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Was Paul a Member of the Sanhedrin?

31 Jan

The evidence for such an understanding is sketchy, but it is a possibility that Saul / Paul was indeed a member of the Sanhedrin during the 1st century CE when Stephen was stoned. He tells us in his letter to the Galatians that he had been excelling above his peers in the Jewish faith. In Acts 8:1 we are told that Saul “gave his approval” to the killing of Stephen. Does this mean he generally agreed that Stephen’s death was justified, or that he actually gave his “vote” in the Sanhedrin? Notice how Paul, himself, describes similar accounts concerning those believers he brought to Jerusalem for judgment when he spoke before King Agrippa:

Acts 26:9-10 ASV  I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.  (10)  And this I also did in Jerusalem: and I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them.

The phrase: I gave my vote comes from two Greek words kataphero (G2702) and psephos (G5586). According to “The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon,” kataphero means “to bear down, bring down, cast down” and when used with psephos, “a small, worn, smooth stone, a pebble”, it means: “to cast a pebble or calculus into the urn, i.e. give one’s vote, to approve.” Thayer goes on to say that “…in the ancient courts of justice the accused were condemned by black pebbles and acquitted by white.” Thus, we have Paul implying that he was a voting member of the Sanhedrin who condemned the early believers in Jesus. If this conclusion is true, then Paul was probably one of the members of the Sanhedrin who condemned Stephen.

According to Acts 7:58, Stephen was taken outside the city, as commanded by Deuteronomy 17:2-7. The Scripture further says the witnesses against Stephen were to cast the first stones. Leviticus 24:14 makes the same point saying that he who cursed was to be stoned outside the city, and remember the accusation against Stephen was “blasphemy” i.e. he cursed God in that he was saying the Temple upon which the Name of God was would be destroyed. The Talmud has an interesting account of the act of stoning that bears mention concerning Paul. Notice:

“When the trial was over, they take him [the condemned person] out to be stoned. The place of stoning was at a distance from the court, as it is said, ‘Take out the one who has cursed’ (Leviticus 24:14). A man stands at the entrance of the court; in his hand is a signaling flag [Hebrew sudarin = sudar, ‘scarf, sweater’]. A horseman was stationed far away but within sight of him. If one [of the judges] says, ‘I have something [more] to say in his favor,’ he [the signaler] waves the sudarin, and the horseman runs and stops them [from stoning him]. Even if [the condemned person] himself says, ‘I have something to say in my favor,’ they bring him back, even four of five times, only provided that there is some substance to what he is saying.” [Sanhedrin 42b]

Notice that it is said in Acts 7:58 “the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of the young man named Saul.” The Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern has an interesting comment about the above excerpt from the Talmud. Notice:

“…Joseph Shulam thinks sudar in later Hebrew can also mean ‘coat.’ Thus, he conjectures, the Greek translator of Acts from a presumed original Hebrew text didn’t understand the Jewish context and therefore wrote of laying coats at Sha’ul’s feet, whereas actually Shu’ul was a member of the Sanhedrin, specifically, the one who held the sudar.”

So, was Paul a member of the Sanhedrin? Maybe, and maybe not, but the idea is an interesting one. One point against the idea would be, that an actual trial of life and death was not supposed to be held on a Holy Day according to the Talmud—and according to my study Stephen was stoned on the Day of Atonement in 34 CE. The account of Stephen’s trial seems a bit sketchy itself. Nothing is actually said about a vote taken against the accused, so was Stephen’s death an actual verdict of the court or was the matter decided by mob-rule? Luke just isn’t as clear as we would like him to be, so interpreting matters concerning the trial, the verdict and the sentence are questionable.

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42 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Christianity, New Testament History, Religion

 

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42 responses to “Was Paul a Member of the Sanhedrin?

  1. SethZaddik

    January 17, 2017 at 12:44

    I hope that I am not contributing too much but I am interested in the topic.

    As for Paul being a member of the Sanhedrin I find it unlikely. With his love of boasting and detailed accounts of his background he would have said so to bolster his pedigree. He admits to persecution of the Way then at the same time he boasts of his excelling beyond his peers. He never sounds repentant for it, I believe even considered himself blameless.

    Status was a big deal to Paul who said “I don’t think I am the least bit inferior to the chief of these apostles” (Jerusalem Bible, 2 Corinthians) and called the pillars “those who were supposed to be pillars (what they were means nothing to me,..). When he needs it in the next paragraph to seem like they approved of” his” gospel and gave him the hand of friendship he just calls them pillars because the approval was valuable, but he lets them know ahead of time he is not subordinate to them and claims he was given sole right to the greater portion of the world population and the 12 and James to just Jews or “the circumcised.”

    His statement for slaves to obey and treat their (likely Roman) Masters not as “Men and women but as Christ and God.” he reveals he is no humanitarian emissary but a lobbyist for Roman Imperialism and Caesar who he trusts to save him more than the government of Judea or anyone else, invoking his citizenship rights to appeal to Caesar who was Nero, the beast 666.

    Sanhedrin member? I doubt it.

     
    • Eddie

      January 18, 2017 at 09:14

      I hope that I am not contributing too much but I am interested in the topic.

      As for Paul being a member of the Sanhedrin I find it unlikely. With his love of boasting and detailed accounts of his background he would have said so to bolster his pedigree. He admits to persecution of the Way then at the same time he boasts of his excelling beyond his peers. He never sounds repentant for it, I believe even considered himself blameless.

