Book Review

 

Jesus' Words Only

 

  

Here is a book that I hope will be causing a major uproar in Christianity in the days to come. Its writing is literally centuries overdue. The author, D. D. Tondo, a professional attorney, revives the nearly 2000-year-old cold case against Paul's supposed apostleship and his unique anti-Law-of-Moses doctrine. It is a case that was first begun by Paul's own contemporary James, the brother of the Lord and leader of the first church in Jerusalem. Observant readers of of the book of Acts have noticed that the question brought by James to Paul concerning his teaching against the Law of Moses was never settled! Many have noticed that James was in full support of the Law of Moses, while Paul obviously taught against it... and yet Paul went and involved himself in a purification rite that included animal sacrifice in a deliberate attempt to deceive James into believing he too was in full agreement with the ongoing validity of the Law of Moses. In the middle of his charade, Paul was arrested, and the remainder of the book of Acts is a record of events that surrounded Paul as he headed off to Rome to be tried by Caesar for his troublemaking in Jerusalem. 

Mr. Tondo picks up where we were cut off from history. In his case against Paul, there is no stone left unturned, and no argument in support of Paul's supposed apostleship that is left un-addressed. The author exposes the fact that Paul's claim of apostleship was taken presumptuously and went unrecognized by the 12 apostles that the Lord had specifically chosen and trained for over three years to be his official witnesses. 

Mr. Tondo accurately displays the gross differences in the teachings and doctrines of Paul over that of the Lord. He also goes on to make the solid case that it was Paul who Yahshua (Jesus) referred to when he spoke to the Ephesian church as recorded by the apostle John in Revelation 2:2. Here, Yahshua commended the Ephesians for rejecting someone who had claimed to be his apostle and was not. This is something I have also taught since the beginning of my site over ten year ago.  

Mr. Tondo also handles this case very thoughtfully and realistically and does not go off into wild accusations of conspiracy on Paul's part. His position is the same as mine in that we both believe Paul had a real conversion experience on the road to Damascus, but he was never commissioned to be an apostle. Because of his pride, Paul went very wrong. Mr. Tondo beautifully demonstrates the parallels between Paul and Balaam, a prophet who was also on his way to curse God's people when he was confronted by heavenly vision. Balaam converted and spoke much good for a while, but then went terribly wrong. If it can happen to Balaam, and numerous others, why not Paul?  

Mr. Tondo makes many additional excellent points that tie it all together into a masterful prosecution that would stand up in court today. I dare say no impartial juror would consider acquitting Paul after hearing Doug's case. On a couple of occasions while reading this book, I thought Mr. Tondo was getting out on a limb with what I considered a tenuous new argument only to find that after staying with him a little longer, he pulled it all together with other facts that proved his point. 

If you have ever had any doubts about something Paul said, this book is a must-read for you. By the end of it, you too will agree that the only words in the NT that should be elevated to the status if "Infallible Word of God" are the words of Yahshua (Jesus) alone, and all others must comply with his teaching.  


Naturally, since no two people are going to agree on everything, there are a couple of things Mr. Tondo states with which I would respectfully disagree.  

At the time of the publication of JWO Mr. Tondo held to the "Oneness" doctrine... the teaching that Yahshua (Jesus) is God the Father Himself. He has since had a change of heart on this issue. The doctrine is only alluded to a time or two in his book and is not a major... or even significant premise in his case against Paul. Those familiar with my site know that I do not subscribe to the "Oneness" doctrine. (See my debate, and statement of faith) I mention this out of concern for Jewish people who are particularly offended by this doctrine. If you come from a Jewish background, be assured, you can read this book and look beyond this doctrine that is only briefly mentioned ...knowing the author himself does not subscribe to it anymore, and see the truth concerning Paul. The fact is, the Jewish person will find far more truth in this book confirming him and the nation of Israel, and will clearly see that it was Paul's doctrine that is primarily responsible for the schism that has existed between Judaism and Christianity.

The second point of difference is that I believe Mr. Tondo occasionally comes across too strong on the hellfire threat. Again, those familiar with my site know I believe there are two books of life. If you are not familiar with my position on salvation, please see my chapter Heaven or Hell, What's at Stake .

The last significant difference I have with Mr. Tondo concerns the Trophimus incident. In chapter 5, Mr. Tondo asserts that the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. was due to its defiling by a Gentile named Trophimus. Though it is evident that Trophimus did indeed enter the temple under Paul’s direct doctrinal influence, I do not believe it was the reason for the temple’s destruction. In Luke19:41-44, Yahshua said the destruction would occur “… because you did not know the time of your visitation.”  For my personal take on the Trophimus incident, please see short article below.

