James 1:22-23

But become makers of the message - and not just hearers misleading yourselves
For if anyone is a hearer of the message and not a maker
he is like a man assessing the face of his 'Genesis' in a mirror [Jm.1:22-23]

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If you find this website to be of some interest
then you may also like to read:

  Why Call Me God? : The Gospel Seen with a Single Eye  

published by Capabel Press in September 2009.

The book explains the ancient 'mystery' concealed behind the text of the gospels
at the time they were first composed.

The riddles of Greek scripture are soon unravelled to expose the devastating plot
which must have been familiar to the Gnostic authors.

Analysis then shows that the deeply challenging message of the gospels
is not what the Christian churches say. It is something very different…
and now explained in this groundbreaking book.

For details, please click here

Why Call Me God

ISBN: 978 0 9562057 0 4

Chapter 16 : The Conversion of Paul : A Deluded Prophet

Copyright Notice
As the basis for my work I have used the Nestlé-Aland 26th Edition Greek text. Copyright on this is reserved as follows :
..... Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestlé-Aland 26th edition (c)1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
..... The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition (c) 1975, United Bible Societies, London
This is the Greek text underlying most modern English translations since 1881, including the New American Standard and New International Versions. Certain words within the Nestlé text proper are enclosed in square brackets [ ] or double brackets [[ ]]. These reflect those places where the critical text editors consider the inclusion or omission of such text to be in question.
This text is only available for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

I have also used the CATSS LXX editions of the Septuagint Old Testament prepared by the TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) Project directed by T. Brunner at the University of California, Irvine and made available through the Center for Computer Analysis of Texts (CCAT) at the University of Pennsylvania 'for the use of students, teachers and scholars in study and education contexts'.
This text is only available for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

Unless otherwise noted, the remainder of what is presented in this document is my original work. Copyright on this is reserved as follows :
..... Authentic Christianity, 4th edition : (c) 2005, Target Technical, York, UK
All rights are reserved - except that this text is made available without charge for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

16.1 Introduction
The Christian tradition, now so long established, claims Paul as the 'Apostle to the Gentiles' [Ac.22:21; Rm.11:13]. It holds that he was a real person - abruptly commandeered by God around the middle of the first century CE. Accordingly his task was to widen the circle of those committed to the recently re-manifested deity, Jesus Christ. To many from the Jewish tradition, this is close to being incomprehensible. To those of the established Christian tradition, nothing is comprehensible without it. But, as so often in human affairs, each of these parties has missed the point, each has failed to understand the modus operandi of scripture - and the rôle played in the narrative by Paul. For, if you read on, you will see that in common with all the rest of scripture, these stories about Paul are in fact gnostic texts. And once you know that then your perspective is corrected - and you may see how neatly everything fits into place.

For the established Christian tradition, mistaken as it surely is, this 'widening of the circle' is understood in one sense to be the casting of a larger and less restrictive net for those who now are to come under the spell of the gospels - and as a dramatic extension to the religious tradition of Israel itself. In another sense it is also geographical, for the tradition will be taken to Rome - and beyond.

The 'Acts of the Apostles' was set down in Greek. It is in the narrative of this book that we first encounter Saul as the persecutor of those who follow Jesus. Like his namesake in the books of Samuel [Ac.13:21], this Pharisee comes from the tribe of Benjamin [Rm.11:1; Ph.3:5]. Conveniently for the narrative, he is also a citizen of Rome. And now comes the miraculous (as some suppose) volte-face. For Saul is 'struck down on the way' as he nears Damascus. After three days without sight his vision is restored - and, in a brief section of narrative for which the riddles are truly hard to fathom, his name changes to 'Paul'. In original Greek this is 'PAULOS' (in Latin it means "little", whilst the Greek word 'PHAULOS' means "inefficient, careless, bad", even "depraved"). Paul is now a committed advocate of the 'lord Jesus Christ', the same whose followers he used to persecute [Ac.9:3-20]. In the narrative he then proceeds to travel widely across Asia Minor and the Mediterranean, ending his epic journeys at Rome.

Now, since the 4th century CE, the Christian tradition has understood NT scripture to be substantially a record of real-world events. It has therefore taught that through Paul the gentile nations benefit from inclusion into the religious tradition of Abraham, extended (as it is considered to have been) by a momentous intervention by God himself in the affairs of the world - as derived from the narrative of the four gospels.

This is the popular tradition. Popular it may be - and certainly it has survived through many centuries. But, as I shall now show, it was in the first instance mis-taken - and in our time it remains just that, mistaken. For :

  1. As with the gospels themselves, 'Acts' is evidently a sequel to the book of 'Genesis'. Displaying a dream-like discontinuity in many sequences, it is tightly packed with riddles. Its narrative is manifestly fictional - along with the character identified as 'Paul'. Taken at face value, its geography is often quite convincing. But the riddles disclose that it has to be myth - and not a record of real-life events at all.

  2. The author of 'Acts' portrays Saul/Paul as the deluded prophet of the 'serpent' of 'Genesis' (and yes, the 'serpent' is satan, Jesus himself 'seed of the serpent').

  3. It follows that the tradition established by the church is simply that of those deceived - by the ubiquitous scriptural 'serpent'.

Granted, the popular interpretation is consistent with the superficial import of the texts. But that is where its validity ends. For the core of the problem, over which the western world has stumbled for so long, is this : all scripture is 'gnostic'. It therefore follows :

  1. That it presents to every reader a major intellectual and spiritual challenge - thoroughly stretching the imagination.

  2. That it treats throughout with the contention between good and evil.

  3. That the entire scheme of scripture is infused with a sense of the conflict between these two.

  4. That in scripture what is good is good : it knows no evil, it can do no evil. It is dark - and serene.

  5. But what is evil is open to every possibility - thus even to deceit. Accordingly, in the context of scripture, that which is evil is free to masquerade as good. It is light - and turbulent.

To grasp the cultural origins of scripture, we must go back at least 3500 years - to the civilisations of Mespotamia and to Egypt in the centuries before the 18th dynasty. You can see for yourself the icons of this age in the British Museum in London - and no doubt elsewhere. Look for the Pharaoh rulers named AmenOphis [Ophis(Gk.) = serpent] and the representations of Amun, a ram-headed 'god' whose head-dress (the Uraeus) is adorned with an image of the solar disc and a serpent spitting poison [cf. Mk.8:23]. Here is the religious tradition which infuses the book of 'Genesis' - indeed all scripture. This, if you do not understand it, will cause you to go astray in your encounter with scripture. For there is a trap - and the risk is that you will fall straight into it, as many have done before you. Appropriately, it is in 'Genesis' that first we meet with the ubiquitous scriptural serpent [Gn.3:1]. This most subtle and deadly of 'created' deities is subsequently identified as 'satan', the opponent of the prime God - identified also as both the creator and the deceiver of the whole 'cosmos', the world of light and of life which he has made [Jn.1:1-5; Rv.12:9]. He manifests too 'as an angel of light' [2Cor.11:14; Ac.9:3 below].

Now to provide for what is evil to masquerade as good, all scripture is written with two possible interpretations. For a rough analogy you may like to think of the equation for a parabola (the word in Greek is the same as that for a parable), a curve represented by what mathematicians know as a quadratic equation. Such an equation has two roots, it has two solutions. This is the nature of scripture. Then one solution is robust - and it is good. The other solution, more easily accessible, is however fragile and incomplete - for it leaves us with unresolved contradictions [eg. Jn.15:12; Lk.14:26]. However popular, this second solution is the serpent's deception. It is evil through and through. Little good can come of it - and much harm.

Now unfortunately the structure employed in scripture is strongly biased against the gullible : those not forewarned are more than likely to be led astray. For this is a written message - and it is set down in such a way that those 'easy' readers, taking at face value what has been written, may embrace the immediate import of what is suggested, falling directly into the logical and spiritual 'trap' which has been set for them. For the 'god' they identify, and promptly embrace, is the 'lord god'. But this is the serpent god, the deceiver, the impostor who stands in the place of God himself [2Th.2:3-12]. Now, failing to spot the deception, these are the readers who hear the boastful message of satan and grasp it with both hands. Having no adequate yardstick, easily persuaded, deceived by the multiple disguises of the serpent, they fondly imagine him to be God. He is not.

