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Odd Message From "Jesus" To Paul About Apostles

 

Paul rushed to Jerusalem after his experience outside Damascus where a gentleman physically appeared to Paul saying "I am Jesus." Paul wanted to tell the twelve about his experience, and obviously seek validation and acceptance. After Paul traveled about 2 weeks from Syria to Jerusalem covering 176 miles on foot (Google maps), Paul's "Jesus" put Paul in a "trance" while Paul was praying at the Temple. Paul's Jesus then tells Paul in the trance to leave Jerusalem because the 12 will not believe Paul truly met Jesus:

17 And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me.(Acts 22:17-18 ASV.)

Does this sound like the Jesus you know? Someone who could not influence the 12 to accept Paul truly met Jesus Himself? Who is this Jesus then? It surely cannot be the Lord of Heaven who is sitting at the right hand of the Father, that's for sure. It is some impotent powerless person.

For the true Jesus knows He could communicate via the Holy Spirit to the apostles by the same signs and wonders that won over Paul outside Damascus. But a false Jesus would tell Paul not to go meet the 12 for fear that Paul's "Jesus" would be exposed as false. Paul would have been asked questions that would have applied Jesus' warning of imposters coming in His name in a wildnerness such as outside Damascus. The 12 would appreciate Paul is no longer an enemy, but they would have to admit Paul's Jesus was an imposter. The 12 would have shared with Paul that the true Jesus said that once Jesus ascended then the only valid next appearance of Jesus on earth would (a) not be in a wilderness such as outside Damascus but be (b) by the Sign of the Son of Man -- a universally seen event where Jesus arrives on clouds of glory with a host. See Matt 24:4-5, 23-27.

Consider the following facts in preparation to hear the problem:

1. The appearance on the Road to Damascus of Jesus to Paul is chronologically at Acts chapter 9 after Paul's participation in the murder of Stephen.

2. This is important for at that time, Luke had just recorded in chapter 8 that the "apostles" were staying in Jerusalem, while believers were otherwise scattered due to what happened to Stephen. (Acts 8:1.)

Thus, when Paul recounts in Acts 22 the same appearance account as in Acts 9 with more details, Paul is recounting an event that follows Acts 8:1 which says the apostles are alone at Jerusalem. The believers at Jerusalem due to Paul's persecution were sent into flight. 

This means the trance-message  of Acts 22 is Paul's Jesus telling Paul not to see the 12 apostles right after the same event recounted by Luke at 9:1-7. This means the "Jesus" speaking to Paul in a trance in Acts 22:14-21 did so immediately after the walking-time it took for Paul to walk from Damascus to reach the apostles at Jerusalem. Paul's Jesus waited until Paul arrived at Jerusalem, rather than sooner, to tell Paul in a trance to leave Jerusalem because those there -- the 12 apostles in context due facts mentioned in Acts 8:1 -- "will not receive of thee testimony concerning me." (Acts 22:18.) 

Breakdown of Paul's Account

With that background, let's turn to Acts 22, and focus more closely on the details. Paul recounts after he walked from Damascus to Jerusalem that whike at the Temple, Paul fell into a "trance" -- the Greek word ectsasia -- another oddity in this story. See Paul's Trance. In this trance, Paul heard the "Jesus" Paul just recently met speak. Paul's first response was to insist that Paul thinks the 12 can believe he met Jesus. But Paul's Jesus strangely says no, the plan is not to get the 12's acceptance. Instead, Paul's 126 mile walking back to Jerusalem was unnecessary, because Jesus will send Paul not to the Jews of Israel, but to the Gentiles like in Syria where Paul just walked from. Why didn't Paul's Jesus speak up earlier, and avoid this unnecessary travel? Did the true God keep Paul's Jesus' mouth shut so that Paul could ask the hard questions we are asking 2000 years later? But Paul obviously never did, because Paul credulously accepted this experience was from the true Jesus.

Here is the verbatim full account in Acts 22 to consider how these additional details do not fit the true Jesus was whom Paul met:

 

17 And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance,

18 and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me.

19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:

20 and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him.

21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles. (Acts 22:14-21 ASV.)

Does it not sound very odd that Paul was told by the supposedly true Jesus that his 12 apostles would not accept Paul? and instead of going to visit them, and be received by them -- through a Holy Spirit message of Jesus to them -- that instead Paul should leave Jerusalem? 'They will reject Paul, so don't bother with the apostles at Jerusalem,' in effect.

Does that sound like what the true Jesus would say? Or what a false Jesus would say who could not dupe the true 12? And why would the true Jesus let Paul travel to Jerusalem over a 2 week walk, and when Paul arrives, Jesus tells Paul to essentially go back out to Gentile lands like Syria, and preach there.

We can be certain then this was not the true Jesus for all the above reasons.

To be clear, the true Jesus no doubt would want Paul to obtain the apostles' consent, and help Paul use Jesus' Gospel words heard by the true 12 to validate Paul's experience with Himself. Specifically, the true Jesus would intend the apostles share Jesus' warning in Matthew 24 not to believe an imposter claiming to be Jesus who only appears in the wilderness or a private encounter but rather wait for the Sign of the Son of Man -- only that would be a true reappearance on Earth of the true Jesus. Had Paul gone to Jerusalem, and learned of this filter-criteria, only a false Jesus could be protected by giving such an odd direction to Paul to leave Jerusalem without seeing the 12 apostles because the 12 apostles there would reject Paul.

Second, and lastly, the true Jesus would not have waited for Paul to walk 126 miles from Syria to deliver the bad news that the entire trip was a waste. Paul's Jesus was delivering him the message to leave without seeing the 12, and head back out to Gentile lands like the land Paul just left -- Syria.

The cumulative evidence clearly stacks up that Paul did not meet the true Jesus outside Damascus.

For more detail, see our article Who Identified Himself As Jesus Outside Damascus?

End


It is also odd that Paul says this occurred in a trance. A trance was a pagan term about a pagan experience. See our article The Trance of Paul.