      You are making conclusions about matters not in evidence. You have no proof that Paul boasted to bolster his pedigree. You simply make that claim. As for his boasting in Galatians 1:14, Paul really was advancing in his religion—after all, he was sent by the high priest to Damascus to arrest believers (Acts 9:1-2). Since the high priest in Jerusalem was like the head of state in any other country, it would be safe to assume that he didn’t send just anyone on missions of the state. Paul was, indeed, advancing above many of his peers. But the point of his “boast” is Galatians 1:14 is that he left all that behind for Christ (Galatians 1:15-16). In fact, he counted his whole previous life as a dung heap (Philippians 3:8).

      Status was a big deal to Paul who said “I don’t think I am the least bit inferior to the chief of these apostles” (Jerusalem Bible, 2 Corinthians) and called the pillars “those who were supposed to be pillars (what they were means nothing to me,..). When he needs it in the next paragraph to seem like they approved of” his” gospel and gave him the hand of friendship he just calls them pillars because the approval was valuable, but he lets them know ahead of time he is not subordinate to them and claims he was given sole right to the greater portion of the world population and the 12 and James to just Jews or “the circumcised.”

      You are referring to Paul’s defense against his critics in Corinth, who claimed he wasn’t a real apostle. Some claimed they were of Peter etc. bringing division to the church. They assumed, because of Paul, their church was inferior to the apostolic churches. I’ll quote the Scripture in question:

      “I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.”(2 Corinthians 12:11-13 KJV)

      I don’t see the arrogance you claim should be here. Additionally, the “pillars” reference is not in 2Corinthians. It is in Galatians (Galatians 2:6-9). Actually, you have a wrong perspective here. Peter, James and John were referred to as the pillars of the church at Jerusalem, but their point of view was under attack by the Pharisees—educated men against fishermen. Paul was an educated rabbi, learning at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). When Paul mentioned that he didn’t care what they were, he was referring to their former livelihood—fishermen. When he said that God accepts no man’s person, he was referring to himself, a highly educated man. He placed himself on equal status with fishermen. This is not a boast.

      His statement for slaves to obey and treat their (likely Roman) Masters not as “Men and women but as Christ and God.” he reveals he is no humanitarian emissary but a lobbyist for Roman Imperialism and Caesar who he trusts to save him more than the government of Judea or anyone else, invoking his citizenship rights to appeal to Caesar who was Nero, the beast 666.

      Actually, the only letters in which Paul mentioned that servants need to obey their masters were letters sent to Asian churches, so your claim that the masters were likely Roman is unfounded. Now, I’m not trying to say that Romans servants could be disobedient to Romans masters. That’s not Paul’s point. The point is, there are many human customs that, while not in strict disobedience to God, aren’t really all that nice. The whole of ancient society had slaves. Having slaves and being a slave was not sinful—strictly speaking. To try to reform the Roman Empire (social Gospel) would make Jesus an enemy of Caesar, something Jesus told Pilate he wasn’t. His kingdom simply is not of this world. So, while we are here, we are to behave in such a way that the Gospel of Christ isn’t hindered. We accept persecution to advance the Gospel. To fight social customs would often hurt the Gospel. However, when the Gospel embraces most of a particular area, then the people themselves will reform the country they live in. Believers aren’t political per se. We are here to tell the world about Christ. Christ, once believed and accepted, will convict the world about wrongdoing.

       
  2. SethZaddik

    January 17, 2017 at 11:58

    The thing that perplexes me about the Sanhedrin is that the Pharisees were seperatists, hated the Sadducees and the Idumean Herod faction that Paul was connected with. Herodion is the name of someone who is definitely associated with the Herods and a friend of Paul’s.

    Paul telling slaves to give their masters treatment worthy of God and Christ shows his allegiance is to Rome, the same Rome that carried him away during his purification ritual never to return to Jerusalem.

    If the Sanhedrin is a Pharasaic institution then Paul was not a Pharisee. If it was a mixed institution the Pharisees weren’t seperatists. Either way, Paul was allied with Rome.

     
    • Eddie

      January 18, 2017 at 09:10

      The thing that perplexes me about the Sanhedrin is that the Pharisees were seperatists, hated the Sadducees and the Idumean Herod faction that Paul was connected with. Herodion is the name of someone who is definitely associated with the Herods and a friend of Paul’s.

      We seem to be drawing from two different sources on Paul. In his letters he claimed to be a Pharisee, of the strictest sect—probably a follower of Shammai. I don’t know where you get your information. Pharisees communed with whomever would advance their cause. They hated Jesus, so they communed with the Herodians to kill Jesus. The Sanhedrin was composed of both Pharisees and Sadducees, so they worked together when it suited their cause (viz. getting Jesus crucified) and in opposition when that suited (viz. defending Paul when they found out he was a Pharisee — Acts 23:6). They were separatists in that they separated themselves from the common people by adhering to their many laws concerning washing and tithing.

      Paul telling slaves to give their masters treatment worthy of God and Christ shows his allegiance is to Rome, the same Rome that carried him away during his purification ritual never to return to Jerusalem.

      When Rome rescued Paul from being beaten to death by the Jews, they were also about to engage in torture techniques to find out the truth concerning his being abducted by the Jews. It was only because Paul said he was a Roman citizen that they changed their minds (Acts 22:24-29). Luke doesn’t show that Paul was allied to Rome. Where do you get your information?

