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Saul of Tarsus


David Hill (13 July 1999) Saul of Tarsus

I have often wondered why Saul was not more involved in the events of Y'shua's ministry. I had decided that he probably wasn't in Jerusalem for most of the events.

However, in Acts 22:3 he tells us that he was raised in Jerusalem. This means that it is impossible for Saul not to have been involved in some way during the Ministry of Y'shua.

So, I got to thinking, and realized that many of the events that are recorded in the Gospel of Luke, probably were given to him from Paul, during their travels together. Many of these involve the Pharisees reaction to Y'shua, and would have been noticed by Saul, and reflected on by him, when he became Paul. There can be little doubt that Saul himself, or his teacher Gamilel, would have been interested enough in the rumors about Y'shua, to have wanted first hand information concerning him. Especially since most of them were awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. I believe that it can be said that the Gospel of Luke, is also the Gospel of Paul, as I will show below.

The events listed below, are peculiar to Luke alone. He composed his Gospel by interviewing the eyewitnesses. However, many of these could only have been recorded by someone who was a pharisee at the time, which brings us back to Paul. He was probably the brightest pupil of the school of pharisees in Jerusalem at the time, and he and Luke traveled together for some time. Certainly Paul would have shared with Luke any connection that he might have had to Y'shua.

1. Luke 5:12. Luke is the only one who records for us that the Leper that was healed was FULL of leprosy, right to the point of death. This is important, and Saul would have taken notice. Because on of the stipulation by the Pharisees on who the Messiah was, was his ability to heal leprosy. The worse the case, the greater the chances that it was the Messiah. Y'shua sent him to the Temple as a Witness to the Priests, that He was the Messiah.

2. Luke 7:11. Luke is the only one who records the raising of the widows son, in the city of Nain. This became important, because the "Rumor went throughout all of Judaea." This is of course the area immediately around Jerusalem, and is something that Saul would have remembered, because raising someone from the dead was another 'Test' to the office of Messiah. It apparently made more of an impression on the Pharisees then it did on the disciples!

3. Luke 7:30. When the disciples of John came to Y'shua, Luke is the only one that tells us that the "Pharisees and Lawyers" didn't justify God, because they refused John's Baptism. Again, this is something that a Pharisee like Saul would have known and remembered.

4. Luke 7:36. Luke tells us that Simon the Pharisee invited Y'shua to dinner, which is the second time that Y'shua told someone that 'Your Sins are forgiven you' which was another point of contention between Him and the pharisees.

5. Luke 9:9. Again, the only one who tells us that Herod 'desired to see him' which is why Y'shua retreated to the wilderness with His, and John's disciples at that time. This comes up again later.

6. Luke 10:18, where Y'shua tells us that He saw Satan fall from Heaven. A pharisee would have a problem with this, as it implies that the person was from Heaven, not earth. In this same passage is also the only account of the Power to tread on Serpents and Scorpions, that these things were Revealed to Babes, that your Eyes are Blessed for many have desired to see these things. And then, immediately a Certain Lawyer stands up and asks Y'shua a question, and then Y'shua goes into the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in which pharisees and priests are shown in an unfavorable light. I believe that this Lawyer was Saul of Tarsus.

Perhaps we should say here that Luke, more than any of the other Gospels, differentiates between Pharisee, Lawyer (scribe) and Priest. Mark doesn't really differentiate between them at all. Matthew, as a Publican who was familiar with the different classes, occasionally makes a difference between them. John, lumps them all together under the heading of 'Jew'.

Perhaps we should say something about this as well, for any of our Jewish friends that might read this. John, was a Priest, who had probably served as such in the temple itself. In fact, not only did he personally know the High priest, but he also knew the servant of the Hight Priest, and is the only writer that records his name. So, by John's own definition, he himself was one of these 'Jews'. When he wrote his gospel (around 70-90 ad) the church had become predominantly Gentile, and he himself was ministering in Ephesus, a Gentile city. So, when John lumps all of these different players together, he is not trying to stir up anti-semitism, but is manly concerned with simplifying the information for his gentile friends, so that he can focus on the main teaching of Y'shua. To his converts, there was no need to know the different classes in Judaism. Unfortunately, this method has been abused through the churches history, as a means of persecution of the Jews, but this was not the writers original intent.

