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Paul Errs That Those Not Under the Law Can Invoke Atonement

 

1.What Paul teaches About Salvation and Atonement

Paul twice underscores that if you hold steadfastly to two beliefs about Jesus that you are saved. One of these beliefs is the belief in Christ’s Atonement.

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-6, Paul teaches us that if we hold two beliefs steadfastly - belief in Christ's atonement and in His resurrection, we are saved:

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scripturesand that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by....etc. 

This is an Atonement-based creedal Christianity -- it is primarily what facts you believe about atonement applying to you that saves you. Here, Paul precisely says holding to two beliefs saves you: [1] Jesus died for your sins, i.e., atonement, and [2] Jesus resurrected. Nothing more.

Contrast Apostolic Faith of John

Contrast Apostle John who says he wrote his gospel so you believe Jesus is the "Christ, son of God" so you "may" have eternal life. (John 20:31 KJV.) John wants you to believe facts about Jesus that mean you accept Jesus as the "Son" figure in Psalm 2 who is called "Messiah" ("Annointed") -- which means the "King" appointed by God-Yahweh over all, and who is the "Son of God." In Psalm 2, God speaks to this Son-King: "This day I have begotten thee," and "Kiss the son lest he be angry" as Yahweh has made this King-Messiah the judge over mankind, so "serve Yahweh" in "fear" and "rejoicing." See Psalm 2 in its entirety at this link. This matches perfectly what John records Jesus saying in John 3:16 KJV  (Bible Hub). For God sent his "Son" that whoesever "believes" in him (as Son of God) "should not perish but ["might"] have eternal life." See Greek tab at Bible Hub link that "have" is present subjunctive active "might have."

Hence, Apostle John wants to foster an apostolic belief by his Gospel message that you accept / believe / understand Jesus is your King-Messiah and Son of God whom you obey so you "may" or "might" have eternal life.

By contrast, Paul's beliefs about Jesus that save you are that Jesus atoned and resurrected, signifying there is no necessity for believing Jesus has any status as King or Son which would imply you must obey him. You do not have to have works of service and obedience in Paul's version of faith.

This omission is deliberate by Paul, because these two facts about atonement & resurection, if believed, "shall" give you eternal life, while Paul condemns any repentance-obedience elements in salvation as "works." You are saved by "faith, not works," Paul insists. See Ephesians 2:8-9. Paul insists one who works for something does not receive by grace; thus, instead "faith" alone justifies the ungodly by grace. Romans 4:3-5. Paul in these passages is quite at odds therefore with John's apostolic view of what the significance of "belief" about Jesus is all about.

Faith in Jesus Is Ineffective In John's Gospel & Revelation Without Works

To amplify the point, Apostle John's writings emphasize a faith in facts about Jesus - He is Son of God and Messiah / Christ, and hence Jesus is the Psalm 2 figure entitled to obedience as regent / king acting on God's behalf. This apostolic faith means obedience / works is not optional.  But Paul by contrast emphasizes a belief in facts about Jesus that imply nothing similalry - just believe Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead, and you shall be saved.

The contrast is clear when one looks at Apostle John’s many quotes of Jesus about obedience. Jesus in John 8:51 says “whoever keeps on obeying (tereo) My Teaching should never ever die.”1 In John 15:1-10, Jesus says a “branch in me” that does not “bear fruit” is “taken away,” “cut off from the vine,” thrown “outside and burned.” 2

Apostle John likewise quoted Jesus saying in total accord:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good [things], unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil [things], unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28-29KJV).3

We saw again that Apostle John was told by Jesus that

those who obey the commandments (plural) of God have

the right to the tree of life. (Rev. 22:14.) John writes:

Happy [are] the ones doing His commandments, so

that their right will be to the tree of life, and they

shall enter by the gates into the city. (Rev 22:14)

(KJV) (ALT)(GSB). (For detailed discusssion on this

passage, see this link.)

This variance on faith and works is also overwhelmingly

clear in Revelation in multiple passages.

For example, when Jesus in Revelation 3:1-3 says he

will spew those Christians with "lukewarm works" out of

his mouth, Jesus made faith alone ineffective for

salvation, implying the apostolic faith for salvation -

Jesus is your King and God's son - applies. For the

apostolic faith about Jesus necessarily means it is is

nonsense to call Jesus "Master," Lord, King, Messiah,

God's Son, etc., and not do what He says, as Jesus even

expressly says in Matt 7:21 and Luke 6:46.  (For detailed

discussion on Rev. 3:1-3, see this link.)

In this passage of Rev. 3:1-3 and numerous other places

in Revelation,  Apostle John's Jesus undercuts faith

alone. This caused the young Luther and Calvin and all

faith-alone seminary teachers since to disregard

Revelation as truly inspired.

      As Christian professor Ezra Palmer Gould in his book entitled The Biblical Theology of the New Testament(MacMillan 1900) says, Revelation is anti-Paul, although Gould blames without proof some "anti-Pauline" editor who supposedly changed it. Gould confesses:

"The Apocalypse [i.e., Revelation written by Apostle John] ... represents an unqualified opposition to Paul....The Apocalypse [is] anti-Pauline." [Page 125.] "[Revelation is] a writing distinctly anti-Pauline." [Page 131.]

