A call to recognize and abandon the false teachings and false salvation
promised by most versions of contemporary “Christianity”, and
to return to that “original faith which was once given to the saints” (Jude 3).
© 2014 by Bob & Suzanne Hamrick
NOTE: In obedience to His commands as recorded for us at Isaiah 42:8, etc., in the Hebrew Tanakh (what Christians call the “Old Testament”), we use the Creator’s self-given Hebrew Name, YHVH (which we pronounce Ye-hu’-ah), and the original Hebrew name given by YHVH Elohim through the angel Gabriel to be the Messiah’s name, Y’shua, (pronounced Ye-shu’-a) which means “he will save” (Strong’s H3442), exactly as the angel Gabriel directed in Matthew 1:21. We also use God, Lord, El or Elohim (capitalized) as unique titles for our Father YHVH as appropriate, but never instead of His Name. Finally, we refer to what Christianity calls the “Old Testament” as the Tanakh, the Hebrew name for it, and to the “New Testament” as the Renewed Covenant Scriptures. Details on request.
Note: While we consider ourselves to be “Apostolic Christians”, this is NOT to say that we have any association whatever with the “Apostolic Christian Church”, which is a “Protestant” denomination derived from the Anabaptists. For a more precise description of what we believe, see the quotation from the 4th Century “church father” Epiphanius in the text of this article.
Speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:24, Yeshua tells her that,
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Like it or not, this is a commandment, straight from the Messiah, not only to the Samaritan woman, but to each one of us as well. It is also a challenge to each of us to examine our own beliefs in the light of Scripture, and not according to “the commandments of men taught as doctrine”, which are forbidden by both Father (Isaiah 29:13) and Son (Mark 7:7). For the Jews, “the commandments of men” manifested as their “oral Law” or Talmud, and thereby voluntarily separated themselves from the very Covenant by which they had been sanctified. For “Christians”, it manifested as what has become “Christianity”, with exactly the same result!
Since the mid-1980’s, we have personally discovered, piece by piece, that most of what we had been taught (and believed) about the “central truths” of “Christianity” were, in fact, nothing more than snippets of false pagan philosopy and post-apostolic-era denominational error, the traditions of men taught as doctrine (Isaiah 29:13; Mark 7:7), none of which have any basis in the Bible. For example, here are some of the things which “most Christians” believe – many of which we did as well – but which are absolutely untrue according to the Bible [errors underlined]:
- the Savior’s given name was and is “Jesus Christ”;
- this “Jesus Christ” was born on December 25th;
- we are supposed to celebrate his birthday;
- as a newborn, he was laid in a manger (feed trough);
- the manger/feed trough was in a stable;
- he was still a newborn baby when three Wise Men came with their gifts;
- he ate the Passover meal with his disciples before he was crucified;
- he was crucified on “Good Friday”
- he was resurrected just before dawn on “Easter” Sunday;
- the change of the Biblical seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday is OK with God ;
- just believing in the person, death and resurrection of “Jesus Christ” and saying a “Sinner’s Prayer” is enough to get a person “saved” for all eternity (“once saved, always saved”);
- the message about the person, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is “the Gospel of Jesus Christ”;
- being “saved” or “born again” means getting to spend eternity in a spiritual heaven with “Jesus”;
- when bad people die, they immediately go to hell, and consciously burn there for all eternity;
- when good people die, they immediately go to heaven to be with “Jesus” for all eternity;
- good people who die and immediately go to heaven can see us here on earth, and intercede for us;
- the “Christian Church” is going to be “raptured” from the earth to be in heaven with “Jesus Christ” for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, either before or at the start of the seven years of the Tribulation;
- keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, the Biblical dietary laws, and/or celebrating Passover and the other major feasts and holy days as they are commanded by YHVH in the “Old Testament” are all un-Christian practices;
- any Christian who chooses to do the above is actually preaching “justification through works”, is a legalist at best, and a modern-day Pharisee at worst;
- it is impossible to keep the Ten Commandments;
- it was because of this impossibility that Jesus did away with them for us;
- “you are not under the law, you are under grace” [Galatians 6:14-15; 5:18] means that Christians have been freed from the requirement to keep the Old Testament Law (the Torah/Tanakh), including the Ten Commandments, to be saved;
- the Old Testament Law (the Torah/Tanakh) and the “Law” Paul preached against are the same thing;
- it was that Law that Jesus “took out of the way” and “nailed to the cross” [Colossians 2:14];
- since Christ shed his blood to free us from the need to keep the Commandments unto salvation, anyone who denies this is “denying the Blood”, and is an apostate at best;
- good works can get a person into heaven, because there are a lot of good people who don’t know Jesus;
- “Ignorance of the Law is no excuse”, is not a Biblical principal;
- the Israel of the Bible and today’s nation called “Israel” are essentially the same thing;
- the establishment of the nation called “Israel” in 1948 was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy;
- it is a sin to not support the government of today’s state of “Israel”, no matter what it may do, because God says “I will bless them that bless you, and curse them that curse you”;
- all religious Jews support today’s nation called “Israel”, and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, and all Christians should, as well;
- the “Old Testament” is “all about works”, and the New Testament is “all about grace”;
- the Old Testament is mostly about the Jews, and need not be studied or understood, unless one is interested in that sort of stuff;
- God entered into a completely new Covenant with the Christian Church at Calvary, eliminating the old one;
- the Christian Church has replaced the Jews as God’s covenant people;
- the Christian Church has inherited all of the blessings promised by God to the children of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, but none of the curses;
- if a ministry or an individual demonstrates “signs and wonders”, it or they must be blessed by God, and speaking for Him;
- one’s sincerity will make up for any shortcomings in one’s doctrine, according to the grace of God. It’s all “covered by the Blood”.;
- the God of the Bible would never deceive a Christian or allow a Christian to be deceived;
- the Holy Spirit is responsible for correcting any fatally false doctrinal beliefs that I might have;
- the name of God does not really matter, as long as one treats it with respect;
- “Jesus Christ” is the actual Creator of the universe;
- “Jesus Christ” is God, the eternal second Person of the Holy Trinity, coequal with the Father;
- the Holy Spirit is God, the eternal third Person of the Holy Trinity, coequal with the Father.
As mentioned, ALL of the above beliefs are FALSE, according to the Bible. Even stranger to tell, some of the Bible has no basis in the Bible! By this we mean that many of the key verses found in popular “New Testament” Bible “translations” and used by false &/or misguided teachers of both “Catholic” churches and the thousands of “Protestant” denominations to support their unscriptural teachings have been either inserted into or altered from the Bible’s original textual content. (Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-5; 1 John 5:7; et al.)
We know where many of these lies are because many ancient, authoritative quotations from the earliest, unaltered versions are still in existence! For a single example, Eusebius of Cæsaræa (A.D. 264-340) quoted Matthew 28:19 as “baptizing them in my name” over TWENTY times in his writings, and this was before the invention of the “Trinity” by Constantine at the Council of Nicæa in 325 AD! The effect of these bogus alterations, insertions, deletions and mistranslations is to seem to make the Bible support teachings which are actually contradicted by Scripture, thereby leading readers to erroneous (and eternally fatal) beliefs and behavior. This is surely not what the God Who inspired the original texts of the Bible intends. Along with many other serious independent Bible students down through the ages, we have found NO popular Bible version to be completely free from this kind of corruption, especially including the various King James Versions.
Example: Exodus 3:15 YHVH Elohim, the Creator of the universe, is speaking to Moses…
And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
Example: Isaiah 42:8 YHVH Elohim, the Author of everything, is speaking to the prophet Isaiah…
I am the LORD; that is My name; My glory I share with no other, nor the praise which is due to Me with carved idols.
Is “the LORD” really His Name? We know that it is surely NOT His Name. The substitution of “the LORD” for His real, self-given Name, hwhy YHVH, is a prime example of the adoption by “Christians” of a rabbinic Jewish tradition of placing “fences around Torah”, supposedly to guarantee that His Name is not “desecrated” accidentally. One side effect of these pseudo-religious prohibitions is that the true Name of God is seldom even known by His people, much less used by them, which is exactly contrary to His expressed will on the subject:
Mal 3:16 Then they that revered YHVH spoke often one to another: and YHVH hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that revered YHVH, and that thought upon His Name.
[NOTE: The reward is NOT to those “that thought upon His TITLE!”]
Mal 3:17 And they shall be Mine, says YHVH of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.
It is, however, exactly what Satan intends by the substitution. In fact, it guarantees that all who continue this practice are actually breaking the Third Commandment every time they do it!
You see, the original language of the commandment actually prohibits the desolation of His Name, and not the using of it “in vain” as the “translators” would have us believe. “Desolation” of His Name would include any practice which obscures His actual Self-given Name, or which deprives it of its meaning or significance. Such would include substituting anything for His Name, including generic titles, such as “the LORD”, Adonai (my Lord God), L-rd, G-d, HaShem (“the name” in Hebrew), etc. In fact, there are MANY “lords”, “gods”, etc., but only ONE YHVH, even as the apostle Sha’ul (“Paul”) confirms for us in 1 Corinthians 8:5-6!
For although there may be so-called “gods” in heaven or on earth – as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords” –
yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Yeshua Messiah, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
At this point, those who believe in the deity of Yeshua will usually point to Thomas’ addressing Yeshua as “My Lord and my God” (capitalization provided by translators) in John 20:28. But, as we will see, this was merely an Hebraic figure of speech, used when acknowledging another as one’s great superior. The translators surely knew this, but they had a trinitarian axe to grind, and they added the capital G to “god” to help convey their twisted message.
But the God of the Bible is quite clear about two things: He does not change (Malachi 3:6), and all who intend that their worship of Him and His Son be taken seriously must do so in TRUTH (John 4:24). This is a commandment! No substitutes are acceptable.
YHVH is also clear that there are some kinds of worship which are unacceptable to Him, even though directed to Him, which He regards as “abominations”, i.e., a personal insult to Him of the worst kind, equated with sacrilege. Among these are “mixed worship”, wherein the “worshipper” uses language, terminology, or patterns of behavior which were borrowed from the worship of false gods, and then used as worship of YHVH Elohim. To put this in human terms, imagine that a man were to offer his wife a gift she knew that he had received from a prostitute, how would you expect the “gift” to be received? Exactly.
29 When YHVH your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you replace them, and dwell in their land;
30 Take heed that you be not snared by following them, after they are destroyed from before you; and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise.”
31 You shall not do so unto YHVH your God: for every abomination to YHVH, which He hates, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
32 Whatever I command you, be sure to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor remove from it. (Deuteronomy 12:29-32)
Another example of this is found in Exodus 32, when Aaron, Moses’ elder brother, made the golden calves (representative of the Egyptian “gods” Apis and Hathor) for the children of Israel to worship, saying, “These be your gods which brought you out of Egypt”! Needless to say, this did not sit well with YHVH Elohim, and it was only because of Moses’ impassioned intercession on their behalf that they were not all incinerated for this staggeringly great presumptive sin. Moreover, Aaron and all of the children of Israel who participated in that mixed worship had to repent and make the sacrifices required by YHVH in the Torah before they could be restored to their prior relationship with the Creator.
Despite this, Jeroboam did exactly the same thing, and even used exactly the same words that Aaron did (1 Kings 12:28), and led the entire Northern Kingdom (Israel/Ephraim) into idolatry. This led to their conquest by Babylon and the complete dispersal of all these ten tribes (Ephraim/Israel) among the nations of the world.
Still another detailed example of the unacceptability of mixed worship is found explicitly in Ezra 9:1 & 11, and implied in many other passages of the Hebrew Tanakh (“Old Testament”). Such practices always resulted in severe penalties upon the children of Israel, and the Apostle Paul reminds us that “these things happened to them as examples to us, upon whom the end of the age has fallen.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) We ignore such clear warnings at our personal eternal peril.
Many examples of such mixed worship in today’s “Christianity” can be cited, from celebrating the Savior’s birthday at all (when such a practice is NOWHERE described in the Bible, except by Pharaoh, Herod and Job’s sons who were all destroyed); to celebrating it on a “birth” day which is universally shared with most of the false gods of paganism (Molech, Chemosh, Dagon, Tammuz, Mithra/Sol Invictus, etc.). But perhaps the worst example is that most “Christians” worship “Jesus Christ” as God, despite the fact that he never claimed to be God, and in fact, expressly denied that he was:
“And this is life eternal, that they might know You (Father) the only true God, and Yeshua Messiah, whom You have sent.” (John 17:3).
Underscoring his continuing belief in this core precept of Mosaic Judaism, when asked by a Pharisee what Yeshua considered to be the most important commandment, Yeshua did not list one of the Ten Commandments, or the so-called “love commandments”, but instead repeated the Shema, the central declaration of the Hebrew faith, which sets it apart from every other religion on earth, especially including what has become “Christianity”:
Hear, O Israel: YHVH our God, YHVH is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29)
As mentioned, our Lord Yeshua affirmed that this same God was his actual Father, and that the Father is the only one entitled to be called “God”. Moreover, Yeshua made our accurate knowledge of and acceptance of their TRUE identities a condition of salvation when he prayed to Him in John 17:3 :
“And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Yeshua Messiah, whom You have sent (His Shaliach).”
The Apostle Paul confirmed this in 1 Corinthians 8:6 –
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him.”
And YHVH Elohim Himself affirms, long before any of the above (Isaiah 44:8) –
Is there a God other than me? yea, there is no other God; I know not any.
And again in Isaiah 43:10-11 –
You are my witnesses, says YHVH, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be any after me.
I, even I, am YHVH; and except for me there is no savior.
So, we ask, IF the actual God of the Bible insists that He alone is God, and Yeshua says the SAME THING, and the Apostle Paul says the SAME THING, but we are still worshipping Yeshua as God, when he is NOT God, how is this not idolatry, the worship of a FALSE god? Worse yet, how is it not unrepentant idolatry, if one continues in the practice after discovering these explicit Bible truths?
———————— Notes on “elohim” (Strong’s H430) ————————
NOTE: One often-used Hebrew word for “god” (elohim) MAY mean either deity (as in the case of the Father YHVH, in which case it should be capitalized), or non-deity (human or angelic). To add to the possible confusion of our Gentile (non-Hebraic) understanding, it is also a plural form, but can actually refer to either singular or plural entities. For instance, in our Lord Yeshua’s defense of himself from the Pharisees who challenged his right to call himself the Son of God (John 10:34), he quotes Psalm 82:6, which describes the Father (deity, singular, Capitalized) addressing the fallen angels (non-deity, plural, lowercase):
Psa 82:6 IH589 have said,H559 Ye are gods;H430 and allH3605 of youH859 are childrenH1121 of the most High.H5945
Psa 82:7 ButH403 ye shall dieH4191 like men,H120 and fallH5307 like oneH259 of the princes.H8269
Psa 82:8 Arise,H6965 O God,H430 judgeH8199 the earth:H776 forH3588 thouH859 shalt inheritH5157 allH3605 nations.H1471
In the two boldfaced instances above, exactly the same word (elohim – Strong’s H430) is used, first (all lowercase) to refer to the angels (plural), and the second time (initial capital) to refer to to the one God, YHVH (singular). Moreover, every personal pronoun in the entire Tanakh which refers to YHVH Elohim is a masculine singular pronoun. There are no exceptions.