So, getting back to our study, Luke is the only one who specifically differentiates between the different classes of players involved. This shows the minds of a pharisee at work, and possibly that of a Lawyer, or potential lawyer, as I believe that Saul was at this time.

7. Luke 11:20 where Y'shua claims to cast out demons by the 'Finger of God". A pharisee would have a hard time with this as well.

8. Luke 11:45-53, Again, Luke notes the subtle difference between Pharisees and Lawyers. This is something a Pharisee (or Lawyer) would take pride in. He goes on in this passage to tell us that this infuriated them both so much that the 'provoked' him so that they could catch him in his words.

9. Luke 12:13 tells us of one man asking Y'shua to divide up his inheritance, prompting the parable of the rich barn builder. He then goes on to tell them that the Father is going to give them the Kingdom. A Pharisee and priests would choke over this statement. Them right after this, he says that he has come to send a fire on the earth, in which families will be divided. This will come up later also.

10. Luke 13:4 is the only record of the Tower of Siloam falling on 18 people, which provoked the words, 'Unless you repent you shall likewise perish.' Then he goes into the parable of the three year fig tree, again only recorded hear. A Pharisee would have made the connection to Israel, and the length of Y'shua's ministry. And, at this same time, He healed a "Daughter of Abraham" on the sabbath, and all of his adversaries were Ashamed. This would have been remembered and recorded by a Pharisee, and not one of the apostles records it.

11. Luke 13:31. Apparently this upset them enough so that they went to Y'husa and told him to leave because Herod was going to kill him. Again, here but in no other Gospel.

12. Luke 14:7 takes place at a pharisees house, during which Y'shua heals a man of dropsy, tells us that we have to 'hate' our parents to be worthy of him, and tells us to count the cost.

13. Luke 15:8, apparently while still at the Pharisee house, he tells us the parable of the Ten Silver coins, which prompts him to say that in the presence of the Angels there is joy over one repentant sinner. Again, this is a statement of authority of one who has been to heaven, and a pharisee and definately a lawyer, would remember this, from a very Legal point of view. For, this is a statement on one's Citizenship in Heaven, which was expected of the Messiah. He then goes on to tell of the Prodigal son, which would have been immediately recognized as referring to Ephraim and Judah. And only Luke tells us this.

14. Luke 16:19, the parable of the unjust steward prompts the scorn of the pharisees, to which Y'shua responds with the parable of Lazarus.

15. Luke 17:11. Only Luke tells us of the healing of the ten lepers, and that the one who returned to thank Y'shua was a Samaritan. Remember point six above. This is something that the Lawyer would remember and have his conscience pricked on.

16. Luke 17:21 The Kingdom is Within you. This is a theological statement that would have sent the pharisees and lawyers to the Scripture, to understand exactly what He was saying. This is possibly referring to the New Covenant, which also will come up in my next post.

17. Luke 17:32 Remember Lot's Wife. The other Gospels record the days of Lot, but here only are we reprimanded to 'not look back'.

18. Luke 18:1, and the Parable of the unjust judge, where Y'shua goes on to question whether or not there will be any face when the 'Son of Man' returns. Again, this title comes from a Messianic Passage in Daniel, which He applies to Himself, and then He adds His Return to this. This would have gotten a real scholar of the Scriptures wondering, about where he was going and when would he return. This is the same question that the apostles asked, but they did not record this statement.

19. Luke 18:9 tells us of the parable of the Publican and Pharisee, because there were some there who tried to justify themselves. Again, why didn't Matthew, a Publican, pick up on this parable? Why only Luke?

20. Luke 19 tells us of the Salvation of Zacchaeus, and record Y'shua's Words, that he too was a Son of Abraham. He you have the seed of Paul Ripe Doctrine of the Salvation of the Gentiles. That they also are Sons of Abraham through Faith. You can almost see the process that Paul went through when he remembered this event, and applied it to the Gentiles.

21. Luke 1939, where only Luke records for us that the Pharisees told Y'shua to rebuke his disciples during the Hosanna's of his Triumphant Entry, to which He replys that the rocks would then cry out. This may be that the disciples, due to the crowd, did not here this conversation. And if that is the case, then the information came straight to Luke from a Pharisee, that was in the Crowd next to Y'shua! He then makes another statement, only recorded here, that would have startled any scholar of the word who was waiting for the Kingdom, and that is "If you had only known the time of your visitation." This could not be overlooked by any Scribe, Pharisee or Priest. Yet only Luke records it. Not Matthew, or John. Hence, the primarily source would almost assuredly have been Paul.