Thus, what essential facts one believes about Jesus so one "may" or 'shall" inherit eternal life directs you down two different paths. If you choose the apostolic faith in facts about Jesus as Messiah, Son of God as crucial, then this implies you follow a repentant path of works of obedience to God so you "may" be saved." On the other hand, if you choose the non-apostolic view that solely requires holding "steadfastly" to the belief Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead, then this expressly says works are optional (and in Luther's view retards your salvation), so that you "shall" be saved. One can readily see that one view is easy, and involves no straining (the non-apostolic faith), while the other view -- the apostolic view of faith -- involves straining to enter. And it is the latter path which Jesus says is necessary to "enter" the kingdom of heaven. (Luke 13:24 "agonize" "strive" to enter kingdom of heaven.)

Paul Repeats Believing The Facts About Resurrection Saves.

There is no mistaking what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 15:1-6. For Paul repeats the resurrection-belief trigger to salvation in Romans 10:9 (NKJV) -"if you ...believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved." Thus, a resurrection creed also was a key step to merit / acquire salvation by a faith belief in Paul’s view. This belief "shall" save you if you also believe Jesus atoned for your sins.

 Obedience / Repentance from Sin is Absent in Paul's Facts To Believe.

 Notice in the Corinthians salvation formula that Paul never requires repentance from sin, nor implies any kind of obedience to Jesus as King-Messiah-Son-of-God. Paul's salvation formula is simply a belief in facts that Jesus atoned and rose from the dead and you will obtain the receipt of a free gift -- salvation. As we said earlier, Paul says this in Eph. 2:8-9 and again in Romans 4:3-5 ("works not, but believes, ...counted as righteousness.") You appropriate the atonement by merely believing in it, and that you also believe Jesus rose from the dead, and in return you "shall" (not simply "may") be saved.

Furthermore, elsewhere Paul says this salvation is "guaranteed" in heaven for us (Ephesians 1:14), and nothing can ever again "separate" us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39), and we no longer can be "condemned." (Romans 8:1.)

In other words, once we believe in the facts of atonement by Jesus and Jesus rose from the dead, we are eternally secure. Sin by us -- violating the commands of our King Messiah and the Son of God -- do not cause us to become spiritually dead; we are supposedly not at risk as Christians even if we have "lukewarm works" from ever being spewed out of Jesus' mouth. At least that is how 95% percent of Christian media and evangelical pastors in the USA today read and understand Paul. At the same time, they don't tell their listeners they have the Reformation-era view that the book of Revelation is not truly inspired.

Incidently, the young Luther's view was any work in the Bible at odds with Paul, including not only any words from Moses, but also any words from Jesus, were uninspired. Surprised? Then read this link where you learn the young Luther not only says this, but expressly thought Jesus was behind Paul when it came to knowing the Law was abrogated.

 

2. Why Did Paul Work Harder than 12 Apostles to Promote Beliefs in Atonement and Resurrection Alone for Salvation?

Paul ends the salvation message of 1 Corinthians 15 by boasting that he did more than the 12 apostles to propagate this gospel, claiming God showed him more "favor" (grace) than the 12 in order to do so.

But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. (1 Cor. 15:10 NLT)

Please note that Paul’s “humble”explanation of how he was supposedly more favored to spread such a faith-alone gospel does not expand the creeds we must have beyond the two mentioned. Thus, Paul clearly made it all about just two factual beliefs implying no obedience to Jesus which you need to continue to believe to be saved. A key belief was in the Atonement.

May I suggest the reason the 12 did less to promote this gospel of belief alone in atonement alone than Paul did was because it was only Paul's view of the gospel. It was not because the twelve lacked God’s Favor (grace) to do so.  Just reading the New Testament, we see Paul's view of the gospel in First Corinthians did not match the Gospel which the true Jesus gave the 12 in the first place, including what Apostle John was saying. Nor was it the Gospel Apostle Peter preached post-Ascension and post-Atonement in Acts 3 that led 3000 to Christ in one sermon. 

Hence, indeed Paul worked harder than the 12 to promote this Atonement-creedal Christianity but the reason is that the 12 were busy preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus taught - a far different gospel than what Paul taught.

The twelve apostles taught Jesus’ gospel issued as King-Messiah and Son of God. with commands on “believers” such as doing works worthy of repentance for salvation sake. In Mark 9:42-47, Jesus said you can go to "heaven maimed" by stern works of repentance or you will go to "hell whole". Jesus said that He will judge all impartially based upon works. (Matt 16:27 KJV "Son of Man is coming with his angels, and will repay every man according to his works;" Rev. 2:23 KJV, Jesus warns believers at Thyratira "I will give to each one of you according to your works;" 1 Peter 1:17 KJV & NIV "you call on the father, who impartially judges every man's works" and thus "pass the time of sojourning here in fear.")

As discussed next, Apostle Peter’s sermon post-ascension and post-atonement calls for repentance of the crowd who had exhorted the murder of Jesus, while Apostle Peter never insisted upon a belief that Jesus died to atone for sin. Peter insisted only that Jesus was The Prophet promised in Deut 18:14-19 who God will hold all persons accountable to obey or be destroyed (spiritually) — a figure who was also called Messiah by rabbinical lessons, as discussed in the next section.

3. The Post-Atonement & Post-Resurrection "Repentance from Sin" Gospel Preached by Peter. 

What did the 12 preach after Christ's resurrection and atonement to save people? The belief in those two facts saves, as Paul clearly taught? No.

Right at his very first sermon, Peter preached a sermon that led thousands to become saved which did not mention any belief other than that Jesus was The Prophet of Deuteromony 18. He told the crowd in Acts chapter three to "repent and turn around, that your sins may be blotted out." (Acts 3:19.) Apostle Peter said that then the presence of God will send "refreshing" so that God may send "the Lord Jesus who was preached to you before whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration" (Acts 3:19-20). That is, Jesus is in heaven until the kingdom of God is established on earth. Then Apostle Peter draws them to follow the commands of Jesus whom was already "preached to you before." 