In other instances, elohim is even used to refer to false gods, as in 1 Samuel 17:43 –
And the PhilistineH6430 (Goliath) cursedH7043 (H853) DavidH1732 by his gods.H430
In still others, exactly the same word refers to demonic spirits, as when Saul tries to get the witch of Endor to summon up the spirit of Samuel in 1 Samuel 28:13 –
1Sa 28:13 And the kingH4428 saidH559 unto her, Be notH408 afraid:H3372 forH3588 whatH4100 sawestH7200 thou? And the womanH802 saidH559 untoH413 Saul,H7586 I sawH7200 godsH430 ascendingH5927 out ofH4480 the earth.H776
In still others, it can refer to a single human being (Moses) as in Exodus 7:1 –
Exo 7:1 And the LORDH3068 saidH559 untoH413 Moses,H4872 See,H7200 I have madeH5414 thee a godH430 to Pharaoh:H6547 and AaronH175 thy brotherH251 shall beH1961 thy prophet.H5030
Therefore, the meaning of the word elohim, and even the number of that meaning, depends entirely on the context in which it is used, and on nothing else. The attempt to use the inherently plural form of this word as a kind of “backdoor” justification for the un-Scriptural concept of a “triune” God is therefore seen as completely unwarranted, either in the Hebrew language or in the plain theology of the entire Tanakh (“Old Testament”).
———————— End of Note ————————
It is not as though the concept of a monotheistic (one God), unitarian (one part) deity is something just recently invented by people trying to start another new pseudo-Christian cult such as Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.
On the contrary, belief in a unitary, monotheistic Supreme Deity was THE ORIGINAL foundational belief of Yeshua of Nazareth and ALL of his original disciples, as the entire New Testament and all of secular history attests! In other words, what today is heresy to most of “Christianity” was in fact “the original faith once given to the saints” (Jude 3)! In fact, it was only the pagan Roman emperor Constantine and the growing political power of the Gentile converts within the original Hebraic Christian church which eventually overwhelmed these original apostolic Hebraic (“Nazarene”) beliefs, and soon crushed them, along with those who held them. And even this was prophesied by our Lord Yeshua in John 16:1-3 ff !
1 These things have I spoken unto you, that you should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time is coming, that whoever kills you will think that he does God service.
3 And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
What survived were the thoroughly paganized versions which we see all around us today, in the various fractured forms of Roman Catholicism and the multiplied hundreds of un-protesting “Protestant” denominations, each claiming to have some unique central “truths” which set it apart from all of the others! But if all of their “truths” are in the Bible, why are they not united in them? If their teachings are NOT in the Bible, what right do they have to call themselves “Christian”?
And the Apostle Sha’ul (“Paul”) accused the Corinthian church of harboring these same divisive attitudes when he asked them whether Christ himself had somehow been divided. (1 Corinthians 1:13) In effect, all those who are willing to separate themselves from “the original faith which was once given to the saints” (Jude 3) are actually demonstrating a willingness to start their own religions, which are made, not in the image of God and of His Son, but of themselves!
Tragically for those who blindly follow such false denominational teachings, God makes no provision for salvation because of one’s sincerity in worshipping a man-made version of Him which is at variance with His description of Himself in the Bible. On the contrary, He and His Son both assert that salvation is only attained through a quite specific and inflexible series of beliefs and events in the life of the believer. Once again, right after a warning against being deceived by false prophets, our Lord Yeshua warns against precisely this “My-sincerity-will-save-me” attitude (Matthew 7:15-23):
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?
17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.
21 Not every one who merely calls me Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father Who is in heaven. [We call that “obeying His commandments.” What do you call it?]
22 Many (Greek: poluς/polus – a great majority) will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?”
23 And then will I tell them, “I never knew you: depart from me, you who work iniquity.”
The above word translated as “iniquity” (evil, wrongdoing, etc.) is actually the Greek word anomia anomia, which literally means “law-lessness”. There being no word in the Greek language for Torah, we suggest that what our Lord more likely said was, “Depart from me, you who have abandoned Torah.”
This logically raises the question of “What is the true Gospel (good news) of Yeshua of Nazareth?”
We thought we knew, but we did not. We were not even close.
The Gospel/Good News of the Coming Kingdom of God/Heaven
The first of several essential, indispensable, non-negotiable events in the life of the one who would be “saved” (gain eternal life) is hearing the true Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24; Luke 8:10-18). Next is believing it (Luke 8:12). Then, repenting of one’s sins (Matthew 4:17). Next, being baptized (in Yeshua’s name only – Matthew 28:19 is a corruption) (Mark 16:16). And finally, walking it out (obeying it) for the rest of one’s mortal life “in fear and trembling” (Phillipians 2:12). This will be either until we die or are raptured along with the other righteous at the end of the age, whichever comes first. This is what our Lord refers to as “being an overcomer”. It is absolutely equated with salvation, and the only alternative to salvation is annihilation in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). There is no middle ground, at least not in the Bible.
Along with the overwhelming majority of Christians today, we were taught – first as Roman Catholics, and then as “Protestants” – that the goal of the Christian life is to get to be in heaven with “Jesus” for all eternity. But is this what the Lord Yeshua and his disciples taught?
It is surely NOT what the Lord Yeshua and his disciples taught! The idea that the destiny of the righteous is to live in a spiritual heaven for all eternity is utterly foreign to the Bible, and is found nowhere in it! What Yeshua and his talmidim/disciples uniformly and consistently taught, from one end of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures (“New Testament”) to the other, is the imminence (nearness) of “the kingdom of God” – also known as “the kingdom of heaven” – ON EARTH and how to get into it. This nowhere involves any kind of a promise of life in a spirit world at all!
“The Rapture Passage” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – merely says that believers will be “caught up… in the clouds to meet the Lord.” These verses explain only where believers will meet the Lord. The place of this meeting will be above the earth, in the air, in the clouds. It says nothing whatsoever about Christ then turning around and taking us to heaven – or anywhere else, specifically – for seven years, or 3½ years, or for ANY specific amount of time. In fact, the sense of the word translated as “meet” in the following passage suggests something quite different than what the pre-Trib preachers would have us believe.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet [Gr: apantesis] the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” [wherever He may be! – Auth.]. [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]
The key to understanding this passage is in the root meaning of the word translated here as “meet”, in the Greek – apantesis. The sense is of “a going forth to escort a recent arriver back” into the city or the dwelling from which the group had just come, as the people of a city would go out to greet a returning victorious general or king. This word is only used in TWO other places in the entire New Testament:
1.) in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, who waited to go out and greet the bridegroom and then to immediately escort Him back to His dwelling place, back to the place from which they had just come [Matthew 25:1-12]; and,
2.) in Acts of the Apostles, which describes people coming out from Rome to meet Paul and then to escort him back to Rome, back to the place from which they had just come!
“Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet [Greek: apantesis] us as far as Appii forum, and the three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.” [Acts 28:14-15]
ALL of these cases clearly describe a GROUP of people GOING OUT to meet an INDIVIDUAL, and then escorting HIM back to the place from which THEY had just come. (Sound familiar?)
Seeing then how this particular word for “meet” is consistently and precisely used ONLY these three times in the New Testament, we understand that when Christ comes, believers will be caught up to meet Him in the air, and then to return WITH the Lord to earth, but not in any predictable or specified amount of human time.
So the true Gospel of Yeshua of Nazareth, what he says he came to proclaim (Luke 4:43), is the fulfillment of the written promises of the Covenant between the Creator God, YHVH Elohim, and His chosen people, the physical descendants of “the children of Israel”, to return only a righteous remnant of them (Daniel 12:1) – and anyone else who had chosen to join in their Covenant, and kept it – to the Promised Land on this earth.
But first, God intends to re-establish His Kingdom on this earth, with His Son, our Lord Yeshua, as the reigning physical King in Jerusalem. This will persist for 1,000 calendar years, until the end of that age, when all of the rest of the events prophesied in the Bible will be fulfilled. New Jerusalem will then come down from heaven to a re-created earth (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; 2 Peter 3:10), and it is not until then that the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” takes place, according to the Bible (Revelation 21). This is “the gospel of the Kingdom” which our Lord Yeshua and ALL of his disciples taught!
HOW did all of this corruption happen?
Since the time of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the “Jews” have had Torah (“the Law”) of YHVH but most rejected Yeshua as Messiah. The “Christians” have had the Messiah (or a paganized version of him), but have largely ignored the written Torah of YHVH which that same Messiah inspired, loved, and taught! Torah was, after all, the written instructions from his own Abba Father, which he found waiting for him when he was miraculously born to a virgin mother, open to him as he read about himself in its scrolls in the synagogue, and taught by him to his disciples, and to us.
Today we seek to demonstrate to today’s hundreds of warring “churches of Jesus Christ” that surely neither rabbinic Judaism nor any form of pyramidally-organized “Christianity” was ever God’s intended end point of the covenantal salvation plan of YHVH, which remains today what it has always been since before the foundation of the universe: namely, Mosaic (not rabbinic) Judaism + Yeshua HaMashiach (Yeshua the Messiah).
Epiphanius, a 4th century pre-Roman Catholic “church father” fully agrees with this assessment:
“But these sectarians… did not call themselves Christians – but “Nazarenes,” … However they are simply complete Jews. (emphasis added – Auth.) They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do… They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion – except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that God is one, and that his son is Jesus the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law (Torah), the Prophets Nevi’im), and the… Writings (Ketuvim, together, TNK, or Tanakh, what Christians call “the Old Testament”)… are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law – circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest – they are not in accord with Christians…. they are nothing but Jews…. They have the Gospel according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written. (emphasis added – Auth.) (Epiphanius; Panarion 29)
In fact, the very idea of an entity such as “The Church” – as distinct from Mosaic Judaism plus its Messiah – never even appears in the Hebrew Torah/Tanakh!
Nothing like “The Church” was ever even hinted at in the Tanakh/“Old Testament”, much less have the explicit approval of the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob as the intended vehicle for the salvation of His people! Instead, it only exists there in a negative sense, as a kind of unexplained time lapse of indeterminate length between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. (Daniel 9:24-27)
While many sincere, professing Christians may be disturbed by our conclusions concerning the spiritual realities behind much of what makes up contemporary Christianity, that is our stated purpose: to awaken an anæsthetized Church from the diabolical stupor that has been destroying its very life and purpose for almost 2,000 years.
Today, most Christians believe literally hundreds of untrue things about their “religion” and about the one whom they believe started it, not realizing that those untruths have been taught to them for the very purpose of destroying them. According to Scripture, any one of these lies accepted into the believer’s life as truth may be more than enough to guarantee his or her place in the Lake of Fire! The acceptance of a lie as truth results in DISOBEDIENCE to the expressed will of the Father (Matthew 4:4), as well as that of His Son, our Lord Yeshua. And the continued practice of such after one discovers the truth is the separate sin of rebellion against God, which is “as the sin of witchcraft and idolatry”. (1 Samuel 15:23) So these are not trivial matters.
In fact, this is a literal fulfillment of the prophecy by God to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after they sinned against Him. YHVH said that Eve’s seed, the Promised One (Yeshua), would crush the head of the devil/serpent, but that the serpent would wound his heel.
“And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he (Yeshua) shall crush your head, and you (Satan) shall wound his heel.” Genesis 3:15
This is why the devil is depicted in the Bible as a snake. He injected his poisonous lies into Adam and Eve, and he has already done so to the Body of Christ. Satan knows that all who continue to accept these lies as truth will be destroyed by their own choices, duplicating the events of the Garden of Eden, and with exactly the same outcome!
Please understand that we are not accusing all of those who are guilty of spreading these false teachings of knowingly doing so, for we must assume that the great majority of preachers are sincere, if misguided and deceived. No, this evil springs from the father of lies, the devil, even as our blessed Lord Yeshua warns us throughout Scripture. Still, this does not excuse the individual.
Primary among these untruths is that Christ came to earth to bring us any religion at all. He did not. Religion is nothing but man’s efforts to reach God. Since YHVH Elohim, the one true Creator God of the Hebrew Tanakh (Christian “Old Testament”), is perfectly pure, sinless, good, and holy, and all mankind is born wicked, lives wicked and dies wicked (in the absence of a relationship with the Messiah), all such carnal efforts by man on his own behalf are utterly doomed to failure.
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and since “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and since a person has only one life with which to pay, and since God’s “books” must balance, all who die without a relationship to the Father through His only begotten Son Yeshua are therefore lost. If any human being is to be reconciled to this God, it must be from God’s side, on His terms, and 100% by His power, His intention, and His wholly undeserved grace towards us.
All man-made religions are therefore false, whether “Christian”, “Jewish”, “Islamic”, “Buddhist”, “Hindu”, “Luciferian”, “Spiritist”, “Masonic”, “Humanist”, or other pagan belief system. All man-made religions are also hierarchical organizations (shaped like a pyramid), with a small triangle of “fat cats” at the top, and layer upon layer of underlings who supply the muscle, money and political power to make it work.
This was first modeled by the Tower of Babel, and is the symbolic end-goal of the “New World Order”, as exemplified in the headquarters of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Belgium! It was actually designed and built to represent the UNfinished Tower of Babel, with the implication that the finishing of it was now up to the member states of the EU Parliament!
European Union Parliament Building, Brussels, Belgium
The “organization” described by Yeshua of Nazareth for his disciples is as far from that model as the east is from the west.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser.
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:1-10
No, Yeshua of Nazareth, the only begotten (born of a human mother) Son of the one true creator God, assuredly was NOT sent to bring us another religion. His mission is far more radical than that. He came to show us how to enter the soon-coming Kingdom of God, established by the power of God, with Yeshua reigning as king, on the earth.
Through the power of his Father’s holy Spirit indwelling the believer, Yeshua empowers all who truly trust and believe in him, in faith, until his return, with the same ability to keep the commandments which he possessed, and the same authority and power on the earth which he possessed! It is as if the entitlements and economy of the Garden of Eden are being restored to each one of us, individually, IF we will only believe in the message preached, and OBEY the commandments of both Father and Son.
It is a kind of “down payment” on the promises which will be ours when the present worldwide spiritual kingdom of Satan is destroyed at our Lord’s (only!) return at the end of the seven years of the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18), and the Kingdom of God is re-established on the whole earth (Revelation 11:15). This is what is referred to as “earnest” in the King James and other Bibles. [2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5; Ephesians 1:14 ] This usage persists in our English language today in real estate transactions, where the buyer’s deposit may be called “earnest money”, offered by the buyer as proof of his or her good intentions.
This is what our Lord Yeshua and all of his disciples preached: the imminent kingdom of God/heaven. It has been “imminent” since our Lord’s day, and remains so in our own. Why? Because, according to everything in the Bible, from the moment of our death until our resurrection, we “sleep” in the grave, and know nothing. So, for those of the righteous who will take part in the first general resurrection (of the righteous dead in Christ), the Kingdom of God will be the very next thing that they know after having died! How close is that? And yet this aspect of the actual Gospel which Yeshua and ALL of his talmidim (disciples) preached is virtually unknown to most of today’s “Christianity”!
