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The Jerusalem Apostles Exclude Paul. 


 We recently found a startling new proof of an ancient record of the twelve apostles rejecting Paul. It is from Ambrosiaster. This brings the number to three of such proofs. This will be highlighted below.




We already have circumstantial proof the apostles rejected Paul as a church authority. As discussed in depth below, Paul himself alludes several times to the fact that the 12 apostles refused to give him letters of commendation to churches outside Jerusalem, thereby causing Paul to complain of being deprived of commendations from those in authority.  Paul thanks church members at Corinth for recognizing him without any such commendations - evidently from the twelve apostles whose words would be necessary to accept Paul. See 2 Cor. 10:9-18; 1 Cor. 9:1-2; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 2 Cor. 3:1.


As also discussed in more depth below, the wholesale rejection of Paul as an apostle, and his writings, must have taken place after Acts 21:21 when James - the bishop of Jerusalem -- for the first time hears rumors that Paul is guilty of "apostasy."


This meant James heard rumors that Paul was a false prophet by definition in Deut 13:1-5 that one with "a prophecy that comes to pass" (13:2) who has "signs and wonders" is nevertheless false if they teach "apostasy" (Deut 13:5 YLT). Apostasy is the seduction away from God's Law (which at that time was the Ten Commandments), but also in the early church, it represented those who reject Jesus' words as the sole authority of New Covenant Inspired Scripture. See History of Jesus' Words Only Canon Movement in Early Church up Through 180 AD.


Ambrosiaster Says the Twelve Rejected Paul as an Apostle.


Ambrosiaster in the 300s preserved for us that the apostles rejected Paul was a true apostle.

"The Jewish believers who nevertheless continued to observe the law of Moses  denied that Paul was an apostle because he taught that it was no longer necessary to be circumcised or observe the sabbath. Even the other apostles thought that he was teaching something different because of this, and they denied he was an apostle. But to the Corinthians Paul was an apostle, because they had seen the signs of God's power in him."

(William A. Meeks et al, Ed. The Writings of St. Paul: Annotated Texts, Reception and Criticism (2d Ed.)(2007) at 229 (see link) quoting Ambrosiaster's commentary on 1 Cor. 9:2 CSEL, tran. Gerald Bray, ed. 1-2 Corinthians (ACCS, NT 7)(Downers Grove: Intervarsity 1999) at 80)

Who was Ambrosiaster? He was likely a member of the clergy at Rome during 366-384 AD. Like others around him, he appears to find fault with anyone rejecting Paul.  But would Ambrosiaster have dishonored the twelve truly as he does in that quote as a member of Christ's church? Or was he mouthing what he had to mouth to preserve the fact of the 12 rejecting Paul?

I think he copied Eusebius and Epiphanius who feigned adherence to the new orthodoxy so they could preserve historical facts which posterity were meant to understand. Christians in a future epoch could thereby overthrow Constantinian tyranny over doctrines. See Constantine's Damage to Christianity.


Support for this in Ambrosiaster's case is to ask the following question:

What else explains why Ambroiaster's writings show "a deep interest in Judaism, and often notes that Christian practices derive from Jewish tradition" ("Ambrosiaster," Wikipedia) and yet made it sound like he was against Sabbath and circumcision of even Jews in the quote above?


This would be a strange combination of viewpoints to hold.

Also, please note the obvious frivolous nature of the proof of Paul's apostleship in the quote. Can anyone truly accept as adequate proof of Paul's apostleship could derive from the mere fact that there was a credulous acceptance of Paul by a church at Corinth?


Hence, Ambrosiaster -- like Epiphanius and Eusebius -- gives us bread crumbs to know they are under heavy censorship, where they must feign adherence to pagan-promoting-orthodoxy, and make up frivolous proof that a pagan censor would not be the wiser is irrelevant. 


Corroboration of Ambrosiaster: The Early Apostolic Church Is Known As Ebionites and they Reject Further Reading of Paul 



i) The Early Church Are Known As Ebionites 


The earliest Christians at Jerusalem and wherever it spread were commonly called Ebionites, meaning "the Poor." In G. Uhlhorn, "Ebionites," A Religious Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology (3rd ed.) (edited by Philip Schaff) Vol. II at pages 684–685 [see PDF at this link], we read: 

Ebionites. This designation was at first like 'Nazarenes,' a common name for all Christians, as Epiphanius (d. 403) testifies (Adv. Har. ix.1) It is derived from the Hebrew Ebion, "poor," and was not given, as Origen supposes, for their low view of Christ." Id. at 684. 

