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The importance of Paul as a chosen vessel unto the Lord

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The importance of Paul as a chosen vessel unto the Lord

Of all the writers and scribes of the New Testament, none is quoted or preached on in churches more than Paul. We are told of his many works, his courage, his deeds and the multitudes that he helped to bring into the faith. It’s important to understand the significance of the Lord choosing him to be this vessel in order to understand how the Word has spread throughout history. This will help us know how we must proceed in the last days.

Paul, also called Saul, is first mentioned in the Bible in Acts 8 just as Stephen had been stoned. From there, everything moves very quickly in the story and within a chapter Saul was Paul and emerged as a great leader in the church and champion for Yeshua. Let’s take a closer look at how this all occurred so we may understand how this transition applies to us today.

Stephen in the face of death

To understand Paul, we must first look to Stephen starting in Acts 6. The Grecians were accusing the Hebrews of neglecting their widows. The 12 apostles and the multitude of disciples were growing the early church quickly in those days and felt that they could not leave the Word of God to “serve tables,” so they selected seven men to tend to the ministration of the widows. Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” was one of the seven selected.

Stephen went about his duty and performed great wonders and miracles among the people. Many from the synagogue confronted Stephen and engaged him in debates, but his wisdom as inspired by the Holy Ghost was too much for them. In the midst of the people Stephen was winning these debates, so they bribed men to say Stephen was speaking blasphemy against Moses and God in order to bring him in front of the council.

This is where it gets interesting. False witnesses told the council that Stephen claimed Yeshua would come and destroy the holy place and would change the customs of Moses. When the council asked Stephen if these things were true in the beginning of Chapter 7, he did not proceed to defend himself against the lies but instead told the story of the history of the Hebrews starting with Abraham. He stated the promise that God made to Abraham about the land where they now stood, declaring that Abraham would not be there himself but that his seed would dwell there. At the time, Abraham had no seed nor any hope of having sons with his barren wife, but through the glory of God it was made so.

Then, Stephen retold the story of Joseph and how he brought Jacob into Egypt. It’s a very quick retelling; several chapters of the end of Genesis are retold in a few short verses. It brought him then to Moses and another quick retelling of his life from birth unto the time when God brought the children out of Egypt and into the wilderness for 40 years.

At this point, one can imagine the reaction of the council hearing a retelling of the story that they likely knew very well. In the next verse, Stephen comes to one of the points that he was trying to make.

Acts 7:37

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.

He continues through the transgressions of the Hebrews with Aaron when Moses was on the mountain, then jumps forward to David and Solomon. Then, he comes to his next point in speaking against the council.

Acts 7:51-53

51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

Through over 50 verses, Stephen does not use his time to speak as an opportunity to defend himself but uses it to condemn the actions and hearts of the council. His words were a certain death sentence, but he had no fear because the Holy Ghost was upon him. Through his death, he saw the heavens opened, the glory of God, and Yeshua at His right hand.

Saul, a vessel from the beginning

Most scholars look at Saul as misguided until the road to Damascus, but a case can be made that he was unwittingly doing the Lord’s work even before he knew Yeshua. It is only briefly mentioned in the beginning of Chapter 8, but he led a great persecution that went out unto the church in Jerusalem. He went to the homes of believers and had them put into prison. He probably did much worse than that. As a result, many disciples were forced to flee to other lands. As terrible of an action as this sounds, there was a clear benefit as mentioned in two verses:

Acts 8:3-4

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

The importance or length of time of events are not always relative to the length of discussion as mentioned in the Bible. Genesis 6:1-4 is a quick burst of four verses that have profound significance that has spread across all of time, but it is barely a mention. Fallen angels were making children with human women. This brought about the need for the great flood and has been a challenge for humanity for a few thousand years, yet it is only discussed in four verses.

The same can be true for Acts 8:3-4. Saul wreaked havoc on the church and as a result it was spread abroad outside of Jerusalem. At the time, there was a centralization of the church around the apostles in Jerusalem, but Saul’s actions forced many disciples to flee across the land. Had this not happened, had Saul and others not gone after the church so fervently, it would not have spread as it has today to the far reaches of the planet. These two verses represent the beginning of the spreading of Christianity around the world.

Henceforth he was Paul

It is often thought that Saul changed his name to Paul or that God changed his name as he did with Jacob to Israel. Scripture does not back up either of these concepts. The most likely reality is that Saul was his Hebrew name and Paul was his Roman name.

Here is when the “change” happened:

Acts 13:9

Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.

Prior to this verse, he is only known as Saul. After this verse, he is called Paul. Every word, utterance, and even character within the Bible has significance. It was at the time that his name is switched that he is bringing his first soul into belief. I won’t speculate further on this since it’s not of much relevance to this article, but it’s good to note that his transition that led to him becoming such a profound aspect of the church took a turn for the better at this point. Thus, we normally refer to him as Paul.

