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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

The Family Background of Paul the Anti-Vegan Roman. By Dr. Chapman Chen

Updated: May 6




Summary: As disclosed by Paul himself, he was born a Roman citizen (Acts 22:27-28); he was a kinsman of the Herodian family (Romans 16:11); he was closely connected with King Agrippa I and II's Aristobarus-clan (Romans 16:10); and his real name was Saul (Acts 7:58, 8:1-3). According to the Herodian family tree diagram prepared by Eisenman (2019:309), Saulus Herod the Great's great-nephew and King Agripps II's first cousin twice removed.

 

Based on Paul's personal details and Saulus' genealogy, and considering Paul's debasement of the veganism of the Jerusalem Council, his attack on Moses' Law (cf. Tabor 2012:210-226), as well as his close association with the Roman authorities, e.g., Governors Felix and Festus, and King Agrippa II (Acts 23:23-35; 24; 25:13-27; 26), Robert Eisenman (2019) identifies Paul as the Herodian Saulus in Josephus' (2009) The War of the Jews, who plundered the poor (the Ebionites) in Jerusalem, and directly reported to Nero; as "the Enemy" in The Clementine Recognitions (Pseudo-Clement 2014) who nearly beat James the Just to death; and as the liar in The Habakkuk Commentary who hijacked Jesus' Vegan Church. If this is true, then Thijs Voskuilen (2005) has a point in contending that Paul "really was an agent-provocateur working for the Roman administration in Palestine..." His mission was to corrupt Jesus' Vegan Church from the inside out. 

 

 

1. Paul as a Proud Roman!

 

Paul, as admitted by himself, "was born as a [Roman] citizen!" (Acts 22:27-28 TPT) in Tarsus of Cilicia (Acts 22:3). He was a relative of the Herodian family (Romans 16:11), and his real name was Saul (Acts 7:58, 8:1-3).

 

Paul often flaunted his Roman citizenship as a protective shield, e.g. "The commander came to Paul and asked him, “Tell me the truth, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes I am,” he replied. The commander said, “I had to purchase my citizenship with a great sum of money.”" (Acts 22:27-28 TPT).  In Acts 25:11, based on his Roman citizenship, Paul proudly demanded to see Caesar.

 

2. Paul's Mother Tongue was NOT Hebrew?

 

Paul claimed to be a well-educated Jew born in Tarsus:- "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors" (Acts 22:3, 26:4-5 NIV; Phil. 3:5). However, it can be seriously contested whether Paul's mother tongue was Hebrew. When in his letters Paul quoted from the Old Testament, and whenever the Septuagint (the Greek version) differs from the Hebrew version, he invariably adopted the Septuagint version. Why would Paul do this if his mother tongue was Hebrew? (cf. Akers 2020:143). So Paul was probably a Helenistic Jew, or not even a real Jew, as we will see below.

 

In Romans 16:10-11 (KJV), Paul sent greetings to a Herodian kinsman and to members of the Aristobulus household:- "Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household. Salute Herodion my kinsman."  

 

3. Roman Citizenship was a Very Precious Thing to Have!

 

Now, two thousand years ago, Roman citizenship was a valued status that could be inherited if one's father was a citizen at the time of one's birth. Jews, like other non-Romans, could acquire Roman citizenship through various means, including manumission, imperial decree, or as a reward for services such as serving in the auxiliary forces or contributing to the interests of the Empire. The Herodian dynasty was closely allied with Rome, and members of the royal family often held Roman citizenship as a privilege granted by the empire. Since Roman citizenship could be inherited, any direct descendant of Herod the Great (Roman King of Judea), for example, a great-nephew of his, would typically inherit this status through his family's lineage.

 

Moreover, Acts 7:58, 8:1-3, Paul revealed that his original name was Saul before his self-claimed conversion and he was persecuting Jewish Christians.

 

6. The Herodian Family Tree

 

According to the Herodian family tree diagram prepared by Eisenman (2019:309), Saulus/Paul and his brother Costobarus (2) was actually great-nephews of Herod the Great, grandsons of Costobarus Idumaean, sons of Costobarus' son Antipater (2), and King Agripps II's first cousin twice removed. 

