And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist,[G500] whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
1 John 4:3 KJV
Thank you, my dear friend for the moment of fellowship. I always appreciate our Scriptural dives. As to the matter of the Apostle Paul’s authorship, I believe there are two primary reasons the ‘spirit of antichrist’ (1Jo 4:3 – ‘antichristos’ Strong’s G500) targets in particular the apostle Paul’s writings.
- Volume of Authorship: In a sense the ‘NT Moses,’ Paul is the acknowledged author of at least 13 of 27 NT books; Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and maybe even Hebrews. To attack the letters of Paul is to subvert half of the NT – not to mention 1/5 of the entire Bible – in one fell swoop! So, it’s obvious to see that if one can get people to reject Paul, one has made major inroads in discounting the entire Bible. Simply put; getting rid of Paul would quickly send the entire Bible over the relativism cliff.
- Repudiation of the New World Religion: A considerable portion of Paul’s letters deal in some way with the repudiation of Gnosticism (so-called ‘Christian mysticism’ oxymoron) and Jewish mysticism (e.g. Talmud, Zohar, Kabbalah) and the legalism, asceticism etc. – traditions of men, a form of godliness, bodily discipline etc. – that comes along with both, ultimately leading people astray. For instance, Bible scholars generally agree that the entire book of Colossians directly confronts the syncretistic fusing [Theosophy] of Jewish legalism, [Talmud, Zohar, Kabbalah] Greek philosophic speculation, [Gnosticism] and Oriental mysticism. I would argue that every letter attributed to Paul in some way on some level repudiates some aspect of the Jewish mysticism / Gnosticism heresy which has swept the entire Western world. Even though scant few see it all around them, the dialectical [Marxist] march of the fundamentalist–modernist controversy continues on unabated.
In antiquity Alexandria was a major centre of the cosmopolitan religious movement called Gnosticism (today mainly remembered as a Christian heresy).
Additionally, speaking of the Jewish mysticism / Gnosticism heresy, here Paul’s authorship is particularly crucial. Being the scholarly Jew (Hebrew) we know him to be, no one would have been more aware of, familiar with, and indeed well-versed in the mystical ‘commandments, teachings, and traditions of men’ than Paul. An unimpeachable witness, he is undoubtedly the foremost subject matter expert. Any (Christian) who, prayerfully seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, search this matter out will be incontrovertibly substantiated and thus firmly reassured by the knowledge that Paul ‘knows whereof he speaks’ when addressing the issue(s).
There is also a glorious somewhat mysterious paradox at work here, not unlike those of which Paul writes (e.g. Rom 11:25). God sends Paul to the gentiles and Peter to the Jews (Gal 2:7-8) so ‘no man may boast’ (or say ‘sure Paul evangelized the Jews – because he’s a Jew’s Jew!’) and He alone gets the glory (1 Cor 1:24-31). But, at the same time, for those who genuinely seek reassurance (not vanity) whenever the time arises, this subtle implicit message is ‘hidden’ by the Holy Spirit, in plain sight. And still God is glorified, because it’s not Paul who’s ‘saying it,’ the ‘quiet part out loud,’ as they say these days, but the Holy Spirit who reveals it and testifies of God’s own magnificence, glory, faithfulness, and perfection. Praise the Lord, God is amazing!
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9–11 KJV
And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places],
Ephesians 1:19–20 KJV