Up until this point, there were believers and non-believers. The fact that Paul was chosen by God to be a vessel of the Gospel holds extreme significance. He was not a simple fisherman or one who could be viewed by Hebrew or Greek scholars as an easy convert to follow Yeshua. He was an exceptionally well-educated man who fought with everything he had against belief in Yeshua. This gave his conversion the highest level of significance by taking someone so opposed to the Gospel and turning him into its greatest champion.

Our Lord chooses the right people to do His works on the earth. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul – all of them were perfectly equipped to do the Lord’s Will. Before his conversion, Saul would have been considered one of the least likely people on earth to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah. Disciples feared him. Synagogues empowered him to persecute the followers of Christ. This fact gave his conversion significance and put weight behind this teachings that could only be achieved through someone who was so opposed to the idea from the start.

We cannot currently know for sure what significance the change from being called Saul to Paul holds, but we do know for sure that God chose him to bring the teachings of our Messiah to the whole world.

Applying the concept today

The lines are being drawn and are advancing every day. There’s a war over faith that is fueling battles across the planet as well as in America.

One of the biggest challenges that American Christians face is that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to spread the Word. Today, most of us are not faced with death or imprisonment over our faith, but those days may not be too far from us. Though the battle here is more subtle, it is important nonetheless.

The influence of the adversary grows constantly. That does not mean that we are to give up on those who seem furthest from the faith. Saul was as far from being a believer in Yeshua as any other man on earth in his time, yet God chose him “to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”.

We are often called upon to bring the Word to those who seem furthest from the faith. In many cases, we shy away from this act because our nature makes us fearful. From a secular mindset, it is wrong to “talk religion” at work, school, to strangers, and often even with our own family. This fear holds us back. What would have happened if Ananias had followed his fears instead of the order by God to heal Saul? What if the apostles had followed their earthly fears of Saul and cast him out when he came to join them?

It is not for us to know who or how we are to influence others. By following what the Holy Spirit puts on our hearts and going boldly forth with our faith as our guide, we can bring the Word of God to those who need it the most as Paul did in his days.

 


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Culture and Religion

Did Jesus die exactly 1000 years after King David died?

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Did Jesus die exactly 1000 years after King David died

History doesn’t tell us exactly when Yeshua was born. Luke tells us that He was about 30 years old when He began His ministry and we know it lasted approximately three and a half years.

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, – Luke 3:23 (KJV)

We know that King David died in 970 AD. The math might start sounding pretty cool at this point, but I’ll elaborate.

Scholars put Yeshua’s birth to likely fall in the 6-4 BC range. Experts place the range of His death (and resurrection) between 30-33 AD as a result of the data that they’ve worked out.

If He did die in 30 AD, that would mean that he died exactly 1000 years after his human ancestor King David.

Some will point out that the calendars were changed, going from 364 to 360 up to 365 at different points within this time range across the various regions, but using the accepted calendars, we can claim that it’s possible for it to be a 1000 year gap. Knowing the amazing order and precision with which our Father has established His creation, it wouldn’t shock me to find out some day that it was precisely 1000 years all the way down to the second.

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Conservatism

The problem is more spiritual than political

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The problem is more spiritual than political

Personality politics have pre-empted a commitment to the Christian faith upon which America’s history has been based. It is now more important to defend a person or a group of persons than it is to stand firm upon the truth, which is objective and no respecter of persons.

Some have said we are not conservative because we dare to suggest that a primary challenge would be good for America. Defending the incumbent has become more urgent than looking at things as they really are.

Many in America and the world no longer see events through a Christian lens. They lack the perspective that everything plays a role in God’s eternal plan. That’s why a self-admitted hedonist and adulterer was elevated to the highest office in our land.

Such excuses are used as we need a Commander-in-Chief but not a Pastor-in-Chief. But, God’s Will be done whether it be willingly or unknowingly.

Trumpism is not synonymous with Conservatism. Many true conservatives were disenfranchised through the shenanigans of the Republican Party in Cleveland in 2016.

They did not allow the delegates to vote their conscience. They changed state tallies over the objections of the delegates. They ramrodded through a nominee that many did not choose.

That said, it is wrong to accuse those who propose a primary challenge as being “Never Trump”. I have said repeatedly that he is less problematic than the perverted Democrat alternative and that I will support and vote for him if he is our binary choice.

But it’s obvious that there is much more involved here than just politics. Ephesians 6:12 confirms that there are spiritual forces arrayed against us in this world. They are manipulating human emotions around the world.

