Paul the Magician:
Thomas 68: Jesus said: Blessed are you when you are hated and persecuted, and they will find no place where you have been persecuted.
Perhaps the most revealing and chilling statements about Paul are two very similar paragraphs found in Acts separated by a story about someone called "Simon the Magician" It starts with the story of the stoning of Stephen, led by Paul, (Saul), not long after Jesus was killed. And how Paul then slaughtered the followers of Jesus locally, and then went abroad to finish them off:
"7:57But they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed at him with one accord. 7:58They threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 7:59They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit!" 7:60He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, don't hold this sin against them!" When he had said this, he fell asleep.
8:1Saul was consenting to his death. A great persecution arose against the assembly which was in Jerusalem in that day. They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. 8:2Devout men buried Stephen, and lamented greatly over him. 8:3But Saul ravaged the assembly, entering into every house, and dragged both men and women off to prison. 8:4Therefore those who were scattered abroad went around preaching the word."
["...Simon the Magician Story..."]
"9:1But Saul, still breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 9:2and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem."
Sure looks obvious the two parts of the Paul story were once connected. The second one seamlessly takes up where the first leaves off. Paul killed all the followers of Jesus locally, and then went abroad to finish them off. And notice how both mention he murdered the women too? A familiar theme with Paul. The Simon the Magician story was stuck in between them for some reason. For close to 2000 years, some people have thought that Simon the Magician was actually Paul. They were right. He's pictured as an enemy of James and Peter, like Paul even after his "conversion". And he's pictured as debating against them, of being in competition, as was Paul. Of pretending to be converted, but actually was a "in the gall of bitterness and the bondage of iniquity." In fact, you could say it takes up where 9:2 above leaves off. In which case, after Paul kills all the local followers of Jesus, and all the non-local followers of Jesus he could, in a foreign land, he then went about debating, disputing what the followers of Jesus (James, Peter, etc.) said, and took over the religion. Chilling. Here's the beginning of the Simon the Magician story, taking up where 9:2 above left off:
"8:9But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one, 8:10to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is that great power of God." 8:11They listened to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his sorceries. 8:12But when they believed Philip preaching good news concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 8:13Simon himself also believed. Being baptized, he continued with Philip. Seeing signs and great miracles occuring, he was amazed.
8:14Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 8:15who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit; 8:16for as yet he had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. 8:17Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 8:18Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, 8:19saying, "Give me also this power, that whoever I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit." 8:20But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 8:21You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart isn't right before God. 8:22Repent therefore of this, your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 8:23For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.""
Needless to say, plenty of people have thought all along that Simon was really Paul(Saul). (Althought some took the story to be about something like Merlin the Magician.) The Clementine Homilies, from the second century, thinks it's Paul. It's an informal story about Simon the Magician having this competition with Peter abroad. It also has a story, where it actually uses the name Saul(Paul) to say he broke the legs of James by tossing him off the top of the Temple stairs. (Hegesippus says James died from being tossed off a "pinnacle" a high point of the Temple.)
15 ส.ค. 50 09:05:38