What is the True Symbolic Nature of Paul and His Christ: Part 2

by Joshua Tilghman on February 9, 2014

Christ withinIn part one of this series we learned that according to the timeline of Acts and Paul’s own words from Galatians, and the historic famine of 44 A.D., Paul’s conversion happened 27 A.D. Since most modern Biblical scholars place Jesus’ crucifixion between 30 and 33 A.D., Paul’s conversion happened before Christ was crucified. How then could Paul have been converted to the Christ of Orthodoxy if it wasn’t this Christ that appeared to him? Unless we disbelieve the consensus of most modern scholars about the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, we must concede that by the time Paul was converted, Jesus had not even begun his ministry! This begs the question:

What Christ was Paul converted to if not the historical Jesus preached through orthodoxy?

Galatians, one of Paul’s earliest written epistles, gives us our answers, and they should be shocking to those of us brought up to believe Paul was an orthodox Christian.

Before we get into Galatians, I want to mention a few important points which will shed more light on the subject. Most scholars put Galatians as being written between 50 and 55 A.D. Galatians, as well as the authentic epistles attributed to Paul, were penned before the Gospels. That being said, I want you to consider a few valid points brought up by Massey that also supports the possibility that Paul’s Christ was the Christ within, not the historical Christ of orthodoxy:

1)      Paul mentions nothing of the virgin birth or Jesus of Nazareth, tying him to being a physical person.

2)      Paul tells his followers to stay away from Jewish fables and genealogies. Why? Again, Paul’s Christ is not a literal, historical person that would be tied to a genealogy.

Since Paul’s epistles were written before the Gospels of Matthew and Luke which give Jesus a genealogy, it is more than plausible that Paul’s Christ was not the historical orthodox position. Now let’s dissect Galatians for more proof.

In his Epistle Paul tells the Galatians:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel…” (Gal. 1:6).

This line is interesting. What exactly is this other gospel that Paul accuses the Galatians of accepting? Notice that Paul implies, through his question, that this other gospel still strives to bring them into the “grace of Christ.”

There are only two versions of the gospel of Christ that can reveal this grace. It either had to a gospel of the Christ within or a gospel of the literalized, historical Christ. Like Massey, I believe the Gospel Paul is opposing is the gospel of a literal Christ. In other words, Paul is opposing religion, which touts the exoteric version of the Christ. Paul’s gospel was one of inner revelation, the Christ within. Since Paul knew nothing of the historical Jesus, as evidenced by his conversion date in 27 A.D., Paul’s Christ was the same one from the mysteries schools of ancient Egypt. We have tons of proof for this as we get into Galatians itself. A few verses later Paul states:

“Now I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12).

Paul’s Gospel was not received from the Apostles who walked with a historical Christ. It is the gospel which he received through gnosis, or direct experience. This is evidence by his statement, “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” This revelation is an inner knowing of the light of the Christ within, it is the gnosis of higher consciousness.

Paul further states:

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me…” (Gal. 1:15-16).

Paul’s Gospel is through direct, personal revelation, a personal experience within consciousness, in which the Son was ‘revealed’ in him. He continues:

“…that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to then which were Apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus” (Gal. 1:16-17).

Again, the men which were already Apostles of Christ could add nothing to Paul. In fact, Paul goes to great length to tell us that His Gospel is NOT dependent on the authority of any Apostle. In other words, his gospel is not dependent upon ‘flesh and blood.’ He cares nothing about hearing anything from anyone about the Christ because they can add ‘nothing to him.’ Paul even seems to snub his nose at them at the apostles…

“But of these [Peter, James, John] who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person, for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me” (Gal. 2:6).

Wait a minute, Paul! Why would God go through the trouble of handpicking these Apostles and giving them authority in the church because they walked with the literal Christ if God accepts no man’s person? A lot of people, even Christians, are turned off by Paul’s statements above. It almost seems as if Paul is full of arrogance. But I do not believe this is the case, nor do I believe we need to have anything against Paul. Paul is simply playing out his symbolic role in scripture, which we will cover more in the next post. For now, I believe we should take away the fact that Paul is stating something powerful which ALL Christians must come to do: not to rely on ANY man or religious doctrine from man for the truth about Christ, because the true revelation of Christ can only be experienced by you, within you!

Think about the fact that even after Paul’s conversion, instead of going to the Apostles he went and spent three years in Arabia, most likely in meditative contemplation, assimilating and further experiencing the Christ within.