How close to the orthodox center of Christianity were they? 

Paul once says the Jerusalem apostles under James asked Paul to remember the "poor" at Jerusalem. (Gal. 2:10.) If you translated Paul's word "poor" back into Hebrew that the apostles spoke, the word is EBION. Paul apparently meant the Christians at Jerusalem were the EBION -- meaning the name by which they went. Paul said he did intend to remember the EBION at Jerusalem by gifts. 

Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate in 405 AD, concurs that the apostles' instruction to Paul to remember The Poor in Galatians 2:10 did not mean to remember the economically poor. Jerome said it obviously meant the Jerusalem church that operated under that name:

"Jerome's more historically correct reading for whom the 'poor' here [is meant to refer to] are the Jewish believers of Acts 2:44-5...." (Stephen Cooper, Marius Victorinus' Commentary on Galatians (Oxford: 2005) at 277 fn 118.)

Prior to the Nicea changes of 325 AD, no heresy-hunting book mentioned the Ebionites as heretics,e.g., Hegesippus. Hence, the conclusion that this was the earliest church under James fits this important fact. It was Joseph Priestly, clergyman and scientist, in his famous work of 1782 entitled the Corruptions of Christianity who made this astute observation. He noted that none of the heresy hunter-works prior to the 300s ever pointed to the Ebionites as heretics. Only heresy-hunter works after the 325 AD Conference at Nicea turned against them. (This is not to say there was no negative comments about the Ebionites which can be easily inserted in a later generation, but rather that none of the heresy-hunting works of the early era targeted the Ebionites.) So Priestly observes the earlier words of Hegesippus (a.d. 170) talk of numerous heretics, but nothing is said about the Ebionites being heretics. Id, at page 3. [Link to PDF excerpt including page 3.] Priestly notes that Hegesippus "makes no mention of the supposed heresy of the Nazarenes or Ebionites but says that, in his travels to Rome, where he spent some time with Anicetus, and visited the bishops of other sees, he found that they all held the same doctrine that was taught in the Law, by the prophets, and by our Lord." Id., at page 3 [link], citing Euseb. Hist. 1720 L iv. C xxii page 181-182.


In other words, the Ebionites' doctrines were pervasive and still present at Rome in the mid-100s AD.


Please also note the church was still treating in 170 AD when Hegesipus is writing that the only canon authority was the "doctrine ... taught in the Law, by the prophets, and by our Lord."


ii. The Ebionites Exclude Paul's Writings from Being Read 


Eusebius, bishop and early church historian, wrote in 325 AD  in his famous Ecclesiastical History 3.27 about the Ebionites: 


"These men [i.e., the Ebionites], moreover, thought that it was necessary to reject all the epistles of the apostle [Paul], whom they called an apostate from the law; and they used only the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews [by Apostle Matthew] and made small account of the rest."


Likewise, in 180 AD, Irenaeus -- Bishop of Gaul / France -- said about the Ebionites: 


Those who are called Ebionites .... use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law.  (Against Heresies 1.26.) 


These two quotes tell us a lot.


First, there was a canon -- solely the Gospel of Matthew "According to the Hebrews" -- meaning written by Matthew in Hebrew. Indeed, this was the first work quoted outside the Christian community of our gospel -- by a strictly Jewish source, and traces only to Matthew. For the Jewish educator Gamaliel by around 72 AD, as recorded by the Jewish Talmud, quoted  Jesus's words in Matthew 5:16 to a Christian judge so the judge would follow the Torah-Law to divide an estate. See First Publication of the Gospel to the Hebrews by Matthew.


This same Hebrew Gospel of Matthew was the Gospel that Jerome -- the Vulgate translator from Greek to Latin in the late 300s -- said was necessary to use to repair discrepancies in the Greek Matthew. He specifically referred to the Hebrew original which he had reviewed in Caesarea as the"fountain  head" from which the Greek Matthew derived by translation. Jerome was led to the Hebrew Matthew at the Library in Caesarea in Israel by the non-Roman Catholic church of the Nazarenes operating in that region. Jerome is the source of 22 of the 48 early church quotes from the Hebrew Matthew which he references in his Commentary on Matthew. His commentary is where Jerome recorded his discoveries of discrepancies between the Hebrew Matthew and the Greek Matthew, to explain the true meaning of the text. (See James R. Edwards, The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition (Eerdman's 2006) at page 286.)


