At AllFaith.com I share numerous studies into the world's religions based on my personal quest for Truth. Over the years this research has led me to embrace Judaism. That is now the main focus of the domain.
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~ John of AllFaith
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
When Did The Church Stop Being Jewish?
"The Earth Belongs to HaShem and the Fullness Thereof."
When Did The Church Stop Being Jewish?
The original Way Movement was a Noahide inclusive Jewish sect What changed?
By Ben Ruach HaKodesh (John of AllFaith) 02.10.10
I discuss the history of the Way/Church in several places on my websites in regard to various topics. Among these you might find The Rise of the Universal Church of interest if you are wondering about this topic: http://allfaith.com/Religions/Noahide/way4.html
As I see it the break between the Way sect of Judaism -- taught by Y'shua (Jesus) and his disciples (that later became Nicene Christianity) -- with Judaism resulted from two main issues:
1: The Oral Torah and the Siddurim
Like the Sadducees and several other Jewish sects in the first century (and Karaite Jews today), Y'shua the Anointed taught that the Oral Torah (i.e. the Mishna, Talmud etc) is human commentary on the Written Torah and Tanakh (i.e. the "Old Testament"). The Oral Torah is not, Y'shua taught, divinely inspired writ (as taught by Rabbinic Judaism). In other words, Master Y'shua accepted only the Written Torah -- the five books written by Moses (Genesis - Deuteronomy) and the Tanakh (the rest of the Hebrew Bible known to Christians as the "Old Testament") -- as being inspired text. The Oral Torah has its uses like all commentaries, but it is not to be viewed as Scripture according to our Master.
This teaching angered the Pharisees.
During the Babylonian captivity the Rabbis (Pharisees) introduced the Oral Torah and also the Siddurim or formulated prayer books into Jewish life and religious practice. These books, inspired by "heathen" traditions, gradually replaced personal prayer with rote recitation. Y'shua felt that these formalized prayers prevented the Jewish people from experiencing direct communion with God through direct, heartfelt prayer. He taught that Believers should talk to HaShem as a child talks with his/her loving parent. As he explained:
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speakin. 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name...
This, in my opinion, is the main reason Y'shua stressed HaShem as being like our father so often. The concept of God as Father is in the Tanakh however Y'shua stressed this aspect far more than his predecessors, hoping to rekindle the living spark of love between the Jewish people and HaShem.
This rejection of rabbinic tradition and authority caused the rabbis to be wary of his reforms.
As the masses began listening to his teachings the Rabbis became concerned. That individuals could have a meaningful relationship with HaShem without embracing either the Sadducee or the Pharisee hierarchy was viewed as a threat to the established order:
Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
These were Jewish converts to the Way sect. As time passed the Jewish orthodoxy grew progressively concerned about the Way and its growing numbers.
2: The Nicolaitane Heresies
After 70 CE as the Jews fled Jerusalem Rabbinical Judaism remained Jewish while the Jewish followers of Y'shua began reaching out to the Gentiles as the resurrected Master directed (Matthew 28:19,20).
By the 300's there were far more Gentile followers of Y'shua than Jewish followers. These Gentile converts lacked grounding in the Torah and Judaism and hence interpreted the Jewish teachings according to their own social paradigms. Albeit unfortunate, this of course made perfect sense, but without the Jewish background and framework, as the Gentile Believers grew in doctrinal or organizational authority their former Pagan belief systems began mixing with the pure doctrines of the Way. The teachings of Y'shua were thus gradually largely abrogated. That this would happen was foretold by Master Y'shua, the prophets John, Paul and others and was referred to by Y'shua as the Nicolaitane Heresy (Revelation 2:6 etc). I discuss this in more detail in my verse by verse commentary on the Revelation.