      Concerning what Paul told slaves to do, Peter also said slaves should be obedient to their masters (1Peter 2:18). If Paul’s saying so made him an apostate, why don’t you consider Peter an apostate? If it is because Paul said to serve them as though they served the Lord, don’t you try to do all things as though you did it for the Lord. I try to do this. It is a matter of WWJD.

       
  3. SethZaddik

    January 17, 2017 at 11:18

    I don’t consider the Ebionites heretical at all, and I think to dismiss them as such is shortsighted. It testifies that from the beginning a group of Messianic Jews who believed in Yeshua as the Messiah but not God AND dismissed Paul as an apostate, so I am far from the first disciple to figure this out and saying I said they were heretics when the church did is a misinterpretation of my comment.

    Ebionim or Ebionites means The Poor, was one name the Qumran sect called itself and is in the NT, “Poor Saints of Jerusalem” and “Remember the Poor” both refer to this sect.

    “The Way ” is another term the Qumran sect used, as well as Zaddikim(Just/Righteous Ones) and Yakov Ha Zaddik if Hebrew for James the Just.

    So rather than heretics we have good reasons to believe that the Nazarenes and Ebionites were sects of the greater Messianic movement. They were simply heretics because they kept the Law of Moses and rejected Paul. As many do today. It is also very likely that Islam is an outgrowth of this, as they have the same beliefs plus one Prophet who was more Joshua than Jesus in function but also what the Jewish Messiah (or one of them) was expected to be in the first century BC and AD.

    Islam accepts ALL the Prophets, considers Paul to have been decieved. I agree with them.

     
    • Eddie

      January 18, 2017 at 09:04

      I don’t consider the Ebionites heretical at all, and I think to dismiss them as such is shortsighted. It testifies that from the beginning a group of Messianic Jews who believed in Yeshua as the Messiah but not God AND dismissed Paul as an apostate, so I am far from the first disciple to figure this out and saying I said they were heretics when the church did is a misinterpretation of my comment.

      Then would it be safe to assume that your quotes in a previous comment should have been around the word “church” instead of around the word Nazrenes? Obviously, if the “church” considered the Ebionites apostate (true believers according to you), the “church” would have been playing the part of apostate believers by following Paul, whom the Ebionites say was an apostate.

      Ebionim or Ebionites means The Poor, was one name the Qumran sect called itself and is in the NT, “Poor Saints of Jerusalem” and “Remember the Poor” both refer to this sect.

      I believe it was Origen who claimed the Ebionites were so named for their “poor” or “low” opinion of Jesus’ Christology. That is, since they didn’t believe he was God, come in the flesh, they were called Ebionites. I also believe it is telling that you (or whoever makes the claim) accept the testimony of Paul at Romans 15:26 and Galatians 2:10 in order to substantiate the meaning of the name for the Ebionites.

      “The Way ” is another term the Qumran sect used, as well as Zaddikim(Just/Righteous Ones) and Yakov Ha Zaddik if Hebrew for James the Just.

      I have been unable to verify this claim. I realize that the Qumran sect believed in “the way of the Law” (Torah), but simply “the Way”? — no! On the other hand Jesus claimed to be the Way in John 14:6. By saying he is “the Way” rather than the Law being the way, as believed by the Qumran sect (and the Ebionites, if I understand their beliefs accurately), he was placing himself over against the Law. For Christians, “the Way” wouldn’t be the Law, but WWJD. It is not so much a commandment as it is a Person we must believe and obey.

      So rather than heretics we have good reasons to believe that the Nazarenes and Ebionites were sects of the greater Messianic movement. They were simply heretics because they kept the Law of Moses and rejected Paul. As many do today. It is also very likely that Islam is an outgrowth of this, as they have the same beliefs plus one Prophet who was more Joshua than Jesus in function but also what the Jewish Messiah (or one of them) was expected to be in the first century BC and AD.

      Well, I don’t consider the Nazarenes heretics, because they are mentioned in the New Testament, and, far from rejecting Paul, he is said to be a ringleader of that sect (Acts 24:5). However, I do believe the Ebionites were heretical. I don’t believe it is wrong to “keep the Law” per se. It is a matter of perspective. Paul tells us to obey the laws of the land, so the Gospel won’t come under attack by unbelievers. The law of the land for the Jews in Jerusalem was the Torah, so obedience to the Law for the Messianic Jew there would have been expected. Rather, it is when one considers the Law (Torah) “the way of Righteousness” or “the way to salvation” that is wrong, because it places the Law (Torah) in the place of Jesus, who is our Way and our Righteousness. Being his disciple is a matter of WWJD.

      Islam accepts ALL the Prophets, considers Paul to have been deceived. I agree with them.

      Does this mean you would have more points of agreement with Islam than with what most see as modern Christendom?

       
  4. SethZaddik

    January 17, 2017 at 11:02

    I said the “heretical” Nazarenes because according to Epiphanius they were heretics, he is the first father to mention them outside of the NT.

    To declare the religion of JTB and Jesus, James and the 12 apostles as heretical in quotation marks means that I don’t believe they were, but the Church did.

    When something is put in quotations it is like saying alleged heretics, and they were declared heretics as were the Ebionites who scholars have suggested most likely, due to many factors such as use of the same scripture, location in Pella and Symmachus the Ebionites followers being called Nazarenes.

    You must have missed the quotation marks, surely you know what they mean.