However, the Ebionites also used Luke's Gospel as a secondary authority as a valid and useable Greek translation of the Hebrew Matthew.


How do we know this?


First, James Edward shows that the Gospel of Luke is primarily a Greek translation of the Hebrew Matthew. His proof was to assemble the 48 quotes of the Hebrew Matthew by the early church commentators. Then he compared these 48 quotes to the  synoptic gospels. Among all of them, Luke had far more unique matches to these 48 quotes over either the Greek Matthew or the Greek Mark.


See James R. Edwards, The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2009)

  • at xxi (Luke has high degree of repetitions from original Hebrew Gospel);
  • xxi (48 quotes from Hebrew Gospel of Matthew in early church literature)(stronger correlation with Luke than any other gospel);
  • xxx (La Garge in 1892 said Hebrew Gospel was the original, and can be associated with parts of Luke);
  • xxxii (Lessing said in 1778 that Hebrew Gospel was the genuine first gospel);
  • 126 (Luke has abormally high number of sentences repeating Hebrew Gospel);
  • 333 (Luke 6:5 is from Hebrew Gospel preserved in Codex Beza aka Codex D manuscript).


As Edwards succinctly explains:


Moreover, the remnant tradition is agreed that the Hebrew Gospel, which was widely attested and honored in early Christianity, shows distinct similarities with Luke and provides a plausible explanation for Lukan Semitisms. (Edwards, id., at xxxiii.)


And this matches perfectly with Irenaeus' statement in 180 AD that the Ebionites "make use" of the Greek Gospel of Luke in addition to relying primarily upon the Hebrew Matthew. (Irenaeus 3.15.1.) Edwards' proofs show why -- Luke was the closest text to the original Hebrew Matthew initially in existence in the common language of Greek.


It also turns out that the Greek Matthew has a direct lineage to a Hebrew original as well, and thus is a valid second source of the Hebrew Matthew. We know this due to Professor George Howard, Hebrew Gospel of Matthew (Macon Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1995).


As Professor Howard explains, the Jews preserved from an early period a copy of the Hebrew Matthew known in the 1300s as the Shem-Tob. Prior to Professor Howard, it was thought to be a translation made from the Vulgate of the 400s. However, Professor Howard demonstrates its "independence from the Vulgate." (Id., at 233.) In fact, it was independent of the Greek Matthew of the Byzantine (eastern) church as well. (Id. at 234.)


Instead, Professor Howard explains that the Hebrew Matthew "Shem Tob" -- while overlaid with later rabinnic vocabulary -- traces quite often to texts that were "lost in antiquity" - and only discovered AFTER the Shem Tob was written. The Shem Tob  reflects language in the Q, Codex Sinaiticus (found in the 1800s), the Old Syriac and the Coptic Gospel of Thomas. Most crucially, Professor Howard says the original text was "Biblical Hebrew," not Greek, as one can see that the Greek Matthew's text lacks the underlying Hebrew puns, word connections and alliteration that "belong to the structure of the Hebrew" which the Greek translation -- although literal -- does not capture. (Id. at page 234.)


Thus, other than secondary sources such as Luke's Gospel and obviously the Greek Matthew, the Ebionites made canon be the Hebrew Matthew. Thus, anything beyond that, Irenaeus clearly says the Ebionites gave "small acount."

Irenaeus then adds that as to Paul's epistles, they were entirely rejected as the work of an "apostate."


What does that mean? We discuss that next.


iii. When Did the Ebionite Investigation Begin on Paul's Apostasy? 


In Acts 21:21, Paul is asked a question by James. This bishop of Jerusalem tells Paul that he has heard that Paul is "guilty of apostasia." That is the Greek word. However, it is never translated in its proper transliterated form in English -- the word apostasy except in Young's Literal Translation(Acts 21:21 YLT.)


 The related word apostate means one is guilty of violating Deut 13:1-5 - known as the PUNISHMENT OF APOSTATES passage. Please note again that Young's Literal is virtually alone among Protestant Bibles that properly translates Deut 13:5 using the term "apostasy." (Deut 13:5 YLT.)


