Paul's Fall in Acts 21: a Key to Interpreting History

IMPORT: what happened to Paul in Acts 21 changed history forever; you see the Church SPLIT OFF into two groups. One group, the legalists. The other, those who followed Paul. So, Paul was given the most NT Scripture to write, and the legalists kept on being apostate. Even, to this day. The roots of all Christendom's apostacy began at the time of the Book of Acts (40AD+), which is partly designed to chronicle and thus WARN OF (what would later become known as) the Rev17 harlot, Christian APOSTATE religion. If you properly study the Book and then look anywhere around you at Christians, you'll see they largely are as GOOFY as that first generation: just like, the Exodus generation. If ever you wanted proof that the Bible is from God, study Acts carefully. Then, look around you...

    What follows are a few brief comments which might help your research and brainstorming. You'll need to breathe 1Jn1:9 as you read them, so that any deficiencies in my writing are overcome by His Sufficiency at alerting you...

Luke, who wrote the Book, communicates all origin-of-apostacy deftly: via a Greek construction which acts as a split-screen TV drama, the genitive absolute. This Greek construction teaches you to COMPARE the bad guys to the good guys. So you have NO DOUBT which Christians in the story believe INACCURATELY. So you know that baptism, footwashing, and other stuff so popular today, were NEVER GOD'S ORDER, but just popular customs people adopted. In short, so you know what is REALLY the spiritual life, versus a lot of silly Christian babies' behavior (like, Peter drawing lots was wacko). So the historical impact of Christianity's beginning, what was wrong and right about it, continues to be mistaught, even to this day, simply because we don't BOTHER to study/teach the INSPIRED Bible's Greek. (NTKeys.htm has more on this topic, passim on the page.) Thus Christianity has largely MIMICKED the very EVIL that Christians got into during the first (et seq.) century; doing the same STUPID things, misinterpreting Scripture the SAME STUPID WAY as did that first generation, post-Cross. Satan thus makes FUN of Christians for NOT studying the Word: for instead of LEARNING from Acts, we REPEAT its recorded apostacies.

    For, we all gloss over Bible when we read it: it's in the genes, folks (sin nature inherited from Adam, hence the need to breathe 1Jn1:9 and study regularly under your own right pastor). Also, we make SNAP JUDGEMENTS about what verses mean, and we meanly NARROW the interpretation of the verses, so miss out on the treasure in them.

    So if you are like most people, you probably fall asleep when reading all those 'begats', thinking that's ALL there is to read in the verses; you probably see only the EVENTS when reading OT stories (i.e., about David), or Gospels: after all, story is straightforward, what ELSE is there to know.. zzzzz. Or, especially, Acts. I can't think of a book more misused, than Acts. To its defenders, every little thing done by the oh-so-holy first generation is aped, from claims of apostleship today all the way down to water baptism and ACTUAL footwashing! Oh yeah, sure, what 'apostle' today SAW CHRIST RISEN, the CRITERION for the GETTING that job (see 1Cor15:1-10)?

    Anti-Bible proponents alike misread Acts, so not only Christians are to blame. To its critics, Acts seems a flowery, self-aggrandizing, jew-baiting chronicle of the "Way", right? That's how the hoi pouloi pitch it with their allegedly 'objective' documentaries and books. [You know you're in a crazy world when the definition of 'objective' means someone who LOST FAITH in the faith, and is thus qualified(!) to be an expert on it. From what bias, do you think, huh? Gimme a break! I dare not say where that criterion of 'objective' appeared, since it was in an alma mater university publication!] Lots of kantish speculation that Lukie baby stole his material from Josephus. Yeah, sure. Let's guess again!

So take a gander at Acts 21, and then come back to this paragraph. Ok, so what did you learn? Ok, Paul got beat up. Why? Well, something about what he taught, the Jerusalemites really didn't like! Ok, and what was it? Oh -- well, that's NOT TOO CLEAR, is it? Of course not. You'd have to read about 360 OTHER verses, to KNOW what's really there! My pastor spent MONTHS in 1999 explaining that ONE incident...

UPSHOT: Christianity STARTED OUT APOSTATE, with the Jerusalem CHRISTIANS (viz., Acts 21:18ff -- thoughtfully read from beginning of book to better see 21:18's import). Just as Israel began, basically, with the apostate Exodus generation. Both generations in their turn, wiped out within forty years... So Peter, John, were like Caleb and Joshua. Paul, was 'Moses'. James, starting out at the apostate end, wound up siding with Paul; for that, James would eventually be executed by his fellow believers. And, thereafter, both would be reviled in the name of praising them, via a multitude of FAKE 'gospels' which depict them as doing truly stupid/vile things. As well, stupid myths would circulate (that's how the mariolatry stuff got started). Viz., on James: that nonsense about him never bathing (anathema, to a Jew under the Law!) and about how he died -- by a Church Father, no less (under the pseudonym, Hieronymus)!

    INTERPRETING CHRISTIANITY KEY ==> So the first Passover and the Last Passover had parallel results: a type of Diaspora, or going-out. With the first generation, largely believers, but largely negative to the spiritual life. Principle: SPIRITUAL ARREST is due to casting one's interpretation of God's Word in stone. PROVABLE HISTORICALLY. Casting an interpretation in stone is the hallmark characteristic of all religion, Christian or no. In fact, you can see the same phenomena in NON-religious contexts (i.e., political parties, sexual-performance articles in magazines, stuff on diet and health) -- all these castings-in-stone say, you're only a GOOD person if you do it 'this' way. Religifying everything! Satan's Ace Trump, religion, be it in hair gel or genuflecting!

