Is there a difference between Paul’s message
and his Lord’s?
Reading the Lord Jesus’ messages to His churches – as revealed to His Apostle John on Patmos – leaves one astounded at how parallel they run, and how consistent they are with the message of Paul and the Apostles. When the Elders and Apostles in Jerusalem assembled in order to formulate the approach Gentile believers needed to take concerning keeping the laws of Moses, they concluded that:
“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell,” Acts 15:28-29.
Is it not therefore both amazing and significant that, in at least two of His messages to the Gentile-based churches (in Pergamos and Thyatira), the ascended Lord singles out the very same minimal requirement as identified by the Elders and Apostles?!
“But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality” Revelation 2:14.
“Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols,” Revelation 2:20.
Nowhere in all of His messages does Jesus, in His message to the seven churches, disagree or contend with Paul or the other Apostles. Nowhere does He add other commandments for holy living than those contained in the epistles of Paul and the other Apostles. Nowhere does He, the Risen Lord, stress other Mosaic laws or traditions as necessary for Gentile believers. Nowhere does He say that He disagreed with Paul or with his teachings as, indeed, Torah-keeping Christians today seem to do.
Nowhere does He emphasize matters other than the Apostles did for holy living under the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Like Paul, Jesus stresses their love relationship to the Lord Himself and – in this way – showed that He was fully behind the words of the one He had personally called to be an apostle to the Gentiles; as Paul states in the salutations of nearly all his epistles:
“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,” Romans 1:1-5.
“Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia,” Galatians 1:1-2.
This all is quite astonishing in light of the fact that in some circles today there exists disrespect for, or at least a belittling of, Paul’s clear teaching to the Gentile churches, none of which is found in any of the messages of the Lord to the seven churches in the book of Revelation! And these messages comprise our Lord’s only recorded written words after the Apostles – in His Name by His Spirit – had written theirs.
It is also significant that, like Jesus, Paul, wrote his words to seven churches: to the Romans, the Corinthians, the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians and the Thessalonians. Seven! Seven stands for completeness, and so too do Paul’s and Jesus’ dovetailing messages!
We do not need to add to them, and we certainly don’t need to explain them away or reinterpret them to fit the unscriptural beliefs we may hold today.
~ Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center
Newsletter of November 26, 2015.
Republished with the kind permission of Author Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of International Christian Zionist Center.
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