Paul, a Liar?!
If Yeshua had in fact been referring to Paul as a false apostle and liar in the book of Revelation, how is it he was a liar? Obviously, the claim of apostleship itself might be considered a lie. But in my thinking, the label of "liar" implies a person who uses conscious intent to deceive. When Paul called himself an apostle, I believe he really thought he was one. Therefore I would have a hard time actually labeling him as a liar on those grounds alone. I would call him conceited and self deceived. Interestingly enough, just by the way Yeshua states it, he appears to make the same distinction. "And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars." Revelation 2:2 NKJV Notice that the idea of apostle is completely negated first and then the idea of liar appears to be in addition to the fact. So if Paul was the one Yeshua was referring to, I would expect him to be guilty of using conscious intent to deceive. Here again I would draw a distinction and not include the many errors he had in his doctrines because I'm sure he thought he was right. What I am looking for are outright bold-faced lies. If Paul's letters are the inspired and infallible word of almighty God, breathed through Paul by the Holy Spirit as Christian doctrine asserts, would it have been possible for Paul to have told an outright lie in them? I think not. So if he did, what would that by itself directly imply concerning the notion that his words are God's words? Consider the following.
Paul and the Jerusalem Council
In the book of Acts, Luke records two separate trips Paul made to Jerusalem to discuss doctrinal matters with the head Messianic leaders Peter and James. The first incident is recorded in Acts 15. Here, as the story goes, there had been a disagreement as to whether the Gentiles believers needed to be circumcised. So Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem to find an answer to the question. When they came to Jerusalem the elders received them, and Paul told them of his doings among the Gentiles. At this point a group of believing Pharisees stated that it was necessary for the Gentiles to be circumcised and require them to keep the Law. This must have been the hot topic of the day because it was just what Paul and Barnabas had been sent there to discuss. And it says there was "much dispute" among those who were at the conference. Then Peter speaks and makes reference to an event where he had been sent to the Gentile Cornelius, and he goes on to say these words. "So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers or we were able to bear?" Acts 15:8-10 NKJV Here Peter is referring to the Gentiles and appears to be calling the Law an unbearable burden. Before going on to the subject of Paul, a couple of things need to be addressed in this quote because there are those in the Jewish community who can't believe Peter or James would ever call the Law a burden. Some would rather charge Luke with dishonest reporting. As mentioned before, I see no reason to accuse Luke of malice. The book of Acts was not written to the world at large, but to Theophilus, a personal friend and Teacher of Luke's. It is hard to imagine why Luke would lie to him. I believe Luke accurately recorded what he saw and heard. The people he quotes may have been in doctrinal error, and his own commentaries may have been made in Paul-induced ignorance, but I personally have a hard time with the notion that Luke was part of a grand conspiracy to destroy the Law. I see Luke as a very typical everyday person, a Gentile with honorable intentions. He also records events which end up convicting Paul as well as support him! When he is discredited as a reporter, nothing he says is reliable...
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