A careful study of scripture itself is sufficient to show beyond doubt the validity of what I have just explained. Unfortunately the process of establishing of the Catholic church in the 4th century CE was less than a careful process - becoming concomitant with the extinction of the gnostic tradition. Thus the Catholic church, in all its ignorance, took the keys to the 'mystery' of the very scriptures upon which it was about to found its tradition and - right at the start - threw them away. Now the tradition established was false, a runaway train, a mistaken 'church'. It has careered out of control through the centuries, across the face of the planet. And now, in our age, we find this 'church' burdened by seventeen centuries of its own 'history'. And what a troubled history it has been.

In this chapter I shall now show how the riddles of scripture reveal the mind of the author of 'Acts' on the status and rôle of fictional 'Paul'. We shall watch as he becomes the unwitting agent of the scriptural 'serpent', the mythical 'semi-god' - who, as the authors themselves determine, never was God (and never will be).

16.2 Conversion of Saul
I shall skip over the early chapters of 'Acts'. Towards the end Ch.7 we come to the first mention of Saul - as one at whose feet are placed the clothes of those who stone Stephen to death (in the literalist tradition Stephen is understood to be the first martyr of the Christian era).

Now the story of Saul's conversion is recounted three times in 'Acts'. The first report forms a part of the narrative and appears in the third person. The second and third are presented as accounts by Paul himself. These appear in the first person. Each gives somewhat different detail - with the author using the repeated opportunity to inform the reader more fully, both through the use of contradictions and by incorporating a variety of interlocking riddles.

Here is the first report :

Acts :
44N 9 1 o de sauloV eti empnewn apeilhV kai fonou eiV touV maqhtaV tou kuriou proselqwn tw arcierei
44N 9 1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder at the disciples of the lord, going to the high priest
44N 9 2 hthsato par autou epistolaV eiV damaskon proV taV sunagwgaV opwV ean tinaV eurh thV odou ontaV andraV te kai gunaikaV dedemenouV agagh eiV ierousalhm
44N 9 2 Asked for letters from him to Damascus for the synagogues - so that if he found some who were of the Way, being both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
44N 9 3 en de tw poreuesqai egeneto auton eggizein th damaskw exaifnhV te auton perihstrayen fwV ek tou ouranou
44N 9 3 But in the going it happened that he came near to Damascus. And suddenly there flashed around him a light from Heaven
44N 9 4 kai peswn epi thn ghn hkousen fwnhn legousan autw saoul saoul ti me diwkeiV
44N 9 4 And, falling upon the earth, he heard a voice saying to him "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me ?"
44N 9 5 eipen de tiV ei kurie o de egw eimi ihsouV on su diwkeiV
44N 9 5 But he said "Who are you, lord ?" And he (replied) "I AM Jesus - whom you are persecuting
44N 9 6 alla anasthqi kai eiselqe eiV thn polin kai lalhqhsetai soi o ti se dei poiein
44N 9 6 But rise up and enter into the city - and it will be told to you what you must do".

44N 9 7 oi de andreV oi sunodeuonteV autw eisthkeisan eneoi akouonteV men thV fwnhV mhdena de qewrounteV
44N 9 7 But the men, those on the way with him, stood dumbfounded, actually hearing the voice - but seeing no one.
44N 9 8 hgerqh de sauloV apo thV ghV anewgmenwn de twn ofqalmwn autou ouden eblepen ceiragwgounteV de auton eishgagon eiV damaskon
44N 9 8 And Saul was raised from the earth - but opening his eyes he saw nothing. And, taking him by the hand, they led (him) into Damascus.
44N 9 9 kai hn hmeraV treiV mh blepwn kai ouk efagen oude epien
44N 9 9 And he was three days not seeing - and he did not eat nor drink.

44N 9 10 hn de tiV maqhthV en damaskw onomati ananiaV kai eipen proV auton en oramati o kurioV anania o de eipen idou egw kurie
44N 9 10 Now there was a certain disciple in Damascus, by name Ananias. And the lord said to him in a vision "Ananias !". And he said "Look, (it is) I, lord".
44N 9 11 o de kurioV proV auton anastaV poreuqhti epi thn rumhn thn kaloumenhn euqeian kai zhthson en oikia iouda saulon onomati tarsea idou gar proseucetai
44N 9 11 And the lord (said) to him "Rising up, go to the lane called 'Straight' and seek, in a house of Judah, one named Saul from Tarsus. For look, he is praying
44N 9 12 kai eiden andra [en oramati] ananian onomati eiselqonta kai epiqenta autw [tas] ceiraV opwV anableyh
44N 9 12 And has seen [in a vision] a man, Ananias by name, coming in and placing upon him [the] hands so that he might look up".
44N 9 13 apekriqh de ananiaV kurie hkousa apo pollwn peri tou androV toutou osa kaka toiV agioiV sou epoihsen en ierousalhm
44N 9 13 But Ananias answered "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he did to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
44N 9 14 kai wde ecei exousian para twn arcierewn dhsai pantaV touV epikaloumenouV to onoma sou
44N 9 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all those calling upon your name".

44N 9 15 eipen de proV auton o kurioV poreuou oti skeuoV ekloghV estin moi outoV tou bastasai to onoma mou enwpion eqnwn te kai basilewn uiwn te israhl
44N 9 15 But the lord said to him "Go, because he is (the) container of choice for me, this one - for holding my name both before nations and kings, and the children of Israel.
44N 9 16 egw gar upodeixw autw osa dei auton uper tou onomatoV mou paqein
44N 9 16 For I shall indicate to him whatever he must suffer on behalf of my name".
44N 9 17 aphlqen de ananiaV kai eishlqen eiV thn oikian kai epiqeiV ep auton taV ceiraV eipen saoul adelfe o kurioV apestalken me ihsouV o ofqeiV soi en th odw h hrcou opwV anableyhV kai plhsqhV pneumatoV agiou
44N 9 17 So Ananias went off and entered into the house. And placing upon him the hands, he said "Brother Saul, the lord has sent me, Jesus - the one seen by you in the way by which you were coming - so you may look up and may be filled with a holy spirit".
44N 9 18 kai euqewV apepesan autou apo twn ofqalmwn wV lepideV anebleyen te kai anastaV ebaptisqh
44N 9 18 And immediately there fell away from him, from the eyes, something like scales [alt: blades] - and he saw again. And, rising up, he was baptized.

44N 9 19 kai labwn trofhn eniscusen egeneto de meta twn en damaskw maqhtwn hmeraV tinaV
44N 9 19 And, taking food, he became strong. But there happened with the disciples in Damascus some days.
44N 9 20 kai euqewV en taiV sunagwgaiV ekhrussen ton ihsoun oti outoV estin o uioV tou qeou
44N 9 20 And immediately in the synagogues he preached the Jesus - that this is the son of God.
44N 9 21 existanto de panteV oi akouonteV kai elegon ouc outoV estin o porqhsaV eiV ierousalhm touV epikaloumenouV to onoma touto kai wde eiV touto elhluqei ina dedemenouV autouV agagh epi touV arciereiV
44N 9 21 But all those hearing were amazed and they said "Is not this the one who played havoc in Jerusalem (with) those calling upon this name ? And he had come here for this - that he might bring them bound before the chief priests !"
44N 9 22 sauloV de mallon enedunamouto kai sunecunnen [tous] ioudaiouV touV katoikountaV en damaskw sumbibazwn oti outoV estin o cristoV
44N 9 22 But Saul was being made more powerful. And he confounded [the] Judaeans dwelling in Damascus - concluding that this is the Christ.

Now I shall discuss this passage in a moment. But to explain it properly I must first quote from the book of 'Genesis'. Damascus itself is mentioned only twice in 'Genesis' - first in the passage which follows and then a few verses further on [Gn.15:2 where we hear of 'Eliezer of Damascus', the name Eliezer means in Hebrew something like 'god-help-me']. Now it is apparent that the author(s) of 'Genesis' have represented the mythical meeting between Abram and Melchizedek as taking place near Damascus. In the narrative Abram meets with this mysterious 'priest' - King of Sodom. Like Cain before him, Melchizedek brings 'from the fruits of the earth' [Gn.4:3]. Yes, this is the first explicit mention in scripture of bread and wine ...

