Apostle Paul, the State of Israel and Christian Leadership
New in the Website
Few Christians had the preparation of Apostle Paul, who was Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless (Philippians 3:5-6) and I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
Accordingly we should expect extraordinary things from him. After his preparation was complete, he was well equipped to differentiate between good and evil, just and unjust, as a true leader must be capable to do. On two occasions he showed true leadership, each time deciding in a different direction and teaching us powerful lessons. Paul converted to Christianity after being one of its bitterest persecutors. He fearlessly recognized his error:
For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (Galatians 1:13-16)
Equally impressive was his capability to show others their errors. The Apostolic Conference of Jerusalem (circa 50 AD) was the first major doctrinal meeting of the Church; the encounter is described in Acts 15 and in Galatians 2. The three leaders of the Church of Jerusalem—Apostles Peter, John and James—met Apostle Paul, who came from Antioch to resolve doctrinal issues regarding the joining of gentiles to the Church. From our point of view, the meeting could be interpreted as a meeting between equals. However, at the time, it didn’t look that way. The three apostles in Jerusalem had walked with Jesus for three years and had been chosen by Him. Paul converted after the crucifixion. The three apostles led the then largest church of the world. Paul was a missionary spending most of his time in faraway lands. Paul was at a disadvantage and had all the reasons to be fearful of the encounter. Instead, Paul acted as instructed by Jesus in the Sermon to the Apostles:
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:27-28)
The results of the conference have shaped the Church ever since. Paul’s interpretations were eventually adopted. In Galatians 2, we can also see the Apostle Peter accepting his error in a related event. Both events created a reality in which gentiles do not need to fulfill the Mosaic Law in order to be redeemed, as was earlier taught by Jesus. Many texts claim that. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
As said, Paul was a remarkable leader, defining his role as: For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16)
He left us no choice. Neither had Jesus: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40). A true Christian is instructed to show mercy to his fellow humans and to preach the Gospel of Love and Peace. Cooperating with evil is not an option. Defending other causes is not permitted. Preaching for the Mosaic Law is misunderstanding its theological role as the Road to Faith. Profiting from others’ suffering is wrong. Sending troops to cause pain to others is not an option. Funding an army causing pain to others is not an option. Supporting discrimination between humans is wrong. A true Christian leader will defend this and related principles no matter what and to death. A true Christian leader will put these before any national issues, because the only kingdom belongs to Him.
We see that the State of Israel survives only due to the support of societies that in the past defined themselves as Christians. Where are their Christian leaders when it comes to the Israeli terror and crimes committed against fellow humans, many of them Christians? Are they Pharisaic apostates? Jewish sympathizers? Satan’s collaborators? If they were true Christians they would have no problem explaining their actions. After all Jesus taught:
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you (Matthew 1:19-20). If your actions are Christian, I dare you: come out and defend them! The fact that you can’t shows they are not according to the Spirit.
My articles on the web are my main income these days; please recognize my efforts in writing them by donating or buying a copy of The Cross of Bethlehem, or Back in Bethlehem.