     
    • Eddie

      January 17, 2017 at 11:13

      I didn’t miss the quotes, but you claimed the CHURCH considered them heretical along with the Ebionites. However, with your latest comment, I am now wondering, if you believe the Ebionites were true believers and the CHURCH was heretical. Is this a fair conclusion?

       
      • SethZaddik

        January 17, 2017 at 11:28

        I would say yes, a fair conclusion and thanks for not assuming.

        I believe, as Tertullian once said though with a possibly different meaning that Paul was the apostle to the heretics and as Thomas Jefferson said “The first person to corrupt the teachings of Jesus” despite not being a Christian TJ said Jesus was the greatest moral teacher of all time.

        But I made the conclusion before I discovered all this information because Paul’s epistles are just wrong on so many levels.

        He never met Jesus, so I believe that he corrupted his teachings because he didn’t know them, inadvertently, and to start a Christ cult where he didn’t have to play second fiddle to anyone.

         
        • Eddie

          January 18, 2017 at 09:07

          I would say yes, a fair conclusion and thanks for not assuming.

          I believe, as Tertullian once said though with a possibly different meaning that Paul was the apostle to the heretics and as Thomas Jefferson said “The first person to corrupt the teachings of Jesus” despite not being a Christian TJ said Jesus was the greatest moral teacher of all time.

          It is interesting that you would take the testimony of someone who was not considered Christian. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist. As for Tertullian, he said lots of things that I wouldn’t agree with. Just because he is considered one of the church fathers does not make him one of the 12 or someone who wrote Scripture, which we must believe.

          Paul’s epistles are just wrong on so many levels. He never met Jesus, so I believe that he corrupted his teachings because he didn’t know them, inadvertently, and to start a Christ cult where he didn’t have to play second fiddle to anyone.

          Luke, who did write Scripture, claims Paul did meet the Lord, as did Paul. In fact, he kept pointing to that vision to defend his apostleship. As I see it, you would have to reject more Scripture than Paul’s letters to deny he met the Lord. But, that’s between you and Jesus. I try not to judge people for doing things like that.

           
  5. SethZaddik

    January 17, 2017 at 08:30

    Also Paul could not have been a disciple of Gamaliel, probably not a Pharisee either.

    Gamaliel was a pacifist who said NOT to persecute the Nazarenes just in case. Paul was hired by the Romans and Sadducees, much like Shaul the Pharisee of Josephus, so I won’t say his connections to the Sadducees prevent him from being a Pharisee, but his loyalty appears to be towards Rome, not the Jews, Nazarenes or not.

    Either way, he was no disciple of Gamaliel and according to Church history the “heretical” Nazarenes and Ebionites were friendly with the Pharisees, witnessed by the H&R of Clement also.

    The Ebionites claimed Paul was Greek, converted hoping to marry a priests daughter but spurned, he turned against Judaism, railed against “the mutilation” going so far as to claim Christ will be of no benefit should anyone allow themselves personally to be circumcised. Even though he made Timothy get circumcised and the Jerusalem Council declared it unnecessary for goyim. He also said idol meat was kosher, against the decree of the Spirit, Who also (the Holy Spirit) forbade Paul from preaching in Asia.

    Luke contradicts Paul’s claims to being apostle to the nations/gentiles by declaring it was well known Peter was appointed BY GOD to this titular position, as most apostles preached to gentiles/goyim. Paul is the only person forbidden by the HS from preaching anywhere and had little choice in the matter but still preached to Jews and in Asia.

     
    • Eddie

      January 17, 2017 at 09:31

      Greetings again, Seth, and welcome to my blog.

      First of all, your comment lacks evidence. You present no evidence that Gamaliel was a pacifist, and you present no evidence that Paul was hired by the Romans or the Sadducees to infiltrate the Church. While the Sadducees may have had reason to plant spies among the believers, the Romans did not. Throughout the Gospels and the Book of Acts the Romans seem to view the Jesus movement and his Gospel as harmless, no threat to Rome. So far, all you are doing is pulling out accusations from a hat and expecting us to be impressed.

      In your second paragraph above you mention that Gamaliel wanted to protect the Nazarenes (meaning the disciples of Christ), but in your next paragraph you say the Nazarenes were heretical along with the Ebionites. Which is it? Were the Nazarenes of Acts believers or not?

      Concerning the Ebionites of paragraph three, if they were heretical, why should we accept their testimony about Paul? If you think you have evidence that Paul is not a true Apostle, quote that evidence or at least point to the Scriptural reference that has that evidence. Otherwise, how can I take your accusations seriously, if you base them on the testimony of heretics?

      Concerning Timothy, Timothy was a Jew, and Paul took him to the synagogues in and around Galatia where he was known to have a gentile father. Unbelieving Jews would have been offended if Timothy was not circumcised but tried to preach to them that Jesus was their Messiah. It wouldn’t have been a kosher thing to do. Therefore, Paul circumcised him. It was a case where the Gospel would have been refused if it wasn’t done.

      As for the Jerusalem Council, you are correct; it concluded that circumcision was not necessary for salvation, and was not to be forced upon the gentiles. However, concerning Jews, it was part of their covenant with God. It was expected of a Jew to be circumcised.

      Concerning Acts 16:6, what would it look like if the Holy Spirit forbade Paul to preach in Asia? Would that mean the people in Asia weren’t worthy? Weren’t they loved by God? The text says that after they preached throughout Galatia and Phrygia, they went through Mysia to Troas, probably intending to enter Asia by boat, but the Holy Spirit gave Paul a vision to go to Europe. The Holy Spirit indeed “kept” Paul from preaching to folks in Asia at that time, but it was never meant to be taken, as you suppose, a forbidding commandment never to preach in Asia.

