The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Romans 10: Paul’s Racism, His Pride & His Beautiful Feet

113

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

The apostle Paul was an ethnic Jew.  In his day, ethnic Jews—especially Jewish men—were taught from the cradle to believe that they were far superior to everyone else.  Jews referred to non-Jews as Gentiles, and being called a Gentile was not a complimentJews liked to refer to Gentiles as uncircumcised dogs which, in their cultural context, was like a white man calling a black man a nigger today.  It’s critical that you appreciate how deeply racist the Jews in Bible times were.  You need to understand that these folks had completely blown off Yahweh’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” 

When you downplay what hateful little racists the ancient Jews were, then you end up viewing their disdain of other humans as a reflection of God’s attitude.  This is a trap that many Christians and non-Christians are falling into today: they are assuming that a bunch of stuck-up, entitled Jews are accurately depicting God’s view of the human race.  Once you go down this road, you end up at the utterly absurd conclusion that God loves Jews more than non-Jews, and you end up sucking up to Israel in hopes that crumbs of God’s favor will land on you if you prove yourself to be a loyal ally to His favorite people.

Because there are many ethnic Jews today who are still clinging to their ancestors’ foolishness, you’ll find a very entitled attitude within some Jewish communities.  Instead of calling such immaturity out for what it is, the Church encourages you to encourage ethnic Jews to remain all snooty, and soon we’ve got “Messianic Jews” strutting around acting like somehow they are better Christians than everyone else simply because their earthsuits came packaged with certain genetics.  This is all complete rubbish, of course, and happily not all ethnic Jews are being this ridiculous.  But the mature people are not the ones who are constantly going on and on about their ties to Israel.  It’s the immature people who are always in your face, trying to make you feel like you’re some lesser person to God because you can’t trace your bloodlines back to some punk named Jacob.  Well, no, this is really not how God sees you.  God loves variety, and He thinks every ethnicity is fabulous.  God doesn’t think whites are better than blacks, He doesn’t think Jews are better than Gentiles, He doesn’t think men are better than women, He doesn’t think pastors are better than laymen, and He doesn’t think adults are better than children.  Whenever someone tries to pull spiritual rank on you, you need to ask God for clarification before you just start bowing down before inflated egos.  It is large egos and raging insecurities which drive humans to try and turn something as irrelevant as ethnicity into some huge symbol of worth.  The closer you get to God, the more you’ll see the beauty in all of the variation around you.

God is not a racist, but the apostle Paul was, and since the apostle Paul wrote Romans, his racism ends up greatly tainting his theology.  While the Church teaches you to worship Israel and revere Paul as some icon of spiritual maturity, in real life Paul is a terrible spiritual role model.  It’s not just because he’s so hung up on ethnicity—although that’s certainly a problem.  But the man also prays wrong, he grossly misrepresents who Yahweh is, and he rejects the Divinity of Christ.  Paul is a glory hog with a massive ego and he spends far too much time exalting himself in his letters.  He’s also domineering and controlling—setting himself up as being right about everything and then ordering everyone to conform to him.  As a leader he encourages people to imitate him, which is a gross abuse of his influence.  It’s from Paul that we get that pompous slogan: “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).  No, no, no, spiritual leaders should never be encouraging the flock to focus on them for any reason.  The whole purpose of shepherding the flock is to drive the flock towards the true Shepherds: Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  We’re not supposed to be seizing the sheep by their fluffy behinds, pulling their focus off of God and saying, “Never mind Him—just focus on copying me instead.  I’m your perfect God substitute.”  Paul models outrageous abuses of the flock—even going so far as to con the impressionable young Timothy into worshiping him so much that Timothy actually goes around to the churches preaching about how amazing Paul is.  And because Paul is so lost in arrogance, he actually brags in his letters of how he has Timothy acting as his personal promoter.

That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go. (1 Cor. 4:17)

What’s wrong with us today that we’re all exalting this fathead like he’s some kind of wonderful?  In the Bible, both Jesus and Yahweh rail against human arrogance and teach that it is humility which pleases Them.  Well, there’s nothing humble about getting some young man to go around teaching how great you are, nor is there anything humble about you getting up and wasting everyone’s time with endless testimonies of your personal devotion.  Paul was all about Paul, and the man’s teaching is filled with carnality.  If you’re going to get far in the faith, you need to ask God for His take on this arrogant apostle and stop calling Paul’s pompous rot “God-breathed.”

Now in this post, we’re going to go through the text of Romans 10.  This chapter is sandwiched between two other chapters in which Paul is hammering the theme that Yahweh loves the Jews more than everyone else.  In Romans 9, he starts off with an insane declaration that he’d rather be cut off from Christ entirely than see ethnic Jews miss their shot at Heaven.  In other words, the salvation of his own ethnic people was more important to Paul than his personal relationship with both Christ and Yahweh, for Paul knew that being cut off from Christ would result in being rejected by Yahweh.  You can’t get more foolish than this, which is why we often refer to Paul as a spiritual moron.  Spiritual wisdom comes from embracing the priorities which God tells us to have, and God says that we should be prizing Him above all else.  A moron is a stupid person—one who is severely lacking in wisdom.  By the time you’re actually bragging about how you’d chuck your relationship with God in order to see certain humans get into Heaven—not all of them, mind you, but just those of your own ethnicity—you absolutely qualify as a moron in spiritual matters.  A lot of people get mad when we talk about Paul this way—they think we’re wrong to insult the man.  And yet you can’t possibly defend a man who says Christ is expendable without grossly insulting Christ.  Since we do not share Paul’s idiotic value system, we would gladly be cut off from all humans everywhere rather than lose our relationship with any of our Gods.  So, yes, Paul is a spiritual moron, and we will not downplay how obnoxious he was being to so grossly insult Yahweh and Christ.  If you have a problem with us choosing to side with the true Gods over some idiot apostle who found it fun to publicly insult Them, then you’re hanging out on the wrong website.  Loyalty isn’t always expressed as some faint whisper: sometimes it’s a loud shout.  Back when he wrote his letter to the church in Rome, Paul had no problem broadcasting how disposable he felt Christ and Yahweh were.  Today, we have no problem calling Paul out as the God-bashing rebel that he was.  As an individual Christian, you need to give serious thought as to who you’re going to side with in life: it’s either the true Gods or humans—you can’t side with both.

