Anyone who studies the Scriptures from a Hebraic point of view will soon find out that the doctrines and teachings from the first century are certainly a lot different from what they were being taught today. What was taught by Yeshua and the Talmidim is not what is taught today from many pulpits, but what exactly happened. Do we want to know what the original meanings are or do we just go on with the current things being taught today. We will attempt to put this into a proper perspective and let you decide what to do. We need to understand what the writers of the New Testament were trying to say and to do that we need to know who they were and what they believed. We know that man sinned and the Lord promised a redeemer, called the Messiah, who would redeem man from his sins through faith. The Lord had to teach mankind about this redeemer and his ways, so he raised up a people through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and called them Israel. He gave them his Torah (teaching) and the Torah prophesied his coming and how he would redeem man and the creation. The promise of the Father concerned this redemption and how it would be accomplished through his “sent one”, the Messiah. Then, in the fullness of time, God sent Yeshua, born of a virgin, to declare the Gospel. Yeshua was God in the flesh who died on Passover to redeem man. He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread and resurrected from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits as prophesied in the Scriptures (Luke 24.25-32). He sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and thousands came to believe that Yeshua was the Messiah. These Jewish believers remained Torah observant for many years and their worship was in a Jewish context. Salvation of the Gentiles was also a part of God’s plan and we see this in Acts 10 with the Roman Cornelius. Gentile believers during this time are seldom understood by people today. They were called “God-fearers” and much has been written about them recently, but for the most part their role and life is widely unknown by believers today. They were people who came out of the pagan idol worship found in most countries and embraced the God of Israel. They kept Sabbath and the biblical festivals, attended Jewish synagogues and followed many Jewish customs. The Torah gave instructions on how these people were to live and how the Jewish people were to interact with them. They were taught that Torah observance had nothing to do with their salvation but it was a way of life and it defined how they were to walk before the Lord. In the first century, a division between these groups arose with the passing of what was known as the 18 Edicts. This was designed to separate Jews from Gentiles and the Lord raised up Paul to deal with this situation among believers. These edicts said that a Gentile must become Jewish to be saved and Jews who believed in Yeshua carried the things they were taught into the Faith (Acts 15.1-2). Some of the edicts said that Jews could not interact with Gentiles, eat with them or even enter their homes. You can see right away how these rules contradicted the heart of the Torah and was not what God intended. Acts 15 and the Book of Galatians deal with these issues directly and because Bible teachers do not understand the “religious politics” of the time these Scriptures have been misinterpreted. With the conversion of Cornelius, the Lord showed that these man-made walls of division were not from him and needed to be broken down (Eph 2.14). Belief in Yeshua was growing in spite of this, and among Gentiles it was really growing. However, Gentile influence, with their pagan back-round, began to grow as well, especially in the congregations outside Israel and their influence grew to the point that the Jewish influence was driven out. These events were happening at the same time the Jews revolted against Rome and the Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 AD. The congregations in the Roman world went through some massive changes. To be pro-Jewish was seen as “unpatriotic” and anything Jewish was seen as something very unpopular. But Jews were still accepting Yeshua as Messiah, but other problems were coming from everywhere. Non-believing Jews didn’t like the believing Jews because their influence among the people was threatened. Gentile pagans didn’t like them because their ways were different and “Jewish.” Gentiles who were becoming believers were coming into the faith with a built-in bias towards anything Jewish. Jewish influence was damaged further when there was another Jewish revolt in 117 AD and then there was the final straw, another revolt about twenty years later when a man named Simon ben Kosiba led an army against Rome. This act is called the Bar Kochba revolt. Jewish believers in Yeshua joined the army but prominent rabbis at the time declared Bar Kochba (meaning “son of the star” referring to a prophecy in Num 24.17 about the coming of Messiah) the Messiah, so many refused to serve in the army because they knew he wasn’t the Messiah. These Jewish believers were called “traitors” and they were driven out of the Jewish community. The Romans destroyed the army against them and the nation and this caused any patriotic Roman citizen to be against anything Jewish. It would be like Americans not wanting anything to do with Japanese and German culture because of World War II. As a result, more and more pagan influences began showing up in the congregations and by the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine converted to what was becoming “Christianity” and it became the state religion of Rome. By this time Christianity had been influenced by Mithraism, sun worship, Saturnalia, Dionysus/Bacchus cults, Emperor worship and Gentile Christianity through the congregations and “church fathers” that had forsaken the Hebrew understandings of the Scriptures. The beliefs and how to walk was now almost completely pagan in the Constantinian way of doing things. Torah observance was now made unlawful with Constantine calling for a council in Nicea to hash out what was to accepted and what was not. Constantine said that one of reasons this council was convened was to “root out the last vestiges of Judaism” and that is exactly what he did. Biblical festivals were now replaced by Christmas and Easter. The Lord’s Day was changed from the Sabbath to Sunday, circumcision was forbidden, Jews were forced to renounce who they were. Biblical doctrines were redefined and words and concepts were changed from their Hebraic understandings to something else. The Faith that was once delivered was for all practical purposes extinguished. But, the Lord has always had his remnant who kept the meanings and the truth from being totally lost and today these truths are becoming evident and taught all over the world. Daniel prophesied that “knowledge would increase” in the last days and this knowledge is spiritual and growing. More and more people are coming to realize that what is parading around as the “faith” is nothing but replacement theology. Hopefully, this site and many others are helping those that are looking to find the lost treasure that can be found in the Scriptures and to reconnect believers to the Faith once delivered.
The Faith Once Delivered-What Happened?
Posted in Understanding the New Testament