Synagogue to Church
When did the “Church” begin?
Christians will say that the Church began on the day of Pentecost in 30CE
(AD). That, however, is incorrect. The beliefs and values, the laws and
form of worship, and all of the basic elements of Judaism, did not
discontinue after the death of Yeshua.
of “the way” still went to the temple daily to fulfill requirements
of the law (including animal sacrifices). For the first 40 years after the
crucifixion, the followers of Yeshua did not view themselves as being
separated from other Jews. They met in the synagogues every Sabbath
among the other Jews of their time.
They continued to keep all of the
annual Holy Days, such as Pesach,
Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
What happened? A number of factors contributed to the radical change of
beliefs and practices of this Jewish sect. They included an increase of Gentile converts within the sect,
Roman persecution, martyrdom of its Jewish leaders, and misunderstanding of the time
that they were in.
The End is Near
earliest followers of Yeshua as Messiah believed that they were living in
the last days. That may be why more time was not given to thoroughly
teaching new “converts.” They just didn’t believe that they had that much
time. We read references throughout the New Testament that show us how the
first century (and especially the first generation) Christian felt that
the "end time" was imminent.
in 1Thessalonians 4:15.
this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive,
who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede
those who have died.
16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call
and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the
dead in Messiah will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds
together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the
of Joel is quoted in Peter’s sermon on Pentecost in Acts 2:17.
the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit
upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your
young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams...
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'
22 "You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of
Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and
signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know--
Peter was addressing. What did he mean by “You that are Israelites”? Peter
knew that the gathering of Israel to God was to happen at the end time. As
he understood conditions, he believed it WAS the end time.
much time would pass before Israel would come back. Instead, new
developments took place within the sect.
Wagnall’s New Encyclopedia (volume 15 “Jews/Christianity appears”) describes
this period of time that takes us from the synagogue to the church:
century of the ancient Jewish state was marked by religious and political
upheaval. At the beginning of the Christian era the Jewish population in the
ancient world numbered some 8 million living outside Judea, mainly in
Alexandria, Cyrenaica (northern Africa), Babylon, Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome.
This dispersion created, in addition to the force of Hellenism, several
movements that struck at Judaism. One was directed against all Jews and took the
form of anti-Jewishness based on business competition, religious difference, and
the political privileges granted to many Jews who rose to high office. A
movement came from within Judaism itself, as
The Greek Jews who came to believe in Jesus (Heb. Yeshua, or Joshua) as
the promised Messiah far outnumbered the Judeans who accepted Jesus.
Moreover, as the disciples of Jesus traveled through the ancient world, many
pagans were converted to the new belief. Christianity was originally regarded as
a Jewish sect, but as more and more pagans were accepted into
Christianity, their faith revolved almost entirely about the person
and preaching of Jesus. The Judeo-Christians, on the other hand, remained,
essentially, Jews. The Jewish answer to these new movements was to permit no
laxity in observance of the forms of traditional religion.
During the 1st century AD, religious conflict caused bloody battles. The Roman
governors of Judea were despotic and gave little respect to the Jewish religion.
In AD 66 a violent insurrection, led by the Zealots, a fanatic Jewish sect,
began against Rome.
Nero, then emperor, sent the Roman general Vespasian (later emperor) to put an
end to the conflict. By 70 the revolt was crushed, the Temple was destroyed, and
Jerusalem was razed; Masada, the last fortress, fell in 73.
