The Biblical Principle of Two Witnesses
by Wayne Childress 10/03/2013 / Bible Studies
The Biblical Principle of Two Witnesses
(and how Paul fails the test)
In both the Old and New Testaments there is a principle of two witnesses. So, before I delve into Paul's lack of witnesses I will address the concept of the two witnesses. The principle of requiring two witnesses to establish a truth is a basic concept throughout the Bible. Two witnesses are so important to God that He even complied with the concept Himself in both the Old and New Testament. First, in the Old Testament, we find we are told:
At the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses shall he that is worthy of death be put to death. At the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity or for any sin, in any sin that he sinned. At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses shall the matter be established.
Second, in the Old Testament, we find that what we commonly refer to as the "ark of the covenant" was originally the "ark of the testimony" (look it up - even in the KJV - i.e. Exodus 25:22, 26:33, etc. - over a dozen times). It was the ark of the testimony because it held the "testimony" of God - the Ten Commandments as written by God Himself (Exodus 31:18). These two tables (we call them tablets today) were called the "two tables of testimony" (i.e. Exodus 32:15, 34:29). Note that in the Old Testament the word "‛êdûth" is translated as testimony as well as witness. Strong defines it so as well: testimony, witness.
In the New Testament we find that Jesus showed He was very familiar with this principle:
It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true.
Jesus showed that He knew that even He required a "second" witness:
I bear witness of myself and the Father that sent me bears witness of me.
We see God doing this for Jesus in several passages - Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22). Note that even in the New Testament God continues to comply with the "two witnesses" concept He created.
Jesus even arranged for another witness for Himself - The Holy Spirit:
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.
Though a different subject, the fact that Jesus uses God and the Holy Spirit as witnesses to meet the requirement for two or three witnesses shows the trinity doctrine is false. If they were all YHWH Jesus would have no validating witnesses. Do not worry, Jesus Himself called YHWH his God too. His testimony is true and witnessed for. The trinity is a doctrine of man.
Again, as in the Old Testament, we see that the New Testament word "martureō" - translated here as "testify" - also means witness (and is usually translated as such). Strong's definition: to be a witness. Thayer's definition: to be a witness, to bear witness.
Jesus continued to show this principle is still applicable for us when He commanded:
But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
We even find that this principle will still be in effect in the "end times":
And I will give power to my two witnesses and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days clothed in sackcloth.
Oddly enough, even Paul showed that he understood this principle was valid and still in effect in 2 Corinthians 13:1 and 1 Timothy 5:19.
Now we reach the crux of the matter - Paul's conflicting stories regarding his alleged Apostleship. We have no record of any witnesses ever being named or ever coming forward.
Further, of those who Paul claimed where present on the road to Damascus with him, there are conflicting stories. In one account, the others (who are never identified) hear but don't see:
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
In another account, the others (still never identified) see but don't hear:
And they that were with me saw indeed the light and were afraid; but, they heard not the voice of him that spoke to me.
Not only are we left without a second witness to vouch for Paul, we have conflicting stories about what any possible witnesses may have witnessed!
Some have tried to claim Ananias is Paul's witness (Acts 9:17). That is absurd for many reasons. First, it is saying Ananias having a vision of Paul experiencing something is the same as Ananias witnessing it himself. Second, it would beg the question of a second witness to vouch for Ananias. Furthermore, if one is determined to give credence to Ananias, note that Ananias (in Acts 9:17) calls Paul a brother and says the vision was so that Paul would become a Christian (receive the Holy Ghost). Nowhere is it implied that Paul was given any special message. He never refers to Paul as an apostle - a messenger. Even in yet another account (Acts 22:13/15), Ananias calls Paul a brother and says Paul is to be a witness. We are all to be witnesses! Ananias never called Paul an apostle or implied that Paul was to be such. Ananias cannot be considered a witness for Paul's Apostleship.
The incident is mentioned three separate times and never does anyone, even Paul himself, refer to anyone as a witness to Paul's claims. Paul tried, at various times, to claim he spoke the truth by claiming God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and even his own conscience, were witnesses for proof (i.e. Romans 1:9 and 9:1)! When Jesus said God was a witness for Him God spoke where others could hear it. Paul fails in every way possible for establishing credentials as an apostle with a little "a", much less to be considered an Apostle with a big "A".
In Brotherly Love,
For more conflicting stories concerning Paul:
In Acts 9:6 and Acts 22:10, Paul says he is told to go into the city and then he will be told what to do; yet, in Acts 26:16/18, Paul claims he was given his instruction then and there.
Paul contradicts the Gospels on to whom and when Jesus appeared to when He was resurrected; and, adds that Jesus appeared to him (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
In Acts 26:19/20 and 9:20, Paul begins preaching immediately. In Galatians 1:16/18 he waited three years.
In Galatians 1:12, Paul claims that he learned the Gospel by revelation from Jesus. The problem here is Jesus was very clear that after He ascended we would be taught not by Him but by the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, and 16:7).
Paul claimed he would not spare those that sinned - 2 Corinthians 13:2. He was upset because they doubted he was legit - 2 Corinthians 13:3. He tried to tell them they were the living proof he was legit. If they were good it was because of him getting them approved by Christ; and, if they weren't good it was because they weren't approved of by Christ.
The list could go on quite a ways; but, that's another issue.