Are there two Gods in the Bible?

There is a question that has been waiting for an answer for two thousand years. “How many Gods are in the Bible?” It is one of the most common questions in Bible or Torah class. Any one with even a rudimentary grip of language comprehension would be forced to conclude there is certainly more than one God described.

Ultimately, the Bible is just a book. It is a compilation of lots of stories and God is just a character in the story. Like any long running television series, it is vital that the characters are true to themselves.

Another famous fictional character is James Bond. Commander James Bond has been played as a Scottish psychopath and as a smooth English gentleman. David Niven even played him as a comedian. The author, Ian Fleming, based some of the character’s tastes on himself, but much of the character’s flare is based on the men with whom Ian Fleming served during the war. No matter how much the producers changed the character to suit popular fashion the men on whom the story was based remained the same.

Whatever you believe God to be, when God is a character in a book, he is a product of the writer’s imagination. The character of God is dependent on the writer’s ability to interpret what he is thinking into words. How those men interpreted God was also dependent on their own cultural history and the demands of the moment. What were they trying to achieve with that story. Before I offend anyone, it is important to remember that none of these stories actually affects God.

Long before the Kingdom of Judah came into existence, there was Israel. The word Isra’EL means ‘May El Preserve’. The original capital of the Kingdom of Israel was Shechem just between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea to the west of the Jordan.

In Genesis 35 God says to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Beth-El and dwell there’. We can assume from that reference that the ‘House of God (El)’ was in a high place. El-Shaddai (El of the Mountain).

What we know of El comes from Ugarit clay tablets written in Cuneiform (northwest Semitic) by the Amorites. El is known as ‘The Creator of all living things’ and ‘The Compassionate’. He was also often represented by a bull.

It seems likely to me that the tablets, which Moses broke, may have been made of clay rather than stone, as this was the most popular writing material at this time. There certainly seems to be some parallels here that should be explored.

In Genesis 35:14 Jacob worships El by pouring wine and olive oil on the pillar of stone he had set up as an altar. It is important to note that the worship of El at this point did not involve sacrifice. Pillars are not very good for slaughtering animals on.

When the later Judean kings destroy what they call ‘idolatry’ it is the worship of El that they are destroying. The groves and high places where the people offered incense and libations, the Serpent Staff that God had given to Moses, all of these things were destroyed by the Judeans. Namely Hezekiah the son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:4) and Josiah.

So most independent biblical and Torah scholars agree that ‘El’ was the first God of the Jewish people.

Yahweh on the other hand came later and took over the popular places of worship. Just as Christianity took over pagan sites and now Islam takes over buildings that were once popular churches, this process seems to be common to all cultural appropriation and religious atrophy.

Many of the characteristics of Yahweh are the same as the Babylonian God, Marduk and his Dragon.Depiction of Marduk Like Marduk, Yahweh is a God of anger and judgement. He, like Yahweh, is a duel God of both ultimate good and evil. Yahweh is a God of sacrifice and blood. He was also the God of storms and of vegetation. One moment he might bless the people and the next, on a whim, he would destroy them. This calls to mind (Exodus 4:24) the Yahwist insertion into the Elohist story of Moses with Yahweh’s sudden decision to kill Moses for no apparent reason. Zipporah, the Midianite wife of Moses has to sacrifice her son’s foreskin to save her husband’s life. (Handy girl that!)

I personally suspect that it was Hezekiah who introduced the worship of the Babylonian version of Yahweh into Judah and I’m still researching that point. Eventually the identity of the Gods became blurred and the name Yahweh was inserted over the Elohist stories until it became hard to tell them apart. Reading the Hebrew, I’ve noticed you can often see that the insertion of YahwehDepiction of Yahweh on the Throne is quite superfluous. Usually, it is obvious that the person is talking about God (Elohim) and there is no need to insert Yahweh. I’m no expert in Hebrew. (Read Dr. Steven DiMattei’s excellent blog for stronger references.)

So we have seen that there are clearly two fictional characters described in the Torah who could be called ‘God’. The characters of the two Gods were originally very different and it is often possible to see that difference in the context and meaning of the source stories. Obviously, both of these characters are expressions of the people who created the original stories. Stories are dependent on the writer’s skill and the ability of the reader to understand the cultural references and language of the writer.