Nominally, Judea continued to exist. The center of Jewish learning was
transferred to Jabneh (Jamnia, now Yavne, Israel) under the direction of the
great sage Johanan Ben Zakkai. For the next generation Judea was more or less
peaceful, under strict Roman control. Then the Roman emperor Hadrian ordered
Jerusalem rebuilt as a pagan city, to be called Aelia Capitolina, in honor of
Jupiter; at the same time he
edict banning cicumcision. This double
insult caused consternation among the Jews of the Diaspora as well as those of
A violent revolt occurred in Judea, under Simon Bar Kokhba. From 132 to 135 the
Jews made a desperate stand against the Roman legions and were, for a time,
When the rebellion was finally put down by Rome, Judea was prostrate. By order
of the emperor the very name of the province was discarded and changed to Syria
Palaestina. Jerusalem was made a pagan city, and the death penalty was decreed
for any Jew who entered its gates. Persecution of Jews became common throughout
Moreover, the fall of Judea created a greater rift between Jews and Christians.
The Jews considered the loss a calamity, but the Christians saw it as a
manifestation that God had abandoned the Jews and viewed themselves as the true
bearers of divine grace. During the first three centuries of the Christian era,
Christianity became increasingly powerful. After 313, when Constantine I emperor
of Rome, accepted the new religion for himself and his empire, Christian
antagonism against and, later, persecution of Jews became widespread.
Pagans, Pagans Everywhere
Gentiles began to be accepted into the faith, it was like an explosion.
The number of Gentile “believers” and the speed at which they “converted”
were staggering. Remember, however, that these were not full converts to
Judaism. You now had Gentiles accepting Yeshua as the Jewish messiah
without even knowing or understanding the basic beliefs that Messiah was
Vos in his book Exploring Church History writes:
Christianity was winning a victory of sorts over paganism, paganism
achieved victories of her own by infiltrating the Christian church in
numerous subtle ways. As opposition to paganism increased, many took their
place in church without experiencing conversion. Thus large segments of
church membership consisted merely of baptized pagans. The distinction
between Christianity and paganism became increasingly blurred as the state
church was established under the ultimate authority of the emperor.
We need to
remember that they were not JUST “brand new believers in Yeshua (Jesus),”
they were ALSO brand new believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Before this time they were PAGANS, worshipping OTHER gods!
Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way.
23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of
your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, 'To an
unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of
heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands,
25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he
himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.
verses we see something very important. Just as the Jews were ready for a Messiah,
the Greeks were ready for and were looking for God. In fact they were
looking so hard they had created gods for everything!
as they were, however, to receive this new religion, they had no education
or background on which to base their newly acquired faith. So they did
what they knew, and viewed the worship of the God of Abraham the way that
was natural and familiar to them.
book This Hebrew Lord, John Shelby Spong writes:
analyze the language, the concepts, the understandings, the meanings in
traditional religious patterns today, I discover that they come to us not
from our biblical Hebrew heritage at all; rather they are the direct
outgrowth of the Neoplatonic roots of Greek philosophy.
Christian faith was born in a Hebrew context,
serving a Hebrew Lord – a life-giving, life loving, whole, free man. But when this faith moved outward from the Hebrew world into
the Mediterranean civilization, it inevitably confronted the dualistic
mind of the Greek world. After that confrontation, Christianity was
never the same.
became the basic mental assumption through which the Christian faith was
viewed. It was a gradual occurrence. All material things did not suddenly
become evil; it was much more subtle than that. Slowly but surely the
Hebrew view of the goodness of creation and the wholeness of life was
forgotten, and Christianity bought Greek dualism, the inevitable result
being what I now call the Grecianization of the gospel.
became the “Christian Fathers” were not educated in the Torah. They were
educated in Greek philosophy. The debate did NOT center on how to
interpret the Torah; rather, it centered on which Greek philosopher to
follow. Because the Gentile had a totally different paradigm, the manner
in which they viewed what the earliest followers had written led them to
entirely different conclusions.
book Our Father Abraham, Marvin Wilson writes:
Platonism holds that there are
two worlds: the visible,
material world and the invisible, spiritual world. The visible or
phenomenal world is in tension with the invisible or conceptual world.