ROMANS 9

Now in Romans 9, Paul rotates between exalting the Jews as more loved by Yahweh and minimizing the importance of human choice (see Understanding Divine Election: Jacob I Loved, Esau I Hated).  Even though Yahweh Himself greatly emphasizes the importance of choice all throughout the Old Testament, Paul tries to use those same Scriptures to argue that choice is irrelevant, because Yahweh has already pre-determined who will be saved and who will be damned.  Preaching a total reversal of what God says is a very common pattern among spiritual rebels, and since Paul is entrenched in spiritual rebellion, much of what he teaches is a fat lie.

ROMANS 11

Now in Romans 11, Paul passionately defends his theory that Yahweh loves ethnic Jews far more than Gentiles (see More Lies from Paul: God Loves Jews More Than Gentiles).  He gets so carried away with this idea that he actually goes so far as to say that Yahweh is only inviting Gentiles to come to Him in order to make ethnic Jews jealous.  In other words, Gentiles are just bait that Yahweh is using to catch more ethnic Jews.  According to Paul, Yahweh views Gentiles as expendable, and He will be swift to curse and reject them if they make one wrong move.  You’ll find all of these points being communicated through Paul’s famous metaphor of an olive tree which loser Gentiles have be “grafted into.”  According to Paul, Jews are the “natural branches” of a cultivated olive tree, whereas lowlife Gentiles exist as the branches of some wild, unwanted tree that no one cares about.

Today the Church continues to teach Gentiles that they ought to feel humbly honored that Yahweh has chosen to “graft them in” to His chosen people.  But no, this grafting metaphor is complete rubbish which Paul invented as a way of justifying his own hateful attitude towards other humans.  In real life, Yahweh has always invited all ethnicities to come to Him.  In addition, Yahweh spends a lot of time in the Old Testament talking about how much He hates ethnic Jews because of their incessant rebellion against Him.  You see, there’s a huge difference between Paul talking and Yahweh talking.  When you let the Church talk you into spending most of your time in the New Testament while ignoring the Old, you end up with a very skewed understanding of truth.  Yahweh does far more talking in the Old Testament than Yahweh and Jesus do in the New Testament.  So when you hang out in the New Testament, guess who you end up spending the most time with?  Paul.  And that’s a problem.

ROMANS 10

So now that we understand that Romans 10 is going to transition us between two chapters which are loaded with lies about Yahweh being some kind of Jew obsessed racist, let’s get into the text.

Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to Yahweh is for the people of Israel to be saved. (Rom. 10:1)

Paul starts this chapter by reminding us yet again that ethnic Jews are his personal favorites.  Now you might have heard that Paul called himself “the apostle to the Gentiles,” and indeed he did, but that title was just a way of giving himself airs.  Consider this: why was the world so impressed by Mother Teresa of Calcutta?  Because the woman spent so much time hanging out with the rejects of society—the sick, poor, and mentally ill.  It’s wired into human nature to feel automatically repulsed when we’re in the presence of dirty living conditions, bad smells, graphic wounds, and unpredictable behavior.  So whenever we see an individual human easily doing something that most humans would find very difficult to do, it impresses us.  Mother Teresa’s ability to overcome natural human repulsion is what caused people to admire her so much, and she became a globally respected figure.

Now we don’t know what Mother Teresa’s true motivations were for doing what she did.  There is often a big difference between how people present themselves to others and how they’re really feeling inside.  But regardless of what was going on between Teresa and God, both the Church and the world have turned the woman into an icon of righteousness simply because of the way she chose to minister to a group of folks that most people would want to avoid associating with.

So what about Paul?  Well, Paul was a glory hog.  Paul wanted fame and acclaim among the people of his day.  Paul started off as a Pharisee in Israel—that definitely gave him a leg up in Jewish society.  But after Paul had a personal encounter with Christ, he was so impressed with the whole concept of a Jewish Man getting His hands on such power in the next life that Paul did a massive reassessment of his career goals.  Rather than continue to try and fight his way to the top of Israelite society where there was a lot of competition from other Pharisees, Paul saw a chance to quickly become a big celebrity among Christians.

