Addendum: A friend was disappointed that I did not place a ton of scriptures in this article for the purpose of pointing out to believing Christians that Paul never stopped being Jewish. My resisting this is due to the fact....FACT that Paul was a practicing Jew...proving otherwise is ignoring biblical history. He had no knowledge at the time of his death what a Baptist, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Protestant, Presbyterian, Catholic, and all of the rest of the doctrines that threw the Jews under the bus!
I have said many times: If the Apostle Paul's conversion to Christianity is true than I can fall to the ground a black man and then "pop tall" due to an encounter on the road to Damascus with God, a white man! If you believe this lunacy you are...Catholic!
The Internet search engines would have you believe:
One day Paul or Rebbe Shaul was on his way to Damascus to hunt done a few people who were investigating the scriptures and the now historical account of the life of Yeshua. Much of the so called New Testament writings had not been penned. I would add too, that like the earlier writers of the Hebrew scrolls, Rebbe Shaul had no idea that he would become one of them!
While on the road to Damascus, Shaul had an encounter whereby he was laid out, knocked to the ground by YHWH who spoke to him in Hebrew, I might add. According to Christianity, the teaching cemented into future generations via Catholicism, that Shaul changed his name to Paul, stood up as one of the 1st popes or beacon of a new religious system....He became Billy Graham! The truth however is as evident as is Shaul's life. Many religious Jews promote this lunacy too, because it makes convenient, in my opinion, reason enough to throw the possibility of Yeshua (God in the flesh) under the bus!
Non Jews have promoted a virulent lie for centuries because antisemitism demands that Shaul become something better than his Jewish reality. Even in Orthodox Jewry to make the J-man (Jesus) the most hated and despised Jew ever born is part and parcel in discrediting Christianity. After all, for most Jews the traditions of following Rabbi's above and beyond researching Biblical history that opposes what has been taught is, well, it is what many Christians do, too! Human foibles are exclusive to humanity, duh! Many Jews will also acknowledge the lie that Paul became a Christian.
Funny how human blood oscillates differently when religion drives the heart! [Division is born!]
Phillip Paul Levertoff [1878-1954] took a second look becoming convinced that Yeshua was indeed God in the earth. He spent the rest of his life teaching this. Not because he became a Christian but because what is Christian came from everything Jewish. He begun to see that Yeshua kept all of the laws recorded for Moses and practiced all of the festivals. Eventually Paul Levertoff began to see the pattern of Life, Death, and Resurrection throughout the Hebrew scriptures.
I was talking with Rabbi Itzhak Shapira who wrote the book, "The Return of the Kosher Pig" I asked him this question: Why did you start doubting the Rabbi's? He responded, "I started asking myself a few things. For example, "If the rebuilding of Zion is promised and if Israel is being restored why do we need Mochaich?" In his book the Rabbi writes: "I was born in Israel and lived there for the majority of my life. I was raised in a [Mesorati] Jewish household in Israel. I have no connection to or relationship to Christianity. My entire background and theological training is Jewish"
Rabbi Shapira has experienced the most hateful attacks against his "investigations" of the Hebrew Scriptures and Talmudic delineations of how often learned Jews wrote about Yeshua as Messiah. I strongly recommend his book, "The Return of the Kosher Pig" to the Jewish person who would dare to investigate in like manner.
I read a brilliant book by Professor Daniel Boyarin, The Jewish Gospels, The story of the Jewish Christ..Yup, their is nothing Christian about the four Gospels written by Jews. I should also remind the reader that if the Gospels were not Jewish and if the "J-Man" had not followed the writings of Moses or TORAH not one Jew anywhere in all of the world would have followed him across the street let alone throughout history. For many millions of Jews who languish for years over the deaths of so many of their relatives at the hands of Gentile rulers and Pastors who can blame them for not wanting to investigate an opposing view from the Rabbis in support of Christianity. Were I a Jew and a Christian came to me saying, "You needed to accept Jesus as your personal Mediator, Savior I would run like hell (due to 1800 years of Christianity which lacks anything Jewish). Unfortunately, many Jews were murdered along with their children. Oddly enough, now western societies are hateful of Jews because of the teachings of Islam as well as the age old lie about killing Jesus. The western world's stupidity is Biblical.....Anyway, I digress
"There is also growing recognition that the Gospels themselves and even the letters of Paul (Shaul) are part and parcel of the religion of the People of Israel in the first century A.D." He continues, "The Gospels themselves, when read in the context of other Jewish texts of their time, reveal this very complex diversity and attachments to other variants of "Judaism" at the time."
I cannot begin to recant, disseminate or comprehend the hundreds of years of Jewish thought, Jewish writings, commentary; learning Biblical Hebrew is hard enough! What I can do is take the Hebrew scriptures from Genesis to the book of Revelation, attempt to remove all of the antisemitic translation or transliteration in favor of 36,000+ church doctrines (Which did not exist 2000 years ago by the way) and try to place back into context what the Jews were recording. I can attempt to investigate the poetic writing styles, idiomatic expressions, chaistic structures, and cultural distinctions from the Davidic Kingdom to the culture of Israel during the hateful rule of ancient Rome against anything Jewish. I can attempt to understand why the very Jewish, J-Man (Yeshua) became just another false prophet among the many religious leaders of his time and who followed. Equally, I can try to understand passages in the ancient scrolls that comprise Ta-nakh telling of the many, many times that the children of Israel would fail to keep covenant and indeed, did fail to keep covenant. They are currently in our life time fighting for the land and the Biblical reality of the restoration of Israel. Many Christians are preparing for an airlift......One of the two is certainly more Biblical, ya think?
Above all of this I can by pass the orthodoxy of Judaism, the pastors and the antisemitic lunacy of Christianity and do my own research about what God is doing....The one thing so far that is absolute is that he is doing most of what is his will through...HIS Israel. This opens a plethora of exploration in deed, a driven desire to investigate what YHWH poured into ancient Israel. Watching this nation reborn is to me breathtaking! The more I distance myself from our interpretive failures, like Levertoff, like Shapira and dare I say too the millions of "PEOPLE" returning to what God is doing via Israel the more I understand the very Jewishness of the Biblical writers of Israel
The Jews are returning to the land not because they are the people of the book alone but because of the LORD of Israel who said, "I come for the lost sheep of the House of Israel" Matthew 15:24 [Not to establish Christianity]
Rabbi Shaul wrote "But I say that Yeshua The Messiah ministered to the circumcision (Jews) for the sake of the truth of God, so as to confirm The Promise of the fathers. Romans 15:8
Mosaic and Ancient Near Eastern LawsAnd then their is the Ancient Near East Covenant Treaty Law (Click Here) which much of TORAH is written in concept of. These legal realities of the times of Moses were not ignored but rather...how things were ordered! I am mindful that YHWH ordered the Kingdoms of the earth. It was he who based the nations according to the sons of Israel long before the nation of Israel was realized
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the children of men, he set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.
So...in conclusion many religious Jews will throw Rabbi Shaul under the bus. One cannot blame them really. Many other Jews connect him to Judaism, Jewish history and to Biblical truth....They also have a story to tell and they have been telling that story for centuries.
How else does Christianity know anything at all?
I refer to Jesus as the J-Man because this is the way many orthodox Jews disrespectfully refer to a fellow Jew....
I know him to be Yeshua or the ONE God of Israel who is called by many, many names. He is no longer the "three in one god" to me! [Much of Christianity is disconnected from his Jewish reality of the Gospels, clueless about TORAH. And so it goes!