Because it is imperfect and a source of evil, the material world is
inferior to that of the spiritual. In this view, the human soul originates
in the heavenly realm, from which it fell into the realm of matter. Though
human beings find themselves related to both of these worlds, they long
for release from their physical bodies so that their true selves (their
souls) might take flight back to the permanent world of the celestial and
view of the cosmos was then transposed to man. The body was a prison for
the soul. The immortal soul -- pure spirit -- is incarcerated in a
defective body of crumbling clay. Salvation comes at death, when the
soul escapes the body and soars heavenward to the invisible realm of
the pure and eternal spirit.
had a widespread influence upon the history of Christian thought. "The
most important fact in the history of Christian doctrine was that the
father of Christian theology, Origen, was a Platonic philosopher
at the school of Alexandria.” -- Werner Jaeger, “The Greek Ideas of
Immortality," Harvard Theological Review 52 (July, 1959): 146.
the Greeks, the Hebrews viewed the world as good. Though fallen and
unredeemed, it was created by a God who designed it with humanity's best
interests at heart. So, instead of fleeing from the world, human beings
experienced God's fellowship, love, and saving activity in the historical
order within the world.
most of the early “Church Fathers” came from a Greek background, some were
even more extreme in their views. Marcion, who would eventually be labeled
as a heretic, gives one a glimpse at the ideas that were being promoted
during this early point in Christian history.
John Garr writes:
middle of the second century, the Hebrew foundations of Christian faith
were attacked by the first great heresy that challenged the church. Some
of the ideas of this heresy so permeated the church's corporate psyche
that it has not yet fully recovered its spiritual and scriptural
son of a bishop of Sinope in Pontus (there is some question about this)
joined the Syrian Gnostic Credo in Rome in developing a dualistic view of
sacred history which postulated the existence of two gods, the good and
gracious God (Christ) and the Demiurge (Jehovah of the Jews). Marcion
taught an irreconcilable dualism between gospel and law, between
Christianity and Judaism. The Demiurge and his religion were seen as
harsh, severe, and unmerciful, and they were cast into Hades by Christ, the good God.
invented a new canon of Holy Scripture which included only an abridged
Gospel of Luke and ten of Paul's epistles, some of which he edited. He
wrested the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:17 to declare, “I am not come to
fulfill the law and the prophets, but to destroy them.”
In Marcion's view, Christianity had no connection whatever with the past,
whether of the Jewish or the heathen world, but had fallen abruptly and
magically from heaven. Jesus, too, was not born, nor did he die.
His body was a phantom
to reveal the good God, and his death was an illusion. This Christ was
not the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament; he was a totally new and unforeseen manifestation of the
good God of Greek
dualism. Because the rest of the apostles were Judaizing corrupters of
pure Christianity, Christ called Paul as the apostle to preach the truth
of Marcion's extreme antinomianism and anti-Judaism.
was the first one to create a “New” Testament. He believed that the “Old”
Testament should be discarded, and his influence is with us to this day.
How could this have happened? Didn’t the Jewish believers try to guide and
influence the Gentile “converts”? One reason for this “oversight” is that
the great increase of Gentiles into the sect happened at the same time
that Roman oppression was growing. Within a few short years most of the
Jewish leaders of the sect were no longer around.