LXX Genesis ( see also Chapter 8 : 'The 'Melchizedek' Puzzle' ) :
01O 14 14 akousaV de abram oti hcmalwteutai lwt o adelfoV autou hriqmhsen touV idiouV oikogeneiV autou triakosiouV deka kai oktw kai katediwxen opisw autwn ewV dan
01O 14 14 But Abram, hearing that Lot, his brother, was taken captive, counted his own who dwelt with him, three hundred, ten and eight of them, and pursued behind them as far as Dan.
01O 14 15 kai epepesen ep' autouV thn nukta autoV kai oi paideV autou kai epataxen autouV kai ediwxen autouV ewV cwba h estin en aristera damaskou
01O 14 15 He fell upon them by night, he and his servants, and struck them, and pursued them as far as Choba - which is on the left of Damascus.
01O 14 16 kai apestreyen pasan thn ippon sodomwn kai lwt ton adelfon autou apestreyen kai ta uparconta autou kai taV gunaikaV kai ton laon
01O 14 16 He brought back every horse of Sodom - and Lot, his brother. He also brought back his belongings and the women and the people.
01O 14 17 exhlqen de basileuV sodomwn eiV sunanthsin autw meta to anastreyai auton apo thV kophV tou codollogomor kai twn basilewn twn met' autou eiV thn koilada thn sauh touto hn to pedion basilewV
01O 14 17 The king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chodollogomor and the kings who were with him at the valley of Saue (this is the Plain of the King).
01O 14 18 kai melcisedek basileuV salhm exhnegken artouV kai oinon hn de iereuV tou qeou tou uyistou
01O 14 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out breads and wine. He was a priest of God the Most High.

Now did you notice where this action took place ... first at Dan and then as far as Choba - which is "on the left of Damascus". Dan ( Heb: 'judge' ) is to be the name of Jacob's fifth child - by Bilhah (Rachel's maid). This child is then listed as number seven in the order of paternal consideration at Gn.49. Jacob's forecast for Dan goes as follows :

LXX Genesis :
01O 49 16 dan krinei ton eautou laon wsei kai mia fulh en israhl
01O 49 16 "Dan shall judge his own people - as if also one (of the) tribe(s) in Israel.
01O 49 17 kai genhqhtw dan ofiV ef' odou egkaqhmenoV epi tribou daknwn pternan ippou kai peseitai o ippeuV eiV ta opisw
01O 49 17 And Dan shall become a serpent upon (the) way, dwelling down on (the) track, biting the heel of a horse - and the horseman shall fall in reverse".

Dan is then the only one of the twelve tribes not listed as being 'sealed' at Rv.7:4-9. Indeed, like Ishmael, Dan is never mentioned explicitly in any of the texts of the NT canon.

Now can we escape the notion that Abram's encounter with Melchizedek provides the allegorical basis for Saul's encounter with 'the lord' ? Both 'incidents' take place upon the serpent-ridden 'way' to Damascus. Then the two stories are one ?

But what happened to Paul that he was 'struck down' on his journey ? The story perhaps evokes Cain's experience when he 'falls to the face' [Gn.4:5]. But does the narrative suggest a lightning strike ? Given Lk.10:18, this seems a reasonable starting point. But what kind of lightning was this ? Look at what Ananias says :

saoul adelfe o kurioV apestalken me ihsouV o ofqeiV soi en th odw h hrcou ...
"Brother Saul, the lord has sent me, Jesus - the one seen by you in the way by which you were coming ..."

That phrase 'o ofqeiV soi' (the one seen by you) incorporates the weak aorist passive participle for the Greek verb 'oraw' (I see). But at the same time it serves as a 'container' (a transparent anagram disguise) for 'o ofiV' ( the serpent ). Did you spot it ?

Indeed the construction is cleverer still - for the central digram (letter pair) of the word is 'qe', being the first two letters for the Greek word 'qeoV' (a god). So within the word 'ofqeiV' we can discover both 'ofiV' ( a serpent ) and 'qeoV' (a god) ! This is gnostic scripture at top notch - teaching its arcane theology selectively to the more observant reader !

But if we look back to prior scripture we find that the phrase is not new. For the line 'egw eimi o qeoV o ofqeiV soi ...' (I AM the god seen by you ...) is first found at LXX Gn.31:13 - where the 'angel of god' speaks to Jacob. The trick is the same. As elsewhere, we may suspect that this manifestation of the 'angel of god' is none other than the 'serpent' - or the 'seed of the serpent' (which may be Cain or, in the gospels, Jesus). The two are barely distinguishable - for Jesus is made to speak rightly :

John :
43N 10 30 egw kai o pathr en esmen
43N 10 30 I and the father, we are one

16.3 Second Account

This is how it goes. Paul is speaking 'to the people', reporting his own experience. This is the first time Paul uses (in reverse) Cain's phrase AM I from Gn.4:9, applying it now to himself.

The word 'shmeron' (today) is another utterance first voiced by Cain [Gn.4:14]. It is employed persistently in scripture as 'shmeion' (a sign) for Cain - beginning from Gn.4:15.

Acts :
44N 22 3 egw eimi anhr ioudaioV gegennhmenoV en tarsw thV kilikiaV anateqrammenoV de en th polei tauth para touV podaV gamalihl pepaideumenoV kata akribeian tou patrwou nomou zhlwthV uparcwn tou qeou kaqwV panteV umeiV este shmeron
44N 22 3 "I AM a Judaean man, having been born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the precise manner of the law of our fathers, remaining a zealot for God, just as you all are today.
44N 22 4 oV tauthn thn odon ediwxa acri qanatou desmeuwn kai paradidouV eiV fulakaV andraV te kai gunaikaV
44N 22 4 I persecuted this way to the death, binding and delivering to guards both men and women.
44N 22 5 wV kai o arciereuV marturei moi kai pan to presbuterion par wn kai epistolaV dexamenoV proV touV adelfouV eiV damaskon eporeuomhn axwn kai touV ekeise ontaV dedemenouV eiV ierousalhm ina timwrhqwsin
44N 22 5 As also the high priest testifies to me - and all the council of elders - from whom, receiving also letters for the brothers at Damascus, we were going, also meaning to bring those who were there bound to Jerusalem that they might be be punished.
44N 22 6 egeneto de moi poreuomenw kai eggizonti th damaskw peri meshmbrian exaifnhV ek tou ouranou periastrayai fwV ikanon peri eme
44N 22 6 But it happened with my going - and nearing Damascus around midday, suddenly from Heaven there flashed about me a considerable light.
44N 22 7 epesa te eiV to edafoV kai hkousa fwnhV legoushV moi saoul saoul ti me diwkeiV
44N 22 7 I fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me ?"
44N 22 8 egw de apekriqhn tiV ei kurie eipen te proV me egw eimi ihsouV o nazwraioV on su diwkeiV
44N 22 8 And I answered "Who are you, lord?". Then he said to me "I AM Jesus the Nazarene - whom you are persecuting".

44N 22 9 oi de sun emoi onteV to men fwV eqeasanto thn de fwnhn ouk hkousan tou lalountoV moi
44N 22 9 And those being with me did actually perceive the light - but they did not hear the voice of the one speaking to me.
44N 22 10 eipon de ti poihsw kurie o de kurioV eipen proV me anastaV poreuou eiV damaskon kakei soi lalhqhsetai peri pantwn wn tetaktai soi poihsai
44N 22 10 And I said "What shall I do, lord ?". And the lord said to me "Rising up, go into Damascus - and there it will be told to you about all which has been arranged for you to do".
44N 22 11 wV de ouk eneblepon apo thV doxhV tou fwtoV ekeinou ceiragwgoumenoV upo twn sunontwn moi hlqon eiV damaskon
44N 22 11 And as I was not seeing for the glory of that light, led by the hand under those being with me, I came into Damascus.