Look again briefly at Christchurch. The facts of the matter and the overwhelming body of evidence remain that Islamic Jihad comprises the primary threat to world security. The attack in New Zealand was an anomaly. Whether or not it was a conscious attempt of the perpetrator, it was absolutely a purposeful event by evil spiritual forces.

So many Christians today are Christians in name only. That is a far deeper problem than Republicans in name only in our own country.

NZ PM Jacinda Ardern donned a hijab and celebrated the Islamic call to prayer just one week after Christchurch. She instantly unlearned the lessons of former PM John Key who admitted during his tenure that there were Islamic terrorist operatives based in New Zealand. Whatever her own religious upbringing, she immediately embraced Islam as the symbol of her people henceforth.

If Christians in our own country and the rest of the world do not base their view of society upon the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they will continue to be susceptible to every false doctrine that comes along. You have only to look at the words of Muhammad in the Quran to see the mischaracterization of Jesus and His followers.

We are not going to debate the theology. My point is simply that Christians are not standing for our faith the way that Muslims do for theirs.

In America, as long as we continue to embrace every strong personality without discernment, we are headed for disaster. Worldwide, both here and abroad, if we do not understand our own beliefs, we will jump on the bandwagon and condemn our own traditions in favor of political correctness every time.

At NOQ Report, we strive to objectively analyze the news and current events. We present analyses that you are not seeing in the mainstream media. You are free to agree or disagree. We are crowdfunded and your continued support is much appreciated.

Freedom of speech and opinion is what America is all about. NZ has no 1st Amendment as we do nor a history of free speech. The UK imprisons street preachers because it might offend Islam.

In the United States, we can discuss Presidents and ideologies freely and objectively. This is a right we must treasure and defend vigorously or it will go away!

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Conservatism

What Steven Crowder’s latest pro-life Change My Mind reveals

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What Steven Crowders latest pro-life Change My Mind reveals

Steven Crowder in his most recent edition of “Change My Mind” experienced more aggressive pro-abortion arguments than he had in the previous installments. The episode featured people arguing that moral personhood began at birth or even “experience.” Often times, Change My Mind demonstrates that under scrutiny, arguments have flaws. Such is the method that got Socrates killed. With all of these discussions, the failure to prove the lack of humanity for a fetus proved unconvincing and logically undefended by its proponents. But I want to address the intrinsic instinct, the universal morality, that could not stay buried under layers of denial. These pro-abortion advocates, deep down, know they are wrong.

In all four conversations, late term abortion was supported. However the caveat of threat to the mother was brought up, despite the rarity of such occurrence. Steven Crowder called them out, citing the fact that they said they would support third trimester abortion even if it were not a threat to the mother by their own previous admission. The proponents then hesitantly agreed. So Crowder then asked “why bring it up?” That is the question. Why would abortion advocates rely on such extreme examples?

I believe that deep down, those who have not finished their leftist training have not intrinsically forsaken the convicting power of conscious, because of what I observed in this video. The latter two proponents came off as not even believing what they were saying. The first was a hardcore stoner. The second was a perhaps shy of being a feminist. The stoner gentleman said “breath” was the transfer of moral personhood and if a baby came out and had yet to breath, it would not yet be human, therefore justified in killing it. The last one suggested the ultra vague notion of “experience” rendered moral personhood. Yet she agreed that the experiences of the unborn were valid human experiences and then whimsically concluded that it was still okay to kill them.

She, in particular, sounded really unconvinced in her own stance. I thought she was going to make a utilitarian argument that would have led to an interesting discussion about quantifying human suffering. This would have been a better argument than “experience” which is even less defensible than sentience. The gentleman in the beginning argued that a fetus was a parasite but then insisted it was not autonomous. Biologically speaking a parasite is autonomous from its host.

These two claims are mutually exclusive. Three of these students presented arguments that I was unconvinced they themselves even believed. I am shocked that this was my takeaway, for on every other Change My Mind, even the other three installments on abortion, I believed that the guests genuinely believed their own arguments.

If a fetus is not human, there would be no need to rely on extreme examples to defend abortion. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that abortion is an affront to natural law, as science increasingly supports the notion of human life at creation. The Founding Fathers so cleverly wrote that our rights were self evident. The affront to these self evident rights will naturally be difficult to defend logically. This is why the abortion advocates had such poor arguments with premises that could not withstand charitable scrutiny. In this case, the pro-abortion advocates all believed a conclusion of abortion permissibility, without internally accepting the premises necessary to support the conclusion and the implications they would ensue from said premises.

There is a difference between a person being reputably evil and plainly gullible. That difference would be seen as someone who simply accept that a fetus is not human and simply doesn’t care. These college students weren’t there yet. Nor is the rest of the country as a whole. So there is reason for hope.

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