact with him. Does that mean they told Saul the better way? We are not told the answer to that question, but we do have clues that could lead to an answer.

and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,” Acts 9:19 NASB

The logical assumption is that he is at the home of Ananias, but the picture expands, as we see him “with the disciples who were at Damascus.”

The NASB translates this simple idea concerning the length of time as, for several days, when in reality the quaint little word “tis” can also mean some time or a while. Here is what we know; we do not know how long Saul stayed with the disciples. However, immediately we see Saul preaching in the local synagogue.

and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”” Acts 9:20 NASB)

Two things jump out at me.

  • He is preaching this newly learned truth, to Jews

  • And, he said, “He is the Son of God.”

As I said, some knew. Are you kidding me? No, I am not. So, when the scripture tells us that there will be a point at which the veil will be lifted off of, not only the eyes of all Israel but the whole world. Then we are being told that there is a blindness, placed in some cases by the enemy, Satan. But, there is also a deliberate action, much like racism, that is intentionally taught. Yes, that right, Jews are taught a separatist and discriminatory attitude that calls this Jesus we serve, the Gentile Jesus, and most will have nothing to do with the salvation message we non-Jewish, adopted branches, preach.

For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. Galatians 1:13-14 NASB

Saul was not defending the Torah and Tenach, he was defending ancestral traditions.

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Galatians 1:15-17 NASB

Saul’s sight restored, he stays for an indeterminate time frame, in Damascus, with disciples. Once again, what the writer of Acts 9:19 tell us?

Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,” Acts 9:19 NASB

We hear the word disciples and what do we think? The guys who hung around with Jesus. But, that may not be the case. These disciples may have been mere followers of the Way.

Once again,

For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:12 NASB

I would think this would exclude the influence of the disciples of Jesus as well. But as I pointed out in verses 15 -17 above, Saul, did not consult with flesh and blood. We also see that he did not bring the disciples of Jesus into this either.

Three years pass.

Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. Galatians 1:18-19 NASB

Why would he have to add this next verse?

(Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) Galatians 1:20 NASB

Because, for that day and time, no one went outside of standard traditions, and Saul told us that he had been zealous for their traditions.

Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they were glorifying God because of me. Galatians 1:21-24 NASB)

Why add this? Because, though there were Jews there, they were not Apostles. We will call them that, as a disciple is to broad a term, and the reference is specifically separating Saul, and his recent education, from those who had the influence of Jesus upon their lives. The Apostles, it seems, still held tightly to Jerusalem; held tightly to Jewish traditions – not that traditions are a bad thing unless they keep you from seeing the Messiah, and, finding the freedom in this perfect law of liberty – grace, thanks to Jesus, we now walk in.

There is one last clue, as Saul says, “ I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ.” It may have been a Jewish audience, but most of these people did not know who Saul, the former Pharisee, was.

No, this message Saul received, though deeply intertwined in scripture, came straight out of the mouth of the Holy Spirit.

Do you think he can teach us today? Absolutely, but I still need people to be a part of the fellowship in my life; for that reason, I cannot give up on the body of Christ.

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