Questioning Paul

Chapter 3

Part 4

Yaruwshalaim – Source of Reconciliation


So much of this is awkward and disjointed. And the combination of the odd selection of verbs, the missing prepositions, the inappropriate grammatical forms, and the overall lack of sufficient information renders the result an enigma. But in the context of a meeting with the Called Out in Yaruwshalaim, besides Yahowsha’s Disciples, and specifically Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and Ya’aqob, who else could have been in attendance who might have been "reputed and supposed to be someone important based upon something that occurred in past?" No one else could have been held to be especially important. But then to say that these men "were actually worthless" to Paul is gut wrenching. And since the Disciples are the only potential candidates for Paul’s demeaning dismissal, why didn’t this weasel have the courage to name them here while he is rebuking them? Fact is, he will name them three sentences hence, but only because he claims that Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and Ya’aqob granted him the right place of honor and authority.

But I must ask: why does Sha’uwl’s opinion matter? Why attend a meeting if the counsel of others is considered meaningless? Why did Paul respond by undermining the credibility of those who challenged him rather than by debating them? Typically, those who counter challenges in this manner do so because they realize that they cannot prevail on the merits of their argument.

So in the first sentence, it’s what’s not said that renders the result somewhere between senseless and salacious. But with the second statement, we have to question whether Paul was even lucid. Diaphero speaks of "carrying different things, typically a burden, in various ways." So how does one apply this activity to "the face of the God" or to the context of the discussion? Why wasn’t a preposition added before "the face" and why was "anthropou – man" scribed in the genitive, making it "of man?" Furthermore, how does any of this relate to "lambano – taking, obtaining, acquiring, or receiving?"

If Paul was intending to say that "there are no distinctions in the presence of God which a man can receive," then that is what he should have written. But he didn’t, and I suspect that is because he, himself, claimed to be different and distinct, to hold a status no one else had ever acquired – the lone chosen and appointed apostle to the Gentiles (and thus 99.9% of the world). Therefore, if the words are accurately translated, the statement is senseless. But if we try to make sense of them though copious copyediting, Paul’s entire mantra is contradicted.

As a result, all we know for sure is that Paul writes poorly. Additionally, he held Yahowsha’s Disciples in low esteem. And he felt that it was easier to demean them than it would have been to debate them.

Overall, this is an interesting comment for Sha’uwl to make considering his penchant for offering unsubstantiated opinions as if they were snowflakes in the Arctic. To him it is as if the three years the Disciples spent listening to and observing Yahowsha’ didn’t mean squat. Sha’uwl, after all, had been to rabbi school, and they were manual laborers. So I suppose that this is not unlike the disdain clerics have for laity today.

This is the second time over the course of five statements that we have confronted "dokei – were of the opinion." And in this context, it is dokei’s subjective side which unequivocally prevails. According to Paul, these men "purported" to be important, and they "considered" themselves authorities. They were wannabes in Paul’s opinion. And yet, they were irrefutably called by God, publicly appointed Disciples by God, and led and instructed by God over the course of time, all within the purview of history. But compare that to Sha’uwl who can’t name a single witness to corroborate his momentary misadventure on the road out of town.

Besides the obvious, this passage should have been a warning to the Roman Catholic Church. Their patron saint has just said that his god, which is the Christian god, does not recognize human hierarchies. Those who claim rank in relationship to the Pauline god, such as popes, not only have no such authority, they are operating in direct opposition to the founder of their faith.

In actuality, however, some do have an elevated and special standing with God. We are His Covenant children. We are His heirs, inheriting everything He has to offer, from eternal life to perfection, from adoption to empowerment.