44N 22 12 ananiaV de tiV anhr eulabhV kata ton nomon marturoumenoV upo pantwn twn katoikountwn ioudaiwn
44N 22 12 But a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, witnessed under by all the resident Judaeans
44N 22 13 elqwn proV me kai epistaV eipen moi saoul adelfe anableyon kagw auth th wra anebleya eiV auton
44N 22 13 Coming to me and taking charge, said to me "Brother Saul, look up ! And, at that same hour, I looked up at him.
44N 22 14 o de eipen o qeoV twn paterwn hmwn proeceirisato se gnwnai to qelhma autou kai idein ton dikaion kai akousai fwnhn ek tou stomatoV autou
44N 22 14 And he said "The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will - and to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth.
44N 22 15 oti esh martuV autw proV pantaV anqrwpouV wn ewrakaV kai hkousaV
44N 22 15 So that you shall be a witness for him to all persons of what you have seen and heard.
44N 22 16 kai nun ti melleiV anastaV baptisai kai apolousai taV amartiaV sou epikalesamenoV to onoma autou
44N 22 16 And now what next ? Rising up, be baptised and wash away your sins, calling upon his name".

Did you notice how the story has changed ?

The author uses 'those with Paul' (his companions in the narrative) as part-players for you, the reader. So what you hear is what they hear - and what you perceive is what they perceive. Do you follow the method ?

Now amongst the comments we can make are these :

  1. The witness reports at Ac.9:7 and Ac.22:9 directly contradict one another :

    Acts :
    44N 9 7 oi de andreV oi sunodeuonteV autw eisthkeisan eneoi akouonteV men thV fwnhV mhdena de qewrounteV
    44N 9 7 But the men, those on the way with him, stood dumbfounded, actually hearing the voice - but seeing no one.
    44N 22 9 oi de sun emoi onteV to men fwV eqeasanto thn de fwnhn ouk hkousan tou lalountoV moi
    44N 22 9 And those being with me did actually perceive the light - but they did not hear the voice of the one speaking to me.

    The first report claims they did hear the voice but saw no one : the second that they did perceive the light but did not hear the voice.

    It is surely never wise to rely upon witness evidence which is inconsistent or poorly corroborated. Yet those formulating doctrine for the Christian church have done precisely this. Taking the events narrated here, these so-called 'fathers' of the church have first relied upon them as a record of real-life events. Next they have used them to validate the rôle of Paul as 'Apostle to the Gentiles', embracing this figure as if he were a real-life advocate for God, regarding him as a prophet who asserts his newly acquired 'authority' to bring about the foundation of the Christian church itself. But it is clear from scripture that Paul is a purely fictional figure.

    The path these 'fathers' took was the 'broad way'. In modern parlance it would be the congested 'motorway'. With each driver following the one in front, not one amongst them is able to make any sense of the book of maps supplied with the car. The 'way' they follow leads only to destruction - but which amongst them knows it ?

    What are we to say of a spiritual leadership so uncritical of scripture that it directs the people straight into the spiritual trap set for them so long ago ? What are we to say to them ?

    Matthew :
    40N 7 13 eiselqate dia thV stenhV pulhV oti plateia h pulh kai eurucwroV h odoV h apagousa eiV thn apwleian kai polloi eisin oi eisercomenoi di authV
    40N 7 13 Enter in through the narrow gate. For broad (is) the gate, and spacious the way which leads to destruction - and many are those entering in through it.
    40N 7 14 ti stenh h pulh kai teqlimmenh h odoV h apagousa eiV thn zwhn kai oligoi eisin oi euriskonteV authn
    40N 7 14 How narrow the gate and restricted the way which leads to life - and few are those finding it !

  2. Examining more closely the conflicting reports reaching us from the 'way' to Damascus, we find that there are certain paired or connected features - derived on the one hand from what we ourselves may hear when we read from the Greek text, on the other hand from what we are able to perceive :

    First report ...
    44N 9 5 eipen de tiV ei kurie o de egw eimi ihsouV on su diwkeiV
    44N 9 5 But he said "Who are you, lord ?" And he (replied) "I AM Jesus - whom you are persecuting
    44N 9 6 alla anasthqi kai eiselqe eiV thn polin kai lalhqhsetai soi o ti se dei poiein
    44N 9 6 But rise up and enter into the city - and it will be told to you what you must do".
    44N 9 7 oi de andreV oi sunodeuonteV autw eisthkeisan eneoi akouonteV men thV fwnhV mhdena de qewrounteV
    44N 9 7 But the men, those on the way with him, stood dumbfounded, actually hearing the voice - but seeing no one.

    Second report ...
    44N 22 6 egeneto de moi poreuomenw kai eggizonti th damaskw peri meshmbrian exaifnhV ek tou ouranou periastrayai fwV ikanon peri eme
    44N 22 6 But it happened with my going - and nearing Damascus around midday, suddenly from Heaven there flashed about me a considerable light.
    44N 22 9 oi de sun emoi onteV to men fwV eqeasanto thn de fwnhn ouk hkousan tou lalountoV moi
    44N 22 9 And those being with me did actually perceive the light - but they did not hear the voice of the one speaking to me.

    In the second report, notice that this is no longer just a light which they 'perceive' - as it was at Ac.9:3. For by now it has become a considerable light. This development gives a great deal away. In Greek the adjective used is 'ikanon' - and there the reader familiar with Greek scripture will easily spot (just ever so slightly mixed up) the name of kain. In English his name is Cain.

    Next, attending to the voice heard in the first report, our ears may catch the phrase "egw eimi" - in English "I AM". This, with the word order reversed, is the phrase first spoken (in all scripture) by Cain :

    LXX Genesis :
    01O 4 9 kai eipen o qeoV proV kain pou estin abel o adelfoV sou o de eipen ou ginwskw mh fulax tou adelfou mou eimi egw
    01O 4 9 And God said to Cain "Where is Abel, your brother?" But he said "I do not know. Surely I AM not my brother`s guardian ?"

    Then what we hear - and what we also perceive - strongly suggests that the vision beheld by Saul has been configured by the author as a manifestation of Cain - alias Satan - appearing here in all the brilliance of his reflected 'glory' [Ac.22:11].

  3. Next we may notice this intriguing feature - a common component to the voice "RISE UP" and to the light "PERCEIVED" - as follows :

    First report ...
    44N 9 5 eipen de tiV ei kurie o de egw eimi ihsouV on su diwkeiV
    44N 9 5 But he said "Who are you, lord ?" And he (replied) " I AM Jesus - whom you are persecuting
    44N 9 6 alla anasthqi kai eiselqe eiV thn polin kai lalhqhsetai soi o ti se dei poiein
    44N 9 6 But rise up and enter into the city - and it will be told to you what you must do".

    Second report ...
    44N 22 9 oi de sun emoi onteV to men fwV eqeasanto thn de fwnhn ouk hkousan tou lalountoV moi
    44N 22 9 And those being with me did actually perceive the light - but they did not hear the voice of the one speaking to me.


    From both hearing and sight, we have elementary anagrams for the name satan - meaning in English SATAN.

    Taken in isolation, one might suppose that this arose by chance. But, in the context of these conclusions as a whole, it is probably intentional on the part of the author.

    And once you understand the condition asserted in the synoptic gospels for entry to the 'kingdom of the heavens' - to be "rotated and become like the children" [Mt.18:3], you may add more weight to it still.

    Amongst the attributes of children is confused or mistaken spelling. The remedy is quite simple. In the reading, the letters forming the word(s) must be "rotated" to correct the error (many primary school teachers will be accustomed to this). Obviously the authors of scripture are not children. But for them such 'mistaken' spelling is a deliberately affected technique*, a tool of gnostic writing. With it they seek to conceal the full meaning of what they write from the casual or hasty reader, even in Hebrew [OT] and Greek [LXX/GNT] - and to conceal it from every reader unwise enough to rely entirely upon texts translated into a third language.

    Matthew :
    40N 18 3 kai eipen amhn legw umin ean mh strafhte kai genhsqe wV ta paidia ou mh eiselqhte eiV thn basileian twn ouranwn
    40N 18 3 And he [Jesus] said "Truly I say to you, if you are not rotated and become like the children, you shall certainly not enter into the kingdom of the heavens".

    Luke :
    42N 18 17 amhn legw umin oV an mh dexhtai thn basileian tou qeou wV paidion ou mh eiselqh eiV authn
    42N 18 17 "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child, he shall certainly not enter into it".

    The technique is easy to implement. Unfortunate, then, that Latin was adopted as the wordking* language of the western church around the muddle* of the 4th century CE.