      Concerning Luke contradicting Paul, I don’t know how you can say such a thing and expect to be taken seriously, since Luke writes so much about Paul. Acts 1-12 concerns Peter’s ministry, but the rest of Acts concerns Paul’s. What do you want to do, throw out over half of Acts? As for Peter’s vision in Acts 10 and his going to Cornelius, that was for a witness to the super-conservative believers in Jerusalem (Acts 11). They had a difficult time believing Paul. In fact, they had a difficult time fellowshipping with Jews of the Diaspora (Hellenists). They considered them unclean. See Acts 6:7 where it is implied that the believing priests didn’t join the Apostles, until the Hellenist Jews went out on their own in a friendly split–i.e. the Apostles appointed men among the Hellenist believers to lead them. Peter was sent to the Jews (not gentiles), and Paul was sent to the gentiles (Matthew 10:5, 23 and Acts 9:15).

      Lord bless you, Seth, as you consider the position you have taken here, and may he help you see the truth of the Scriptures.

       
  6. SethZaddik

    January 17, 2017 at 08:13

    Paul is a false apostle, self appointed, who never met Jesus and has no witnesses to corroborate his claimed secret revelations which in Mt. 24 Jesus said to the disciples, should anyone claim such a thing, “DO NOT BELIEVE THEM!” My how confused Christians are who can’t see this and the abundance of evidence that Paul was still the enemy of the Way, only, with a new plan.

     
    • Eddie

      January 17, 2017 at 08:48

      Greetings Seth, and thanks for reading my blog.

      You present no evidence that Paul is a false apostle. Your Matthew 24 reference has nothing to do with private revelations. Rather it has to do with folks telling the disciples that Jesus has come back and is in the desert or some other place and they should go and follow him. Jesus said that would be a false messiah (Matthew 24:24-27). Paul’s vision is nothing like that. Rather he preached and defended the Gospel of Christ at Damascus for three years before he even met the Apostles. At that time, it wasn’t his personal vision that convinced the Apostles, but the evidence of reports of his preaching in and around Damascus (probably coming from pilgrims from Damascus in Jerusalem) that convinced Barnabas that Paul was sincere. Therefore, he was brought to the Apostles (Peter and James).

      Take another look at Matthew 24:24-27 and see for yourself. Lord bless you as you do, seeking truth rather than support for false doctrine.

       
      • SethZaddik

        January 17, 2017 at 09:23

        You SAY I prevent no evidence, yet I actually did.

        1. Paul never met Jesus

        2. According to Biblical standards which Paul himself cites, any charges or claims need witnesses, yet who witnessed the Damascus trip, that Paul himself doesn’t corroborate entirely, or any of his claims to secret revelations? Where are his witnesses?

        3. No apostle corroborated Paul’s being an apostle, ever called him one. This is because he doesn’t meet the qualifications set out in Acts and 12 is a sacred number.

        4. Vision of New Jerusalem has 12 of many things, tribes and apostles being significant.

        5.All those who were in Asia turned away from Paul.

        6. Revelation is SPECIFICALLY addressed to the 7 churches in Asis and congratulates Ephesus for rejecting false apostles. Ephesians is the letter Paul say that Asia rejected him.

        This is MORE evidence, all from memory as I have studied this for years after reaching the conclusion myself it was discovered by me a great deal of Bible scholars a know this too.

        Last, Mt. 24 is a perfect example of the type of person Paul is and claims he makes, you can disagree of course, but to say that I should re read something I have studied for years to come to your conclusion when I have made mine, and it is accurate, is unfair.

        Certainly you will try and “debunk” my evidence, but evidence it is and you may have to resort to sophistry to do so. I am not new to the issue of Paul and his problems with Jerusalem so it will have no effect on me.

        Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit from preaching in Jerusalem and lacks the witnesses necessary to validate his claims by his own and Biblically quoted from standards.

        The claim of no evidence was just untrue. You disagree WITH my evidence, but the evidence does not disagree with me.

        I am happy to debate this so long as it remains civil, keep in mind I intend no offense to anyone nor demand anyone agree.

        In good fun

        Seth

         
        • Eddie

          January 17, 2017 at 10:40

          You SAY I prevent no evidence, yet I actually did.

          1. Paul never met Jesus

          Luke says he did (Acts 9:1-6).

          2. According to Biblical standards which Paul himself cites, any charges or claims need witnesses, yet who witnessed the Damascus trip, that Paul himself doesn’t corroborate entirely, or any of his claims to secret revelations? Where are his witnesses?

          The vision was verified by Ananias and Paul (two witnesses). If Paul had doubts about what he saw, it would have been verified by the fact that in the vision he was told that a man by the name of Ananias would come to him (Acts 9:12). The fact that a man named Ananias did come to him as predicted in the vision would have verified the vision to Paul (if he doubted the vision). Moreover, the fact that Ananias received a vision himself and was given a specific address where to find Paul and what to do when he got there (Acts 9:11), would have verified the vision to Ananias. There are two witnesses here, not to mention that miracles were performed by Paul–according to Luke–so we also have the witness of the Holy Spirit.

          3. No apostle corroborated Paul’s being an apostle, ever called him one. This is because he doesn’t meet the qualifications set out in Acts and 12 is a sacred number.

