Paul’s Success Story?

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This post was prompted by a Believer who made the following blog comment … “The Christ Jesus preached didn’t force himself on anyone…” My immediate response was wait! Jesus didn’t “preach” Christ, he WAS the Christ (at least according to the bible).

It was then I decided to write this post and share a segment from my book (see my blog Menu) related to why the title “Christ” happened to be tagged onto this Jewish guy who wandered the Israeli countryside. It’s from Chapter 4, “Paul: A Man with a Mission”:

Jesus’ Makeover

To the followers of “the Way,” Jesus was the human messiah God had promised. Although they were devastated after his untimely death, the reported after-death sightings revived their hopes and convinced them he would soon return to set up God’s Kingdom.

To the mystery followers, Jesus was nothing more than a Jewish spiritual leader. His death was a mere blip on their radar. Their spiritual hopes for salvation and immortality rested in the mystical connections they formed with their various god-men. Knowing this, Paul began his crusade to reinvent Jesus and convince the Gentiles they could find what they were seeking in the resurrected man from Galilee.

What’s in a Name?

Drawing from his Greek leanings, Paul began referring to Jesus as the christos (Christ), thereby removing the Hebrew title of mashiach (messiah). Although both words mean “anointed one,” the use of the Greek title was more familiar to his intended converts and removed any reference to Jesus’ “Jewishness.” Some sources say christos also held the meaning of “one who is crowned with divinity.”

Paul also knew the mystery religion followers referred to their deities as kurios (“lord” in Greek), so he further assisted his cause by frequently using this title when he talked about Jesus (Lord Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus our Lord).

Bottom line is this: Yeshua was an itinerant preacher who came for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” in hopes of returning them to the true worship of Yahweh. Nothing more. That is … until Paul had his “remarkable” vision and gave him the title of “the Christ” in order to reach the mystery followers.

Who were these “mystery followers”? Again, from my book:

In the centuries leading up to the birth of Christianity, various “Mystery Religions” spread and flourished throughout the ancient Mediterranean world.

At the core of these mystery religions was the belief in a dying-rising savior who sacrificed himself in order to give his followers eternal life. He was usually the offspring of a divine-human union and nearly always possessed special powers, including the ability to work miracles. After death, he either returned to life or triumphed over his enemies. (Remember, these religions were in place before Christianity.)

Not all Gentiles were a part of this mystery religion movement, but many of them were; in fact, enough of them that it behooved Paul to appeal to them in his efforts to conceive a new and acceptable version of that Jewish fellow known as Yeshua.

Did he succeed? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

22 thoughts on “Paul’s Success Story?

  1. Well, yeah, I can see that. It’s only with tongue half in cheek when I suggest Jesus’ admonishment to keep it the closet was a wink wink nod nod attempt at clueing his clueless disciples in on the joke: pray in secret and in secret your god will hear you.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I forgot to add that these “god-men” of the mystery religions had many different names:

    In Egypt, he was Osiris; in Greece, Dionysus; in Asia Minor, Attis; in Syria, Adonis; and in Italy, Bacchus. In the Greco-Roman communities where Paul preached, Mithras was the most popular god-man.

    Any of these sound familiar?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Totally familiar. And furthermore, they are all taken either 1) completely out of their verified historical context, and 2) essentially dismissed by modern “Christian Apologists” heavily favoring NOT Yeshua’s teachings from the Jewish Tannaim (Mishnaic) Period (10 — 220 CE), but instead a much more Hellenistic, or Greco-Roman tradition inline with the Herodian Saul/Paul’s epileptic bizarre theology that MOST Romans could identify with more easily.

      Liked by 2 people

    • 😇 In high school, we founded a drama club, and actually were allowed to be named “The Bacchus Club,” because Bacchus is said to have an affinity for the performing arts. We nerds ROFL’d with that, even as we all attended church each weekend. 😂
      I don’t know what that adds, but that’s what I got. ☮

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Basically, there is NOTHING extant from Yeshua bar Yosef’s rabbinical reforms & teaching he sought for his Homeland, Late Second Temple Judaism/Messianism—as understood inside and framed in hardcore Mishnaic Tannaitic Judaism, which was CLEARLY Yeshua’s (Jesus’) background. None of this historicity is clear or revealed in today’s Greco-Roman (Hellenistic) New Testament. In fact, there are NO Hebrew—much less Mishnaic spoken/written testaments of Yeshua’s reforms & teachings—in existence today that SOMEWHAT resembles halfway what a 1st century reforming Rabbi of the Tannaitic/Essene/Nasara or Nazirite Jewish sect, like Yeshua/Jesus, would have preached.