Peter then quotes Deuteronomy 18:18-19. By quoting Deut 18:18-19, Apostle Peter was saying Jesus is "the Prophet" whom God told Moses He would send and whom God will hold all men accountable to have followed the words the Prophet speaks. Peter quotes the passage, saying "you shall hear [i.e., listen / obey] all things whatever he [i.e., the Prophet] speaks to you." (Acts 3:22). And again Apostle Peter quotes it, telling the crowd: "It shall be that every soul that will not hear [i.e., listen / obey] that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among his people." (Acts 3:23.) 

Peter in context is telling them to repent from their sin, and accept all commands from Jesus as from The Prophet prophesied in Deuteronomy -- a figure equated to Messiah in many commentaries and Rabbinical writings prior to Jesus Christ‘s birth. For quotes, see Shalom.org's The Messiah -The Prophet. Peter then says God sent and "raised up Jesus to bless you, in turning every one of you away from your iniquities." (Acts 3:26.) 

Apostle Peter thus was all about Jesus as The Prophet and impliedly as Messiah who in Psalm 2 is also called "King" and "Son" of God, as well as the necessity of repentance from sin toward obedience to Jesus' commands. Nothing is mentioned that you must believe Jesus atoned or resurrected. The resurrection is mentioned as a blessing on them to turn them from sin. Evidently, as a victory sign to touch their conscience. However, Peter did not say the fact of Jesus' resurrection, if believed, along with a belief in Christ's atonement, would save you by the mere believing these facts are true, as Paul says is true. 

4. Jesus' Gospel v Amoral Non-Yahweh Gospel of Paul

Jesus Says Atonement Has No Effect Until After Moral Action aka Works Worthy of Repentance

What is the true relevance of Christ’s atonement according to Jesus?

Jesus taught if you stood at the altar of atonement with an atonement offering, but you knew someone had something against you, the offering would not be effective to atone for you. You had to leave the atonement offering there, and first do whatever it takes to be reconciled to the one you offended. You had to appease the anger of the one whom you wronged. See Matthew 5:22-26. If this were God alone you offended, then the same principle applied. 

Once you do this moral action -- which Jesus and the Baptist call "works worthy of repentance" -- to appease the one offended, now you can bring your atonement offering. You will find a full discussion of this passage in our chapter one of Jesus' Words on Salvation.

An example of this gospel in action is when Jesus tells Zaccheus that as a result of his promise to return four-fold what he stole from the poor, "this day salvation has come to this house." (Luke 19:8.) Some of such works to be done for forgiveness -- hence prior to atonement offerings --  are specified in Leviticus 6:1-7. For more on Jesus' Gospel of works worthy of repentance, please see this article.

Jesus thus intends us to understand that believing in the effect of atonement has no effect on whether it validly applies to yourself. God is the sole measure of its effectiveness on you personally - and it is not acquired by merely believing you have brought an effective atonement to God. Thus, Jesus' atonement, although it paid for your sins, and belief this is true is a correct belief, mere belief there has been a payment for your sins does not make such payment force God to grant you forgiveness. It merely represents a legal satisfaction of a debt but only if God accepts it to apply to you personally. Your belief about its effect does not cause any forgiveness by God unless His conditions of Mercy aka Grace for you personally are satisfied.

It is like a voter under 18 who is prohibited from voting even though the machinery works satisfactorily. He lacks the right to use the voting machine. His vote, if cast anyway, is null and void. Likewise, Jesus taught the unrepentant who lack works worthy of repentance are disqualified from using atonement -- even an atonement that would otherwise satisfy God's wrath for one's wrong. The underage voter and the unrepentant and disobedient are in the same boat: they can try to use a valid mechanism the law permits others to use, but for themselves, the result for each is void.

5. Prophetic Condemnation of Workless-Atonement.

The prophets excoriated as serious error any belief that atonement is effective on you personally despite your personal lack of repentance and turn to obedience. Jesus and the Bible condemns those who believe their disobedience and unrepentance are no barrier to use of a sacrificial atonement. These condemnations equate such a wrong-idea to some of the most egregious crimes. Any notion that you think you can literally force upon God a duty to forgive you without any moral condition is equated to the worst of sins in the Bible. As we find in 1 Sam 15:22, when the Benjamite king Saul tried bringing an atonement offering from war booty which God told Saul beforehand not to take back to Israel, God responds:

"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry." (1 Sam. 15:22.)

The amoral atonement is pride —“arrogance”—that you somehow control God. Also it is “divination” — worshipping a false god, and  “idolatry”— that you now believe you have a power to command God to forgive you, and hence you are godlike. This is why prophet Samuel conveys that God equated amoral atonement to the sins of pride, divination and idolatry. It was rejected by God although ordinarily it would be effective had love for God and renewed obedience preceded it.

This should have come as no surprise to the Benjamite Saul whom God condemns through the prophet Samuel. For Mercy is not predicated solely upon sacrifice. In the Ten Commandments, right after the first commandment, Yahweh explains in Exodus 20:6, that mercy (grace) is predicated on you or I lovingly turning toward obedience to Yahweh's commands: “[I show] mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

Thus, we can understand why Jesus said: "But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ Matthew 9:13, quoting Hosea 6:6. Again Jesus elsewhere says: "If only you had known the meaning of 'I desire mercynot sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent." Matthew 12:7. Jesus is also alluding to the similar words that Yahweh spoke which Samuel relayed to Benjamite king Saul.