          Why would we need an apostle’s corroboration that Paul was who he claimed to be? Did Paul need corroboration of the credentials of the twelve? Can’t Jesus do what he wishes to do in the Church or does he need the approval of his disciples to do so? An apostle is an emissary. The 12 were sent out by Jesus to the Jews. Barnabas and several other people are called “apostles” in Paul’s letters. These were “emissaries” representing one church to another. If Jesus sent Paul to the gentiles as Luke claims in Acts 9:15, then he was, indeed, and “apostle” of Jesus, and that doesn’t need an approval from the 12 or the Jerusalem Council, and a “sacred number, notwithstanding.

          4. Vision of New Jerusalem has 12 of many things, tribes and apostles being significant.

          While I have no argument that the #12 points to many things (12 tribes, 12 sons of Jacob etc.), why would this be “evidence” that Paul isn’t an apostle sent out by Jesus to the gentiles? Do gentiles have to become Jews or members of the 12 tribes in order to be received by God? Revelation is a book written primarily to Jews. Its significance is for Jews. Again, why would this be evidence that Paul wasn’t an apostle?

          5.All those who were in Asia turned away from Paul.

          Why should I accept this as “evidence” that Paul isn’t who he claims to be? Didn’t the Jews as a people–a nation–reject Jesus? Is that “evidence” that Jesus isn’t the Messiah?

          6. Revelation is SPECIFICALLY addressed to the 7 churches in Asis and congratulates Ephesus for rejecting false apostles. Ephesians is the letter Paul say that Asia rejected him.

          Again, how does this refute the idea that Paul was a legitimate apostle of Jesus? You have presented no proof for your claims.

          Lord bless you, Seth, as you reconsider your claim about Paul, unless you also wish to debunk Luke and Peter, who both claim that Paul was a legitimate preacher of the Gospel and wrote Scripture.

           
  7. ชาทีมิกซ์

    June 5, 2016 at 19:25

    Hi, this weekend is nice in support of me, as this point
    in time i am reading this fantastic educational piece of writing here at my
    house.

     
    • Eddie

      June 6, 2016 at 05:00

      Greetings and blessings from the Lord our God to you and your family.

      Thank you for reading and for your kind words.

       
      • SethZaddik

        January 17, 2017 at 10:52

        I am afraid Anias or Ananias does not qualify as a witness.

        The reason? He didn’t write Acts and Luke wasn’t there.

        No witnesses. I may be mistaken but the epistle of Ananias has never been mentioned, doesn’t exist and therefore is not corroboration, having no chance to speak for himself.

        Further, the applicable law says 2 or 3 witnesses. Paul has ZERO.

         
        • Eddie

          January 17, 2017 at 11:08

          Does this mean that the Gospel of Luke isn’t Scripture, according to you? Is Luke a gentile or a Jew? Was he a witness of the events of his Gospel or was he not? Is his book Acts Scripture or not? Is Acts 9:15 Scripture or not–according to you?

           
      • SethZaddik

        January 17, 2017 at 12:58

        The reason 12 is proof Paul C’ANT be an apostle is the fact that Acts sets forth qualifications for being one and the number is fixed at 12.

        Out of the two men on earth who meet the qualifications one can be and is selected, Matthias. There is no possibility of anyone becoming one after that unless Matthias died while Justus was living.

        Revelation does what it intended and reveals it, confirming only 12 apostles exist. You may be glossing over these well known and obvious facts simply to preserve the notion that Paul qualified or ever had a chance, as well as his lack of witnesses per Biblical law, that he quotes, and he does not have a single witness.

         
        • Eddie

          January 18, 2017 at 09:17

          You reject the witness of Scripture (Acts 9:15). Therefore, this is pretty much your opinion, and to add to Scripture something of one’s own that cannot be contradicted is forbidden (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19)

          On another note, no doubt you just forgot to do so, but you skipped one of my replies entirely. I asked:
          “Does this mean that the Gospel of Luke isn’t Scripture, according to you? Is Luke a gentile or a Jew? Was he a witness of the events of his Gospel or was he not? Is his book, Acts, Scripture or not? Is Acts 9:15 Scripture or not–according to you?”

          I would like a response to this, because it would help me understand better what you believe about Scripture. I know, since you reject Paul as an apostate and an ally of Rome, you must reject his epistles as Scripture, but I don’t know how you handle Luke’s treatment of him or for that matter Peter’s at 2Peter 3:15-16. I am wondering how much of what most people consider to be the New Testament that you throw out as non-inspired literature.

           
  8. Bill

    February 13, 2016 at 16:59

    Eddie, a friend told me that Paul could not have been of the Sanhedrin because he was of the tribe of Benjamin, not Levi (Phil 3:5). Interesting commentary, though, that he could have a part of a smaller council.

    I am through my Sunday school class on Acts. Your insights helped that study come alive for me. Now, my son’s Sunday school is taking it up, so I get to go through it again. Amen!

    Blessings,

    Bill

     
    • Eddie

      February 14, 2016 at 13:42

      Bill, greetings and thank you for your comment and encouraging remarks. It is true that when the court was established by Jehosaphat the judges were taken from the priests and Levites, but it also says of “the chief fathers of Israel (2Chronicles 19:8), also called “the principle persons of the multitude” (Josephus: “Antiquities of the Jews” 9.1.1). Josephus also mentions that King Alexander on his death bed advised his wife to let the Pharisees have power in the government in order that she might retain her royal office (see “Antiquities of the Jews” 13.15.5), which she did. One didn’t need to be a Levite or a priest to be a Pharisee, and this is shown clearly in the Bible when Paul tells us he was also a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.