While it is akin to putting a pig in a pretty pink dress, I suppose it might have been good had Sha’uwl affirmed that religious and political hierarchies have no standing with God. Had these men not been Yahowsha’s handpicked Disciples, it would have been appropriate to identify the nature of the organization to which other men may have once belonged, and also to have listed the invalid positions others may have articulated. So while just three sentences from now will reveal the names of those he is impugning, in Luke’s testimony in Acts, beyond the Disciples, themselves, the only others mentioned may have formerly been associated with the Pharisees – but so was Paul. And even then, we are left wondering what issues they may have raised.

Based upon what follows in this letter, from Paul’s perspective the worthless wannabes were Disciples, specifically Shim’own, Yahowchanan, and Ya’aqob. And their testimony was discounted because they encouraged everyone to observe the Torah. And that revelation is devastating to Paul’s credibility, because speaking of those who had promoted Yahowah’s Torah, he just said that they "added nothing to the conversation." With Paul, it continues to be one step sideways and all others backwards.

Since this allegation was utterly devastating to King James’ claim to having divine authority to rule, which was the entire purpose behind the publication of the King James Bible, the passage was edited to say that "God accepteth no man’s person." I kid you not. KJV: "But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:" Last time I checked, the purpose of salvation was so that God could "accept man’s person."

Jerome had the same problem with his pope, so he authored: "and away from those who were pretending to be something. (Whatever they might have been once, it means nothing to me. God does not accept the reputation of a man.) And those who were claiming to be something had nothing to offer me." Sha’uwl’s convoluted refutation of divine sanction was something they were unwilling to convey. So they copyedited the letter to suit their leader’s agenda. But to his credit, Jerome accurately captured Paul’s attitude and ego, if not also his underlying insecurity.

The NLT must have considered the words: "but then (de) from (apo) those (ton)" unimportant, so they omitted them from their rendering. And they evidently wanted Paul to be seen referencing "the leaders of the church," so they arbitrarily added this clause. Likewise, the NLT "translators" must have thought it would have been nice for Paul to have written "to what I was preaching," so they included this thought into the text of the epistle as well. And "by the way" must have seemed like the way Paul would have conveyed his thought had he been as articulate as the Tyndale team. Similarly the NLT’s inclusion of "great leaders" and "favorites" was without textual support. So much for being Essentially Literal: "And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.)" To the contrary, God has favorites. Adam, Chawah, Enoch, Noah and his family, Abraham, Sarah, Yitschaq, Ya’aqob, Lot, Moseh (through whom the Torah was revealed), Dowd / David, Shamow’el, and Yahowsha’ immediately come to mind. And, of course, Paul has gone out of his way to tell us that he was preferred over all others.

The transition from the derogatory, "but now from the ones currently reputed, presumed, and supposed to be someone important based upon some sort of unspecified past, they were actually and continue to be nothing, completely meaningless and totally worthless, to me," to "Petros" in this next sentence is concerning. Since Shim’own had been a Disciple, and was now the most respected member of Yaruwshalaim’s Called-Out Assembly, it infers that Paul thought that Peter’s "opinions added nothing to the conversation."

In support of this unflattering conclusion, Galatians 2:7 begins with a somewhat contrarian position. The Greek actually reads:

"Contrariwise (tounantion – on the contrary), nevertheless (alla – however notwithstanding the objection, exception, or restriction), having seen and perceived (horao – having looked at, having been aware of, and having looked at) that because (oti – namely for the reason) I have been believed (pisteuo – I have been convinced to faithfully give credence to, thereby I have been entrusted (in the perfect tense this occurred in the past producing the state which exists in the present, in the passive voice, Sha’uwl had this done to him, and in the indicative mood, it actually occurred)) with the (to) healing message and beneficial messenger (euangelion) of the uncircumcised (tes akrobystia) inasmuch as (kathos – to the degree that and just as) Petros (Petros – rock or stone; typically transliterated "Peter;" the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic kephas) of the circumcised (tes peritome)." (Galatians 2:7)

As has been the case previously, we cannot blame the scribes for the apparent deficiencies. The Greek text reads exactly this way in every ancient manuscript, including Papyrus 46—which dates to as early as 85 CE.

The Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition with McReynolds English Interlinear, the most acclaimed scholarly representation of the text, presents these same words as follows: "But on the contrary having seen that I have been trusted the good message of the uncircumcision just as Peter of the circumcision."

Therefore, should we believe Sha’uwl, Shim’own Kephas and Paulos were assigned the same mission, but to different people. But if this was the case, why was Paul so condemning of the Disciple’s message?

And while this statement is less grammatically deficient than the preceding six, it is barely literate and its message is contrarian and convoluted. For example, tounantion literally means "opposite or contrariwise," although it can be rendered "rather" or "to the contrary." And that begs the question, how and why was Paul’s message so contrary to the presumed leaders of the Yaruwshalaim ekklesia?

Likewise, alla also conveys "to the contrary," in addition to "nevertheless and notwithstanding," indicating that there is a "significant contrast, objection, exception, distinction, or exemption" being made. But the problem with both of these terms, and most especially the use of tounantion in conjunction with alla, is that this clause isn’t related to God’s disdain for hierarchies, or to self-promoting types not adding anything to this conversation. So as back to back comparative terms denoting a very significant contrast, they were deployed to demonstrate that Paul sharply disagreed with what was being said at the meeting. And that means that Galatians 2:7 is not only about divvying up the world, with Paul taking a 99.99% share for himself, his use of tounantion alla screams that neither his power grab nor his disdain for the Torah were well received. So he was telling Yahowsha’s Disciples to capitulate—to see things his way, to accept their fate and his, and to live with it.

And please don’t miss the fact that Paul divided the world between the circumcised and the uncircumcised. So since male circumcision is an absolute requirement to participate in the Covenant, Paul’s followers would remain estranged from God. And since God only saves His Covenant children, they would all die. But at least he has staked out his turf. Unfortunately, however, by doing so he has declared his animosity to everything God holds dear.

From henceforth, Sha’uwl would be the Torah’s principle antagonist, and in pursuit of his new religion, he would do everything in his power to keep those who disagreed with him away from his target audience—the world apart from Jews. And in so doing, from Sha’uwl’s perspective, Jews became competitors and opponents—his rivals and thus enemies. So while Yahowah’s Chosen People had faced the wrath of the Egyptians, the Philistines, the Hittites, the Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans, Paul would be their most formidable foe. The religion he conceived with this statement and with this letter would be a two-thousand-year curse and lead directly to the death of more Followers of the Way and Jews at large than any villain in their history.

Prior to this parting of the ways, the overwhelming preponderance of the followers of The Way had been Torah observant Yahuwdym who had come to know and trust Yahowah through the way the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’ lived and affirmed the Torah and Prophets. They had invited and welcomed Gowym into the Covenant family with open arms – but under the same terms. However, now, as a result of Sha’uwl’s mindset and this meeting, Paul’s new faith would reflect a contrarian view. A wedge was being driven between Jews and Gentiles creating a distinction where there had been none. Paul’s "church" would henceforth view Yahowah’s Chosen People as a conniving and ruthless enemy, and Christians would come to discount their God, His Land, and Word.

Even the Shim’own bar Kochba revolt against Rome in 133 CE which led to the Diaspora was rooted in Sha’uwl’s animosity for his own people. The false messiah’s sponsor, Rabbi Akiba, was able to wage his revolt by completing the job Sha’uwl had begun, completely isolating and marginalizing the Yisra’elite members of The Way so that they had no safe harbor. Hated by everyone, they were destroyed before Akiba’s loyalists were routed by Rome, severing the connection between Yahuwdym and the Land as well as The Way.

Rather than Yahowah’s Spirit guiding him, Sha’uwl’s ego blinded him. His anti-Torah message would be in direct opposition to Yahowah’s instructions. The constraints he put on Shim’own Kephas’ mission were now in direct opposition to Yahowsha’s instructions. So if Sha’uwl was opposed to Yahowah and Yahowsha’, who was he aligned with and promoting?