In fact, with precious few exceptions, it is ALL that Yeshua and his talmidim preached. ALL of the parables of Yeshua and his disciples are about “the kingdom of heaven/God”, and yet there are hardly any Christian “hireling shepherds” today who have any idea at all of what “the kingdom of heaven” actually is! If they do have an idea of what it is, WHY is is not being preached? One prominent Protestant evangelist apparently came to this realization on his own, realized that he had graduated from seminary without ever having been taught anything about the Kingdom of God/heaven! And, he confessed to being “Shocked, shocked!” when he went back through his sermons of a decades-long career as a salaried “man-o’-God” and discovered that he had never even preached on the subject himself! Well, it is no longer shocking to us, nor should it be to you.
Consider that, despite the fact that the literal phrases “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” appear NOWHERE in the Hebrew Tanakh (Christian “Old Testament”), the concept was nevertheless well-understood by every Jew who had ever been taught the Tanakh. Every Jew of Yeshua’s day was well aware of the prophecies in the Book of Daniel and elsewhere concerning the last great kingdom on the earth (Daniel 2:44), to be established according to the plan and purpose (a.k.a., “the logos/word”) of the God of the Bible, YHVH Elohim, which would destroy all remaining earthly kingdoms and last forever.
That they were all aware, especially the rulers of the Jews, is borne out in Luke 17:20, wherein the Pharisees confronted Yeshua and asked him point blank when the kingdom of God was to be restored. So what Yeshua and his disciples were preaching was NOT SOMETHING COMPLETELY NEW. It was a “given”. It was foundational to their faith. They and their Jewish audiences already understood it, AND understood that Yeshua was claiming to be “The Son of God”, the Shaliach (fully-empowered agent) of YHVH Elohim, the Promised One, HaMashiach! But “the Church of Jesus Christ” has been kept stunningly ignorant of these plain Bible FACTS for almost 2,000 years!
HOW did this happen? For hundreds of years now, as we have seen, one may have spent a great deal of one’s time and money in acquiring advanced degrees in “theology” from well-accredited schools, and still not have received a single course in “the kingdom of God”!
Well, how can they be expected to teach what contradicts their own denomination’s dogma? How? Denominations are, by definition, surely NOT primarily interested in God’s truth. They are primarily interested in the perpetuation of their own man-made pyramidal organizations, and that is best accomplished by requiring mindless, uncritical adherence to the particular set of errors which characterizes that particular denomination, whether Roman Catholic, Greek (or other) Orthodox, Protestant, Mormon, Seventh-Day Adventist, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Wiccan, Obeah, Voudun, Church of Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Joel Osteen, Charles Stanley, Rick Warren, or any other “non-denominational” what-have-you, ALL of whom are preaching Satanic LIES which will get those who follow them a date with the Lake of Fire.
The power that is involved in “the kingdom of God/heaven” is the power of the spirit of God the Father working in the individual, and that is all that it is. This would be a terrifying concept to most of those who claim to be “Christians” today, if they ever heard it. It would mean that they would have to leave their nice, warm Sun-day pews and actually get out in the marketplace and witness for their true King, the 100% HUMAN Yeshua of Nazareth! There is surely supposed to be fellowship and communication between the disciples of Yeshua, to be sure, but it is the fellowship of a true spiritual extended family of True Believers, and not that of a social club.
Where did we go so very, very wrong?
Origins of the Basic Error . . .
To get a better appreciation of just what changes to “the original faith that was once given to the saints” (Jude 3) were made by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine, here are two public oaths that were required of ALL subjects of Rome, especially those who were suspected of being Jews or disciples of Yeshua of Nazareth. The penalty upon conviction for violating these oaths was death. This was done in the name of Rome’s paganized version of “Christianity”, “the new Roman religion”.
“I accept all customs, rites, legalisms, and feasts of the Romans, sacrifices, prayers, purifications with water, sanctifications by Pontifex Maximus (“Chief Bridge-builder”, referring to the union of church and state in his person, an official title of the Roman Emperor, later of the Roman Catholic pope), propitiations, and feasts, and the New Sabbath (Sun-day), all new chants and observances, and all the foods and drinks of the Romans. In other words, I absolutely accept everything Roman, every new law, rite and custom, of Rome, and the new Roman religion.”
Next, Part 2 of the oath . . .
“I renounce all customs, rites, legalisms, unleavened breads and sacrifices of lambs of the Hebrews, and all the other feasts of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspirations, purifications, sanctifications, and propitiations, and fasts and new moons, and Sabbaths, and superstitions, and hymns and chants, and observances and synagogues, absolutely everything Jewish, every Law, rite and custom and if afterwards I shall wish to deny and return to Jewish superstition, or shall be found eating with Jews, or feasting with them, or secretly conversing and condemning the Christian religion instead of openly confuting them and condemning their vain faith, then let the trembling of Cain and the leprosy of Gehazi cleave to me, as well as the legal punishments to which I acknowledge myself liable. And may I be an anathema (cursed and cut off) in the world to come, and may my soul be set down with Satan and the devils.”
(Stefano Assemani, Acta Sanctorum Martyrum Orientalium et Occidentalium, Vol. 1, Rome 1748, page 105)
Additionally, in approximately 365 AD, the Council of Laodicæa wrote, in one of their canons:
“Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day. Rather, honoring the Lord’s Day (venerabile die solis, venerable day of the Sun, Sunday). But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema (cursed and cut off, by being killed) from Christ”.
So anyone wondering about the origin of “Christianity’s” anti-Hebrew, anti-Jew, anti-Torah attitudes need look no further than the above quotes. NOTE: The above is proof positive that it was not “the Pope” who changed “the Sabbath” to Sunday. It was the pagan Roman emperor Constantine who made it a crime against the State to keep the seventh-day Sabbath as commanded by YHVH Elohim. This required that all Romans keep SUN-day instead, in Latin, “venerabile die solis”, a reference to Constantine’s actual lifelong “god”, Mithras, a.k.a. Tammuz, or “Sol Invictus”, the “unconquered Sun”.
The so-called “Church Age” – one involving a God-intended, wholly Gentile (non-Hebraic) “Christianity” divorced from its Hebraic roots – was nowhere prophesied in the Hebrew Tanakh (the Christian “Old Testament”). But early Christianity’s leaders failed to take this glaring, total absence of prophetic mention of “the Church” (or anything like it) in the Old Testament as evidence that their invented “Christianity” had somehow missed the boat.
Well, the inescapably logical consequence of that understanding would have been that what we have inherited today as “Christianity” was never intended by YHVH Elohim – the Creator God of the Bible – to be a permanent part of his solution to mankind’s problems.
Whoa! Pastors, try telling that to your Board of Regents and see what happens to your salary, living allowance, and 401(k)!
Therefore, rather than admitting to what should have been recognized as a colossally embarassing mistake and seeking to actually rediscover that “original faith which was once and for all transmitted to the saints” (Jude 3), most “Christian” denominations took their cue from their spiritual “mother”, the “great whore” (Revelation 17) Roman Catholic church [we speak as ex-Catholics!], ignored the specific Torah prohibitions against such additions and deletions from the God-breathed “Old Testament”, and merely re-defined their own individualized patterns of disobedience to the Torah of YHVH, calling it “revealed truth”, or “a fresh anointing”. In fact, it is nothing but the exactly identical thing for which our Lord Yeshua – quoting his Father in Isaiah 29:13 – so severely chastised the Sadducees & Pharisees, the orthodox religious establishment of his own day (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7), that they were . . .
“teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
What IS specifically prophesied about this situation in the Tanakh?
Oh YHVH, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto You from the ends of the earth, and shall say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, futility, and things wherein there is no profit.” (Jeremiah 16:19)
Jeremiah here prophesies that, in the end times, sincere, non-Hebrew God-seekers of the world will discover that their fathers have handed down lies about God to them, and that they will return to belief in the Torah of YHVH! And this is exactly what is happening in our own time, right before our very eyes! Especially since about 1990, sincere truth-seekers of all religions – Christianity, Catholicism, Mormonism, Talmudic rabbinic Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Freemasonry, Humanism, or you-name-it – are individually discovering the falsity of those inherited man-made religions, and, led by the holy Spirit of the one true God (John 17:3), are individually and enthusiastically seeking to discover the truths of the Torah of YHVH – and the Messiah it prophesies – in ever-increasing numbers! Praise be to YHVH, the loving God of all mankind!
If the written Torah of Moses and the rest of the Tanakh is indeed the standard by which He intends all of mankind to be guided – as Yeshua states that it is (John 17:3) – then “Christianity” has failed miserably at its stated goal of “saving” mankind – by preaching a different gospel, another gospel – and it is the fault of the various Christian denominations that the “body of Christ” has fallen into the confusion which it has. The teaching of another gospel is so important that the Apostle Paul leveled his only recorded curse against those who practice such:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)
The Horrible Question . . .
- IF the God of the Bible does not change, and He tells us explicitly that He does not (Malachi 3:6);
- IF He describes in exquisite detail HOW those who serve Him are to conduct their lives in perpetuity, and He has (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:30-32); and
- IF He tells us exactly HOW our spiritual adversary will seek to trick us into DISobeying Him and thus losing our salvation, and He has (Genesis 3:1);
. . . then by what stretch of the imagination might anyone conclude that we are “free” to follow the teachings of men which contradict all of the above, without eternally adverse consequences? If this is not collective blindness, what is?
Moreover . . .
- IF He tells us explicitly that we are to regard no one else as God (deity) but Him, and He does (Exodus 20:2-3); and
- IF His only begotten Son repeats that ONLY the Father is truly God, and he does (John 17:3); IF all of His Son’s disciples also considered the Father alone to be God (deity), and they do (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5); and
- IF there is NO textual authority whatsoever in the New Testament which would authorize the reversal of any of these existing Bible texts, and there is NOT; and
- IF almost ALL of “Christianity” has worshipped “Jesus Christ” as GOD, and it has; then HOW can this be anything but an indictment of traditional “evangelical” Christianity as heretical, sacrilegeous and non-salvational?
If it is nevertheless somehow salvational, despite the clear testimony of the Bible, then there has to be some Biblical way for all those Torah-less Christians to somehow truly be “in Christ”, even while they are disobeying his commandments, which the entirety of the Tanakh and Yeshua and his disciples repeatedly state is impossible!
So, as far as we can see, either the teachings of Yeshua and his disciples on the subject of obedience to his commandments are true, OR Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant Christianity are, for they teach mutually exclusive concepts.
Both cannot be true.
“Not Under the Law”?
Most Christians have believed the lie that they do not have keep the commandments, because they are “not under the Law, but under grace”. They have been taught, and believe, that “not being under the Law” means that they don’t have to keep the commandments to be saved, and that their habitual, unrepentant breaking of any of the commandments of God will surely NOT result in the loss of their salvation, despite the clear testimony of all Scripture to the contrary.
In fact, today’s “Christianity” has effectively turned what Yeshua, Sha’ul and Kefa (“Peter”) actually taught on the subject of “the Law”/Torah upside down, inside out and backwards! Where they and all the rest of the Renewed Covenant writers were actually preaching against the requirements of the Pharisees’ “oral law”, these same Scriptures have been generally interpreted by “Christianity” as being directed against the written Torah itself, against the very Constitution of the Covenant, against the Ketuvah/Wedding Contract between YHVH Elohim and His chosen people. This is the same Torah which Ya’acov (“James”) calls “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25 & 2:12), and Yochanan (“John”) says is “not burdensome” (1 John 5:3)! The key to this MISunderstanding is the phrase “under the Law”.
As an illustration, imagine that you are driving down the street in your car. The insurance is paid up, your driver’s license is current and appropriate for the vehicle you are driving, the vehicle is not overloaded or mechanically deficient in any way, you are well under the posted speed limit, and you are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Are you “under the law”? That is, are you subject to the penalties of the motor vehicle laws of your state? You are not. Why are you not “under the law”? Because you are obeying it! You are surely NOT “under the law” unless and until you break it, at which point you are liable to the punishments prescribed for your violation, whether you are caught at it or not! And this is exactly the sense of what our Lord Yeshua, Sha’ul, and all of the other writers of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures (“New Testament”) were trying to convey.
But “Christianity” would have us believe that we are “under the law” when we are obeying it! In fact, anyone who believes that they are free to break the commandments because they are “not under the law, but under grace” is in the very process of being tricked into the Lake of Fire!
To fully appreciate the depth of the deception involved in this, you must re-read these scriptures while at the same time trying to keep these two opposed senses of “under the law” in mind:
Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever things the Law says, it says to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
[That is, the purpose of the Law/Torah is to show those who are breaking it that they are breaking it. So one is “under the Law” when one is breaking it!]
Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Rom 6:13 Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.
[Note: The ONLY WAY that one is “not under the law”, is to be obeying it. And it is ONLY when one is obeying the Law/Torah/commandments that one is “under grace”! Then, whenever we fail to keep the Law, we must repent, ask forgiveness, and “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him ( YHVH Elohim) a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:9-10) ]
Rom 6:15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid.
Rom 6:16 Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey, his servants you are; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
[Note: Sha’ul here plainly equates obedience to Torah with righteousness. If this is true, and it is, then HOW can any post-apostolic “commandment of men” free us from this responsibility? It cannot!]
Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you.
Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.
Rom 7:14 For we know that the Law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
[For a fuller treatment of this issue, see our article “Under the Law”: http://torahkingdomliving.com]
“Christianity’s” teaching of the meaning of “not under the Law, but under grace” is the identical kind of lie with which the devil seduced Eve: “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1) He tries to get us to question the written words of YHVH Elohim and those of His Son in Scripture!
As mentioned, the devil is likened to a serpent primarily because of the way that poisonous snakes kill: by injecting their prey with poison. The devil’s “poison” is the LIE, which has the power to KILL us for all eternity when we admit it into our bodies in the mistaken belief that it is the TRUTH.
Having started from an anti-Jew, anti-Torah theological position inherited from their mother, the Great Whore Roman Catholic Church (Revelation 18), “Christianity” has twisted the teachings of the Apostle Paul on the subject of Torah obedience, even thereby contradicting the specific words of our Lord on the same subject!
“Think NOT that I am come to destroy the Torah, or the Prophets:
I am NOT come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17)
Yeshua “fulfilled” Torah by BEING the one prophesied to come as HaMashiach/ The Messiah. He fulfilled the prophecies, which having been fulfilled, can never be later filled by anyone else. This completed the prophecies.
Paul surely never preached against the written Torah of Moses! He preached against the man-made traditions of the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, etc., (what is called today the “oral law” or Talmud of the rabbinic Jews) against the MISuse of Torah, against the ABuse of it, against the attempt to USE Torah as a means of attaining righteousness before God, even as he himself had done as a Pharisee, and violently persecuting the Church. In short, these false teachers of “Christianity” confuse Biblically mandated obedience with Pharisaic “legalism”.
