Seeds Of Separation
In the previous teaching we examined the seeds of separation between the Jewish people and the emerging Western Roman Church
"For the law [Torah] promulgated on Horeb is now old, and belongs to yourselves alone; but this [new covenant] is for all universally. Now, law placed against law has abrogated that which is before it, and a covenant which comes after in like manner has put an end to the previous one; and an eternal and final law--namely, Messiah--has been given to us, and the covenant is trustworthy, after which there shall be no law, no commandment, no ordinance." -Justine Martyr
- Martin Luther
- The Messiah replaced the Torah
THE BOOK OF ACTS
- Faith and practices of the early Jewish believers
- Early believers in Messiah understood that the Torah had not been done away with. (Matt.5:17-20)
Acts 5:14 And believers were the more added to Yahweh, multitudes both of men and women.
Act 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified Yahweh, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
Act 22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
Act 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
- The early believers in Messiah were still meeting in the synagogues
Act 22:19 And I said, Master, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Act 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of Elohim in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
Act 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
Act 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Act 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Messiah must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Yahshua, whom I preach unto you, is Messiah.
Act 17:4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
Act 18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if Elohim will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
Act 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
Act 20:16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
Act 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
Act 27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them
KEPT THE TORAH OF MOSES
Act 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
Act 25:8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
Act 28:17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans
Act 24:5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
- And their offspring were to become the victims of the seeds of separation sown by the western Roman Church
One of the earliest records of the developing antagonism between Torah-submissive Jewish believers and non-Jewish believers concerns statements by Ignatius, Bishop at Antioch, approximately 98-117 CE. Ignatius argued "against the Judaizing tendencies of his territory, which, not far geographically from Palestine, had suffered the influences of the synagogue and of the Judaeo-Christians (italics mine)." In this statement Ignatius is lamenting the fact that some of the practices in Antioch had been influenced by the non-Messianic and Messianic Jews. Church Apologist, Epiphanius of Salamis, 370 CE."We shall now especially consider heretics who... call themselves Nazarenes; they are mainly... Jews and nothing else. They make use not only of the New Testament, but they also use in a way the Old Testament of the Jews; for they do not forbid the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings... so that they are approved of by the Jews, from whom the Nazarenes do not differ in anything, and they profess all the dogmas pertaining to the prescriptions of the Law and to the customs of the Jews, except they believe in Messiah...They preach that there is but one Elohim, and his son Yahshua Messiah. But they are very learned in the Hebrew language; for they, like the Jews, read the whole Law, then the Prophets...They differ from the Jews because they believe in Messiah,Thus, we see that the Nazarenes were viewed as heretics because they continued to uphold the Torah as the basis for their faith and practice in Messiah YAHshua The quote from Epiphanius demonstrates he knew that the Nazarenes of his time were the direct descendants of the earliest Jewish believers in the Messiah8. It also provides evidence that the Jewish believers of his time (400 CE) continued to live Torah-submissive lifestyles as taught by Yahshua in Matthew 5:17-20, and demonstrated in the book of Acts. In fact, we can continue to trace the presence of Torah-submissive Jewish believers through many centuries by examining the writings of the irdetractors who continued to ostracize and persecute them. The Church Father Jerome (author of the Latin Vulgate) described the Nazarenes as "those who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the Old Law."9 Once again, we see that it was obedience to the Torah that caused the Nazarenes to be viewed as different from the Church.Church history states that the Jewish believers in the Messiah continued to observe the Torah. There is also historical evidence that they existed well into the 13th century.The History of the Sabbath records for us, "As late as the eleventh century Cardinal Humbert still referred to the Nazarenes as a Sabbath-keeping Christian body existing at that time."10 Furthermore, the author states, "And these so-called 'Judaizing Christians' were none other than the Nazarenes mentioned by Cardinal Humbert... the true Israel of Elohim, who amid all the persecutions through which they had passed, bore the reproach of Messiah more than any other Christian party, wandering about as 'pilgrims and strangers' to preach the faith of Yahshua and the commandments of Elohim." Furthermore, Gregorius of Bergamo wrote about the Nazarenes (Pasagini) in 1250 CE stating, "there still remains the sect of the Pasagini. They teach...that the Old Testament festivals are to be observed, circumcision, distinction of foods, and in nearly all other matters, save the sacrifices. The Old Testament is to be observed as literally as the New; circumcision is to be kept according to the letter."14 All of these quotations show how the western Roman Church has reacted to the Jewish believers in Messiah. In all of the quotes above it is plain to see that hostility towards the Jewish believers had its basis in a rejection of the Torah of Moses. "I say then, Hath Elohim cast away his people? Elohim forbid...Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee...Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if Elohim spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee...For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in."