 

Taking this line, both "Herodion my kinsman" and "the Aristobulus household" in Romans 16:10-11 can be reasonably accounted for as follows:-

 

6.1. Little Herodion = Son of Aristobulus V

 

According to Abarim Publications' online Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (2016), "Herodion", as referred to by Paul in Romans (16:11), means "little Herod". As argued by Eisenman (2019:309), this “kinsman the littlest Herod” of Paul in all probability was Herod the son of Aristobulus V – the latter becoming King of Lesser Armenia, but for the most part residing in Rome after marrying that Salome who allegedly performed the lascivious dance, ending up with the legendary portrait in Gospel tradition of John the Baptist’s head upon the platter. 

 

6.2. Aristobulus Household as Family of King Argippas I and II

 

Regarding "the Aristobulus household", King Agrippa I and Herod (3), King of Chalcis, 44-49 AD, were sons of Costobarus Idumaen's daughter Bernice whose husband was Aristobarulus (4), who in turn was Herod the Great's son. Saulus was therefore King Agrippa I's and Herod (3) King of Chalics' first cousin once removed, and King Agrippa II's first cousin twice removed. The 'Aristobulus' household' that Paul greets in Romans 16:10 probably refers to the family of King Agrippa I and II.

 

6.3. The Idumaens as Enemies of the Jews 

 

In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the term "Idumea" was used to refer to the territory inhabited by the Idumaeans. Despite their separate origins, the Idumaeans had a complex relationship with the Judeans. During the reign of the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus I, the Idumaeans were conquered and forcibly converted to Judaism around the 2nd century BCE. This led to their partial integration into the Jewish nation, and some of them rose to prominence in Judea, including Herod the Great and Costobarus Idumaen, who were of Idumean descent.

 

6.4. Herod the Great and his offspring were Born Roman Citizens

Herod the Great was born a Roman citizen. He inherited this status from his father, Antipater the Idumaean, who was granted Roman citizenship by Julius Caesar. This citizenship was a significant advantage for Herod the Great in his political career and his dealings with the Roman Empire. When the former Jewish kingdom of the Maccabees became part of the Roman Province of Syria, the Roman Senate appointed Herod the Great as king of Judea. In the years that followed, Herod became the focus of Jewish hatred. He was a cruel ruler, but not more so than many of his predecessors had been. The reasons for the hatred were religious as well as political. It is an historic irony that this man, so hated by the Jews, could never have been king if his father had not been forcibly converted to Judaism. Herod’s father was a native of Idumea, and when that country was conquered by the Maccabees; its inhabitants could avoid death only by converting to Judaism (cf. Hyland 1989).

7. Saulus as Herod the Great's Great-Nephew

Costobarus Idumaean was not born a Roman citizen. Nonetheless, he was appointed by Herod as the Governor of Idumaea and Gaza, and he was from a noble and priestly family in Idumaea. These positions would most likely have brought him into close contact with Roman authorities, which could have provided him with opportunities to acquire Roman citizenship, either through his service or potentially through his marriage into the Herodian dynasty. It follows that, as a grandson of Costobarus Idumaen and as a great-nephew of Herod the Great, Saulus was born a Roman citizen, just like Paul the "Apostle". 

 

8. Paul as Herodian Saulus cum "The Enemy"

 

Based on Paul's personal data and the family tree of Saulus, and considering Paul's debasement of the veganism of the Jerusalem Council, his attack on Moses' Law, as well as his close association with the Roman authorities, e.g., Governors Felix and Festus, and King Agrippa II, Robert Eisenman (2019) identifies Paul as the Herodian Saulus in Josephus' (2009) The War of the Jews, who plundered the poor (the Ebionites) in Jerusalem, and directly reported to Nero; as the Enemy who nearly beat James the Just to death in The Clementine Recognitions (Pseudo-Clement 2014); and as the liar in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 

9.1. Paul Dismissed the Vegan Decree Issued by James

 

The apostolic decree issued around 49 AD by James the Just as the leader of the Jerusalem Council and the successor of Jesus Christ was for the gentiles to meet the four minimum requirements:- "abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood" (Acts 15:20 KJV). According to Akers (2020:152), "blood could refer to violence against either humans or animals." When in Jerusalem, Paul paid lip service to the 12 genuine disciples of Jesus. When out of Jerusalem, however, he preached the opposite, e.g., "one... who is weak, eateth herbs" (Romans 14:1-2 KJV); "Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience" (1 Corinthians 10:25 NASB). In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (KJV), Paul went so far as to call the 12 genuine disciples of Jesus "false apostles, deceitful workers"!

 

9.2. Paul Debased the Mosaic Law

 

Paul debases, devalues and degrades Moses' Law in at least 37 places in the New Testament, whereas Jesus explicitly says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17 NIV). Paul regularly alleges that the Law is weak, useless, and obsolete "dung", that it is a curse conducive to sinfulness, spiritual imprisonment and death, e.g., (Romans 5:20 American Bible in Plain English; Romans 7:13 KJV; Hebrews 7:18-19 Berean Study Bible; Hebrews 8:13 NKJV; 2 Corinthians 3:7 NLV; Galatians 3:23 Weymouth New Testament; Galatians 2:19 NLT; Galatians 3:13 KJV; Ephesians 2:15 NKJV; Philippians 3:4-8 KJV).

 

9.3. Paul Sharing Intelligence with Felix, Agrippa II and Festus

 

According to Eisenman (2019:202), "the numerous sessions Paul had with Felix over the 'two-year' period detailed in Acts (24:26-27) were doubtlessly more in the nature of intelligence debriefings than theological or religious discussions," as Acts tries to depict them. Similarly, Paul's lengthy, congenial conference with King Agrippa II, Bernice and Governor Festus in Acts (25:13-27) was highly suspicious. Nor is the portrait of Paul conversing in depth about his occupation and other doctrinal issues with Agrippa and Bernice, inquiring the former flatteringly, "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do" (Acts 26:27 NIV) less outrageous (Eisenman 2019:202).

 

Based on the personal data and considerations as listed above, Robert Eisenman (2019) identifies Paul as the Herodian Saulus in Josephus' (2009) The War of the Jews, who plundered the poor (the Ebionites) in Jerusalem, and directly reported to Nero; as the Enemy who nearly beat James the Just to death in The Clementine Recognitions (Pseudo-Clement 2014); and as the liar in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 

9.4. Saulus/Paul's Misdeeds

 

The Saulus (Paul?) in Josephus' historical records did a lot of misdeeds, including plundering the weak or the poor, inviting the Roman army to enter Jerusalem to suppress the Jewish uprising in 66 AD, and making a final report to Nero in 68 AD.

 

9.4.1 Plundering the Weak

 

Costobarus also, and Saulus, did themselves get together a multitude of wicked wretches, and this because they were of the royal family; and so they obtained favor among them, because of their kindred to Agrippa; but still they used violence with the people, and were very ready to plunder those that were weaker than themselves. (Josephus 1890: Chapter 9.4).

 

Note that the riot led by Saulus, 'a kinsman of Agrippa', who with a bunch of thugs 'used Violence with the people', 'plundering those weaker than themselves' corresponds to the plundering of the poor (the Ebionites) in The Habakkuk Commentary.

 

9.4.2. Inviting the Roman Army to Destroy Jerusalem

 

So the men of power perceiving that the sedition was too hard for them to subdue, and that the danger which would arise from the Romans would come upon them first of all, endeavored to save themselves, and sent ambassadors, some to Florus, the chief of which was Simon the son of Ananias; and others to Agrippa, among whom the most eminent were Saul, and Antipas, and Costobarus, who were of the king's kindred; and they desired of them both that they would come with an army to the city, and cut off the seditious before it should be too hard to be subdued. (Josephus 2009:Chapter 17.4)

 

9.4.3. Reporting to Nero

 

After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it was going to sink; Costobarus, therefore, and Saul, who were brethren, together with Philip, the son of Jacimus, who was the commander of king Agrippa's forces, ran away from the city, and went to Cestius. But then how Antipas, who had been besieged with them in the king's palace, but would not fly away with them, was afterward slain by the seditious, we shall relate hereafter. However, Cestius sent Saul and his friends, at their own desire, to Achaia, to Nero, to inform him of the great distress they were in, and to lay the blame of their kindling the war upon Florus, as hoping to alleviate his own danger, by provoking his indignation against Florus. (Josephus 2009:Chapter 20.1)

 

9.4. "The Enemy" (Paul) Attempted to Kill James the Just

 

According to Pseudo-Clement (2014, Rec. 1:70-71), around 40 AD, James the Just, leading the Vegan Jewish Christians, debated with High Priests in the Holy Temple about Jesus' doctrines. When James was about to win them over, an enemy (according to a marginal note, it was Saul/Paul), appeared, and incited the High Priests to attack James and his men. Paul specifically beat up James with a faggot and cast him down from above the steps. Fortunately, thinking that James was already dead, Paul failed to finish him off. James was rescued by his men and they hid themselves in Jericho. Supposing that Peter and the rest had gone to Damascus, Paul secured a letter of authorization from Caiaphas the Chief Priest and chased in the direction of Damascus. It's precisely on the way to Damascus that Paul's self-claimed conversion took place (cf. Eisenman 2019:219).

 

9.5. Paul as the Liar who Hijacked Jesus' Vegan Church

 

According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, in particular, The Habakkuk Commentary, the "Liar" was the adversary of the 'Teacher of Righteousness' from within the community. The second adversary of the "Teacher of Righteousness" (James the Just) was from outside -- the "Wicked Priest" (the High Priest Ananus), a corrupt representative of the establishment who had betrayed his function and his faith.  He conspired to exterminate the "Poor" (the Ebionites). The "Liar", an outsider who was admitted to the community, then turned renegade, refused to listen to the word received by the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of Jesus Christ, quarreled with him, and hijacked a significant part of the community's doctrine and membership.  

 

10. Conclusion

If Paul was really the Saulus in Josephus' (2009) The War of the Jews and the Enemy in Recognitions, then Thijs Voskuilen (2005) has a point in contending that Paul was a mole sent by the Roman Empire to infiltrate Jewish Christianity. "Paul’s biography and his own letters, both of which were taken up in the New Testament, hold numerous clues to the effect that this former persecutor, originally named Saul of Tarsus, never left the ranks of the government, but instead went undercover after his famous ‘conversion’ en route to Damascus" (Voskuilen 2005). Paul corrupted and Romanized Jesus' vegan church from the inside out, and Pauline Christianity has hijacked the Vegan Christ for two thousand years (cf. Chen 2023). No wonder US President Thomas Jefferson was adamant that St. Paul was the "first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus" (Washington 1854).

 

References

 

Akers, Keith (2020). The Lost Religion of Jesus. NY: Lantern Publishing & Media/ Woodstock & Brooklyn. 

 

Abarim Publications (2016). Abarim Publications' online Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Herodion.html

 

Bruce, F.F. (1958/59). "The Dead Sea Habakkuk Scroll," The Annual of Leeds University Oriental Society I (1958/59): 5–24.  http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/ffb/habakkuk_bruce.pdf

 

Chen, Chapman (2023). "Was Paul Really Converted by the Vegan Christ?" HKBNews, 6 Mar. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/was-paul-really-converted-by-the-vegan-christ-by-dr-chapman-chen

 

Chen, Chapman (2021b). "How St. Paul Perverted Jesus' Vegan Teachings." HKBNews,

 

Eisenman, Robert (2012). James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls I. London: The Way Publishing.

 

Hyland, J.R. (1989). What the Bible Really Says. New York: Prometheus Books. https://www.all-creatures.org/hr/what-14.htm

 

Josephus, Flavius (2009). The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem. Trans. William Whiston, Project Gutenberg. www.gutenberg.org/files/2850/2850-h/2850-h.htm.

 

Josephus, Flavius (1890). Antiquities of the Jews - Book XX, The Works of Flavius Josephus. Trans. William Whiston. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson. https://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-20.htm


Pseudo-Clement (2014). The Syriac Clementine Recognitions and Homilies: The First Complete Translation of the Text. Trans. Joseph Glen Gebhardt. Nashville: Grave Distractions Publications. https://www.academia.edu/9843447/The_Syriac_Clementine_Recognitions_and_Homilies_The_First_Complete_Translation_of_the_Text


Pseudo-Clement (1886). The Recognitions of Clement. Trans. Thomas Smith, D.D., Ante-Nicene Christian Library series. Ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co. https://ccel.org/ccel/clement_rome/pseudo_literature/anf08

 

Sion, Robert Mt. (2013). Paul the Antichrist. Saarbrucken: Bloggingbooks.

 

Tabor, James D. (2012). Paul and James. NY: Simon & Schuster.

 

Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English: Seventh Edition. New York: Penguin Books, 2012.

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