Paul the Apostle


Egypt was a cruel taskmaster for Israel.

Moses was raised in the Pharaoh’s house, and was fluent in Hebrew and Egyptian languages. After a false start in trying to deliver God’s people, he spent forty more years being prepared in the desert. He filled the offices of prophet and priest. He was sent in God’s time to the Pharaoh, and left a Messianic message for us that portrays, through the Passover lamb, Yeshua’s crucifixion.


Ninevah was the cruelest kind of enemy to Israel.

Jonah, like other Israelites, hated Ninevites. After fleeing from God’s direction, he spent time in the stomach of Ninevah’s fish-god until God finished preparing him. He took God’s Word to Ninevah faithfully.

Jonah was especially prepared by God to fill the office of a prophet. He was sent in God’s time to Ninevah, and left a Messianic message for us that portrays Yeshua’s crucifixion and resurrection in great detail.


Gentiles were considered “unclean” to Hebrews; they were idolaters.

Paul (Sha-ul’ in Hebrew, Pa-ul’-os in Greek) was of the highest order of the Hebrews1; he was a judge in the highest court – the Sanhedrin2. To be such, he was required to have mastery of Torah, and of Hebrew, Greek and other languages. He was most zealous in his religious cause, and persecuted followers of Yeshua as idolaters. When God finished preparing Paul, he was in a unique position to be able to take God’s Hebrew words to gentiles of Greek and other languages3. Paul was especially prepared by God to fill offices of prophet and apostle. He was sent in God’s time to the gentiles, and left a Messianic message for us that explains, more fully than any other, how the Torah pictures Yeshua, and how the Torah applies to us.


God sent twelve Hebrew apostles4 primarily to the twelve tribes of Israel, and one very-prepared Hebrew apostle specifically for the gentiles5.


1     Paul was “a Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5). He received religious training under Gamaliel, a renowned Torah teacher (Acts 22:3).


2     Paul was apparently a judge at Yeshua’s trial (Acts 8:1), and carried out the Sanhedrin’s orders (Acts 8:3). He had access to the High Priest (Acts 9:1). He was present at the judgment of Stephen (Acts 7:58-59).


3     Paul said, “I thank God, I speak in more foreign languages than you all” (1 Corinthians 14:18). A judge of the Sanhedrin was required to be able to communicate in various languages with those seeking halachic rulings, and witnesses and defendants.


4     A Sheliach Tzibbur was a messenger sent out from the Temple of Holy One to the Qehal – the congregation / synagogue / church (This title is commonly translated “Messenger of the Synagogue” or “Angel of the Church” as in Revelation 2 & 3). He must be a Hebrew (Luke simply had a Hellenistic name). The Temple, “made after the pattern in heaven,” represented Yeshua – the apostles were messengers sent out by Yeshua to the churches.


5     “Gentiles” does not mean Ephraimites (of the tribe of Joseph), as some teach today. It means the world other than the twelve tribes.


There is no one on earth today that can come close to Paul’s understanding of Messiah, of Torah, or of Hebrew or Greek languages. While there is much room for discussion about translations and interpretations, it is at the height of hypocrisy for anyone today to think that he can sit as a judge over Paul’s writings. I would love to have a tenth of his understanding of Messiah and Torah.



When I first came to the faith, I had many questions.


Paul said (Galatians 2:16 KJV) “a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” But James said (James 2:24) “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” There appears to be a contradiction here, but that is only due to interpretation. We cannot be justified by becoming good enough through the performance of deeds (“works”) of God’s instruction (“law”). We can only be justified through faith in Messiah Yeshua, Who took upon Himself the penalty for our sins and imputes / accounts His righteousness to us. But if that faith does not produce results – if our actions (“works”) do not reflect what we believe – then it is really not faith at all: it is a “dead” faith. While works that are the fruit of faith are also according to God’s instruction (“law”), we do not perform them in order to be justified, but they are a necessary result of a real faith. Such “works” are properly performed as love for our Savior and our neighbor. Paul and James thus give complementary statements that can greatly enhance our understanding.


Luke said of Paul (Acts 9:7 KJV) “And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.” Paul recounted (Acts 22:9), “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.” There appears to be a contradiction here, but that is only due to translation. A more literal rendering of the end of the latter verse is (NAS) “but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.” Some seemingly hard problems have very simple explanations.


The more answers that I found, the more questions I discovered. Eventually I came to accept that there were answers to all of my questions, and it need not shake my faith that I did not see them all now. We need to look for understanding of the Biblical text, not cast doubt upon it. We need to help one another to increase faith, and not hinder others. Our present problem is that we do not have as much faith even as a grain of “mustard seed” (Matthew 17:20).


Paul and Torah

Paul strongly affirmed Torah, while refuting the doctrine of salvation by mitzvot / works. He continually showed that mitzvot observance is the fruit and evidence of faith, that faith through which we are saved.

The mitzvot include loving Yahweh our God and loving our neighbor. On these two greatest commandments hang all three categories of mitzvot: judgments, ordinances, and statutes. Judgments include safeguarding one’s neighbor and honest speech. Ordinances include setting the Sabbaths aside for holy service, and performing animal and grain offerings when the Holy Temple is functioning (past and future). Statutes include kashrut (food laws) and circumcision. Paul affirmed and observed all of these, while insisting that salvation from sin is based upon Yeshua through faith in Him.

Paul was in his day, and is today, falsely accused of abrogating Torah and teaching against mitzvot observance, especially as applied to Gentiles. In his day, this seems to have been mainly due to a false doctrine of salvation by mitzvot observance. Today, it seems largely due to a misunderstanding that Paul was teaching different rules for Gentiles, and otherwise due to popular Christian teaching of lawlessness (where a supposed “legalism” is condemned).



[To be continued.]



© 2005  Beikvot HaMashiach

(Followers of the Messiah)


Updated April 24, 2010


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