The Changing of the Guard
Book of Martyrs, The First Persecution, Under Nero, A.D. 67
was the occasion of the first persecution; and the barbarities exercised
on the Christians were such as even excited the commiseration of the
even refined upon cruelty, and contrived all manner of punishments for the
Christians that the most infernal imagination could design. In
particular, he had some sewed up in skins of wild beasts, and then
worried by dogs until they expired; and others dressed in shirts made
stiff with wax, fixed to axletrees, and set on fire in his gardens, in
persecution was general throughout the whole Roman Empire; but it rather
increased than diminished the spirit of Christianity. In the course of it,
St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred. To their names may be added, Erastus,
chamberlain of Corinth; Aristarchus, the Macedonian, and Trophimus, an
Ephesian, converted by St. Paul, and fellow-laborer with him, Joseph,
commonly called Barsabas, and Ananias, bishop of Damascus; each of the
The Death of the Jewish
following is a list of those Jewish leaders of the sect who were killed
before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, most of them at
the hands of the Romans or other pagans:
dragged out of the city and burned, at Salamina in Cyprus, A.D. 64
Mark - dragged to the stake at Alexandria, died on the way, A.D. 64
Paul - beheaded at Rome, A.D. 69
Andrew - crucified at Patras A.D. 70
Bartholomew - tortured, then flayed alive, and finally beheaded in
Thomas - cast into a furnace, and his side pierced with spears in Calamina,
Matthew - nailed to the ground and beheaded at Nad-Davar, A.D. 70
Simon Zelotes and his brother Judas Thadeus,
both slain, one crucified, and the other beaten to death with sticks, A.D.
Mathias - tied on a cross upon a rock, stoned, and then beheaded, A.D. 70
70 disciples of Yeshua, and several fellow travelers of the Apostles -
slain, A.D. 70
Persecution, Under Domitian, A.D. 81
emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty, first slew his
brother, and then raised the second persecution against the
Christians. In his rage he put to death some of the Roman senators, some
through malice; and others to confiscate their estates. He then commanded
all the lineage of David be put to death.
Nicodemus, a benevolent Christian of some distinction, suffered at Rome,
and Protasius and Gervasius were martyred at Milan.
was the celebrated disciple of Paul and bishop of Ephesus, where he
zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. At this period, as the
pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy,
meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous
idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with
their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the
bruises two days later.
Persecution, Under Trajan, A.D. 108
being succeeded by Adrian, the latter continued this third persecution
with as much severity as his predecessor. About this time Alexander,
bishop of Rome, with his two deacons, were martyred; as were Quirinus and
Hernes, with their families; Zenon, a Roman nobleman, and about ten
thousand other Christians.
martyrdom of Faustines and Jovita, brothers and citizens of Brescia, their
torments were so many, and their patience so great, that Calocerius, a
pagan, beholding them, was struck with admiration, and exclaimed in a kind
of ecstasy, "Great is the God of the Christians!" for which he was
apprehended, and suffered a similar fate.
Persecution, Under Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, A.D. 162
Polycarp, the venerable bishop of Smyrna, hearing that persons were
seeking for him, escaped, but was discovered by a child. After feasting the guards who apprehended him, he
desired an hour in prayer, which being allowed, he prayed with such
fervency that his guards repented that they had been instrumental in
taking him. He was, however, carried before the proconsul, condemned,
and burnt in the market place.
If we look
at history, most of the persecution and martyrdom did NOT come from the
Jews ... but from the Gentiles (Romans). Why is there no mention of
the ROMAN persecution in the New Testament? Because that was so
commonplace, it was assumed that everyone KNEW about THAT. Although there
was an occasional lifting of the oppression, the Gentile (or Roman) rule
was a constant reality.
(AD), the Temple was destroyed, Jews were forced to flee Jerusalem, and
most of the leadership (of the followers of Yeshua), were dead. Between
70CE (AD) and 90CE (AD) there is very little recorded history, however,
when the record resumes, we see a very different group of people emerging
as the leadership within this messianic movement. The emerging leadership
was unfamiliar with and uneducated in the Torah. So they did what they
knew; and they understood their beliefs through a different perspective: a
misunderstanding of the faith was not surprising since most of them didn’t
have the privilege of owning a Torah scroll. What they DID have were
copies of letters and testimonies written by certain Apostles. These
letters and testimonies were never intended to be understood as “law,” and
yet that is exactly what happened. The body of letters and testimonies
that became the “New Testament” were soon not only given equal status to
that of the law and prophets, they eventually became more important; a
reality that would have made the first followers of Yeshua shudder.
A significant amount of what was to
become the "New Testament" was written by one person; the
Who was Paul
account Paul was a controversial individual.
