Acts 8:1-3 “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and hailing men and women and committed them to prison.”
There was a great persecution in Jerusalem. The Jews wanted to put an end to the Christians, so they tried to arrest them all and to put them to death.
Acts 9:1-9 “And Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? And he said, Who are you Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: It is hard for you to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will you have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do. And the men that journeyed with them stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight; neither did he eat or drink.”
This is the original version of what happened. We accept this into evidence of what Paul’s conversion experience was like. When Paul was later arrested in Jerusalem, he gave this very same version in his testimony before the Jews in the temple.
Acts 22:7-10 “And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and I answered, Who are you Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spoke to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go unto Damascus; and there it shall be told you of all things which are appointed for you to do.”
In the original version the men who were with Paul heard a voice, but saw no man. (Acts 9:7). In the latter version Paul said these men saw the light, “but they heard NOT the voice of him that spoke to me.” (Acts 22:9). In both versions, Jesus told Paul to go into Damascus and it would be told him there what he must do. In both versions only Paul fell to the ground, the other men remained standing. Now when Paul gives his testimony to King Agrippa, he says, “And when we were all fallen to the earth.” And now Jesus doesn’t tell him to go into Damascus, but Jesus personally tells him what he should do right there in the road. Jesus adds, “And in those things in the which I will appear unto you”, promising to appear to Paul on future occasions, to tell him more things.
Acts 26:14-18 “And when we were all fallen unto the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who are you Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom you persecute. But rise, and stand upon your feet: for I have appeared unto you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto you; delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send you, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
In the previous two versions, Jesus said none of this added part. In the original version it was the disciple Ananias who Jesus told “Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16).
In Paul’s first testimony, Ananias told him, “The God of our father’s has chosen you, that you should know his will, AND SEE THAT JUST ONE, and should hear the voice of his mouth. For you shall be his witness unto all men of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:14-15).
When people change their testimony in a court of law, it is called perjury, and the testimony is no longer admissible. I can reach no other conclusion than that Paul lied giving his testimony. He changed his testimony several times. The original version had to be his own testimony to Luke, who wrote the book of Acts. So the entire thing all came from the mouth of Paul, and he kept changing what actually happened. How can I accept what Paul says as being God’s Word, when it is obvious that Paul is lying.
Paul gave more testimony in 1 Corinthians 9:1 “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?”
1 Corinthians 15:8 “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”
Here Paul says he has SEEN Jesus. In the three versions of Paul’s conversion experience, he said he only saw a light.
Let us look at appearances of Jesus after his resurrection.
Matthew 28:9 “And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying. All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him.”
Matthew 28:16-17 “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, unto a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted.”
Luke 24:13-16 “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, that while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were blinded that they should not know him.”
Luke 24:36-40 “And as they thus spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your heart? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.”
John 20:14 “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.”
John 20:19-20 “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”
John 20:26-27 “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst,and said, peace be unto you. Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither your finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.”
John 21:4 “But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”
Revelation 1:13-16 “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were like a flame of fire; and his feet were like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shines in his strength.”
In all of these appearances Jesus was clearly seen and he looked human like. John “was in the spirit on the Lord’s day” and saw into the spirit realm. Even then, Jesus was clearly seen. In none of these appearances was there a “bright light brighter than the noon day sun.” In none of these appearances was there just a bright light and they could “see no man.” When the angel of the Lord appeared “His countenance was like lightening, and his raiment white as snow.” (Matthew 28:3).
Paul said some things that might be helpful.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Listen carefully to the interpretation to this parable.
Matthew 13:37-43 “He answered and said unto them, he that sowed good seed is the Son of man; and the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; and the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
This is a parable about the kingdom of God. Both good seed and tares grow side by side in the kingdom. “And they shall gather out of his KINGDOM all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.” These are all professing Christians. How can this be? To help you understand a little better, Jesus had a flock of twelve disciples. All of them followed Jesus, were his close associates, lived by faith, preached the gospel, healed the sick, etc. Yet one of them was a devil, Judas Iscariot. The Son of man sowed the good seed. Here is what I do not yet understand, yet it is right here before our eyes. The tares, the children of the wicked one, WERE SOWN BY THE DEVIL. The children of the kingdom had a conversion experience. It was a TRUE conversion experience. The children of the wicked one ALSO HAD A CONVERSION EXPERIENCE, but it was a FALSE one. So what this is saying is, that churches are full of people that have had conversion experiences. Some are true and some are false. Some are the children of the kingdom and some are the children of the wicked one. They are growing side by side in church. All those who do iniquity are children of the devil. One day they will be gathered out of God’s kingdom and cast into a furnace of fire. Jesus spoke of a church like this.
Revelation 3:1, 4 “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things says he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead. You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.”
So here they grew side by side in the church of Sardis, most were dead, and a few were still alive.
So was Paul’s conversion experience a true one or a false one? Did he really meet Jesus in the light, or was it satan as an angel of light? Was he planted by the Son of man? or, was he planted by the evil one? Does it sound far fetched? Judas was Jesus’ disciple. Judas left all to follow Jesus; he lived by faith; he healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, and raised the dead, just as the other disciples; he stayed with Jesus unto the end; he suffered persecution; he was so much like the other disciples, that when after living with the other disciples for over three years, at the last supper, when Jesus said, “One of you will betray me,” they had no clue it was Judas, and each said, “Is it I?” As far as anyone was concerned, Judas was a fine Christian man. Yet it turned out that Judas was a devil, and the son of perdition. Paul had nothing on Judas. Judas performed all sorts of miracles, signs, and wonders. Judas paid dearly to be a disciple of Jesus. He suffered persecution and homelessness. He left home, lands, and family to follow Jesus. Judas was a man of faith and was Jesus’ trusted treasurer, keeping the money bag. Jesus said false prophets come to you as wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Matthew 7:15).
So don’t tell me Paul couldn’t have been a false apostle. He wasn’t much different than Judas, and Judas had EVERYBODY convinced that he was a true disciple of Jesus, even the 11 apostles. If Judas could have deceived and tricked the 11 apostles, then Paul could have done it too. Remember that the 11 apostles were 100% deceived by Judas.So if they had been deceived by Judas while in the presence of Jesus Christ, then certainly they could have been deceived by Paul when Jesus was no longer physically with them. And If the apostles could be deceived, then how much more ordinary theologians who decided what books belong in our New Testament. Truth cuts, hurts, and wounds, but truth also delivers, heals and sets us free.
Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you who work iniquity.”
A devil like Judas could do EVERYTHING just like all of the true disciples. When the plants are young, wheat and tares cannot be seen as having any differences. At the beginning Peter gave the right hand of fellowship to Paul. After many years of seeing the results of Paul’s epistles, and how they brought destruction to the lives of many people, Peter warned us very strongly about them.