What does this mean? In this passage, Yahweh demands we ignore anyone who has true prophecy, and miraculous signs and wonders if they also try to "seduce" you from following the "Law" given at Sinai, e.g., the Ten Commandments. They are labelled apostates -- those who turn you away from the true Yahweh into a false version of God by means of seducing you from God's Law at Sinai, i.e., principally the Ten Commandments.


Jesus too condemns apostasy by claimants to being prophets. Jesus quotes almost verbatim the key elements of the apostasy principle in Deuteronomy. Jesus does so with evident awareness that the Septuagint Greek of Deut 13 uses interchangeably the word ANOMIA (anti-Law) with APOSTASIA (defection) to translate the same Hebrew terminology. See Theo A.W. van der Louw, Transformations in the Septuagint (Peeters Publishers 2007) at 173-174.


Jesus in Matthew 7:15, 21-23 clearly quotes from Deuteronomy using ANOMIA to mean apostasy, as does the Septuagint translation at certain places from 247 BC. Jesus also conjoins ANOMIA with the same elements of apostasy in Deuteronomy of a self-styled prophet - [1] with "signs and wonders" and [2] prophecy that "comes to pass."


Jesus also makes the link clear by referring to a "wolf in sheep's clothing" -- a pseudo-Christian. Then Jesus condemns in one snap Paul's teaching in Romans 8:9-10 that one is supposedly saved merely by calling on Jesus as Lord and believing in his resurrection. Here is the key passage from Jesus that explains why the Ebionites relied upon this apostasy principle in Deuteronomy to exclude Paul as a false prophet: 


15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [i.e., anomia, law-negation]. 

(Matt 7:15, 212-23 KJV.)

Thus, Jesus skewered as a false prophet one who enters the flock claiming to be a sheep, but instead is a ravening wolf. And this person will call Jesus "Lord Lord" but disobeys / contradicts Jesus by working ANOMIA -- negation of Torah / the Law. Finally, this figure will do signs and wonders in Jesus' name (i.e., do miracles using Jesus' name). This will include prophecy and casting out demons. However, Jesus says on judgment day he will tell this one, "I never knew you," you "worker of ANOMIA"  -- apostasy / Mosaic-law-negation. (This is poorly translated as "lawlessness" by the KJV and most English Bibles. See link.)


Jesus' words in Matthew 7, however, track very closely Deuteronomy 12:32-13:5 - the passage known as Punishment for Apostates. Here now is it in full, and compare this passage to what Jesus says:


Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, `Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord [YHWH] your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord [YHWH] your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord [YHWH] your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord [YHWH] your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord [YHWH] your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. (ASV.) 2


Thus, if some would-be prophet seeks to "seduce" us "from the way in which the Lord [YHWH] your God commanded you to walk" (i.e., the ten commandments at this point), you must reject him. His god cannot be the true God. His god must be an idol even if he calls on Yahweh or Jesus. This is true even if he comes with signs and wonders. God tells us to ignore such a prophet's words or otherwise we are joining his rebellion.


Isaiah instructs us to apply a similar content-oriented test to determine a true prophet:

[Compare teachers] [t]o the Law and the Testimony [and], if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20 KJV).


Norman Geisler, a conservative Christian scholar and President of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, concurs on the essential meaning of this passage of Deuteronomy. He agrees that if Paul seduces us from following what God already commanded in previous Scripture, he must be rejected:


[A]ny teaching about God contrary to what the people already knew to be true was to be rejected....If the teaching of the apostle [Paul] did not accord with the teaching of the Old Testament, it could not be of God. (Norman Geisler, "The Canonicity of the Bible, Part One," Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Baker Book House: 1999).)[reprint at 5, hosted at]


Thus, if any New Covenant figure tries to seduce us from the way in which God commanded us to walk in the Ten Commandments such as Sabbath rest, the Bible brands him a false prophet. Geisler, a conservative defender of Scripture, agrees that Paul must be measured by whether his words accord with what God commanded in the original Hebrew Scripture.


As noted above, Jesus says so likewise in Matthew 7:15-23. 


Finally, of special note is the response of the editors of the Jewish Encyclopedia (1912) vol. 2 at page 13 when they put these facts together. You can hear their shock when they found this in the pages of the Christian Bible. In their article entitled Apostasy, we read:


It is a remarkable fact in the history of Christianity that according to Acts 21:21 Paul was accused before the council of James of apostasy from the Law of Moses; for which reason the early Christians -- the Ebionites "repudiated the Apostle Paul, maintaining he was an apostate from the Law" (Ireneaus, Against Heresies i 36).


