“I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. “ – 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 NASB
I have often wondered what was meant here by “preaches another Jesus“. I think I thought this was referring to a different messiah, but quite honestly I can’t remember now. That’s because I think I now understand what this is talking about.
Have you ever run into someone who knows a family member of yours but didn’t know you were related to them? And have they ever started talking about this family member, describing them to you in such a way that you didn’t even recognize who they were talking about because that’s not your personal experience with him/her? That is exactly what I’m thinking this “preaches another Jesus” is referring to.
Paul knew the Scriptures…inside and out. He was a very knowledgeable man: a Pharisee of Pharisees. Peter refers to this knowledge when he issues his warning in 2 Peter 3:16 concerning Paul’s writings:
“as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
It is clear to me that Peter was right.
After his illuminating Road to Damascus experience, Paul preached in the synagogues from the Scriptures (Old Testament) about the Messiah, and how Jesus was that hope they all had been waiting for. [Acts 13:13-48; 17:2-3; 18:4,5; 28:23]
Now, I’m not going to attempt to teach 2 Corinthians 11 in the context of that culture, but I am going to address something I’m seeing in our present day culture that I believe this passage is directly speaking to.
The more I read my Bible, particularly the Old Testament, the more I’m noticing that the Jesus I heard so much about in my Christian upbringing does not sound like the Jesus Paul preached about.
1. The Jesus I learned about growing up is identified as being born on Christmas morn.
But was he really born on December 25th? Certain facts pointed out in Luke 1:5, 23-45; 2:8 suggests it
was may have been early fall (sometime in September?) [food for thought]. Did Paul even preach about celebrating Jesus’ birth? Not that I can find.
2. The Jesus I learned about growing up is identified as dying on the cross on Good Friday and rising on Easter Sunday morning.
But did he really die on a Friday and rise on a Sunday?
According to Scripture Jesus prophecied about the length of his burial. In Matthew 12:40 (NIV) he says,
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
[EDIT 1/16/16: It was my understanding at the time of this writing this was a reference to Jesus’ time in the grave/tomb, but I have since come to learn that it is not. I published my findings regarding this in “When Was the Son of Man Raised from the Dead?” at Messyanic.com in 2014.]
We know his death and burial was just before a high sabbath,
“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” – John 19:31 KJV
and that when Mary came to the tomb in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, he was already gone.
“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.” – John 20:1-2 KJV (see also Matthew 28:1-6, Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-3)
[EDIT 1/16/16: It was my understanding at the time of this writing the phrase “the first day of the week” was a proper translation, but I have since come to learn that it may not be. Again, I shared what I found on this in “When Was the Son of Man Raised from the Dead?“]
Sometimes a high sabbath (annual sabbath) falls on a weekly Sabbath, but often it falls on another day of the week.
We know all of this took place during the Passover season. There are two annual
sabbaths days of holy convocation where no regular work is to be done to be recognized during this time: one on the first and one on the last days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:7-8). The first day is the day after Passover.
Unlike our current reckoning of a day starting at midnight, a day described in the Bible begins at
twilight/sundown the break of dawn, because God divided the light from the darkness and specifically called the light “Day”.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. – (Genesis 1:3-5a KJV)
“And the evening and the morning were the first day.” – Genesis 1:5b
[NOTE: I later learned the KJV is misleading in its translation of the Hebrew and published my study on this subject in When a Day Begins and Ends in 2014 at Messyanic.com.]
According to Scripture Jesus died in the afternoon and had to be buried before twilight.
We know the weekly sabbath is Saturday (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday). If we are to take Jesus’ words literally, 3 days and 3 nights would be exactly 72 hours later. If he was buried just before sundown, he had to be risen before sundown. If he was risen before sundown, then it had to be on the seventh day of the week. Because when Mary arrived at sunrise, the first day’s sundown hadn’t happened yet. Now if we work backwards 72 hours before his Sabbath resurrection from the grave, that would mean he was placed in the grave just before sundown on Wednesday. I believe this is the account of the Jesus whom Paul preached.
Paul referred to him as “our Passover
Lamb” in 1 Corinthians 5:7, which makes perfect sense. The Israelites were commanded to slaughter the lamb on the 14th day of the first month at twilight (Exodus 12:6). That same night they were commanded to eat the lamb… which would have been the start of the 15th day or the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread would have begun the next morning.