In Paul’s day, the Church was just starting to get off the ground, most Christ followers were ethnic Jews, and the top leaders of the Christ movement were a bunch of grubby fishermen.  In Jewish society, a Pharisee easily trumps a fisherman, so when Paul joined with the Christian movement, it wasn’t hard at all for him to quickly surpass Peter and John.  To help speed his own advancement, the politically savvy Paul declared himself very early on to be “the apostle to the Gentiles.”  And once you understand how much Jews looked down on Gentiles, you can appreciate the brilliance of this strategy.  Paul essentially worked the same angle that ended up working for Mother Teresa: he promoted himself as a selfless minister and spiritual guide to the lowlifes of the human race—at least this is how his fellow Jews would have seen it.  And yet unlike Mother Teresa, who came across as sincerely interested in helping her people, Paul’s big talk about ministering to Gentiles quickly proved itself to be nothing more than talk.  In real life, it was always ethnic Jews, not Gentiles, who Paul targeted whenever he came to a new town on his missionary trips.  He began in synagogues among ethnic Jews who would be immediately impressed by his Pharisee title.  Then, after securing their admiration, he would branch out to the local Gentiles.  And yet even when he was actually addressing a Gentile audience—as he is with the epistle of Romans—he spends a lot of time reminding them that they are inferior to ethnic Jews.  The parallel here would be Mother Teresa passing out supplies in an impoverished community while she keeps shooting disgusted glares at the people she’s “helping.”  We’d like to think that Mother Teresa didn’t sink to such low levels in her ministry efforts, but Paul did, and he makes no effort to hide it.  His personal disdain of Gentiles permeates his epistles.  Clearly in Paul’s case, his claim to work among Gentiles was just a carnal attempt to exalt himself.  Did it work?  Well, look around at all of the churches and schools we’re naming after St. Paul today.  Paul’s utterly insincere claims to care about Gentiles not only secured the awe of his fellow Jews, but we’re still oozing over Paul today for being some great hero who generously welcomed non-Jews into God’s flock.  And yet was this really what Paul did?  Not hardly.  Sure he “ministered” to Gentiles—but he also pounded into them that they didn’t really belong among God’s chosen people the way ethnic Jews did.  He taught them to feel insecure about their standing with God, and he taught them to believe that Gentiles as a whole had been pretty much ignored by Yahweh until the coming of Christ.  We could have easily done without such a condemning helper.

Now in Romans, Paul is addressing a mixed audience: he knows that there are both Jews and Gentiles who will be hearing this letter read aloud when it arrives in Rome.  Imagine how the Gentiles felt when they heard these words:

Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to Yahweh is for the people of Israel to be saved. (Rom. 10:1)

Nothing like having the guy who claims to be focused on your group publicly saying that his real passion is for a different group to be saved.  If Paul had any class, and if he were correctly modeling God’s view of humans, then he would say that his desire is for all people to be saved—not just ethnic Jews.  But this isn’t what he says.  Paul has no problems with constantly reminding Gentiles that they are totally inferior to Jews in his mind.

I know what enthusiasm the people of Israel have for Yahweh, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand Yahweh’s way of making people right with Himself. Refusing to accept Yahweh’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with Yahweh by trying to keep the law. (Rom. 10:2-3)

Paul is so into the Jews that he’ll gladly throw Yahweh under the bus in order to keep his own people looking innocent.  Here in verses 2-3, Paul claims that ethnic Jews “don’t understand” what Yahweh wants from them.  He calls them enthusiastic for Yahweh—then he says their zeal is just “misdirected.”  What a load of hogwash.

In the four Gospel books, Jesus gives us His assessment of the general spiritual attitude of the ethnic Jews who are alive at this time.  And according to Jesus, most Jews are entrenched in willful rebellion.  It has nothing to do with Jews being lost in some fog of ignorance while Yahweh refuses to shine a light on the path to truth.  It’s more like the Jews are intentionally rejecting everything Jesus and Yahweh say to them.  If they’re lost, it’s their own fault for shunning God.  And by the time people are hating God on a soul level, they really aren’t “zealous” for Him.  You can’t be devoted to God and hate God at the same time.  And yet what we find in both the Old and New Testament are ethnic Jews trying hard to downplay what rebellious punks their own people are being.  Guys like Moses, Jeremiah, and now Paul all took turns siding with their own countrymen against Yahweh.  No matter what the Jews did, it was never bad enough to warrant God’s Jewish followers actually staying loyal to Him.  This is yet another way that we don’t want to be taking after the Jews of the Bible, for this business of siding with spiritual rebels against God is unacceptable behavior for Christians.

For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Christ are made right with Yahweh. (Rom. 10:4)

Since Paul is personally in a state of spiritual rebellion, you shouldn’t expect him to have an accurate understanding of how salvation works.  Here he says that Christ accomplished the purpose for which Yahweh’s Old Covenant laws were given to the Jews.  What purpose is that?  Paul thinks that salvation is acquired through atonement.  Pharisees promoted a very legalistic, works based theology in which they said that the only way to acquire salvation was through sinless living. They then went on to declare that they were personally sinless, thus they were shoo ins for Heaven.

So what’s wrong with this theory?  Everything.  For starters, Yahweh has never required sinless living from anyone.  Salvation has always been acquired through submission to God, and submission is a soul attitude, not a behavior.  But once you’re going around preaching that sinless living is required, naturally atonement becomes a huge deal, because bringing sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem was the way to try and get Yahweh to forgive a sin you committed.

Let’s use a metaphor to understand the mess that the New Testament Jews had made of the sacrificial system.  Imagine Yahweh standing next to a big chalkboard in Heaven.  He’s got an angry scowl on His face, and He’s just waiting for you to screw up on earth.  Each time you sin, Yahweh makes a tick mark on that big chalkboard of His.  He’s keeping tabs on you—tabs on your sins, that is.