22. Luke 20:16, during the parable of the husbandmen killing the son, only Luke records for us that, after the judgment was stated, the Pharisees said, "God Forbid!" Because they knew that Y'shua was speaking of them. From there Luke goes on to tell us that this maddened them so, that they determined to send out Spies to trap him, and deliver him to the Governor. This is information that only a Pharisee would have been privy to.

23. In 22:6, Luke tells us why it was necessary for the pharisees to covenant with Judas to betray his master, and that was so that He could be taken in the "Absence of the multitude." When no one was around. Only Luke makes this connection, and again, this is something that he had to have learned from a Pharisee.

24. Now, in Luke 22:19, we have the most compelling proof that most of Luke's Gospel comes from a pharisee, and also who that pharisee was. You see, the three other gospels basically follow the same pattern and words, when referring to the Lord's Supper. Matthew, Mark and John all record that Y'shua would drink of the fruit of the vine with us, in the Kingdom. However, Luke omits this very touching and dear statement. Why? Note also this, and check it out for yourselves. Luke is the only writer who tells us to partake of the Lord's Supper, "In Remembrance of Me." This is important, because Luke was not there! This statement had to come from someone who 'was there'. However none of the other three record these words. BUT, in 1 Cor. 11:24, where Paul is laying down the proper order of the Lord's Supper, he tells us that we are supposed to partake of it "In Remembrance of Me." The same as Luke. And if you will look earlier in that same passage, you will see that Paul makes the statement that he did not receive this information from mortal man, but that he received it from the LORD Himself. Hence, he didn't get it from Luke, but Luke got it from Paul! And I would suggest to you that Paul had indeed celebrated the Lord's Supper with the Lord Himself, during which the Lord broke the bread and poured the wine and handed it to Paul and told him to do this in "Remembrance of Me." And this is the exact scenario you have in Rev 3:20, where Y'shua says that whoever opens the door will sup with Him. Paul did so, and passed that information on to the Gentiles and to Luke who added it to his Gospel. And some think that this is a type of the communion of the 144,000 with the Lord during the tribulation.

25. Luke 22, in that garden, only Luke records for us that the Lord sweat drops of blood. Why didn't any of the other writer record this, especially John? Why, because they were sleeping, and when they awoke it was dark, and they would not have even seen the blood, that was probably still on Y'shua's face. Then they fled. But someone was there in the arresting crowd, who saw the blood when the torches shown on His face, and he remembered that event, and when he got the chance, he asked the Lord about it and the Lord told him. What else explains it? And along these same lines, only Luke tells us that Y'shua healed the ear of the high priests servant. Again, this probably took place after the disciples fled, and only his captors would have observed it. One of whom was undoubtedly Saul of Tarsus.

26. Now, here we have another interesting scenario. In Luke 22:61. I should say first off, that if you want an interesting study, then read all four gospels accounts of the trial, and try to figure out where everyone was, and what was said when, and where, and you will come up with some really intriguing possibilities. (Hint, Mark, Peter's nephew, who fled naked from the scene of the arrest, later worked his way to the temple and climbed up on the roof of the high priests house. One word shows this. See if you can find it.) But for our purposes, Luke is the only one who records that when Peter betrayed Y'shua the third time that, "The Lord turned and looked at Peter.". Why is this recorded in Luke? I can assure you that if Peter had of made eye contact with the Lord at that moment, that he would have remembered it, and it would have been recorded in the Gospel of Mark. But Peter had his back to the Lord, which is the body language that affirms the denial. And while thus standing and warming his hands at the fire, one comes and confronts him and says, 'you are one of his disciples, cause your accent is Galilean'. The person who was confronting Peter, would have been facing our Lord. And when Peter denied Y'shua the third time, he and Y'shua and the Confronter all would have heard the rooster crow and the person confronting Peter would have seen our Lord turn and look right at Peter. And this person told Luke about it. To me it is obvious that it was Saul of Tarsus who confronted Peter at the denial of Christ, because it was Paul who later confronted Peter when he 'denied' the Gentiles when the Jewish Christians showed up. It was easier for Paul that time, cause he had already confronted Peter on another occasion.