By definition, “legalism” is obeying MANMADE rules and regulations. It is the antithesis of our obedience to Torah, which is commanded by YHVH Elohim as a continuing condition of membership in the Covenant by which we are saved. (Acts 3:25; Romans 11:27)
But in a bizarre twist of the plain meaning of language in the Christian Church, “legalist” has come to mean anyone who actually seeks to obey the Marriage Covenant between the Creator God and the children of Israel, whereas Yeshua and his talmidim (disciples) used it to mean those who kept their own man-made laws instead of the Torah of YHVH Elohim!
In today’s “Christian” churches, such a desire to OBEY the Torah of YHVH Elohim is actually seen as a BAD THING! Why? Because they believe that obedience to Torah is to somehow depreciate the work of Christ on the cross, since they believe that he came to set us free from it! They justify these blasphemous teachings in their minds by MISinterpreting the teachings of the Apostle Sha’ul (Paul) as though he were teaching against the written Torah – which he never did – when he was actually teaching against the legalisms of the Jews! In all of this, the serpent’s hiss can be clearly heard, “Hath God said…?”
We do not presume to judge whether any individual human being will be “saved” or not, regardless of what they believe right now. What matters is what you believe and do just before you die or are raptured, for no one is now or will be saved (“born again”) until then, according to ALL of Scripture. The issue is whether one may sin in ignorance, die in that state, and still be saved.
As incredible as it may sound to the ears of those who have believed this deception, the uniform, consistent testimony of all Scripture, both Old Testament and New, asserts that sin is the breaking of Torah (1 John 3:4), but that, unlike most civil law codes, ignorance of one’s sin is an excuse, BUT ONLY for those who have a “High Priest” to intercede for them, whether Jew or Gentile, according to the eternal Torah of YHVH:
And the priest shall make an atonement for the person who sins ignorantly, when he sins by ignorance before YHVH, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.
You shall have one Torah for him that sins through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger (Gentile/non-Jew) that lives among them.
But the person who sins intentionally, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same insults YHVH; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. (Numbers 15:28-30)
BUT, the only ones who really do have a “High Priest” before YHVH today are those who have a genuine spiritual relationship with the real Lord Yeshua, as he is described in Scripture. And, according to the uniform testimony of Scripture, that relationship is 100% dependent on our OBEYING ALL of the commandments of BOTH Father and Son (Matthew 7:26; John 3:36; Luke 6:46; Romans 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 John 5:2; 1 Peter 4:17; Hebrews 5:9; et al.). And it is not us, but the Father and our Lord Yeshua who determine whether our relationship is real (in their minds), or imagined (only in ours). It is specifically to such as live “in the futility of their minds” (Ephesians 4:17) that our Lord Yeshua addresses this chilling warning In Matthew 7:13-21:
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many (Greek: polus, a huge majority).
14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Greek: oligos, a tiny minority).
15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
21 Not those who merely call me Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Greek: anomia, lawlessness, or in this case, Torahlessness!)
So there is a very real “Catch-22” here, in the sense that, yes, sins of ignorance can be forgiven, IF one has a genuine relationship with the Father through the Son. BUT, the only ones who do have such a relationship are those who try to keep ALL of the commandments that apply to them. And we are told that, if we have such a relationship, and we slip up from time to time, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
We cannot overstress this point. Our forgiveness is conditional upon our confessing our sins. If we know the Law/Torah and yet choose to disobey it, we are without excuse. Nor will we be forgiven if we are intentionally ignorant of the commandments of both Father and Son! Remember, we serve a God Who knows our every thought, and the holy Spirit of YHVH is not deceived by any such devices we may try to use to avoid the responsibility for the state of our soul! Which is why it is so important that each and every one who seeks to have a REAL relationship with Father and Son continually seek to know their wills!
We intend to prove herein that the destruction by God of what is today called “Christianity” is indirectly prophesied in both the Hebrew Tanakh and in the Christian “New Testament”, and that it is therefore something to be avoided by everyone who worships the one true God of the Bible, YHVH Elohim, and who seeks to be a true disciple of Yeshua of Nazareth, HaMashiach, the Promised One, “the only name under heaven, given among men, by which we MUST be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
The tragic problem is that contemporary “Christianity” causes so many of those who warm the pews of its churches on Sun-day to believe that they are saved, when such is plainly impossible according to the very Scriptures which they claim to know and follow.
And this particular erroneous belief is what characterizes the Laodicæan Chuch, who mistakenly believe that they have it all together doctrinally, and “have need of nothing”. This atrocious state of affairs would be impossible in any congregation which is founded on true Torah observance and the unadulterated teachings of Yeshua of Nazareth and all of his disciples.
A Brief History
Any unbiased observer who looks at Christianity today has to wonder at the sheer number of so-called “Christian denominations” there are, each one claiming to have some “insight” into divine truths which none of the others has. But it was not always so, for we have the testimony of Scripture that it was not. The phrase, “with one accord” occurs eleven times in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, as a testimony to this fact. Sample:
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. [Acts 2:46-47]
Note that the Bible records that “they were with one accord in the Temple”. Does this sound like any “Christian church” of which you are aware? We think not. So, what went wrong? We suggest that it can only be exactly what the apostle Paul foretold: a great apostasy, which is a “falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) from “the original faith that was handed down to the saints once and for all” (Jude 3). So, what was that “original faith” that the original Church had, which was the source of their joy and fruitfulness?
It’s all in the history books. They were called followers of “the Way”, or “Nazarenes”.
FACT: The original disciples of Yeshua of Nazareth were a Jewish sect known as followers of “the Way” or “Nazarenes” or in Hebrew “N’tzarim” (Acts 11:19; 24:5). The Roman Catholic “church father” Jerome (4th Cent.) described them as being a sect “. . . who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law.” And we have already seen that Epiphanius, the 4th Century “church father” described them as “complete Jews”, a label which we joyously accept.
For lack of a better term, we will call this original faith “Apostolic Christianity”. There are many other terms being used by “Hebraic roots” believers in Yeshua of Nazareth today, such as Messianic Jew, Netzerim, Ephraimite, Two House Movement, etc., all of which have varying degrees of Biblical authenticity. Perhaps predictably, some of these have already fallen into other errors every bit as un-Biblical as are the forms of the Christianity they have abandoned, primarily the teachings and traditions of rabbinic, Talmudic Judaism, including pre-millennial Zionism. It is not our purpose to dissect all of these groups here today, but to inform the reader of what the main issues are which confront all believers in Yeshua today.
True Apostolic Christianity today, as in Yeshua’s day, would maintain all the beliefs as stated by Epiphanius above, especially in Yeshua of Nazareth as the Messiah and in the complete written Hebrew Tanakh by which he lived and taught. As the Apostle Paul said, it is we, the non-Jews, who are spiritually “grafted in” to the “native olive tree” of spiritual Israel, but this surely does not mean that we are required to convert to Judaism – and especially not to rabbinic Talmudic Judaism – in any legalistic sense. We see our true and proper goal to become “complete Jews”, as Epiphanius describes the Nazarene sect of his day.
However, as distinct and separate from the “evangelical Christianity” which we used to believe and practice, those of us who have been led to investigate our Hebraic roots have discovered that, in that process, we truly have acquired a new identity, a new heritage and a new culture, but without “becoming Jews” in any of the usually accepted senses of that phrase.
Note: We use the term “Jew” herein to mean anyone who practices any form of Judaism, OR who is genetically of any of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, OR who was born a “Jew” by whatever other definition.
This happens as soon as we begin to understand just what a privilege it represents spiritually for any non-Jew to be allowed into God’s original, exclusive Covenant with the children of Israel. In short, with that Covenant come new obligations, just as anyone who is adopted into a new family has to abide by the rules of that family. The “rules” of our “new family” are what the God of the Bible, YHVH Elohim, calls “Torah”, which does not mean “law” in Hebrew, but “instruction” or “teaching”. We agree with so many others who have gone down these same paths before us, who maintain that it is impossible to fully understand large parts of the “New Testament” without first understanding the culture of First Century Judaism from which it arose.
To many, the concept of “Christians” believing in someone named “Yeshua” and seeming to practice Judaism is inherently self-contradictory. The common belief is that on the one side you have Jews and Judaism, and on the other you have Gentiles and Christianity. However, in the very beginnings of the Gospel of Yeshua, for perhaps the first ten years, almost ALL of his disciples were Jews. In the first century A.D. there were literally hundreds of thousands of these Jewish followers of Yeshua (Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 6:7; 9:31; 21:20). They were zealous for the Torah (Acts 15:19-21; 21:17-27) and met in synagogues (James 1:1, 2:2). The original question then was, had Yeshua really come for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews? (Acts 10; Acts 15)
This later inclusion of the Gentiles in the Mosaic Covenant through the ministry of Yeshua of Nazareth was what the apostle Paul referred to as “the mystery” of the Gospel which he preached. It was Paul’s preaching of the Gentile inclusion in the Mosaic covenant which caused all of the uproar in Acts 22:21. The Jews were listening to his account of his encounter with the risen Yeshua on the road to Damascus with no objection, but the moment that he mentioned that he was sent by God to preach Yeshua to the Gentiles, they rioted.
And so today. Today’s rabbinic Jews furiously insist that it is they and they alone who are still God’s chosen people today, despite their doctrinal refusal (Talmud) to obey the commandments of YHVH Elohim in the original written Torah of Moses (which was the actual Covenant between them and the God of the Bible); despite their substitution of their own man-made rules, regulations and traditions, many of which contradict the expressed will of YHVH Elohim in the written Torah of Moses and the rest of the Tanakh; and especially despite the written testimony of God Himself in the Torah/Tanakh that it is THEY who have broken that covenant and done NOTHING to repent of that sin as a people.
YHVH Elohim further testifies that it is due 100% to THEIR rebelliousness that He has caused them to be ejected from Eretz Yisroel (the Promised Land), AND that it is SOLELY because of His gracious mercy that He will miraculously return ONLY a righteous remnant of them to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, AND that will not happen until AFTER “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), what the Christian church calls “the Tribulation”, at the END of Daniels’ 70th week. This necessarily means that there is NOTHING RIGHTEOUS about today’s nation called “Israel”, at least, not as far as the God of the Bible is concerned!
So the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Mosaic Covenant was an unwelcome mystery to most of the Jews of Paul’s day, and it has remained a mystery to most Jews and “Christians” down to our own day. We have truly come full circle, from the time of the 1st Century church, when virtually ALL of Yeshua’s followers were Jews wondering if the Gentiles really were to be allowed in, down to today with people asking why on earth followers of “Jesus Christ” should actually seek to become Jewish!
The answer lies in the prophesied end-times return of what we mean by “the Church” herein (Ezekiel 37:16-28, below)* – as members of the “lost tribe” of Ephraim (which is actually all 10 lost tribes of the Northern Kingdom) – to “the faith which was once and for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3), which was and is Apostolic Christianity.
But where did “Ephraim” come from?
The History of Ephraim . . .
The twelve original tribes of Israel were allocated lands in Israel according to the plan of YHVH Elohim, as dictated to Moses and Joshua. These original twelve tribes of the “children of Israel” later came to be divided into a “Northern Kingdom (a.k.a. “Israel”, “10-Israel” or “Ephraim”) and a “Southern Kingdom” (Judah and Benjamin, centered around Jerusalem). First, a brief recap of the relevant history is in order.
In 1 Kings 11:9-13, YHVH tells Solomon (who was then king of what is now called the “united kingdom”, which is all 12 tribes of Israel) that He will take that kingdom away from him because of all his idolatries.
In 1 Kings 11:28-32, the prophet Ahijah then tells Jeroboam that YHVH has split Solomon’s kingdom into two, and given him (Jeroboam) the rule over the ten Northern tribes. Because Ephraim had grown by this time to be the largest of the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, the entire Northern Kingdom itself is often referred to as “Ephraim”, or as “Israel”, as distinct from “Judah”. (We refer to it either as “10-Israel” or “Ephraim”). Needless to say, all of these overlapping names have led to much confusion among Bible students, down to our day.
In 1 Kings 12:26-13:33, Jeroboam, as king of 10-Israel/Ephraim, later also sins against YHVH, by corrupting the priesthood, other idolatries, etc.
In 2 Kings 17:6, as punishment for their sins, the Northern Kingdom (10-Israel/Ephraim) is carried away into captivity by the king of Assyria, as prophesied in Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. They eventually are totally assimilated into Assyria and into the rest of the pagan/Gentile nations of the world, completely losing their Hebraic identity in the process, as detailed in the Book of Hosea. This is what is generally referred to as “the ten lost tribes of Israel”.
In Jeremiah 3:8, YHVH confirms this, explicitly stating that he has divorced 10-Israel/Ephraim.
In Ezekiel 37:16-28, below, YHVH then prophesies through the prophet Ezekiel that the two warring kingdoms – Judah and Ephraim – will ultimately be reunited, but not until the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah, after the seven years of the Tribulation (also known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble”).
16 Moreover, you son of man, take one stick, and write upon it, “For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions”: then take another stick, and write upon it, “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions”:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in your hand.
18 And when the children of your people shall speak unto you, saying, “Will you not show us what you mean by these things?
19 Say unto them, “Thus says the Lord YHVH; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand.”
20 And the sticks whereon you write shall be in your hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, “Thus says the Lord YHVH; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
28 And the heathen shall know that I YHVH do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”
Matthew Henry (1662-1714) says this of Ezekiel 37:16, above…
But this certainly looks further, to the kingdom of Christ; he is that one King in allegiance to whom all God’s spiritual Israel shall cheerfully unite, and under whose protection they shall all be gathered. All believers unite in one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. And the uniting of Jews and Gentiles in the gospel church, their becoming one fold under Christ the one great Shepherd, is doubtless the union that is chiefly looked at in this prophecy. By Christ the partition-wall between them was taken down, and the enmity slain, and of the twain was made one new man (Ephesians 2:14-15).
So even some Presbyterians (!) of Matthew Henry’s time clearly understood and agreed that it was the enmity between the Mosaic Jews and the disciples of Yeshua that is done away with in Messiah, and surely NOT the Law (Torah) itself, as is widely – and falsely! – taught among today’s hundreds of warring versions (denominations) of “Christianity”!
Ramifications of the “Divorce” of Ephraim by YHVH Elohim (Jeremiah 3:8) . . .
A consistent theme running throughout the Hebrew Tanakh (Christian “Old Testament”) is of the spiritual “harlotries” (unfaithfulness to their Covenants with YHVH Elohim) of the two major “houses” of “the children of Israel”, Judah and Israel, how the God of the Bible has been dealing with them over the centuries, and how He is going to reconcile these “Two Houses” to one another and to Himself. This speaks to their violation of the terms of the Sinai Covenant by BOTH Judah and Ephraim/Israel, and the consequences of their sins, which are prophesied to continue until Yeshua’s return.
And I (YHVH) saw, therefore for all the causes whereby apostate Israel (the Northern Kingdom, also called “Ephraim”) committed adultery, I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce.
Yet, for all this, YHVH clearly states that it is his intention to redeem Ephraim in the “latter days”:
Jer 31:6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, “Arise, and let us go up to Zion unto YHVH our God.”
Jer 31:7 For thus says YHVH; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish, praise, and say, O YHVH, save your people, the remnant of Israel.