Paul’s Mystery

Paul often uses the term ‘mystery’ in some of his epistles in order to explain Christ. In Romans 16:25 he states:

“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began…”

What is this mystery of Christ, and why was it kept secret? We get a clear answer in 1 Corinthians 2:7:

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom…”

Part of the answer lies in the fact that Paul’s mystery is hidden wisdom. And that hidden wisdom is fully revealed only by the revelation of the inner, mystical Christ. Paul makes this clear in Colossians 1:27:

“To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ IN YOU…”

Thus the true mystery of the Christ is the Christ IN YOU, your hope of glory. This is the mystical inner Christ which is the inner revelation revealed to the few who embark upon it. Jesus concurs in the Gospel of Mark 4:11, which was written AFTER Paul’s Epistles, when he states:

“Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.”

Think hard about Jesus’ statement. Jesus speaks those words to his inner circle, the disciples who would come to understand the mystery of the kingdom of God directly through gnosis, and not those who still see the mystery as something OUTSIDE of themselves. Anyone who sees the mystery as something outside of themselves have to hear the message in parables because they cannot accept nor understand the voice of higher consciousness, which Christ himself is representative of.

Further corroborating this is Jesus’ statement in Luke 17:21:

“…behold the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU!

Jesus had already stated a verse earlier that the kingdom does not come with observation! It is within the realm of consciousness itself, all of it happening WITHIN YOU.

I don’t think it could be clearer. The mystery of the kingdom is hidden within the experience of higher consciousness itself. The true Gospel which Paul speaks of as his gospel is the inner mystical Christ revealed through gnosis.

Conclusion to Part 2

When we take the scriptures for what they say themselves, it would seem that the original movement from which orthodox Christianity sprang was in fact not orthodox at all. All of our evidence leads us to conclude that the original movement built around the Christ was in fact the mystical Christ that is birthed within us through the process of higher consciousness.

In part 3, we will conclude this study with my own thoughts about the entire matter. We will look at why I believe Paul opposes Peter, and what Paul ultimately symbolizes in the overall theme of the scriptures. As you will see, the entire scriptures are meant to be symbolic of the inner workings of the Christ within, Paul and Peter included as they play their symbolic roles.

It may take me a little longer to get the final post done since I have a busy week ahead, but I’ll try to post it by mid-week.


Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert February 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm


Looking forward to the third post. I know people are tied up watching the Olympics, but even the Winter Olympics can get kind of dull, with six commercials in between each snowboard run. Hope I don’t get fat.

I remember preachers and Sunday school teachers diligently defending a uniform interpretation of the entire bible, as if it was one simple, smooth self-consistent “one and only” message, Some of the writings attributed to Paul required a lot of interpretive tweaking to make them fit into this mold -more patches than a home-made quilt. His allusions to the “third heaven” and “indescribable joy” leap out of nowhere. His discourse on love is so much more defining than anything in the four Gospels, including the red-lettered words of Jesus; and the theological sophistication in Hebrews very different than the style and organization of his other letters. If we can get free of the myth of uniformity, it seems much more likely that a lot of individuals threw their own hats into the ring, and that each hat’s owner contributed in their own way from a divine spark within.

The patches were necessary to defend an exoteric explanation that all things sacred – wisdom, law, and doctrine – came exclusively from a ruling divinity figure of the Church who sat on a literal throne; and that all other religions were futile because they were “man-made”. Therefore surrender to the the institution of the church (which paradoxically is man-made), which is this divine ruler’s “one and only” delegated authority on earth. or perish in your sins. The Pastor, Bishop, or Priest became your spiritual authority…..unless you moved across town and joined another church, and then you submitted yourself to another authority, got baptized again by the new guy, and redistributed your tithes and offerings accordingly.

But the wisps of truth in scriptures here and there about the “Christ within” does not fit this mold….unless you ignore it or invent a really big patch, each denomination having a favored and customized approach.

So I definitely want to learn more about Paul, without all the patches. More fun than all the commercials during the hockey matches.



Joshua Tilghman February 11, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Great points, Robert! There is so much more to Paul’s involvement in scriptures than what we’ve been taught. Part 3 should be a fun discussion.


Frank February 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Your article (Part 2 ) had a special meaning to me. Your point about the different gospels brought me back several years ago when I first saw this in the Scriptures. Although I had many eye openers, this one made a bigger impact on my spiritual journey. It became very clear to me that Paul was an “apostate” of the early church and a true follower of Jesus. I remember reading 2 Cor 11:13 …”For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” and other verses that clearly showed the bitter division between the two gospels. I see evidence of this today watching Christian TV. One could go back to Billy Graham or countless evangelist today and hear the mantra “Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The “Gospel of Jesus Christ” is the literalized historical gospel…. it is NOT the Gospel that Jesus taught. There are many verses including the great commission that refers to the Gospel of the Kingdom. Once this duality becomes clear it is much easier to appreciate Paul for preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom which is all about the Christ within.


Joshua March 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Thanks, Frank. So true. Blessings.


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