Beware of the Pauline Extremists!
Part 2

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Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
December 25, 2023

Last Updated :
December 25, 2023

Romans 16:25-27: Was Apostle Paul First Person To Reveal The Mystery Of God?, The Mystery Of God Explained, Bible Verses That Reveal The Mystery, Raising People From The Dead In The Gospels Was A Hint Of The Mystery, Lazarus Is Raised From The Dead, Elijah Revives The Son Of The Widow Of Zarephath, How Would The Patriarch Job Even Know?, Miraculous Resurrection Of Jesus Christ, Jewish Religionists' Attempt To Hide Jesus' Resurrection, Other Saints Raised From The Dead, Paul Was Not Very First Person To Reveal The Mystery Of God, The Apostles Shared The Account Of The Resurrected Christ To A Huge Crowd In Acts 2, Geographical Extent Of Their Witness, Philip Goes To Samaria Followed By Witnessing To Ethiopian Eunuch In The South, Result Of Philip's Obedience And Faithfulness, Oldest Modern Christian Communities, Apostle Paul Was Last Apostle To Witness The Resurrected Christ, There Is Only One Gospel Not Two, Importance Of Remembering Simplicity Of The Gospel

Continuing our discussion from part one, from everything I have read online, it seems that this doctrine regarding Paul revealing a mystery which had never been heard or preached before is based -- erroneously so -- on the following group of verses which are found in the last chapter of his Epistle to the Romans:

"Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea."
Romans 16:25-27, KJV

Now, according to certain online posts and comments I have read, these Pauline extremists erroneously state that in the previous verses, due to the fact he uses the phrase "now‭ is made manifest‭‭", the Apostle Paul is claiming to have been the very first person to make known a certain mystery to the world. Derived from the Koine Greek word "phaneroo", that is exactly what the word "manifest" means. That is to say, to make known, or to make visible. So when Paul uses the phrase "revelation‭ of the mystery‭", he is talking about a certain mystery which had been kept secret since the beginning of the world, until the First Century, but which according to these Pauline extremists, he was revealing for the very first time.

Exactly what secret mystery is Paul talking about? This is a subject which I first addressed in my 1999 three-part series entitled "The Born-Again Experience: Now or Later?", which I will now proceed to explain to you again. I began our current discussion concerning the Pauline extremists by sharing with you four verses which are found in the Apostle Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians. Let me share those verses with you yet again to refresh your memory:

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
1 Corinthians 15:1-4, KJV

As you can see, in addition to stating that Christ died for our sins, the Apostle Paul informs us that the other part of the Gospel message he is preaching concerns the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now, if you take the time to read that chapter in its entirety, you will quickly discover that the resurrection of the dead is in fact the main theme of the entire chapter. In other words, Paul is telling his readers exactly what the "revelation of the mystery" really is, which he previously mentioned in Romans 16:25-27. If you doubt that this is so, allow me to share with you some of the key verses which deal with this particular subject. You may be surprised to learn that this mystery was even spoken about in the Old Testament:

"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, THE MYSTERY OF GOD should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."
Revelation 10:7, KJV

"Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY, which was kept secret since the world began."
Romans 16:25, KJV

"Behold, I SHEW YOU A MYSTERY; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, KJV

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me."
Job 19:25-27, KJV

"Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."
Isaiah 26:19, KJV

"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Romans 8:23, KJV

"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [meaning our body of flesh] were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."
2 Corinthians 5:1-4, KJV

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, KJV

So THAT, my friends, is the Mystery of God of which some of the Prophets of old, as well as the Apostle Paul, spoke. In fact, as you will see shortly, Jesus likewise spoke of this great mystery, which really wasn't such a mystery after all, considering how much it was spoken about BEFORE the Apostle Paul began his public ministry. Thus, while certain Pauline extremists like to claim that the Apostle Paul was the first person to reveal this mystery to the world, there is simply no truth to this claim whatsoever. In fact, the mystery of God was revealed -- or at the very least, hinted at -- the minute that Jesus Christ began raising people from the dead in the Gospels. For example, we have the ruler's daughter in Matthew chapter nine and Mark chapter five, as we see by the following group of verses:

