How the Church Divorced Itself From Its Book of Acts Roots

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 2:463:15:19-215:42Acts 21:2622:1724:1825:826:21), and for those outside of the land of Israel, on most Sabbaths, they attended the local synagogue (Acts 13:1414:117:1–218:478192619:8). Not only did the first apostles and early believers notcelebrate 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 23Acts 2:118:21Acts 27:91 Cor 5:8Jude 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 his… (To continue reading this, go to https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/ad70ad135.pdf)

 

Golden calf worship is alive and well in the Christian church today!

Exodus 32

Exodus 32:1, Moses delayed coming. Moses is a prophetic picture of Yeshua. Moses’ descending from Mount Sinai is a prophetic picture of Yeshua descending from heaven to the earth the first and second time. When the people presumed that Moses delayed his coming, they fell to the temptation to syncretize with the heathen religious system around them by yielding to their baser nature giving in to the lusts of their flesh as expressed in golden calf worship. Heathen, man-made religious systems have lower moral and spiritual standards than those of YHVH. In many respects, the mainstream church has done the same thing as the ancient Israelites by acting as if Yeshua has delayed his second coming, and by conforming to some of the world’s standards and customs. This is a form of golden calf worship, which is a mixture of Torah-truth and pagan practices. Yeshua warned his disciples against this proclivity of humans to grow impatient and spiritually cold wile waiting for his return (Matt 24:48).

Exodus 32:2, Break off the golden earrings.The Christian people have generously given the mainstream church much gold and other wealth over the past 1900 years. In the mean time, with that wealth, the church system has constructed many huge religious monuments. These are monuments, in part, to the gods of materialism, and is a form of golden calf worship. Neither Yeshua nor his disciples needed vast sums of money, resources or monuments to spread the gospel message. What they lacked in material resources they made up with passion for the gospel message and with the anointing of YHVH to proclaim that gospel with miraculous power. What the mainstream church largely lacks in passion and the anointing to spread the gospel, they now, sadly, substituted with wealth and religious monuments.


The Golden Calf Incident: A Prophetic Picture of the Church

The golden calf as described in the book of Exodus

On Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost), at Mount Sinai, YHVH entered into a marriage covenant with the children of Israel, but they were not ready to live up to the terms of that covenant. Those terms, simply stated, involved the Israelites being faithful and obedient only to YHVH, Israel’s Elohim (God) and spiritual husband, and to follow his instruction in righteousness, the Torah. This Israel quickly demonstrated they were not willing to do, and the subsequent golden calf incident is proof of this.

The proverbial ink was barely dry on the marriage certificate between YHVH and the children of Israel, or otherwise state, the children of Israel had hardly said “I do” to their marriage vows (Exod 24:3, 7) when they turned their hearts away from YHVH and began worshipping the golden calf—a pagan deity from Egypt. After the golden calf incident and up until Yom Teruah (the Day of Trumpets or Shofar Blasts) when Moses received the second tablets of stone from YHVH containing the Ten Commandments, the children of Israel, the bride of YHVH, prepared herself not only to receive YHVH’s instructions again, but this time to be faithful to her marriage vows. This Israel did. She remained faithful to YHVH for approximately 38 years while trekking through the wilderness of Sinai, after which she entered the Promised Land and “stayed the course” until after the death of Joshua. What can we as Bible believers learn from ancient Israel that applies to us today?

Sadly, the cycles of history often repeat themselves. This time, it involved the descendants of the spiritual children of Israel who were at Mount Sinai. In the early first century a.d., the redeemed Israelite followers of Yeshua received the Torah written on the fleshly tablets of their hearts by the finger of the Spirit of Elohim on the Day of Pentecost (Shavuot) as recorded in Acts 2. But starting in about a.d. 70 with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and continuing up through the Second Jewish Revolt of a.d. 135 until the time of Emperor Constantine (in the fourth century), the first-century spiritual bride of Messiah had, to a large extent, abandoned YHVH’s Torah-commandments and turned, to one degree or another, to a mixed form of worship (of which ancient Israel’s worship at the golden calif was a prophetic foreshadow) where some pagan practices were assimilated into the early churches’ belief system (most notably, Sunday replaced the Sabbath, and Christmas, Easter and other paganistic holidays replaced the biblical feasts). 