In fact, Yahweh made very clear elsewhere that He never gave any Law of atonement to the fathers before they left Egypt so that the people would know OBEDIENCE comes before ATONEMENT. God explains He did not give atonement laws until after He first gave the Law on moral rules (which includes works-worthy-of-repentance) for this very reason:  

22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:

23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. (Jeremiah 7:22-23 KJV.) 

6. Compare The Way of Salvation in the Law & Prophets

Despite atonement being a principle in the Law, Ezekiel 18:1-20 capsulizes the life of a righteous man and a sinner without mentioning the role that atonement plays in salvation...thus emphasising the primary role repentance plays in salvation. A sinner will die, but a man who turns to obedience maintains justification / righteousness. This path is not disparaged as we so often hear today that this means you are earning salvation. A more objective non-disparaging concept of God's actual words is simply to accept God sees you as righteous and worthy of “life” (eternal life) when you repent by doing works “worthy” of repentance, and hence are forgivable and then you maintain that path of worthiness of God’s continued grace / favour  by obedience.

Here is what this passage says— Ezekiel conveying Yahweh God speaking on how God views a sinner who repents and continues that path versus the obedient who then disobeys God's laws who has not yet repented from sin: 

18 Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, “What do you mean when you use this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and their children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares Adonay Yahweh, you will no longer use this proverb in Israel. The life of every person belongs to me. Fathers and their children belong to me. The person who sins will die.

“Suppose a righteous person does what is fair and right. He doesn’t eat at the illegal mountain worship sites or look for help from the idols of the nation of Israel. He doesn’t dishonor his neighbor’s wife or have sexual intercourse with a woman while she is having her period. He doesn’t oppress anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security for a loan. He doesn’t rob anyone. He gives food to people who are hungry, and he gives clothes to those who are naked. He doesn’t lend money for interest or make an excessive profit. He refuses to do evil things, and he judges everyone fairly.He lives by my rules and obeys my laws faithfully. This person is righteous. He will certainly live,” declares Adonay Yahweh.

Once you sinned, repentance from sin is always an option unless you died too suddenly to repent. This option to repent for lapses is clearly mentioned repeatedly in God’s Word in the Law and Prophets. This is quite unlike how Paul is read to say that any sin under the Law means you are irreversibly cursed (but supposedly faith alone in Christ frees you from the "curse of the Law" - Gal. 3:13.) For example:

And thou, son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall he that is righteous be able to live thereby in the day that he sinneth. (Eze 33:12)(NASV)

Ezekiel teaches when the righteous sin, they lose life, i.e., eternal life. When the sinner repents, he lives, i.e., he has eternal life. Nothing short of the grave is ever irreversible. Therefore, when one repents and is obeying the Law, such works “worthy of repentance” are deemed to be imputed righteousness, so says Deut. 6:25 ("it will be righteousness unto us if we are careful to obey all his commandments").

The principle of repentance from sin and restoration is also reflected in the Law — in Deuteronomy 30:1-10, which states without regard to what role atonement could play in your salvation:

When all these things befall you...and you return them to your heart... and you return to God...then God will turn your captivity and take you back in love...God will bring you back...God will return and gather you...then you will return to hearing God’s voice...And God will again rejoice over you...if you turn to God with all your heart and all your soul. (Deut. 30:1-10).

In all this, atonement has no role other than an after-the-repentant-works-are-done as a gift you give God. But it is conditioned beforehand on works “worthy” of repentance. This is why God prefers the principle of mercy -- loving God and obeying His commandments -- rather than any sacrifices you may bring. Sacrifices / atonement are not what truly pleases God's heart, and this is why a sacrifice by itself is not what triggers the application of atonement to you.

You thus do not earn salvation by works that somehow entitle you to demand salvation; you instead by works of obedience render yourself worthy of grace / favor unto life, and now you can prayerfully ask God...not demand as a right ...that God accept your offering (atonement gift) and give you forgiveness. Yet you do so confidently because God promises mercy to those who love Him and obey His commandments. Exodus 20:6.

7. Repenting And Doing vs. Saying You Will But Not Doing

In the Parable of the Two Sons, Jesus specifically taught a lesson that repentance is measured by action that follows, and not by your belief in atonement for sins. God could care less what you say or the atonement you brought to him if it is not done in conjunction with an obedience consistent with your mental belief. This Two Sons lesson mirrored Jesus’ citation of the example of the Ninevites as repentance (Matt. 12:41). For their mental sorrow had no validity until their words were followed by consistent action. God did not repent of His plans to punish the Ninevites until God “saw their works, that they turned from their evil ways.” (Jonah 3:10.) Hence, repentance, to be valid, always implies the necessity to turn from sin. Mere sorrow for sin has no effect to stave off God’s ire for your sin, or trigger God's acceptance of an atonement made on your behalf.

In Matthew 21:28-31, Jesus illustrates this principle in the story of two sons. One says he will do His father’s will, but then does not do it. The other son says he will not obey, but ultimately “repents” and does what His father asked.

Jesus asks: who did God’s will?

Obviously, the son who repented and did what he was told. It was not the son who verbally agreed to do his father’s will but then failed to do it. Jesus never gave mere mental assent toward obedience, let alone a mental acceptance of his atonement, any independent power to make you worthy of forgiveness from God apart from repentant actions.

8. Satan's Scheme In Garden Was to Undermine That God Punishes Disobedience with Spiritual Death

Any teaching that atonement, once performed or acquired or believed to have been done for you, somehow alone grants you forgiveness and salvation mirrors the lie in the Garden of Eden.