Among these heresies was the dogma that Y'shua was God incarnate rather than the unique and first of HaShem's creations (as taught at Colossians 1:12 and elsewhere), HaShem's only begotten Son:
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Many people saw Y'shua. Rather than accept the absolute Oneness of HaShem clearly proclaimed in Scripture, Church authorities began teaching that, as in many of the Roman and other non-biblical theologies, HaShem exists in three co-equal, co-eternal forms or Persons. Nonetheless the Word of HaShem remains clear:
Isaiah 42:8 I am YHVH [KJV: the LORD]: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Harmonious with the entire Tanakh, Judaism of course is fiercely monotheistic. The absolute Oneness of HaShem is the hallmark of Abraham's revelation that gave rise to Judaism and later to the Way. The addition of the doctrine of the deity of Y'shua (and the Trinity dogma that adds a third Person) forever separated the Jews and Christians. Devout Jews will never accept this doctrine. Some few Christians remain strict monotheists today even though this original teaching is officially listed as the heresy of Arianism (after Bishop Arius who sought to defend it during the Nicene Counsel debates -- Arianism must not be confused with Aryanism!).
As the Gentiles consolidated their control over the Way -- due in large part to the mock conversion of Emperor Constantine (who worshiped the sun god Sol Invictus even on his death bed) -- the Catholic (or "universal") Church was created (in the 300's). With the establishment of the paganized Church Universal everyone who sought to maintain the Jewish roots of the Way Movement were labeled "Judaizers" and condemned. For this crime against the Roman Church millions of people were excommunicated, censored and/or killed "in the name of Jesus."
By the time the Anglican and Protestant reforms were introduced the Church had already become so not-Jewish that the Reformers didn't even understand what had been lost (Shabbat, monotheism, ties with Judaism etc). Nor did they understand the many Pagan cultural and religious additions that had been embraced (for more on this go Here). Martin Luther, one the most influential Protestant Reformers, was such an avowed antisemite that he directly promoted Judenhass ("Jew hatred') as a Christian obligation! Concerning Luther's anti-Jewish views we read:
Although Luther did not invent anti-Jewishness, he promoted it to a level never before seen in Europe. Luther bore the influence of his upbringing and from anti-Jewish theologians such as Lyra, Burgensis, (and John Chrysostom, before them). But Luther's 1543 book, On the Jews and their lies took Jew hatred to a new level when he proposed to set fire to their synagogues and schools, to take away their homes, forbad them to pray or teach, or even to utter God's name. Luther wanted to "be rid of them" and requested that the government and ministers deal with the problem. He requested pastors and preachers to follow his example of issuing warnings against the Jews. He goes so far as to claim that "We are at fault in not slaying them" for avenging the death of Jesus Christ. Hitler's Nazi government in the 1930s and 40s fit Luther's desires to a tee. --- Source
Long before Martin Luther however, anything that even sounded Jewish was soundly opposed by the new and developing Roman Church. They even changed the Master's name so it would sound less Jewish! Y'shua (or Yeshua) translated into English is Joshua, not Jesus. For more on this go to my: http://allfaith.com/Religions/Noahide/ihs.html study.
The vast majority of Nicene Christians do not understand that Gentiles were never under the Laws of Moses. We were/are subject to the Seven Laws given to Noah. When they find Christians incorporating the Noahide practices (including biblical commands like Shabbat observance) they usually respond with, "We are not under the Law!"
And they are correct.
Gentiles are not under the 613 Laws of Moses and we never were. We have not received this blessing! But we are under the Seven Noahide laws and the reforms of Y'shua and his Apostles:
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
One thing I try and explain to people is that Y'shua came to reform Judaism AND the Noahide or Rainbow Covenant Way. Until Moshiach takes his seat on the Throne of David in Jerusalem (as the Seventh Shofar or trumpet sounds) followers of Y'shua are commanded to work WITH the Jews to advance that day. Paul explains in Romans 11 very clearly that God has not and will never abandon the Jewish people.
We Noahides (non-Jewish worshipers of HaShem) have been blessed by being grafted on to the Tree of Israel (Romans 11:17). This is what Y'shua and the Apostles taught. The Way/Church did NOT replace the Jewish people, we have been honored to join them as workers in the fields of the Master. Sadly few Nicean Christians seem to understand this.
So then, while there now exists a wide gulf between Judaism and most Nicene Christians, this was not the desire of the Master.
Romans 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them [i.e. the Jews], when I shall take away their sins. 11:28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies [i.e. ekh-thros: at odds with you] for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!