Although he is the
person credited as being the architect of many of the
doctrines of Christianity, he was not one of Yeshua's 12
chosen "apostles". Who was Paul anyway?
Saul of Tarsus
We are first introduced to the Apostle Paul
as "Saul of Tarsus", a fierce opponent of
"the Way". Saul (Paul) is there when Stephen is stoned as a leader
in opposing the new movement. Then suddenly he shows up saying that he
has had a change of heart.
And although he
claimed to have had a vision on the road to Damascus, that
change his allegiances, many of the Jewish leaders never
accept his sincerity. Paul was not well respected nor trusted,
he did not communicate well, and he was difficult to
get along with.
Some of Paul's contemporary
antagonists claim that he had no Pharisaic training
or background; he was the son of a Gentile, who
converted to Judaism in Tarsus, came to Jerusalem
when an adult, and connected himself to the High
Priest. Upon failing to make any advances in
the established faith, he broke ties and conspired
to start a new religion.
This information is not considered to
be factual history by any historian. Rather, it is
second hand hearsay, basically "gossip". It
does, however, give us some valuable insight into
how others, at the time, felt about Paul.
In reality, we can tell from Paul's
writings that he DOES have a background in both the
law and Jewish traditions. It, however, is
equally apparent that those who copied and
translated his writings did not.
So when Paul refers to Israel (the
Ten Tribes) having their eyes blinded and rejecting
God, it was misunderstood as being Jews who's eyes
were blinded for not recognizing Yeshua as Messiah
and God. When Paul Says that a Gentile is not
required to be circumcised or in other ways adhere
to the law of Moses, (a position held by ANY Jew,
even today) it is misunderstood to mean that Jews
should not be circumcised or observe the Mosaic law.
...They glorified the Lord and
said to him, "You see, brother, how many
thousands of Jews there are which believe; and
they are all zealous of the law.
21 And they are informed that you teach
all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to
forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise
their children, or live according to our
22 What shall we do? The people will
certainly hear that you have come,
23 so do what we tell you.
It is surprising how many people
(EVEN TODAY) believe this same rumor; that Paul said
circumcision and keeping the Mosaic law was
unnecessary for someone who is Jewish. See
what they instruct Paul to do.
There are four men with us who
have made a vow.
24 Take these men, join in their purification
rites, and pay their expenses, so that they can
have their heads shaved. Then
everybody will know there is no truth in these
reports about you, but that you yourself
are living in obedience to the law.
But what about Gentiles?
25 As for the Gentile
believers, we have written to them our decision
that they should abstain from food sacrificed to
idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled
animals and from sexual immorality.
The Gentiles were ONLY required to
observe the seven Noahide laws. To learn more they
were allowed to attend synagogue with the Jews.
21 For Moses has been preached
in every city from the earliest times and is
read in the synagogue on every Sabbath.
Paul maintained that Jews should
continue to be circumcised ...
1 He came to Derbe and then to
Lystra where a disciple named Timothy
lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer,
but whose father was a Greek.
2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well
3 Paul wanted to take him along on
the journey, so he circumcised him
because of the Jews who lived in that area, for
they all knew that his father was a Greek.
Remember, since Timothy's mother was
Jewish, so was he. Titus, however, was not. (Galatians
3 But Titus who
was with me, being a Greek, was not
compelled to be circumcised.
As Paul continued to preach a write
to the Gentiles, people continued to misunderstand
exactly what he was saying. History tell us
that not only the Jewish population misunderstood
Paul, the Gentiles also were confused by Paul.
2 Peter 3:15
15 ...Paul also wrote you with
the wisdom that God gave him.
16 He writes the same way in all his letters,
speaking in them of these matters. His
letters contain some things that
are hard to understand, which ignorant
and unstable people distort as they do the other
scriptures to their own destruction.
Not only was their friction
concerning his writings, Paul also had problems with
his traveling companions.