The serpent's temptation in the Garden was to doubt God's threat of death -- spiritual death -- for sin - the same twisting Satan does today through false apostles, false prophets, and false messages that somehow that belief in atonement by Jesus saves you.

Here is the key passage:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,knowing good and evil.”  When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (Genesis 3:1-7 NIV)

Actually, Eve substantially related correctly God's command. The only change is she added "you must not touch it...." Otherwise, it was 100% accurate. The Serpent did try to imply that God did not say the substance of what Eve then said God did indeed say. 

Hence, so far Eve has not fallen for the Serpent's effort to make her wonder what God in fact said. She remembered it adequately, including the warning that "you will die" if you breach this command.

The Serpent, having failed to raise any successful doubt about the specific words used, next tried to make Eve believe the threat of the consequence of sin was not present: death.

The Serpent says if she disobeys "you will not certainly die." The Serpent then gives an explanation that God merely says this threat but does not mean this threat. God won't kill her, the Serpent says. Instead, God wants to prevent her from having her "eyes ... opened" and then "be like God, knowing good and evil."

The Serpent thus allowed Eve to keep God's literal words. However, the Serpent next suggested God's warning of consequences was not a true threat. The warning supposedly had a different purpose. God was not seriously ever going to cause Eve to suffer death, the Serpent told her. This is the lie of the Serpent.

Eve ate, and then God dealt out consequences.

Hence, 

1. The Serpent failed to cause Eve to doubt God's words were actually uttered.

2. The Serpent led Eve to believe the threat she recalled of death was not intended by God to be carried out. God's warnings of death were supposedly not serious.

When we compare this to the writings of Paul, we are told by Pauline apologists that Paul teaches the threats on Christians found in the Bible -- such as those Jesus makes repeatedly in all the Weeping and Gnashing parables -- are not serious threats. We are supposedly safe to disregard them. We are saved by faith alone in Christ's atonement, which salvation supposedly cannot be lost by the acts / conduct Jesus says will cause us to suffer weeeping and gnashing of our teeth in Gehenna. See, e.g., Matt 25:14-30 (unprofitable servant who did not put his talents to use is cast outside where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth). Cf. Matt 13:42 ("fiery furnace" is place of "weeping and gnashing of teeth").

Hence, the construction of Paul's words by his major apologists like Charles Stanley is identical to what the Serpent's successful deception was in the Garden. According to the major evangelists of today, the words of Jesus are accepted as valid for their time before the cross, but the threat is supposedly not real for the saved after the cross. Such threats, by one explanation or the other - usually from Paul's writings -- supposedly will never happen to us as long as we have faith -- a mental belief Christ died for our sins as an atonement.

What did succeed with Eve was the Serpent's casting doubt on the seriousness of the threat of punishment -- this day "you shall surely die" --- for violating God's command. Modern Pauline preaching fits precisely into the kind of temptation that took place in the Garden, telling you something never proveable from incontestable inspired scripture -- the words of Jesus —  that believing an atonement from Messiah applies to you means that you are now forgiven without any repentance, and it is permanent. Will you fall for this deception despite the clear example of true Scripture of how wrong Eve was for being seduced to a similar belief that just a simple taste of a fruit was safe, and then she led herself and her husband into spiritual-death by sin?

9. The Gentile Under New Covenant Prophecy

The amazing mistake of Paulinists is they insist that someone who they insist is not under the Mosaic Law can also supposedly invoke a sacrifice whose benefits as atonement only appies to those under that Law  -- the spiritual citizens of Israel, both "Sons of Israel" and "Sojourners in their gates." So if Jesus died as a passover sacrifice for the spiritual citizens of Israel -- a law only first existing under the Mosaic Law -- then how could a non-citizen or non-sojourner of Israel benefit? A Gentile who had not complied to become a citizen of Israel by moving inside a city gate of Israel, thereby subjecting himself / herself to its Mosaic laws (which did not extend circumcision to Gentile citizens of Israel), had no right to invoke atonement. Here's the background to prove this:

First, we must know that the law of atonement did not precede the Mosaic Law. The concept of forgiveness by atonement, God explained later, was only given after the Mosaic Law was given so that the people would remember obedience comes before atonement as a condition of atonement. (Jeremiah 7:21-23.) (This does not mean persons did not make 'offerings' to God prior to the Law; rather it means God never said previously that such offerings had anything to do with forgiveness. They were a form of worship.)

Then under the Law given Moses, Gentiles who "sojourned" with Israel, i.e., "lived within its gates," were allowed to bring atonement offerings (burnt offerings) for atonement. Numbers 15:13-15. See also Lev. 17:8; 22:18. This process did not require Gentiles who sojourned with Israel to become circumcised. Such a circumcision rule only applies to "Sons of Israel" (Lev. 12:1-3) with two exceptions: 1. if a Gentile wished to celebrate the Passover (Exodus 12:48) or if a Gentile wished to enter the Temple Court of the Men. (Ezekiel 44:9.)

However, the Gentiles who sought to invoke atonement had to be a "sojourner" in their "gates" -- one who entered a city of Israel and assumed the obligation to keep the laws in the Mosaic Law which mention the duties of "sojourners" in the gates. These commands restate most of the Ten Commandments apply to Gentiles who are 'sojourners in your gates.’ See Lev. 24:16; Num 15:30; murder (Lev. 24:17); Sabbath-breaking (Deut. 5:12-15; Lev. 25:6; Exo 23:12); adultery (Lev. 20:2, 10).

