Just Some Random Thoughts About The Bible
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
- When I first started looking into Paul, there were two verses in the New Testament that really stood out to me. The first was in a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy in 64 AD. “You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me¹, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.” (2 Tim 1:15) The second was something John wrote in 95 AD, quoting Jesus. “I know your deeds and your labor and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people, and you have put those who call themselves apostles to the test, and they are not, and you found them to be false.” (Rev 2:2)Other concerning evidence came up as I studied warnings from Jesus, warnings in the Old Testament, and of course Paul’s writings. (I will continue to post some of those on this site, but won’t go over them here.) But even without any of those, Rev 2:2 seems to be an accusation with no retort. (The best I ever hear is, “But Peter called him a brother!”, which I will address later.)Then I looked deeper into all seven of the letters to the seven churches. I would encourage you to take a minute and read Revelation 2-3. It’s not long, but for this post, I’ll quickly sum it up.Ephesus found, and sent away, a false apostle, but they stopped doing the good deeds they once did. Smyrna had done well withstanding persecution. Pergamum stood firm in an evil city, however they ate meat sacrificed to idols and were sexually immoral. Thyatira persevered and did many good deeds, but like Pergamum, they practiced sexual immorality and ate food sacrificed to idols. Sardis was doing good works, but were dead inside. Philadelphia did good deeds, did not deny His name. Laodicea had grown lukewarm.It’s not so much what is said that is at issue here, it’s what isn’t said. Why didn’t Jesus rebuke the churches for abandoning the Gospel?Think about this for a second. Approximately 30 years after Paul told Timothy that the churches in Asia turned away from him, Jesus sends messages of praise and rebuke to each of those same churches for how they have behaved. But Jesus never rebukes any of them for turning away from the Gospel! If the church rejected Paul’s gospel (as Paul says), and Paul’s gospel is the same as Jesus’ Gospel, then where is the rebuke for turning away from God? In fact, how could Jesus commend a church for anything, if the church had turned away from Him? But if the churches in Asia remained true to God while rejecting Paul, what does that say about Paul?¹ I find the wording curious; The churches turned away from him (Paul) not Him (Christ) who Paul was supposed to be preaching.