The problem with the writers of the New Testament is that, except for James the Just, they were not Jewish. Paul was either a Hellenised Jew who knew nothing of his own culture or a convert. They misunderstood translation and cultural references and garbled the Tanakh. There is no basis in the Torah for the idea of the Trinity. The historical Jesus never said that he was the ‘Son of God’ in the Greek sense and Genesis makes no provision for this concept. The Holy Ghost beloved by Paul was his misunderstanding of the concept of the Shekhinah. Most independent biblical scholars all agree that it took the Gentile Church three hundred years to come up with the idea of the Trinity. No matter what intellectual yoga you want to go through the idea is purely Greek paganism.

So through the Bible there are different Gods described, and as the Gentile Christians appropriated the Torah and Tanakh and bolted it onto their own Gospels, even more Gods were added.

None of this affects the nature of God and in themselves these stories tell us little of any use about God. Mostly these stories tell us more about the people who wrote them. Just as the fictional character of James Bond tells us nothing about Patick Dalzel-Job, Wilfred (Biffy) Dunderdale, or indeed Peter Fleming.

Ultimately, our minds create phantoms and then our ego will invest our belief in our own projections and make fools of us. Just as men dying of thirst in the desert will argue over a mirage, none of these visions IS God. They may or may not reflect the vision of God held by the writer in that time and place.

If you are looking for God on paper then I suggest you might be looking in the wrong place. Whether you see God as one or three, your concepts do not affect God so don’t take yourself too seriously.

I will leave you with a quote from Rav Abraham Kook, of blessed memory. “ The tendency of unrefined people to see the divine essence as embodied in the words and in the letters alone is a source of embarrassment to humanity, and atheism arises as a pained outcry to liberate man from this narrow and alien pit, to raise him from the darkness of focusing on letters and expressions, to the light of thought and feeling, finally to place his primary focus on the realm of morals. Atheism has a temporary legitimacy, for it is needed to purge away the aberrations that attached themselves to religious faith because of a deficiency in perception and in the divine service. This is its sole function in existence…”

 

14 thoughts on “Are there two Gods in the Bible?

  1. What do others think of this blog? Illuminating? or debatable? Please add some spice to our comments here!? For me, I find it answers, by means of historical facts, certain questions I have long asked; and confirms impressions and conclusions I have, so far, arrived at! (Shared) Noelene Sanderson

    Comment copied over from old site: Thanks to Noelene Sanderson

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  2. Hello =)
    You stated that “There is no basis in the Torah for the idea of the Trinity” but also noted that “The Holy Ghost beloved by Paul was his misunderstanding of the concept of the Shekhinah.”
    Some of this might be different that you’ve seen expressed, and it’s difficult to tell who might be offended with the ways I say things, so I’m trying to simply have a conversation about this, rather than attempt to “state as fact” that “this is so” or things along those lines.
    I like to express the idea, at times, that “The name that can be spoken, is not the eternal name” and that much of what people see as “religion” is not intended to be literally interpreted as “This is all there is to know about God, and whoever goes against it is against God” … but that people often learn as they go, and hopefully they can learn from God, rather than only from the physical world around us and the people in it.
    Having been a Catholic most of my life (Translated as Universal, from the Greek) and having explored a lot of this, myself, I have tried to relate the idea to many Christians that Christ was not “God Alone” in the sense that many seem to take it, as God being a Body, but in a sense that Yashua, the Person, has his own Soul, as a Child of God, and in this sense of The Trinity,
    The Father (Alpha(Masculine))
    The Son (Yashua(Human Being(Soul made in God’s image, temporary Human Body)))
    and The Holy Spirit(Omega(Feminine)) (or Shekhinah)
    Is a different way of seeing the Relationship we are to have with God, guided by The Spirit, towards The Fathers Will… and not that Yashua meant to start a new religion based off himself and his understandings, but in trying to “correct the church” as it was, with the way the Pharisee’s were treating things, for political power or financial gains over the People of God, misinterpreting and misunderstanding things… and that sometimes when he spoke, it was with God speaking Through him, rather than Yashua speaking as Yashua, claiming to be God.
    Does that make sense? In particular how Christian define the Trinity, and to some extent, have “the right idea” but just not in the right way?
    They get it all messed up, Mostly I think, in the Hellenistic and misogynist ways, seeing God as “only Male” or “only Masculine” as if females are deformed males, by way of Aristotle->Greek->Roman culture, which is actually in opposition to the Scientific understanding of the Human Body template being primarily Female, in origin, and it’s only hormones that transform a body in the womb, to the male form… as well as a misunderstanding that males “plant a seed in fertile ground” rather than the females carry Eggs, that are fertilized by a males contribution…
    I understand some of these ideas can be offensive to some, but someone asked for thoughts, and I like to have conversations about these things =) Lynx