Since we don’t have much to work with when trying to translate Galatians 2:7, before I share my thoughts on why these deficiencies exist, let’s consider how Bacon and Jerome dealt with Paul’s concluding statement. KJV: "But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;" As we shall see, the King James Version is setting the stage for Paul’s "Two Covenant Theory."

The KJV added "when they" without textual support. They errantly replaced euangelion with "Gospel." The King James also added the clause "was committed to me" without justification in the Greek text. They repeated "gospel" a second time, even though there was no basis for doing so. Then they added, again without support in the Greek, "was and unto" before Petros. In other words, there is almost no correlation between the Greek manuscripts and the English found in the King James.

But as a result of all of their contribution to Paul’s epistle, it was now: "the gospel of the uncircumcision" which "was committed unto [Paul]." So while this wasn’t an accurate translation, as an occultist, Sir Francis Bacon had no difficulty conveying the intended message. By discouraging circumcision, half of the world’s population was automatically and irrevocably excluded from the Covenant and thus could not be saved. If you were opposed to God, it was a brilliant move.

Jerome’s take on the verse was astute. While he had to add the words "it was," "since," "they," "me," and "to," at least his definition of pisteuo as "was entrusted to" was reasonable. However, by doing so, he undermined his translation of pisteuo as "faith" elsewhere. Jerome also had to significantly alter the word order. Yet, these things aside, considering what he was working with, it was a respectable effort. At least he did not create a "new gospel for the uncircumcised." "But it was to the contrary, since they had seen that the evangelium to the uncircumcised was entrusted to me, just as the circumcised to Petro."

However, from: "contrariwise, nevertheless notwithstanding the objection, exception, or restriction, having seen and perceived that because namely I have been believed entrusted with the healing message of the uncircumcised inasmuch as Petros of the circumcised," the NLT produced: "Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews." And yet there is no indication, apart from Sha’uwl’s power grab, that this was true. In fact, to the contrary, Yahowsha’ called Petros "the rock upon which I will build My called-out assembly." So either Yahowsha’ was lying or Paul was.

The reality that we must confront here, at least to be honest with ourselves, is that this sentence doesn’t even approximate Godly perfection. In fact, even if it had been appropriately worded, it wasn’t true. According to Acts 15, neither Shim’own nor Ya’aqob supported Sha’uwl’s position. And since we are compelled to think, I want to deal openly and thoughtfully with what Sha’uwl has written. After all, we are encouraged to test messages, searching to know if they are from God or from man.

The first step with regard to these deficiencies is to admit the obvious: the writing quality is poor. It is most certainly beneath God’s talent to have inspired this. And while we cannot blame Paul for "Gospel," we cannot excuse his replacement of Yahowah’s fortuitous gift with the Greek goddesses, "Charis," or their Roman counterparts, the "Gratia." Further, there is too much ambiguity in this letter for it to be considered Divine. More often than not, the nature of the problems Sha’uwl was encountering was inadequately developed. And soon, we will be left wondering which set of instructions Paul was promoting or assailing—the Torah or the Talmud (the Jerusalem Talmud existed at this time, but not the Babylonian extension).

So, for what it is worth, and that may be nothing, here is the most favorable spin I can put on these words, a perspective that is very thinly supported by what we are reading. A possible justification for the defects in wording may have been because Sha’uwl was dictating this as a letter to a community of people he distrusted in response to an attack on his qualifications and on his message. The penman may have been one of Paul’s associates as opposed to a professional scribe. But the bigger issue was that Paul was angry, hurt, and overly emotional, and he let his ego get in the way.