Now the Pharisees are telling you that if you have any ticks on your personal record, you’ll never get into Heaven.   But how can you get God to erase the marks He’s already made?  You have to troop on down to the Temple with some kind of sacrifice.  Of course when you arrive, some shady character is going to tell you that the perfect lamb you’ve brought doesn’t meet Yahweh’s requirements.  Then he’ll charge you three times what you should have to pay for some animal that’s in much worse condition than the one you brought.  Since you can’t present your sacrifice to a Levite priest until you get past this animal checker, you get shafted.  But then when you pull out the money you have to pay for this beast who is obviously no better than yours, you get told that you have to convert your money into Temple currency.  Then you get sent over to the money changing table, where another shady character totally rips you off and gives you way less money than you should have when he changes your coins over.  So now that you’ve been cheated twice by the spiritual leaders of Israel, you finally get to take the lamb you bought in to some priest with a chip on his shoulder who looks like he doesn’t really give a care about you or your sacrifice.  Once you get done dealing with his condescending attitude, you finally get out of there and you just hope that all of that rigmarole has set you straight with Yahweh.  But then Saturday rolls around, and when you show up at the synagogue, a Pharisee preacher points out some new way that you’ve sinned.  Of course the thing he’s talking about is something everyone on the planet does—only the Pharisee claims that he’s above such behavior because he’s more devoted than you are.  So you leave the synagogue feeling totally defeated and you just don’t have it in you to go get hassled at the Temple again.  Pretty soon you’ve given up on the whole idea of trying to please Yahweh because the Pharisees are making it impossible.  They’re always finding fault with you, and the Sadducees in the Temple are always bilking you, and between the two organizations, you’re feeling like the biggest spiritual loser in Israel.  Such was the way Pharisees like Paul ground all hope of salvation out of Jewish commoners while simultaneously boasting of what icons of righteousness they personally were.  And it was because this whole routine was so intentional on the part of the Pharisees, that Jesus once said:

“They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden! Everything they do is for show! On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra-long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’” (Matt. 23:4-7)

He also said:

“Woe to you, teachers of religious law and you Pharisees—hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter, either!” (Matt. 23:13)

With Jesus Himself warning us that the Pharisees are full of lies, we should be super guarded when reading anything from Paul.  And, indeed, Paul is full of lies.  In his epistles, he continues to preach that atonement is essential for salvation.  You have to get those tick marks off of that record that Yahweh is keeping on you—that’s the only way you’ll get into Heaven.  In Romans, Paul says that the whole set of Old Covenant laws came down to the issue of atonement, and since Jesus claimed to atone for the sins of the whole world, Paul says that:

Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Christ are made right with Yahweh. (Rom. 10:4)

Now that he’s pretending to be a Christian, Paul is teaching that by accepting Jesus as Yahweh’s promised Messiah and accepting Christ’s atonement for your sins, you can get a clean slate with Yahweh.  But then what happens if you sin after that board has been wiped clean?  Well, then you’re going to Hell.  Paul teaches that there’s no room for a Christian to keep on sinning.  Instead, he says that once you’re a “new creation in Christ,” you have to stop sinning.  And by teaching this, Paul has looped you all the way back around to what he originally taught the Jews in his early Pharisee days: that salvation can only be acquired though sinless living.  Are you sinless?  No, you’re not.  And since you’re not, Paul says you’re going to Hell.  You see, Christ did you the huge favor of wiping away the record of all of your past sins.  But from here on, the burden is on you to remain behaviorally perfect.  This is why Paul says:

So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. All those led by Yahweh’s Spirit are Yahweh’s sons. (Rom. 8:12-14)

You see, you must put to death all of those sinful desires of yours.  What’s that—you can’t?  Then you’re going to Hell.  Sure, Paul is brimming with glorious promises for those like himself who make it into the “morally perfect” group.  But for the rest of us losers, he’s full of condemnation and despair.

For the sinful nature is always hostile to Yahweh. It never did obey Yahweh’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please Yahweh. (Rom. 8:8)

So, are you still under the control of your sinful nature?  Of course you are.  You sin every day.  Well, according to Paul, a dirt bag like you can never please Yahweh.  You either stop sinning entirely, or you’re going to burn: these are the grim choices Paul gives you.  And once you accept that these are the only options you have, then the only way for you to say you’re saved is if you claim to be sinless.  Of course the only way you can claim to be sinless is if you totally reject God’s definition of sin.  So you see, you have to become a spiritual rebel in order to tell yourself that you are actually meeting Paul’s impossible requirements for salvation.   And because Paul was a bigshot Pharisee, a lot of Jews ended up going with his asinine theories.  The apostles John and James both aligned with Paul’s absurd teaching about salvation, and as a result, we find both men arrogantly claiming to be behaviorally perfect.  Look at how the apostle John defined a Christian:

Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God. This is how God’s children—and the Devil’s children—are made evident. (1 Jn. 3:9-10)

Whose child did John claim to be?  God’s, of course.  So by his own definition, John claimed to never sin—in fact, John claimed that he was incapable of sinning.  And yet it is impossible for a human to never sin.  So now we’ve got a bunch of Jewish men making totally arrogant claims and discounting God’s truth all because they want the approval of a dingdong like Paul.  Paul was a Pharisee, and as far as Jewish commoners were concerned, what Pharisees said had to be true.  Of course if guys like Peter, James, and John were actually seeking God on a soul level, they’d learn better than to believe the guff that Paul was preaching.  But people weren’t seeking God, because they cared more about being accepted by humans than they did about being accepted by God.  Sound familiar?  We Christians are playing the same games today: constantly compromising and blowing God off in order to win the approval of some pastor or prophet or home group leader who we admire.  And yet it’s not humans who will be our judges in eternity: it’s Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with Yahweh requires obedience to all of its commands. (Rom. 10:5)

Actually, what Moses did was urge his group of rebellious snarkers to take Yahweh’s laws seriously and earnestly seek Him in life.  Moses wanted his people to be seriously devoted to God, because God said He would destroy them if they weren’t.  The problem was that Moses’ people didn’t care about pleasing God.  They had false gods who they were far more interested in, and they remained devoted to those false gods throughout the Old Testament.  Did many Jews end up damned?  Yes, but it wasn’t because they sinned.  It was because  they refused to submit to God on a soul level.  We are judged by our soul choices, not by our behaviors.