This truth that the earliest apostolic church rejected Paul is kept from us. Our translators change James' question to Paul about "apostasia" in Acts 21:21 into whether Paul "forsakes" traditions.


Why not use the obvious English cognate term -- "apostasy" -- rather than the word "forsake"?  


See Acts 21:21 KJV ("forsake") See Acts 21:21 Bible Hub - Greek Tab - the Greek word is apostasian which Bible Hub says is defined in English as "apostasy."


The fact remains that mainstream translators of today use deliberate filters so we cannot see the truth. They do not want you to ever spot the true Bible-based problem about Paul: whether his words match the well-defined legal term of apostasy in the Bible.


Nor do our mainstream translators want any of us to make the shocking discovery that the Encyclopedia of Judaism spotted. Namely, that our earliest church in the Book of Acts was concerned whether Paul was an "apostate" (Acts 21:21). This matches the historical statements by Eusebius / Irenaeus that the Ebionites -- the name of the earliest Christian church -- had the identical concern about Paul: apostasy. And for this reason, the Ebionites excluded Paul's writings from even being read. This is what only the Jewish Encyclopedia dare frankly talk about while our Christian mainstream translation of Acts and our encyclopedias ignore and repress this history.


How Paul Delayed this Discovery


The Book of Acts proves how Paul delayed this discovery. In Acts 21, James tests Paul, asking Paul to disprove this charge of apostasy to all by Paul performing the public acts of keeping for a few weeks the Mosaic Law from the book of Numbers chapter six. This is a voluntary Nazarite vow. Paul submitted, never refusing on the basis that the Law has no place any longer for a follower of Jesus or Yahweh. James was satisfied therefore for the time being. James was unaware that Paul had a principle that allowed him to act hypocritically to obey the Law when Paul says elsewhere he is "no longer under the Law." 


For Paul taught us the example to accommodate Gentiles when around Gentiles and to act like a Jew around Jews, i.e., Law obedient. 


"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without the law as without law... that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."1Corinthians 9:19-22 KJV  


"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." 1Corinthians 10:31-33 KJV 


Anyone reading Acts and knowing Paul's epistles can readily see Paul was playing James and Luke, making Luke think mentioning in Acts 21 this obedient act to a vow to follow the Law was a good thing to share. But in terms of Paul's honesty of action versus his epistolic teachings, Acts 21 destroys trust in Paul's honesty for those who make obvious comparisons.


iv. The Jerusalem Apostles Likewise Oppose Paul's Message


Paul's writings identify a specific class of opponents who clearly are not sinful evil persons. Rather, Paul claims that they are "apostles" or "super apostles" who teach more than faith saves and hence are "false

apostles" (2 Cor. 11:12-13). Paul says these same opponents preach a

"different Jesus" than Paul does (2 Cor. 11:4, NIV). Elsewhere, these

same opponents, Paul implies, deny he is an apostle but instead claim he is an "imposter" (2 Cor. 6:3-6 NIV). Further, Paul admits impliedly the 12 are not agreeing Paul is an apostle, Paul saying he was not "appointed an apostle" by any man, and rather in 1 Corinthians 9:1-2, Paul acknowledges that he is rejected as any kind of apostle by others. Paul contrasts this rejection with his little Gentile congregation who accepts him as a true apostle. This implies awareness that the 12 reject himself as an apostle. This passage reads: 


Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? Even if I were not an Apostle to others, I should still be an Apostle to you, who are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my answer to those who would examine me. [Eisenman's translation.]

Paul clearly thereby says his answer to those who would examine whether he is a true apostle -- not an imposter -- is solely pointing to this congregation's support for him as proof he is an apostle. Thus, Paul concedes implicitly it cannot be proven by any support of the 12 apostles.


Most importantly, these opponents of Paul also refuse to give him "letters of commendation," as we next will review. This issue clearly points to the 12 apostles again as Paul's opponents on the issue of his apostleship. 


Specifically, Paul obviously is resenting a lack of approval from the 12 apostles. There is no murkiness from whom commendation would be necessary to be accepted in the churches: the twelve apostles. This is likely what spurs Paul to attack them as "false" for undermining his faith-alone gospel. This spurs his resentment at being called an "imposter."


