You became weary on your many journeys, but you did not say, "I give up!" You found a renewal of your strength; therefore you did not grow weak. (Isaiah 57:10 Holman.)


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Only Jesus (great song by Big Daddy)

What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Self-serving rewrite of the Law -- 

 Torah -- in 1 Corinthians 9: 9 - 10


We all know Jesus taught the apostles as they preach and teach to lay no cost on any one listening for "freely you received, freely give." (Matt 10:8.) Jesus in the next few verses explained the way an evangelist can obtain support is to follow the Mosaic law on hospitality. Go into a town, and ask for a room to stay in another's home, and offer house-hold services. If you do exceptionally much, the home owner has a duty to pay you a wage -- the "worker is worthy of his wage." See Law of Hospitality from Leviticus 25:6.


Jesus thereby gave a restrictive method of support to any one serving Christ by evangelism -- preaching or teaching the gospel. Jesus also warned it is impossible to serve mammon and God at the same time -- for you will be tempted to protect your mammon over your love for God. "You cannot serve God and money." (Matt 6:24.)


By contrast, Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:7 is going to defend the proposition that one who preaches and teaches is entitled to money from his listeners in compensation for the same. While Paul generally rejects the Law given Moses, Paul makes one exception. Paul embraces a verse in Deuteronomy which Paul claims expressly supports the proposition in 1 Cor. 9:7 that a preacher / teacher is entitled to financial support from listeners. Paul cites suprisingly a Mosaic law passage as always intended at the time God first uttered it as only to benefit teachers and preacher's rights, and was not supposedly intended to benefit the animal which the verse actually mentions (i.e., an ox). 


However, at close reading this passage by all appearances has nothing to do with anything but animal husbandry. It appears to be solely about the proper thoughtful care for one's animal: an ox. 


What law are we talking about?


It is Deuteronomy 25 verse four.


In the Law given Moses, Deut 25:4 is one of the shortest verses in the Torah with no preceding or succeeding verse amplifying it or setting it up. It reads just this: 


Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.


Nothing about a teacher or preacher is mentioned. God obviously cares for an ox. By its God-given nature, an ox eats grass. The ox should not be prevented from eating the grass as it treads the grain. God mercifully allows the ox to enjoy the grass as it goes about treading out the grain. This is to be done obviously so as to not frustrate the oxen's natural desire to eat the delicious grass it sees. What a merciful creator we have! He even cares for the oxen! 


As Jesus said about sparrows, God "feeds them" (Matt 6:6) and a single "sparrow will not fall to the ground without the Father's care." (Matt 10:29.)


God loves animals too, and desires their protection. That is absolutely 100% clear from Jesus. 


But what does Paul say that Deuteronomy 25:4 is "no doubt" about? Paul insists the verse never meant what it said. It supposedly is not intended to be about care for an ox. Paul insists this is the case by means of a rhetorical question to make the point.

First Paul says we know God does not care about oxen, for he rhetorically asks "Does God care for oxen?" We know the question is rhetorical to signify God does not care for oxen because Paul follows by saying that the verse is meant "altogether" for someone other than an ox -- it is "altogether" -- meaning only -- for "our sake." Paul claims without shame that this passage is God's command to only be about supporting Paul and others like himself who teach and preach.  I kid you not!


Please listen attentively. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians:  


For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakesno doubtthis is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. (1 Cor. 9:9-10 NKJV.)   


Thus, Paul refutes this verse as ever  truly intended to be a lesson to protect the well-being of your oxen. The rhetorical question which dismisses this verse as truly about oxen is: "Does God care for oxen?" By Paul next saying it "no doubt" is "altogether" for "our sakes," the rhetorical question clearly signifies that "God does not care for oxen." Instead of it being on how to care for an ox, Paul insists "no doubt" this verse is God's command to provide financial nourishment to Paul and those like him who preach and teach. Paul tells Gentiles to obey that one Law given Moses. This verse supposedly intends to allow those who plow "hope"  in others to reap "hope" from them. "Hope" on the receiving end here is a euphemism in context for money, financial rewards and the like


Paul brings that out loud and clear in the succeding verses:  


11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it

too much if we reap a material harvest from

you? 12 If others have this right of support from

you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? ****

 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded

that those who preach the gospel should receive

their living from the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:11-12, 14



There is no doubt about this. Paul again in 1 Tim.5:17-18 NIV quotes the ox passage from the Mosaic Law as matter-of-factly proving, ipso facto, to confer a right to a living from the gospel, which it nowise intended nor implied. 


17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”


Thus, Paul's point is clear what is the result of his view of the express meaning of Deuteronomy 25:4 is "altogether" something else than its literal meaning.  God has supposedly commanded the people to make sure their preachers and teachers receive from them the support they need for living. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught, as well as completely unsupportable as the meaning of Deuteronomy 25:4 except by the most blatant juggling imaginable.


Moreover, as Macarius Magnes noted in the 300s, Paul makes this one law from the Mosaic Law apply when it suits his financial advantage and that of those who gain by following Paul and using his words to gain money for preaching and teaching. Otherwise, Paul teaches us the law is "dead," and has faded away. See JWO Chapter 5.


Also, we must remember Paul's reading violates something Jesus expressly prohibited in Matthew 10:8.

