Damascus Road: Part A

Everything in this conversation seems to hinge on whether or not Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus. As mentioned before, some might concede that perhaps Paul isn't an apostle on level with the twelve, "But," they say, "Jesus specially commissioned him on the road to Damascus and used him in a powerful way to shape Christianity as we know it...almost the whole New Testament is comprised of Paul's writings!" They think these two things are the crowning proofs of his legitimacy. Is this so? It will just so happen that after this study, everything else presented on this website is mere icing on the cake. We already looked at our criterion for making our case; we already studied what an apostle is, and who the twelve real apostles are. All that's left is to examine Paul's own testimony and his claims in light of Jesus' own words and we should have a solid enough case to determine judgment.

Our journey down the Damascus Road actually begins with things Jesus said. This needs to frame our understanding of what might have taken place or not on that road. Let's make this easy and answer this question: "Did Jesus come back to earth and directly talk to Paul?"

Jesus said after his resurrection and ascension into Heaven that he wouldn't personally be seen until his Second Coming.[1] In recent discussions, people have suggested Paul didn't actually see Jesus but rather "had a vision." But, this is a desperate attempt at ignoring basic statements uttered by Jesus. We must keep in mind what Jesus told us:[2]

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Jesus very plainly said if any man shall say, "Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not." He makes the point that there shall arise "false Christs" and "false prophets"--these will do many great signs and wonders, and they will claim to have personally seen him after he is gone. Let's now look at what a "Christ" and "Prophet" is.

"Christ" is khris-tos', "From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus." A messiah is an anointed person.

"Prophet" is prof-ay'-tace, "From a compound of G4253 and G5346; a foreteller (“prophet”); by analogy an inspired speaker; by extension a poet: - prophet." A prophet is "an inspired speaker" or even, in the basic sense, a teacher of God's word.

Certainly, if we re-visit Stewarts' article, we'll find Paul is claiming to be an "inspired speaker" and "anointed person," someone privileged to not only have seen Jesus Christ but sent by him (given apostleship). Any person well read on Paul knows Paul made such claims, and did so fervently to protect his "apostleship." In other words, Paul himself claims to have encountered the ascended/ glorified Jesus--something Jesus himself said to beware of; in addition to Paul's claim ("Lo! Here is Christ..."), Paul was supposedly endued with the ability to perform signs and wonders as proof positive of his apostleship and was a "prophet" (teacher) in various churches. Can you understand why we should seriously inquire about Paul's legitimacy in light of Jesus' own words? In light of Peter's correct application of prophecy concerning apostleship? As we'll see, Paul's own testimony has several incongruences. This matters for the simple fact that if you're going to claim apostleship based on a testimony such as Paul's, you would think there were none. Don't details matter? In Part B, we'll put Paul's words to the test.  


[1] John 16:10

[2] Matthew 24:23-28


This is an on going study and is subject to revisions.