Thus, the upcoming review of the commendation issue is central to unravel to whom Paul was aiming his "super apostles" and "false apostles" charge. These are obviously the same whom Paul says they preach a "different Jesus" and gospel than Paul taught. The commendation issue is the thread which emerges to clearly point at the actual 12 apostles at all times as the opponents of Paul as apostle and evangelist. These facts are clearly reflected in Paul's own letters.


Incidentally, when one reads Luke's Acts as a legal brief to get Paul and Christianity off the hook at an upcoming trial of Paul before Caesar Nero at Rome (see link), one will realize why Luke does not mention this religious disagreement more than what we hear in Acts 21:21 between the leadership and Paul. If the split already happened by the time of the end of Acts, unity was key to keeping Rome from outlawing Christianity as a rebel faction that might aim to undermine Roman law. We  discuss elsewhere the limited purpose of the Book of Acts. These facts are likewise generally ignored for the same reason the Ebionite story is ignored. See Luke wrote Gospel-Acts for an Investigator on Paul's Upcoming Trial, and Luke's Gospel is a Non-Pauline Gospel.  


       a. The Letters of Commendation Issue 


Luther and many pro-Paul scholars admit Paul's Epistle to the Galatians reflects (1) Paul's putting down the leading apostles, intending us to understand they are "false apostles" who teach "another Jesus" than Paul (see Paul Knew the 12 Taught Another Jesus); and (2) the 12 apostles had refused to give Paul a commendation in writing as Paul had hoped.


As to proof of #2, see Jason File, Letters of Recommendation in Early Church (2006) at pages 70-72 of PDF (refuting contrary views.)


Also as proof of #2, see our article Eisenman on Paul (detailing proofs that Paul did not receive apostolic letters of recommendation, based upon 2 Cor. 10:9-18; 2 and 1 Cor. 9:1-2 when read together with 2 Cor. 11:13-15 and 2 Cor. 3:1.)


Paul thus himself impliedly admits the 12 rejected supporting Paul's authority in the true church which Paul hoped to receive by a written commendation - a key element to be accepted in that era as a representative of a social group. Otherwise, the Christians at Corinth whom are tied to the 12 at Jerusalem should reject Paul.

As we shall also see, Paul had a corresponding disdain for the twelve, implying the 12 were false apostles.


This conflict boiled over in Paul writing that he did not need anyone else's commendation for he "commends" himself "in every way," by "great endurance,...hard work," and "through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report, genuine, yet regarded as impostors." (2 Cor. 6:3-6 NIV.)


Hence, the refusal by the 12 to commend Paul was evidently because they regarded Paul as an impostor apostle.


b. The Reflection in Paul's Writings of 12's Antagonism with Paul.  


The reflection of the 12 Apostles attitude to Paul is seen in the way Paul writes about the twelve. Numerous times, Paul speaks disparagingly about the 12 apostles, in particular about Peter. As J.K. Elliot explains in Essays and Studies in New Testament Textual Criticism (Bloomsbury Publishing 2015) at 132:


[Paul speaks] of the pillars of the Jerusalem church [in Galatians ch. 2]. Paul is against them -- see especially Gal. 2:11. Paul speaks against them with ill-concealed sarcasm in the repetitve words "reputed to be something," and "those of repute" (Gal. 2:2,6,9). Several commentators on I Corinthians argue that the Kephas [i.e., Peter] party (1 Cor. 1:12 [Cephas]; 3:22) are the judaising party in Corinth -- Paul disapproves of this faction. Similarly at 1 Cor. 9:5, Paul speaks disparagingly of Kephas [i.e., Peter] and the brothers of Jesus, i.e., the Jerusalem pillars....The rivalry between Paul and Peter is most strongly apparent in these chapters of Galatians and 1 Corinthians...."


Based upon Paul's put downs of the 12 apostles in Galatians 2, discussed in detail below with Luther's obvious concurrence, it is fair to infer that in 2 Corinthians 11:4 Paul is aware that the 12 preach another Jesus than Paul teaches. Rather than believe the Jesus Paul met was an imposter, Paul was implying the twelve were following an imposter. It is self-evident Paul assumed the 12 were following the wrong Jesus because Paul boasts that he did not desire to learn about anything which their Jesus taught them.


Similarly, Paul speaks elsewhere of the "false apostles" (2 Cor. 11:12-13) who teach more than faith-in-facts about Jesus saves. Paul in Galatians 2:6 says the apostles "imparted nothing" to him, referencing Peter, James, John, etc., for the same reason as Paul used to criticize the  "false apostles" in 2 Cor. 11 for preaching a conditional gospel. In the same sentence in Galatians, Paul snidely puts down Peter, John and James as "reputed" pillars. (Gal. 2:2,6,9.)