But to infer, especially without any textual support, that Sha’uwl’s letters were inspired, word for word as the Set-Apart Spirit moved his lips, is to demean Yahowah’s ability to communicate. Unlike what we find in the Torah, there is no instruction to write Yahowah’s words down, to pass God’s personal, first-person testimony on to future generations. There is no admonition to leave God’s witness exactly as it was delivered, without any additions or subtractions. There is no comparison between the magnificently profound, mind-expanding, and soul-stirring presentation we consistently experience in the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms and what we are reading here. Moreover, much of Sha’uwl’s message has been untrue—and all of it has been unsupported.

One of my favorite litmus tests, at least apart from Dabarym / Words / Deuteronomy 13 and 18, for determining that which is from man and that which was created by God, is the comparison between the pin and the lily. Both serve a purpose, but one is beautiful, no matter how closely you look. Examine a pin under a microscope, as we are doing here with Paul’s letters, and the flaws become pervasive. Not so with the lily, where like Scripture, the more it is magnified, the more obvious it becomes that it was authored by a superior being.

Therefore, it is obvious that Paul’s letters are from Sha’uwl of Tarsus, not God. And Paulos had his issues, being both insane and demon-possessed. These problems bubble to the surface in Galatians, a letter which chronicles one of the darkest episodes in this controversial man’s life. As such, this epistle remains his most haunting legacy. And that is the most positive and conciliatory explanation of the evidence at our disposal—at least at this point in our investigation. We still have a great deal to learn.

But even if you don’t agree with my conclusion, it would be preposterous to conclude that the manuscript copies of this letter, both ancient and modern, replete as they all are with numerous grammatical deficiencies and inaccurate statements, represent the perfect and inerrant, the divinely-breathed and inspired, Word of God—i.e., Scripture. The God I have come to know in the Torah does not make mistakes. Further, Sha’uwl’s will never escape the dark shadow of death Yahowah cast upon him in Habakkuk.

All that matters is that Yahowah has demonstrated that the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms are perfect, complete, trustworthy, and reliable—easy to understand and totally sufficient with regard to our spiritual renewal. Our relationship with God and salvation are predicated exclusively upon Yahowah, His credibility and His Word.

Before we move on, let’s summarize where we have just been. Paul’s relentless onslaught has taken a negative turn, replete with many notions which are either conflicting or errant:

"Later, through fourteen years, also, I went up to Yaruwshalaim along with Barnabas, having taken along also Titus. (2:1)

I went up, but then downward from uncovering an unveiling revelation which lays bare, laying down to them the beneficial messenger which I preach among the races down from my own, uniquely and separately, but then to the opinions, presumptions, and suppositions, not somehow perhaps into foolishness and stupidity, without purpose or falsely, I might run or I ran (2:2) to the contrary, not even Titus, a Greek being, was compelled, forced or pressured, to be circumcised – (2:3) but then on account of the impersonators who faked their relationship brought in surreptitiously under false pretenses, who sneaked into the group to secretly spy upon and clandestinely plot against the freedom from conscience and liberation from the constraints of morality that we possess in Christo Iesou in order that us they will actually make subservient, controlling for their own ends, (2:4) to whom neither to a moment we yielded, surrendered, or submitted in order that the truth of the God may continue to be associated among you. (2:5)

But now from the ones currently reputed, presumed, and supposed to be someone important based upon some sort of unspecified past, they were actually and continue to be nothing, completely meaningless and totally worthless, to me. It carries through and bears differently the face of the God of man not take hold of, acquire, or receive, because to me, the ones currently presuming and supposing, presently dispensing opinions based upon reputed appearances, of no account, utterly meaningless and worthless, was their advice and counsel, their cause and contribution in the past. (2:6)

Contrariwise, nevertheless notwithstanding the objection, exception, or restriction, having seen and perceived that because namely I have been believed entrusted with the healing message and beneficial messenger of the uncircumcised inasmuch as Petros / Rock of the circumcised." (Galatians 2:7)

It is hard to imagine that this as the product of a sane or rational mind. It is rambling and psychotic, delusional and paranoid. It serves to prove that Yahowah was right when He warned us not to trust this horrible individual.