Moses’ descent of Mount Sinai on Yom Teruah with the second set of tablets containing the Torah prophetically foreshadows Yeshua’s second coming. As Moses renewed YHVH’s covenant with the repentant Israelites after the golden calf incident and the Israelites remained faithful for a long time afterwards, even so, Yeshua, at his second coming, will establish a renewed covenant with his faithful end time saints who have come out of golden calf-type religious systems.

In our day, YHVH is calling out a remnant of people from the church who are leaving behind the pagan traditions of golden calf worship and who are returning to the ancient blessed paths of YHVH’s Torah-instructions in righteousness. The book of Revelation speaks of a group of end-time saints who will say “I do” to YHVH (Rev 14:4), and whose identifying mark is their faith in Yeshua the Messiah (i.e. the gospel message) and yet who faithfully keep YHVH’s Torah-commandments (Rev 12:17 and 14:12). 

When Yeshua returns on or near Yom Teruah at the end of this age, he will be ready to marry a bride that is without spot and wrinkle and who has come out of the end-times Babylonian religious whore system (Rev 18:4). This bride who will be wearing the robes of righteousness of Torah-obedience (Rev 12:17; 14:12; 19:7–9) will be ready to enter into a new covenantal agreement—a wedding contract or ketubah—with Yeshua (Heb 8:7–13), the Bridegroom, ever to remain faithful to him and never again to return to Baal or golden calf worship. He will lead his wife into the Messianic Age or Millennium, even as Joshua, a prophetic foreshadow of Yeshua, led the younger generation of wilderness Israelites into the Promised Land.

Golden Calf Worship Among YHVH’s People Today

Let’s look at the series of events that occurred as the children of Israel were leaving Egypt, which have major relevance to what is occurring in mainstream Christianity in our day. If we fail to learn the lessons of history, we’ll likely repeat the mistakes of history. It has to do with golden calf worship.

Continue reading
 

Rebutting the Entitlement Mentality in the Church

Who me???

Exodus 19:10, Consecrate them today. 

How to Come Into the Presence of YHVH Elohim

How did Israel, as a bride-to-be, prepare herself to meet with YHVH? How are YHVH’s people now to be preparing themselves for their spiritual marriage with Yeshua? (Compare Exodus 19:10 with Revelation 19:7–9.) What is the righteousness of the saints (mentioned in Rev 19:8)? Righteousness is defined in Psalms 119:172 as, “…all thy [Torah] commandments are righteousness.” If what the Scriptures define as righteousness (i.e. the Torah) was “nailed to the cross,” as is popularly taught, then who is in error? The Scriptures or those who teach against YHVH’s Torah laws? 

Why it important to ask these questions? Simply because popular religious notions as taught by respected religious leaders often get lodged into the thinking of well-meaning people, who then need to ask themselves whether these notions line up with Scripture or not (see 1 Thess 5:21 cp. Acts 17:11). As the serious Bible student will soon discover, often what is taught in churches does not line up with the Word of Elohim. By studying the Bible assiduously, including the lives of those who have gone before us as recorded in Scripture, the Word of Elohim, including the chronicles of the lives of those recorded within its pages, can become a mirror in which we can view our own lives. Let us now pursue this trail to see where it leads.

Discussion A. Why is it essential to study the example of the children of Israel preparing themselves to come into the presence of YHVH in Exodus 19? After all, if Yeshua did it all for us, we can just come boldly before the Father’s throne anytime, anyway we want, right (Heb 4:16)?

Let’s explore this concept a little to see what the Bible has to say about it.

Paul says in I Corinthians 10:11,

Now all these things happened to them [i.e. the children of Israel] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (See also Rom 15:4.)

The writer of Hebrews has something similar to say in his prefatory remarks to his statement in Hebrews 4:16 about coming boldly before the throne of YHVH through the merits of the sinless righteousness of Yeshua our High Priest. In the preceding several verses, the author draws upon the example of the children of Israel (Heb 4:1–10) as an example for us not to follow. They were a faithless and disobedient lot in that they rebelled against the Torah-word of Elohim.

Continue reading
 

YOUR false Messianic expectations could cause YOU to deny Yeshua!

Is your view of the Messiah actually a cartoon character?

