Clement of Rome was on the ground floor of the messianic congregation in Rome (there were many Jewish congregations in the city, but Paul started those who believed in Yeshua after they came back after Acts 2.1-10), which was founded by Paul (Acts 28.17-31). The Jews of Rome, for the most part, rejected the message of Paul and non-Jews became believers, Clement being one. In our opinion, the congregations in Rome were set up under a Jewish structure, and authority rested in Jerusalem at this point (Acts 15, Acts 21). In Rome especially, you would have been under Roman scrutiny. Tensions are rising and there was conflict between the Romans and anyone and anything Jewish. This tension will effect the structure, and with the death of Paul in 66 AD, a strong non-Jewish membership in Rome and other places west of Asia Minor gained a voice. After the first Jewish revolt in 66-73 AD, there was a clean break among the Gentile congregations from anything Jewish. Jewish believers fled to Pella in 70 AD, and now there was no central religious authority in Jerusalem. Rome becomes the center of authority and they have already turned away from a Judaic central authority. Jewish believers in Yeshua are split, and many follow the Gentile trend away from the Torah and Jewish structure and become “Christians.” The others are called Nazarenes and Ebionites, headquartered in Pella. In 116-117 AD, there was another Jewish revolt in Alexandria, followed by a third revolt in 132-135 AD, called the Bar Kochba revolt. By this time, Gentile Christianity is claiming that the Jews are enemies and the Roman government wants nothing to do with Judaism. The heathen are told this and they respond. At this point, Paul’s epistles are being used against the Jews because they do not see or understand that he was a Torah observant Jew and wrote from that perspective. As a result, all the confusion of the groups we read about are because the people are not studying the Tanach. New festivals were instituted and it was acceptable to compromise on words of Scripture and the instruction found there. Latin is not a biblical language and it could not define minute concepts that only a biblical language, like Hebrew, could do. Up until 312 AD, Gentile Christianity is outlawed in the empire and this resulted in persecution. During this same period, Gentile Christians were sanctioning the killing of heretics who didn’t agree with them, which meant they were hunting down the Nazarenes and the Ebionites. In 312 AD, Constantine supposedly became a Christian, but who is going to contest it (it’s good to be king). Whatever he wanted, everyone else did or was forced into going along with. Many disagreed with Constantine, like Eusebius, who refused to sign the Nicene Creed, but went along to save their own skins. As a result, Gentile Christianity changes even more. From 312 AD, if you were a heretic, it was because you disagreed with Constantine. It was law to hunt down the Nazarenes because they were not the “real” Israel and Rabbinic Judaism rejected Yeshua as the Messiah. But Nazarenes were a real problem because they agreed with the fact that Yeshua was the Messiah, but they also agreed and believed in the fact that the Torah was still valid for a way of life and for instruction. They really “confused” the issue by going against the very foundations of Gentile Christianity, which was inherently anti-Torah. During the period from the first century to 312 AD, the great apologetic movement of Gentile Christianity was underway. Debates put down the Jews at every turn. For example, Justin Martyr wrote “Dialogue with Trypho” who many think was Rabbi Tarfon. He presented the picture that Gentile Christianity was superior over the Jews and their beliefs. Gentile Christianity, with Constantine, now becomes the state religion. Up till now, many groups argued back and forth, not knowing anything. With Constantine, there was now a “unifying” voice and if you disagreed with him, you were a heretic. If you agreed, you were part of “the church.” Gentile Christianity was not trying to counter Rabbinic Judaism, the Nazarenes or the Ebionites, it was trying to replace them. There is no wonder that Gentile Christianity could not relate to the Jews. This structure was leading the people to avoid learning anything related to the truth. The Jews were “cursed” and the “old testament” was done away with, so why bother to learn anything from them, or from the Tanach. Early Gentile Christian beliefs centered around certain creeds. People being baptized had to answer certain questions about God and the Trinity. Old creeds gave way to the Nicene Creed in order to make sure a convert was orthodox enough. In the first century, congregations were led by the apostles at first, then the “seven” in Acts 6. Gifted men filled with the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) did missionary work, preached, taught (Morim) and were evangelists (M’Basarim”). These people were appointed because other gifted men recognized their gifts, but this disappeared by the second century. The Episopacy began to rise, which meant that “bishops” (which does not mean what it meant in the first century) and “deacons” (again, does not mean what it meant in the first century) began to take a leading role. Church life was lead by elders, possibly a holdover from the biblical model, and other titles like “pastor” or “shepherd” were used. There was no counter-part to the “minister” of today’s churches. The idea of a “clergy” sanctioned by the church began to rise and eventually this would eradicate the biblical model found in the Epistles. Some people will ask why we use so many Hebrew terms in these teachings. It is because we want to force you to see and understand the Scriptures in Hebrew terms. One of the biggest things we see here is a major move to make anything Jewish Hellenistic, or western. This has had a domino effect down through the centuries, and people do not know how to study and this is why so many people have been deceived even to this day. This website is written to counter this idea, and the real culprit here is Satan. Historically, this “substitution” happened to Israel, with idolatry and pagan worship. Some will argue, “If Gentile Christianity was not of God, it would not have happened.” But this argument doesn’t stand up to examination because Israel and the Torah were from God, and yet paganism was introduced into mix and the people paid a horrible price. It all comes down to the individual. Are you going to accept what your forefathers in Gentile Christianity have taught you, or are you going to study this out for yourself? We are not responsible for what Rabbinnic Judaism does, or the Catholic or Protestant churches, or anyone else. But, you are redponsible to search out the truth, and follow it, no matter where it leads. In the first century congregations, there was no voting on leadership or much else. The people were “am ha eretz” (people of the land) and not versed in Scripture. The fear was they would start voting about things that weren’t in Scripture. In western society, that was not how things were done. They believed “everyone should have a say” and that is what happened to Gentile Christianity. Consensus is not leadership. The Gentiles coming in could not handle the fact that they could not have a say, so within 50 or 60 years after the apostles they were already going on a path of their own, away from the Hebraic model found in the Scriptures and the foundation laid down by the apostles. For example, Constantine was not a believer. He “baptizes” his army before a battle on the Tiber River, but that doesn’t make you a believer. You had dry pagans on one side of the river, and wet ones on the other side. Now the “wet ones” (Christians now) win the battle and are given the vote on what God desires in the churches. How does this apply today? Constantine is a picture of the false messiah, and the false messiah will fit right into his mold. Gentile Christianity is going to play a major role in the rise of the false messiah and the false prophet. Don’t believe for second that the false messiah will be a Muslim. However, Gentile Christianity did do some things good. They put Bibles into everyone’s hand, and basically gave an accurate view that Yeshua is the Messiah, but it gets muddy after that. The false messiah will make it (like Constantine) unlawful to be Torah observant, like keeping the seventh day as the Sabbath, for instance. Gentile Christian holidays will be required. Now, there is a prophetic key that needs to be touched on as we close. The eighth century prophets will be teaching us about the first three and a half years of the Birth-pains, or Tribulation. The seventh century prophets will be giving us a picture of the last three and a half years of the Birth-pains. If you want to know what is going to happen during the Birth-pains, or Tribulation, read these Prophets. Remember, prophecies can have multiple fulfillments. What is being taught by the seventh century prophets? They prophesied about an “Israel” (Gentile Christianity says they replaced Israel) steeped in idolatry, that worshipped Ba’al, burned incense, had images, honored the Queen of Heaven (an actual term for Mary today in the Catholic Church) and asherah/asherim trees. Eschatologically speaking, who do you think they are speaking about? These prophecies are also referring to Replacement Theology, Gentile Christianity in the last days. The last ten kings of Judah, before Israel is taken to Babylon, will also be telling us about the Birth-pains. For example, King Uzziah is the last king before these ten, and his reign will be teaching us about the days leading up to the Birth-pains, or Tribulation (today). He dies, and Isaiah see’s the Lord and is anointed to “go for us” in Isa 6.8. He is a picture of the 144,000 and the two witnesses who will also be anointed right at the beginning of the Birth-pains. King Manasseh, a bad king, is the fourth king of Judah after this, and he set up an image in the Temple. This is a picture of false messiah who will set up the Abomination of Desolation in the fourth year of the Birth-pains. King Josiah is one of two good kings among the last ten kings of Judah (Hezekiah being the other one). He finds the Torah, he repents and turns away from idolatry and leads a true revival (By the way, any revival that does not turn people back to the Torah is not from God). He is a picture of the non-Jews who turn from Gentile Christianity and become true believers in the sixth year of the Tribulation (he is the sixth king). Josiah is killed by Pharaoh Neco at a battle at Megiddo. This teaches that these non-Jews will resist, but fall, to the false messiah in the sixth year. They resist him and will not prevail until Yeshua comes. Hopefully, this study has given you fresh insight into the chronology of things as things moved through history from the first century, and has given you some knowledge of the personalities involved in these changes. This information will help you understand what happened, and it can also be a “springboard” for you to look up history and some of these people to learn more. And again, we have a whole series on this site called “Replacement Theology” that will help you get to the heart of the matter in more detail.
History of the Jewish People: Second Temple Era