But faith’s way of getting right with Yahweh says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” (Rom. 10:6-8)

Paul is quoting Moses here, which makes his references to Christ utterly absurd, since Moses had never heard of Christ.  He is quoting from Deuteronomy—a book which is basically Moses’ long parting speech to the Israelites before he dies and Joshua takes over.

At the end of Deuteronomy 30, Moses is walking the Jews through a cursing and blessing ritual.  The Jews were big believers in the power of spoken words, and Yahweh often uses this to His advantage. In Deuteronomy 29-30, Moses hosts a formal “let’s renew the Covenant” ceremony.  He lists off all kinds of nasty things that Yahweh will do to the Jews if they scorn Him and refuse to submit to Him in life.  The he lists off nice ways that God will bless the Jews if they make wise soul choices by remaining faithful to Him.  But what does it mean to remain faithful to God?  What does God even want?  What does pleasing Him look like in the day to day?  Here’s where the Old Covenant laws came in handy.  That large body of hundreds of picky rules gave the Jews guidelines on how to govern their society, deal with crimes, and protect the health of the community.  Those laws also gave them physical ways to express their loyalty to and love of Yahweh by bringing Him not just sacrifices for sin, but praise and thanks offerings as well.

There was a lot more to the sacrificial system than just atoning for sin—a point which Paul totally blows off (see Know Your Bible Lesson 6: The Sacrificial System).  By urging people to obey Yahweh’s commands, Moses was urging them to embrace right soul attitudes. No one ever expected sinless behavior.  Instead, when Moses says, “Do everything that Yahweh says,” he’s talking like the mother who says to Johnny: “Keep an eye on your sister while I’m gone.”  Does the mother really expect Johnny to never take an eye off of his baby sister?  Of course not.  All she wants is for him to be attentive and alert—to sincerely care about his sister’s welfare.  In the same way, when God says “Obey Me,” what He wants is for us to sincerely care about pleasing Him.  He doesn’t expect perfection from us any more than a human parent expects his toddler to never stumble when he walks.  God has not equipped us with the ability to never sin—it’s assumed that people understand this when He tells them to obey all of His commands.  And indeed, we would understand this if we hadn’t spent the last two thousand years getting brainwashed by the writers of the New Testament who are demanding literal perfection from people.

So in Deuteronomy 30, Moses is trying to pep his people up by saying, “Hey, guys, pleasing Yahweh isn’t hard.  Look: He’s given us all of these laws to live by—all of these guidelines which will help us stay on track.  So don’t act like pleasing God is some impossible mystery.  It’s not a mystery at all: He’s made it very simple for us because He’s nice like that.”  Here’s the part of Moses’ speech that Paul rips off:

“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.” (Deut. 30:11-14)

And yet when Paul quotes it, he stuffs in absurd lines about Christ:

But faith’s way of getting right with Yahweh says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” (Rom. 10:6-8)

In Moses’ day, “the message” which was very close at hand was guidelines on how to please Yahweh.  Well, Paul says that “the message” that he is preaching in his day also has to do with how people can please Yahweh.  Then Paul whips out a handy little formula in which he summarizes how salvation is obtained:

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that Yahweh raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with Yahweh, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (Rom. 10:8-10)

As famous as this formula is, it’s just not true (see False Formulas for Salvation – Romans 10:9).  Notice how Paul says that Yahweh—not Christ–raised Christ from the dead.  Paul doesn’t accept the Divinity of Christ, and he doesn’t want anyone bowing to Christ as God Almighty.  Paul views Christ as a mere human—a special human who earned the favor of Yahweh—but Christ certainly doesn’t have the chops to resurrect Himself, because that would suggest He is equal to Yahweh.  Of course in real life, Christ is equal to Yahweh, because Christ is God Almighty, not just some Jewish man who got stuck in the underworld until Yahweh rescued Him.  But you won’t get correct teaching about Christ from Paul, or from any of the New Testament epistle writers (see How the NT Epistles Define Christ: Not God, Just Another Flawed Human).

So according to Paul, submission is irrelevant.  We just have to believe that Yahweh raised Jesus, we have to respect Jesus as an impressive human, and we’re in.  Oh—and we have to verbally declare our beliefs out loud because…because why?  Since when does God need us to verbalize what our souls are saying to Him?  Our souls don’t use a verbal language—they use a much more efficient spiritual language (see Communing with God: The Language of Your Soul).

If you spurn God in your soul while you bless Him with your lips, guess which message He’ll count as more valid?  What your soul says to Him.  It’s your soul’s response to God that you are judged by, not your actions and your words.  But other humans can’t see what’s happening between your soul and God, and this irritates them.  So here’s where you start getting a whole bunch of Christian leaders demanding that you prove to them what’s really happening between your soul and God.  They say that if you really care about God, you have to prove it by doing visible ministry efforts at their churches.  They tell you that if you really cared, you’d be tithing, you’d be helping, you’d be praying out loud, you’d be reading your Bible, and you’d be attending midweek small groups.  And yet all of this guff just comes down to a bunch of humans trying to pressure you into making it easier for them to monitor your spiritual development.  People want to con you—and if you’re not sharing what your personal thoughts about God are, it’s a lot tougher for them to get that wedge of deception in there.

