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Was Paul Among Them?
Jesus Christ frequently debated with the Pharisees in Jerusalem - from which the Pharisees always came away the losers. In the end, they dared not even to try to contend with Him any more i.e. "22:46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions" (Matthew 22:46 KJV).
"22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 22:42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?
The Pharisees in Jerusalem (see also The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees) were directly involved in the assassination of the Christ because they could not withstand the Truth that He preached, yet (see Why Can't 'The Chosen People' See?):
"12:14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him." (Matthew 12:14 KJV)
They did not stop at killing the Christ; they thereafter sought to kill all who believed in Him and preached the same Truth. The martyrdom of Stephen (the Greek word "martyr" originally meant only witness; see Martyrs) was done at the behest of the Jerusalem Pharisees, among them a Christ-hating Pharisee named Saul - the man who, after his conversion, by Christ (Acts 8:1-22), would become the apostle Paul.
"7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
"He which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed"
We know from the Scriptures that Paul was among the Pharisees who killed Stephen, a short time after the killing of the Christ. Paul hated Christ and Christians more than most other Pharisees, as he himself admitted (see below). Why? Was it because Christ personally rebuked and embarrassed him, so much so that Paul dared not even try to debate with Him any more because he always lost? Was Saul/Paul actually among the Pharisees that had Christ put to death? It seems highly likely, but nevertheless irrelevant to the fact that Christ not only forgave Paul, He made Paul into one of the greatest Christian teachers that ever existed - of a faith that Paul once tried to destroy.
Paul's own words:
"15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.
"1:13 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: 1:14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia [see also Why Did Paul Say That Sinai Was In Arabia?], and returned again unto Damascus.
In the end, Paul himself was martyred as a Christian, just as he once had taken part in the martyrdom of Christians.
"4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV)