From A.D. 70 to A.D. 135—How the Church Became Divorced From Its Hebraic Roots
What is called Christianity today in many ways is very dissimilar, and in many respects, outright antagonistic to the religion of the first-century, Book of Acts believers. How did this come to be?
Many modern Christian churches prides themselves on being “a New Testament church,” yet what they practice and believe is often very different from and even opposed to the teaching and practices of the apostles and primitive, first century church. For example, life for the apostolic believers in Jerusalem revolved around the temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:19-21; 5:42; Acts 21:26; 22:17; 24:18; 25:8; 26:21), and for those outside of the land of Israel, on most Sabbaths, they attended the local synagogue (Acts 13:14; 14:1; 17:1–2; 18:4, 7, 8, 19, 26; 19:8). Not only did the first apostles and early believers not celebrate any pagan influenced holidays such as Easter, Christmas, Halloween, Lent, and the rest, but they adhered to the Torah or law of Moses (see references below). The Book of Acts record is also clear that early believers kept the Bible festivals (as outlined in Lev 23; Acts 2:1; 18:21; Acts 27:9; 1 Cor 5:8; Jude 12) of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Day of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the Eighth Day.
What’s more, the book of Acts records that both Stephen and Paul were falsely accused of teaching that the laws and customs of Moses were nullified, and, as a result of this false accusation, both lost their lives defending Torah-obedience.
A hundred other examples could easily be given showing how the Christian church has veered away from the Hebrew or Jewish roots of its faith, but hopefully, the reader gets the point.
So what happened to cause Christianity to veer so widely from the Hebrew or Jewish roots of its faith and to arrive at the place where it hardly resembles that religious faith from which it sprang? This is not an easy question to answer since one must look back nearly 2000 years and attempt to reconstruct the times in which our spiritual forefathers lived. Moreover, we must understand what was transpiring politically, religiously, and socially at the time to answer this question properly. It is also imperative that we understand the contextual social and linguistic fabric, the backdrop of history, and the parade of political and economic events which happened one after another between the years of A.D. 70 and A.D. 135. Then and only then can we understand how the church became divorced from its Hebraic roots and became Greco-Roman and Western in nature and combined itself with an admixture of with pagan and antibiblical doctrines along with pagan practices, traditions and beliefs.
Now, let us go back nearly 2000 years for a short lesson in history. The early church was Jewish and much of what they did centered around the synagogue and the temple. As already noted, references are made 25 times in the Book of Acts to the Jerusalem temple and 19 references to various local synagogues.
The Apostles Were Pro-Torah
Before commencing our trip back in history, it’s proper for me to disclose my bias. I start from the premise that all the apostles were not only pro-Torah, but were Torah obedient. This is based on many scripture references (e.g., Acts 21:24; 22:3, 12; 24:14; 25:8; Rom 3:31; 7:7–12, 14, 25; 13:8–10; 1 Cor 7:19 Jas 2:8–11; 1 John 2:3–7; 3:22, 24; Rev 12:17; 14:12; 22:12). Please consider the following facts:
The primitive church was primarily Jewish, and was led by the apostles who faithfully adhered to the Torah-law of Moses following the example of Yeshua who practiced and taught its continuance. As the church expanded thorough the Roman empire and gained Gentile converts, there were some who had fallen prey to the philosophy of antinomian (against the law) — that salvation by grace freed one from obligation to obey the Torah. Paul strongly refutes this concept several times in the book of Romans. In addition, many had come to a misunderstanding of Paul’s writings into believing that he was speaking against the law of Moses. This misunderstanding resulted in his being arrested in Jerusalem and eventually being transported to Rome as a Roman prisoner.
We must also place ourselves in the cultural context of those times to properly understand the rise of antinomianism. Remember that very few people owned the Bible in those days and fewer still could read, so, in such a religious environment, it would have been easy for false concepts to have been propagated and to gain traction in the minds of simple men. Basically, people had to believe what their spiritual leaders told them. Unscrupulous, ignorant, or misguided teachers had great influence to be able to lead many astray.
Who Is the Real Judaizer?
Mainstream Christians often label those believers in the gospel and who adhere to the Torah Judaizers. Is this a correct label and is the biblical historical origin of this term?
The term Judaizing or Judaizer as the mainstream Christian understands it today isn’t found in the New Testament per se. However, church historians and Bible teachers have applied this term retrospectively to those in the primitive Christian church as well as to modern saints who advocated adherence to the Torah. This is ironic since Paul advocated Torah obedience to the believers in Rome (who were both Jewish and Gentile). So while Paul teaches Torah observance on the one hand, many believe that Paul was teaching liberty from the Torah (in book of Galatians, for example) on the other hand. This has led to much confusion about what Paul really believed. Was he conflicted in his beliefs being both for and against the Torah? Or maybe he gradually changed his opinion from pro-Torah to anti-Torah. This latter proposition seems unlikely since Bible scholars tell us that Romans and Galatians were written nearly at the same time. So the term Judaizer as used by modern Bible scholars seems to be a canard — a fabricated concept, or a concept built on a false premise.
The term Judiazer is found only in two verses in the entire Bible. The first place is in Esther 8:17 where the Greek Old Testament (LXX) uses the Hebrew verb yachad meaning “to become a Jew,” or “to profess oneself to be Jewish.” It was used in reference to those Persians who suddenly “converted” to Judaism to escape Jewish persecution. The final reference is found in Galatians 2:14 were Paul was accusing Peter, not of being Torah-obedient, but rather of adhering to non-biblical Jewish traditions, which forbad Jews and Gentiles from eating together. In reality, adherence to these extrabiblical Jewish traditions was Judaizing — a fact that seems to be missed by the majority of Christian scholars from the second century to this day! This isn’t a new thing, for Yeshua accused the learned Jewish religious leaders of his day of the same thing: “making the word of Elohim of no effect through your traditions which you have handed down” (Mark 7:15). Earlier he said, “You reject the commandment of Elohim, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9).
In reality, what Paul was fighting against was not the Torah, which he advocates, defends and claims to follow himself in a number of places in his writings, but he rejects the idea that one can be saved by their works including circumcision. After all, this issue was the focus of the debate of the first Jerusalem council in Acts 15. In combatting the false notion that circumcision, for example, must be a prerequisite to salvation, Paul opposes this idea in grand and logical step-by-step fashion in the book of Romans, and again in the book of Galatians in a knock-out-the-opponent-quickly manner. So if we’re to apply the term Judaizer to anyone, it must be applied to those advocating a works-based salvation formula, not to those who teach that salvation is by grace alone through faith in Yeshua with the spiritual fruits of conversion being love toward Elohim and one’s fellow man as defined by the Torah — something this author strongly advocates. Sadly, this fundamental truth of who a Judaizer really seems to have been missed by the majority of early church fathers and modern mainstream church theologians who have continued to repeat the anti-Semitic viewpoints handed down to them from the second century church fathers, and who fear rejection from their peers and supporters if they go against millennia of church tradition.
Factors Causing the Church to Turn Away from Its Hebraic Roots
One can’t help wonder why and how the church leaders of the second century could come to such an opposite view of the Torah (discussed in more detail below) as that of Yeshua and the apostles, which the mainstream church has passed on down to this day. This seems puzzling, perplexing and an incredulous thing to the logical and inquiring mind. To help answer this question, consider the following:
- Recall how quickly Adam and Eve turned away from Elohim’s word and fell into sin, or how quickly the Israelites turned to golden calf worship, or how many times ancient Israel turned from the truth of Elohim into the idolatrous practices of the heathen nations around them. Consider how the northern kingdom forsook the worship of YHVH and obedience to the Torah after its split from the Jews of the southern kingdom. Consider how many false doctrines and traditions of men had arisen in Judaism by the time of Yeshua, and how many times he countered the Jews over this issue. Human nature being what it is and ever the same individually and corporately, why should we expect anything different of the early church after the death of the apostles? The biblical record shows that YHVH’s people seldom remained faithful to him for more than forty years. By the time the next generation seldom maintained the truth of the previous generation. Just look at the history of the kings of Judah.
- Look how many different churches and denominations exist on earth today with different beliefs — all claiming to follow the same Bible. The one thing that’s consistent about man is that he’s inconsistent — they can’t stay with the same thing for very long. This is because:
Men are always looking for something new and novel.
They want to be different than their forefathers. It’s a universal attribute of children to want to rebel or be different from their physical and spiritual parents.
Very few people want to be too different from the culture around them. It’s easier to go along to get along then to be radically different and have to accept the persecution and ostracization that goes along with it.
- Romans 8:7 tells us that men natural rebellious predisposition against the laws and dictates of Elohim going back to the tree of knowledge. Satan is always there to lure man in this direction.
- The writings of Paul were (are) difficult to understand and easily twisted as Peter attests to (2 Pet 3:16). If Peter struggled to understand Paul, how much more those who would came centuries and millennia afterwards?
- Consider the influences on the largely Jewish and pro-Torah primitive church that occurred due to the Gentilization of the church and weak spiritual leadership to combat the pagan influences and anti-Semitism within the empire.
- Consider other external factors that contributed to the early church’s move away from a Torah-centric belief system such as Roman persecution, the Roman “Jewish tax,” social pressure from the pagan cultures that excluded those who were non-conformists from social and economic interaction.
A Brief History Lesson: From A.D. 70 to A.D. 135 — the Church Leaves Its Roots
Hebrew roots scholar, Dr. Ron Moseley has part of the answer to this question in his book, published in 1996, entitled, Yeshua—A Guide to the Real Jesus of the Original Church. He says, “After the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, two new religious organizations grew out of the Judaism of Jesus’ and Paul’s day. The Pharisees had fled Jerusalem to Yavneh and were spared, while the Jewish followers of Jesus had fled to the mountains of Pella and also survived (Matthew 24:16). From these two groups came two separate religions known as Rabbinic Judaism and the Christian Church. Today, neither Rabbinic Judaism nor the Church, which formed much of its theology from fourth-century Roman ideas, hold the same views as the pre-[A.D. ]70 Judaism of Jesus’ and Paul’s day” (p. 69). Christian Hebrew roots scholar, professor and theologian Marvin Wilson argues the same points in his 1989 book, Our Father Abraham—Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith. He writes, “A cursory look at the beginnings of Christianity reveals a Church that was made up exclusively of Jews. Indeed, the Church was viewed as a sect within Judaism, as the book of Acts makes clear in referring to early followers of Jesus as the ‘sect of the Nazarenes’ (Acts 24:5). They seemed to function easily within Judaism in that they were described as ‘enjoying the favor of all the people’ (2:47)” (p. 47). Wilson then goes on to write that between A.D. 70 when the Roman army destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and A.D. 135 when the Second Jewish revolt against Roman occupation of their country occurred the first-century Messianic congregation began to leave its Jewish roots. Let’s take a quick look at the timeline of events that led to the Christian church leaving its Hebrew roots as chronicled by Wilson (ibid., pp. 74ff)
- In 63 BC the Romans took the city of Jerusalem by storm and established Roman rule over the land. The Jews writhed under foreign domination which included the collection of high taxes and the torture and execution of any opposed to Roman rule.
- In A.D. 49, a dispute broke out between Jews and Messianic believers in Rome causing the Romans to expel both groups from that city. At that time the Romans made no distinction between Jews and Messianics.
- By A.D. 64, during Nero’s rule, Messianics weren’t distinguished from traditional Jews and many Messianics were persecuted at this time. Paul was martyred during this time.
- By the time of Paul’s death in Rome, in Jerusalem the Zealots, who militantly rejected Roman rule over Judea, had gained considerable influence among the Jews in the Land of Israel. The Zealots were eagerly awaiting their chance to revolt against Roman domination and secure independence for Israel.
- In A.D. 66 the Zealots seized their opportunity to revolt against Rome which lasted for four years. After three years of fighting the Roman general was unexpectedly recalled to Rome at which time many Jews fled to the city of Yavneh and the early Messianic believers fled to Pella, a city in Jordan, just outside of Roman rule.
- In A.D. 70 the Romans returned to Israel under Roman general Titus, took Jerusalem, destroyed the city and Temple and killed hundreds of thousands of Jews.
- For three years starting in A.D. 73, the Romans continued mopping up operations against the Jewish rebels which terminated in the fall of Masada, the Zealots’ last stronghold against the Romans.
- Move from Jerusalem to Pella: For the Messianics, Pella, located 60 miles NE of Jerusalem, became an important center for Messianic activities replacing Jerusalem. The failure of the Messianic community at this time to support the nationalistic movement against Rome did not endear them to the general Jewish population. In the face of national crisis such aloofness and lack of patriotism branded the Messianics with a stigma of disloyalty and treason. Furthermore, the geographical removal of Messianics from Jerusalem and its Temple affected the growing schism between traditional Jews and Messianics by loosening their close religious connection to Judaism, the strongest potential unifying force the Jewish people had. At the same time, Messianics used the fall of Jerusalem against traditional Jews in the Synagogue pointing to this as proof of YHVH’s displeasure and judgment against the traditional Jews for rejecting Yeshua the Messiah. The First Jewish Revolt marked a turning point in the history of Judaism. The early Messianic congregation up to A.D. 70 was a daughter of Judaism, but only after the Revolt did they leave the nest.
- Meanwhile, after the First Jewish Revolt, the Temple system along with the Zealot, Sadducee and Essene sects ceased to exist. Only the Pharisaic system survived having transplanted to Yavneh, a city west of Jerusalem. There the foundations of modern rabbinic Judaism were laid with a religious reformulation on a spiritual rather than a territorial basis. At Yavneh, the Jewish leaders took a religious stand against the Messianic “heretics” further widening the breach between traditional and Messianic Jews. This came in the form of “the Heretic Benediction” (or Birkat ha-Minim, literally, “the cursing of the heretic”). This was a “blessing” that was added to the daily Jewish liturgy and was used to distinguish non-Messianic Jews from Messianic Jews thus forcing the followers of Yeshua out of the synagogue as being heretics of normative Judaism. During this time, bitter accusations of wrong-doing and mistreatment continued bo fly back and forth between these to camps.
- As the Gospel was preached and more and more Gentiles converted to Messianism and the balance of power and influence within the early church began to shift away from the Jewish to the Gentile side. By the early part of the second century the Messianic movement was primarily composed of non-Jews who lived in other areas beside Jerusalem such as Antioch and Rome.
- From A.D. 132–135 occurred the Second Jewish Revolt. At this time a popular Jewish figure named Simon Bar Kokhba led another revolt against the Romans. Some of the leading Jewish religious figures of the day declared Bar Kokhba to be the Messiah. After several years of fighting, the Romans defeated the Jews, expelled them from Jerusalem (but apparently allowed Christians who would renounce all Jewishness to enter the city) leveled the city renamed it Aelia Capitalina and Judea was renamed Palestine after the Philistines, the ancient Israelite enemies. The A.D. 135 revolt was the final breaking point between the traditional Jews and the Messianics who had but one Messiah—Yeshua of Nazareth. To accept Bar Kokhba was an outright denial of the Messiahship of Yeshua and was totally unacceptable.
- Marcion of Sinope was an early church heretic who was a very influential and anti-sematic church father who was influenced by Greek dualistic thought originated and propagated the idea far and wide among second century believers that the God of the Old Testament was evil and judgemental and his laws were evil, a burden and impossible to keep, while conversely Jesus, the God of the New Testament was loving, full of mercy and grace and he came to free us from the old Mosaic law. Though Marcion was eventually branded as a heretic by church fathers, the seeds of his ideas took root in Gentile Christianity and eventually gave rise to the concept of dispensationalism prevalent in Christianity today which, succinctly stated, says that YHVH has one law, covenant, and set of salvation requirements for the Jews and another for the Gentiles.
- Between the second and fourth centuries: Later on, as the Romans, continued their persecution of the Jews throughout the Roman Empire Christians found it expedient for self preservation purposes to distance themselves from the Jewish ties, similitude and any beliefs that appeared in any way to smack of Judaism, no matter whether the Jewish beliefs were biblically-based or not. Eventually, as Christianity grew in numbers of converts and influence within the Roman Empire it joined forces with the Romans and became the state religion in the early part of the fourth century. Sunday became the official day of worship and all Jewish observances (such as the Feast Days) and religious practices were banned and were replaced with paganized Christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas. By this time, the Christian church had officially cut all ties with its Hebrew roots and had become a very different religious entity from that of the Book of Acts believers.
What Church Historian Have to Say
A number of notable church historians have some interesting comments on the primitive church’s movement away from its Jewish roots.
History of Christianity (vol 1) by Kenneth Scott Latourette
“The complete story of the spread of Christianity in its first five centuries cannot be told, for we do not possess sufficient date to write it. Especially is our information for the early part of the period provokingly fragmentary.…Our knowledge of many aspects and persons of these centuries, even of those which loomed large in the eyes of their contemporaries and so would be prominently noticed, is notoriously imperfect” (p. 65).
“Few of the second and third century apologists devoted much attention to the Jews and Judaism. By the time that they wrote, the separation of the Christian community from Judaism was almost complete and Christians were drawn primarily from paganism” (p. 83).
History of the Christian Church (Philip Schaff)
“The first half of second century is comparatively veiled in obscurity, although considerable light has been shed over it by recent discoveries and investigations. After the death of John only a few witnesses remain to testify of the wonders of the apostolic days and their apostolic days, and their writings are few in number, short in compass and partly of doubtful origins…” (vol. 2, p. 12)
Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History (Eusebius c. 260 to c. 341)
- Eusebius records that the apostolic church remained like a pure and uncorrupted virgin, but that “ when the sacred choir of apostles became extinct and the generation of those who had been privileged to hear their inspired wisdom had passed away, then, also the combinations of impious error a rose by the fraud and delusions of false teachers. These also, as there was none of the apostles left, hence fourth attempted without shame to preach their false doctrines against the gospel of truth” (Book 3, ch. 32).
- From the time of Yeshua’s ascension there was a succession of fifteen bishops presiding over Jerusalem upon until the time of the consisted of faithful Hebrews who continued from the time of the apostles until the Third Jewish Revolt of A.D. 132 –136 in “the knowledge of Christ pure and unadulterated” (Book 4, ch. 5).
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Edward Gibbon)
The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregation over which they presided united the law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ. It was natural that the primitive tradition of a church which was founded only forty days after the death of Christ, and was governed almost as many years under the immediate inspection of his apostle, should be received as the standard of orthodoxy. The distant churches very frequently appealed to the authority of their venerable Parent, and relieved her distress by a liberal contribution of alms, but when numerous and opulent societies were established in the great cities of the empire, in Antioch, Alexandria, Ephesus, Corinth , and Rome, the reverence which Jerusalem had inspired to all the Christians afterwards called, the Nazarenes, who had laid the foundations of the church, soon found themselves overwhelmed by the increasing multitudes that from all the various religions of polytheism enlisted under the banner of Christ: and the Gentiles, who, with the approbation of their peculiar apostle, had rejected the intolerable weight of Mosaic ceremonies, at length refused to their more scrupulous brethren the same toleration which at first they had humbly solicited fro their own practice (vol. 1, p. 389).
- Gibbon goes on to explain that the Christians who fled the destruction of Jerusalem for refuge in Pella beyond the Jordan remained there in obscurity and solitude for another 60 years (to A.D. 130). In A.D. 135, the Romans defeated the Jews again and banished them from Jerusalem and imposed severe penalty if not death upon any who would dare to approach its precincts. He then writes,
- The Nazarenes had only one way left to escape the common proscription, and the force of truth was on this occasion assisted by the influence of temporal advantages. They elected Marcus for their bishop, a prelate of the race of Gentiles, and most probably a native of either Italy or some of the Latin provinces. At his persuasion the most considerable part of the congregation renounced the Mosaic law, in the practice of which they had persevered above a century. By this sacrifice, of their habits and prejudices they purchased a free admission into the colony Hadrian, and more firmly cemented their union with the Catholic church. When the name and honours of the church of Jerusalem had been restored to Mount Sion, the crimes of heresy and schism were imputed to the obscure remnant of the Nazarenes which refused to accompany their Latin bishop. The name Nazarenes was deemed too honourable for these Christian Jews, and they soon received, from the supposed poverty of their understand, as well as of their condition, the contemptuous epithet of Ebionites. In few years after the return of the church of Jerusalem, it became a matter of doubt and controversy whether a man who sincerely acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, but who still continued to observe the law of Moses, cold possibly hope for salvation (ibid. pp. 389–391).
Ante-Nicene Church Fathers Vs. the Apostolic Fathers
Here is a partial list (along with the approximate dates) of several major unbiblical and anti-Torah and non-biblical doctrines crept into the post-apostolic church.
The Human Soul Is Immortal
- A.D. 130— The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, ch. 6
- Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 18
- Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Two, ch. 34
- Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Five, chaps. 7.1; 31.1
Teachings Against the Sabbath and Biblical Feasts
- A.D. 130—The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, ch. 4. The author calls the Sabbath and biblical feasts “utterly ridiculous and unworthy of notice.”
- Ca. A.D. 130—Epistle of Barnabas, ch. 2 (also ch. 14). The author says that the Sabbaths (weekly Sabbath and biblical feasts) are abolished.
- Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philippians, ch. 14: O
Observance of the Lord’s Day (Sunday) Advocated Over Sabbath Observance
- Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, ch. 9. The author says to keep the Sabbath on Sunday.
- Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, ch. 9
- Ca. A.D. 130—Epistle of Barnabas, ch. 14
- Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 67
Teachings Against the Torah
- Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, chap. 6. The author declare, “If anyone preach the Jewish law, listen not to him.”
- Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, ch. 10
- Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 47: The author states that out of “weak-mindedness,” some Christians observe the Mosaic law. Sabbath and feast days observance are optional, but not encouraged.
- Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, chaps. 8, 10
- Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Four, ch. 16.4. The author declares that the Decalogue was not cancelled by the New Covenant, but the statues and judgments of the Torah were a bondage to the Israelites and are no longer binding on Christians.
Teachings Against the Biblical Dietary Laws of Clean and Unclean Meats
- Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, ch. 6. the author states that one who adheres to the biblical dietary laws “has the apostate dragon dwelling within him.”
Easter Celebration Established a Christian Holiday
- Ca. A.D. 150—The celebration of the resurrection within the early church began in the middle of the second century (History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, pp. 207–8, by Philip Schaff). The date of Easter and its formal establishment and disconnection from Passover occurred in A.D. 325 at the council of Nicea.
Sabbath Officially Changed to Sunday
- A.D. 321—Sunday officially becomes the weekly day of worship (in place of the Sabbath) by a legal enactment of Emporer Constantine (History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, p. 378ff, by Philip Schaff; History of the Christianity, vol 1, p. 93, by Kenneth Scott Latourette).
Christmas Established as a Christian Holiday
- Ca. A.D. 354—Christmas originated in the middle to the end of the fourth century as a Christian holiday as an outgrowth of a pagan festival celebrating the birth of the pagan sun god.
The De-Judaizing of the Early Church Fathers Paves the Way for Anti-Semitism
After the death of the last apostle, and as time went one, the early church fathers took on a more strident tone against the Jews and their beliefs including the law of Moses. Here are several examples of this:
Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (98-117A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians
“For if we still live according to the Jewish law, and the circumcision of the flesh, we deny that we have received grace” (chap 8).
“Let us therefore no longer keep[ the Sabbath after the Jewish manner…But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner…After the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days [of the week]” (chap 9).
“It is absurd to speak of Jesus Christ with the tongue, and to cherish in the mind a Judaism which has now come to an end. For where there is Christianity there cannot be Judaism” (chap 10).
Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, chap 4 (A.D. 130)
“But as to their scrupulosity concerning meats, and their superstition as respects the Sabbath, and their boasting about circumcision,and their fancies about fasting and the new moons, which are utterly ridiculous and unworthy of notice” (chap 4)
Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98–117A.D.) — Epistle to the Philadelphians
“But if any one preach the Jewish law unto you, listen not to him” (chap 6).
Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98–117A.D.) — Epistle to the Philippians
“If anyone celebrates the Passover along with the Jews, or receives the emblems of their feast, he is a partaker of those that killed the Lord and his apostles” (chap 14).
Justin Martyr — Dialogue with Trypho (Between 138A.D. and 161 A.D.)
Justin claims that the Scriptures no longer belong to the Jews, but to the Christians, thus asserting anti-Semitic replacement theology (chap 29).
Historical Notes on Marcion of Sinope
Since the writings of Marcion of Sinope (c. 85 – c. 160; e.g., Antitheses or Contradictions) have been lost, Tertullian’s five books refuting Marcionism as recorded in Antitheses is our best source of information on Marcion’s teachings.
Overview of Marcion’s Teachings
- Exploring the Christian Faith, (by J. I. Packer et al; Nelson, 1992) in an article written by David Wright.
Marcion sharply contrasted Judaism and Christianity and he maintains that the god of grace was unknown until revealed in Yeshua. By contrast, the god of the Old Testament was a god of strict law and justice, or even of harsh and violent malice. Yeshua came to rescue humanity from the power of the Old Testament, inferior god who he called the demiurge — a term borrowed from the Greek dualistic philosophers. Marcion believed that only Paul really understood the Yeshua’s new revelation of love and grace and that the other Jewish apostles were still under the corrupting influences of the Jewish law (p. 295).
- History of the Christian Church, vol. 2 (by Philip Schaff, Hendrickson, 2002). Justin Martyr regarded Marcion as the most formidable heretic of his day (p. 484).
- A History of Christianity, vol. 1 by Kenneth Scott Latourette; Prince Press, 2003). Marcion insisted that the church had obscured the gospel by seeking to combine it with Judaism. He maintained that the God of the Old Testament and of the Jews is an evil God. This is due in part to his assertion that the God of the Old Testament commanded bloody sacrifices to him, and was a God of battles, rejoiced in bloodshed and was vindictive. He taught that this God had given a stern and inflexible law for the governance of men, demanded obedience to the law and was rigourous in its enforcement. Marcion held that in contrast to the God of the Jews, there is a second God who revealed himself in Yeshua who was a God of love who sought, out of mercy, to rescue men from the evil Old Testament God. Yeshua, he taught, came from heaven to deliver men form the rule of the malevolent evil God of the Old Testament whom he called the Demiruge. All that the good God asks of men if they are to escape from the rule of the Demiurge is faith in response to his love. Men have been emancipated from the legalistic requirements of the Demiurge and of his creature, Judaism. Marcion believed that Paul understood the gospel and in Paul he saw a sharp distinction between law and grace being the unmerited favor of God, which Marcion passionately believed was the essence of the gospel (pp. 126–127).
- Justin Martyr (ca. A.D. 155) roundly denounced Marcion as a heretic, but not because of his anti-Torah stand, but because of his unorthodox Greek dualistic view of the godhead, and his denial of Yeshua’s incarnation believing instead that Yeshua was a phantom (e.g., Justin Martyr in The First Apology, chaps 26, 58)
- From Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 3 (Hendrickson, 1995); “Tertullian Against Marcion”
Book 1, chap 19 (p. 285), Marcion set the Old Testament (law) in opposition to the New Testament (gospel).
Book 1, chap 19 (p. 285), Tertullian maintains that the God of the law and the gospel are the same, even though Marcion taught they were different. Mainstream Christianity has blended these two concepts: the orthodox position of Tertullian and the heretical position of Marcion by saying that there is only one God, but that he changed his demeanor from that of law to grace.
Book 1, chap 20 (pp. 285–286), Marcion champions Paul as the one to have moved the other apostles away from the Jewish law (i.e., physical circumcision, the Sabbath and feasts) and into the message of grace. Marcion cites the example of Paul’s withstanding Peter’s acquiescence to the Jews over the Gentiles in favor of the law:
Paul’s becoming all things to all men — to the Jews who are under the law, as a Jews, and to those who are without the law, as being without the law (a supposed indication of Paul’s ambivalence to the law).
Paul’s mention of the other gospel brought into church by false brethren (Gal 1:6–7; 2:14) is a reference to them bringing into the church the corrupting influence of teaching adherence to the Old Testament law.
Paul’s alleged stand against physical circumcision is another proof, according to Marcion, of Paul’s disdain for the law.
Additionally, Paul’s teaching against observing times, days, months and years (a supposed reference to the biblical feasts and other Jewish ceremonies) is assumed to be proof of their abrogation. Marcion saw proof of the laws abrogation in the Old Testament writings where YHVH says, “Behold, I will do a new thing” (Isa 43:19); “I will make a new covenant…” (Jer 31:32); “ I will cause her all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts” (Hos 2:11); “The new moons, and sabbath, the calling assemblies, I cannot away with; your holy days and fasts, and feast days, my soul hates” (Isa 1:13–14). Interestingly, these same arguments plucked out the scriptures by Marcion the heretic in attempt to prove the abrogation of the law, are the same scriptures used by the mainstream church to this day in their attempt to invalidate observance of the biblical feasts.
Book 4, chap 7 (pp. 352–353), Tertullian asserts that Yeshua neither detested the law nor came to destroy the law, but to fulfill it (as per Matt 5:17), in contradistinction to Marcion who claims that Yeshua came to abrogate or destroy the law. What Tertullian’s view was with regard to obedience to the law I can’t say, except that he didn’t believe Yeshua was a destroyer, but rather an upholder of the law in that he took the Pharisees to task for their partial obedience to it in that they omitted the weightier matters of the law (4.27, p. 394). But in Tertullian’s mind, he was not advocating a doctrinal view that nullified the law, while Marcion did. It seems that today’s mainstream church has a blended view of Tertullian and Marcion in that, and I’ve heard it myself a hundred times, they maintain that Yeshua didn’t came to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, so that Christians wouldn’t have to do it (or at least those parts of the law that men determine are no longer relevant to Christians, and, hence, can choose to ignore, i.e., disobey). Therefore, in the minds of some Christians, Yeshua’s fulfilling the law now gives them license to violate certain aspect of the law (Marcion who was a strong proponent of the abrogation of the law would have agreed with this view) such as the sabbaths, feasts, physical circumcision and the dietary laws. Hence, we see that the mainstream church, de facto, holds, to one degree or another, to an antinomian viewpoints similar to that of Marcion.
Book 4, chap 33 (pp. 404), Tertullian maintains that Marcion taught that the law and prophets where until John (Luke 16:16) after which they ceased due to the new dispensation of the gospel. Tertullian then shows this teaching to be fallacious because of Yeshua’s statement that as long as heaven and earth still exist, not one point of the law will cease (Matt 5:18), and because of Isaiah’s assertion that the word of YHVH is forever (Isa 40:8). Yet, it is the lie of Marcion that the law and prophets were until John, after which the law was abrogated that many in the Christian church teach to this day. Here is another example of one of the heresies of Marcion that infiltrated the early church and has been passed on down to this day into mainstream Christianity. Elsewhere, Tertullian admits the truth of the abolition of the law and declares that the law and prophets were until John even as Marcion maintained (Book 5, chap 2, pp. 431–432). In this same passage, Tertullian admits the “suppression, ” “abolition” (his terms) or “abrogation of the law and the establishment of the gospel” believing it to be a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy that “the ancient things should pass away” (Isa 43:18–19; 65:17; ibid.).
Tertullian places the law at odds with the message of grace when he advocates the idea that the gospel calls men from law to grace (Book 5, chap 2, p. 432). In an earlier book, Tertullian attempts to show that the concept of grace was throughout the Old Testament as evidence that Marcion’s idea that the God of the Old Testament was one of law, wrath and judgment, while the God of the New Testament was one of grace and love thus supposedly proving that they were two separate gods. Now, in Book 5, Tertullian is taking the same position on this issue as Marcion. Perphaps this reflect a change of opinion within Tertullian’s mind on this matter between his earlier and latter writings.
Tertullian affirms that he agrees with Marcion in that the law was abrogated, and that Book of Galatians supposedly proves this, and that the other apostles, under the leading the Holy Spirit in Acts 15, realized that the law (in reality, the apostles were referring to physical circumcision, not to Torah-obedience) was an unbearable yoke that should be set aside, and that the law should no longer be taught, which was in agreement with Paul’s already held position. What Tertullian doesn’t agree with is Marcion’s position that the Yeshua and the God of the New Testament were two opposite and separate beings (Book 5, chap 2, p. 432).
Tertullian definitively states that the law has been abolished quoting Col 2:16–17 as “proof” (Book 5, ch 19, p. 471).
The Council of Nicea (A.D. 325)
- Easter observance officially preempts Passover, and Easter’s date established.
- It paved the way for the establishment of the doctrine of the trinity to become official church doctrine.
Constantine’s View of the Jews (from Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History)
From a letter of Constantine to the bishops:
- The Jews are polluted wretches.
- Let us have nothing in common with the most hostile rabble of the Jews.
- Let us withdraw ourselves from that most odious fellowship.
- Have no fellowship with the lies of the Jews.
- The vilest of mankind.
The Council of Laodicea (A.D. 363–364)
- Outlawing the keeping of the Jewish sabbath (Saturday) and encouraging rest on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) (canon 29)
Good history lesson 🙂 I would consider that Peter’s issue was less a matter of a, “works based salvation,” – an evangelical catch phrase, and more a situation of succumbing to social pressure to conform, or a man-pleasing spirit. Look at how, until quite recently, there was a racial divide among Christians, and the ones who departed from this behavior were the JW’s, Quakers and Swedenborgians; all labeled heretics. Many evangelicals believe it is wrong to associate with or examine the teachings of those in doctrinal disagreement – the same unclean spirit.
In all due respect, some of the sources you provided are not accurately portraying what happened. Without going into all of them, those related to Ignatius are in error. Part of the reason is that portions of his writing have been mistranslated. Here is a link if this might help as Ignatius did not write against keeping the seventh day Sabbath http://www.cogwriter.com/ignatius.htm
In my teachings, I quote directly from The Ante-Nicene Church Fathers, vol. 1, published by Hendrickson, which I have in my library. How do you know that this English translation isn’t accurate per the original Greek? Do you read, write and understand Koine Greek well enough to translate for yourself, or are you taking someone else word for it, like most of us have to do? If you are fluent enough in Greek to be able to read the originals, are you certain that they are the originals and not copies of the originals, or they they haven’t been tampered with or mistranslated along the way? Can you for certain be certain of your assertions? Taking all of these things into consideration, one needs to be careful before making the accusation you have against me.
Having said this, when recently reading the Didache in Greek, I noticed that most of the English translations added a word in a sentence that changed the whole meaning of the sentence to make it appear as if the author was promoting Sunday worship. This word was not in the original Greek, nor was it even implied by the context. So I know that chicanery takes place in the translation process. Having done translating work during my academic career from one language to another, I know first hand how easy this is to do in a way that few will spot the difference.
I will happily look at your link, for what it’s worth.
BTW, in my reference to Ignatius, not only was I reading from Hendrickson’s works, but at the same time I was reading Samuele Bacchiochi’s work From Sabbath to Sunday,which I’m sure you’re familiar with. Bacchiochi unlike me, and probably you too, was a scholar with linguistic capabilities at a higher level, else I doubt he’d have received a PhD from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In his work, Bacchiochi was quoting and understanding the writings of Ignatius exactly as I have presented them based on my reading from my own reference materials. What we may have here is simply a difference of opinion between well meaning individuals.
I wish you well.
So the question becomes, how far do sincere followers of Yashua keep the ceremonial and dietary laws?
Kindly remove the concept of “ceremonial law” out of your vocabulary thinking. This is a non-biblical term and is a concept developed by the antinomian, anti-Jewish early Christian church fathers designed to turn people away from the Hebraic roots of their faith. It is a dishonest concept and without basis in the Scriptures. Can you give me a chapter and verse where this term or anything like is found in the Scriptures. “Dietary laws” along with the so-called “ceremonial laws” is simply part of the the biblical term “the Torah” which, by definition, is YHVH’s instructions, teachings and precepts that he expects his people to live by. Men who are by carnal nature rebels and don’t want to obey anyone including Elohim come along and look at the glass of YHVH’s instructions which tells a men how to love him and each other as being half full. They ask how much they can get away with without having to obey. In reality, a heart of love for Elohim says, “I get to love you by obeying all of your instructions in righteous because I want to have a great, loving relationship with you and my fellow man. I want to abide in your river of life. Show me your ways O YHVH that I might walk with you all my life into the next one too.” This is the heart of David, a man after YHVH’s own heart as expressed in many of his psalms. See the difference? It’s like the kid that says, about his parents’ rules, what can I get away with and not have to do (the glass is half empty) — a negative approach, versus the approach that says, “I know that my parent loves me, has laid down guidelines for my own good welfare and happiness (the glass is half full). Thus, I want to obey him.” Or it’s like the guy who’s driving on the windy road on the side of cliff that drives as close to the guard rail as possible without going over the cliff. Why? What’s the sense of this? Instead, give yourself some margin and stay close to the center line — which is like the straight and narrow path. Does this make sense? I’m trying my best to convey YHVH’s heart of love which is the guiding force behind the Torah. I hope this makes sense to you. Sadly, the mainstream church has largely missed all of this, and we, like good little student sponges, have soaked up this wrong thinking. Now it’s time to unlearn men’s unbiblical and ungodly traditions and get back to biblical truth, and then walk out as much as we are able. This last sentence is the answer to your question.
I am not a scholar but I have thought about some of these issues. On the dietary laws, I think there are scholarly scientific reasons for keeping “kosher” that indicate it is Father’s love for us (like our Moms telling us what to eat) not just to make us ‘peculiar’. On the ‘ceremonial’ items they are ‘shadows’ of the protocols of heaven, tutors in the ways of realms the natural eye cannot see but need to learn as they reflect the respect we show when approaching our Father on His throne and His Holy Places. They are all relevant. They have not passed away. They are all good, pure and perfect. I just don’t understand them.
A very outstanding, genuinely referenced lesson that comes out of a man after God’s heart. GOD WILL BLESS YOU, just keep on keeping on.
I wish I had known you much earlier.
You have just ignited what has been my heart’s deepest desire for a very long time.
Thank you. HalleluYah!
An extremely educational and informative teaching from history. Thank you so much for your passion to help us all “go to the next level.” The Holy Spirit has been leading us in this way of truth before I was aware of a Hebraic Roots movement (no TV for ten years, and only recently starting using the internet). Becoming more Torah observant and obedient is exciting. We have been blessed immensely having just started being Sabbath-keepers in our little town. I have been speaking out against the pagan holidays celebrated in the church for about three years now. Next…what we eat. There is no end to our learning about Elohim. For someone who used to hate reading and studying in school, I have come to him with an insatiable appetite and don’t seem to have enough hours in a day. The Father’s blessings upon you and yours Natan!
Thank you Donna, and may Yehovah Elohim bless and guide you in your search for truth. It’s good to have you as a fellow trailmate.
Hi Natan. I think you do great Work and Baruch Ha Shem for you! I would like to encourage you though to consider going to ‘another level’. Halacha… have you studied it? Have you ever tried any of it or do you just write it off as ‘the traditions of men’? Did not YSHUA say, “all what the scribes and pharaisees say to you, do as they say but not as they do” ?? “For they hold the seat of Moses”… Was not Caiphas prophesying in John 11 about that “one man should die for the people so that this nation perish not” ?? “And this he spoke not of himself but was prophesying (because he was Cohen Gadol of that year) that YSHUA should die for that nation” ? Does not YHVH say in the Torah “my statutes, AND judgements? (Laws and laws instituted (through Divine favor) by the men of the great assembly whom Moses and Joshua laid hands on. Did not YSHUA save the Pharaiseean sect from exctinction from the heretical Saducees? I know for certain that Halacha is divinley inspired, even today. There might of been a confusion in YSHUA’s time because it is written, “In troublesome time I will turn the wisdom of the wise men away and give it to fools.” But I can really see how YSHUA was the Great Reformer in his own Israelite Faith and through the Hillelian school kept YSHUA’s reforms alive and kicking even into today’s Judaism..Thank you. I really feel you are doing great work but would like to invite you to the ‘next level’.. In His Love, Doron Maizel
What makes you think I haven’t been there and done that? As a matter of fact, I have been walking this Hebraic way for more than 50 years and have dipped my bucked into many ponds.
Admittedly, there is much we can learn from our Jewish brothers. If you have read my Torah study guides/commentaries and my hundreds of teachings, you would know that I draw heavily from the wisdom of the Jewish sages. My approach is very multi-faceted and my learning is very broad. The sun does not rise and set on the Jewish sages. Moreover, the Judaism of today is not that of Yeshua’s era. True the rabbinates of today are direct descendants of the Pharisees of old, but their religion is as far removed from that of their predecessors as modern Christianity is from its originators. In fact, after AD 70, the religion of Judaism was virtually reinvented to accommodate the dual realities of the temple’s destruction and the cessation of the priesthood with the fall of the Sadduceean sect. To assume that what the modern Jews teach is an exact replica of the the Pharisees of Yeshua’s day is very presumptive and ignores the facts of history.
Yes, Yeshua made a comment about Moses seat. But do you really know what that was all about and what he was really saying there? Most people don’t. He wasn’t telling us to mindlessly follow the religious leaders of his day, who were the very ones he called hypocrites, serpents, devils and whitewashed tombs. No. He was his own man. Sometimes he followed the teachings of the Sadducees, sometimes the Essenes, sometimes the Hillelites and sometimes those of the school of Shamai. In reality, he didn’t follow and of them. In the areas where they lined up with him, he agreed with them. Period. Otherwise, he was against their beliefs. Let’s think this thing out critically and look at the big, big picture and not fall into the trap of just blindly following a group of people based on a couple of out of context comments Yeshua said.
Having said this, I’m not against the rabbinic Jewish sages. If you were to watch any of the videos that I record in my home library for our YouTube channel, you would see behind me a large bookcase full of the classic works of the major rabbinic sages. I have read many of their works, prayed their prayers, learned their language, put on their kippot, tied their tefillin, and worn their talit (both gadol and katon), blown their shofarot, waved their lulavim,celebrated their minor holidays, incorporated their traditions into the biblical feasts, done their liturgy, and tied tzitzit after their traditions. Been there, done that, and still do a lot of that to this day. So I’m not sure what you mean when you invite me to come to the higher level??!!
I didn’t fall off the proverbial turnip truck yesterday!
Some of us have come to the true higher level (and there are higher levels beyond that, but it ain’t rabbinic Judaism!!! (nor is it mainstream Christianity either). That higher level does not revolve around a group of men Jewish (or Christian, for that matter) (no matter how learned and wise they may be) who have illegally misappropriated the title rabbi (which in Hebrew means “my great one” and only colloquially “teacher”)——a title that belongs to one Man only (see Matt 23:7–8). My Rabbi is Yeshua the Messiah. Period. His apostles who wrote the Testimony of Yeshua focused on him as the source of truth—not on men. I follow their example.
Now about halachah, a Hebrew word that means “walk” and refers to how we walk out our faith and obey our Elohim. The concept of halachah is rooted in the Torah, NOT in the oral traditions of the Jews. If it weren’t for the foundational halachic immutable principles of the Tanakh that tell us what the truth is and how to walk it out, there would be no Judaism, much less all their traditions. A wise person can learn truth from many sources, but the best source is that which is closest to The Divine Source of truth, and that is found revealed in Scripture.
Thank you for your comments. It gave me an opportunity to explain some issues that needed addressing.
Love and blessings in Messiah.
Fair enough. Though it Was Yeshua’s words that said in the gospels, “All what the scribes and Pharaisees say to you, do as they say not as they do for hod the SEAT OF MOSES. I am not qoting myself or the “rabbis”, I am quoting Yeshua’s words from the “New Testameant”. Also, another question: Do you Know or believe if the New Testameant is the same as the “New Coveneant”? In Jerimiah it sais the ‘New Coveneant will be written in our hearts and minds’ , (not in a book or on papyrus)
I understand that that book called the “New Testameant” explains much of the Tanach and is often great divinley inspired commentary, but according to the prophet Jerimiah the “New Coveanant is wriiten in our hearts and minds” Wouldn’t literal ‘to the letter interpetation’ of a Spiriitual Covenant nullify the whole purpose if what Paul writes is true: “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth Life” ?
Okay, since you’re pushing back on the obeying the Pharisees (i.e. modern rabbinic Jews) issue, let’s take this discussion to the next level.
Yes, I’m aware of Yeshua’s statement in Matt 23:2, to observe whatever the Pharisees tell you to observe. To understand the Messiah’s words here, this statement has to be weighed in the context of the rest of the passage and everything else Yeshua said. Again, if we cherry-pick a verse out of its context and turn it into a stand-alone principle, then we can virtually make the Word of Elohim say anything we wish. At the very least, we do injustice to the one speaking the words and make them say something they never intended.
Here are some points to consider when addressing Yeshua’s words in Matt 23:2 to observe whatever the Pharisees tell you to observe.
First, the word “observe” is the Greek word tereo meaning “to attend to carefully; take care of; to guard; to keep; one in the state in which he is, to observe; to reserve: to undergo something.” As one can see, “observe” is only one of the possible meanings of the word, and not even the its first or main meaning.
Second, the context of what Yeshua is saying here is against the backdrop of the Pharisees’ hypocritical tendencies. In other words, he condemns them for saying one thing and then doing another. He also judged them for some of the things they did. Example? Calling men “rabbi”, omitting the weightier matter of the law, and their ostentatious religious show and pretense. Elsewhere, in the famous Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua flat out tells his disciples to NOT follow the unbiblical traditions of the Jews. This is evidenced in all of Yeshua’s “you have heard said…but I say unto you” statements of Matt 5. Then in Matt 15, Yeshua accuses the same Pharisees of transgressing the commandments of Elohim by their tradition (Matt 15:3-9). In Mark 7, Yeshua has more to say about following the so-called “traditions of the elders (the Jews’ oral laws and traditions). He makes it clear that his disciples are in no way to check their brains at the door and to blindly follow Jewish traditions. Bottom line: Do only those things that line up with the written word and commandments of Elohim. Period. If the Jews’ traditions don’t, then ignore them (Mark 7:5–13). The apostles reiterated this understanding. When they were dragged before the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling elders) and commanded to stop preaching the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah, Peter made his famous rebuttal to them. He declared that we must follow Elohim and not men. In other words, he viewed as null and void any human commands that violate the Written Word of Elohim (Acts 4:18–19). When Peter stood before the same counsel again a little later, he reiterated his earlier statement when he declared to them, “We ought to obey Elohim rather then men” (Acts 5:29).
On the basis of points one and two, we now come to point three. Let’s think this thing out and analyze it critically. That’s what YHVH gave us intellect and reasoning capabilities for. The modern rabbinic Jews reject Yeshua as the Messiah. If we take Yeshua’s statement in Matt 23:23 to do whatever the Jews tell you to do, then we may as well forget about believing in Yeshua. Obviously this is not what Yeshua is telling us to do, and this is not what his apostles took his words to mean.
I hope this discussion clarifies this issue in your mind.
Now with regard to the new covenant/new testament, let me say this. The term “New Testament” as an appellation for the apostolic writings is a misnomer. This should not be the name of this section of the Scriptures. The apostles, who canonized the so-called New Testament (it was not the Roman Catholic Church in AD 400!!) referred to it in the book Revelation as “the Testimony of Yeshua.” Therefore, we can reject the name “New Testament” as a moniker. It’s not a biblical name.
New or renewed covenant is referring to the agreement that Yeshua would make with his disciples and not to a section of the Scriptures as you correctly point out as quoted from Jeremiah.
Regarding Paul’s words that the letter kills but the spirit makes alive. This is another total, larger discussion. Suffice it to say here, the letter and spirit must work together. If one follows only the letter, then there is not mercy and grace. If one follows only the spirit of the law, there is no justice. There must be a balance between the two. Yeshua clarifies this in his Sermon on the Mount when he talks about the necessity of obeying both the letter and the spirit of the law. In other words, his disciples must not only refrain from murder, but also from hate; adultery and lust, and so on. Get the point?
Hope this answers your questions.
Sadly, the teachings of the mainstream have confused a lot of people because they are antithetical to the truth the Scriptures especially when it comes to understanding the role of the Torah in one’s life. When the lies of the church are discovered, there is a tendency for some well-meaning people to over-compesae in the direction of rabbinic Judaism. This is just as bad or worse, since they don’t have the Messiah (yet). We must avoid the spiritual ditches on either side of the road.
Great to have people like you teachihg the Truth. The Scriptures and Yeshua are the Truth, Yeshua is the enacranated Torah, the Word.and God. John 1.1
According to my limited undersanding there’s ONE flock and ONE Shepherd. It is not Israel´s judaism and is not the so called Christianity we have today. Which is basically pagan religion synchretism. In other words there’s a new people of God circumcised (in heart) with no man’s intervention, and with a new heart made out of flesh and not of stone, where Elohim has written His Torah and those are the ones that have the Father’s Spirit dwelling in them. Those ones love the Torah, those love and obey their Father, those ones will never be deceived.
– I hope it makes sense. English is not my first language.
You make perfect sense and your English is perfect, and I agree with what you have said. Thank you for your comments.
What is your first language?
Only one thing: enacranted should be incarnated. We understood what you meant though.
Thanks for your answer. My first language is Spanish.
Great article, thanks. I will be following up those citations you gave.
Interestingly Nehemia Gordon (An unbelieving Karaite Jew) points out that the passage talking about the Seat of Moses is an incorrect rendering because of a scribal issue: Instead of ‘whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do’ it should be ‘Whatsoever He [Moses] bid you observe’. In other words, do what Moses says in the Torah, and do not do what they do.
I have only recently woken up to walking in Torah obedience having been raised as a son of a Christian pastor, so please pray for me.
Great! Welcome to the path. I’m experiencing almost the same situation, only that I was an atheist.
Previous to your video on YouTube I was taking a Creative Writing class in college and during this class I coined a term I used for a project I wrote; “Perspective Goggles”. These goggles for each person are different and not only are the lenses different colors they are also different thicknesses.
As I am completely new to the “Hebrew Christian Way” it appears to me that the Christians who broke away from the Torah were guilty of not changing their “Perspective Goggle” lenses to the same lenses God was using.
For years I have struggled with the mainstream Christian teaching. Even from my teens I was able to see how these “institutions” were using only parts of the Torah that benefited their pocket books or their man-made traditions.
Even now I attend a Reformed Church and can see the hypocrisy and the blasphemy that takes place every Sunday. I no longer wish to be a part of this apostasy as I am certain that God has been leading me to discover what you were preaching in your video.
I know that the easy answer is to “read the Bible” for answers, but since I have no mentor to turn to with questions to what is in the text I am feeling quite alone in this venture. Is there a resource that lays out the Torah Laws so that the “Child” like me can at least build a baseline to work from on this path?
My wife will have nothing to do with this as she is drunk on the mainstream Christian koolaid and pagan holidays. My home will essentially be two worlds for a while until I can explain more about what this means for us.
My heart aches for God and I want to make sure I am honoring as I should through my outward testimony.
I expect that after I learn more the message will be changing…
Thank you for your time
You are not alone in your journey. There are many more just like you. Be strong and keep your eyes on Yeshua and his word. That will get you through.
In response to your question about a discipleship program, so to speak, check out my Torah Explores at
and our YouTube channel at
Jews were not Trinitarians and they still aren’t. So are you saying that Christians who are Trinitarian have lost their Jewish roots? By the time the Council of Nicaea was convened the church lost it Jewish roots of a non Trinitarian God?
I don’t discuss this issue. Trying to put Elohim into boxes with labels on them is counterbiblical and can lead to false views of Elohim which can lead to idolatry. YHVH is so much bigger than any of man’s puny attempts to quantify him theologically. The Bible teaches that Elohim (a uni-plural word) is one/echad but to humans reveals himself as the Father, Son and Ruach/Spirit. Period.
hi please am a new follower of Yeshua and i was a Christianity leader for over 25 years until i came to Rood Awaking Youtube teaching and i turned to Yeshua. Please i need more insight and growth because am working hard to face the false Christian teachings and i need to be grounded more.
Follow this blog, and go back into the archives and read the articles that I’ve posted previously going back for a few years, and you’ll learn more about these things.
Welcome aboard and may YHVH guide and bless you in your spiritual journey in search of his full truth!
This is so amazing! A new friend of mine(a recent convert from Islam) just gave me this blog in print yesterday and I almost dismissed it as I thought it was typical Hebrew Roots material. However, after viewing some more of your teachings on Youtube I have learned that you are not typical because you do preach and promote that believers should be filled with the Holy Spirit. Your teachings on this are so very refreshing.
WHAT IS AMAZING is that I was in the middle of writing some truths about the dangers of promoting a return to Torah, and now I would like to know what you think of this analysis of Paul’s writings found in 2 Corinthians. This is just a draft of a teaching and it is not complete yet, but I’m so curious as to your thoughts before I complete it: FOLLOWING TORAH IS NOT ENOUGH:
[Edited out by NL——Tim, please email your article to me for review at email@example.com. The comments section of this blog is not the appropriate place for others to post their articles; it’s for comments. I’m excited about your new discoveries, and thank your for sharing them with us, and I look forward to reading what you have to say. Blessings!]
You’re a good advocate for your own perspective, and have provided a great historical outline on the rise of Hellenic thinking in the church. I’ll use some of this in my debates with Roman Catholics. BUT this is not (as you laudably acknowledge) objective scholarship on the question of keeping the Torah. You have entirely avoided Hebrews as a source, which is arguably the most relevant to this topic of all the Epistles. Your thesis is directly challenged by Hebrews 8, for example. In my view, keeping the law voluntarily is a matter of personal liberty, and some people benefit from maximum structure in their lives, and for all believers there is great benefit from knowing and being influenced by the Torah. But leading people back under the Mosaic law as an obligation IS Judaizing — a term that (as used today) defines a concept with much broader Scriptural support than you admit.
Well hello Scott! Welcome to my blog. I followed your and Lon’s ministry for years when you lived in Oregon, and even met you once decades ago when your office was located in my hometown, and I have appreciated your bold stand in your fight against abortion and the homosexual agenda.