37 Barnabas wanted to take
John, also called Mark, with them,
38 but Paul did not think it was wise to take
him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia
and had not continued with them in the work.
They had such a sharp disagreement
that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and
sailed for Cyprus,
40 but Paul chose Silas.
Paul also was in conflict with the
Roman authorities. At the end of the book of Acts we
read about those who came to listen to Paul while he
was under house arrest imposed by the government:
25 They disagreed
among themselves and began to leave after Paul
had made this final statement: "The holy spirit
spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said
through Isaiah the prophet:
26 Go to this people and say,
You will be
ever hearing but never understanding.
Paul's life ended in 69CE. He
was beheaded in Rome during a time of great
upheaval; one year before the Temple was destroyed
and the Jews were driven from Jerusalem.
Paul was a divider, not a uniter, and
the followers of "the Way" divided into two groups;
those "Jewish" followers known as Nazarenes or
Ebionites, and the "Greek" followers who, years after Paul's death, emerged as the church fathers,
founders of the universal or catholic church.
We can not be totally sure what
from Gentiles on the Sabbath, but
by 90CE the division was
Observing the Sabbath seems to be completely removed from the practices of
most Gentile "Christians".
seem to have been discouraged from attending
synagogue (as was suggested at the Jerusalem
conference). Why would that be? There is a belief (even among
many Jews today) that
a Gentile SHOULDN'T study Torah or observe the Sabbath. That
a Gentile is, in fact, required to BREAK the
Where does THAT belief come from?
Rabbi Moshe Kerr explains:
Its a fundamental mistake
in scholarship to confuse a secondary
commentary for being a primary source!
...The Midrash gives a alligorical story that a
non bnai brit which keeps Shabbot does not get a
"reward". ...Now not getting a reward for doing
a great mitzva and being put to death for doing
a great mitzva seem poles apart. But in fact the
midrash interprets the meaning of "death".
A non bnai brit has no commandment to do
commandments. ...Hence no reward means, even
though they do commandments when their physical
body dies, their soul dies.
We are NOT considered righteous by
the number of laws we keep. If a pagan
observes the Sabbath or studies Torah (things that
he is not required to do) while ignoring the seven
Noahide laws, there is nothing "magical" about
Sabbath observance to gain him a place in the
World to Come. So if a pagan studies Torah or
keeps the Sabbath he merits death (receives no
reward), it however does NOT mean that he should be
prohibited from doing so.
would even bring their sacrifices to the Temple in
Jerusalem. Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh writes:
Jewish doctrine relating to sacrifices, we find
an implicit statement on the subject of the
Noachides. It is the principle that
sacrifices offered in the Temple by Gentiles
ought to be accepted, whereas those brought by
apostate Israelites must be refused. This
obviously assumes that the mitzvot of the Mosaic
Law are not binding upon Gentiles, for no
special authorization would be needed for a
practice which was not only a right but an
obligation. When a Gentile offers such a
sacrifice, he is observing part of the Law
voluntarily. [Israel and Humanity p.246]
What should have been Noahides
worshipping along side of Jews in synagogues
with the same religious faith (varying in
personal obligations), became a totally new
religion. We know from history that Sunday
observance among the Gentiles was practiced
almost from the beginning, and the belief that a
Gentile SHOULDN'T keep the Sabbath may have been a
contributing factor in this.
Gentiles were meeting in their homes, and eventually set up
"churches" as places of worship for the new
faith. The first Christian church buildings appear early in the third
century, and as the physical Christian houses of worship began to take a more
dominant position in society, so did the new faith's political power.
In addition, Christianity became
increasingly hostile toward Judaism.
After the Jews were driven from Jerusalem,
the Gentiles saw this as a sign from God that now
THEY had become the chosen people, and the split
became firm and permanent.
Christians also began to talk about
"abolishing" the law.
