I have been going on and on about the unconditional compassionate and accepting love of the Father that the historical Jesus kept talking about and exemplifying. He undoubtedly learned that this was the primary attribute of God by both hearing the elders and asking them questions about the OT pre-captivity Prophets, and, not least of all, by observing the goodness of God found in the creation around him. Jesus taught that such compassion and forgiving love was the real righteous justice of God to all humans. He was unafraid to discard the scriptures that did not back up God’s real justice. It led him to reject the punishing apocalyptic teaching of his own cousin, John, whose idea was of a God who required a personal righteousness through the washing away of sin in baptism and the obedience of faith in a bloody atonement arranged by God.

Paul, however, rejected the God that Jesus had been teaching about. Instead, Paul was interested in his God’s law as he supposed had been given directly to Moses, and, in Paul’s view, the righteousness of God was dealing out a just punishment to a disobedient humanity. And for humanity to be saved required a worthy substitute as a sacrifice to God so that humanity’s sin-debt could be paid for in blood. However, there is a big conditional IF here. One can be saved only IF one believes this salvation plan. And unbelievers will be punished in an eternal hellfire stoked up for them by God.

My Australian friend reminded me of the following:

“In 2 Corinthians 11-12 Paul speaks of “another Jesus” who is different from his “Jesus” whom he calls “Christ.” Read the argument closely and you will see that what he is on about is the Jesus of the other apostles at Jerusalem, apostles whom he sarcastically calls the “super apostles.” (An apostle was defined as one who was a witness to the historical Jesus from the beginning.) Yet Paul claims he qualifies as an apostle because of his private, visionary revelations of the Christ given exclusively or especially to him. It ought not be surprising that some early Christians challenged his self-claimed apostleship. He charged those other apostles with some pretty nasty stuff. What is revealing in this contest is that Paul says that there is such a thing as “another Jesus.” No doubt about it, the Jesus of Matthew 5:38-48 (which is a redacted form taken from the earlier Sayings Gospel, Q1) is not the Jesus of Paul or the great Church of the Gentiles.”

This points out exactly what I have been complaining about. Paul was nothing but a crafty lawyer who had a delirious vision of a very different apocalyptic “Jesus” that he had been hoping would finally show up according to apocalyptic lore. Paul called him the one and only “Christ,” who had been sent by God to win salvation for us as God’s sacrificial human “lamb.”

This discovery about Paul’s switching a Christ, or Son of God, for Jesus, the son of man, is almost as important as the really BIG discovery of the core unconditional love message of the historical Jesus’ Father/God. Many of Jesus’ original followers, like Stephen, were hunted down and imprisoned or murdered by Saul with the Sanhedrin’s blessing. It is clear that Saul’s intent was to shut down and/or scatter the early Jesus-movement. That was before Saul, the tyrant, had his scariest apocalyptic Arabian desert vision and finally figured out how to twist Jesus’ murder into something that he could take advantage of.

During those difficult times, people lived in constant fear of other tyrannies as well. They were vulnerable and ready to believe almost anything that might save them from the tyranny of Rome and the false Jewish messiah-bandits who only rose up in rebellion long enough to make matters worse for everybody.

Paul was an intelligent well-educated lawyer. And according to his knowledge, he doubtlessly thought he was writing and teaching the truth as he had learned it. But isn’t that just the way? Sometimes, what we have learned from others is like a wall built around us. It keeps us from seeing anything beyond our educated brains. It keeps us from questioning and growing and finding a better way. Education needs to open doors, not keep them closed.

Father, forgive Paul, especially for teaching his delirious ideas of a “Christ” and his intentional cover-up of the historical Jesus’ unconditional love message from the Father.

Father, forgive the gospel writers for using Paul’s apocalyptic lies in their narratives and helping to turn the historical Jesus into Paul’s apocalyptic “Christ.”

Father, forgive the early Christian bishops for insisting that Paul’s letters, the gospel narratives, the other letters and writings included in the NT, and also the OT Hebrew texts were all holy words inspired by God.

Father, forgive the church leaders for centuries of murdering those who would not believe the lies of God’s pay-back justice, those who knew that a better and a truly just God loved them and required no atoning sacrifice for their prodigal behavior.

Oh, the terrible influence that all this foolishness had on peoples’ psyches! For example, study the vicious and hideous art used in and on the cathedrals, and so much more tyranny in governments and ….

Conclusions: Paul had a severely troubled apocalyptic mindset that gave him
– frightening visions,
– reason to detest the loving non-retaliation Jesus-movement for not teaching God’s payback justice as Paul knew it,
– divine permission to finally annihilate the Jesus-movement by inventing an atoning “Christ” message to satisfy God’s law, namely, the payback-punishment promised for humanity’s disobedience to that law, and
– the crafty idea of destroying Jesus’ message of the Father’s unconditional love for all his children by simply turning attention to the person of Jesus the “Christ.” In other words, give your full attention to who Jesus (“Christ”) was and what he did for you, and never mind what he said.

Henry Hasse – August 21, 2013

Published in: on August 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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