Can no one see the immorality of Paul's thoughts? Its blatant denial of this verse's clear words? Its blatant contradiction of Jesus in Matt 10:8? Can we ignore the wilfulness of Paul to baselessly re-write a Bible verse that he confesses is still operative in the present dispensation when it obviously is to his blatant financial advantage? Yet when not to his financial advantage, such as preaching costly grace based upon the Law (as Jesus taught in Matthew 19 which repelled a would-be disciple), Paul otherwise says that the Law is dead, gone, and nailed to a cross.


Does this explain why the 12 apostles instead commended their missionaries to the gentiles to take no money? 


Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. (3 John 7.) 


Wasn't it to avoid corruption of the message to earn money from Gentiles? To avoid temptation to water down the gospel to Gentiles to suit financial gain? To prevent the temptation to corrupt scripture to say what it does not say for purely selfish corrupt purposes? 

Wasn't this the true apostolic practice to also avoid any self-interest to completely nullify the rights of another under the Law such as a poor ox, and transfer those rights completely to yourself? 


This passage from Paul all by itself constitutes the clearest case of ANOMIA / APOSTASY under Deut 13:1-5.  However, a Gentile would not readily know that.


For this passage from Paul both materially subtracts and adds to what Paul acknowledges as God's present Word which we must obey. The self-interest is blatant: the verse was supposedly only about preachers and teachers "no doubt" in which Paul named himself, and not truly about any concern by God for oxen. 


Paul's passage presents a unique example of apostasy. For while either a material addition or a subtraction from a command of God can alone be apostasy, Paul completely alters a command he says is from God to mean something exclusively different than what it actually means. That is apostasy on steroids.


So dear good Bereans, ask yourself in your heart before God the following:


Can this passage from Paul represent anything but a blatant and heinous self-interested apostasy against what Paul insisted was God's still operative command in Deut 25:4?


Doesn't this passage in 1 Corinthians 9 therefore support among abundant other evidence why the Jerusalem Apostolic Church after the book of Acts closes in 58 AD found that Paul was an apostate, and told all followers of Christ not to follow Paul's teachings? See The Early Apostolic Church Rejected Paul.   


Also, doesn't the adoption under Constantine of tax support and subsidies for a new hierarchical position  -- the priest -- have its only legitimacy in Paul's writings -- where such subsidies outside the Law of Hospitality -- were wholy rejected by Christ himself?


Finally, does Paul's reasonings satisfy a prophecy of Jesus in his talk with Peter and the apostles recorded in the once part of Christian canon -- the Apocalypse of Peter --  which was  removed in the era of Constantine (see "Apocalypse of Peter," Wikipedia)? For there Jesus during his ministry tells the disciples that after he departs, a seduction of his followers of the following type will begin:


 "And they will cleave to the name of a dead man, thinking that they will become pure. But they will become greatly defiled and they will fall into a name of error, and into the hand of an evil, cunning man and a manifold dogma, and they will be ruled without law." (Fred Lapham, Peter: The Myth, the Man and the Writings (2004) at 116.)


Furthermore, what comes to mind is a passage in Enoch - a  work the apostolic church (Jude's Epistle) quoted as an inspired work: 


Woe to them who act godlessly and glory in lying words and extol them: you will perish and no happy life will be yours. 2. Woe to them who pervert the words of uprightness and transgress the eternal law, and transform themselves into what they were not [i.e., "adopt foreign customs and make themselves sinful Gentiles: become apostates"]. They will be trodden under foot upon the earth. 

(The Book of Enoch (1893)(Charles trans.) at pp. 283-284 excerpted here.)(The quotations inside the brackets are Charles' footnote explanations.) 





Macarius Magnes Notes This Passage in the 300s

Long before I came across this passage, Macarius Magnes addressed this passage with similar observations.  

Macarius Magnes in his Apocriticus III.30-36

(circa 300 AD) writes:


That he dissembles the Gospel for the sake of vainglory, and the law for the sake of covetousness, is plain from his words, "Who ever goeth to war at his own charges? Who shepherdeth the flock and doth not eat of the milk of the flock?" (1 Cor. 9:7). And, in his desire to get hold of these things, he calls in the law as a supporter of his covetousness, saying, "Or doth not the law say these things ? For in the law of Moses it is written, Thou shall not muzzle an ox that is treading out the corn " (v. 9). Then he adds a statement which is obscure and full of nonsense, by way of cutting off the divine forethought from the brute beasts, saying, "Doth God take care of the oxen, or doth he say it on our account? On our account it was written" (v. 10). It seems to me that in saying this he is mocking the wisdom of the Creator, as if it contained no forethought for the things that had long ago been brought into being. For if God does not take care of oxen, pray, why is it written, "He hath subjected all things, sheep and oxen and beasts and birds and the fishes" (Ps. viii. 8-9) ? If He takes account of fishes, much more of oxen which plough and labour. Wherefore I am amazed at such an impostor, who pays such solemn respect to the law because he is insatiable, for the sake of getting a sufficient contribution from those who are subject to him.


For more on Macarius Magnes, see our page dedicated to Macarius' tactical criticisms of Paul. 


The Didache of the Early 100s

A work entitled the Didache, or Teaching of the Apostles, was found in the 1800s. It dates to as early as the 100s as apostolic sayings of the twelve apostles.  The apostles are recorded teaching us to give room and board to Christ's messengers for one or two days (i.e., the law of hospitality in Leviticus to which Jesus alluded in Matthew 10), but "If he remain a third day, he is a false prophet." (Quoted in Edwin Johnson, Antiqua Mater (1887) at page 57.)


The Didache continued, and spoke about sermons asking for money: "Whosoever says in spirit; 'Give me money or any other things, you shall not listen to him." Id., at page 64.