A sojourner thus living in the gates meant he or she had chosen to live in one of the twelve tribes' land, and thus would be counted as a tribal member, as Ezekiel explains.  Thus any Gentile, circumcised or not, had the right to become a member of any tribe, and inherit with sons of Israel just the same, by just moving into that tribe's territory. (Ezekiel 47:21-23.) These were the Gentiles which the Law specified could receive atonement if they asked for it. Yet, they never had to transform into sons of Israel by means of any rite, e.g., circumcision, to do so.

As Blaine Robinson, M.A. explains in the Twelve Tribes of Israel (2010), a Gentile who was a citizen of Israel's community was known as a sojourner:: 

No Gentile was ever called an Israelite (cf. Acts 4:10; 9:15; Rom 11:25) .... Gentiles that “sojourned” with Israel were treated as citizens of the commonwealth, as long as they obeyed the laws of God. (See Ex 12:19, 43-49; 20:10; 23:12; Lev 16:29; 17:8-15; 18:26; 20:2; 22:10, 18-19; 24:16, 22; Num 9:14; 15:14-16, 26-30; 19:10; Deut 5:14; 16:11, 14; 31:12.) This status meant that they had the same justice rights as native-born Israelites. Gentiles could also share in the Passover meal as long as the males were circumcised (Ex 12:48).

Thus, any New Covenant with Israel includes atonement applying to Gentiles within that community, physical and now spiritual. The whole notion that the New Covenant does away with the Law is contrary to the prophecies of what the New Covenant represents, including Christ's atonement. Abolition of the Law would do away with the ability of anyone after the Atonement of Christ to call on His Passover sacrifice.

Of course, the doing away of the Law may be what Paul claims happened, but Paul's words cannot be accepted as valid because they are at odds with the prior Holy Scripture from Jesus and the words Jesus affirmed -- the words and prophecies in the Law and the Prophets.

Paul also discards the very framework that a Gentile must see himself subject to in order to invoke a Law-based atonement, as Jesus provided. A Gentile can readily see that circumcision only applies to "sons of Israel" (Lev. 12:1-3), but the same Gentile can see "thou shall not commit adultery" is extended to "foreigners" / "sojourners," who became part of the nation of Israel.  This is why inspired scripture taught that the New Covenant revitalizes the Law given Moses, and this revitalisation extends to not only Israelites but also to the Gentiles “in the gates” who "keep the Sabbath and avoid evil.”

First, here is God's promise of a New Covenant with the House of Israel:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34, ESV.)

See also Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10; Ezekiel 11:19-21)

Ezekiel, who lived around the same time as Jeremiah, adds that God will give a new spirit, and the Holy Spirit will cause the community in Israel’s House to walk in God’s statutes and obey His rules.

26 And I have given to you a new heart, And a new spirit I give in your midst, And I have turned aside the heart of stone out of your flesh, And I have given to you a heart of flesh. 27 And My Spirit I give in your midst, And I have done this, so that in My statutes ye walk, And My judgments ye keep, and have done them. (Ezekiel 36:26-27 YLT.)


The New Covenant is a new heart of flesh on which is written His Law by the Spirit. Jeremiah and Ezekiel were written about 600 years before Christ, so everyone knew what “my Law” and "My statutes" meant. It is none other than the living oracles (as Stephen called them in Acts 7:38) given at Mt. Sinai by God through Moses. 

Then the promise of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 was extended in Isaiah 56 to include salvation to the Gentiles -- "my salvation is about to come" to them, 56:1, and it was predicated on two things: "keep the Sabbath from profaning it and keep his hand from doing evil." (Isaiah 56:2) and adds those in God's kingdom are those "who keep My Sabbaths, and choose things that please Me, and take hold of my covenant." (Isaiah 56:4,6).

Thus, God says sabbath-keeping is key -- the very act that Paul said if a Gentile Christians performs to please God, are now cursed. Paul explained this in Galatians. See our article link Paul Abolished Sabbath.

As Bart Ehrman, a professor on the New Testament, explains:

“Paul is absolutely clear [in Galatians] that he thinks non-Jews are not to do these things [i.e., keep Sabbath, holidays, etc.] once they believe in Christ. In fact,... he lays a curse on anyone who thinks that Gentiles who come to believe in Jesus should engage in such practices.” (Bart D. Ehrman, Peter, Paul & Mary Magalene (2006) at 117.)

Hence, because Paul curses to damnation those Gentile Christians who want to rest on Sabbath - the very key component God said was necessary for their acceptance in the New Covenant - Paul is a path of damnation to all Gentile Christians who follow him.

Instead, take the day off; honor God, and do not listen to Paul's "dysnoetas" -- words destructive of good sense, as Second Peter calls them in 2 Peter 3:15-18 - that cause many to lose their "steadfastness in Christ," and fall into a "lawless" way of life. See link to our article on Second Peter 3:15-18.

 

10. What Did Jesus Mean by Mercy that Pharisees did Not Teach?

Jesus said in Matthew 23:23 that the Pharisees were shallow teachers of the Law, teaching only tithing but ignoring the "weightier matters of the Law" --  judgments (right and wrong), "mercy" (KJV) and "pistis" (Greek for obedient "faithfulness" or faith)

What did Jesus have in mind for "Mercy" in the Law?

As we saw above, the Gospel of Mercy also translatable as Grace in the Original Bible was predicated not on atonement alone, but first and foremost upon works worthy repentance and a turn toward obedience. This rendered you forgivable, and now God allowed you to bring an atonement gift offering and ask for forgiveness.