Luke 23:38, The King of the Jews. The placard that the Romans placed on the cross just above the head of Yeshua reflected the Jewish people’s prevailing politically correct view concerning their Messianic expectations. Their expectations of who they wanted the Messiah to be were not in accordance with heaven’s plan, which is why some denied him and others yelled, “Crucify him!”

The Tanakh (Old Testament) reveals that two Messiahs were to come: the Conquering King Messiah or Mashiach ben David and the Suffering Servant Messiah or Mashiach ben Yosef. Because the boot of Roman tyranny had been resting heavily on the neck of the Jewish people for some 150 years, the Jews were hoping for and, therefore, were placing their confidence in the Conquering King Messiah, who would, in their eyes, miraculously deliver them from Roman rule and oppression. This prevailing notion was even the mindset of Yeshua’s closest disciples. This is why when Yeshua predicted his death in Jerusalem at the hand of the Jews, Peter vehemently declared that this would not happen (Matt 16:21–23). Then when Yeshua failed to fulfill the people’s expectation of a Conquering King Messiah, this is when Judas betrayed his Master as a false messianic figure. This is probably why Peter denied Yeshua at the eleventh hour; because his deepest expectation of the Messiah’s mission as the Conquering King were not being met, and thus doubts about Yeshua’s Messianic claims rose to the surface in Peter’s mind at that critical hour and in confused discouragement he turned his back on the Messiah. This is why the Jewish people insisted that the Romans crucify Yeshua—he had failed to meet their expectations. 

The Roman placard that was nailed to the cross, therefore, was simply a Roman mockery of the Jewish people’s prevailing misguided messianic expectations. Their conquering king was being pitilessly crucified as Rome’s sovereignty over the Jewish people remained concretely intact.

Sadly, the Jews’ expectations were not lined up with heaven’s divine will. In reality, the Jews, and even to some degree, Yeshua’s disciples, had created a Messiah in their own image—a caricaturized or cartoon  Messiah that, to one degree or another, had become an idol in their minds replacing the true Messiah.

What are our hopes and expectations concerning Yeshua the Messiah? What cartoon view of the Messiah have we created in our minds? Were Yeshua to return today, would most Christians even recognize and accept him? The biblical reality of a first century, Torah-teaching and Torah-observant Jewish rabbi hardly fits with the stereotypical westernized, Greco-Roman caricature of the Christian Jesus. 

Moreover, when Yeshua, just before his return, sends his two witnesses to preach the gospel in Jerusalem (Rev 11:7–12), will people, including mainstream Christians, accept their message, likely a Hebraic one, if it does not line up exactly with traditional Greco-Roman Christian theology? How about when Yeshua shortly thereafter sends an angelic messenger to preach “the everlasting gospel” to those who dwell on the earth (Rev 14:6–7)? Will mainstream Christians accept this message—likely a Hebraic-centric one that will contain overtones of Torah in it? It is hard to say. Some will and some will probably not, since it may not line up with “the historic Christian faith,” as most Christians have been taught, which, to one degree or another, is ambivalent if not outright antagonistic toward YHVH’s Torah-law.

Whatever may be our views and expectations concerning the Messiah and his return, we would be wise to be certain that they are grounded in the full counsel of YHVH’s Word from Genesis to Revelation, which is intensely Hebraic in context. Moreover, it would also behoove us to hold in a loose grip our expectations on how we think end time events will roll out. If we are expecting one thing to happen and something else happens, we may find ourselves, at the very least confused and our faith shaken, or at the most, we may even deny Yeshua as Judas and Peter did. He who thinks that he stands, take heed lest he fall (1 Cor 10:12). 

To be sure, if one stays in a close, daily and intimate relationship with Yeshua the Hebraic Messiah, and follows the Lamb of Elohim wherever he leads day-by-day, one will have nothing to be concerned about.

Stay close to Yeshua!
 

Laodicean Church: Awaken! Will you pass the test and make the grade?

Life is a series of tests. We either pass or fail them. YHVH is the school teacher who determines whether we will pass or fail, not us. His Word is our text book that tells us how to pass. If we learn the lessons and put to practice the things we have learned, we will pass. If not, we will fail. 