Jer 31:8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that is in labor with child together: a great company shall return thither.
Jer 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
NOTE: This is a statement that has puzzled western Bible commentators for thousands of years, since the genealogical record in the Tanakh establishes that Ephraim was the younger of Joseph’s two sons born to him of the Egyptian woman Asenath, and who was adopted by Jacob/Israel when he and all of the rest of “the children of Israel” went down to Egypt to escape the famine, and found Joseph serving as Pharaoh’s second in command! So, although Joseph’s son Ephraim was actually Israel’s “lastborn”, YHVH refers to “Ephraim” as His “firstborn”! What can this possibly mean? We shall see.
Here, YHVH promises to forgive “Ephraim” (the ten tribes whom He had previously divorced):
Jer 31:17 And there is hope in thine end, saith YHVH, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
Jer 31:18 I (YHVH) have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; “Thou (YHVH) have chastised me (Ephraim), and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn me, and I shall be turned; for you are YHVH my God.
Jer 31:19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.”
Jer 31:20 “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spoke against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart is troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him”, says YHVH.
Understand that, according to Torah (Deuteronomy 24:1), a man may not re-marry a wife whom he had previously divorced for adultery. Though its interpretation has changed through the ages, the original Hebraic interpretation was much stricter than those which are prevalent today, both in Judaism and Christianity. Under this Torah view of divorce, only adultery is a valid cause for divorce, and remarriage to the same person after such a divorce is tantamount to adultery and is also therefore forbidden.
Deuteronomy 24:4: “… her first husband who repudiated her, may not take her back as his wife now that she has been defiled in this way. For that is detestable in the sight of YHVH, and you must not bring guilt on the land that YHVH your God gives for your inheritance.”
And our Lord Yeshua repeated this prohibition (Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:12), meaning that it was still in force in the “New Covenant”!
This has monumental implications in the divine repudiation (divorce) by YHVH of Ephraim, which is also “the House of Israel”, the ten northern tribes. YHVH was therefore bound by His own eternal Torah Law, so that once He had divorced “her”, he could never take back the ten tribes of the House of Israel/Ephraim! BUT, He had previously made an eternally-valid and binding oath to Abraham and the patriarchs, that all of the physical descendants of Jacob (all 12 tribes) would inherit the promised land! Plus there are specific prophecies concerning the future redemption of Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:20), and the entire Book of Hosea is about the same topic!
This very question of the apparent impossibility of reconciliation between YHVH and his rejected bride, is raised by YHVH himself in the same chapter of Jeremiah which confirms YHVH’s divorce from Israel:
Jeremiah 3:1 YHVH said to the people of Israel (Ephraim): If a divorced woman marries, can her first husband ever marry her again? No, because this would pollute the land. But you have more gods than a prostitute has lovers. Why should I take you back? (CEV)
In other words, YHVH is saying that, it’s not as though you only did this once, or even that you have stopped your infidelities. According to Torah, the prohibition against any remarriage by the original bride would normally stand for as long as the “bridegroom” (YHVH) lived – and this “bridegroom” lives forever! But at the death of the bridegroom, a divorced woman would be legally free to remarry without breaking the law.
The Key to Understanding the Two Houses in Prophecy . . .
Bear in mind, Ephraim/10-Israel was carried away into captivity to Babylon, and these tribes were eventually TOTALLY assimilated into Babylon and the other Gentile (non-Hebraic) nations of the world, COMPLETELY losing their Hebraic cultural identities. The descendants of all these still have some of the DNA of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel in their blood, but not any conscious clue that such is the case!
Are we physically descended from them?
If we are, what does this mean in terms of Bible prophecy,
and the out-working of the end-times plan of YHVH Elohim?
Much has been written and taught in the “Christian” Church about the sacrifice and redemptive process involved in the death and resurrection of Yeshua of Nazareth, but because of the anti-Jew, anti-Torah bias injected into the young church in the first four hundred years of her existence, today it knows virtually nothing about this all-embracing and earth-shattering truth, that the House of 10-Israel/Ephraim, which had been divorced/rejected by God, had no hope of salvation and no possible share in the eternal Covenant promises.
YHVH was prohibited by his own eternal Torah Law from “remarrying” the faithless whore of a bride whom he had divorced. As things then stood, Ephraim/10-Israel was doomed forever and could never return to a covenant relationship with God! The “Christian” Church has generally not understood that a large part of it is “Ephraim”!
That this part of the redemptive process was well-understood by the Jews, including our Lord’s disciples, is attested by this passage from the Gospel of John:
Joh 11:47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
Joh 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.”
Joh 11:49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, “Ye know nothing at all,
Joh 11:50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”
Joh 11:51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
Joh 11:52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Please note that the phrase “the children of God that were scattered abroad” is in the past tense, and can ONLY be referring to the 10 Lost Tribes/Ephraim, even as our Lord himself declared with his reference to “lost sheep” in Matthew 15:24 (referring to his own mission), and Matthew 10:6 (referring to the mission he assigned to his disciples, which is us). This states that BY HIS DEATH Yeshua would be “gathering together in one, the children of God who were scattered abroad.” This speaks of the operation of a spiritual law which has generally been heretofore UNKNOWN to the Christian Church, but which is nevertheless central to understanding the full significance of the death of our Lord Yeshua.
As mentioned, according to Torah, the prohibition against any remarriage by the original “bride” would normally stand for as long as the “bridegroom” (YHVH) lived – and this “bridegroom” lives forever! In other words, since it was YHVH Elohim Who divorced Ephraim, and because God cannot die, it was therefore impossible as things stood then, for Ephraim/Israel to be rejoined to Judah, ever! But at the death of her husband, a divorced woman would be legally free to remarry without breaking the law. What to do? Naturally, this was not really a “problem” to YHVH Elohim at all, since the solution to the problem had been part of His eternal plan (Greek: logoς – logos) from the beginning, what the Christian New Testament calls “the word of God”.
The solution lies in the nature of personal agency under Hebraic law. A person may appoint and send another as his or her agent (shaliach in Hebrew), and such a person has ALL of the power and authority to act in ANY regard exactly as if the agent were the person himself. In the west, this office is often referred to as a proxy, or as a “minister plenipotentiary”, one endowed with ALL of the contractual powers of his principal, such as a monarch. Such a representative can enter into covenants as a proxy for his or her principal, contract on their behalf, etc. In this case, YHVH would send His miraculously only-begotten (and fully human!) Son, Yeshua, to be His shaliach and to die in His place! Just as Abraham told Isaac when he was about to offer his only-begotten son up in obedience to the command of YHVH, “God will Himself provide the lamb, my son.” (Genesis 22:8)
And He has. He has.
One major anti-trinitarian point about all this is that, if Yeshua really were God incarnate (and he is NOT), and not the 100% human which all of Scripture describes, such an arrangement would have been impossible. If Yeshua really were God incarnate, being “eternal and immortal God” he could not “really” die for his “principal”, and YHVH Elohim would have still been barred by His own eternal Torah law from “remarrying” His once-faithless bride. Ephraim would have had to remain “divorced” for all eternity, and the promises of YHVH would have been rendered null and void by His failure to keep His word. Given what we know about the Elohim of the Hebrew scriptures, this would be an inconceivable consequence. But the desired result was ONLY possible because of our Lord Yeshua’s 100% humanity. As Luke quotes the angel Gabriel (who should know), it is only because of his conception in Miryam’s (Mary’s) womb that he is to be called “the Son of God” and for no other reason:
Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.” [“The Son of God” is an Hebraic title reserved for the Messiah. See Matthew 26:63, and 41 other places in the King James Version Renewed Covenant Scriptures!]
And the following astounding testimony – from God himself – is found in Chapter 54 of the Book of Isaiah, immediately following Isaiah 53, which is surely one of the clearest group of prophecies about the coming “suffering servant” Messiah in the entire Tanakh!
“Shout for joy, you barren woman who bore no children (for God had ‘divorced’ her, i.e. northern ten-tribed Israel) break into cries of joy and pleasure, you who were never in labor. For the sons of the forsaken one (Ephraim/10-Israel) outnumber the sons of the wedded one (Judah, whom God never ‘divorced’, though he also complained bitterly about her wickedness, stubborness and whoredoms), says YHVH … for you will burst out to right and to left. Your race will take possession of the (Gentile) nations. (verse 4) Do not be afraid … for you will forget the shame of your youth and no longer remember the curse of your widowhood (having been cut off from the covenant). (verse 5) For NOW your Creator will be your husband. His name, YHVH of hosts, your Redeemer will be the holy one of Israel. He is called the God of the whole earth.” Isaiah 54:1-5
This is the completion of what Messiah’s death and suffering truly signifies! By dying as the shaliach (fully-empowered proxy) of his Father YHVH, Yeshua would thereby legally free his Father’s disloyal and unfaithful “bride” (10-Israel/Ephraim) from the curse of her own unfaithfulness and the penalty required by YHVH’s own Torah. This effectively freed Father YHVH to “remarry” Ephraim Himself, but He had yet another fantastic twist to His divine plan! As a reward to Yeshua for his faithfulness, his Father YHVH is going to allow resurrected Yeshua to remain serving as His shaliach, and remarry Ephraim himself, receiving all of the honor and glory due him for his faithfulness to the will of his Father! And THIS is what the “Marriage of the Lamb” is really all about! YHVH Elohim, as an eternal spirit, surely cannot die – but his fully human shaliach could, and did!
This concept was clearly understood by the apostle Paul, for he went into the same subject at some length, in Romans 7:1-4:
1 Don’t you know, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the Torah) how Torah has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
2 For the woman which has a husband is bound by Torah to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
NOTE: This phrase, “dead to the law”, used many times by Paul, has a meaning quite different from the sense ascribed to it by most Christian preachers today. Since the penalty for all sin is death (Romans 6:23), and “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God “ (Romans 3:23), then the eternal Torah requires the death of the guilty individual. But if one is “dead to the law”, it means, “dead as far as the law is concerned”, or as having fulfilled the requirements of the law in one way or another. But it is only as Torah-obedient disciples of Yeshua of Nazareth are we truly “dead to the law”. This is through having repented of our sins, accepting Yeshua as our Lord and Savior, being baptized into his name (only), and living thenceforward for him. He has paid our sin debt, and we are ipso facto “dead to the law”, i.e., through our acceptance of Yeshua’s death FOR US, we truly “have died and are dead as far as the law is concerned”! This IN NO WAY means that we do not have to obey all of the commandments, i.e., not keep/obey the Law/Torah!!!
Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest, unwittingly confirmed prophecy at a critical point, when he claimed that the Pharisees and Sadducees considered that Yeshua’s miracles posed a threat to the nation. This was an attempted justification for their murderous attitude toward the Messiah. John says, quoting the high priest:
“ ‘… it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as High Priest that he made this prophecy that Yeshua was to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but to gather together in unity the scattered people of God.” (John 11:51)
Indeed, under Torah law, which YHVH Himself declares is eternal, the death of the Son of Man, the fully-human Yeshua, is the only thing that could have made it possible for the Two Houses of the children of Israel to be united again. Without that, the promise of YHVH to Abraham would have been rendered impossible of fulfillment!
But the ramifications of Yeshua’s death would eventually rebuke those scoffers referred to in Jeremiah 33:23 who despise his rule. This will be brought about by the re-uniting of the “two families” again, after their extended mutual animosity which will have lasted for nearly 3,000 years (a re-uniting prophesied for the end time in Ezekiel 37:15). It will prove to the scoffers that YHVH has not rejected His people and that He ultimately will reign supreme, through His shaliach, as the loving God who does not renege on, nor fail His promises, no matter what!
This is what the sacrificial offer of Messiah Yeshua was all about! God almighty would “repurchase” his own “bride” whom He had divorced because of her acceptance of false pagan gods. This is what the entire Book of Hosea is about! This reacceptance of the formerly divorced whorish ex-“wife” Ephraim/10-Israel could only be accomplished by almighty YHVH himself! But YHVH could not “divorce” equally-corrupt Judah (the Jews) as the other covenental bride because it was essential that Yeshua be born into the tribe of Judah! Since Judah was never “divorced” by YHVH, she needed no such repurchasing or reconciliation! But Judah was still spiritually blinded to their Messiah’s first coming 2,000 years ago – thus conforming to the divine decree as described by the apostle Sha’ul (“Paul”) in Romans 11.
That chapter from the Book of Romans, reveals (v.25) that this whole matter was intentionally concealed by God in previous times. It concludes that Judah’s rejection of the Messianic Gospel actually served to benefit the Gentile peoples, who were then granted the opportunity to receive him, instead. (Romans 11:11-15; 28,29) And this exclusion of the unrighteous among the Jews is surely the theme of the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:
1 And Yeshua answered and spoke unto them again by parables, and said,
2 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage for his son,
3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were invited (Judah – the Jews) to the wedding: and they would not come.
4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, ‘Tell them which are invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.’
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6 And the remnant took his servants (the prophets), and treated them disrespectfully, and even killed them.
7 But when the king heard of it, he was furious: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city (the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD & the Diaspora).
8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.
9 Go therefore into the streets (of the world), and as many as you shall find there, invite them to the marriage.
10 So those servants went out into the streets, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
The last part of this parable from our Lord confirms that those who will be invited to replace the apostate Jews are also a mixed bag, including “both bad and good”, and that some of those who accept the invitation and show up for the Marriage (who believe themselves to be righteous, but who are not) will be rejected for their failure to understand that more is required of a “guest” at the wedding of a king than merely showing up. We know that at the real wedding of the Lamb, ALL of the acceptable participants will be attired in white, which is a sign of righteousness before YHVH Elohim and His Son, and such righteousness is solely a consequence of one’s heartfelt obedience to Torah.
Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who did not have on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12 And he said unto him, “Friend, why did you come in here without a wedding garment?” And the man was without excuse.
Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that does not bring good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits shall you know them.
Mat 7:21 Not every one that calls me “Lord” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?”
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you: depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Greek anomia/anomia: a– without,+ nomos – law; i.e., Torah-lessness!)
Ephesians 3:5, 6 “In past generations it was not made known to mankind, as the spirit is now revealing it …that in union with the Messiah and through the gospel, the Gentiles were to be joint heirs, a joint body and joint sharers with the Jews in what God has promised.”
Our Lord Yeshua told his disciples (Hebrew – talmidim), “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) Because the overwhelming majority of those who call themselves “Christians” are massively ignorant of the Hebrew culture into which Yeshua was born and lived and taught, most are unaware that this is a perfect description of what any young Hebrew man would do, who was the son of a wealthy father, if he intended to get married.
Once such a young man had identified the bride-to-be and had the approval of both sets of parents, he would start building onto his father’s house, to make living quarters for himself and his bride-to-be, in anticipation of the wedding. This is what “New Jerusalem” is, which comes down from heaven to a new earth, for all God’s righteous, both “Jew” and “Gentile” to live in from then on, as the “one new man” of prophecy, forever. As with so much of the “New Testament”, the events prophesied are in fact only understood by understanding the Hebraic culture from which they spring.
Another problem standing in the way of a broader understanding of the prophetic issues involved in any consideration of the “Two House” movement, lies in the “New Testament” translators’ use of the word “Gentiles” to mean “all non-Jewish people/nations”, when in many cases it should be saying “Ephraim/10-Israel” which, at the time, were intermingled with the Gentile nations as exiles. Though our present study is limited to specific scripture verses on the subject, there is in fact a concealed theme of the reuniting of the Two Houses underlying much of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures (“New Testament”).
Another part of our problem with understanding the Two-Houses theme stems from the fact that virtually ALL of the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and only later translated into Greek, Latin, and English. The English translations which have come down to us (the identifiable originals having all been lost) were all translated by Catholics and Protestants who continued the Constantinian anti-Jew, anti-Torah prejudices of their paganized religions in the work of the translations. So, many things in the “New Testament” were either misunderstood or intentionally camouflaged by the translators. This can be easily seen by the often non-contextual English meanings they assigned to specific words, such as translating the Greek word telos as “end” (as in “finish” or “termination”), when its more accurate meaning in English is “goal” or “purpose”. For example, in Romans 10:4, Paul supposedly says:
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.
But what a far different understanding is received from the text when telos (the word rendered as “end” in the above King James, et al.) is translated as “purpose”, which is its central meaning in Greek. For example, telos is the root of our word “teleology”, which is defined as “the study of the evidences of design or purpose in nature .” From this we see that Romans 10:4 should have been rendered as:
For Christ is the purpose of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.
This translator’s deception is used repeatedly to convey the erroneous idea that the eternal Torah of YHVH Elohim has somehow ended for Christians, a false idea which is here specifically contradicted by the words of the apostle Sha’ul/“Paul” himself, much to their discomfort.
As shown in this study and in texts quoted, this whole concept of the Gentile inclusion in the Mosaic covenant was only gradually revealed by YHVH Elohim, and was surely not widely understood before Sha’ul’s time. It was one of the “mysteries” of his gospel, as he went to some considerable lengths to describe. [Romans 11:25 & 16:25; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26; et al.] This development in Biblical revelation of formerly hidden things surely did not stop at the time of the writing of these texts which confirmed such a development. The last few decades, and notably the 1990’s, saw an explosion in understanding of the scriptures and the prophecies, exactly as had been predicted by the prophet Daniel (12:1-4).
With all the new evidence available today, 2,000 years later, and the astonishing re-identification of “lost Israel” (prophesied for the “end times”) over the last decade, as well as the “increase in knowledge” predicted by the prophet Daniel for the end time (Daniel 12:3,4), it seems clear that the apostles did not at first fully grasp this implication or Yeshua’s specific instruction to “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But if the Messianic reconciliation was for the sake of “lost Israel” and not for Judah, why were the first Messianic believers mainly Jews?
It was vital, but also logical, that the initial Messianic congregation and message had to be based on Torah principles, being a development within the Jewish nation and based on ancient divine promises to the “chosen nation” of YHVH, the God of Israel, according to the original true Hebraic faith and prophetic scriptures. In fact, since the Promised One could ONLY be born to a virgin whose family tree all the way back to Seth (Genesis 3:15) was uncorrupted by the Nephilim/demon seed with which the devil sought to corrupt it (Genesis 6:4), a Chosen People, bound together by Torah and insulated from the devices of the devil thereby, was absolutely essential to the salvation plan of YHVH! In Deuteronomy 9:4 (& ff) He explicitly warns “the children of Israel” that He surely did NOT choose them from among all the races on earth because of any kind of intrinsic superior character or moral qualification in them, but solely on the basis of His sovereign power!
It is usually assumed by Protestant Christians that the original Messianic congregations were somehow based on “Christian (Protestant) principles”, but this is not only contradicted by Scripture and history, it is an impossibility! Today’s Constantinian anti-Torah/anti-Jew “Christian principles” were surely NOT believed or taught by Yeshua or any of his disciples. The truth is that the forerunner of today’s “Christian church”, the sacrilegious merging of apostolic Christianity with Mithraism – pagan sun-god worship – was not formalized (as Roman Catholicism) until three hundred years later! It was and is based on thoroughly pagan religious practices and alien philosophical concepts which utterly opposed the Torah-true Mosaic Judaism upon which that original faith which “was once given to the saints” (Jude 3) was actually founded!
However, freed from the restrictive requirements of the Judaic ceremonial laws (especially circumcision!), the mongrelized religion called “evangelical Christianity” spread like wildfire around the world, and continues to do so today.
But we wonder, how else could the divine purpose in providing a prophesied Deliverer ever have been achieved, other than by establishing the Messianic reconciliation on the foundations of Judaism – even if only for a kind of “jump start”? Could it even possibly have been handed directly to any of the idolatrous pagan (non-Jewish) nations? Inconceivable!
The terrible question which remains to this day is whether these paganized versions of “Christianity” (“Catholicism” and “evangelical Protestantism”), as corrupt and devoid of the original Gospel of the Kingdom of God message as they are, ever had the ability to save those who believed? According to the Bible, salvation of the individual absolutely depends on five specific things happening in the life of the believer:
hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom;
repenting of one’s sins;
making a verbal confession of faith; and
being baptized, in Yeshua’s name ONLY! (Matthew 28:19 is a trinitarian insertion!)
According to the Bible, the absence of any one of these essential steps renders the individual’s faith as futile, vain, of no consequence as far as the salvation of that person is concerned.
“But,” you may ask, “if the basic tenets of Catholicism and Protestant Christianity do not, indeed, have the ability to save those who believe, WHY would the God of the Bible, Who is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9) allow such a horrific situation to come about?” The only answer that we have been able to come up with is that each of us is still personally liable for our own beliefs before God, and that we will individually stand or fall based on those beliefs. (Leviticus 5:17)
Our Lord Yeshua’s warnings in the entirety of Matthew Chapter 7 certainly seem to reinforce this interpretation:
Enter in at the narrow (Greek: stenos, narrow) gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many (Greek: polus – a great majority) there be which go in thereby:
Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few (Greek: oligos – a tiny number) there be that find it.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?
Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.
Not every one who merely calls me Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father Who is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you who work lawlessness (Greek: anomia – lawlessness/Torahlessness). (Matthew 7:13-23)
Please note that the protests of those who are being rejected by the very Lord they thought they had been serving are of no avail! He has already rejected them for their behavior up to that point! But these are not lukewarm pew-sitters! These are “pillars of the Church of Jesus Christ”, Bible-quoting, tongue-talking, demon-ejecting, miracle-working firebrands of evangelical Christianity. Or so they thought. But Yeshua tells them that he never knew them, because they were “working iniquity”. Allowing the English word “iniquity” as a translation of the Greek word anomia/anomia is part of the problem. “Anomia” actually means “lawlessness”. But, there being no word in Greek for Torah, we suggest that our Lord is actually accusing them of not obeying the will of his Father as written in the Torah, despite their ability to work miracles in his name. Since that surely amounts to DISobedience (Matthew 7:21), they must suffer the consequences of their error, which is prescribed in the Torah, annihilation in the Lake of Fire, which is irreversible. We have ALL been warned. From the beginning. But FEW have believed. Do you?
The rejected ones in Matthew 7:23 above, then as now, confused “their” ability to work miracles in the name of “Jesus” or “Yeshua” or whatever, with Yeshua’s or the Father’s acceptance of their DOCTRINE. They failed to realize that the miracles of YHVH are NEVER an endorsement by God of any individual’s doctrine, but solely to strengthen the faith (belief in Him) of those who witness them. Miracles have ZERO to do with the righteousness before YHVH Elohim of the individual, who is merely the agency of the miracle!
The horrific inevitable consequences of the literal Bible truths which we have described herein have apparently proven to be far too “harsh” and “Old Testament” sounding for the bulk of teachers of “Christianity” to accept, and so – to get their membership numbers up for the bean-counters back at their denomination’s headquarters – they “had” to come up with a “gospel” which was more “seeker-friendly”, i.e., palatable, to the masses. And they did. It’s called “the gospel of grace”.
[ Please see our articles, “McGrace”, “Under the Law?” and “The Perils of Pauline” @ http://TorahKingdomLiving.com. ]
According to this diabolical teaching, all anyone has to do to “be saved” is “ask Jesus” to come into his or her heart, repent of their sins, and promise on whatever Bible is close by, to “live for Jesus” from then on, and from then on, no matter what they do, their salvation is assured. Now that’s a gospel that anyone can preach, brother! But does it save? Not according to Scripture.
Moreover, if bastardized, paganized “Christianity” nevertheless really does have the ability to save those who believe, then large swaths of the Bible are necessarily proven false, since it states otherwise. Moreover, if the “gospel of grace” actually does have the ability to save, then those who were faithful and obedient to the spirit of the Torah as well as to the letter of it, those who were “circumcised in your heart” (Deuteronomy 10:16), those who “wholly followed YHVH” (Numbers 32:11-12; Deuteronomy 1:36; Joshua 14:8-9, 14), will be shown to be fools who trusted in the explicit words of YHVH and of His Son when they need not have.
The Other Side of the Coin . . .
Still, some may ask (hoping against hope that there is some flaw in our logic), “But supposing that the basic tenets of orthodox Protestant Christianity nevertheless DO have the ability to save those who believe, WHY would a return to the original faith of the Nazarenes even be desirable, much less necessary?”
Primarily, we would say, because there is a lot more to the Gospel of the Kingdom than the salvation of individuals. The Gospel of the Kingdom is all about the restoration of the rule of YHVH to the earth – first to all individuals who trust in Yeshua as Lord and Savior, and then to Torah-obedient Jew and Gentile alike in the Millennial Kingdom – and the Law of that Kingdom is surely the Torah, as all of scripture attests!
We look around the “religious” world today, and all we see is division. Judaism is divided into those who follow the “oral law” of the Pharisees – today’s Talmudist rabbis, whether “Orthodox”, “Reform” or “Conservative”, most of whom are pre-Millennial Zionists* – and those who reject the oral law, rabbinism and pre-millennial Zionism, primarily a small sect called Karaites.
[Please note that WE are “Zionists” (i.e., POST-Millennial Zionists), in that we completely believe in the re-establishment of the original nation of Israel, and the miraculous return by YHVH Elohim of only a righteous remnant of them (both living and to-be-resurrected) to the original borders of that nation. The key is that we believe, according to Scripture, that this will be done by YHVH Elohim at the end of “the time of Jacob’s trouble”, a.k.a., “the Tribulation”, after our Lord Yeshua returns in triumph. But the “Israel” of today is a 100% secular nation established in rebellion against the Father, the great majority of whose inhabitants are prophesied to be swept away by Islamic armies (Isaiah 28:14 ff). Our Lord Yeshua labeled today’s inhabitants of “Israel” as “fake Jews” (Revelation 2:9 & 3:9), and prophesied what will surely happen to them in Luke 21:24:
“and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Another aspect of this prophecy which is generally unrecognized by “Christianity” is that, as far as Yeshua and the Father are concerned, those who are ruling “Israel” today (and who will be ruling there tomorrow) are not Jews as far as they are concerned! (Isaiah 28:14 ff; Revelation 2:9 & 3:9) If they are NOT JEWS, then WHAT are they? The only possible answer is that they are GENTILES as far as the Father and Yeshua are concerned! And THIS necessarily means that “the times of the Gentiles” is a manifestation of the continuing spiritual rule of Satan over all the earth through his “kingdom” Mystery Babylon, which surely WILL continue until Yeshua returns to end it all, at the END of the seven years of the Tribulation, and not before!
The Original Faith . . .
“Christianity” is divided into hundreds of warring sects, each of which teaches that it alone has a unique, God-approved “package” of teachings which sets it apart from all of the rest. Is it even possible that this is what the God of the Bible really intended? Or is it rather prima facie evidence of diabolical influences working through man’s fallen nature? Yeshua says that a house divided against itself cannot stand, but what Protestant has ever thought to apply this principle to evangelical “Christianity” itself? Precious few, it would seem.
It should be clear to any unbiased reader of Scripture that God’s original plan for the salvation of mankind is quite clearly spelled out in the Hebrew Tanakh (the Christian “Old Testament”), and that it involved the practice of Mosaic Judaism PLUS acceptance of Yeshua of Nazareth as the Messiah which was promised in it. In fact it was precisely that faith which was being practiced by the original disciples of Yeshua, who called themselves “Nazarenes” or followers of “the Way”. It was that “original faith” to which the apostle Jude is referring:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)
The reason that Jude needed to urge them to fight to preserve the original faith was that anti-Torah (“antinomian”) false teachings had already arisen in the local churches, false teachings which sought to separate them from the strict observance of Torah. This is what the entire epistle of Jude is about. The same topic is addressed by Peter in 2 Peter 2:1-22:
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who by deceit shall bring in teachings which lead to damnation, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their poisonous ways; by which arguments the way of true salvation shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for by whatever a man is overcome, by the same is he brought into bondage.
20 For if after they have escaped the corruption of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Yeshua Messiah, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, “The dog is returned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
Anyone who questions that Torah will be observed during the Millennial reign of our Lord Yeshua should re-read Zechariah 14:16-19 …
Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles (Hebrew: Sukkot).
Zec 14:17 And it shall be, that whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
Zec 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith YHVH will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zec 14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
And there is our Lord’s reference to our need to be keeping the weekly seventh-day Sabbath (Hebrew: Shabbat) in Matthew 24, speaking of the Tribulation period just before his (only!) prophesied return:
Mat 24:15 When you therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:27), stand in the holy place, (whoever reads this, let him understand:)
Mat 24:16 Then let them which be in Judah flee into the mountains:
Mat 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Mat 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
Mat 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to those who are nursing infants in those days!
Mat 24:20 But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be again.
Mat 24:22 And except the number of those days should be cut short, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
The Nazarenes correctly understood that their obedience to the Torah of Moses, keeping the feasts, the seventh-day sabbath, circumcision, the dietary laws, and all the rest, were surely NOT unto righteousness, but things to be done in simple obedience, as befits a loving bride who understands – and wholeheartedly agrees with – every aspect of the covenant into which she has entered.
What Christianity AND Judaism Still Don’t Know about Christ . . .
Since the time of Moses, for unbroken thousands of years, the “children of Israel” have been celebrating an annual cycle of holidays, more or less as commanded by YHVH Elohim (“the LORD God”) in the Tanakh. (Leviticus 23) But since the first century A.D., these festivals have had an entirely new significance, but one which has been largely lost on the Church of “Jesus Christ”, and totally lost on the “children of Israel” whom he came to redeem.
- Our Lord Yeshua (“Jesus”) was actually born (in fulfillment of prophecy) on the first day of the feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles), which happened on September 23rd in 3BC, the year of his birth, and surely NOT on December 25th, which was the winter solstice “birthday” of many false pagan “sun gods” (Mithra, Tammuz, Molech, Ra, etc.).
- He was crucified (in fulfillment of prophecy) on the Feast of Pesach (Passover) – not on “Good Friday”, but on a Wednesday – to provide the ultimate “Exodus” from our sin slavery.
- He was buried (in fulfillment of prophecy) during the Feast of Unleavened Bread—to once and for all “put away” the leaven of our sin.
- He was in the grave (in fulfillment of prophecy) for three full days and nights (72 hours), being placed in the tomb before dark on that Wednesday, and being raised sometime after sunset on Saturday evening.
- He ascended to his Father YHVH Elohim (in fulfillment of prophecy) on the Feast of Bikkurim (Firstfruits) – as the first of all those who are to be resurrected in his Name.
- Fifty days later, on the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), the day on which the Jews celebrate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai – Yeshua’s Father sent His holy Spirit to write his Torah on the hearts of his disciples (in fulfillment of prophecy), enabling them to fulfill the principles of the Torah from their hearts.
The three fall Feasts of YHVH – Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) – remain prophetically unfulfilled, awaiting their assigned times. They come at the end of the annual cycle of the Feasts of YHVH and correspond to prophesied end-times events that have not yet happened. “Christianity” remains today almost totally ignorant of all these facts, facts which have been established in the Tanakh by our God, for our instruction.
[Our particular thanks to Michael Rood, of A Rood Awakening Ministries, http://aroodawakening.tv for his tireless work in helping to establish the true chronology of these events. – Authors]
Thus, our re-discovery of the “original faith” of Yeshua of Nazareth and his disciples (Jude 3) represents a true spiritual renaissance, a revival, a return to the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) as the only true foundation for the fullest possible understanding of both the Hebrew Yeshua of Nazareth and ourselves as the “grafted in” wild branches of the native olive tree. (Romans 11) Whether we were Jew or Gentile beforehand, it is only in this new understanding that we truly make up the “one new man” prophesied in both the Tanakh and the Renewed Covenant Scriptures (“New Testament”).
ONLY in the Lord Yeshua are Torah-true Jew and Torah-true Gentile truly brothers and sisters, and truly formed into the “one new man” just as Ezekiel prophesied for the tribes of Judah and Ephraim (Ezekiel 37:19), and as the apostle Sha’ul (“Paul”) did in Ephesians 2:15. Together we form the embodiment of “spiritual Israel” (Galatians 4:26), who is also “the righteous woman” of Revelation 12.
As the prophet Jeremiah tells us:
19 O YHVH, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto you from the ends of the earth, and shall say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.” (Jeremiah 16:19)
And as the apostle Jude, warning of the false teachings concerning Torah that were already manifesting among the original believers, encourages us (Jude 1-4):
1 Jude, the servant of Yeshua HaMashiach, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Yeshua HaMashiach, and called:
2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once handed down to the saints.
4 For there are certain men who have crept in unnoticed, who were sent to accomplish this corruption, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into licentiousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Yeshua HaMashiach.
The sense of the phrase translated above as “turning the grace of our God into licentiousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Yeshua HaMashiach.” is such a precise snapshot of what has happened to the “Christian” churches, that it could hardly be improved upon.
First, according to the preachers of the “gospel of grace” allegedly preached by Paul, believers have been “set free” from the “law of sin and death”, which the context of the Bible says is the “oral law” enforced by the pre-Talmudic rabbis of Yeshua’s day, but which the “gospel of grace” preachers say is the Torah of YHVH Elohim itself! According to them, this means that believers no longer have to be concerned with keeping the commandments to be saved!
This is because (they say) all of the written commandments of YHVH and of His Son have been replaced by the two “love commandments”. Therefore, since our sins have ALL been “covered by the Blood”, for anyone to deny this is to “deny the Blood” and the “liberty which we have in Christ” (Galatians 2:4). Unfortunately for them, this IS “licentiousness” by definition:
1. Lacking moral discipline or ignoring legal restraint
2. Having no regard for accepted rules or standards
The Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary on the New Testament has this to say about Jude 1:3:
“Insubordination, self-seeking, and licentiousness, the fruit of Antinomian (anti-Torah) teachings, were the evils against which Jude warns his readers; reminding them that, to build themselves in their most holy faith, and to pray in the Holy Ghost, are the only effectual safeguards. The same evils, along with mocking skepticism, shall characterize the last days before the final judgment, even as in the days when Enoch warned the ungodly of the coming flood.”
Jude is warning his readers that false teachers had already insinuated themselves into the various local churches, teaching things which were surely not taught by the apostles or by the Lord Yeshua, and that there would be disastrous eternal consequences for any who followed such false teachings. We would do well to heed his warnings today, for these identical teachings have since become the core teachings of most of today’s self-labeled “Christian” denominations! Unrecognized by almost all Christians today, these teachings are exactly the same kind of wickedness that Yeshua deplored in the Pharisees and Sadducees of his own day: they have unashamedly replaced the commandments of YHVH with their own man-made teachings! (Matthew 15:1-9)
1 Then came to Yeshua scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
2 “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.”
3 But He answered and said unto them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4 For God commanded, saying, Honor your father and mother: and, He that curses father or mother, let him die the death.
5 But you say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is corban (a gift dedicated to the Temple), by whatsoever you might be profited by me;
6 And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have you made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
7 You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you (Isaiah 29:13), saying,
8 “This people draws near unto Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.
9 But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
The apostle Peter was also concerned about the effects of false teachings, and especially that teaching which says that the Torah has somehow been done away with. Those who teach such things are referred to as teaching “iniquity” in the King James Version, although the Greek word anomia which is translated as “iniquity” actually means “lawlessness”. As previously mentioned, in the Greek language, which has no specific word for “Torah”, this is as close as one can get to saying “Torah-lessness”.
Peter was particularly concerned that these false teachers, even then, were specifically distorting the teachings of Paul on the subject of Torah, to deceive the people into accepting their false (“oral law”/Talmudic) teachings (2 Peter 3):
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found by him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written to you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstable distort, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own damnation.
17 You therefore, beloved, seeing that you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked* (lawless/Torah-less), fall from your own steadfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Yeshua Messiah. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
* Once again, the translators of the King James Version insert their own Constantinian anti-Torah bias into Holy Scripture. The Greek word translated as “wicked” immediately above – aqesnoς/ athesnos – also actually means “lawless”. So Peter is here actually warning his readers to beware of false teachers who were trying to get them to follow their teachings which were against the LAW or Torah, and that, if they did, it would constitute a “falling away” from the true faith, or apostasy. Exactly as has happened.
What should be clear from all of this is that, even during the time of the writing of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures (“New Testament”), forces were already at work which sought to separate the disciples of Yeshua of Nazareth from their obedience to Torah as he taught. By that time, most of the Jews had themselves already been separated from Torah by the false teachings of the “oral law”/Talmud, wherein the rabbis gave themselves the power to contradict God Himself and to “interpret” the written Torah in any way they saw fit! These are the takanot and ma’asim of the Pharisees of Yeshua’s day and of today’s rabbinic Judaism – what both the Father (Isaiah 29:13) and Yeshua (Matthew 15: 8-9; Mark 7:7) condemned as their “traditions of men, taught as doctrine”. And they have done this despite the explicit prohibition by YHVH Elohim against such additions or deletions in the written Torah itself! (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32).
The “oral law” of Yeshua’s day has since become the written Talmud, which most Jews today regard as the “life’s blood” of their religion. It was these pre-Talmudic Pharisees and Sadducees to whom the Lord Yeshua referred as “vipers”, “sons of Satan”, “whitewashed tombs”, and hypocrites, stating that they invalidated ALL of the commandments of YHVH with their “traditions of men”, which became the Talmud, etc. In the Book of the Revelation, he refers to these as “fake Jews”, those who claim to be Jews but who are surely NOT Jews as far as he and the Father are concerned. (Revelation 2:9 & 3:9)
Those who remained true to the original Torah-obedient teachings of Yeshua and his disciples called themselves “followers of the Way”, but were called “Nazarenes” (N’tzerim in Hebrew) by those who had decided that it was no longer necessary for the salvation of any believer in “Jesus Christ” to keep the commandments or any other part of the teachings of the Torah, because they were erroneously taught (and believed!) that Jesus had “nailed the Law to his cross”! This is based on the aforementioned Constantinian, anti-Torah, trinitarian bias of the Calvinist Protestant translators of the King James Bible, which rendered the following for Colossians 2:14 . . .
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”
The Greek phrase translated as “handwriting of ordinances” is virtually identical to the legal expression for a certificate of indebtedness by which a slave-owner holds title to his slaves as chattels. This is Paul’s way of saying that Yeshua, by erasing the sin-debt of ALL mankind for ALL eternity for ANY who would accept him as Lord, had freed each one of us individually by his sacrifice of himself, and that, if anyone wanted to see the evidence of it, all they had to do was come to the cross! Anyone who still believes that “the Law” was somehow done away with by the life and suffering of Yeshua of Nazareth needs to re-read our Lord’s own words on the subject:
Do not think that I am come to destroy the Law (Torah), or the Prophets (Nevi’im): I am not come to destroy Torah, but to complete Torah.
For truly I say unto you, Until heaven and earth cease to exist, the smallest provision of Torah shall not pass from it, until all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach others to do so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)
The first use of the term “Christian” was in Antioch (Acts 11:26), to describe some of the non-Jew (Gentile) followers of Yeshua, who had already started to group themselves together to reject the Torah as being binding on them in any way (Antinomianism). It was this movement which Paul, Peter, James, and Jude all preached against.
But by the time that the Roman Emperor Constantine declared his “Catholic/universal” version of “Christianity” to be one more of the official state religions of the Roman Empire, it was already a far cry from the original faith of Yeshua of Nazareth and his mainly Jewish disciples. As we have seen, Constantine merged his new paganized version of “Christianity” (“the New Roman Religion”) with various elements of Mithraism (Roman sun-god worship), did away with anything which remained of Jewishness in “Christianity”, and made it a capital crime against the Roman state (punishable by death) to practice anything which included any of the forbidden Jewish elements, such as the seventh-day Sabbath rest, use of the Hebrew names of God and his Son, circumcision, keeping of the Torah-commanded feasts (Passover, Tabernacles, Yom Kippur, etc.). (see p. 11, herein)
Statues of Dagon the fish-god were simply renamed “Iesus Christos”, and voilà! Instant idol for the masses to worship.
The fish-head of Dagon is the source of the strangely shaped “bishop’s miter” hat which is worn by all Roman Catholic priests of a certain rank, including the Pope, and by all those “daughters of the Great Whore” who still emulate her to this day (Episcopal, Presbyterian, etc.)
His Unholiness, the Fish-Head god on Earth
(Note the one dark jewel, perhaps representing Dagon’s “eye”!)
It is also the source of the fish-symbol, mistakenly believed to be a “Christian logo” dating from the early days of Christianity. In fact, when the pagan Roman emperor Constantine made his version of “Christianity” into one more of the Roman state religions, statues of Dagon, the fish-god, were simply renamed “Iesus Christos”! The pagans who had been worshipping Dagon simply switched their allegiance to the “New Roman Religion”, but the new association of “Christianity” with the symbol of a fish was literally “set in stone”! And this is the real reason that many Roman Catholics still eat fish on Fridays, although they would likely choke on it if they knew the truth. Maybe not.
These are the facts of how apostolic Christianity was corrupted into Roman Catholicism, and how “evangelical Protestantism” later came to share the same thinly-veiled contempt for the Hebrew Torah as does the Roman Catholic Church to this day. [See Page 12] This is why many “Hebraic roots” believers today prefer to not even refer to themselves as “Christians.” It was these blood-thirsty “Christians” who have tortured and murdered us down through the centuries, and, if the Book of the Revelation is correct, it is these same fake “Christians” and fake “Jews” (Revelation 2:9 & 3:9) who will seek to do so again, at the direction of their leader, the anti-Christ!
We also do not censor the use of God’s self-given name (YHVH) as most Jews and Christians do. Christians generally substitute “the LORD” for YHVH (5,556 times in the 1769 King James Version!), unashamedly mimicking the identical rabbinical Jewish “traditions of men” for which our Lord Yeshua condemned them. These substitutions are supposed to be showing the speaker’s “piety” and “over-riding concern” for “preserving the holiness” of the Names of God, when in fact they are hypocritically despising his own specific instructions concerning the use of His holy Names! The Jews typically substitute “HaShem” (“the Name”) for YHVH, and even L-rd for Lord, G-d for God, etc., when these are not even names, but mere generic titles!
The English language of the King James Version of the Third Commandment requires us to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). But the original Hebrew, however, has a far different specific meaning: “You shall not desolate the name of YHVH your God.” The word translated as “desolate” is the Hebrew word shoa (Strong’s H7723). This is the same word that Jews use today to describe the Nazi Holocaust! To “desolate” something is to destroy its function, to make it absolutely meaningless. The King James Versions and all similar Bible translations thereby DO the very thing which the commandment itself prohibits!
If this is true, and it is, then using substitutes for the names and titles which the God of the Bible has actually given to Himself for us to use is, in fact, a hypocritical pseudo-holiness and a kind of rebelliousness, something vastly different from a genuine “respect for the holiness” of the names, as many claim. This necessarily means that the entire King James and all similar Bibles actually themselves desolate the name of God by making these substitutions! But the original reasons for such substitutions surely had to do with the desire of the translators to separate “Christianity” from as much of its original Hebraic essence as possible, and nothing else! [See Constantine’s “required oaths” – p.13-14 herein]
The Nazarenes were in some cases actually martyred for merely reciting a verse of Psalm 110:1-2 in public in which the actual name “YHVH” was said out loud, thereby identifying Yeshua with the right hand of God!
Yeshua the Messiah
Yeshua came to be baptized by Yochanan (“John”) the Baptizer (he was surely not a “Baptist”!) in the wilderness at about the age of 30 (Luke 3:23) and was proclaimed by John to be the prophesied “Lamb” of Isaiah 53:7 (John 1:29). Certain of John’s followers then became talmidim (disciples) of Yeshua (John 1:35-51). Yeshua then began to proclaim, as John had proclaimed: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17). Later He sent his own twelve disciples out with the same proclamation. (Matthew 10)
Some who seek to regain the lost apostolic faith of the Nazarenes maintain that Yeshua was actually a Pharisee himself, and that he followed the Pharisaic laws except in certain specific cases documented in the Renewed Covenant Scriptures (“New Testament”). Part of this misunderstanding has to do with a faulty translation of one single word in the gospel of Matthew! In the following verses from the King James Version, Yeshua seems to be actually endorsing the Pharisees’ claim to legitimacy in dictating to the people how they are to follow Torah which, if true, would actually contradict virtually everything else he says about them in the rest of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures (“New Testament”) (Matthew 23:1-3):
1 Then Yeshua spoke to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not do after their works: for they say, and do not.
In the first place, there is NO reference to a “seat of Moses” anywhere in the Tanakh. It was an entirely bogus concept which the Pharisees invented to help establish their legitimacy in the eyes of the Jewish people. The idea that Yeshua would say or do anything to support this false theological contruction of another “tradition of men” which invalidated the written Torah of Moses, is absurd. In fact, the Shem Tov Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, however, renders this same passage as :
1 Then Yeshua spoke to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever he (Moses) bids you observe, that observe and do; but do not do after their works: for they say, and do not.
Just from the context, which one makes more sense to you? Personally, we find it difficult to imagine how anyone who both knows Scripture and who claims to have a personal relationship with the Lord Yeshua through the Ruach HaKodesh (“holy Spirit”) could even conceive of Yeshua endorsing the Pharisees’ claims to legitimacy, given his recorded comments concerning them, their ancestors and their then-future descendants, today’s Talmudic, rabbinic Jews.
We have all read Yeshua’s devastating condemnations of the Pharisees, etc., in his blistering denouncements of them, but how many of us have understood his full meaning? He said they nullified ALL of the commandments of God by their traditions. “…teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7:13; Matt 15:6-9, etc.) His invective against the Pharisees, in truth, is unparalleled in the Renewed Covenant Scriptures. All of Matthew 23 is like a whip’s lash. He likened Pharisaism to a whitewashed tomb, indeed beautiful outwardly, but “…inside full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” He climaxed one censure after another with the expletive, “Hypocrites!”
He called the Pharisees “the children of them that killed the Prophets.” He foretold that they would go on killing, crucifying and persecuting the innocent until the guilt for all the righteous blood shed from Abel on down would be upon them and them alone. “You serpents, you generation of vipers! How can you escape the damnation of sheol (the place of the dead)?” Then in John 10:26, speaking directly to the Jewish leaders – the Pharisees – He concludes with this: “You believe not, BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP!” How much plainer could his words be? Much of Yeshua’s entire earthly ministry was confrontation with and condemnation of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes in one form or another.
The word “Pharisee” or a type thereof, is used 100 times in the New Testament, almost always with strongly negative connotations. The pitched battle between Yeshua and all these related religious groups is woven throughout almost every page of the four gospels, the Book of Acts, and many later epistles. This raises the question of WHY Yeshua reserved his most scathing words for the Pharisees and their religious counterparts? What was it about this group in particular that was so vitally important that he was constantly trying to admonish and alert his people?
In large measure, he was warning US about the “leaven” of the Pharisees and their spiritual/religious contemporaries, re-manifested in our age, in the form of today’s Talmudic Jews. And, since “Christianity” has been corrupted by exactly the same “leaven”, his warning is even more vital and relevant today than it was then!
“Then Yeshua said unto them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.’” [Matthew 16:6] To Yeshua’s listeners, leaven was a sign of evil. It represented kneaded dough from leftover bread, which had slowly fermented. Fermentation, together with its tell-tale odor, was thus associated with putrefaction, or rot. In the Tanakh, leaven was recognized as causing decay and so became a symbol of sin, a representation of the slow, gradual corruption of human nature. This leaven to which our Lord refers is described as affecting the whole lump because evil will, in fact, spread throughout the church until at last, in the days before Christ’s return, most will be contaminated by it. It will be pervasive, just like the final stages of any terminal cancer.
Yeshua explained that when he spoke of the “leaven of the Pharisees”, he wasn’t literally speaking about actual yeast or actual bread. Instead, what he meant by this comparative reference, was that the Jewish religious leaders had replaced the original objective “doctrines” of God with the subjective “traditions of the fathers/elders” (Isaiah 29:13) and that gradually throughout the years, these false, subjective interpretations would gradually corrupt the entire true Law/Torah/Word of God, exactly as has happened.
What almost all “Christians” have utterly failed to realize is that the identical thing that Yeshua describes as having happened to the Jews has just as surely happened to apostolic Christianity! BOTH Roman Catholicism (the “Great Whore” of Revelation 17:1,15,16 & 19:2) and her “daughter whores”, the “mainline” Protestant denominations (Revelation 17:5), have ALL been separated from the Torah of YHVH, every bit as completely, every bit as deceptively, and every bit as fatally, as have the oral-law-abiding Talmudic Jews!
This happens because of our carnal willingness to accept pronouncements from “authority figures” which reinforce our own fleshly desires. They use the IDENTICAL TECHNIQUE that Satan did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden! They get us to question what we see in Scripture with, “Did God really say . . . (fill in the blank)?” As a result, we hear what they KNOW we want to hear, and we go back again and again. Why? Because we’re “comfortable” there. Is there a WORSE reason to continue in any such “fellowship”? The ONLY question which we MUST be answering in the affirmative, is “Are they teaching THE TRUTH?” Nor does anyone’s IGNORANCE of the Truth excuse them! And the God of the Bible says so! These are the words of God to Moses (Leviticus 5:17):
“Now if a person sins and does any of the things which hwhy has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware, still he is guilty and shall bear his punishment.”
Ever heard THAT preached in any church you’ve attended? Neither have we. Which should be some indication as to the depths of the deception in which “Christianity” and “Judaism” alike are mired!
The root of many other issues for which our Lord condemned the Pharisees was their rejection of the written Mosaic Torah scriptures as the absolute standard for their conduct. Their rejection of Yeshua for performing miracles of healing on the Sabbath was based on that corrupt concept. Their many attempts to trap him in his speech were not the result of a close investigation of his actions in light of Messianic prophecy as recorded in the written Tanakh, but because he dared to violate their pagan/occult TRADITIONS and so posed a direct threat to their authority. Their self-righteousness and pride were direct results of their traditions as the standard for judgment, rather than God’s written Torah.
The very best arguments against Yeshua’s being a Pharisee which we have seen is a book by a Karaite Jew, Nehemia Gordon, entitled “The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus”. As we do, the Karaites also reject the Talmud in its entirety, along with rabbinism, pre-Millennial Zionism and all of the other corruptions of Torah which have crept into both today’s Pharisaic, Talmudic “Judaism” and today’s “Catholic” AND “Protestant” Christianity. Gordon, himself a non-Messianic Jew, says that, based solely on Yeshua’s teachings and attitude towards the Pharisees, if he was anything, he would have been considered a Karaite!
The Apostle Paul described himself to the Church as one who had scrupulously kept every aspect of the written Torah his entire life (Philippians 3:4-6), and he repeated this self-description to the civil authorities (Acts 22:3). He was self-described as a leader of the sect (of Judaism) called “the Way”, (Acts 9:2, 16:17, 18:25-26, 19:9, 23, 24:14, 22) but whom his accusers called “the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5).
“But this I admit to you, that according to the Way – which they (the Jews) call a sect – I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets;” Acts 24:14
Paul was born and raised a Pharisee himself (Acts 23:6) and had been a student of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) the grandson of Hillel. Paul was at first an enemy of the Nazarene movement, however after his encounter with the risen Yeshua on the road to Damascus, he became a leader of the movement.
Peter tells us that Paul’s writings are “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:15-16). This may be due to Paul’s having been immersed in Torah since birth, and then having spent his entire youth as a talmid (disciple) of Gamaliel. He often spoke of issues of Torah presuming that his audience (mainly working-class Jews) was as aware of the nuances of his arguments as he was. Paul knew that his teachings were being twisted and that he was being misunderstood as teaching against the Torah itself (Rom. 3:8; 6:1-2, 15), which he went to great lengths to deny (Acts 21:20-26; Romans 3:31).
68 A.D. was a very important year to the Nazarenes. In this year the Romans laid seige to Jerusalem and after five months, invaded the city. This event had many profound effects on the Nazarenes. When the city was brought under siege, the Nazarenes remembered the words of Yeshua:
And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those in Judah flee to the mountains… – Luke 21:20-21
The Nazarenes wisely heeded these words and fled to Pella, most likely dwelling in the caves of the wilderness outside of Pella. It is likely that the Pharisees and other Jews resented the Nazarene flight to Pella as an act of cowardice.
The flight to Pella itself also had a profound effect on the Nazarenes. A great deal of confusion resulted and the coalition fell apart. It was at Pella that the Ebionites first emerged as a separate sect.
In 90 A.D. Samuel the Lesser was commisioned to add what came to be called the Birkat haMinim to the Eighteen Benedictions of the Amidah. The Talmud records the event this way:
Our Rabbis taught: Simeon ha-Pakuli arranged the eighteen benedictions in order before Rabban Gamaliel in Jabneh. Said Rabban Gamaliel to the Sages: “Can any one among you frame a benediction relating to the Minim?” Samuel the Lesser arose and composed it. (b. Berakot 29a)
The Birkat haMinim as it appears today reads:
And for slanderers let there be no hope, and let all wickedness perish as in a moment; let all thine enemies be speedily cut off, and the dominion of arrogance do you uproot and crush, cast down and humble speedily in our days. Blessed are you, O Adonai, who breakest the enemies and humbles the arrogant.
However an old copy of the Birkat haMinim found at the Cairo Genizah reads:
For the renegades let there be no hope, and may the arrogant kingdom soon be rooted out in our days, and the Nazarenes and the Minim perish as in a moment and be blotted out from the book of life and with the righteous may they not be inscribed. Blessed are you, O Adonai, who humbles the arrogant.
This “benediction” was actually intended to be a curse on the Nazarenes which would have the effect of casting them out of the synagogues (John 16:2) since Nazarenes who attended would be expected to recite a curse upon themselves. As Epiphanius records in the fourth century:
Not only do Jewish people have a hatred of them; they even stand up at dawn, at midday, and toward evening, three times a day when they recite their prayers in the synagogues, and curse and anathemize them. Three times a day they say, “God curse the Nazarenes.” For they harbor an extra grudge against them, if you please, because despite their Jewishness, they proclaim that Yeshua is Messiah… (Epiphanius – Panarion 29)
In 132 A.D. a second Jewish revolt against Rome began. The Emporer Hadrian banned circumcision. In reaction the Jews, both Nazarenes and Pharisees alike, took up arms. During the revolt, Akiva, a leading Pharisee rabbi at the time, declared the leading Jewish general known as Bar Kosiba to be the Messiah. Bar Kosiba was renamed Bar Kochba (son of the star) and was declared the Messiah based on Numbers 24:17. The Nazarenes could not accept Bar Kochba as the Messiah and so they left the army. From this time forward the Nazarenes were labeled as “meshumedim” (traitors). Though the Pharisees later admitted Bar Kochba was not the true Messiah, their resentment toward the Nazarenes for refusing to follow him continued.
After the Romans defeated the Jews around 132 A.D., Yehuda, the last of the recorded Nazarene Nasi, was exiled with the rest of the Jews from Jerusalem. A Gentile Christian named Markus was made Bishop of Jerusalem in his place.
In 306 A.D. Constantine, a sun-god-worshipping pagan, was made emperor of Rome. As we have noted, Constantine merged Mithraism (sun-worship) with the emerging Hellenized (Greek, Torah-hating) version of “Christianity”, and declared it to be the Roman “Catholic” (Latin: universal) religion, thus making Christianity one more of the many state-sanctioned religions of the Roman empire. Constantine, who was virulently anti-Jew, called the council of Nicæa in 325 A.D., ostensibly to “standardize” Christianity. Nazarenes were excluded from the meeting, and all practices identifiably Jewish were banned (see page 11, herein). For the first time Gentile Christianity officially labled the Nazarenes, who actually represented the “original faith” of Yeshua of Nazareth, as apostates and heretics. From this time forward Nazarenes begin to be listed in the Roman Catholic catalogs of apostate movements (the first of these to include the Nazarenes was Epiphanius’s “Panarion” (around 370 A.D.). As a result of this, they were persecuted to the death by Rome in addition to being rejected by the Jewish communities, and soon vanished from the pages of history as an identifiable entity.
Nevertheless, by the fourth century A.D. the Nazarenes had small communities in Beorea near Colesyria, in the Decapolis near Pella, and at Bashanitis at the place called Kokhba. (Epiphanius; Panarion 29). However, the Nazarenes by this time were a very small sect which Epiphanius described as “small,” “like an insect.” (ibid.)
According to a tradition preserved by the Assyrian Christians known as Nestorians, these Nazarenes escaped the Roman empire into the Parthian Empire to its east. Here they either assimilated into the Nestorian Church of the East, finding fellowship with their fellow Semite Assyrians, or were wiped out by the rise of Islam.
The Hebraic foundations of the initial Messianic faith were soon undermined as pagan customs infiltrated and corrupted the fast-spreading gospel of Yeshua of Nazareth amongst “lost Israel” and the nations. Nazarene Israel, which began as a sect within Mosaic Judaism, was soon morphed into the Great Whore of Revelation 17: the Roman Catholic church. But the great divine plan of YHVH Elohim would be achieved regardless, when, in the “latter days” and according to prophecy, sincere believers would re-discover their Hebraic roots and return to the original true Hebraic root of the native olive tree, spiritual Israel. Jer 16:19 O YHVH, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress, to You the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, futility and things of no profit.”
Jer 16:20 “Can man make gods for himself? Yet they are not God!
Jer 16:21 “Therefore behold, I am going to make them know – this time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is YHVH.”
Jer 6:16 Thus says YHVH, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.”
We believe that this is the apostolic Nazarene faith, now seen to have been intentionally shrouded by YHVH Elohim in the unbelief which is inherent in Judaism, Catholicism and Protestantism alike.
Apostolic Christianity Today
Today many of us are working to rediscover the ancient sect of Apostolic Christianity, “contending earnestly for the faith that was once given to the saints.” (Jude 3)
In that spirit, we recognize the seventh day of the week – Friday sundown to Saturday sundown – as being the Shabbat of YHVH (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; 32:12-17), and seek to incorporate the teachings of the Lord Yeshua concerning Shabbat along with the requirements of the Tanakh, to remember YHVH as Creator, and to keep holy the day which YHVH Elohim calls His seventh-day Shabbat.
We reject all teachings of rabbinic Judaism which conflict with the written Torah of Moses and with the teachings of our Lord Yeshua HaMashiach, and especially reject the Talmud and all of its rabbinic kin (Zohar, Mishneh Torah, Kabbalah, etc.) in their entirety. We follow the literal dietary laws in the Tanakh, but do not “keep kosher” as required by rabbinic laws. We consider the rite of circumcision for males as Sha’ul (“Paul”) did, as a matter of personal conviction, and surely not as a prerequisite for fellowship or salvation.
We observe the Holy Days described in Leviticus 23 which are commanded by YHVH to be “celebrated as a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your dwelling places… forever” (Leviticus 23:14; 21; 31; 41). We do these things, not unto salvation, which is only through our repentance and acceptance of the shed blood and suffering of our Lord Yeshua HaMashiach, but in simple obedience, as befits those who seek to do all that is pleasing to the Bridegroom and his Father.
As commanded in Numbers 15:38-41, we wear blue-threaded tassels (Hebrew: tzitziot) on the four corners of our garments, both to remind ourselves of our obligation to keep ALL of the commandments of YHVH Elohim [Deuteronomy 5:29], and to identify ourselves as such to fellow believers and to the world.
“Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would revere Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their children forever!” Deuteronomy 5:29
As commanded in Deuteronomy 6:9 and 11:20, we symbolically post the commandments (Hebrew: mezuzah) on the front doorpost of our residences, as a testimony to the world that we claim to be commandment-keepers. (Note: we do NOT recognize the so-called “Star of David” as anything but another occult symbol of Satan, as mentioned by Stephen in Acts 7:43. Details on request.)
We preach the soon-coming Kingdom of God on earth, as our Lord Yeshua tells us to, and earnestly seek all of the promised gifts of our Father through His holy Spirit.
We pray that this article has been a blessing to you, and invite you to contact us for additional information.
Shalom Aleichem. (Peace be to you.)
Bob & Suzanne Hamrick