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Did Paul actually meet Jesus?

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In today's court of law any information given by a person that is contradictory is thrown out of the court, and the speaker who gave the information is discredited and cannot be taken as a reliable witness. In the case with of the apostle Paul, we find this to be the case when Paul talks about his supposed meeting with Jesus, he contradicts himself on the supposed meeting. In this article we shall quote the passages that bring into question the credibility of Paul's supposed meeting with Jesus.

The first mention of Paul meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus is mentioned in Acts 9: 1-7:

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came nearDamascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man

A few things to note, Paul is on a journey, he then sees a light and hears a voice, this voice is supposedly Jesus. Paul then asks Jesus what do you want me to do? The response by Jesus is for Paul to go to the city and it will be made known to him over there. Now lets read what Acts 26: 12-18:

Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.  But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me

Note the difference, in the first account Jesus tells Paul to go to the city to find out what he must do, in Acts 26 though, we see Jesus telling Paul what he must do. So which one is it? Will Paul know what his purpose is in the city? Or did he already know?

In fact in the account version of Acts 22: 5-10, there is no mention of Jesus telling Paul all of this information:

As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.  And I said, What shall I do, LORD? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do

This account agrees with the version of Acts 9, Acts 26 is the only different one in this case; Acts 26 contradicts Acts 9 and 22.

It is very easy to notice the contradiction, in Acts 9 and 22, Jesus tells Paul that he will know what to do in the city, in Acts 26 Jesus already tells Paul what he will do and mentions nothing about going to a city to find out. So which one is it? 

Moving on to other contradictions in the account. 

Acts 9: 1-7:

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man

So as we can see, Acts 9 verse 7 says that the men who accompanied Paul heard a voice, but saw no man, they saw nobody. Now let us compare this with Acts 22 5-9:

As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

In Acts 22 Paul says the men saw a light, but heard no voice. In Acts 9 Paul says the men so no man, but heard a voice

It doesn't end there; there is still another contradiction left and a logical fallacy, first the contradiction:

Acts 26: 12-14:

Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

The verse says that Paul and the men all fell down, easy to see and understand. Let us read what Acts 9 and 22 have to say.

Acts 9: 5-7 :

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man

Acts 9 says that the men did not fall to the ground, but stood speechless. No one fell down hence we have another contradiction. So which one was it? Did the men with Paul all fall down? Or did they stay standing? It doesn't end there, let us read Acts 22.

Acts 22:5-7:

As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

So we now see Paul saying that he fell, not everyone, but him alone, so Paul again contradicts himself. Which one is it? Acts 22 and 9 agree that only Paul fell, Acts 26 says that they all fell, which one is it? 

Another problem we find:

Acts 9: 1-9:

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
 

So as we can see, the supposed light that Paul saw blinded him for three days, this is supposedly to show how strong this light was.

Here is the problem:

Acts 22: 5-11:

As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, LORD? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus

The logical fallacy is for all to see, Paul looks at the light and gets blind, yet the men with him also saw the light and did not get blind. Why is that? Why was Paul the only one who got blind? Why not everyone else, they saw the same light, so if Paul got blind so should have the men with him. 

All of these contradictory accounts make it impossible to take Paul's supposed encounter with Jesus seriously.

 

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