      To be honest about the matter, I don’t think Paul was a “member” of the Sanhedrin (but he could have been). Rather, I believe he was an officer of the court, like a sheriff or something like this. He gave his vote against Christians, because he was given a vote being the arresting officer. The actual vote of life or death, however, came from the court itself. I think Paul means that he “recommended” punishment up to and including execution.

      Nevertheless, the above is just my interpretation of what I see in Scriptures. There is no “thus saith the Lord” concerning what office Paul held in Jerusalem before becoming a believer, but we know he knew the high priest quite well.

      Lord bless you, Bill, and your son in your studies of God’s word.

       
  9. Edward Fletcher

    February 23, 2015 at 01:27

    Due to the laws regarding inheritance in Israel, and the very important need to perpetuate the family line, marriage was a must. when we look at the requirements of a bishop or a Deacons 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9 They had to be the husband of one wife, the customs of the 1st century church we could be sure would follow tradition, therefore we are on safe ground saying that Paul was probably a widower.

     
    • Eddie

      February 23, 2015 at 05:40

      Greetings Edward, and thanks for your comment. Personally, I think Paul had a wife, but she may not have been a believer, and there is also the possibility she divorced him due to his Damascus experience. I discus the matter HERE. Lord bless you and thanks again for reading and for taking the time to leave a few thoughts of your own.

       
      • Edward Fletcher

        February 24, 2015 at 00:44

        I prefere Edward.
        To me there seems to be no scriptural support for the Idea of Paul being divorced even by inference. but due to the lack of medical expertise in those days, many men would be widowed through child birth, when the child itself would also die. even in the 30’s my mother lost friends due to this very problem.

         
        • Eddie

          February 24, 2015 at 05:54

          Hello again, Edward. I don’t believe there is “scriptural’ support for any of this stuff concerning a wife for Paul. It may be fun looking at circumstantial evidence that fits the scripture we do have, but at the end of the day we must conclude we simply are not certain about Paul’s wife. I agree that Jewish law in the first century practically demanded a religious person like Paul to marry, probably well before 30. What happened to Paul’s wife since she is never mentioned in scripture? We can infer that he was married, but Jesus wasn’t married although he was past 30 by the time of his crucifixion. Still, Paul was probably 60 or older by the time of his death, so it seems unreasonable that he wouldn’t be married, considering Jewish law and the scriptures you mention (1Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9). Nevertheless, we can also consider 1Corinthians 7:25-40 and apply it to Paul’s life. Paul speaks similarly in the same chapter in verses 1-15 and refers to himself as not having a wife, but since he speaks of both death and divorce of a mate, we simply do not know what occurred in this respect for Paul. His wife may have died, but why wouldn’t he mention he is a widower? He never speaks of her, which if he had a wife would fit the context of him hiding her sin. The maturity of Paul’s compassion for both the married and the unmarried seems to point to his experience in both states. Nevertheless, it is just my opinion. Lord bless you in you studies of his word.

           
    • Return of Benjamin

      March 5, 2015 at 09:16

      Shalom, Eddie. Still working my way back through your posts, so pardon the late comment.

      I agree that we simply lack the Biblical data to say whether Paul had been married or not. I will point out that while Jewish tradition encouraged people to marry young, there is plenty of evidence that not all Jewish men, or even all rabbis, did so. For example, Rabbi Simeon Ben Azzai (early 2nd Century) was criticized for not having married yet, and responded by saying that he was in love with the Torah (Babylonian Talmud, Yevamot 3b).

      Having said that, my personal opinion was that Paul had been married, but that his wife had left him over the matter of Yeshua. Paul would have had to be the one to issue the Get, the document of divorcement, under Torah law however. That adds some poignancy and personal experience to his teachings on divorce in 1 Corinthians.

      To address the article’s main point, I do believe that Paul was on _a_ sanhedrin (how else would he cast a vote against the Nazarenes?), but most likely he wasn’t on _the_ Great Sanhedrin. There were many sanhedrins of 23 judges, and smaller ones for just about any sizeable town. As a student of Rabban Gamaliel, and one who apparently was known to have excelled in his studies, it makes sense that Paul would have been a judge in one or more courts.

      Shalom

       
      • Eddie

        March 5, 2015 at 18:24

        Rabbi Mike, it is always a pleasure to hear from you. Thanks for your comment. I don’t know why I never considered Paul being a member of a local Sanhedrin. That makes more sense, especially, as you point out, since he was a disciple of Gamaliel. Lord bless you in all your service to him. Shalom.

         
  10. dennis

    September 27, 2012 at 15:39

    God bless you Eddie for your posts. God bless you also buttermilk80. I find your post very informative, although I know many preachers and others want all left to them, their interpretation, or/and their own pulpit/Church. It seems as if some wish fame over thought. I discourage anyone who wishes to keep people from thinking and this is just exactly what this post did for me, made me think. Keep up God’s work and help people, not as knowledgeable as some, think. I know God wants his people to think and be led by the Holy Spirit and not withheld. Please post and use the gift God gave you. I had one once discourage me from using facebook as a witness for Christ. I plan to use any means that God puts at my finger tips. God bless.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      September 27, 2012 at 23:07

      Hello Dennis, and thank you for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts. Thank you for your kind words, and may God bless you as well in all your efforts to please him and share him with others.