The problem is that we’re not just in a regular school classroom where if we fail, it’s really not a big deal in the bigger scope of life. No. Our “classroom” is this life. Whether we pass or fail will determine not only whether we will obtain eternal life or eternal damnation, but if we pass, the grade we get will determine our level of rewards in YHVH’s eternal kingdom. As should be obvious, there are a couple of important things going on here: there is not only the issue of life after death, but if we pass the test of life and are granted eternal life, where will we be, what will we be doing and, most importantly, how close will we be to the Creator. Some people will be existing in close proximity to YHVH Elohim, while others will be living further away.

When YHVH calls us with his holy calling and we respond, we have a choice. The choice we make will determine whether we will be the least or the greatest in his kingdom (Matt 5:19). If we choose to obey him a little, we will be least in his kingdom. If we choose to obey him all the way, we will be the greatest in his kingdom. Our level of obedience to his commandments determines our level of rewards in his kingdom.

If we give him our all by loving Elohim with all our heart, soul and strength like virtuous Ruth did when she chose to forsake the world and follow Naomi and her Elohim, we can become the bride of Yeshua and live forever in his eternal kingdom. Ruth is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s bride. The heart-attitude of the bride is: your people will be my people, your Elohim will be mine, and where you go, I will go (Ruth 1:16).

Yeshua refers to his bride in the book of Revelation. She is unreservedly faithful to him. Yeshua’s bride is comprised of those who are following the Lamb of Elohim wherever he goes. They don’t just follow him only when it is convenient, nor do they draw near to him with their mouths, but their hearts are far from him like so many other religious people (Isa 29:13; Matt 15:8)!

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Rev 14:1–5)

Continue reading
 

The Parable of the Prodigal Son: An End Times Prophetic Picture of Jews and Christians

Luke 15:11–32

In this parable, a certain man had two sons the youngest of which requested his share of the inheritance of his father’s estate. The young man took his inheritance from his father and left home to journey into a far country where he wasted it on riotous living. A famine broke out and the penniless and hungry son joined (literally, glued, joined tightly) himself to a citizen of that country as a servant. His new master then sent him into the fields to feed husks to the swine. Conditions were so bad for the son and his hunger so acute that he desired to eat the swine’s food. Out of desperation and in realization of his sinful condition, the young man determined to return to his father’s house, willing no longer worthy to be received as a son, but to be received only a hired servant. His father spotted him a great way off, had compassion on him, ran to greet him and fell on his neck and kissed him where upon the son confessed to his father that he had sinned against heaven and that he was no longer worthy to be called a son. The father, out of joy, dressed his son in the finest robe, put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. The father had the fatted calf killed and merriment was made over the return of the prodigal. To the father, the son was dead, but was now alive, was lost and was now found. Feasting ensued with music and dancing. When the elder brother heard the feasting and found out about the return of his younger brother, he was angry and refused to participate in the celebration. The father pleaded with him to join the feast. The jealous older brother stated that he had faithfully served the father during the intervening years and that a feast had never been made for him, but that the younger son who had wasted his inheritance on harlots and riotous living was now receiving royal treatment. The father replied that the elder son had no reason to be angry since he had always been with the father enjoying the rights and privileges of that position and that it was only proper to celebrate the return of the prodigal brother who had been “dead” and was “alive” again, had been lost and was now found.

Prophetic Points to Analyze:

  • verse 11— two sons
  • verse 13— far country
  • verse 13— riotous living
  • verse 15— joined himself to a citizen of that country
  • verse 15— feed husks to the swine
  • verse 16— desired to fill his belly with the husks that the swine did eat
  • verse 18— return to my father
  • verse 22— best robe
  • verse 24— he was lost, and is found
  • verse 25— elder son
  • verse 27— your younger brother
  • verse 30— wasted his inheritance with harlots
  • verse 32— was dead and is alive again
  • verse 32— was lost and is found

This parable, in a nutshell, outlines much of the history of Israel up to the end time final redemption. This is a parable that is a genre of ancient Jewish literature called aggadah. The purpose of aggadic literature was not to establish line-by-line dogma, doctrine or theological truth, but was a means to teach general moral principles in story form. We will discuss this at greater length latter in our treatment of the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16.

Continue reading
 

Judgment Is Upon the Church in America (and elsewhere)!

