This is the first part of a three-part teaching series in which we will explore the similarities and differences between the prophets of the Tanakh and the Apostle Paul.
In this first part, we will look solely at the similarities between what they did and how they did it.
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- Both the prophets and Paul had a calling from above. The prophets were chosen by God to take his message to the people, whereas Paul was chosen by Yeshua (Acts 9) to be his spokesman in order that people may come to know Yeshua is the Messiah.
- Both served to bring the people into closer communion with God. The prophets would warn the people regarding their sins and that they must return to God by being obedient to the Torah. Paul would prove to the people that Yeshua was the Messiah through his extensive knowledge of the Tanakh.
- Both the prophets and Paul talked extensively about the Messiah. The prophets prophesied about what the Messiah would do and how to recognize him, and Paul showed the people, by reviewing Yeshua’s ministry and teaching, as well as the many miracles he performed, that Yeshua was, indeed, the Messiah, having done what the prophets said the Messiah would do.
- All of the prophets were Jews, representative of different tribes from both the Northern and Southern kingdoms. Paul was also a Jew, being from the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1).
- The prophets and Paul all knew the Torah and were able to teach the people, many of whom may not have been that learned about the Torah, what it said they were required to do.
- It is obvious that the prophets were influential in changing the attitudes and behavior of the people, although not always. Paul, as well, was very influential in proving the truth about Yeshua, as well as changing the behavior of people, especially in his ability to minister to the Gentiles (although this will be covered in part 2 of the series.)
- One of the unfortunate similarities between the prophets and Paul is that they both often suffered persecution by those they were trying to save. Some of these forms of persecution were to be thrown into a cistern (Jeremiah 38), ridiculed (2 Kings 2:23), slandered (Amos 7:10; Romans 3:8), ignored (Isaiah 30:10; Acts 21:36), physically abused (1 Kings 22:24; 2 Corinthians 11:24), beaten (Jeremiah 37:15; Acts 16:22), and even stoned (Acts 14:19– fortunately, Paul recovered.)
- The prophets and Paul performed miracles to show that they were, in truth, empowered supernaturally by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Some of these miracles included changing poisoned water into drinkable (2 Kings 2:19), making it rain after years of draught (1 Samuel 12:18), bringing the dead back to life (1 Kings 17; Acts 20), and healing from sickness (2 Kings 5; Acts 28), to name a few.
- Both the prophets and Paul also were given understanding of the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) and were able to tell the people what to expect when God’s Day of Judgement was upon them.
- The prophets and Paul also chided the people for their lack of proper worship, instructing them in the way they should worship the God of their Fathers, and not to do as the local people’s did.
- Finally, both talked extensively about salvation. When they talked about proper worship, living as God wanted them to live, and about the Messiah, the bottom line of all they preached was about salvation.
You may be thinking that the other disciples of Yeshua also had many, if not all, of these things in common with the prophets, and that is true. However, Paul is the only one we read about who traveled extensively throughout the territory of both the Jews and the Gentiles, bringing this word of God to them and teaching everyone about the Messiah. This is one other thing that Paul and the prophets had in common- they were never always in one place, traveling all over the known world, bringing the Word of God and knowledge of the Messiah to everyone who would listen- even to those who wouldn’t.
The next lesson in this series will look at the differences between the prophets and Paul, and I think that many of you will find that a little disturbing, but I ask you to please review it with an open mind, not relying on the traditional teachings of your religion or denomination. Try to be open to the idea that what has always been considered scripture has, in truth, always been what a group of men said is scripture.
That being said, I look forward to our next lesson.
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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!