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2-3 Witnesses

March 26, 2016

2-3 Witnesses –

This morning I woke up and was reading my news feed and noticed I was being included as a witness against Apostle Paul in a conversation.  Then this young man commented (Jason), with the following dissertation.  This I believe was one of the best I’ve read in recent times:

I failed to test Paul for 17 years.

For 17 years I accepted Paul rather uncritically, from 1998 until 2015. If I had doubts about what I was reading, my brain gave me three answers: First, I don’t know enough to argue against him, and/or I have to at least read the entire Bible before I come to a decision. Second, who am I to say Paul is wrong, since other men have obviously seen fit to include him in the Bible. So, if I don’t understand something, I should look for the explanations first. Third, since it’s in the Bible, the “word of God,” and it’s my job as a “Bible believer” simply to believe and preach the word of God and scriptures in the Bible, even if I don’t always fully understand, and maybe I should just keep silent if I have any major questions that “the unbelievers” pose.

In 1998, I began to really be convinced that God exists because of the evidence of the creation, and I realized I had to take the Bible seriously as His word for mankind. In the beginning, I briefly considered the possibility that God was entirely silent, and that Satan wrote the entire book, I suppose that’s possible, but even if that were so, we have the God given gifts of logic and reason to be able to discern whether or not that might be true. I figured we should start out and give the Bible the benefit of the doubt, and assume that God inspired men to write it, as it claims. If it contradicts itself, then we have an area to investigate further and we would have to use our God given judgement, reason, and logic, to determine truth from error, just like men do all the time in countless ways in the world as we judge court cases on a jury, or as we do to protect ourselves from fraud.

Over the years, I encountered many nay sayers. Usually, atheists post “Bible contradictions”. More often, I encountered people who say “We only follow Paul, not Jesus” which I found to be utterly preposterous, since Paul himself rebuked people who followed only him, in 1 Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

A few times, I encountered people who say, “We reject Paul”. I usually just deemed this as “a fringe view” as crazy as the people who say “We only follow Paul and reject Jesus”. Or as fringe as people who say, “I am the Christ”, or “I am Jesus”, they are just lunatics, you don’t even have to investigate to know that. I didn’t really see much contradiction between Jesus and Paul, and thought that most of it had explainable answers, but that simply that was not my specific area of study, as I liked to focus on prophecy. Let others argue over nonsense, and how many angles can dance on the head of a pin, right?

But one day in late 2015, I really looked into this whole “Paul as false apostle” thing, and I was floored. Go ahead. Google it. Read a few websites. Study the topic like I did. I could not refute it. I looked over it again and again for an entire month. Wow. Really? No way! Really? What a plot twist! How was I ever so deceived? Since then, the evidence just keeps piling up, and I keep sharing on facebook to test the validity of these things, and nobody, and I mean nobody, can refute any of it. Oh, they dismiss me, like I used to dismiss it, but that’s not the same thing.

If Paul heard from God, we would be able to prove it. If Paul did not hear from Satan, we would be able to prove it. There would be reliable Biblical tests that Paul would pass with flying colors.
But all of those tests, Paul fails. Really. It’s that simple.

Ironically, Paul, himself, commands us to judge doctrine, whether it’s the doctrine of God or of devils.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.

But people fail to apply this to Paul’s doctrine. When I finally realized it was ok to try to determine if Paul’s doctrine came from God or Satan, I had to conclude it came from Satan.

There are several rules that the Bible gives to determine if a prophet is true, or false. One that I have found to be the most reliable in the study of prophecy, is this:

First, everything is to be established by 2-3 witnesses.

The principle of needing 2-3 witnesses applies in establishing proof in court for death penalty cases, and other cases.

Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

The principle of 2-3 witnesses applies even for personal or Church disputes:

Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Matthew 18:15-17
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Paul, himself, agrees with this 2-3 witnesses principle:

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Hebrews 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

So, now what did Jesus say was the primary test for false apostles?

He said don’t believe it if people say they heard from the Messiah by themselves; either in the wildnerness or in private rooms. And now, given the 2-3 witness principle, we can see an actual reason for this warning.

Matthew 24:23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
Matthew 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
Matthew 24:26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.

Unfortunately for Paul, he claims to have seen Jesus both in the wilderness on the road to Damascus, and later, in private. Acts 9, 21, 26, and Galatians 1.

Unfortunately for Paul, his “two witnesses” or traveling companions saw and heard nothing, were never named, and were never heard from again, and they never gave any testimony.

Here’s another warning from Paul about heresies, and why heresies exist:

1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

God gives a different reason why heresies exist: not to show who is approved, but rather, to test us to see whether or not we love God. Isn’t that a much different reason?

Deuteronomy 13:1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.

So, according to the Deuteronomy 13:4 test; it’s about whether we “keep his commandments”.

Paul taught the commandments were done away with at the cross. This is the one and only reason people love Paul. Well, maybe also because they want to beat women, indulge in usury, engage in the slave trade, ignore the Sabbath, do what they please, and view “everything as permissible”, as long as it’s profitable, letting their end justify the means, and basically have the freedom to enjoy every whim of their heart’s desire under the sun.

Jesus, after the cross, taught that we need to keep the commandments, and everything he commanded us to do.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

John, in 1 John, tells us repeatedly to “keep the commandments”, yet so many accuse this doctrine of keeping the commandments as a heresy, because they follow Paul, instead of Jesus.

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1 John 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

1 John 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments2-3 witnesses: and his commandments are not grievous.

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