Paul referred to him as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and again in 15:23, “But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” This makes sense, too. The priest was commanded in Leviticus 23:10-11 to wave a sheaf of the first grain of the harvest before YHWH. This was to happen on the day after the Sabbath. When Mary was at the tomb the day after the Sabbath, Jesus appeared to her.
“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”” – John 20:17
He was not only going to his Father, but his God, YHWH.
I’m sure there is more Scripture pertaining to Jesus’ fulfillment concerning the Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread & Firstfruits. I’m still learning. But one thing is clear, the Jesus I learned about growing up who died on a Friday night and rose on a Sunday morning does not line up with Paul’s Jesus who died on Passover, was in the earth -his body seeing no decay (Acts 13:37)- during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, rose on the weekly Sabbath, and appeared before YHWH on Firstfruits.
[EDIT 1/16/16: After further study on this subject I am still not totally clear on the timing of Jesus’ death and resurrection as it relates to Passover, the Sabbath day, and the beginning of the count for the Feast of Weeks (a.k.a the Day of Firstfruits) but I do believe his death, burial and resurrection has some kind of connection with these holy days. Furthermore, I believe the math of Friday to Sunday does add up because Jesus is recorded in several places as saying the Son of Man would be killed and raised on the third day. But I don’t necessarily believe it was a Friday to Sunday.]
3. The Jesus I learned about growing up is identified with Sunday as being the “Lord’s Day”.
According to Scripture, Jesus said he was Lord of the Sabbath, referring to the weekly Sabbath (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28). There is absolutely no mention in Scripture of the first day of the week replacing the seventh-day Sabbath or a new honorary day for Jesus that I can find. I challenge anyone to produce it for me.
4. The Jesus I learned about growing up has no problem with breaking the Father’s commandment concerning the Sabbath day.
According to Scripture, Paul’s Jesus kept the Sabbath day commandment, and he never taught against his Father’s command – ever. Paul even wrote to the Colossians encouraging them to not let anyone judge them concerning the Sabbath days (Colossians 2:16). But the Jesus I learned about growing up is said to have either put away the weekly Sabbath rest or has already fulfilled the Sabbath rest with Hebrews 4 as the basis. I still cannot figure out how permission to ignore the Father’s commandment is derived from this passage.
5. The Jesus I learned about growing up has no problem with ignoring the LORD’s appointed feasts.
According to Scripture, Paul’s Jesus kept the feasts even when his life was in danger…so did Paul (John 7 and Acts 20:16;21). Paul specifically encouraged the Corinthians to keep the feasts with the understanding of Jesus’ part in them. And again, Paul’s Jesus kept the feasts not merely because he was a Jew, but because he was obedient to the will of the Father. Yet, the Jesus I learned about growing up has been distanced from these feasts, despite the fact that it’s clear from Scripture that these feasts are a picture of the redemption story, which the Messiah himself is in the process of fulfilling.
6. The Jesus I learned about growing up has no problem with eating pork and shrimp.
Paul’s Jesus obeyed the Father’s commands concerning consumption of unclean animals as outlined in Deuteronomy 14, and he never taught against them. When Peter saw a vision of a sheet of unclean animals being lowered from heaven and was told to kill and eat in Acts 10, he understood this was in violation of the Father’s command. He explained to Cornelius and others what the interpretation of the dream was and never indicated that the meaning was the putting away of the Father’s dietary command. Yet, the Jesus I learned about growing up gives permission to the gentiles to eat anything as long as they’re thankful for it using Romans 14 & 1 Timothy 4:4 as its basis.
From all these accounts it appears to me that much of Christianity is guilty of preaching another Jesus from what the Apostle Paul preached. I pray that those who have either unknowingly preached this Jesus or have put their faith in Him, would humble themselves to the Word of God, prayerfully reconsider what they believe, see whatever error there might be in their lives and repent. God is faithful to forgive.
I can attest to the fact that the Word of God (the entirety of it) opens up much wider when we discover the Jesus Paul preached. It’s like a whole new book! I can’t put it down. I wholeheartedly agree with David’s Psalm 119.
NOTE: Please understand this post describes my understanding of the Scripture at the time of this writing. If you see there is something I am missing in my understanding, please feel free to share it with me in love. I will be glad to hear other perspectives as I seek to remain teachable.
Revised 11/6/10 10:24PM – Changed all references of “Christian Jesus” to “the Jesus I learned about growing up”. Wrote another article to further clarify my position in this article.