Some of you may have never seen this word Pa’al before, but we are going to discuss it here to make a clear defense for the one named Sha’ul, but called Paul.
There are many arguments made in the Hebraic Roots movement concerning the inherent distrust for the one called Paul. Some of these include the following:
Did Sha’ul come in his own name?
Yahuchanon (John) 5:43
I have come in my Father's name, and ye do not receive me: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
This passage is referenced to claim that Paul came in his own name and then taught another gospel – his gospel – in his own name.
The answer to this is, and has to be, no. Because it is clear from the text that Sha’ul was his birth name; but he came to the other nations in the name of Paul (Greek).
Well, was it Paul, or is that the Greek spelling? The actual Greek word found for the name is Παῦλος Paûlos, which has been Anglicized as Paul. But, is there reason to believe that this was not a Greek name, but a Hebrew name? Yes, and more than one reason.
Ma’asiym (Acts) 21:40
And when he had given him licence, Pa’al stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand to the people. And when a great silence had been made, he spoke to them in the Ivriyt tongue, saying:
Ma’asiym (Acts) 26:14
And when we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking to me, and saying in the Ivriyt tongue: Sha’ul, Sha’ul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the pricks.
So, Sha’ul makes his defense in Yerushalayim in Hebrew. Remember, he is speaking to a crowd that wants to kill him. Ask yourself if you would venture to defend yourself from a death penalty in a language with which you did not have fluency. The passages in Ma’asiym (Acts) 21 does not reveal him having any difficulty whatsoever in conversing in Ivriyt (i.e., Hebrew).
Further, Sha’ul gives us his credential over and over again about him being a fully qualified Pharisee (Parashiy).
Ma’asiym (Acts) 22:3
I am truly a man. although a Yahudiy, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamliy’el, and taught according to the perfect manner of the ancestral laws, and was zealous toward YAH, as ye all are this day.
So here, Sha’ul is telling us, he studied with Gamliy’el in Yerushalayim, and taught according to the perfect manner of the ancestral laws. Well, that perfect manner most assuredly was learned, spoken, and taught in Ivriyt (Hebrew).
With all of this being said, we have plenty of reason to conclude that Sha’ul, when taking another name, would take a Hebrew name. And a closer study reveals this. Let’s talk a look at the Hebrew:
Pa’al (פָּעַל) (Strong's H6466) is a primitive root, which as a verb is generally interpreted as meaning: to do or make (systematically and habitually), especially to practice. It can also mean to commit, or to ordain; or as a noun, to be an evildoer, a maker, or to be a worker.
Does Pa’al testify to any of these things? He sure does. Let’s take a look at the idea of him being a worker.
Tasloniqiym Ri’shon (1 Thessalonians) 4:11
And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
Qorintiym Ri’shon (1 Corinthians) 9:13-18
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the Temple? And they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so has YAHUAH ordained that they which preach the Besorah should live by the Besorah. 15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done to me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16 For though I preach the Besorah, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is to me, if I preach not the Besorah! 17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a stewardship of the Besorah is committed to me. 18 What is my reward then? Truly that, when I preach the Besorah, I may make the Besorah of HAMASHIACH without charge, that I abuse not my power in the Besorah.
Qorintiym Ri’shon (1 Corinthians) 16:10
Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he works the work of YAHUAH, as I also do.
Eph’siym (Ephesians) 4:11-13
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the qodeshiym, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of HAMASHIACH: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the belief, and of the knowledge of the Son of ELOHIYM, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of HAMASHIACH:
Now, here, we have a bit of a self-defining passage, Sha’ul is telling us that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers were doing the work of the ministry [workers of the ministry] for the perfecting of the qodeshiym [saints] and for the edifying of the body of HAMASHIACH.
So Sha’ul takes on the moniker worker (or in Hebrew, Pa’al), and establishes his writing under this name.
Of course, the word pa’al does not only mean worker, but also maker. Could Pa’al have been describing himself as such?
Ma’asiym (Acts) 18:3
And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and worked: for they were tentmakers by their occupation.
Now a tentmaker, in the Hebrew, is (at least in one form) pa’al ohel (פָּעַל אֹהֶל).
What about the idea of pa’al signifying an evil-doer. Does Pa’al take this on as well?
Timotheus Ri’shon (1 Timothy) 1:15
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that: YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Is Pa’al the false apostle and liar identified in Chizayon (Revelation) 2?
Chizayon (Revelation) 2:1-2
UNTO the angel of the called out assembly of Ephesus write; These things says he that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden menoroth; 2 I know your works, and your labour, and your patience, and how you cannot bear them which are evil. And you have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars:
This passage is referenced to claim that Yahuchanon (or in this case HAMASHIACH himself) called out to Ephesus and denounced those “which say they are apostles, and are not, and [you] have found them as liars.”
Is there a record of this in the Scriptures? Yes there is.