We continue to read in the news headlines how a few well-known mainstream Christian leaders are decrying the turn of recent political events in the US with respect to the outcome of the recent elections and America’s decided move toward the Antichrist religion of leftism. Sadly, these Christian leaders, when shooting their verbal guns, are still missing the main target.

In the Word of Elohim, we read,

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of Elohim; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of Elohim? Now “IF THE RIGHTEOUS ONE IS SCARCELY SAVED, WHERE WILL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR?” (1 Pet 4:17–18, emphasis added)

In the previous quoted Scripture passage, I emphasized the words “for the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of Elohim” (i.e. the churches) because the church leaders blindly refuse to lead their sheeple in repentance for their own sins, and instead keep pointing to the sins of the nation as the cause of the present divine judgment against this America and other formerly so-called Christian nations. Well, I see judgment definitely coming on the Christian church right now in several areas. Here are is a list:

A) For many years, YHVH has allowed the lid to the taken of the garbage can of many Christian leaders’ lives to reveal their sexual sins. The leftist mainstream news media continue to gleefully splash their headlines with these salacious reports.

B) For many years, YHVH has allowed the lid to the taken of the garbage can of many Christian leaders’ private lives to reveal their covetous greed when it comes to money and material possessions including their lavish lifestyles and how they have innovatively and habitually conned countless people out of vast sums of money in the name of “God”.

C) Now Covid has been unleashed upon the world, and the political forces of Antichrist are hellbent on keeping churches from meeting along with family gatherings, holiday gatherings, weddings and funerals, while at the same time allowing riots and demonstrations, sex shops, drug shops, homo shops, porn shops and the like to operate largely unhindered. 

The closing of churches has had a profound negative impact on the finances of most churches such that many are in danger of closing their doors because people have reduced or stopped their financial giving—the church’s financial gravy train.

Financial issues wouldn’t be a problem to the pastors, churches, denominations and ministries if the leaders of these corporate companies masquerading as churches and religious organizations had regular secular jobs or trades like the rest of us. If they were tent-makers like Paul, they wouldn’t need to always have their hand out begging for donations, and they wouldn’t always be trying to peddle the gospel (in the form of videos, books, speaking honorariums, conferences, religious trinkets etc., etc.) to make a buck. Can’t you see how YHVH is using Covid to dry up the funds of these greedy, sheep-fleecing hierlings (John 10:11–13), who are (to use the exact biblical language for them) dumb and greedy dogs (Isa 56:10–11, also see Ezek 34 where Elohim further denounces them)?

When we talk of greedy pastors, Bible teachers and other religious leaders, we cannot turn a blind eye to the majority of major “Messianic” and “Hebrew roots” teachers who have also learned well the art of money grubbing from their Christians and religious Jewish mentors. Shame on all of them! You cannot give me a single verse of Scripture to justify your shameful behavior. Neither the Levites, prophets nor Yeshua and nor any of his apostles acted as you have acted and are acting. In this, you are worhshipping the god of mammon, not the Elohim of the Bible.

This I can say about myself, as Paul said of himself,

For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of Elohim; but as of sincerity, but as from Elohim, we speak in the sight of Elohim in Messiah. (1 Cor 12:17)

D) In recent times, YHVH has raised up the so-called Messianic or Hebrew roots movement, for all of its flaws and shortcomings, as a judgment against the mainstream Christian church for abandoning its biblical Hebraic roots back in the second century A.D. The Hebraic, biblical foundations, biblical truth movement or whatever label you choose, is shining a giant spotlight exposing many areas of fraud and lies that have existed unchallenged and unexposed in the mainstream church. It it fixing a spotlight on many important biblical truths (including the importance of the Torah) that the church has been overlooking and teaching lies about, as well as the numerous unbiblical traditions and manmade doctrines that have cleverly crept into so-called normative, mainstream Christianity.

So far, most, if not all, current major mainstream church leaders are ignoring this divinely inspired and orchestrated move of the Spirit of Elohim to restore truth in the last days as Peter predicted must occur before Yeshua the Messiah can return (it’s not good for the business of religion to preach the whole Truth, now is it?):

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Yeshua the Messiah, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which Elohim has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19–21, emphasis added)

It is high time for the mainstream church leaders to wake up from their spiritual sleep and to repent for the right things instead of pointing fingers at others and conveniently letting themselves off the hook all the way to the bank.