Grated by Galatians

A few weeks ago, I found this book – published by FirstFruits of Zion (a Messianic company) – called “Epistle to Galatians”.  The book touted itself as being revolutionary; a ‘new’ look at the book of Galatians, that Christians use to try to justify throwing out the Law.  “What was Paul really saying?”, the book asks.

I was completely intrigued by the sales pitch… mistake #1, most definitely.  So I went on FB and asked if anyone would go in on it with me, since it was a buy one/get one free deal… mistake #2, to be sure.  And I found out that a number of people were already getting it – and a number more were interested.  I was excited.  I wanted to know more about the NT from a Messianic perspective.  And when my books (x2) came, there were two extra!  I was so excited, I sent them off to people I was SURE it would bless.  mistake #3.

I have had NOTHING but anger since opening this book.  And the more I read, the more angry I get.  And I’m only just finished with chapter five.  I started out with no red flags (chapter 1), moved to a reluctant and disturbing red flag (chapter 2), a startling THREE red flags (chapter 3), SIX red flags in chapter 4, this morning?  I have so many, I’m no longer counting.  My ire us UP.

When it started off, the author merely added conjecture that I was uncomfortable with.  “Paul and Mark parted ways,” he said, “because of a disagreement stemming from Paul’s abrasive personality”.  In truth, we don’t know WHY they parted ways – perhaps Mark had friends or family he needed to visit.  Perhaps he’d gotten sick or injured on the journey and elected to stay behind.  We don’t know.  I griped about this supposition inserted into the book on FB, but a Messianic friend assured me that it was just ‘for story-telling purposes’.  I argued that, when you start taking liberties with scripture, things tend to snowball into untruth VERY quickly.  I think I offended her… but I wasn’t really terribly concerned.  I’m more worried about Truth than tender feelings.

He went on to start separating Paul’s truth from the disciples’ truth, claiming that there were TWO different gospels – Paul’s and “man’s” (aka, the apostles).  Which was red flag number one – if there were two gospels out there, one has to be wrong.  Because there’s only ONE gospel.  And ergo:

1)  If Paul’s is correct, then the apostles were wrong.  I have issue with this, because (as the author points out in ch 5) if Messiah gave all authority to the apostles, they COULDN’T be wrong.
2)  Paul says in Galatians 1 that if anyone bring another gospel other than the ONE true one, they should be accursed.  So either Paul is accursed, or the apostles are accursed, by this writer’s own tongue.  I have ISSUE with this.

This is more than just adding supposition to ‘flesh out’ Paul’s story.  It’s an affront to the scriptures.  I have SERIOUS problems with this.

The author insinuates that “Paul’s Gospel” was given by revelation via Messiah, while “man’s gospel” (read apostle’s gospel), was not.  But who taught the apostles?  Hello, Messiah!  He might not have done it via a vision like Paul, but they got their revelation (revealing of truth) from Messiah, too.  And Messiah would NOT give a second/different gospel to His own.  Something stinks, here, and stinks BIG.

He then tells us at the top of pg 46 that the apostles not only have their own version of the gospel, but they have their own SYNAGOGUE in Jerusalem.  Funny, I have NEVER read that in scripture.  In fact, the Bible is clear that the NT believers met in homes on the day after Shabbat, because they were in the temple on Sabbath to hear/teach the Truth, and then got together the next day to discuss what they’d heard/learned and how it relates to Messiah.  A new synagogue would NOT be in keeping with scripture… in fact, it perpetuates the system Christ did not like.  Further, it suggests that they forsake the Jewish synagogue, which they did NOT… it would allege that the NEW synagogue replaces the old,  much like the christians allege that the NEW testament replaces the OLD.  That is NOT how it works with Yehovah – He may make different provision within the first, but He will NEVER replace it.  This is another HUGE red flag for me.

The next thing the author does is paints a picture of these confused and (wrong) apostles that shows them as being on the wrong road.  Without Paul, there’s NO WAY the real gospel will be preached.  It all hinges on Paul… which is completely untrue.  If I recall, Peter had a vision of a sheet full of animals that the Lord sent – the message there being that Gentiles are acceptable to receive the Gospel, too.  Which is what Paul’s ministry stated.  So obviously the Lord didn’t give this message to Paul exclusively.  Which means the author has COMPLETELY misinterpreted Galatians.

Oh, but it gets better.  Next up is chapter five, and on pg 53, our beloved Messianic author (ha) says that Peter is the head of the church, because the Lord gave him the keys of heaven.  THAT. IS. SO. WRONG, I can’t begin to tell you.  First of all, the word for ‘given YOU the keys’ in the Bible is plural ‘you’ (ie., the apostles), not singular ‘you’ (ie., Paul).  That Peter is head of the church is a ROMAN CATHOLIC teaching – which is what I’m beginning to suspect the author’s background is somewhat steeped in.  That is FALSE TEACHING.

Then halfway down the SAME page, he says God’s people will be judged by the Twelve apostles (which is scriptural).  But that puts Peter on the same level as the rest of the apostles, blasting what he’d just said out of the water.  Then he frickes it up WORSE by saying that above the other apostles (including Peter!) Yeshua’s brother James has taken Messiah’s place of authority.  Blasphemy!  There is NO need for ANYONE to ever take Messiah’s place – no way they ever could!  Further, is Peter in charge (with the Roman Catholic keys?) or is James?  And where does it say that James is Messiah’s physical brother in scripture?  I don’t recall… that’s another church teaching, as far as I’m concerned.  Total supposition.  According to what I’ve read, the heirarchy of apostles close to Messiah was in four sets of three, starting with Peter/James bar Zebedee/John bar Zebedee, and going down from there.  Funny, James-brother-of Yeshua-son-of-Mary isn’t even in the top three!

I. HAVE. ISSUES!!!!

And in order to make this allegation about James-son-of-Mary seem true, the author has to grasp at extra-Biblical sources (I have read the Book of Thomas is not credible, on top of THAT.).

He keeps saying Paul ‘boasts’ this and ‘boasts’ that – the picture he paints is not a pretty one.  On top of the lies, it’s damnable aggravating.  I won’t even going INTO the author’s view on authority structures, and where Paul fits within that (as a former religious leader).  I’m just too pissed off with just this.

THIS is what happens when people start off taking liberties with things.  They run away with themselves, doing whatever they want with scripture – twisting, distorting, adding to…. and it’s WRONG.

I reckon I’ll have MORE to say on the matter as we go along.  Not that I can BELIEVE I’m going to keep going along in this… but I figure if it’s only an exercise in discernment, it’s worth it.

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