    Comment copied over from old site: Thanks to Lynx

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    • Please do not not all Christians believe in your trinity. There are loads of Christians who sincerely believe the words of the send one from God, who is a prophet and master teacher, born in Bethlehem and breath in Nazareth. About that man of flesh and blood the Most High, Who does not tell lies, declared him, when he was standing in the river Jordan to be the only begotten beloved son of God.
      It are the non-trinitarian Christians who follow the words of the Only One True God and His beloved son, who gave his life for mankind.

      Please remember that Jeshua did not do his own will, which he would have done when he is God. Jeshua would also have lied many times, though the Bible tells us he was without sin, so did not tell lies. The Bible also tells us that God is a God of order and clarity Who does not tell lies. So we should believe His words and the words of His son about each other. they make it very clear that they are two different personalities: One Who always was and always will be, to Whom man can do nothing, can not be tempted, cannot be killed. Jeshua was tempted more than once and was rally killed. Jeshua also spend three days in hell (what would God have to look for there?), before appearing again for his disciples telling them he is no spirit (though God is Spirit) and that he would be taken up by his heavenly Father, to sit at His right hand, becoming a mediator between God and man. (How can God mediate between Himself?)

      If people would keep to the words of the Bible how they are written and not keep to the human dogma’s everything would be very clear to them, but now they come en-strangled by those human teachings who bring smog to many their eyes and logic thinking.

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  3. Thank you so much for your very kind response and for taking the time to formulate such an interesting comment. My one ‘take-away’ from studying the teachings of the Nazarenes for so long is that the only empirical truth available to living beings is our internal connection to Hashem. Therefore how we interpret and interact with that will change throughout our lives and will be different from person to person – we are discussing mystical things here. I don’t think in terms of wrong or right with regard to understanding and I whole heartedly embrace your points. If you would like to subscribe on our website, I’ve just released our free Ebook which discusses some of these points in more detail, I would be honoured to send you a free copy as I would love to hear your feedback. Be Well – blessings and light! Lastlettersofjesus

    Comment copied over from old site: Last Letters of Jesus

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  4. Hi! I quite enjoyed reading this article. As a person who has only begun to delve into such topics, I love reading up material of this sort. If you could add a reference list or a list of links for further reading, that’d be extremely helpful for peeps like me.
    Cheers!

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    • Hi Sushil – thank you so much for taking the time to add such a nice comment. To be honest, I wrote the books exactly for people like yourself. I am delighted to help you in any way I can. If you would like to subscribe to the website – the last letters of Jesus I can send you a free copy of the book (unsubscribe anytime you want) The True Sayings of Jesus which is an analysis of the Q-Source Sayings from the Synoptic Gospels and their parallels in the Dead Sea Scrolls with a discussion of their parallels in Lurianic Kabbalah. My initial advice would be to read the Old Testament very carefully. Ideally the Torah and Tanakh in the Hebrew with English Translations – you will see the gradual insertion of Yahweh after Elohim until they begin to merge in meaning. You will also notice how some stories have had sections inserted to the point where they no longer make sense. Genesis from 28 to 33 – The story of Balaam (Numbers 22) – I will try to do some blogs specifically for you in a more scholarly style, now I know that you are reading. If you have any specific questions please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at Antonio@lastlettersofjesus.com

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  5. God is just a tittle and in the bible you may find different people or elements being called god, like Moses, Pharaoh, Zeus, Apollo, angels a.o.. Though the Bible is very clear about the divine Creator Who is One and Only One God of gods, the Most High of the Lord of lords or Host of hosts. this god of gods is not a three or two headed god, but is only one eternal Spirit, having no flesh and bones, no birth, no death. He is the heavenly Father of Jeshua, Jesus Christ, who is not God but is the send one from God and the acclaimed son of God.