Ma’asiym (Acts) 18:24-28
And a certain Yahudiy named Apollos, who was born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the Way of YAHUAH; and being fervent in the ruach, he taught diligently and spoke the things of YAHUSHA, knowing only the immersion of Yahuchanon. 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him to them, and expounded to him the Way of YAHUAH more perfectly. 27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the Talmidiym to receive him: who, when he had come, helped them much who had believed through grace: 28 For he convinced mightily the Yahudiym, publicly, showing by the Scriptures that YAHUSHA was HAMASHIACH.
So we have a record here of Apollos of Alexandria, whose doctrine was only of the baptism (immersion) of Yahuchanon (John), and was without the baptism (immersion) in the RUACH HAQODESH. So Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and expounded to him the Way of YAHUAH more perfectly.
Now, some of you might say that Yahuchanon (John) in Chizayon (Revelation) identified apostles not just one apostle. Consider what is given to us in Chapter 19:
Ma’asiym (Acts) 19:13
Then certain of the vagabond Yahudiym, exorcists, took upon themselves to call over them who had evil ruachoth the name of ADONAI YAHUSHA, saying: We adjure you by YAHUSHA whom Pa’al preaches. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Yahudiy, and chief of the priests, who did so. 15 And the evil ruach answered and said: YAHUSHA I know, and Pa’al I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil ruach was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Yahudiym and the Yavaniym also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of ADONAI YAHUSHA was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. 19 Many of those who also used curious arts brought their cepheriym together, and burned them before all men. And they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the Word of YAHUAH grew mightily and prevailed.
So, who were those who called themselves apostles in Ephesus, but were found out to be liars? The answer is, vagabond Yahudiym, exorcists, the seven sons of Sceva, and those who used curious arts and books of magic.
What of the claim that there are only twelve apostles?
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 19:28
And YAHUSHA said to them: Amein I say to you, That ye who have followed me, in the restoration when the Son of Adam shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Yashar’el.
This passage is reference to claim that there are but twelve apostles and those twelve will come to judge the twelve tribes of Yashar’el. Therefore, there is no thirteenth tribe, and no thirteenth apostle.
However, there is no limitation in the number of apostles here; just that the twelve (and of course, a successor to Judas (Yahudah) would need to be named) originally called would be the ones who would come to judge the twelve tribes of Yashar’el.
Let’s take a moment to address this issue of thirteen as compared to twelve, and can we not also speak of fourteen?
You recall that there are 12 sons of Ya’aqov. However, Ya’aqov adopted as his own two of the sons of Yoceph (Ephrayim and Menashsheh) and the number of the tribes became 14, not 12. However, those with understanding know that Ephrayim stood in the place of Yoceph, so that when the land was divided between the tribes, there were twelve divisions, because Ephrayim stood in the place of Yoceph (there is no land grant to Yoceph), and Leviy was without any land grant, having his portion in every city. So, you might say that ultimately the number was thirteen (originally fourteen, but one succeeding in the place of another). So, do we then have an incomplete judgment?
Now, consider the arrangement of the 12 apostles. Twelve were called, but one betrayed and died at his own hand. And so, by lots the remainder chose one from two who were witness to the resurrection
Ma’asiym (Acts) 1:22-26
Beginning from the immersion of Yahuchanon, to that same day that he was taken up from us, one must be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23 And they appointed two, Yoceph called Bartsava, who was surnamed Yoctoc, and Mattithyahu. 24 And they prayed, and said: You, YAHUAH, who know the hearts of all men, show us which of these two you have chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Yahudah by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave their lots; and the lot fell upon Mattithyahu; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
However, a thirteenth apostle began to emerge – a certain Stephen. And in testifying before the Yahudiym, he gave a gospel from the beginning to the accusation that the Temple of YAHUAH was not to be built by human hands. At the close of his presentation, Sha’ul stood by and witnessed his murder.
And so the apostleship of Stephen, the fourteenth selected, passed to Sha’ul by the administration of YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH who spoke directly to him, and whose voice was heard by witnesses.
However, Mattithyahu succeeded in the place of another (Yahudah), so technically, there were thirteen, not fourteen.
[There is evidence also in the Torah of music to this as well. In the fifth tier of the harmonic structure, the chromatic scale has twelve notes in evidence, yet the major seventh actually divides again into a thirteenth note yielding a flat major seventh and a sharp major seventh.]
In conclusion, Sha’ul did not come in his own name, because he taught in the name of worker (i.e., Pa’al). Sha’ul was not the false apostles and liars identified in Chizayon 2; Yahuchanon was referring to the sorcerers, exorcists and others in Ephesus at that time who burned all their books of spells and witchcraft. Sha’ul did not violate a limit on the number of apostles, because there is no limit expressed in the text – just that there would be twelve who would come to judge the twelve tribes.