With regard to my article to which you make reference, no, I didn’t cover Hebrews 8 in this particular piece. As a writer, you well know that it’s not possible to cover every facet of every topic including all of the relevant Scriptures on any biblical subject in one article, otherwise the article would be a long book and not an article. I cover Hebrews, Galatians, Romans and everything other scriptural passage in the Bible on the subject of the Torah in many of the 500 some videos on my You Tube channel, some 100 articles on our website and some 2000 articles on this blog.
Moreover, what you call Judaizing I call righteous obedience to the immutable commandments of YHVH Elohim. Judaizing is a term, as you know, that goes back to a Greek word in the NT. However, the early church fathers grossly misunderstood the writings of Paul (largely thanks to the influence of Marcion the heretic who was an anti-Jewish Torah-hater), even as Peter admits in his second epistle was occurring in his day. For Paul, Judaizing WAS NOT obedience to the Torah, or else all of Paul’s pro-Torah statements are nonsensical and contradictory. No, rather for Paul, Judaising was saying that obedience to Torah was mandatory as a requirement for salvation. This was the main thesis of the book of Galatians and the subject of the first Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. However, once saved according to the whole council of Scripture, one is duty bound to follow the Torah, which tells us how, as Paul states in Romans 13, how to fulfill the Torah, and as Yeshua states in the Gospels, how to love Elohim and our neighbor. Following the Torah is simply the fruit of the Spirit, while disobedience to it is the works of the flesh as Paul outlines in Galatians five. You see, Scott, you, to your credit, already follow much of YHVH’s Torah law. You don’t steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, covet, worship idols and so on. Where most people have a problem is with the Sabbath, biblical feasts and biblical dietary laws. These last three were the first biblical commands the ante-Nicene church fathers jettisoned because they were “too Jewish,” and the church has followed their errant ways ever since. If obeying YHVH’s Torah is Judaizing as you say, then so is not stealing, lying, coveting, murdering, etc. It’s simple logic. As James indicates, the YHVH’s Torah-laws all stand and fall together (Jas 2:10). As John states in chapter three of his first epistle, the Torah defines what sin is. So how can not sinning be a bad thing? Beyond this, to take a pick and choose approach to Torah-obedience is to follow the lie of the serpent at the tree of knowledge and to question Elohim as to what he has told us to do and to determine for ourselves what aspects of Elohim’s Word are valid and relevant for us or not. This, as Francis Schaeffer defines it, is the basis for the modern concept of secular humanism.
With regard to Hebrews chapter eight, I have addressed this chapter in my other writings, and I will do so again for your benefit on my blog right now. I invite you to go to it where you will find my response to your kind protestation.
Blessings and thank you for you comments. It has allowed me the occasion to deal with issues that keep needing to be addressed due to the misunderstandings of Scripture in mainstream, traditional Christianity.
Wow, a blast from the past. I was just a baby Christian when I started with Oregon Citizens Alliance but quickly matured in the climate of spiritual warfare we waged. That experience was my springboard to exciting ministry adventures all over the world. I’d love to chat with you sometime about Oregon and our encounter there.
Your post to which I replied was sent to me by my associate in the work of developing First Century Bible Church, a Hebrew-roots friendly fellowship intended to facilitate interaction between traditional Christians and Messianic Jews/Torah followers: a theological “safe space” to seek common ground in the spirit of mutual love and respect.
I really don’t have any argument with your views except your insistence that Christians are bound to the letter of the Mosaic law as an obligation, like young schoolchildren under the stewardship of a delegated headmaster, rather than adults in direct fellowship with the Master Himself, capable of exercising the liberty that comes with appreciation of the higher principles from which the rote law was codified. THAT more refined perspective was Paul’s definition of “Judaizing,” as the totality of his ministry demonstrated.
We are held to a higher standard than the statutes of Moses allowed, and are simultaneously freed from the rituals that were designed to inculcate the underlying spiritual principles in “children” by constant repetition. Instead they are pleasant reminders we participate in by choice like birthday parties: — not chores, and not obligatory.
This contrast is beautifully explained in the Love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways. Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. ”
That is the difference between the Mosaic code and the active availment of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
I’ll add just one point. Antinomianists — meaning those who cite grace as a license to sin — are not like the mature adults I am describing, but like rebellious runaways from boarding school who never learned the lessons of the law in the first place, and thus cannot understand its principles — which always lead us to seek harmony with God and not legal loopholes to facilitate the indulgence of our flesh.
Many blessings, Scott
Thank you for your kind and gracious response.
“Freed from the rituals”? Where is this stated in the NT? The early book of Acts church celebrated the Sabbath and biblical feasts. A careful examination of the writings and histories of the early church fathers form the second century onward up until the Council of Nicea reveal that the Christian substitutes for these didn’t come into the church until well after the death of the last apostles. The only rituals specifically stated in Hebrews that we’re freed from is those associated with Tabernacle of Moses Levitical priesthood sacrificial rituals, which all pointed to Yeshua’s ultimate and greater fulfillment. Anyway, sound like we may have to disagree without being disagreeable on this point.
I’m excited to learn that you’re exploring the Hebraic roots of our faith. A lot of water has flowed under the proverbial bridge in the last 1900 years and a lot of things need to be unravelled———especially those so concretely embedded traditions of men by which the Word of Elohim has been made of none effect. Blessing to you on your spiritual quest for the bedrock Truth of Elohim’s Word. We’re all still babes learning how to come into conformance with it.
I emailed you directly and I’d love to chat with you sometime. A few years back when you were having troubles with a lawsuit or something, I interceded prayerfully for you victory.
I still live in and minister in the same southern Portland suburb area town where you had your offices. OFC did a fine work in OR and was a potent and feared force for a long time against the leftist agendas in this state. Nothing has risen up like it in this area since then. Sadly, not enough churches got behind you to keep you going. How sad!!!! This speaks volumes to the general weakness and sorry state of the apostate corporate church system in America. During some of this time, I was a street preacher in downtown PDX and elsewhere. I become disillusioned with the mainstream church and its lack of support and even opposition to my preaching of the gospel on the streets. I then discovered that this was endimically typical across America. Disillusioned, some 25 years ago, in my quest for truth, I moved to a more Hebraic biblical orientation resulting in my wife and I starting a home fellowship which led to a non-paying career as a pastor of a local congregation for 18 years from which I recently retired to give full time attention to the business I have owned and operated for the past 35 years.
Good day Fine Gentlemen! It seems to be a real pickle you fellas have gotten yourselves into. It is either you both kind of prescribe to, in a very suttle way, ‘Replacement Theology’ ? (Oops, I hope I didn’t say a bad word?) Or, there is a Dual Covenant going on here which is still a bit of a mystery to most of us mere mortals. That being the case, would of coarse entail acknowledging the validity of Oral Law. (Mathew 23.1), where gentiles are not obligated to keep things like the Sabbath, feasts, and flesh circumcision.
I believe the 1st Jerusalem council attested to this? .Paul then rebukes the Galatians for leaning on circumcision but then he went and got Timothy circumcised! note: Why would Scripture go out of its way to note that “Timothy’s mother was Jewish.. and his father was Greek” (the Scripture is never superfluous) btw, I am sure both of you gentlemen know that Oral Jewish Law regards the mother’s matrilineage as being part of the Covenant. (probably because Issak and Yishmael had the same father but different mother.) So, sorry to interject here but I find the discussion very interesting.
Excuse me for being an overly opinionated, busy-body Blessings to you both.
I need to clarify something. When you refer to both of you and fine gentlemen, to whom are you addressing your comment?
If to me, then your comment, with all due respect, is highly off target. If to me, for the record, I do not and never have advocated either a dual-covenant or replacement theology. The voluminous number of both written and video teachings that I have published attest to this fact, and, as such, speak for themselves, and, therefore, no further explanation, elucidation or comment is needed on my part. As far as Paul’s view on circumcision, I, too, have addressed this numerous times for those who care to search the subject out on the search engine on the front page of this blog. Blessings.