So how should you respond to all of this pressure to “live out loud” as a Christian?  You should throw it out as the carnal rubbish that it is.  Humans aren’t your judges, God is.  You need to serve because He is telling you to, and you need to serve when and how He is telling you to. If other humans don’t approve of what God is telling you to do, they can lump it.  What about money—should you be giving your cash away to whoever has their hand out?  No, you should be waiting for God to tell you to share.  When He tells you, you give the amount that He tells you to give, you give it to who He tells you to give to, and if people don’t like what God’s instructing you to do, it’s too bad for them.

Life is about pleasing God.  It’s His approval we’re supposed to be focusing on, not the approval of a bunch of judgmental humans who can’t stand the fact that we’re not hanging on their every word in life.  Concerned about your salvation?  Ask God if there’s anything more you need to do—don’t be asking humans.  Humans aren’t your judges.  Having some human pat you on the head and tell you that you’re saved isn’t worth a hill of beans.  The whole world can call you a Christian—that doesn’t make you one.  It’s only God’s opinion that counts, so if you want to know what He thinks, you need to ask Him.

As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” [Isa. 28:16] (Rom. 10:11)

Christians commonly assume the “Him” here refers to Christ.  But no, Paul is talking about salvation, and it is God who saves people, not some human Messiah.  Paul doesn’t recognize Jesus as God.  Today the Church teaches you to read Christ into the New Testament in many places where He isn’t being discussed.  A big clue is the way Paul says “As the Scriptures tell us.”  Realize that none of the New Testament writers had ever heard of the New Testament.  Paul had no idea that we’d all go into idolatry mode and obsess over his letters for the next 2,000 years—even going so far as to call them “inerrant” and “God-breathed.”  No doubt Paul’s ego would have loved this notion, but if you’re going to understand what the man is saying, you need to stop viewing the Bible like some magical object which fell from the sky one day.

The only Scriptures New Testament writers refer to are the Old Testament, and Yahweh is the only God who true believers worshiped in the Old Testament.  In this passage, Paul is quoting Isaiah.  If you look up the original passage, you’ll see an all caps LORD has been inserted where the Name of Yahweh is written in the original manuscripts.  We play these games as a way of downplaying the separateness of our Gods, but we only end up confusing ourselves.  What Isaiah and Paul both said was this:

“Anyone who trusts in Yahweh will never be disgraced.” (Isa. 28:16)

Well, what brought on this comment?  What was Isaiah talking about?  Well, Isaiah was actually quoting Yahweh, and Yahweh was reaming out a bunch of snarky Jews who were full of pride and rebellion.  These Jews thought they were invincible—they scoffed at the notion of Divine discipline.  They thought nothing would ever take them down.  And yet Yahweh counters this arrogance by saying that while these fools are trusting in deception and lies, the only sure foundation is to trust in Yahweh: to cling to Him and His wisdom.  He says that those who refuse to trust in Yahweh will be destroyed in the punishment which He is bringing on Israel. He says that trust in Yahweh is the “cornerstone” that gives souls something firm to anchor to in life.

“Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who trusts in it will not be shaken. And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the mason’s level.” (Isa. 28:16-17)

So back in Romans 10, how is Paul using this quote from Isaiah?  Well, Paul is telling us all how to be saved.  And while Paul fluffs off the need for submission, he waxes on about how Yahweh is the God who saves us all.  Yahweh—not Jesus.  Jesus is just some human Messiah.  Jesus clears our record of wrongs with Yahweh, and that’s certainly handy.  Hooray for Jesus. But if you want to talk about who judges us and who is controlling access to Heaven—that’s all Yahweh.

Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. For “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:12-13)

Today you’re told that Jesus is the “Lord” Paul is referring to in this passage.  But no, these are more references to Yahweh.  It is Yahweh we call on in Paul’s mind—it is Yahweh who saves us.  So how do you know Paul means Yahweh and not Jesus?  Because Paul is intentionally quoting the Old Testament and no one had heard of Christ in the Old Testament.  It’s the prophet Joel who Paul is quoting this time.  The context is Joel 2—a passage in which Yahweh is predicting epic disaster for Israel.  The specific disaster He has in mind is a massive military invasion.  But of course today no one tells you that.  Today Joel 2 is famously misapplied to make you think Yahweh is predicting the end of the whole world.  See if any of this passage sounds familiar:

“And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth— blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and terrible day of Yahweh arrives. But everyone who calls on the Name of Yahweh will be saved, for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape, just as Yahweh has said. These will be among the survivors whom Yahweh has called.” (Joel 2:30-32)

Whenever some fool of a prophet tries to freak you out by quoting some passage that refers to “the Day of the Lord,” realize that what the text really says is “the Day of Yahweh,” and that what Yahweh is talking about in that passage is probably some very small scale disaster that would have only felt huge to the people it was happening to (see Distinguishing Between the Real End Times & the Day of Yahweh).  You simply won’t find teaching on the actual end of the world in the Bible because God does not choose to address that subject.  When it sounds like He’s talking about the end of the world, you need to keep reading.  Look at the context of these verses that false prophets are always throwing at you and you’ll discover what lying con artists they’re being.

So in Joel 2, Yahweh is predicting destruction for spiritual rebels.  He then says that anyone who repents plus anyone who sincerely cares about pleasing Him is going to be saved.  All of that dark sun and blood moon talk is figurative—it was the Jewish way of hamming things up.  When Yahweh is talking to Jews, He talks like a Jew, so be careful not to take Him too literally.  The Jews were super dramatic people, and they used dramatic imagery to help convey extreme sentiments.  In Joel 2, Yahweh is intentionally raising fear about His wrath for the purpose of motivating rebels to repent.  He’s not just freaking people out in order to con them into giving Him money—that’s how false prophets use this same passage on you today, and you need to stop being such an easy sucker.