"While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the rulers house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land."
Matthew 9:18-26, KJV

"While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogues house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat."
Mark 5:35-43, KJV

Of course, the story which is undoubtedly most familiar to both Christians and non-Christians alike concerns the raising from the dead of Jesus' close friend, Lazarus, as found in the Gospel of John chapter eleven. In fact, consider exactly what Jesus said to Martha in that chapter. I am including two additional verses which are found in John chapter five as well:

"Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
John 11:23-27, KJV

"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
John 5:28-29, KJV

In thinking about this issue, we have to ask ourselves this question: If the resurrection of the dead was such a mystery before the Apostle Paul began preaching and writing about it, then exactly how is it that the Patriarch Job would even know to say "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God"? It seems to me that even the Prophet Elijah raising the son of the widow of Zarephath from the dead was likewise a hint of things to come. Consider this abbreviated version of the story, as found in 1 Kings 17:

"And the word of the LORD came unto him [Elijah], saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath . . . And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth."
1 Kings 17:8-10, 17-24, KJV

While these were indeed astounding miracles of resurrection, nothing could have prepared the Apostles and other Disciples for what they would witness when Christ Himself rose from the dead, after they watched Him being cruelly tortured, and made to suffer a very agonizing and very public death on a Roman cross. They were eyewitnesses to this horrifying event, just as they -- and eventually, about five hundred other people -- were also witnesses to Jesus' bodily resurrection three days later. As I have mentioned previously, the unbelieving and hard-hearted Jewish religionists were so frightened by this amazing event, that they even tried to cover it up, as we see by the following group of verses:

"Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governors ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."
Matthew 28:11-15, KJV

As if the Lord's own miraculous resurrection from the dead was not already enough evidence to convince people that He truly was, and is, the Messiah, in his Gospel, Matthew informs us that following Jesus' resurrection, many of the Saints were raised from the dead as well, and appeared in Jerusalem to many people. In other words, it seems that God really wanted to emphasize the point that resurrection from the dead is a reality, and that He is more than able to fulfill His word and keep His promises. Consider this set of verses:

"Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
Matthew 27:50-53, KJV

As we discussed earlier, what we have also seen is that prior to the conversion of Saul of Tarsus in Acts chapter nine, and his subsequent public ministry -- first to his own countrymen the Jews themselves, and then later to the Gentiles as well -- the Apostles were ALREADY preaching about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So exactly what can we learn from all these various accounts? We learn that, contrary to what some of the Pauline extremists like to erroneously claim, "the revelation of the mystery" was well known to the people of Israel -- in particular, in Jerusalem and Judah -- BEFORE the Apostle Paul began writing about it in his Epistles, and talking about it as he went about preaching in the Mediterranean region and southern Europe.

To be fair about this, what I will agree to is the fact that the Apostle Paul was one of the first preachers -- if not the very first individual -- to announce the "revelation of the mystery" to the Jews and Gentiles who lived OUTSIDE of Israel proper. Thus, when he writes "But now is made manifest", he is being truthful in a technical sense. However, again, Paul still was NOT the first Apostle to reveal the mystery of the resurrection from the dead. In fact, as you may already be aware, following their baptism by fire in Acts chapter two, Luke informs us that the Apostles spoke of the resurrected Christ to a huge, multiethnic crowd of people, as we can clearly see by the following group of verses:

"And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?"
Acts 2:5-12, KJV

As I explain in the article "Are the Gifts of the Spirit for Today?", if we translate all of the aforementioned names to their modern counterparts, we discover that God performed this miracle in order to broadcast the message of Salvation and the good news -- or Gospel -- of the resurrected Christ to people who were native to a region which extended from Italy, to Greece, to Turkey, to Syria, to Iraq, to Iran, all the way over to the nations of North Africa and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a huge witnessing campaign. It was a significant telecast by the Holy Spirit via the Apostles.