The realization that Galatians is not Scripture, however, does not infer that a spirit wasn’t engaged in Sha’uwl’s mission. By using energeo in the next statement, Sha’uwl was saying that something was "functioning" in him, "facilitating" the results the Christian world has come to acknowledge.

"For indeed (gar – because then namely), the one (o – article nominative singular masculine) having previously functioned (energeo – (scribed energesas) having operated and produced previously at work (in the aorist participle, this refers to a snapshot in antecedent time)) in Petro (Petro – in rock or stone; typically transliterated "Peter" from the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic kephas) to (eis – into and inside) an apostle (apostolen – one who is prepared to be sent out with a message) for the (tes) circumcision (peritome), it actually functioned (energeo – (scribed energesen) it truly operated and really worked (aorist active indicative) also (kai) in me (emoi) to (eis) the nations and ethnicities (ta ethnos – the people from different places and races)." (Galatians 2:8)

According to the testimony provided by Shim’own Kephas to Luke and presented in the opening chapters of Acts, this is wildly inaccurate. The expressed benefit of receiving the Set-Apart Spirit on Seven Sabbaths was the ability to share Yahowah’s and Yahowsha’s message with those who did not speak Hebrew – and thus to the ethnicities. A dozen or so nations were listed as the beneficiaries of the fact that the Called Out in Yaruwshalaim were now able speak whatever language was most familiar to the uncircumcised in nations as distinct as Greece and Rome, Persia and Arabia, Asia and Egypt, even Libya and Crete. (See Acts 2:1-12) Therefore, since Shim’own and all of Yahowsha’s Disciples were among those empowered by the Set-Apart Spirit to specifically witness to ethnicities and nations, Sha’uwl’s limitations on Shim’own are as errant and troubling as is his claim to the rest of the world. And just as he has lied about their relative territory, he has also misrepresented the commonality of the powers working in them.

If this had been true, and it wasn’t, if Sha’uwl had identified the Set-Apart Spirit as the source of his power, but he didn’t, and if he had not improperly divided the world, limiting Shim’own, but he did, this would have been the song sung by every child of the Covenant. So while Sha’uwl remains divisive and dishonest, he was at least suggesting that he and Shim’own were on the same team, and were producing results the same way.

One of the reasons that I prefer the insights we glean through amplification is because of words like energeo. By examining them, we not only plumb the depths of what’s being conveyed, we also come to understand that words like ethnos convey a much broader, and more all-encompassing, idea than either "nations" or "Gentiles."

Energeo, when applied to Shim’own Kephas, was scribed in the aorist active participle, thereby, exhibiting the characteristics of a verb and an adjective as a moment in antecedent time. This grammatical form is used to say that this took place earlier in his life and that one thing preceded another. But when Sha’uwl applied energeo to himself, he used the aorist active indicative, whereby the mood of assertion proclaims that the state being presented by the writer was real. So in this context, and by incorporating these telling nuances, we can read Paul’s statement to say: "there was a time, long before I took charge, that this other fellow did in a limited way what I’ve done and am doing in a massive way."

Translated "having previously functioned" and "actually functioned," the two times it appears in Galatians 2:8, energeo speaks of "causing something to function or work, thereby producing an effect." But it is an amoral term, without any inference as to whether the power is good or bad, whether the effect being produced is right or wrong, or whether the result is beneficial or harmful. And I suppose this is the reason that Yahowsha’ is never translated using this verb. Therefore, all we know for sure is that Paul wanted his audience to believe that there was no difference between the source and the result of his "power and ability," and that which had once been demonstrated long ago through Shim’own.

