Not One Stone Left On Another?

(Not One Stone Left On Another?) Bible Question.

Question:

“When Jesus was talking about the temple (Matthew 24), He says not one stone will be left upon another. If this is true, then how is the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) supposed to be part of the original temple?”

Answer:

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down. (Matthew 24:1, 2 , New American Standard Bible)

The stones of which Jesus spoke were the stones set in place during the rebuilding of the temple by King Herod (including the western wall), which is more commonly called “the Wailing Wall”.

What Jesus was saying, in the vernacular of the day, was that the temple would be destroyed when the Romans would lay siege to the city of Jerusalem. Of course, history records that this is exactly what happened. But that doesn’t mean that each stone would be completely separated from every other stone. His language merely says that the walls would be destroyed, and that was done.

How, then, is the Wailing Wall still intact? That is really rather simple. It has been rebuilt, when the “old city” was rebuilt in fifteenth century. Obviously, they did not go out and quarry new stones, but used the ones that were already there. They just put them back into place. Parts of that western wall are part of the wall that was there in Jesus’ day, especially that part of the wall that was underground (for foundation). But that does not nullify what Jesus said would occur, for the wall was destroyed.

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Questions About the Apostle Paul (Part 6 of 6)

Questions About the Apostle Paul. (Part 6 of 6) Bible Lesson. Bible Questions. Bible Contradictions?

I was recently asked to answer a series of questions about Paul. His claim to be an apostle, his authority as an apostle, his communication style (personality) and the supposed contradictions within the content of his messages are the reoccurring themes of the questions.

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If the “other Gospel” in Galatians 1:6 was not the very one taught by the original apostles James, Peter and John, why does Paul attack their character in Galatians 2?

Answer:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:6 – 9 (King James Version)

The “other gospel” was not the one taught by the apostles. The people spreading false teaching wanted to integrate portions of the Law of Moses with the Gospel. But their interest was not in encouraging observance of the Jewish law but simply in adding to their numbers any Galatians they swayed (Galatians 6:13).

Paul was very upset as he writes this letter. One can sense his tone in how he constructs his message. His direct and forceful personality/style of communicating is reflected in his emotions and concern for the Galatians Christians. He sensed a danger that could destroy the church’s faith.

Paul did not attack the character of James, Peter and John. To open Galatians 2:1 – 10 in another window or tab, click here.

The point of Paul’s recounting his contact with Christians in Jerusalem was to show that he was not beholden to the other apostles for their approval of his work. They did approve, but it was after the fact and only served to support the accuracy of what he preached.

Fourteen years after the first visit to Jerusalem, he went again (Galatians 2:1). Barnabas and Titus went with him. It was by revelation” that Paul went. He was not summoned by the leaders there, nor did he choose to go on his own; it was only by God’s leading that he went. While he was there, he communicated to the leaders privately the message that he was preaching, lest he had been in error on any point (verse 2).

As I stated in the previous post, the leaders of the church in Jerusalem had nothing to add to Paul’s presentation of the gospel. Although their reputation meant nothing to Paul, they supported him (Galatians 2:6). I can see how Paul’s choice of words and possibly his tone may come across to some as “attacking” or “belittling”. But he was just making the point that his work for Christ was independent from the other apostles.

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Some Closing Thoughts:

I want to thank the reader who posed the questions in this series of posts. I enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity to help others, especially when it concerns our spiritual understanding and obedience to God’s Word. I apologize for not getting to all the questions (about 6 remaining) but my schedule limited the number I could respond to. I also thank the rest of you for your patience through this 2-week exercise. Hopefully it was interesting and educational for you as well.

All New Testament servants of God are to be admired and appreciated if they had His approval. At the same time, we feel a special affinity for some. Other than Jesus, we probably admire Paul, Peter and Barnabas more than any other. Among the younger set, we admire Timothy, Titus and Stephen – and possibly John Mark, although we wish he had not disappointed us by aborting that first missionary journey.

However, Peter had his problems, and Paul’s earlier years left a lot to be desired. But who are we “to judge another’s servant” (Romans 14:4)? These men served God acceptably by redirecting their lives and coping successfully with struggles and sacrifices greater than we can imagine.

In one last nod to apostle Paul, apostle Peter wrote,

make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

– 2 Peter 3:14b – 18 (New International Version)

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Questions About the Apostle Paul (Part 5 of 6)

Questions About the Apostle Paul (Part 5 of 6). Bible Lesson. Bible Questions. Bible Contradictions?

I was recently asked to answer a series of questions about Paul. His claim to be an apostle, his authority as an apostle, his communication style (personality) and the supposed contradictions within the content of his messages are the reoccurring themes of the questions.

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Compare Galatians 2:7 to Acts 15:7. Who was the one that was to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles?

Answer:

Both Peter and Paul presented the Gospel to both Jewish and Gentile audiences throughout their careers.

. . . Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. – Acts 15:7 – 9 (New International Version)

In Acts chapters 10 and 11, God chose Peter to be the first apostle to proclaim the first Gospel message to the Gentiles. Paul was in attendance as Peter spoke the words of Acts 15. Barnabas and Paul spoke after Peter. . .

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.” – Acts 15:12 (New International Version)

Recalling the events of Acts 15, Paul told the Galatians,

As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.” – Galatians 2:6 – 10 (New International Version)

The widely respected leaders of the church in Jerusalem had nothing to add to Paul’s presentation of the gospel. Their reputation meant nothing to Paul. But for whatever it was worth, the leaders of the church in Jerusalem supported Paul. They understood that God had appointed and equipped Paul to preach to Gentiles just as He had appointed and equipped Peter to preach to Jews.

When James, Peter and John perceived the grace that God had given Paul to preach to the Gentiles, they accepted it as God’s work just as much as their commission to preach to the Jews was from God. They understood that they were all in fellowship, pursuing the work of Christ in different areas.

At the time of Saul’s (Paul’s) conversion, the Lord told Ananias. . .

“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” – Acts 9:15, 16 (New International Version)

Surveying the book of Acts, we can readily see Peter’s ministry essentially localized in Palestine. Paul’s ministry extended to areas of Galatia, Macedonia and Italy. He even had plans to travel to Spain (Romans 15:28).

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Why did Paul accuse Peter for “acting Jewish” around Jews and “acting Gentile” around Gentiles in Galatians 2:14, when Paul claims to do the same thing n 1 Corinthians 9:20 – 22?

Answer:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.” – 1 Corinthians 9:19 – 23 (New American Standard Bible)

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” – Galatians 2:11 – 14 (New American Standard Bible)

Notice what was involved in Peter’s case:

  • fear
  • hypocrisy
  • leading others astray
  • not acting in line with the gospel

Paul went on to say that both he and Peter were Jews. And no one is justified before God by works of law but by faith in Christ (Galatians 2:15, 16). Peter should have known better.

Notice what was involved in Paul’s case:

  • using circumstances and experiences to reach others with the gospel
  • to be obedient to the gospel
  • to share in the blessings of the gospel

People were (are) looking up to Peter and Paul because of their leadership positions as apostles. They both had to consider their freedoms in Christ, their rights as apostles and the example they set for others.

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Why did Jesus say in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” and then take it away from them in Galatians 2:7?

Answer:

The Great Commission was not taken away from the other apostles. The book of Acts is centered around Peter and Paul. And it is also true that 15 of the 22 books after Acts was written by Paul or Peter. Some of the other apostles were only named once in the New Testament record.

But let us remember a significant fact – importance cannot be equated with visibility in the work of the kingdom. Servants of the Master can quietly obey the Lord and bring glory to His name.

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