There are a few more, that I won't include here, as these last three are pretty much the best of them. I was going to end my post here, but while I was finishing up my study on this, another concept jumped out at me which was totally unexpected. So, some of the remaining points will be included in the next post. But they are not to support this Theory, that Paul was involved in all of this. It is to support a kinda shocking possibility.

In Acts 6 we learn of a Synagogue called the Libertines, that was originally from the area of Asia. From the names given, we can know that this is the same area that Saul of Tarsus came from, and hence he was probably a member of this Synagogue. The name Libertines, means "Freed Men" and hence, this was probably an 'Exclusive' Synagogue, the members of which had either purchased their Roman Citizenship, or had been born free, as was Saul of Tarsus.

Stephen ends up getting in an argument with them, concerning the Temple, which is the exact same Conflict that occurred with Y'shua (Matt 26:60-61), so it is very possible that some of the 'false' witnesses, came from this very Synagogue of the Freed Men! They almost assuredly were rubbing shoulders with politicians on both sides, and this explains one way in which Saul became a Student of Gamilel, as well as his being a gifted student.

Stephen gives his testimony, during which he touches upon the New Covenant with the words "Uncircumcised in Heart" and brings them right back to the subject of the Temple, and them calls them the den of serpents (more or less) that killed the prophets, just as Y'shua had done! They stone him, he asks Y'shua "Not to lay it to their charge" he beholds the Son of Man standing on the Right hand of God, asks the Lord to receive his spirit and then gives up the Ghost. The murderers lay their garments at the feet of Saul who consents to the stoning!

Now, I originally left this here, a couple of years ago. But now, I am convinced that there is more to this than meets the eye. You see, there are some things that are recorded in the gospel of Luke and not in any of the other Gospels, that Paul himself couldn't have known, unless someone told him. These I will briefly list below, and then I will tie all this together.

You see, only Luke records for us that Y'shua commissioned the Seventy disciples. The 12 didn't think this important enough to include in their accounts, but someone who knew Paul thought it important enough to tell him about it, and he then told Luke. Legend has it that Stephen was one of the Seventy.

As well, only Luke records that Y'shua commended His Spirit to the Father, in much the same way also, Stephen committed his spirit to our Lord.

Only Luke records a detailed account of the two who journeyed to Emmaus in the night. What are the odds that it was Stephen and Philip?

Think about this for a bit, and ask yourself something. Just why did Stephen get into an argument with the Freed Men? The answer is obvious and heartrending at the same time. The obvious reason is because Stephen was a Freed Man himself. Why did they lay their garments at Saul's feet? I always assumed it was because he was the 'leader', but there is another possibility. Saul was Stephens friend! That is why Luke made a point of stating that Saul consented to the stoning.

This explains the fury of Saul at persecuting the church. He blamed them for 'deceiving' his friend which led to his death. This also shows even more exactly why everyone was afraid of Saul, if he was indeed Stephen's friend.

Stephen told Saul about the commissioning, and about seeing the Lord Resurrected on the way to Emmaus.

If you look at the reverence that Paul has for Crowns in his writings, you will see this better, for this is what Stephen means. And Paul almost always links the reception of a Crown, to persecution.

Paul's, Theology (which most consider the deepest) concerning the New Covenant, being written on their hearts, comes right from Stephen! None of the other writers of the New Testament go into this subject like Paul does, and he got it from Stephen! (Acts 7:51, Rom 2:23-29, Deut 30:6 and Jer 31). This shows you the level of education that Stephen was at. He was on the same level as Paul, before Saul got saved!

To further show that this is more then just trying to make up for his part in Stephens death, let me close with this:

Late in Paul's life, after he had fought the good fight, he said he was ready to be offered (11 Tim 4:16). He then goes on to say that at his first defense, he was alone and no one stood with him...Then, he pauses and reflects upon another time in the distant past, when another one of Y'shua's disciples Stood Alone, and was stoned for his faith. And he remembered the prayer that Stephen said for he continues to Timothy, "May the Lord not lay it to their Charge." He quotes his friend Stephen, almost word for word.

And I can just bet that when Paul was ushered home, that there were at least two people standing for him.

Editor's Note : September 26, 2007 : It is also very possible that Stephen was actually Paul's Brother...


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