This true Gospel of Mercy and Grace was stated in the Ten Commandments. Jesus' messages repeatedly hit on this statement in that section of the Law. In Exodus 20:6 KJV, we read just before the second commandment:

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments

The same Exodus verse is quoted at Qumram, and is translated in The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians (2004) at page 314 by non-Christian scholars (hence unbiased scholars who do not have an agenda to obscure the truth) as God "showing GRACE" unto thousands, etc. "Grace" is a perfect synonymn for "mercy."

The famous prayer of the prophet Daniel in his chapter 9 likewise reveals the link between this Mercy passage of the Ten Commandments and the Messiah's atonement. In this prayer by Daniel, he first confesses sin for himself and his people, and admits disobedience, etc. He then quotes the same principle of mercy from the Ten Commandments as he next pleas for mercy, wherepon God hears and a DOOR OPENS. The door opens to a prophecy every Christian should read regularly. It was a promise by God to send a Messiah to "make atonement for iniquity." What was the principle of Daniel's prayer of mercy that God responded to with this offer of a future atonement as a payment for sin?

Daniel quoted from the Ten Commandments -- Exodus 20:6 -- wherein God gives His principle of mercy and grace: 

And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; (Daniel 9:4 KJV)

The bolded portion is Daniel quoting Exodus 20:6. 

So how did you, and Daniel and the people of Israel get mercy? By calling on atonement? No. By bringing a sacrifice? No. You and anyone else who seeks to use atonement obtains mercy only by first loving Yahweh, and obeying Yahweh's commands. You do so by praying Daniel's prayer for yourself and everyone around you FIRST -- confessing and acknowledging sin (Nu 5:7; Lev 5:5) -- and doing the works of repentance consistent with that. God will then through the Messiah provide you a means to offer atonement. Not just once, but every time you fall and plead again for God's grace. His mercy.

11. What about the Atonement? What is its purpose?

The traditional atonement was after repentance in the heart and by works worthy of repentance, and it was the last step -- a payment by you required by God to deter you from doing it again -- a guaranteed cost. But in Daniel 9, God had a new way of doing the same thing.

It is vital first to see in Daniel that God is responding to Daniel's prayer for mercy which acknowledged that God's mercy— favor and looking away from past sin— depended upon the people satisfying repentance on God's terms stated in the Ten Commandments. Daniel was acknowledging its two conditions, and only after this plea for mercy in Daniel 9:4 did God send Gabriel to explain a Messiah who would provide the atonement. Gabriel explains that God heard his "pleas for mercy" (Dan. 9:23 ESV), and then God commanded Gabriel to tell Daniel he was "highly esteemed" and that God would send a "Messiah" who would "make atonement for iniquity." (Daniel 9: 24).

So a plea by Daniel for mercy on the conditions stated in the Ten Commandments was responded to by God with a promise to send a Messiah to atone for sin of which Daniel repented for himself and for Israel. In that prayer, Daniel promised love and obedience to God as the condition for mercy, quoting those requirements from Exodus 20:6.

But if God were going to use Paul's message in the future, should not have God said 'Daniel, you and your people don't need to change or obey or love me; you only need to believe that I am sending a messiah who will die for your sins and whom I will resurrect. If you believe that, you will be saved.' That's what Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:1-5 saves you, as we quoted above. But that's not how the promise of Messiah was first delivered to Daniel as a future atoning Messiah.

Now why can a prince-Messiah's atonement be better than the cost of animals and money for atonement for us? 

Precisely because once the Messiah came to make atonement for you, and made it 100% clear that if you bring such an atonement offering to God's mercy seat, then there is no possible error any longer to misunderstand there is any such thing as a works-free, repentance-free access to atonement. God put you on notice that you cannot miss the Sermon on the Mount begins with the same Messiah's condition that you cannot use atonement unless you do whatever it takes to have "reconciliation" by every means possible with the one you offended, e.g., works worthy of repentance (Matt 5:21-26). God used a human messiah to personally deliver that message to thereby overcome all the nonsensical claims that atonement by itself is effective without works of repentance. This would overcome a common misconception which  God had sent multiple prophets to excoriate and correct prior to Jesus doing likewise.  (Jer. 7:20-25; Mic. 6:6-8, 8 Joel 2:13; Hos.14:1-2; 9 and Mal. 1:10, 10 3:3-4. Cf. Isaiah 27:9.)

Sadly, the entire point of Jesus' atonement appears lost on several hundreds of years of Protestant-misinformed generations due to Luther's mistake in emphasis on faith alone found in Romans 4:3-5 and 1 Cor. 15:1-5. In turn, this wrong teaching influenced preachers to use translations which obscure Jesus' meaning in Matthew 5:21-26 on the works-condition to employ atonement -- to bring your atonement offering to the altar. 

For the wiles of Satan are pervasive, as few translations let you readily see Matthew 5:21-26 uses all the terms of atonement -- the words for the atonement gift (donor) and the sacrifice altar. Thus, you are left prey to the wolves who want you to believe instead you can use an atonement on a works-free, repentance-free basis at odds with God's terms. 

What are those terms again from Exodus 20:6? Loving God and obeying his Commandments. This means you have done all the works in His commandments that it takes to reconcile with God and man. Many are specified in Leviticus 5 and 6, e.g., thief must repay with interest, etc.