It is of utmost importance for me to stress that these differences have no bearing on the main thrust of Mr. Tondo's book. They are relatively insignificant. I very highly recommend this book to anyone, especially if you have ever had a question about Paul. I believe Mr. Tondo's book is the very next book everyone should read right after reading the Bible. It should be required reading for every seminary student. 

If you would like to order Jesus' Words Only, it can be purchased at Amazon at the following link,     

   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0741429659/sr=8-1/qid=1143570837/ref=sr_1_1/104-3100364-4603935?_encoding=UTF8  

And if it is not available at the time, it can be purchased directly from the publisher at http://www.bbotw.com/ At this site, you may have to do an ISBN search. This number is 0-7414-2965-9

So go ahead and order this great book, and while you wait for it to be delivered, please read more at my site. 

 

Scott Nelson


The Trophimus incident 

 

In Acts 21:26-31 is recorded the account of Paul's arrest for ostensibly bringing a Gentile into the temple. The "Jews from Asia" were obviously well aware of what Paul had been teaching the Gentiles in Ephesus, a major city in Asia. They might even have had copies of Paul's letter to the Ephesians in hand intending to present them to the Jerusalem Messianic elders. According to Luke's record, these Jews knew who Trophimus (the Ephesian Gentile) was. When Paul was in the temple under orders of James with four Nazirites during their purification rite, these Jews leveled the following accusation against him. 

"Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place, and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place." 

Immediately after this in verse 29, Luke makes this interesting quasi-defense of Paul.

“For they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.” 

This defense of Paul trips over itself. It would be absurd to suggest that anyone, simply having seen Paul with a Gentile in the city, would presume to accuse him of actually bringing the Gentile into the temple ...unless that Gentile had been caught in the temple and there was evidence that Paul was responsible for his being there. Seeing a Jew with a Gentile outside the temple was no evidence in itself at all! Jews and Gentiles mingled outside the temple all the time! 

It is evident from Luke's statement that Trophimus had indeed been caught in the temple for the following reasons:

  1. No one would have confused any of the Nazarites who were with Paul in the temple for a Gentile. 

  2. If no Gentile had been in the temple it would have been Paul’s first defense and Luke certainly would have recorded it. 

  3. The fact that Luke is compelled to even mention Trophimus by name is telling. Obviously, he was the one being prosecuted for being in the temple. If Trophimus had not been in the temple, there would have been no need to name names.  

  4. Neither Luke nor anyone else denies that Trophimus in particular had been in the temple. 

  5. Luke only tries to put distance from the idea that Paul had physically ushered Trophimus into the temple by saying they only " supposed” it. 

That Trophimus was an Ephesian and Paul's friend is not in question. How Trophimus had come to believe he had some right to enter the temple on his own accord is what tells the rest of the story. It could hardly be more obvious where Trophimus got the idea in light of what we know Paul had been teaching the Ephesians. In his epistle to the Ephesians Paul had written these words. 

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands--that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens form the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division1 between us, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in himself one new man form the two, thus making peace, and that he might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And he came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, Therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,2 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.  
Ephesians 2:11-22

1 "the middle wall of division" is a direct reference to the wall in the temple that separated the court of the Gentiles from the court of Israel. 
2 "members of the household of God" is an indisputable reference to those who have the right to worship in the temple. 

Thus Trophimus boldly went where no Gentile was supposed to go! When he was caught and interrogated, his immediate defense would have been along the lines of:

  “…but Paul said there is no difference between Jew and Gentile anymore ...the wall of division in the temple is meaningless ...I am an equal member of the household of God!” 

This would explain several things: 

  1. It explains why Paul was held responsible for a Gentile being in the temple ...even though he may not have physically ushered him in. 

  2. It explains the subsequent uproar in all of Jerusalem against Paul. 

  3. It also perfectly explains why James never did come to Paul’s rescue after this when he certainly had the standing to do so as the leader of "many myriads of Jews"... and he certainly would have if it were all just a simple misunderstanding. 

Prior to this incident James had confronted Paul concerning the anti-Moses rumors that were going around about him, and effectively made it known to him that they had better not be true. James was the one who had sent Paul to the temple for the very purpose of giving him opportunity to prove to everyone the rumors were not true and that he continued to abide by and teach the Law (see Acts 21:18-25). James could have calmed the crowd by explaining everything and assuring the people that Paul had not brought a Gentile into the temple. But after Trophimus defiled the temple and defended himself with Paul's teachings, and the Jews from Asia testified that Paul had indeed been teaching such things (and quite possibly documented the fact with a copy of Paul's letter to the Ephesians), James could not defend Paul any longer. There was no question anymore.  The rumors were true. Paul had in fact been teaching  “…against the people, the Law, and this place…”! 

 

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