    So, we know that 'popular' Christianity is ALWAYS apostate in all its branches. Just as the 'popular' version of Judaism was, during the Lord's 1st Advent, continuing to this day. And the CHIEF characteristic of apostacy? Casting its interpretations in stone, instead of being open to the "Voice" of Cornerstone[Lord], the Holy Spirit! [One of the many names of the Holy Spirit in the OT is "Voice", i.e., that wonderful wordplay on spirit and breath and wind, "the still, small voice". NT sometimes uses this "Voice" moniker, because it's a clip from a famous passage: God to Elijah, when he was in one of his own snits, stuck him in the cleft of a rock and did a little show of power. Not by all that OTHER might, "but by My Spirit"..still, small Voice. Heh.]

That's why Paul, not the other apostles, was given a Moses-type role to be the premier exponent of CHURCH: since his beloved fellow Jews wouldn't listen, the Lord told Paul He would send him ONLY to the Gentiles (Acts 22, as I recall, Paul's speech on the stairs before Claudius Lycius hauled him off to barracks). To appreciate this, you have to know that one of the most-documented prophecies in the OT is the revelation of 'light' to the Gentiles (not a gnostic term, lol -- check it yourself). There are maybe 1000 verses on it. So THAT's why the crowd went wacko and wouldn't let him finish the speech. Paul is saying that he ALONE is appointed by God to begin the fulfillment of that prophecy. Ok, but .. it got to Paul after awhile, and by the end of Romans 15, he just can't stand it to be muzzled; he wants to TELL them in Jerusalem! And does, by Acts 21:17, despite the many and long warnings (earlier verses).

So that's why Peter and John but NOT Paul, were given the CANON-writing privileges concerning Our Royal Priesthood and naming sins. For, due to that vow Paul agreed to (Acts21:24ff -- see also Numb6), he nearly blasphemed the Royal Priesthood, almost subjecting it to the Levitical Priesthood -- all to accommodate his good friend, James. (Acts 21:25, cf 15:20 in context.) Col3:25, no one gets away with anything: Paul and James both end up royally punished, but they also royally grow; at the end, martyr-executed.

Do you realize, all of history CHANGED due to that 'little' event? Yet Grace still abounds, too: Paul's epistles contain the most concentrated doctrine in the word of God; of them, uppermost in concentration are Paul's prison epistles. Written due to, and after, that 'little' event in Jerusalem. After, Paul's fall. As a result of that 'little' fracas, all of Christianity polarized between so-called "Pauline" and Jerusalemite interpretations: the latter conglomeration of sects became what's called "ecumenism" today. Rev17 warned of them four years in advance of their politicization; since they were then in Diaspora, Jerusalem having been destroyed, and the latter's wake-up call role ( la 2Tim2:26) didn't stop the NEXT generation from repeating the apostacy of its 'fathers'. So you're ALSO looking at the four-generation curse, writ large.

    NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER of Bible Doctrine in the soul, run by the Spirit -- John4:24! If you're interested the lessons I learned from my pastor, start the subseries at 92Spiritual Dynamics, lesson #1498, to get context. It runs several hundred lessons, maybe. Around L.1540 he gets into the example of Paul's fall. For his site, click here. You can't order online, but you can snail-mail or call in the order (for audiotapes, videotapes, or MP3). No money is requested, and no one puts you on some gimme gimme gimme mailing list, either.

Here are some other points to examine when you have time:
  1. Study the Middle Eastern& nearby religions just before 1440BC, if you can get good material. Carefully note their DOCTRINES and rituals.
  2. Next, do the same study on the same faiths, but at 1330BC; NOTE ANY CHANGES in doctrines, rituals, and what's the justification, if any, given. See if you can trace the changes to the cataclysmic effect of the Exodus (which happened 1440BC, but we're allowing for the effect to affect religious tenets).
  3. Next, do the same for 100BC or thereabouts.
  4. Next, do the same for 100AD or thereabouts. NOTE HOW ALL RELIGION from this point forward makes some claim to be connected to Christ.
  5. Next, study for Christianity's history, the period 100AD-300AD. Use also the classical Roman tomes like Gibbon. TRACE THE POLITICIZATION, especially what years. Note when they stopped being able to read the original-Greek texts. Note when ceremony and the whole religious-institution shtick became a widespread practice. Note, in short, whether the characteristics of Rev17's fake-church 'harlot' began just after John penned it (or see if you can prove that, too).
  6. See the correlation and parallel -- between some BIG DIVINE DISPLAY at the Exodus and 1st Advent, and massive RELIGIOUS TENET change within 100 years AFTER each event. Also look at Schism WITHIN the faith, including within Judaism (Books of Exodus-Deut is bald about this, for the Exodus 'display'), and within Christianity (viz., Judaizers against Paul, and Acts 15-end). A lot of corollaries come from this, and I guess for folks who feel they gotta have some 'proof' of God, this kind of study will be helpful (there are shorter, faster ways, like just ask HIM, lol. The anti-corollary is, when God actually DOES something large numbers of people NOTICE, they go wacko, so WHY WANT proof? Not only is the Word of God more a more reliable witness, like Peter said, but it's WAY easier to see MORE proof, and tames wackiness...)

There are myriads of PERSONAL application corollaries to get out of this event. Biggest of these is that God uses failure, so never give up. My pastor teaches this adamantly, as a subdoctrine under the Divine Attribute of Love.

I'd love to write more formally and at length on this topic, but I've no time, right now, nor do I know if I should. Have fun in your own research! This is big stuff: a little event changes NOTHING IN YOUR LIFE IS SMALL, when Scripture is circulating in your head, under the Spirit. For, that still, small Voice..WORKS!