But that false impression evaporates when we examine the Greek text even more closely. Energeo was written as energesas, which is masculine singular in reference to the subject, "o – the one," also written in the masculine singular. But the ruwach qodesh – Set-Apart Spirit of Yahowah is feminine in Hebrew and neuter in Greek (although the neuter pneuma is universally rendered with a Divine Placeholder, effectively negating its Greek characteristics). Therefore, the source of power Paul was claiming was masculine, and thus could not have been Yahowah’s Set-Apart Spirit—which was most assuredly the source of Shim’own’s power (as documented in Acts 2). Fortunately (or unfortunately depending upon your perspective), as we have already seen, Sha’uwl wasn’t mum on the identity of the spirit who possessed him.

Regarding this highly misleading and inaccurate statement, the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th Edition with McReynolds English Interlinear (NAMI) asserts that Paul wrote: "The one for having operated in Peter to delegateship the circumcision operated also in me to the nations." Therefore, these things known, save one glaring issue, the translations which follow are reasonable, albeit inadequate. KJV: "(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)" The adjective-verb, energesas, which we have been addressing, was accurately translated "wrought effectually" in its first occurrence, but even though it is singular and masculine in the Greek text, it was not rendered in the third person, making "For ‘he’ that" inappropriate, albeit telling.

And while there was no basis for "he" in the Greek text because "o – the one" is an article and not a pronoun, it’s once again apparent that Jerome’s Latin Vulgate served as the basis of the King James: "For he who was working the Apostolatum/Apostleship to the circumcised in Petro, was also working in me among the Gentes/Gentiles."

As usual, the NLT has been presumptuous. Paul did not identify the source of his power: "For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles."

Since the New Living Translation inappropriately associated the entity working with Paul as "God," I am compelled to provide another option for your consideration. And while I have presented this and will do so again in other chapters, at this juncture it is especially prudent for us to consider the implications of this stunning confession:

"Because (gar – for indeed) if (ean) I might want (thelo – I may decide, desire, propose, or enjoy) to brag (dauchaomai – to boast or to glorify myself) truthfully (aletheia – honestly), I would not be (ouk esomai) unjustified or imprudent (aphron – acting rashly without reason, inappropriate or foolish).

For then (gar – because) I will say (ero) I am presently abstaining (pheidomai – I am currently refraining). But (de) someone (tis) not (un) approaching (eis) me (eme) might ponder (logizomai – may have reason to logically conclude, embrace an opinion, or hold a view) beyond (hyper – over and above and because of) what (o) he sees (blepo – he will be able to view and discern) in me (me), or (e) something (ti) he hears (akouo – he listens to, receives, pays attention to) from (ek) me (emou), (12:6) and of the (kai te – so with regard to the) extraordinary superiority of the exaggerated (hyperbole ton – preeminence and exceedingly great, transcendent, magnificent, and awe-inspiring aspects of the overstated) revelations (apokalypsis – disclosures with the appearance of instructions concerning the unknown).

Therefore (dio – it should be self-evident), in order that (hina – for the purpose that) I not become overly proud and be lifted up (me hyperairomai – I not become conceited, exalting myself beyond what would be justified, so as not to be insolent, audaciously lifting myself above the source of my inspiration), there was given to me (didomi ego – there was deposited upon me, allowing me to experience, there was granted and entrusted to me for my advantage) a sharp goad and troubling thorn (skolops – a sharp pointed prod used to control dumb animals, featuring poisonous scorpion’s stinger) in the body (te sarx – incorporated into the flesh and as an aspect of my physical, animal, and human nature), a messenger (angelos – a spiritual envoy or demonic spirit) of Satan (Satan – a transliteration of satan, Hebrew for the Adversary), in order to (hina – so as to) strike and restrain me (kolaphizo – adversely harm, beat, and torment me, violently mistreating me to painfully afflict, attack, buffet, and batter me; from kolazo – to prune, control, check, curb, and restrain me), so that as a result (hina) at the present time there is the possibility that I might not be conceited, currently exalting myself beyond what would be justified, lifting myself up (me hyperairomai – I may not be overly proud nor excessively exalted or lifted up, overdoing it (scribed in the present tense, meaning at this time, in the passive voice, affirming that this is being done to him, with the subjective mood indicating that this outcome is a mere possibility, and in the first person singular, thereby identifying Paulos as the one being possessed and controlled)." (2 Corinthians 12:6-7)

This unequivocally and undeniably reveals the identity of Paul’s power. And it explains why "the one" providing it was masculine, not feminine.