If we want to really broadbrush Joel 2, we could say that the bottom line message is this: obey God and thrive, or rebel and writhe.  The part about obeying Yahweh and thriving is the point Paul is trying to use in Romans 10.  He says: “Hey all of you Jews and Gentiles—Yahweh will save you if you turn to Him.  So do it already—don’t let salvation pass you by.”

Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. For “Everyone who calls on the Name of Yahweh will be saved.” (Rom. 10:12-13)

Now because Paul’s ego is so massive, he can’t stop here.  He has to work in a little glory for himself.  Here’s where we come to another famous—albeit extremely obnoxious—quotation which modern day evangelists love to use to exalt themselves as super important.

But how can anyone call on Yahweh to save them unless they believe in Yahweh? And how can they believe in Yahweh if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Yahweh unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Rom. 10:14-15)

Yes, Paul is complimenting his own personal feet in this passage, because he is an apostle—he is one of those critical little helpers that Yahweh can’t live without.  You know, because Yahweh is so incompetent that He can’t possibly communicate truth to His own creations.  He just made our brains—He doesn’t know how to access them.  If Yahweh wants to teach us anything, He needs to rustle up some humans to help Him out.  That’s where Paul comes in.  My, isn’t Paul amazing.  Where would Yahweh be without Paul to help Him get the word out?

Once again, this is a passage which you’re commonly taught to think is about Christ—that Christ is the Fellow who we all need to hear about and believe in.  But no, because Paul has been peppering us with Old Testament quotations which specifically refer to people calling on Yahweh for salvation.  Plus, remember that Paul does not acknowledge Jesus as a God.  So it’s Yahweh who we need to be reconciled with, and according to Paul, Christ just assists us with that process. Christ doesn’t actually save anyone—He just smooths things over between us and Yahweh so that we’ll have a shot at having Yahweh save us.

So who is Paul quoting this time when he’s praising his own feet?  He’s jumped back over to Isaiah 52.  In this passage the Israelites have been such rebellious twerps that Yahweh has brought in the Assyrian army to spank them.  Of course the Assyrians love it, and they’re mocking both the Jews and the God of Israel, who they think their gods have triumphed over.  Yahweh responds to the defiance of the Assyrians by announcing that He’s going to make His power known to both the twerpy Jews and the mocking Assyrians.  Then everyone’s face will be shut, and people will revere the one true God.  Yahweh says:

“Long ago My people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria. What is this?” asks Yahweh. “Why are My people enslaved again? Those who rule over them shout in exultation. My Name is blasphemed all day long. But I will reveal My Name to My people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the One who speaks to them.” How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see Yahweh returning to Jerusalem. (Isa. 52:4-8)

Now wait a second.  In this passage, Yahweh is talking about having mercy on a bunch of rebellious Jews who lived and died many centuries before Paul was even born.  What does this have to do with New Testament evangelists teaching others about God’s salvation requirements?  Nothing.  Paul’s quotation of this passage is ridiculous. He’s trying to link to the idea that people love to see a messenger coming who has good news.  But while he’s promoting himself as fabulous, he’s also saying that Yahweh depends on human beings to teach people what He wants from them. That’s a very insulting way to speak of God Almighty.  So while Paul rejects the Divinity of Christ, he also takes many potshots at Yahweh in his epistles.  The man doesn’t have the first clue about what it means to really honor God.

But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Yahweh, who has believed our message?” [Isa. 53:1] So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. (Rom. 10:16-17)

It was no fun being a prophet for Yahweh in the midst of a society that hated Him.  Isaiah had a lot of tough days, and in the beginning of Isaiah 53, he groans:

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? (Isa. 53:1)

Arms were symbols of power in Bible times, so whenever you read about Yahweh lifting up His arm or showing off His arm, it’s a reference to Him flaunting His power.  Isaiah is frustrated with having the Jews around him scoff at his messages. Isaiah’s also frustrated with Yahweh being so slow to act.  So he vents.  Paul then rips off this same line to emphasize what a tough time he has as an apostle in the early Church.

Now when Paul says that faith comes from hearing, of course he means hearing spoken words.  He’s totally discounting Yahweh’s ability to directly speak to people’s souls.  He’s so off on his own importance, that he’s saying that people must first have some other human tell them Yahweh’s Good News before they will even have a chance to believe it.

So what exactly is the Good News?  It’s that Yahweh’s promised Messiah has finally shown up, died for people’s sins, and given us all a way to have our record of past sins erased.  Paul also teaches that Christ infuses us with the supernatural ability to never sin again, hence we must now be sinless, and we’ve already talked about where that flawed logic takes us.  So the Good News is not that Christ is a second God who has proved His Divinity by raising Himself back to life.  Some Christians try to include this as part of their Good News package today, but that’s not what Paul or any of the other New Testament apostles were teaching.  Remember that these were Jewish apostles and they think Israel is the source of salvation for mankind.  So they’re loving that it’s Israel’s Jewish Messiah who is now playing some critical role in salvation.  Anything that makes the Jews sound like the gatekeepers of truth works for guys like Paul.  To preserve the need for Jewish apostles to feed kernels of truth to the masses, Paul discounts the reality of Divine illumination and insists that no soul can know anything about truth unless some human preacher comes along to open their eyes.  Talk about arrogance.

