4 Paul and Peter
Paul repeatedly makes it clear that he had the prickliest of relationships with the Brothers in Jerusalem. He went to that city only three times, each time with reluctance or trepidation. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, tries to obfuscate this matter. He has Paul making six trips there, counting an early one to study with Gamaliel. He takes him to the scene of Stephen's stoning, and gives him commissions from high priest and Sanhedrin to drag people from their homes and execute them. [WELL SOME WERE EXECUTED IT WOULD SEEM - Keith Hunt] . Then, after sending him with instructions from Jerusalem to Damascus, he presents his call from Jesus as occurring on the trip there. After this, he brings him back five times to what he takes to be the center of Christian life. The maps of Paul's travels—those polychrome spaghetti tangles in old Bibles—are based on Luke's exaggerated backings-and-forthings. No wonder the impression formed in some minds was of a man who never had time to stay with any gathering, so constantly was he on the move. Luke wants to present Paul as constantly "checking back with headquarters," as it were— though Paul emphatically denies that he ever did such a thing. Luke is writing after the leader of the Brothers in Jerusalem, James the brother of the Lord, has been killed—an event cited in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities (20.200). This took place after the break between James and the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem and before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans (in 70 C.E). In Luke's time, therefore, the Jesus movement had been almost totally deracinated from its Jerusalem origins, and was being tugged in many directions. Luke tried to re-create a Jerusalem hub in his memory of the past, at a time when developments were shaking believers apart. He especially wanted to contain the Pauline mission within a central Jerusalem focus. He presents Paul's dealings with the founding generation in that city as an anachronistic Apostolic Council, in which Paul was given his mandate to the uncircumcised. He must reconcile that claim with Paul's own assertion that he was given his assignment directly from Jesus. One way Luke circumvents the difficulty is to let Peter pre-empt Paul's mission to the nations.
[THIS AUTHOR SURE DOES NOT LIKE THE WRITING OF LUKE. I DO NOT SEE WHERE LUKE TRIES TO HAVE PAUL KINDA “HAVING TO CHECK WITH ‘HEAD-QUARTERS’ AT JERUSALEM.” I DO NOT SEE WHERE LUKE IS TRYING TO PORTRAY PAUL ALWAYS ON THE GO. LUKE IS PUTTING 30 OR SO YEARS INTO HIS HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS IN THE CHAPTERS HE GIVES US - Keith Hunt]
Diaspora gatherings were the more successful ones, he gives Peter the leading role in almost every respect. The founding of the Christian church takes place, for Luke, in Jerusalem on the occasion of Pentecost, when Peter preaches the long first statement of the revelation to the nations.
Though the event takes place in Jerusalem, Peter is given a world audience, and his words go out in every possible language.
We each hear it in our native tongue—Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and those who dwell in Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene, Romans stationed here, Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs, all of us hear them speaking in our own dialects of God's greatness. (Ac 2.8-11)
Paul says that at his confrontation with Peter and James in Jerusalem, he was given a mission to the nations and Peter to the circumcised; but Luke says that Peter was the first to be sent by God to the Gentiles. Peter leaves Jerusalem (where James the brother of the Lord is left as leader) to be an emissary to Lydda, Joppa, and Caesarea. As he came near Caesarea (the way Luke made Paul come near Damascus), Peter is given a vision that solved ahead of time Paul's problem of Gentiles forced to observe kosher laws.
[IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH KOSHER FOODS OR ANIMALS, THOSE BEASTS STOOD FOR SOMETHING ELSE AS THE CONTEXT EXPLAINS - Keith Hunt]
He was hungry and would eat. As others prepared a meal, he was rapt in a vision—he sees heaven open and some preparation like a great sheet lowered toward the earth by its four corners, and in it were all earth's quadrupeds and serpents, and air's flitting things. And a voice sounded: "On your feet, Peter, to slaughter these and eat them." But Peter answered: "That is impossible, Lord, since I have never eaten profane and unclean things." And the voice came back: "Whatever God makes is clean, do not profane it." Three times this was repeated, then the preparation was snatched up to the sky. (Ac 10.10-16)
As it turns out, God has prepared a Reverent Person (Theosebes) for Peter's arrival in Caesarea, and when Peter reaches his house he tells him: "You realize that the Law forbids a Jew's mixing with or entering the house of a Gentile. But God has shown me to call no one profane or unclean" (10.28). Luke has solved beforehand all the problems Paul later describes in his mission to the nations. Only then can Luke allow Paul to be called to that mission. Thus, after Peter has prepared the way, Paul can receive his (secondary) vocation to the nations.
I have already printed the first of Luke's three accounts of Paul's call. The third one makes clear that this is a vocation story, based on the calls to ancient prophets, not a conversion story. Luke presents Paul as giving his own account—to King Agrippa during a hearing in Caesarea (exactly where Peter opened the mission to the Gentiles):
"At one time I considered it incumbent on me to do everything I could against the name of Jesus from Nazareth. I undertook this in Jerusalem, where I clapped many of the Holy into prison by mandate of the chief priests; and when their executions were decided, I voted for that. In every synagogue I tried to force them under torture to recant. My frenzy against them was so extreme that I hunted them down in foreign cities. One such was Damascus, where I was traveling with authority and warrants from the chief priests when at noon, Your Majesty, I saw a flash brighter than the sun lightning all about me and those journeying with me. As we all fell to the ground I heard a voice speaking to me in Aramaic: 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It only hurts you to kick back when goaded.' But I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord answered, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise up and stand firm on your feet. This is why I have appeared to you, to single you out as my worker, as a witness to what you have seen of me and what further things I shall reveal to you, as I rescue you from your people and from the nations to which I am sending you, that you may open their eyes and turn from darkness to light, from Satan's thrall to God, so they may by faith in me gain forgiveness of sins and a share with the Holy' " (Ac 26.9-18)
After the preliminary nonsense about Paul torturing people in every synagogue of Judaea and putting Brothers to death, Luke fashions Paul's vocation on that of Ezekiel—-just as, in his Gospel, he took Jewish canticles and created the songs of Mary, Zachariah, and Simeon for his nativity stories. Ezekiel too is stunned by a bright light:
[THE AUTHOR SHOWS HIS “MODERN” SKEPTIC THEOLOGY; HE SIMPLY DOES NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING WRITTEN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS INSPIRED - Keith Hunt]
When I saw that, I threw myself on my face and heard a voice speaking to me. "Man," he said, "stand up and let me talk with you." As he spoke a spirit came into me and stood me on my feet, and I listened to him speaking. He said to me, "Man, I am sending you to the Israelites, a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me. Past generations of them have been in revolt against me to this very day, and this generation to which I am sending you is stubborn and obstinate. When you say to them, 'These are the words of the Lord God,' they will know that they have a prophet among them, whether they listen or whether they refuse to listen because they are rebels. But you, man, must not be afraid of them or of what they say, though they are rebels against you and renegades, and you find yourself sitting on scorpions. There is nothing to fear in what they say, and nothing in their looks to horrify you, rebels though they are. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or whether they refuse to listen, rebels that they are. But you, man, must listen to what I say and not be rebellious like them." (Ezek 1.28-2.8)
Luke's model, with assurances against the threats of the people among whom Ezekiel is being sent, explains the words he gives Paul about being "rescued from your people and from the nations." This fits Luke's scheme, in which Paul is threatened mainly by "his people"—namely the Jews. It does not fit so well with the threat Paul himself feels, as coming from his fellow Brothers. That problem comes to a head in Paul's description of his encounter with the Brothers in Jerusalem, seventeen years after his call to take the revelation to the nations. Luke's account of this meeting has been called, anachronistically, the Apostolic Council, even the First General Council of the church.
[WELL YOU CAN LOOK AND LOOK AND YOU WILL NOT FIND ANY OTHER “COUNCIL OF THE CHURCH” ANYWHERE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT - Keith Hunt]
The Jerusalem Encounter
In Luke's version of this meeting, delegates from the Jerusalem gathering went to Antioch to demand that all Gentile Brothers be circumcised. After much debate over this, the Antiochenes commissioned Paul, Barnabas, "and some others" to defend their practice of noncircumcision before "the emissaries and elders" in Jerusalem (Ac 15.1-3). When this party presented its case to the gathering there, some Pharisaic Brothers repeated the demand for circumcision. Then the "emissaries and elders" went into formal session to decide the matter. "After an intense examination," Peter rose to speak. He referred people hack to the vision in which he was ordered by heaven to eat "unclean" food, and said that this proved the old Law was no longer mandatory. One wonders why, given that few preceding event, there was any doubt to be cleared up by the "council." As if to clinch the matter, James, the real authority in Jerusalem, then says: "Hear me, Brothers, Simeon gave an account of how God took steps to form from the nations a people in his name." Many commentators think James uses "Simeon" as a variant of Simon (Peter)—that is, he is telling them again what Peter just told them. It seems more likely that Luke is referring to his own poetic creation, the canticle of Simeon in his Gospel's nativity narrative. When Mary and Joseph take the child Jesus to the Temple, Simeon predicts that their baby is "a light to be unveiled to the nations" (Lk 2.32). The objection to this is that James's audience would not, presumably, have known what happened in Jesus' infancy. But neither, for that matter, would Luke have known. And if he can proclaim the event in his Gospel, why can he not refer to it in his Acts? It is not the least plausible of his inventions.
[THE AUTHOR AGAIN CHIDES LUKE AS AN “INVENTOR” AND NOT AS INSPIRED; FOR HIM LUKE MAKES UP THINGS TO BLEND WITH HIS INVENTIONS - Keith Hunt]
James then goes on to quote the prophet Amos as saying that God will gather in "all the nations among whom my name is invoked" (Ac 15.17). This says that Gentiles will be called, but it does not settle whether circumcision will be demanded of them. Nonetheless, James says that, given God's call to the Gentiles, the Brothers should not "heap up hindrances" to their responding. They should confine the rules for them to a few essentials—namely, that they refrain from pollution by idols, from sexual license, from animals that have been strangled, and from blood (Ac 15.19-20). Luke does not notice that these restrictions conflict with the vision of Peter, which said that no foods are unclean—including, presumably, blood and food from strangled animals. Nonetheless, the "emissaries and elders, along with the entire gathering," decided that these four demands should be promulgated.
[THE AUTHOR HAS IT ALL WRONG ABOUT THE VISION TO PETER AND ITS CONTEXT—— THE VISION WAS TO TEACH THAT THE SO-CALLED BY JEWS, UN-CLEAN GENTILES WERE NOT TO BE VIEWED AS UNCLEAN AT ALL; IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GOD’S FOOD LAWS; THE CONTEXT EXPLAINS THE MEANING OF WHAT GOD WAS TEACHING TO PETER AND TO THE CHURCH - Keith Hunt]
This has been called "the Apostolic Decree," and Luke makes its enactment as formal as he can. After being written out, it is sent by way of two delegates from the Jerusalem gathering for delivery to Antioch. The delegates read it out before the assembled Antiochenes, who formally accept it and acclaim the delegates as prophets, and Luke seals the entire proceeding with an outpouring of the Spirit (Ac 15.22-33). This account is formal, hierarchical, legalistic, based on precedent. At every step of the process, forms are required and fulfilled. Luke is not only invoking the structures of his day but helping to advocate and create them.
[IT HAS NO PER SE “FORMAL” WHATEVERS, IT IS MINISTERS MEETING TO SOLVE A THEOLOGICAL ISSUE - IS PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION REQUIRED TO BE SAVED, AS ONE JEWISH SECTION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH TAUGHT. NATURALLY THINGS WOULD BE WRITTEN DOWN AS TO THE RESULT OF THE DEBATE AND AS INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND SO SENT OUT TO THE CHURCHES AT LARGE. THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION HERE CONCERNING MEAT OR BLOOD OR “KOSHER” ANYTHING, FOR THE VISION TO PETER HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH CLEAN OR UNCLEAN ANYTHING IN HUMAN DIET. THE WHOLE EPISODE HAD TO DO WITH GENTILES AND PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION - Keith Hunt]
Paul's account of the event—written, remember, three or more decades before Luke put down his version—could not be more different. There, Paul is neither summoned by Jerusalem nor sent by Antioch. He goes as a result of a vision urging him to go. He takes the uncircumcised Titus with him, to make him a test case. He does not submit his case to a formal meeting but to a private session with the so-called leaders. Peter's vision is not brought up—so the issue of kosher food (as opposed to circumcision) is not discussed. There is no formal decree sent by Jerusalem and accepted at Antioch, making four demands—there is a simple handshake extended by Peter and James. Paul is describing the charismatic conditions of the early gatherings, not the nascent church Luke would like to will into being.
