MembersPaul, Politics, and “Apocalyptic” Gentiles

Is the Apostle Paul in favor of Torah observance and Jewish tradition? For Gentiles too? It depends.

By Solomon Kirsch | | Topics: Jewish Messianism, Pauline Messianism
Photo: Rembrant's Saint Paul Wikimedia Commons

Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles lived in the midst of a paradox. Messiah had come, was risen and left, and yet he is still here. Then again he is not fully here, but still to come.

Even the learned Paul would have been hard pressed to uncover any hints of this puzzling new messianic situation in the Hebrew scriptures.  How should the Apostle Paul act in this new reality? Should he wait for the future fullness to unfold when the Messiah returns? Or follow an impulse to work towards bringing the fulfillment of the messianic kingdom now here on earth?

In this new territory of a partial messianic fulfillment, Paul embraces a mission to reach the Gentile nations. Paul is envisioning the prophetic end times when the nations would come up to Zion to worship the God of Israel as he references in Romans. During this messianic delay, his faith turns to activism and works zealously to bring about elements of messianic fullness that had not yet been fulfilled. His messianic faith worked for change on the...

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6 responses to “Paul, Politics, and “Apocalyptic” Gentiles”

  1. psalm100al says:

    Not many seem to understand the different dispensations in the Holy Bible and not many Christians read the preserved words of God in the King James Authorised Version. It really does clear up all the confusion.

    • Robert Barbour says:

      I totally agree with the response above including the KJV of the Bible. I never had a problem understanding Paul. I just read what he is saying in context and I try not to make him say something that he didn’t say to suit my personal theological twist.

  2. Disciple 1978 says:

    Paul’s writings, as all the New Testament, must be treated as scripture. They must be understood as the Word of God, divinely inspired and ultimately authorised by Jesus. English and Hebrew speakers are compromised because we rely on translations from Aramaic and Greek. However, just like the Tanakh, we can compare scripture with scripture to get the Lord’s meaning.
    The church rejected the concept of fulfilled Judaism, messianic Judaism and it ignores the ruling of Acts 15 regarding the Noahide laws in the same way it ignores Torah. This was a wilful mistake that even now has not been corrected. Gentile salvation is only dependent on God’s grace through personal faith in Messiah as is Jewish salvation. However, the Hellenistic norms of Gentile life are so far removed from godly living that they make the learning of biblical ways necessary. Paul saw the stark contrast of lifestyles in his journeys and encouraged the Gentiles to come around to a more biblical way of living.

  3. Rick Blake says:

    Mr. Kirch, I found your article a little difficult to follow at times. A bit much unsubstantiated speculation on the motivation and character of Paul, I think. That aside, I have to take exception to your statement of the Jerusalem council’s conclusion. They, with Paul agreeing, did NOT find the Gentiles exempt from God’s Torah, only that any ritual/work that man presented could/would not be acceptable in God’s SALVATION. However, there is a proper halacha expected as a LIVING OUT of this working of God. There are two cultures at Paul’s instruction table; ONE Gospel; one new man. Both are to learn.

    • Fredrick Murphy says:

      Well put, Rick. For Salvation, the Jewish person and the Gentile person need to realize how it “works.” It works only by Faith & Repentance in His Sacrificial Work. Then…..after being Saved, for part of the proof of being in the Faith they would all obey the Torah, out of fear & love…..as always with a circumcised heart of course. Acts 15 covers basic pagan lifestyle changes that Gentiles needed to immediately address and change, in order to attend and be with Believing Obedient Jews, and learn…for everybody’s good. Simple, straight forward, and corrective to all erroneous thoughts at the time.

  4. Rick Blake says:

    Thank you for your reply. I think a better analysis of circumcision, the catalyst that highlighted the gospel examination of the Jerusalem council, from both sides would go a long way in understanding the ‘confusion’ in Paul’s writings. While I agree with David Lazarus’ latest article about Western Christianity’s erroneous exegesis affecting too much of my Jewish brother’s halacha, I think I’m also observing many of these brothers clinging to their ‘Jewish identity’ over proper ‘inclusion’ for the gentile messianics.

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