The apostles' doctrine obviously required more than just faith alone in facts about Jesus. In Galatians 3:1-9, Paul was adamant that one who has faith-in-the-death-burial-resurrection-facts about Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-5) errs when they seek to add to such faith-in-facts any obedience to "works of the law" as well. Paul insists they must rely entirely on "faith" in these facts about Jesus for salvation. Therefore, because Matthew's Gospel clearly matches that so-called 'false gospel' per Galatians, there is little doubt Paul thought the true 12 were the "false apostles," and that they preached an "imposter" Jesus rather than Paul ever suspecting he, Paul, is the one who met the imposter Jesus on the Road to Damascus.


See 2 Cor. 10:9-18; and 1 Cor. 9:1-2 ("I am not an apostle to others") when read together with 2 Cor. 11:13-15 and 2 Cor. 3:1.


d. Ebionite Clementines Concerned About Authority Asserted Without Quoting Jesus or Learning from 12.


Astonishingly, there is a serious work of the Ebionites that Detering, a pastor-scholar from Berlin, says traces to the earliest church and should be accepted as an historical account from the apostolic church. It is known as the Clementine Homilies. See Herman Detering on the Clementines. This early church work gives serious-minded accounts of Peter making criticism of Paul. For example, Apostle Peter addresses Paul in Homily 17, and questions the appearance of Jesus on the Damascus Road:


"And how did he [Messiah] appear to you when you entertain opinions contrary to his teachings? But if you were seen and taught by him, and became his apostle for a single hour, proclaim his utterances, interpret his sayings, and love his apostles." ("Clementine Homilies," Ante-NiceneFathers (ed. Rev. Alexander Roberts) Ch. XIX at 323 / 324.)


You can hear in this the resonating truth of JWO: Jesus' Words Alone were to be the message of an apostle. At most an apostle can give an interpretation of them. The apostle was not free to reject them, change them, or subvert them.


Please also note that this attribution to Peter is a sensible one. Even Pauline scholars use the obvious numerous contradictions by Paul of Jesus to justify their claim that we live in a Pauline Dispensation. The predominant view today since Bultmann is that we can ignore the teachings of Jesus while in the flesh, and hence the relevance of all these contradictions disappear in one stroke. Instead, we must follow the supposed "revelations" given to Paul from the "Lord" even though Paul never quotes them. Paul explains why, saying it is "unlawful" for him to repeat (2 Cor. 12:4) any of the revelations given him in an out-of-body experience he had in the third-heaven. See Dispensationalism - Bultmann on Paul.


For more information, we detail a minimum of 24 clear cut contradictions between Jesus and Paul at this page: Contradictions of Jesus by Paul.


Peter in the Clementines also has interchanges with Paul saying how dare Paul criticize Peter - yet Peter says Paul has never taken time to listen to the master's words that Peter could relate from Jesus. Peter asks Paul to take time to listen rather than condemn Peter, as Paul admits having done to Peter over his refusal to eat the food offered by Gentiles (which Peter in the Clementines explains was meat sacrificed to idols):


But if you say that I am condemned, you bring an accusation against God, who revealed the Christ to me, and you inveigh against Him who pronounced me blessed on account of the revelation. But if, indeed, you really wish to work in the cause of truth, learn first of all from us what we have learned from Him, and, becoming a disciple of the truth, become a fellow-worker with us. (Clementine Homilies 17,19.)


Again, we hear the JWO refrain: "learn first of all from us what we have learned from Him...."


Professor Dunn alludes to and cites these passages, and says they reflect the earliest Jerusalem Church's view. Yet, Professor Dunn does not mention that this aligns perfectly with the earliest canon as Metzger describes the early church's first approach -- only Jesus' words were canon besides the Law & Prophets. Here is Professor Dunn on the issue:


“The most direct heirs of the Jewish-Christian group­ings within earliest Christianity [i.e., the early Jerusalem church] regarded Paul as the great apostate, an arch enemy,” citing Epistula Petri 2.3; Clem. Hom. 17:18-19. (James D. G. Dunn, The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul (Cambridge University Press, 2003) at 2.)