    The particular example exercised here is reminiscent of something you may have seen before - in the gospels :

    Mark :
    41N 6 49 oi de idonteV auton epi thV qalasshV peripatounta edoxan oti fantasma estin kai anekraxan
    41N 6 49 But those seeing him walking upon the sea supposed that it is a ghost - and cried out
    41N 6 50 panteV gar auton eidon kai etaracqhsan o de euquV elalhsen met autwn kai legei autoiV qarseite egw eimi mh fobeisqe
    41N 6 50 For all saw him - and were disturbed. But immediately he spoke with them and he said to them "Have confidence ! I AM. Do not be afraid".

    Matthew :
    40N 28 17 kai idonteV auton prosekunhsan oi de edistasan
    40N 28 17 And seeing him, they worshipped - but some doubted.

    Can we say more on the identity of this 'lord' - "seen by Saul on the way" ?
    There is a word in Hebrew Hebrew023 - meaning something like 'ENEMY'. Transcribed into Greek, it becomes (for use by the NT authors) 'satan' - or in English SATAN.

    The equivalent name in Greek is 'o ecqros', the enemy - which further helps to explain why those at Mk.6:50 (quoted above) "were disturbed") - when they "all saw him".

    Thus it is that the 'one seen' by Saul is depicted by the authors to be SATAN. This is the impostor, the one who stands in the place of God - making out that he himself is God [see 2Th.2:4]. Accordingly this story of the 'conversion' of Paul is the story of his unwitting subversion by the forces of evil. Yet in large part the tradition of the Christian church has been founded upon the literal interpretation of this very narrative - with no grasp whatever of how the riddles are intended to alter the reader's assessment of what is really going on.

    Then the Christian church is nothing other than the 'synagogue of satan' [Rv.2:9, 3:9] - the deluded church originated by a deluded (and fictional) prophet !

    And as for how this matter came to be overlooked by those who first established, and those who then promoted, the doctrine of the Catholic church ... well, I fancy there is a great deal of explaining which still remains to be done.

16.4 Final Account

With this final report, Paul seeks to justify his position to King Agrippa :

Acts :
44N 26 12 en oiV poreuomenoV eiV thn damaskon met exousiaV kai epitrophV thV twn arcierewn
44N 26 12 In which matters, going to Damascus with an authority and commission which (was) from the chief priests
44N 26 13 hmeraV meshV kata thn odon eidon basileu ouranoqen uper thn lamprothta tou hliou perilamyan me fwV kai touV sun emoi poreuomenouV
44N 26 13 At mid day on the way, I saw from heaven, O King, beyond the brightness of the sun, a light shining around me - and those going with me.
44N 26 14 pantwn te katapesontwn hmwn eiV thn ghn hkousa fwnhn legousan proV me th ebraidi dialektw saoul saoul ti me diwkeiV sklhron soi proV kentra laktizein
44N 26 14 And with all of us fallen down onto the earth, I heard a voice saying to me, with the Hebrew dialect "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me ? (It is) hard for you to kick against stings".
44N 26 15 egw de eipa tiV ei kurie o de kurioV eipen egw eimi ihsouV on su diwkeiV
44N 26 15 But I said "Who are you, lord ?" And the lord said "I AM Jesus - whom you are persecuting.
44N 26 16 alla anasthqi kai sthqi epi touV podaV sou eiV touto gar wfqhn soi proceirisasqai se uphrethn kai martura wn te eideV [me] wn te ofqhsomai soi
44N 26 16 But rise up and stand upon your feet. For to this end I was seen by you, to appoint you a servant and a witness - both of whom you saw [me] and from whom I shall be seen by you
44N 26 17 exairoumenoV se ek tou laou kai ek twn eqnwn eiV ouV egw apostellw se
44N 26 17 Raising you out from the people, and from the races to which I send you
44N 26 18 anoixai ofqalmouV autwn tou epistreyai apo skotouV eiV fwV kai thV exousiaV tou satana epi ton qeon tou labein autouV afesin amartiwn kai klhron en toiV hgiasmenoiV pistei th eiV eme
44N 26 18 To open their eyes for turning back from Darkness to light and (away) from the authority of Satan over God - for taking them remission of sins and a 'destiny' among those made holy by a faith which is in ME".

Here the voice adds a theme absent from the earlier accounts : "(It is) hard for you to kick against stings".

Now which stings might these possibly be ? Following other scholars, Uta Ranke-Heinemann [Ref.1] calls attention to the parallel between this passage and one from the Bacchae of Euripides where the persecuted god Dionysus speaks to his persecutor, Pentheus the king of Thebes.

But do you recall this verse from 'Genesis - somehow associated with Dan and with Damascus ?'

LXX Genesis :
01O 49 16 dan krinei ton eautou laon wsei kai mia fulh en israhl
01O 49 16 "Dan shall judge his own people - as if also one (of the) tribe(s) in Israel.
01O 49 17 kai genhqhtw dan ofiV ef' odou egkaqhmenoV epi tribou daknwn pternan ippou kai peseitai o ippeuV eiV ta opisw
01O 49 17 And Dan shall become a serpent upon (the) way, dwelling down on (the) track, biting the heel of a horse - and the horseman shall fall in reverse".

Here, I think, we have the explanation. Paul is the 'horseman' - brought down 'upon the way' by the toxic stings of the serpent - who is satan [Rv.12:9, 20:2].

Then did you witness 'ofiV' ( the serpent ) concealed within the phrase 'ofqhsomai soi' ( I shall be seen by you ) at 26:16 ? This is typical of the way this creature may be 'seen' in the texts of scripture.

And here in the final verse at 26:18 is satan himself - this time with no disguise whatever ! In his hubris, he now refers to himself by name - and asserts openly his preference to "turn their eyes" away from "the authority of Satan over God".

Dazzling all with his brilliance, he is the 'to fwV' (the light) - but the persistent attribute of God himself is that He is (primeval) Darkness :

LXX Genesis :
01O 1 1 en arch epoihsen o qeoV ton ouranon kai thn ghn
01O 1 1 In a beginning God made Heaven and Earth
01O 1 2 h de gh hn aoratoV kai akataskeuastoV kai skotoV epanw ths abussou ...
01O 1 2a But the earth was invisible and unformed - and a Darkness (was) above the abyss ...
John :
43N 1 5 kai to fws en th skotia fainei kai h skotia auto ou katelaben
43N 1 5 And the light is revealed within the Darkness - but the Darkness did not comprehend it.

Now the task assigned to the deluded Paul may be summarised as :

  1. "To open their eyes for turning from Darkness [A] to light [B] - and (away) from the authority of Satan [B] over God [A]"
  2. "For taking them remission of sins - and a 'destiny' among those made holy by a faith which is in ME"

Think about it. This is exactly what has happened as the centuries have unfolded. What was provided for here, this gnostic plan for global deceit, it is now reflected in at least seventeen centuries of our actual history. Stunning ?

How ever did the Catholic church, in the time of its establishment, make such a dreadful mistake about the nature of scripture itself, receiving all of it literally ?

How did it fall - game, set and match - into the trap set for the unwary, mistaking the light, the mythical Christ figure, for God himself ? How ever did this happen ?

Well, this may be the first reason. The Roman world was in dramatic decline. It lost the use of the languages of scripture. Latin was adopted as the working language of the western church from around the year 350 CE. By the end of that century the scriptures had been 'translated' into Latin, the OT from Hebrew, the NT from Greek. As a direct result, many of the key riddles of scripture were obliterated from the texts in use. They were quite simply 'strained out' by the process of substituting every word in Greek with another in the target language.

Matthew :
40N 16 19 dwsw soi taV kleidaV thV basileiaV twn ouranwn kai o ean dhshV epi thV ghV estai dedemenon en toiV ouranoiV kai o ean lushV epi thV ghV estai lelumenon en toiV ouranoiV
40N 16 19 I shall give to you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens - and that which you may bind upon the earth shall be bound in the heavens. And that which you may loose upon the earth shall be loosed in the heavens.
Luke :
42N 11 52 ouai umin toiV nomikoiV oti hrate thn kleida thV gnwsewV autoi ouk eishlqate kai touV eisercomenouV ekwlusate
42N 11 52 Woe to you Lawyers! Because you took away the key of knowledge [alt: of gnosis]. You did not enter in yourselves - and those entering in, you hindered.