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    • Hi Marcus – thank you so much for taking the time to leave such an interesting comment. One of the things I find so absorbing is why people believe the things that they do! I wonder if you could list your reasons for believing the ‘Jesus Christ’ was sent by God and is his acclaimed son of God? (Apart from the Gospel of John – of course! :-)) I am just interested in your reasons for believing as you do? Is it cultural? Is it something you’ve ever thought about? Are you sure that when a Jew says ‘Bar Adam’ or Bar Elohim that they mean the same thing as a Greek or Roman saying ‘Son of God’ – just wondering?

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      • It is not just a cultural thing it is a matter of following the words from the Bible.

        “Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” (Psalms 110:2 ASV)

        “The stone which the builders rejected Is become the head of the corner.” (Psalms 118:22 ASV)

        “5 Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6 ASV)

        “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 ASV)

        “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12 ASV)

        “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9 ASV)

        “but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,” (Galatians 4:4 ASV)

        “18 ¶ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this is come to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us. 24 And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took unto him his wife; 25 and knew her not till she had brought forth a son: and he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:18-25 ASV)

        “and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 ASV)

        “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, And he shall declare judgment to the Gentiles.” (Matthew 12:18 ASV)

        “While he was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matthew 17:5 ASV)

        “55 In that hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a robber with swords and staves to seize me? I sat daily in the temple teaching, and ye took me not. 56 But all this is come to pass, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples left him, and fled.” (Matthew 26:55-56 ASV)

        “Then are there crucified with him two robbers, one on the right hand and one on the left.” (Matthew 27:38 ASV)

        “48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but [this is done] that the scriptures might be fulfilled.” (Mark 14:48-49 ASV)

        “And with him they crucify two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left.” (Mark 15:27 ASV)

        “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me.” (John 8:42 ASV)

        “30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. 31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30-35 ASV)

        “21 ¶ Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself, when he began [to teach], was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the [son] of Heli,” (Luke 3:21-23 ASV)

        “And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my chosen: hear ye him.” (Luke 9:35 ASV)

        “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. 28 ¶ Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. 30 I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; 31 but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” (John 14:27-31 ASV)

        “5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient [even] unto death, yea, the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 ASV)

        “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3 ASV)

        “And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28 ASV)

        “17 ¶ But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. 18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will. 22 For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son; 23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself: 27 and he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, 29 and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment. 30 I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 31 ¶ If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 It is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye have sent unto John, and he hath borne witness unto the truth. 34 But the witness which I receive is not from man: howbeit I say these things, that ye may be saved. 35 He was the lamp that burneth and shineth; and ye were willing to rejoice for a season in his light. 36 But the witness which I have is greater than [that of] John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (John 5:17-36 ASV)

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      • “And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 ASV)

        “and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 ASV)

        “And his lord commended the unrighteous steward because he had done wisely: for the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light.” (Luke 16:8 ASV)

        “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ASV)

        “These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the son may glorify thee:” (John 17:1 ASV)

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      • Hi Marcus – I appreciate you taking the time to fire off so many quotes but I wonder if you would like to take the time to explain in your own words the point you are trying to make? I’m guessing that you are saying that Paul’s Christ is God? You might want to check a lot of your quotes from the Jewish sources and you will see that they do not mean what I think you think they mean! You have to remember that the Old Testament and New Testament were written over thousands of years by different people for different reasons. It is not very helpful to use quotes from different books without referring to the inherent meaning and context. For instance Psalm 110 is not referring to anything other than the Jewish people. I’m not entirely clear what you are trying to say Marcus?

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      • I am not at all trying to say Paul’s Christ is God. Paul like Jesus to be a very devout Jew knew very well Who God was and still is.

        Paul believed in the same God as Jesus did and versa versa. Jesus worshipped his heavenly Father, the God of Abraham and wanted others to know this Only One True God as well.

        Jesus like Paul did belong to the People of God, Israel, but Jeshua opened the way to all people to become children of God. Not Jeshua his children, but his brothers and sisters, being one in Christ like Christ is one in them and in God. That God to whom Jesus prayed should also be our only one God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

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      • Oh!! I get it now! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas. One question, if you take a gauge of Paul’s character and vision from his letters, do you not think that his philosophy is the antithesis of that expressed within the earliest reported sayings of Yeshua?

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      • It is that contrast of character with Jeshua which makes him such an interesting anti-pole opposite the other apostles, the original disciples of Jeshua, who not always had it easy with this chosen extra apostle, but who became a proof that even the worst enemy of Jeshua can be the most fervent fighter for him.

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