Rabbi Benamozegh writes:
not surprising that those Jews who, while
believing in Jesus, still did not intend to give
up the Law for him, were alarmed by the
conversion of that mass of pagans who, in their
ever-increasing numbers, threatened to destroy
Mosaism with the rallying cry of the new
Christianity: "The Law is abolished!" [Israel
and Humanity p.244]
In time, "Christianity" became almost entirely
Greek as the Jewish followers of "the Way"
eventually ceased to exist.
book Early Christian Fathers Cyril Richardson writes:
the New Testament writings, the earliest Christian document we possess is
an anonymous letter of the church of Rome to the church of Corinth. It was
written about AD 96. The most striking facts about early Christian literature are its
rich variety and its almost exclusively Gentile authorship. [pp 15]
the Gentiles were familiar with Greek
philosophy and not with the Torah, they interpreted Paul’s letters from a very
writings of Paul and others of his contemporaries also began to be
considered to be as authoritative as the word of God (the Torah), after
their death. The idea, originally proposed by Marcion, to create a “new”
testament, also began to grow, and for the next couple of centuries became
a political struggle as to what books were authentic, and whose version of
a “new” testament would be used to shape the doctrinal direction of the
Gentile believers who were already far from the Jewish perspective.
the unspoken mysteries in Christianity is; What
happened to Peter? It would seem that the
apostle Peter had been hand picked by Yeshua to
be the leader of the new movement in Judaism.
Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh
and blood has not revealed it to you, but
our Father which is in heaven.
And I say to you, that you are Peter, and
upon the rock, I will build my congregation.
was the one reported to have walked on water,
and was the clear leader in the Gospel stories.
But after Paul's emergence, Peter seems to have
disappeared. Even at the Jerusalem
conference (in about the year 50), Peter seems
absent and James (Yeshua's brother) has emerged
as the leader.
tradition names Peter as the first pope of the
Catholic Church. Protestants, however,
disagree and say that Peter was crucified
upside-down in about the year 69. But a Jewish
tradition says that Peter did not agree with the
direction that the early Greek leaders were
taking "Christianity" and he disassociated
himself with the new religion.
Rabbeinu Tam was reportedly a great admirer of
the apostle Peter, claiming that he was:
devout and learned Jew who dedicated his
life to guiding gentiles along the proper
Tam also gives Peter credit for writing the Nishmat prayer said in the morning service of
the Sabbath and Festivals. According to
this tradition, Peter remained a devout Jew and
became totally separated from the "Christian"
Whatever the case may be, as time went on the leadership of "The Way" lost most
all of their Jewish leaders and the Hebraic perspective diminished as pagan influences grew. The
main body of believers was now moving firmly out of Judaism and into
By 325CE (AD), at the Council of Nicea, church leaders met to codify Christian doctrines, led by the
Roman Emperor himself. Jewish bishops were specifically excluded from the
meeting. It was decided that all Jewish customs must be discontinued and all
Roman customs adopted. The council’s intent was to forbid Christians to practice
circumcision, Sabbath keeping, eating kosher, and to formally acknowledge the
doctrine of the trinity. The concept of a triune Godhead was not universally
accepted, and in some cases the bishops in attendance were threatened with death
to achieve “agreement.”
Observing customs that were
considered to be “Jewish” had become illegal,
and all subjects of the empire
were mandated to accept this profession:
renounce all customs, rites, legalism, unleavened breads, and feast of
Lambs of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspirations, purifications,
sanctifications, and propriations, hymns and chants, observances and synagogues, and the foods and drinks of the Hebrews. In one word, I
renounce absolutely everything Jewish, every Law, rite and custom…”
[Stefano Assemani, Acta Sanctorum Martyrum Orientalium at Occidentalium,
Vol 1 (Rome 1748)] page 105.
customs and the culture of “Christianity” became those of the pagan
society of the Roman Empire including the days that were honored as
“holy”; now those of pagan deities rather than the Holy Days of God.