But I ask: have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” [Ps. 19:4] (Rom. 10:18)

It’s always painful when the Jews start dragging the Psalms into their epistles, and they do this a lot.  The Psalms were not Divinely inspired—they were just a bunch of Jewish men venting their various emotions and desires—many of which were quite displeasing to God.  It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Psalm 19 doesn’t have bumpkus to do with how thoroughly ethnic Jews have been spiritually illuminated by Yahweh.  So when Paul tries to use a line from this Psalm to answer the question “Have the people of Israel heard about the Good News of Christ?”, he’s being a total dingdong.  Do you know who is doing the talking in Psalm 19:4?  The sky.  The psalmist is being poetic.  He’s talking about nature glorifying Yahweh.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. (Ps. 19:1-4)

So in Romans 10, Paul asks “Have the people of Israel all heard about the Good News of Christ?” Then he answers by quoting a line from a psalm which means: “The skies have testified to the whole earth how glorious Yahweh is.”  This is called misapplying Scripture, and Paul does it a lot in his letters.

But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, Yahweh said: “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.” [Deut. 32:21]

And later Isaiah spoke boldly for Yahweh, saying: “I was found by people who were not looking for Me. I showed Myself to those who were not asking for Me.” [Isa. 65:1]

But regarding Israel, Yahweh said: “All day long I opened My arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.” [Isa. 65:2] (Rom. 10:19-21)

Wow, what a mess.  Let’s not lose sight of the original question that Paul keeps asking.  Earlier he had summarized his evangelistic message like this:

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that Yahweh raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with Yahweh, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (Rom. 10:8-10)

Well, at this point in time, many ethnic Jews are rejecting Christ as Yahweh’s Messiah.  They’re not “openly declaring that Jesus is Lord,” and once you reject Yahweh’s Messiah, Yahweh rejects you.  So this is the crisis Paul is dealing with: his own people are turning away from Yahweh.  If Paul would open his eyes, he’d realize that his fellow Jews have been rejecting Yahweh since day one, so it’s not like there’s anything new going on.  But in Paul’s mind, he’s created a fantasy Israel full of Jews who are oh so committed to Yahweh…they just aren’t grasping this thing about Jesus being the Messiah.  At the beginning of this chapter, he wrote:

For the Jews don’t understand Yahweh’s way of making people right with Himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Christ are made right with Yahweh. (Rom. 10:3-4)

First Paul said the Jews are just lacking in instruction.  But now he totally contradicts himself by saying that the Jews totally understand what Yahweh requires of them.  Then he backs up this new position by quoting a bunch of Scripture.  First he quotes Deuteronomy 32, in which Moses sings a long song which is filled with terrifying threats and imagery regarding God’s wrath towards the Jews.  Why is God so angry?  Because the Jews are being defiant punks.  Moses teaches everyone to memorize the lyrics of the song in hopes that it will help them stay convicted to respect God.  In the line that Paul quotes, Moses quotes Yahweh as saying: “Since you twerps are worshiping idols which aren’t really gods, I’m going to make you jealous by embracing people who aren’t among the nation that I officially ‘chose.’  So see?  Two can play at this rejection game.”

Next Paul leaps over to Isaiah 65, which starts out with Yahweh saying that from the beginning, He’s been the generous One.  The Jews weren’t seeking Him, yet He revealed Himself to them.

“I was ready to answer those who didn’t ask. I was found by those who weren’t looking for Me. I said, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’ to a nation that didn’t worship Me.  I stretched out My hands all day long to stubborn people. But they chose to go the wrong direction and they followed their own plans.” (Isa. 65:1-2)

What does any of this have to do with the Good News about Christ?  Nothing.  It’s more of a statement on how Yahweh has always reached out to the Jews and they’ve always ignored Him.  So what is Paul smoking when he talks about the Jews being zealous for Yahweh?

CONCLUSION

We’ve now come to the end of Romans 10.  After acknowledging that Israel has a very long history of blowing Yahweh off, Paul will spend Romans 11 making a case for why Yahweh hasn’t totally rejected the nation of Israel.  Then he’ll try to say that Gentiles have profited from the spiritual rebellion of the Jews, because if the Jews hadn’t rejected Yahweh, Yahweh would have never looked outside of Israel for followers.  What a load of hooey.

Yahweh has always welcomed all ethnicities to come to Him.  But this isn’t what Paul teaches, because Paul needs God to share Paul’s personal disdain for Gentiles.  If Yahweh is going to accept Gentiles, fine, but Paul can’t stand the thought of God wanting Gentiles as much as He does Jews.  What a waste of time all of this obsessing over ethnicity was in Paul’s day.  And today we continue to perpetuate this nonsense about God caring more about earthsuit genetics and what we say with our lips than He does about how our souls are responding to Him.  Well, happily we don’t have to be upset by the absurd lies that Paul puts out.  The man was a spiritual moron, and his teaching about spiritual matters was deeply flawed.  So if you want to know truth, don’t look to Paul.  Instead, ask Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to make you all that They want you to be, and They will.

FURTHER READING:
Romans 5: Paul Leads Us Astray on Sin & the Character of Yahweh
Romans 6: Paul Baptizes Christians Into Despair
Salvation According to Paul: If You Sin, You’re Damned (Romans 7-8)
Applying 1 Corinthians 1: A Church in Crisis
Know Your Bible Lesson 77: Debunking the Conversion of Paul
The Great Offense of Paul: Rejecting the Divinity of Christ
The Inner Room: Understanding How God Judges You
Understanding Divine Judgment: Illumination, Empowerment & A God Who Delights In Mercy
Soul Attitudes That Please God: What They Are & How We Develop Them
Understanding Salvation: How We Find the Real Gods & The Irrelevance of Titles

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: