Saturday, January 23, 2016

Did Paul cause the Abomination of Desolation?

On my other Blog I already addressed the Jesus Words Only movement which seeks to deny Faith Alone and Eternal Security by declaring Paul a heretic (and blaming him for monarchical Church structure).

I'm going to discus this movement again here because their eschatology is a peculiar form of Preterism that effectively makes Paul the False Prophet and the Jesus whom Paul preached the Antichrist, though they don't talk about the Beasts in Revelation.

They talk about Matthew 24:23-26 and insist Paul's conversion in Acts 9 fits the description of the (they forget the word is singular rather then plural) False Christ Jesus was warning of.

Thing is, they seem to consider Revelation valid since they think Paul is who Jesus meant by Balaam.  But their standard for ruling out Paul's vision should equally apply to John, because when discrediting Paul's they insist Jesus won't appear again to anyone till he comes in the clouds.  Jesus intent in Matthew 24:23-26 was not to say private revelations can't happen, but to address counterfeit Parusias, Paul never tries to define his encounter as The Parusia, he clearly shows familiarity with Matthew 24:27-31's Parusia as he refers to it in 1 Corinthians 15, I Thessalonians 4 and II Thessalonians 2.

At any rate that part of Matthew 24 is after the Abomination of Desolation, not before.

They will talk about the claim that Paul puts a quote from Euripides' Bacchants that was said by Bacchus (manifesting as The Stranger) in Jesus mouth.  "it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks".  "Kick against the goad/prick" was a common Greek proverb, the desire to connect this usage of it in Acts to specifically that play of Euripides is because these are the only two surviving works of antiquity to have the pricks be plural rather then singular.  But the quote in the play is different "why dost thou continue to rage and kick against the pricks, a man against a god".  If Paul (or a demon appearing to Paul) was intending to paraphrase that, I'd expect him to include that last part but express it in a more monotheistic fashion.

There is an overlooked Biblical allusion to Goads I think might be relevant.  Ecclesiastes 12:11.  "The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.".

And they'll talk about Paul being praised by the demon possessed oracle in Acts 16.  They ignore how in The Gospels demons always proclaimed Jesus to be who He truly was also.

The centerpiece however is their claim about the Abomination of Desolation.

I first want to say I actually agree with them that Paul's flaws and mistakes are apparent in Luke's account in Acts.  And that in Acts 21 Paul did disobey God by going to Jerusalem and consequences happened because of that.  But connecting that event to the Abomination of Desolation issue is pure error.

They claim based on Ezekiel 44 that an uncircumcised Gentile walking into The Temple can qualify as the Abomination of Desolation, and so when Trophimus did what he was accused of doing in Acts 21:29, that fulfilled Jesus Prophecy from Matthew 24:15.

Jesus said "the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet".  Daniel used that phrase twice, in 11:31 and 12:11, and arguably has a similar concept in mind in 9:27.  In all three of those the word for Abomination is shiqquwts  (Strongs Number 8251).  Jesus must have used that same Hebrew word when He spoke this in Hebrew, if there is any text claiming to be the legit Hebrew text of Matthew that uses a different Hebrew word here, it must be a fraud.

That word is the same word translated Abomination in passages like 1 Kings 11 and 2 Kings 23, when Chemosh is called the Abomination of the Moabites, and Moloch/Milcom the Abomination of the Ammonites and Asteroth the Abomination of the Zidonians.  In 2 Chronicles 15:8 the KJV translates it Idols, in many other verses it's used with the usual Hebrew word for Idol in a way that treats it as a synonym.  This word is God's derogatory term for Idols and false gods.

This word is however never used in Ezekiel 40-48, (but was earlier in Ezekiel).  The word translated Abomination in Ezekiel 43 and 44 is Towvah (Strongs number 8441), it's not even etymologically related.  This word is also the word translated Abomination in Leviticus 18, that I feel should more accurately be translated "taboo".  This word does not refer to Idols themselves but rather to behaviors that were Levitically unclean.  This Hebrew word was never used even once in the entire Book of Daniel.

They object to Paul's teaching that God no longer dwelt in The Temple.  They attempt to use secular historians starting with Josephus to show the divine presence left The Temple in 66-70 AD.  I have elsewhere on this blog argued that those events Josephus refereed to (which Tacitcus and Yosippon merely borrowed from Josephus) actually happened in 30 AD.

The Second Temple actually never had the Shekinah Glory to begin with, Ezra 6:13's account of the dedication of the Second Temple lacks any mention of that.  I think the Second Temple still had the Holy Spirit till Pentecost, but from that day on We are God's Temple.

Their objection to what Paul taught on Circumcision I would respond to with the fact that Ezekiel 44:7-9 referred to "uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh".   This circumcision of the heart theme begins in Leviticus 26:41 and is in Deuteronomy 10:16 (quoted by Stephen in Acts 7:51) and 30:6, and also Jeremiah 4:6 and 9:26.  

Paul said in Romans 2:28-29 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."

One last thing thing I want to talk about is how they take the Ravening Wolf of Benjamin Prophecy from Genesis 49:27 and believe it refers to Paul.
Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
Many Paulian Christians also like to see both famous Benjamite Sauls as the fulfillment of this, following the rule of Dual Fulfillment.  King Saul started out good but went bad and become a persecutor of David.  Paul's story goes in the opposite direction.

Whether or not that is the proper understanding of that Prophecy I can't be certain.

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