    But do modern Protestant or Roman Catholic apologists want to hear or listen to any of this, much less EQUITABLY EXAMINE this Tannaitic Jewish historicity that Jesus/Yeshua was absolutely consumed into? Hell tha effin no! 😄

    Hence, the big, bogus lie of Greco-Roman Christendom continues and lives on… fooling completely gullible, uneducated “Christians”™ and their ROMAN (not Jesus-Jewishness) theology. What a very sad scam they’ve fallen victim to. 🤦‍♂️

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I’ve been looking for a true leader. Long experience has taught me that leaders don’t want their followers to know anything and the followers don’t want to know anything.
    Is there some disagreement that Paul was an excellent salesman?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. If you don’t think God responsible for or interested in us, okay. End of discussion. Yet if Jesus was the Christ then of course he preached himself; he preached the gospel. He voiced his Father’s plea: ‘Return.. I came to you.. come unto me.’


    • You miss the point, Arnold. Jesus was NOT “the Christ” until Paul began calling him that. Moreover, Jesus was already “gone” by the time Paul began writing his epistles so how could he “preach himself ” as the Christ — a name that PAUL gave to him?

      You really need to study the history of the New Testament and not just accept what you’ve been told.

      Liked by 1 person

      • plus we have no idea what Jesus said or did. The Gospels which purport to do this we’re written after Paul’s entry onto the scene, I thought????

        Liberals need to remember this also when repeating the “Conservatives don’t follow Jesus” tropes. How do they know that? They can’t anymore than fundies can know Jesus hates the gays.

        Liked by 2 people

        • It is not a bad story. I’ve heard it a thousand times and I have never heard it told that had Jesus hating anyone. There is even a part where he heals an injury to an arresting officer on the eve of his death.
          Knowing there’s the rub, at 70 I know so much I know nothing at all.


        • Jesus may not hate anyone, but the Greco-Roman religion that purportedly speaks in his name sure does! And they certainly claim to speak in his name, and he hates the same people thy do.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes Arnold, history is often presented as a story, however there is also a scientific approach and a method to study what really happened and why. It is that method, that we need to pay attention to, or else the lesson learned is only what the most captivating storyteller wants to tell us. Be it propaganda, lies, indoctrination, or beautifull, but unfounded fables.


        • I think God narrows it all down in the person of Jesus Christ. The authors and stories and dates and theologies are forever questioned but I understand the general message from Christ. I’m with him.


        • I think God narrows it all down in the person of Jesus Christ. Huh! I would never have known this had you not put it into your comment!

          Enough, already, Arnold. I appreciate your presence on my blog, but please lay off the preaching. Thanks.


  6. Paul succeeded in alienating most Jews from the Christian sect. His account was more approachable to the Mystery religions and especially to Mithrans, than to the Jews. Mithras cult being very popular among the legions and confusion between Christian teaching and Mithran teaching (mystery is a perfect soil for confusion) led to Christianity enjoying political power within the military in an era of civil unrest and internal war in the Roman Empire. It was recognized and utilized by Constantine the Great, who himself never converted to either, but put the Christian priesthood to power in order to secure his own. A populist politician using the media of congregations and an existing political hierarchy and creating a support base of fanatics for himself by promising protection in a turbulent time, nothing much else. Unfounded and obscure promises seem to appeal to scared people. We can see the same phenomenon in the world today. He propably said something about making Rome great again, just prior to moving the capital to Constantinople…

    As for Paul, he was an obvious liar and a charlatan. In the New Testament he claims to have met Jesus, when what he really means is he has “met” Jesus in a dream. Yeah, right, and I have met Gandhi – in a dream.

    Liked by 3 people

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