[INDEED PAUL HAD ALREADY BEEN SHOWN THE ANSWER TO “GENTILES” AND “PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION”—— HE DID NOT HAVE TO GO TO THIS DEBATE IN JERUSALEM. THERE WAS NO “HEADQUARTERS” CHURCH, AND LUKE DID NOT STATE THERE WAS. PAUL DID NOT HAVE TO ATTEND THE DEBATE EITHER, HE KNEW THE TRUTH OF THE OUTCOME ANYWAY. SO HE VISITED SOME OF THE LEADING THEOLOGY GUYS AT JERUSALEM IN PRIVATE. GOD TOLD PAUL TO GO, JUST AS WE MIGHT SAY, “TO CLEAR THE AIR” BUT ALSO AS PAUL HIMSELF SAYS “BUT PRIVATELY TO THEM WHICH WERE OF REPUTATION, LEST BY ANY MEANS I SHOULD RUN, OR HAD RUN, IN VAIN” (GAL.2:2). LUKE DID NOT “WILL INTO BEING” ANYTHING, HE JUST REPORTED FOR US WHAT TOOK PLACE IN THE MEETING OF MINISTERS IN A DEBATE, THE OUTCOME, AND HOW OTHER CHURCHES WOULD BE INFORMED. AS STATED, PAUL ALREADY KNEW THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER, BUT WAS INSPIRED TO BE MINISTERIALLY POLITE AND TO GO AND PUT IN HIS TWO-CENTS-WORTH DURING THE DEBATE - ALL OF THIS IS EXPLAINED FULLY IN MY STUDIES ON “CHURCH GOVERNMENT” ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt]
Fourteen years passed before I went again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas, and taking along Titus as well. I went in response to a vision. I explained to them the revelation I reveal to the nations, but in private, with the apparent leaders, lest the course I was pursuing, or had pursued, should be discounted. But far from that: Titus, the Greek I brought with me, was not circumcised under compulsion, despite some interloping pseudo-Brothers, who slyly entered [Antioch] to spy on the freedom we were exercising in Messiah-Jesus, to return us to slavery—but to their dictates we gave not an instant's submission; rather, the real meaning of the revelation was maintained for you [Galatian Gentiles]. As for the apparent leaders, how important they were I care not (God does not play favorites), but they were the apparent ones, and they had no suggestions for me, but rather recognized that the revelation for the uncircumcised was entrusted to me, and that for the circumcised to Peter, since the same one who inspired Peter as an emissary to the circumcised had inspired me to go to the nations. Recognizing the divine favor granted me, James and Peter and John, the apparent pillars there, sealed things with a handshake, so we should serve the nations and they the circumcised, the only other point being that we keep in mind their needy ones, which I was eager to do. (Gal 2.1-10)
The Blowup at Antioch
Paul and Luke agree that the question at Jerusalem was circumcision. Luke also says that modified kosher rules were upheld. But Paul's account of another event, his clash with Peter in Antioch, treats this as a matter far from settled. Luke has to omit this event entirely, since it contradicts two of his stories—that of Peter's vision and that of the Jerusalem conference where that vision was cited as a guide for others to follow. When Peter and Paul were both in Antioch, a warning came to Peter from James in Jerusalem, telling him he should not be eating nonkosher meals with the Gentile Brothers.
[WHAT! THERE IS NOTHING TO STATE THIS DIRECTIVE WAS OVER “NON-KOSHER FOODS” — READING INTO THINGS JUST NOT THERE, NOTHING IS SAID ABOUT FOOD BEING THE PROBLEM. IT WAS EATING WITH GENTILES, AND FEARING THEM OF THE “CIRCUMCISION” - THAT GROUP WAS STILL AROUND AND TEACHING PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION, WHICH THE GENTILES WERE NOT. FOR MANY JEWS IN THE CHURCH EATING WITH UNCIRCUMCISED GENTILES WAS IMPROPER AND UNCLEAN; CLEAN FOODS ACCORDING TO GOD’S LAW, WAS NEVER AN ISSUE IN THE CHURCH, BUT UN-CIRCUMCISED GENTILES WAS A PROBLEM FOR SOME CHRISTIAN JEWS - Keith Hunt]
Peter complied with this directive from James—which infuriated Paul, for whom the Lord's Meal was the symbol of unity for all the Brothers, Jew or Gentile. His anger is not disguised as he reports the disagreement with Peter. He is so mad that he makes up a bran-new contemptuous word—ioudaizein, which seems to mean not being a Jew but playing at being a Jew.
When Kephas came to Antioch, I rebuked him face-to-face, since he had no leg to stand on. Before the arrival of some men dispatched by James, he ate with those from the nations. But after they came, he withdrew from them into an isolation, intimidated as he was by the circumcisionists. The other Jews [Jewish Brothers] were just as hypocritical, and Barnabas was caught up in their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not hewing to the clearly marked meaning of the revelation, I told Kephas before everyone, "If you, a Jew by birth, do not follow Jewish ways, how dare you make pretend-Jews of those from the nations?" (Gal 2.11-14)
[THE JEWISH WAYS WAS THE PHYSICAL RITES OF THE LAWS OF MOSES, AND NOT FEELING RIGHT BY SITTING WITH UN-CIRCUMCISED GENTILES AT A MEAL. IT WAS GOING BACK ON THE TWO AGREED TRUTHS THE CHURCH HAD COME INTO SEEING—— GENTILES ARE NOT TO BE THOUGHT OF AS UNCLEAN; AND PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION WAS NOT REQUIRED TO BE SAVED. DOING A TURN AROUND ON THESE TRUTHS WOULD INDEED MAKE PAUL FURIOUS. IT WAS THESE KINDS OF “WORKS OF THE LAW” THAT COULD NEVER JUSTIFY ANYONE AS PAUL WENT ON TO STATE IN VERSE 16 - Keith Hunt]
It is easy to see why Luke could not tell this story. Some in later times would wish that Paul had not told it. Saint Jerome was so shocked by the idea that Peter and Paul could squabble that he claimed they did not really disagree but were putting on a kind of didactic charade. They had cooked up a way of dramatizing the truth that external rites are unimportant. Some people are still unable to face the fact that the great men could differ—Walther Schmithals, for instance, says that Paul just excoriates Peter as a cover for his own more important disagreement with Barnabas. Even those who admit that Paul had reason to resent Peter's backpedaling on Jewish observance think he overreacted to mere eating arrangements. But for Paul it was not simply the unity of the Lord's Meal that was at stake. The risen Jesus was alive and present in Antioch in all those baptized into his mystical body. For Peter to withdraw from the presence of the risen Jesus was to repeat the rejection of Jesus. It was to throw up a barrier—pretend Jewishness—related to the barrier that had refused to extend the divine rescue to all nations. We learn from his reaction to faction in Corinth what he thought of dismembering the body of Christ.
[IT WAS A GENUINE WRONG BACKTRACKING ON PETER’S PART AND OTHERS WHO FOLLOWED HIM. SHOWING TRUE SERVANTS OF THE LORD CAN MAKE MISTAKES, AND WHICH SO NEED TO BE CORRECTED, IN SOME CASES OPENLY AS PAUL IN THIS INSTANT FELT HE HAD TO DO; ANY OTHER UNDERSTANDING OF THIS SITUATION IS JUST FUDGING THE TRUE ISSUE THAT HAD TO BE DEALT WITH IN NO UNCERTAIN A MANNER - Keith Hunt]
Paul puts the blowup in Antioch after his account of the conference in Jerusalem, and most people treat the two events in that order, as I just have. But there is something suspect about this order. Why, if the handshake of peace had settled in principle the matter of enforcing the Law with Gentile Brothers, was it so quickly reopened? And why, if Barnabas was on Paul's side in Jerusalem, did he desert him on a similar issue in Antioch? And why does Paul later refer to Barnabas as if there had been no split between them (1 Cor 9.6)? Those who follow the account in Galatians seem to think that a parting of the ways took place between them after the Antioch dispute; but Luke says they argued over continuing to work with John Mark, who had left them in Pamphylia (Ac 15.36-39). That still does not explain Paul's later reference to Barnabas.
[IF IT WAS AFTER THE JERUSALEM DEBATE OF ACTS 15, THEN IT MAKES THE SITUATION WITH PETER AND BARNABAS A DEEPER ERROR. IF THE GALATIANS EVENT TOOK PLACE BEFORE THE JERUSALEM DEBATE, THEN IT SHOWS THEY ALL KNEW THE TRUTH OF THE GENTILES NOT BEING UNCLEAN AND CIRCUMCISION NOT REQUIRED TO BE SAVED. PETER DOES NOT ANSWER BACK AT PAUL TO TELL HIM HE WAS THE ONE IN THE WRONG. SILENCE FROM PETER AND BARNABAS PROVES THEY KNEW PAUL TO BE IN THE RIGHT AND THEY IN THE WRONG. AND IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH KOSHER FOOD OR CLEAN OR UNCLEAN FOODS. GENTILES BEING LOOKED UPON AS UNCLEAN AND CIRCUMCISION SO IMPORTANT AS A WAY OF LIFE, IT IS HARD TO GET INGRAINED IDEAS AND PRACTICES OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM, WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN BROUGHT UP IN A JEWISH SOCIETY WHERE THOSE TWO TEACHING WERE STAMPED INTO YOUR MIND FROM BIRTH, IT COULD BE EASY TO FALL BACK INTO THEM UNDER A CERTAIN SITUATION OF OTHERS COMING ALONG WHO STILL HELD THEM WITH FERVENCY - Keith Hunt]
But there is reason to think Paul was not narrating chronologically in Galatians but arguing climactically—that he saved the conflict with Peter to show that he took a very firm stand on application of the Law, since that was the issue he was addressing among the Galatians. Since his argument there is over the kosher laws, it flows naturally out of the stand he took in Antioch. In fact, the argument comes so seamlessly out of the Antioch narrative that an editor of the letter says it is hard to say where the one ends and the other begins.
[NOPE IT WAS NOT OVER KOSHER LAWS AT ANY TIME IN THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH OF GOD; THE INGRAINED ISSUES BROUGHT FORTH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS, THE ATTITUDE OF JEWS TOWARDS GENTILES AS BEING UNCLEAN; AND THE ISSUE OF PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION AS BEING REQUIRED TO BE SAVED - Keith Hunt]
Attempts to locate the end of the episode present a famous puzzle, sensed even by the earliest interpreters of the letter. In v. 14 Paul reports an incisive comment he made to Peter in front of the Antioch church, doing so with a clarity that enables one confidently to place the first of the quotation marks—"You, a Jew by birth, are living. . ." But he gives no clear indication as to where his remark to Peter ends, although by the time the reader comes to the final verses of chapter 2, he knows that he is no longer hearing the speech that Paul made to Peter in Antioch. Indeed, as regards literary form, the concluding verses of the chapter are unlike anything the reader of Galatians has encountered earlier. In fact, Paul's failure formally to close the quotation begun in v. 14 is no accident. It reflects his determination to connect his account of the Antioch incident to the situation in Galatia.2
[YES OF COURSE THERE IS A CONNECTION, FOR MUCH OF THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE GALATIANS CONCERNS THE EVER PRESENT ISSUE AND DEBATE ON PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION BEING REQUIRED TO BE SAVED; THE ISSUE AND DEBATE CONTINUED FOR A LONG TIME, THE “CIRCUMCISION PARTY” DID NOT GO AWAY BECAUSE THE APOSTLES KNEW THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER. PAUL BRINGS UP THE ERROR OF THE CIRCUMCISION PARTY A NUMBER OF TIMES IN HIS GALATIAN EPISTLE, TOGETHER WITH THE IDEA THAT PHYSICAL WORKS, RITES, LAWS, COULD JUSTIFY YOU. PAUL SHOWS OVER AND OVER THAT JUSTIFICATION CANNOT BE BY DOING WORKS OF THE LAW, ANY WORKS OF THE OLD COVENANT; JUSTIFICATION COULD ONLY COME THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS. SEE MY EXPOUNDING OF THE BOOK OF GALATIANS ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt]
In other words, the Antioch story had to come after the Jerusalem one to make possible this meld with the following argument.
Gerd Ludemann argued for this order, noting that Paul does not introduce the Antioch event with his normal word for chronological sequence, epeita, "then . . ." (with the sense of "next"). Instead he says "but when . . ." (hote ale)? If we follow this sequence, then the clash over the food laws in Antioch caused a division that Paul, acting on a "revelation," took before the Brothers in Jerusalem.
[THE WHOLE ISSUE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH FOODS LAWS AT ALL. IT HAD TO DO WITH GENTILES BEING UNCLEAN AND THE ISSUE OF PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION NEEDED TO BE SAVED. SO THIS EVEN AT ANTIOCH COULD HAVE HAPPENED BEFORE OR AFTER THE DEBATE IN JERUSALEM OF ACTS 15 - EITHER WAY THE ISSUES ARE “GENTILES UNCLEAN” AND “PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION REQUIRED TO BE SAVED” - Keith Hunt]
He and Barnabas go there, not as delegates from the Antioch gathering, as Luke would have it, but as people with a disagreement they meant to thrash out.