Thus, based upon Jesus' principles and the Law of Mercy and Grace in the Ten Commandments, if you have presented to God an offering because you "believe" it happened as a fact, such as believing Jesus died for your sins, but without personal repentance and a turn to obedience first, such an offering will obtain NO MERCY, NO FAVOR, and NO GRACE with God

The promise of an atoning Messiah was only specifically given after God heard Daniel's prayer for "mercy" quoting Exodus 20:6. Gabriel specifically points this out to Daniel. That cannot be a meaningless detail that Gabriel mentioned it was not upon the confession of sin, but only after God heard the plea for "mercy" --"grace" -- correctly stated with God's true conditions in Exodus 20:6, that God "commanded" Gabriel to tell Daniel about Messiah who would atone. You, like Daniel, only have the Messiah's atonement if you pray heartfelt the same prayer for mercy that Daniel did, and acknowledge the same promise to God to fulfill the conditions for that atonement by the Messiah -- to love God and obey His commandments that apply to you.

12. Paul Guts Jesus’ Principles on Atonement

Paul's gospel reflected in his epistles, as almost everyone construes it, destroys Jesus' conditions for atonement. Yahweh's Ten Commandments, with its Gospel of Mercy, are likewise gutted. At the same time, those ten commandments, in particular the command against coveting, are insulted by Paul as inciting sinfulness to even read! (Romans 7:5; 7:7, 11-13.) Paul says we must ignore the "letter" of the Law any further because reading it incites sin and kills us spiritually, and instead we must be led by the "spirit" (Romans 7:6) -- meaning we must now follow what our conscience tells us is right or wrong. This is measured by "expediency," and no longer by any strict rules of right and wrong. (1 Cor. 6:12 "all things are lawful but not all things are expedient".) We no longer should even read the supposedly sin-inciting Law to know and understand what are the commandments of Yahweh. See Romans 7:7 ("I would not have known about coveting except the Law said that 'thou shall not covet.'") See also Romans 7:7-13. See our article Paul and Blasphemy.

And thus Paul's Gospel is identical to the pagan form of salvation for Zeus, Athena and Apollo. Yahweh's Law disappears. It is all about incantations -- magic word formulas that bestow blessings -- that supposedly can manipulate Christ's favor at no cost whatsoever in terms of any moral reform or acts of repentance. Paul's words thus single-handedly caused the spiritual destruction of all Christians who followed his teachings over those of Jesus.

And no wonder: do you see any attention being paid by Paul to the forgotten God in the room: Yahweh? In Paul's wholesale rewrite of the Gospel, no longer do we seek mercy from the God who issued the Law. No, Paul teaches in Romans 7 that Yahweh is the one who created a repulsive moral code that incites sin and offers no hope of salvation in the Law but supposedly only provides a curse. Yahweh, Paul says, is the "husband" of Israel who has died (presumably at the cross while in Christ) and with His death, the code created by the marriage to Israel expired when this Husband died. Now we supposedly marry the living God - Jesus (see link) -- who Himself is little more than a dying and resurrecting savior who will take you to heaven. In Paul's conception, Jesus is identical to Mithras of Paganism who was favored in the region near Tarsus in what is now called Turkey where Paul grew up. See May 2017 discovery of Mithras Temple in Eastern Turkey.

13. A Resulting Complete Disconnect

Sadly, Paul's Gospel represents a complete disconnect from that of Jesus. Paul's gospel relies exclusively upon belief in facts ABOUT Jesus that do not imply any obedience to Him. But the Gospel which Jesus taught was about submitting to him as Messiah / King, Son of God, and as The Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 and doing works worthy of repentance for salvation. Jesus represents a WAY of salvation that is "agonizing" to stay on, and not fall away from. (Luke 13:24.) It requires even for one who "believes in me" severe repentance -- going to heaven maimed or you can go to hell whole -- to remain on the Way when you are “ensnared” in sin. (Mark 9:42-47.)

By contrast, Paul's way as commonly understood is the easy cost-free way of belief alone -- a wide road that is easy to find and broad enough that you need never worry about falling away from such a broad road. 

The Pauline Gospel is so at odds with Jesus' Gospel that Paulinism teaches deliberately that we can ignore Jesus' words, casting them off to a prior defunct dispensation.

But the truth is the opposite: it is the truths from Jesus that would set you free if you obeyed them as if he were your King / Messiah, the Son of God of Psalm 2, and the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18. Salvation is not about needing to believe in unquestionable truths about the atonement and resurrection. That's why the early church called its message The WAY, not The ATONEMENT CREED THAT SAVES. For a thorough review of Jesus' gospel, please read our book free online - Jesus Words on Salvation.

Conclusion.

Paul's doctrine is wrong that you are saved by faith alone in atonement by Jesus alone. Instead, you are saved by turning to love God foremost, then obeying His commands to you issued by His Son and Appointed King-Messiah. This means first turning from sin, and doing amends to the ones you harmed, and then following and listening to Jesus on how to stay on the narrow road.

For a Gentile, God told us already to obey sabbath (don't work on Saturday) and avoid the evil outlined in the Bible as applicable to you -- commands upon a foreigner / sojourner in the Original Testament. This is primarily the Ten Commandments. Jesus' commands His Gentile followers in the New Testament to follow them, implicitly by His words in Matt 5:17-19.

Then you can — and only then — call on Christ's atonement to wash you clean. God is still in control of the decision to forgive you. You don’t earn a right to demand salvation. God knows facts your mind might not confess. Yet, if granted, then as you walk in the light, the blood of Christ will continue to keep you clean in God's sight. As Apostle John said, "confess your sins" and "keep walking in the light," and the "blood of Jesus will keep cleansing you." (1 John 1:7-9.)

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Email Comments 

Hi. So well written and researched. I shared it on my facebook page. Thank you for being a leader in bringing Yeshua back into Christianity. B (3/12/2018)