To give you one more example, in Acts chapter eight -- which is one chapter before the conversion of Saul of Tarsus in the ninth chapter -- we read about the great persecution which occurred due to the misguided activities of Saul of Tarsus and his cohorts. As the following verses explain, this great persecution resulted in the Jerusalem Church being scattered from Judaea up to Samaria in the north. It was precisely in this way that the Apostle Philip found himself preaching the resurrected Christ in Samaria. In fact, Philip's witnessing campaign in Samaria was so successful, that Peter and John went up and joined him there as well:

"And Saul was consenting unto his [Stephen's] death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles . . . Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city . . . But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women . . . Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:"
Acts 8:1, 5-8, 12, 14-15, KJV

Following his successful witnessing campaign in Samaria, the Lord then instructed Philip to go in the opposite direction and head south towards Gaza along the Mediterranean coast. As you may know, it was there where Philip met the Ethiopian man who was the treasurer under Queen Candace of the Ethiopians. And surprise, surprise! The man was reading Isaiah 53 which prophesies of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. However, as we read in the set of verses below, the Ethiopian eunuch did not understand what he was reading, until Philip explained to him the Crucifixion, Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ:

"And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea."
Acts 8:26-40, KJV

I don't know if it is true or not, but it has been said that as a direct result of this man coming to the Lord, and then faithfully reporting everything back to the queen, that the nation of Ethiopia embraced Christianity. The fact that God thought it important enough to send Philip to meet this man, would seem to validate this belief to some degree. In fact, it is my understanding that the Ethiopians have some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, along with the Coptic Church in Egypt, the Chaldean Christians in Iraq, the Armenian Church, and the Christian communities in Syria.

So what we see then, is that while Saul of Tarsus was still a very proud, self-righteous, angry, determined man, who due to being poisoned with so much hatred towards the fledgling Christian Church, was quite busy persecuting the Church in Acts chapter eight and the opening verses of Acts chapter nine, the Apostles were ALREADY busy themselves preaching the Crucifixion, Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ. To reiterate, they had ALREADY begun revealing the mystery of the resurrection to the world. Not only were they sharing the Gospel message from the northern extreme of Israel to the southern extreme, but as we have seen, they were in fact reaching people from all around the Mediterranean Sea, and as far eastward as Iraq and Iran.

In light of this information, it is hard to accept the claim which has been made by some Pauline extremists, that God had first given the "revelation of the mystery" to Paul, and that he was the first person to reveal it to the world. As I said earlier, yes, Paul was the first person to reveal it to many of the Gentiles who resided outside of Israel, but he was NOT the first in the truest sense of the word. Furthermore, as he himself writes, he was the last of the Apostles to have seen the resurrected Christ, as we can easily determine by the following group of verses. As such, chronologically speaking, there is no way that he could have been the first person to reveal the mystery of the resurrection, no matter how we look at it:

"And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."
1 Corinthians 15:5-9, KJV

To reiterate an earlier point I made, the fact of the matter is that there is only ONE Gospel, and it was the same Gospel, and the same core message which was preached by Jesus, by the Apostles, and eventually by the Apostle Paul as well. There is no distinction in the message they each preached. There is not one Gospel which is specifically designed for the Jews, and another separate Gospel which is specifically designed for the Gentiles, meaning those of us who are of non-Jewish stock. It just isn't so, my friends.

After all, it should be obvious to you that there is only ONE Savior who died ONE time for the sins of ALL MEN everywhere. Thus, to try to split it into two separate Gospels with two different messages is divisive, confusing, and quite frankly, rather unscriptural. In my opinion, the people who are doing this, and promoting this belief, are complicating the message and forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel message. I urge such people to remember the following verses:

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV

"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:3, KJV

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 19:14, KJV

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3:26, KJV

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV

"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
Acts 16:31, KJV

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
John 1:12, KJV

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Romans 10:9-10, KJV

Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.

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