[NOPE, LUKE WAS INSPIRED TO SAY AND WRITE WHAT HE WROTE. PAUL AND BARNABAS WERE ON THE SAME SIDE IN JERUSALEM AS ACTS 15 SHOWS. BUT IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE GOD INSPIRED ALL WRITERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT TO WRITE WHAT THEY WROTE, THEN YOU CAN MAKE THE BIBLE SAY ANYTHING YOU WANT IT TO SAY; CHOP THIS OUT, CHOP THAT OUT, CLAIM LUKE WAS NOT INSPIRED HERE OR THERE OR ANYYWHERE - Keith Hunt]
It should be noted that Paul says he went there with Barnabas, but "I explained to them the revelation I reveal to the nations." Paul and Barnabas are not speaking together, as in Luke's picture of them as members of a delegation.
[FALSE IDEA WITH THE “I” STUFF, PAUL AND BARNABAS WERE AS A TEAM, TOGETHER FOR SOME TIME. THEY HAD TO HAVE THE SAME THEOLOGICAL MIND OR THEY WOULD NOT HAVE STATED TOGETHER VERY LONG AT ALL. THE PRINCIPLE “CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER UNLESS THEY AGREE” SO LUKE WAS CORRECT AND THE AUTHOR IS WRONG - Keith Hunt]
When the dispute is settled and the handshake of peace seals the agreement, then Paul's relations with Barnabas can continue amicably—and, for that matter, with Peter.
[NOPE - PAUL AND BARNABAS WERE IN AGREEMENT AND SO WAS PETER, AT THE JERUSALEM ACTS 15 DEBATE - LUKE WROTE CORRECTLY UNDER INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - Keith Hunt]
Paul brings up the prior conflict only because the Galatians are acting as if the matter of food laws were not settled.
[ALL THIS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOD LAWS; THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH NEVER HAD ANY ISSUE OR NEEDED NO DEBATE ON GOD’S FOOD LAWS - Keith Hunt]
This order makes better sense, as well as uncovering the sequence which Luke has re-created in his eirenic fashion. He talks of a problem in Antioch that is followed by a submission of the matter to Jerusalem for adjudication. The Antioch clash is thus referred to in the proper sequence, but in a disguised and ameliorative way.
[NOPE, THIS IS ALL IN THE MIND OF THE AUTHOR WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE LUKE WAS AN INSPIRED WRITER, AND THAT HE WAS CORRECT IN EVERYTHING HE WROTE - Keith Hunt]
If this is the sequence, then Paul's last reported dealings with Peter were not at the blowup in Antioch but after the handshake of peace in Jerusalem. This would accord with the tradition, well founded as I shall argue, that Peter continued to be an emissary in the Diaspora and ended with Paul in Rome, where they died together as victims of Nero's mad reaction to the fire that destroyed the city. The treatment of them as ultimately partners, seen in the early letters of Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, would thus be justified. The two great leaders ended up on the same side.
OF COURSE PAUL AND PETER RECONCILED AND WERE FELLOW LABORERS IN THE GOSPEL, NO MATTER IF YOU WANT TO PUT THE ANTIOCH FALLING-OUT [GALATIANS 2] BEFORE OR AFTER THE JERUSALEM DEBATE OF ACTS 15. THE CHRONOLOGY IS THE LEAST IMPORTANT FACT OF THE TWO ACCOUNTS—— OF ACTS 15 AND GALATIANS 2. ALL WITTEN IN THOSE ACCOUNTS HAPPENED AS WRITTEN, FOR THE ACCOUNTS ARE INSPIRED TO BE RECORDED AS THEY ARE FOUND IN THE KJV TRANSLATION FROM THE GREEK MSS. WHICH TECHNICALLY CAME FIRST IN ORDER DOES NOT MATTER. WE DO KNOW THAT PETER AND BARNABAS AS APOSTLES OF THE LORD, WOULD HAVE REPENTED OF THEIR ERROR RECORDED IN GALATIANS 2. PETER AND PAUL AND BARNABAS WENT ON TO BE USED MIGHTILY IN THE WORK OF THE LORD AS HEAD OF HIS CHURCH.