And this may be the second reason. Insecurity is the common weakness of all mankind - the fear of nemesis, of death, the fear of retribution. And, as the gnostic authors of scripture would have it, Satan is ruthless in exploiting this insecurity. Where it persists, he extends the twin promises - for eternal life [Gn.3:4; Jn.11:26] and for forgiveness for sin [Lk.1:77].

LXX Isaiah :
23O 5 20 ouai oi legonteV to ponhron kalon kai to kalon ponhron oi tiqenteV to skotoV fwV kai to fwV skotoV oi tiqenteV to pikron gluku kai to gluku pikron
23O 5 20 Woe (to) those calling Evil good and Good evil, those putting Darkness for light and Light for darkness, those putting Bitter for sweet and Sweet for bitter !
Matthew :
40N 26 40 kai ercetai proV touV maqhtaV kai euriskei autouV kaqeudontaV kai legei tw petrw outwV ouk iscusate mian wran grhgorhsai met emou
40N 26 40 And he came to the disciples, and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter "So you do not have the strength to watch one hour with me ?
40N 26 41 grhgoreite kai proseucesqe ina mh eiselqhte eiV peirasmon to men pneuma proqumon h de sarx asqenhV
40N 26 41 Watch and pray - that you do not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed (is) willing - but the flesh (is) weak".
1 Corinthians :
46N 11 29 o gar esqiwn kai pinwn krima eautw esqiei kai pinei mh diakrinwn to swma
46N 11 29 For the one eating and drinking eats and drinks judgment to himself - not discerning the body.
46N 11 30 dia touto en umin polloi asqeneiV kai arrwstoi kai koimwntai ikanoi
46N 11 30 On this account many amongst you (are) weak and sickly - and quite a few may be asleep.
46N 11 31 ei de eautous diekrinomen ouk an ekrinomeqa
46N 11 31 But if we were discerning (for) ourselves, we would not then be judged.

16.5 Peter's Vision
Now let us suppose, just for the sake of argument, that you refuse to 'become like the children'. You refuse to accept that the authors of scripture have exploited the possibility of 'spelling mistakes' as a tool for communicating with their readers. Let us suppose also that you have forgotten about Melchizedek's attempt to subvert Abram somewhere in the vicinity of Damascus. Then let us proceed in another way.

Referring to Saul, this is what 'the lord' says to Ananias :

Acts :
44N 9 15 eipen de proV auton o kurioV poreuou oti skeuoV ekloghV estin moi outoV tou bastasai to onoma mou enwpion eqnwn te kai basilewn uiwn te israhl
44N 9 15 But the lord said to him "Go, because he is (the) container of choice for me, this one - for holding my name both before nations and kings, and the children of Israel.

Like Jesus in the gospels, Peter was staying by the sea - at Joppa actually, in the house of one Simon, a tanner ...
(Peter's own name is Simon : the reference to a tanner may be connected with the statement at Gn.3:21. Notice that it was the lord god who made the coats from skins for Adam and his woman).

Acts :
44N 10 8 kai exhghsamenoV apanta autoiV apesteilen autouV eiV thn iopphn
44N 10 8 And setting forth everything to them, he [Cornelius] sent them to Joppa
44N 10 9 th de epaurion odoiporountwn ekeinwn kai th polei eggizontwn anebh petroV epi to dwma proseuxasqai peri wran ekthn
44N 10 9 But on the morrow, with their taking that way and coming near to the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray, around (the) sixth hour.
44N 10 10 egeneto de prospeinoV kai hqelen geusasqai paraskeuazontwn de autwn egeneto ep auton ekstasiV
44N 10 10 And he became hungry and wished to taste (something) - and with their preparing (it), there came upon him a trance.
44N 10 11 kai qewrei ton ouranon anewgmenon kai katabainon skeuoV ti wV oqonhn megalhn tessarsin arcaiV kaqiemenon epi thV ghV
44N 10 11 And he perceived Heaven opened up - and a certain container came down, like a great (piece of) linen with four branches, proceeding down upon the earth
44N 10 12 en w uphrcen panta ta tetrapoda kai erpeta thV ghV kai peteina tou ouranou
44N 10 12 In which were existing all the four-footed (creatures) - and reptiles of the earth and birds of Heaven.
44N 10 13 kai egeneto fwnh proV auton anastaV petre quson kai fage
44N 10 13 And there came a voice to him "Rising up, Peter, make sacrifice and eat !"
44N 10 14 o de petroV eipen mhdamwV kurie oti oudepote efagon pan koinon kai akaqarton
44N 10 14 But Peter said "Certainly not, lord. For I have never eaten all (that is) common and unclean".
44N 10 15 kai fwnh palin ek deuterou proV auton a o qeoV ekaqarisen su mh koinou
44N 10 15 And again (there came) a voice for a second (time) : "What God was making clean, do not you make common".
44N 10 16 touto de egeneto epi triV kai euquV anelhmfqh to skeuoV eiV ton ouranon
44N 10 16 This happened three times over - and immediately the container was taken up into Heaven.
Acts :
44N 11 2 ote de anebh petroV eiV ierousalhm diekrinonto proV auton oi ek peritomhV
44N 11 2 But when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those from (the) circumcision were discriminating towards him
44N 11 3 legonteV oti eishlqeV proV andraV akrobustian econtaV kai sunefageV autoiV
44N 11 3 Saying that "You went in to men having a foreskin - and ate together with them !"
44N 11 4 arxamenoV de petroV exetiqeto autoiV kaqexhV legwn
44N 11 4 But beginning, Peter set out to them in order, saying :
44N 11 5 egw hmhn en polei iopph proseucomenoV kai eidon en ekstasei orama katabainon skeuoV ti wV oqonhn megalhn tessarsin arcaiV kaqiemenhn ek tou ouranou kai hlqen acri emou
44N 11 5 "I was in (the) city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision - a certain container coming down, like a great (piece of) linen with four branches proceeding down from Heaven. And it came as far as me.
44N 11 6 eiV hn atenisaV katenooun kai eidon ta tetrapoda thV ghV kai ta qhria kai ta erpeta kai ta peteina tou ouranou
44N 11 6 Gazing upon which, I well understood - and I saw the four-footed (creatures) of the earth and the wild beasts and the reptiles and the birds of Heaven.
44N 11 7 hkousa de kai fwnhV legoushV moi anastaV petre quson kai fage
44N 11 7 And I heard also a voice saying to me "Rising up, Peter, make sacrifice and eat !"
44N 11 8 eipon de mhdamwV kurie oti koinon h akaqarton oudepote eishlqen eiV to stoma mou
44N 11 8 But I said "Certainly not, lord. For (what is) common or unclean has never entered into my mouth".
44N 11 9 apekriqh de fwnh ek deuterou ek tou ouranou a o qeoV ekaqarisen su mh koinou
44N 11 9 But a voice answered for a second (time) from Heaven : "What God was making clean, do not you make common".
44N 11 10 touto de egeneto epi triV kai anespasqh palin apanta eiV ton ouranon
44N 11 10 This happened three times over - and all was pulled up again into Heaven.
44N 11 11 kai idou exauthV treiV andreV epesthsan epi thn oikian en h hmen apestalmenoi apo kaisareiaV proV me
44N 11 11 And look, after this three men stood upon the house in which we were, sent from Caesarea to me.

First let me draw your eye to Ac.10:14 and Ac.11:8 (see Greek text above; also intervening Ac.10:28). The importance of the riddle found here is emphasised by its being reproduced three times in all.

Barely concealed within the phrase 'koinon [kai][h] akaqarton' (common [and][or] unclean), it is with no difficulty that we may identify both 'oinon' (wine) and 'arton' (bread). Thus you may know what the author of 'Acts' is really getting at with referring to foods as "common and unclean" [see also Lk.7:33]. The key liturgical ritual of the Christian tradition is the so-called 'Eucharist'. This entails the offering of bread and wine. Could anyone who has actually understood the self-declared 'mystery' of scripture ever take part (again) in this most unfortunate of religious rituals ?