       
  11. David

    December 4, 2011 at 13:58

    I like the straight-forward approach that concludes we do not know… but provides food for thought so that each may make up their own mind. I ran across this thread researching whether Paul was ever married, in regards to a question on divorce that came up in our Sunday School class. These questions come up, and I find them interesting to pursue, even if I don’t come up with a specific doctrine to add to my views. There is value in being able to say I’ve looked into that, and the Bible is silent on the subject, and all we have is conjecture on men’s parts, but conjecture that is based upon some logical reasoning. Thanks for contributing.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      December 4, 2011 at 17:31

      Dave, it is my pleasure, and thanks for reading and for your kind remarks.

      Lord bless you,

      Eddie

       
  12. ppleer

    August 13, 2011 at 07:48

    I think all kinds of information that are posted on the internet might be of use to someone, when the person is doing research. I became interested on the question of “belonging to the Sanhedrin” because I wanted to know if Paul had ever married or not. I’m glad I read this article because it took me to the reading of the original text in Greek, referring to the verse where “coats were laid at Paul’s feet”. Had I not read the original translation, I would still be thinking that there was a possibility, based on Sanhedrin requirements, that Paul had to be married if he was a member. However, the original text in Greek implies that he was just “guarding” the coats, not as in “demanding” them because he was an authority or elder in the Sanhedrin. He did have authority delegated to him from the Sanhedrin, but at what stage, what was his “position” there? That is now my question…. :) thanks for the info!

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      August 13, 2011 at 08:57

      Greetings, and thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I hope my studies have been of good use to you in resolving issues about Paul, Acts or whatever. It is always a pleasure to understand God has used them in some way to help another brother or sister in Christ, or to help someone who is simply curious about God’s word. Lord bless you always.

      Eddie

       
  13. John Stewart

    March 25, 2011 at 20:01

    Enjoyed the blog on whether Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin. I couldn’t remember the Scripture in Acts (26) about him casting his vote, so I googled a quetion, and your blog appeared. I still work some, but my joy is studying and teaching the Scriptures. Blessings.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      March 26, 2011 at 11:20

      Mr. Stewart, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to say so. I clicked on your website and read a little of your blog. I especially enjoyed “Does Science Lead Us to God.” Lord bless you in your service to him.

       
  14. buttermilk80

    January 31, 2011 at 10:39

    As was said, each has a specific gift for a specific cause. May God grant a worthy and vibrant crop from your garden of words.

    by His Grace.

     
    • Eddie

      January 31, 2011 at 10:51

      Thank you, and may all you do be to the praise and honor of our wonderful God. May everyone who knows you see Jesus. :-)

       
  15. buttermilk80

    January 31, 2011 at 08:18

    There are millions of questions any one man might have conserning the Bible’s accounts of humanity. And there is absolutely no blame for anyone considering what is not presented there. How can we ever deny that we wish more had been handed down to us? As the Apostle John mentioned that to account for everything Jesus did would take billions of volumes. Yet we are left with a handful of pages. A great sigh is appropriate here.

    I am curious, however, that you should use such a precious place to ponder such ambiguity. Each of us who serve the Living God has a specific calling. One’s calling will not be exactly like another. Yet there is a central truth which has been given into the hands of men by He who is a consuming Fire. Since my gift is to proclaim His Glory and to diminish the pride of man, I fail to see the logic of taking up time, space, and energy to promote what cannot be known.

    I applaud your curiosity. Yet I fail to see the value in this post. I don’t mean to cast stones (no pun intended) at your gift from God. I just didn’t find much to eat on this plate of nothing. But each to his own. You may well have specific guest to entertain at your table. And perhaps I simply entered into an open door when there was a table prepared for others.

    By His Grace.

     
    • Eddie

      January 31, 2011 at 10:18

      Greetings “buttermilk”

      Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for your comments. I am always pleased when folks take the time to say hello and offer something of themselves during their visit. :-)

      I fail to see the logic of taking up time, space, and energy to promote what cannot be known.

      We speculate about many things, don’t we? I think the history of the NT is important, and, trying to understand why this or that was done has value, even if all we can conclude is: “perhaps it occurred under these circumstances or for these reasons…”

      Yet I fail to see the value in this post. I don’t mean to cast stones (no pun intended) at your gift from God. I just didn’t find much to eat on this plate of nothing.

      Well, there will be other “plates” and everything one finds here will probably not be enjoyed by everyone, except me! :-)

      To use your analogy, I have prepared a meal that I enjoy and have invited many of various tastes. Some things are meant only for appetizers or intended as “finger-foods” one enjoys in conversation. All who visit will not partake of everything, but some will find they enjoy a little of many things. I try to titillate the tastes of many with the intention and hope that my guests will enjoy the main meal—Jesus. And, please don’t think you are throwing stones. I have been “stoned” and I know what that feels like. Nothing you have said has hurt me. I have found your comment both enjoyable and valuable for reflective consideration. I shouldn’t, after all, spend a great deal of time on “finger-foods”!

      You may well have specific guest to entertain at your table. And perhaps I simply entered into an open door when there was a table prepared for others.

      On the contrary, as you put it, my “door” is open with the hope that all may enter and be enticed to partake of Christ. I hope the meal is enjoyable, but all the hors d’oeuvres probably won’t fit everyone’s pallet! But you are welcome to sample other things if you wish. :-)

      Lord bless,

      Eddie

       

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