In concurrence, the Berlin pastor-scholar, Herman Detering, explains that the Clementine Homilies were re-written by Catholic authorities to change Paul's name to Simon Magus in passages that would embarass Paul. For this reason and because Rufinus apparently destroyed the much earlier original Greek texts, some scholars insist upon calling it the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies. However, with this minor correction - revising Simon Magus back to Paul in several passages -- we can readily restore the authentic early text that Rufinus was not willing entirely to destroy.


How did Detering conclude this alteration was made from Paul to Simon Magus? Why do all other scholars on the Clementines concur?


The transmitter of the Clementine Homilies was Rufinus who made a Latin translation. "Only the Latin translation was preserved." (See link.) Thus, by Detering referring to Rufinus, we know Rufinus admitted elsewhere that it was his duty to change anything that was unacceptable heresy in his era of the 300s and early 400s into something neutralized or altered even though an earlier orthodoxy had a different view. He confessed this in his translation of Origen's works from the 200s. Rufinus said he found "stumbling blocks" in the original Greek of Origen, so in his translation to Latin (while destroying the Greek copies), Rufinus explains he "smoothed" and corrected them in translation, that a Latin reader would "meet with nothing which could appear discordant with our belief." (Origen, de Principiis, "Prologue of Rufinus,"" Ante-Nicene Fathers (1905), vol. 4 at 237.) For more on Detering's analysis, see our

Biography of Paul


Thus, the first generation after the apostles quoted Peter to prove Paul was an apostate and also rejector of the teachings of the true Jesus. The first generation was circulating materials quoting Peter to this effect. This directly ties back to Acts 21:21 where James says that he has been informed that Paul is guilty of "apostasy" -- the seduction of a false prophet criminalized in Deut 13:1-5.


But the true teachings of Paul did not apparently get resolved by the end of Acts.


As mentioned before, in Acts 21, James gives Paul a test to perform to prove to James and everyone else that Paul does not renounce the Law's ongoing validity. Paul complies. James is assuaged for a time. However, we all know from Paul's epistles that Paul's true heart on the issue was precisely in accepting the apostasy law was just as much abrogated as all the law. He could renounce it and believe (supposedly) he was not a false prophet. Paul was afraid, obviously, to declare this openly to the Jerusalem church, but clearly they found out later. This explains the passages just quoted from the Clementine Homilies as well as the Ebionite ruling to exclude Paul from even being read, as a false apostate.



e. Bible-Based Concerns About Jesus as Sole Canon.


The Ebionites who authored the Ascents of James - a text connected to the Clementine Homilies -- taught therein that Jesus is the "prophet like Moses" as prophesied in Deut. 18:18-29 and asserted by Peter in Acts 3 in a sermon. See John Painter, Just James (Fortress Press, 1997) at 196


The Ebionite reason to reject Paul in Peter's quote above was obviously based in part that they would not allow any apostle, including themselves, to supplant Jesus' sole authority in New Covenant canon as "the Prophet." Just as John the Baptist insisted he must decrease so Jesus' authority would increase (John 3:30-31), Peter saw that if focus turned to apostles' words as canon although they do not quote Jesus, this would cause their apostolic authority to increase, and Jesus' exclusive authority as the Prophet to decrease.


Another concern of theirs was no doubt over Jesus' status as "sole pastor." Jesus said this about Himself in John 10:16 (G. poimen - pastor.) Jesus in turn was quoting Ezekiel 37:24. This is a prophecy of the future David "Messiah" who would be humanity's "sole pastor" aka "sole shepherd."


Hence, Peter's remark in the Clementines that the apostles serve no role other than as messengers of Jesus' quotes means this did not permit using a letter of anyone, including from themselves, as an authority when the letter has no quotation of Jesus at all.


None of Paul's epistles even once quote a revelation from Jesus except 2 Cor. 12:7 - a horrible attribution by Paul to the "Lord" -- evidently Jesus. Paul-fan-scholars reject these quotes are truly from Jesus which Paul attributes to the "Lord" -- evidently Jesus. For Paul claims our Jesus supposedly told him he would not free Paul from oppression by an "Angel of Satan" despite Paul praying three times for release. "How could this be so?!" Even Paul defenders agree it cannot be. See Paul Never Served as a Messenger of Jesus' Words. Or, as I would say, Paul's "Lord" cannot be the true Lord Jesus, that is, Paul was a dupe.



NOTE: This article is an excerpt of our longer article entitled The History of the First Jesus' Words only Canon Movement.