The early texts of scripture were reproduced by hand with no spacing between the words - so for readers in the early centuries CE this kind of 'double entendre' would have been really easy to spot (and if you still don't believe this construction was intended by the author, please see Chapter 17 : "Cain's Mistake : Not Dividing Rightly"). In a case such as this the Catholic church can at least tender the excuse (feeble as it is) that in translation to Latin they did not see the evidence. But their prior mistake, for which they should be held equally accountable, was to neglect the languages of scripture in the first place. Thus, in their blind ignorance, when they read the book titled 'Acts of the Apostles' what they saw there was the Latin phrase "commune et inmundum" [Vulgate]. As happens so extensively with scripture, this literal "translation" (upon which they relied) had deleted completely the pivotal riddle set down by the author.

It is on account of mistakes such as this that the entire Christian church is stuck up an "ideological gum tree" - to this very day. There is no way down but to admit the mistakes. And will the admission not bring about an end for the church - the closure of the Christian era in the annals of history ? Perhaps it will.

But what are we to say of the Greek Orthodox church, in whose native language this elementary riddle has been implemented ?

"... sleepy eyes ..." ? [Is.6:9-10; Mt.13:14-15; Ac.28:26-27; 1Cor.11:30].

"You have failed in your duty to explain the 'mystery' of scripture to the rest of us" ?

Or should we think back instead to the events of the 13th century ? I quote from Catholic theologian Hans Küng's useful book "The Catholic Church : A Short History" as follows [Ref.2] :

With hindsight, (Roman Pontiff) Innocent III's policy of crusades was tragically misguided. With the initiation of the Fourth Crusade (1202-4), which led to the fateful conquest and three-day plunder of Constantinople, to the erection of a Latin empire with a Latin church organization, and to the enslaving of the Byzantine church, the papal goal (the establishment of the Roman primacy in Constantinople) at last seemed to have been achieved. However the opposite was the case : the rape of Constantinople in fact sealed the schism.

So much for what foods are "common and unclean". With that key learning point behind us, let us now address the story of Peter's vision as a whole. Already Paul has been explicitly identified as 'container of choice' [Ac.9:15].

With the repeated story of his 'conversion', he is three times brought into view.

Here, in his vision, Peter sees this 'container'. It is three times lowered down from Heaven.

Yet it is clear that the contents of this container are 'unclean' (whatever the voice may say that God was trying to do in the way of cleaning them up). For it includes even reptiles - in which class the serpent himself may be numbered. Evidently these 'contents' are from the list of evil things created on the fifth/sixth day at Gn.1:20-27 (remember also that Peter was praying on the roof at the sixth hour).

Thus Paul is deemed to be a 'container' - a receptacle which, though it may look good on the outside, inwardly is filled with evil things.

We may be reminded of the "river" at Gn.2:10-14. It too has four branches and by inspection it too appears "filled with evil things". Is this river the "tree for knowing knowledge of good and evil" [Gn.2:9] ?

But this scenario is strongly reminiscent of a passage from the gospels :

Matthew :
40N 23 25 ouai umin grammateiV kai farisaioi upokritai oti kaqarizete to exwqen tou pothriou kai thV paroyidoV eswqen de gemousin ex arpaghV kai akrasiaV
40N 23 25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! For you clean the 'outwardly' of the cup and of the platter - but inwardly they are stuffed with extortion and with unrighteousness.
40N 23 26 farisaie tufle kaqarison prwton to entoV tou pothriou ina genhtai kai to ektoV autou kaqaron
40N 23 26 Blind Pharisee, clean first the inside of the cup - that the outside of it may also become clean.
40N 23 27 ouai umin grammateiV kai farisaioi upokritai oti paromoiazete tafoiV kekoniamenoiV oitineV exwqen men fainontai wraioi eswqen de gemousin ostewn nekrwn kai pashV akaqarsiaV
40N 23 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! For you resemble plastered tombs which outwardly appear beautiful - but inwardly are stuffed with dead bones and with all uncleanness.
40N 23 28 outwV kai umeiV exwqen men fainesqe toiV anqrwpoiV dikaioi eswqen de este mestoi upokrisewV kai anomiaV
40N 23 28 Thus outwardly you even appear righteous to people - but inwardly you are ripe with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Notice the similarity between the adverbs 'exwqen' (outwardly) and the word 'oqonhn' (linen). The 'linen' provides a covering 'outwardly'. This may then serve to prevent you from identifying the true nature of that which lies within ?

Paul, of course, is a Pharisee [Ac.23:6]. Need I say more ?

----- o -----

We could end there - with the hollow nature of Paul thus exposed. But, in making a point, the authors of scripture sometimes choose to ram it well home. Here we have such a case. There is more to explain about Peter's vision.

The container itself is likened to 'oqonhn megalhn' (a great piece of linen) with four branches, ends, origins, corners, or beginnings. In it Peter sees "the four-footed (creatures) of the earth and the wild beasts and the reptiles and the birds of Heaven".

Now the word 'oqonhn' (linen) may also evoke the word 'qronoV' (a throne). There are 62 references to a 'throne' in the NT Canon. Most of these are in the 'Book of Revelation' but here is one from 'Acts'.

Acts :
44N 7 49 o ouranoV moi qronoV h de gh upopodion twn podwn mou poion oikon oikodomhsete moi legei kurioV ...
44N 7 49 "Heaven to me (is) a throne - and Earth a footstool for my feet. What kind of household will you build me?" says a lord ...

Here is a translation from Book I of Homer's Odyssey, a Greek classic dating from the 8th century BCE :

Homer : The Odyssey : Book I :
And godlike Telemachus was far the first to perceive her, for he was sitting with a heavy heart among the wooers, dreaming upon his good father, if by chance he might come from somewhere and scatter the wooers there throughout the palace, and himself get honour and bear rule among his own possessions. Thinking upon it as he sat among wooers, he saw Athene - and he went straight to the outer porch, for he considered it a fault in his heart that a stranger should stand long at the gates. And halting near her, he clasped her right hand, took from her the spear of bronze, uttering his voice and speaking to her winged words: "Hail, stranger, with us you shall be kindly entreated. And afterwards, when you have tasted meat, you shall tell us that of which you have need".
With that he led the way - and Pallas Athene followed. And when they were now within the lofty house, he set her spear that he was carrying against a tall pillar - within the polished spear-stand where there stood many spears besides, even those of Odysseus of the hardy heart. And he led the goddess and seated her on a generous carved chair. He spread a linen cloth under it - and beneath it was a footstool for the feet.

Here are the elements which the story of Peter's dream has in common with this passage :

  1. The wish to taste something
  2. A lofty house / roof.
  3. A linen cloth.
  4. An object with four branches - or four ends ?

Peter is resting on the rooftop of the house. He looks up. Imagine that above him is a high throne, a generous carved chair with four feet, standing upon a linen cloth which is spread out somewhere above his head. What does he see ?

He sees the linen cloth - with four protrusions in it made by the feet of the throne which press upon it from above. Located below the cloth we have the Earth where Peter is - a "footstool" for the feet of the one seated upon the throne.

----- o -----

But what kind of 'throne' is this ? And who now is seated upon it ? Has the author of 'Acts' adapted another theme from Homer's Odyssey ?

The Fall of Troy :
After an unsuccessful siege lasting ten years, the Trojan War is not going well for the Greeks. Achilles, one of their strongest warriors, has been killed. At last, the Greeks have realised that they will not be able to take Troy by siege. The Goddess advises them to use a stratagem. So the Greeks build a wooden horse. It is designed to appear like an offering to the goddess Athena - but actually it is a 'container' filled inside with Greek soldiers. They leave it outside the city gates for the Trojans to find and then they hide themselves behind an island - to give the impression that they are lifting the siege.
With the departure of the Greeks, the Trojans bring the attractive horse into the city - and begin to celebrate. Having gorged themselves with food and drink, they fall profoundly asleep. Whilst they are sleeping, the Greek soldiers leave the wooden horse and open wide the city gates. The Greeks, who have returned in force, enter through the open gates and put the sleeping Trojans to the sword till morning. The city is burned - and very few Trojans survive. Their High Priest, Laocoon, had warned that the wooden horse was a ruse but the Gods caused him to be strangled by sending two serpents. Thus, Troy which resisted the 100,000 strong Greek army for ten years, fell in one night through the treachery of the wooden horse.

See in the foreground the serpent
who has killed the high priest Laocoon and his children.
The Trojans celebrate in triumph, bringing the wooden horse into the city.