In the next chapter, "Kataginosko – Convicted," we will consider what Paul just said in the context of the Dionysus quote attributed to the flashing light he encountered on the road to Damascus. But suffice it to say for now, Paul admitted that he was driven by his ego and controlled by a demon.

Without the clutter of the Greek text, the Adversary’s Apostle testified: "Because indeed if I might want or may desire to brag and boast, glorifying myself, honestly, I would not be unjustified or imprudent. But then I will say I am presently abstaining and currently refraining. But someone not approaching me might ponder beyond what he sees in me, or something he hears from me, (12:6) or of the extraordinary superiority of the preeminent and exceedingly great revelations.

Therefore it should be self-evident, in order that I not become overly proud and be lifted up, exalting myself beyond what would be justified, there was given to me a sharp goad and troubling thorn in the body, a messenger and spiritual envoy of Satan, in order to strike and restrain me, controlling me, so that as a result at the present time there is the possibility that I might not be conceited, currently exalting myself beyond what would be justified, lifting myself up." (2 Corinthians 12:6-7)

After you catch your breath, we’ll move on.

As we have come to expect with Paul, after stepping sideways, he stumbles backwards again. He is once again associating his message with his favorite pagan goddesses.

"And (kai) having known and having recognized (ginosko – having become familiar with and having acknowledged) the Grace (ten Charis – the name of the lovely and lascivious Greek goddesses of merriment, known to the Romans as the Gratia, from which "Grace" is derived) of the one (ten – article accusative singular feminine) having been given (didomi – having been offered and bestowed, having been assigned, experienced, and furnished) to me (moi), Ya’aqob (Iakobos – an inaccurate transliteration of Ya’aqob, meaning One who Digs in his Heels, Standing Steadfast), and (kai) Kephas (Kephas – a transliteration of the Aramaic word for stone, the nickname Yahowsha’ gave Shim’own), and also (kai) Yahowchanan (Ioannas – an inaccurate Greek transliteration of Yahowchanan, a compound of Yahowah and chanan meaning Yahowah is Merciful), the ones (oi) presently presumed and regarded (dokei – currently considered and supposed, of the opinion and assumed) to be (eimi) pillars (stulos – metaphorically used to symbolize an important, authorized, or authoritative leader, especially someone who establishes, upholds, and supports), the right (dexias – to take the right hand and place of honor and authority) they gave (didomi – they offered, granted, and extended) to me (emoi), and (kai) to Barnabas (Barnabas – meaning Son of a Prophet) fellowship (koinonia – association and participation) as a result (hina). We (emeis) to (eis) the (ta) nations and ethnicities (ethnos – people from different races and places), but (de) they (autos) to (eis) the circumcision (ten peritome)." (Galatians 2:9)

Conveying the meaning of the same words somewhat differently, the Nestle-Aland’s McReynolds Interlinear reads: "And having known the favor the one having been given to me Jacob and Cephas and John the ones thinking pillars to be right they gave to me and Barnabas of partnership that we to the nations themselves but to the circumcision."

While the Greek doesn’t flow exceptionally well into English, the message translates that Sha’uwl claimed that the three men closest to Yahowsha’, His brother, Ya’aqob, the excitable, albeit thoughtful, Shim’own Kephas, and the most beloved Disciple, the man named for this very mission, Yahowchanan (Yah is Merciful), all allegedly "granted the right place of honor and authority to" Paul. And then as an afterthought, they said that his pal, Barny, could tag along. But it is all a lie, both egotistical and delusional.