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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?

They say unto him, The son of David.

22:43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 22:44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 22:45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

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 22:41-46 KJV)

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?):

Pharisee

"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.

7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul." (Acts 7:54-58 KJV)

"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.

Apostle 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.

15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 KJV)

Further:

"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.

1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter [see Peter's Ministry; also Peter and Paul], and abode with him fifteen days. 1:19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. 1:20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. 1:21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; 1:22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 1:24 And they glorified God in me." (Galatians 1:13-24 KJV)

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)

Fact Finder: Where did Paul go on his major missionary journeys?
See Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey


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