The horse was a 'container'. From the Trojan perspective, its contents would shortly do them much harm.

Now if this is a 'throne' which Peter sees from beneath the linen sheet, then it may not be a mere chair - but indeed a wooden horse complete with a horseman astride it. This would make a lot of sense out of Peter's vision. For already we have noted [from the narrative of 'Acts', see Section 16.4 above] that Paul appears be the 'horseman', the heel of whose mount is bitten by the serpent Dan [Gn.49:17].

If horse and horseman are one, in the manner of a centaur, then we have a complete solution to the riddles presented in the vision. For Paul is not only 'the horseman' but, as the horse, he is also a 'container' filled with the common and unclean things of Gn.1:20-27.

The vision itself takes place in the 'city' of Joppa [ en polei iopph ]. This name seems to provide, in itself, a further suggestion that we are dealing here with 'ippoV' (a horse).

Then it would seem that Laocoon's warning was appropriate. Virgil retells the story in Latin with his 'Aeneid', Book II, 49.

Laocoon's warning :
O miseri, quae tanta insania, cives ?
Oh wretched ones ! Whence such great insanity, countrymen ?
Creditis avectos hostis ?
Do you trust an enemy backed off ?
Aut ulla putatis dona carere dolis Danaum ?
Or does anyone suppose (these) gifts to lack the cunning of the Greeks ?
Sic notus Ulixes aut hoc inclusi ligno occultantur
Thus (says) famed Ulysses : Either they are concealed, confined within this wood
Achivi aut haec in nostros fabricata est machina muros
Achaeans - or this manufactured amongst us is a siege-engine for (breaking) walls
inspectura domos venturaque desuper urbi,
about to investigate palaces, about to venture from above upon the city
aut aliquis latet error; equo ne credite, Teucri.
- or somehow error lurks. Do not trust the horse, (you) Trojans.
Quicquid id est ...
Whatever it is ...
Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes
I fear the Greeks - and those bearing gifts.

This last phrase I was taught around the age of 12 - and never forgot it. But never did I then imagine it might apply to St. Paul himself.

The attractive horse thus presented to the citizens of Troy is in truth a 'container'. It is a 'container' filled with evil things - which in short order will overwhelm them all.

Paul, at his conversion, becomes a 'container' [Ac.9:15]. It also appears that he is regarded as a 'horseman' brought down upon the way' [Ac.26:14; Gn.49:17]. And now perhaps we see why Saul's name changes and he becomes known as P(h)aul - a name meaning "inefficient, careless, bad", even "depraved".

In the 'Book of Revelation' there is extensive mention of horses having riders. At Rv.6:2-8 there are four horses - white, red, black and green. And the last reference to a horseman is this :

Revelation :
66N 19 19 kai eidon to qhrion kai touV basileiV thV ghV kai ta strateumata autwn sunhgmena poihsai ton polemon meta tou kaqhmenou epi tou ippou kai meta tou strateumatoV autou
66N 19 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make the war - along with the one seated upon the horse and with his army.
66N 19 20 kai epiasqh to qhrion kai met autou o yeudoprofhthV o poihsaV ta shmeia enwpion autou en oiV eplanhsen touV labontaV to caragma tou qhriou kai touV proskunountaV th eikoni autou zwnteV eblhqhsan oi duo eiV thn limnhn tou puroV thV kaiomenhV en qeiw
66N 19 20 And the beast was snatched - and with him the deluded prophet who worked the signs in his presence with which he deceived those receiving the mark of the beast and those worshipping his image. The two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns in sulphur.
66N 19 21 kai oi loipoi apektanqhsan en th romfaia tou kaqhmenou epi tou ippou th exelqoush ek tou stomatoV autou kai panta ta ornea ecortasqhsan ek twn sarkwn autwn
66N 19 21 And the rest were killed off with the sword of him who sat upon the horse, that [sword] coming out of his mouth. And all the birds were foddered from their fleshes.
66N 20 1 kai eidon aggelon katabainonta ek tou ouranou econta thn klein thV abussou kai alusin megalhn epi thn ceira autou
66N 20 1 And I saw an angel coming down out of Heaven, having the key of the abyss and a large chain upon his hand.
66N 20 2 kai ekrathsen ton drakonta o ofiV o arcaioV oV estin diaboloV kai o satanaV kai edhsen auton cilia eth
66N 20 2 And he seized the dragon, the ancient serpent which is a devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years
66N 20 3 kai ebalen auton eiV thn abusson kai ekleisen kai esfragisen epanw autou ina mh planhsh eti ta eqnh acri telesqh ta cilia eth meta tauta dei luqhnai auton mikron cronon
66N 20 3 And threw him into the abyss and shut it and sealed (it) over him - that he should not still deceive the nations until the thousand years were completed. After this it is necessary to set him free for a short time.

Returning briefly to the encounter of Abram with Melchizedek, King of Sodom, we see how much it has in common with the 'conversion of Saul' as set out in 'Acts' :

LXX Genesis :
01O 14 18 kai melcisedek basileuV salhm exhnegken artouV kai oinon hn de iereuV tou qeou tou uyistou
01O 14 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out breads and wine. He was a priest of God the Most High.
01O 14 19 kai huloghsen ton abram kai eipen euloghmenos abram tw qew tw uyistw os ektisen ton ouranon kai thn ghn
01O 14 19 And he blessed Abram and said "Blessed be Abram by God the Most High who made heaven and earth :
01O 14 20 kai euloghtos o qeos o uyistos os paredwken tous ecqrous sou upo ceirious soi kai edwken autw dekathn apo pantwn
01O 14 20 and blessed be God the Most High who delivered your enemies underhand for you." And he gave him a tenth of all.
01O 14 21 eipen de basileus sodomwn pros abram dos moi tous andras thn de ippon labe seautw
01O 14 21 But the king of Sodom said to Abram "Give me the men - but take the horse for yourself."

----- o -----

The established Christian church, founded as it is upon a superficial or literal appreciation of Paul as 'Apostle to the Nations', has surely much to learn - in particular about the scriptures which so carelessly it has sought to embrace.

What did Augustine say on the obscurity of scripture ['De Doctrina Christiana' 2:6:7]?

... decipiuntur, qui temere legunt
... they are deceived, those who read hastily/carelessly

16.6 Conclusions

  1. There is a rough parallel between the story of Abram's encounter with Melchizedek, King of Sodom [Gn.14:17], and the story of Saul's encounter with Jesus [Ac.9:3]. Both encounters take place near Damascus. In each case a horse is involved.

  2. Saul's is a vision of Jesus - who is also the satanic figure Cain. In his vision Cain's voice is heard, Cain's name is perceived.

  3. Peter's vision is a vision of Paul - now revealed as a 'Trojan horse', a mere 'container', outwardly attractive but inwardly "filled with unclean things".

  4. Satan's sinister and subversive purpose with Paul is overtly stated at Ac.26:18. It is that he should :

    " ... open their eyes for turning from Darkness to light and (away) from the authority of Satan over God - for taking them remission of sins and a 'destiny' among those made holy by a faith which is in ME"

    This statement is worth reading with care. All scripture treats with this troublesome "authority of Satan over God". The scriptural authors hold that it is the Light which truly is evil - and the Darkness good. But they do not hinder excessively what they hold to be the wish of Satan - which is to turn your eyes away from this fact and to trick you into thinking that he, the Light, is really God.

  5. In failing to penetrate the 'mystery' of its own scripture, the established Christian church has mistaken the identity of almost the entire cast. It has mistaken evil for good. Then it has a lot of explaining to do.

16.7 Postscript
This site is still 'under construction'. So please forgive its shortcomings ! There is always more which might be done.

If you would like to make any comments (favourable or otherwise) or have any corrections to offer, then I would be delighted to hear from you - and please accept my thanks in advance. Please use this e-mail address :

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16.8 References
[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, "Nein und Amen : Anleitung zum Glaubenszweifel", 1992, p.200
   qv. Detering, Hermann, "The Falsified Paul ", Journal of Higher Criticism, 10(2), Fall 2003 : ISSN 1075:7139, p.21
[2] Küng, Hans, "The Catholic Church : A Short History", Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2001 : ISBN 0-297-64638-9, p.98