The Reasons Why Majority Of Jews Rejected Christian Idea Of Jesus

Let’s understand why ― not in order to disparage other religions, but rather to clarify the Jewish position.

Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
1 Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
2 Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.
3 Biblical verses “referring” to Jesus are mistranslations.
4 Jewish belief is based on national revelation.
But first, some background: What exactly is the Messiah?
The word “Messiah” is an English rendering of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means “anointed.” It usually refers to a person initiated into God’s service by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 29:7, 1-Kings 1:39, 2-Kings 9:3)

1 Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies

What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Specifically, the Bible says he will:
1 Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
2 Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
3 Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
4 Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world ― on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).

If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Messiah.
Because no one has ever fulfilled the Bible’s description of this future King, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah. All past Messianic claimants, including Jesus of Nazareth, Bar Cochba and Shabbtai Tzvi have been rejected.
Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming. Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists.

2) Jesus Did Not Embody the Personal Qualifications of Messiah

1 Messiah as Prophet
The Messiah will become the greatest prophet in history, second only to Moses. (Targum – Isaiah 11:2; Maimonides – Yad Teshuva 9:2)
Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets ― Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended, and thus could not be a prophet.
1 Descendent of David
Many prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)
The Messiah must be descended on his father’s side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father ― and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s side from King David. (1)
According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.
1 Torah Observance
The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), “He does not observe Shabbat!”

3) Mistranslated Verses “Referring” to Jesus
Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text ― which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.
1 Virgin Birth
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word “alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus’ birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.

1 Suffering Servant
Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the “suffering servant.”
In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (“Israel”) are regarded as one unit. Throughout Jewish scripture, Israel is repeatedly called, in the singular, the “Servant of God” (see Isaiah 43:8). In fact, Isaiah states no less than 11 times in the chapters prior to 53 that the Servant of God is Israel.
When read correctly, Isaiah 53 clearly [and ironically] refers to the Jewish people being “bruised, crushed and as sheep brought to slaughter” at the hands of the nations of the world. These descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44).

Isaiah 53 concludes that when the Jewish people are redeemed, the nations will recognize and accept responsibility for the inordinate suffering and death of the Jews.

A Teaching Of Mikvah/Immersion/Baptism

It simply began by wanting to re-familiarize myself with what I always considered to be one of the first acts of obedience after a new Believer accepts Messiah into their spiritual heart —the act of baptism. I felt that this task should be easy enough to refresh myself during a quiet day of Shabbat! But from the beginning of settling into my spiritual feeding, what I thought I knew began to unravel itself, and what I thought I understood became only a shadow of what should be known. The teaching of baptism has haphazardly been taught throughout many generations of the Church Age. But Yehovah, in His love and concern for this last Church Period, is restoring those who deeply seek out His pure ways of worship. Ahhhh . . . how I love His timely teachings! It began in Hebrews, where I read:
Heb 6:1-3
1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.
What Yehovah permitted on this day was the intrigue that caught my eye concerning the wording of verse two which states, “the doctrine of baptisms.”
Baptism(s)! —Plural!
At that point a flood of other verses started to come into my head.
Luke 3:16
16 John (the baptizer) answered, saying to all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
1 Cor 12:13
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
In those two verses alone, it speaks of four types of baptisms:

 the Holy Spirit


 identification of Yeshua within the body of Believers
I always considered baptism a one-time event in life. But now I am realizing that there are different baptisms, indeed! Just as Hebrews 6:2 has now revealed in “the doctrine of baptisms.”

In Hebrews 6:2, the Amplified version reads just a bit different referring “the doctrine of baptisms” as being “ teachings about purifying;” having the word ‘teachings’ pluralized. Along with ‘teachings’ was the word, ‘purifying,’ which brought together for me where I needed to begin. For everything taught in the New Covenant will and should have its foundation laid within the Old.
I began my search by looking up all the verses that I could find pertaining to baptism and purification. I then remembered that a writing had already been done for another study on the historical aspect of purification, so I re-read what had been put together years ago. Once I felt satisfied that I could go no further, I then turned my attention toward other Believers who, like myself, have searched this matter out before me.
My first stop was with Michael Rood, a Messianic evangelist, who has done a three-part series of what he collectively calls, “The Mikvah – Doctrine of Baptisms.” His teaching included six types of mikvah-ings:


 Identification with Yeshua



Yet, I clearly see a seventh that was not mentioned in his teaching: Sanctification
Having had the word mikvah previously introduced in my life, the element that there were many different types took me off guard and still had me a bit puzzled after completing the teaching from Michael Rood. For me, a mikvah was the contained place that pooled the water; whereas, Michael Rood used the word ‘mikvah’ as also the act of being mikvah(ed). I came to accept it to be similar to the wording that we baptize in a baptismal. I had not ever given thought of the place and the act of mikvah being so similarly used, but it simply became a matter of wording within his teaching. This is not to criticize, but to give a bit of explanation to anyone else researching water purification from the Old Covenant and the elements of ‘types’ that are found within the New Covenant.
Because of the teaching from Michael Rood, a door was opened for me to walk through and the understanding was astounding. Very briefly, let me share with you what was gathered directly from his teaching; along with what I understood prior to this research. The act of Mikvah, as related in the first three, have everything to do with the covering over with water:


 Repentant obedience; as in the immersion spoken of in Matthew 28

 Identifying with Messiah through His act of burial and resurrection into a new life

The final four have to do with our spiritual walk as we are covered over, immersed, and engulfed with the Holy Spirit sent from both, the Father and the Son! They are:

Receiving the Holy Spirit; sealing each Believer for the day of redemption Being Spirit-filled by holy fire through His teachings, fruit-bearing, and gifts Sufferings; as we learn His ways by laying down our own self-will Sanctification; being set apart from this world; walking a Spirit-filled life
I am very
that there
new Believer through obedience. I now understand it also to be the immersion of teachings, the fruit-bearing and the gifts that are received from the Holy Spirit; and not to be left unmentioned, our sealing!
appreciative of Michael Rood’s teaching and through it have become intensely aware is so much more to baptism than that of being immersed completely into water as a
The last detail needed here is to offer scripture references for each area concerning baptism(s) by what was gathered from the three-part series of Michael Rood’s broadcast called, “A Rood Awakening.”1 Below, I have selected a few scriptures to fit into each category.
Acts 21: 15-26 (in particular vss. 23-26); John 11:55
Matt 3:11; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 19:4-5
Identification with Yeshua
Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27-29; 1 Peter 3:21;
Mark 1:8; John 14:16, 26; Acts 11:15; Gal 5:22-23; 1 Cor 12:4-11
Acts 2:3-4, 17-21; 2 Cor 3:18; 2 Cor 4:6
Rom 5:3-5; Rom 8:17-18; 2 Tim 3:12;
Romans 8:13-14; 2 Cor 7:1; 1 Thess 4:7-8; 1 John 3:3
Next, I want to bring in the word meanings of mikvah/baptism from the Strong’s Concordance.
OT:4723 miqveh (mik-veh'); or miqveh (1 Kings 10:28) (mik-vay'); or miqve' (2 Chron 1:16) (mik-vay'); from OT:6960;* something waited for, i.e. confidence (objective or subjective); also a collection, i.e. (of water) a pond, or (of men and horses) a caravan or drove:
KJV – abiding, gathering together, hope, linen yarn, plenty [of water], pool.
* OT:6960 qavah (kaw-vaw'); a primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect; (figuratively) to expect:
KJV – gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).

OT:4724 miqvah (mik-vaw'); feminine of OT:4723; a collection, i.e. (of water) a reservoir:
KJV – ditch.2
The word – MIKVAH – can now be easier discerned as to how it is used scripturally within the Hebrew usage of the word. But mikvah went through a total word translation once its concept was written into the Greek text of Yehovah’s Word; for there was no word-perfect Greek translation for this word. So the concept of mikvah was then translated into Greek from the many variations of the word – BAPTO –
NT:911 bapto (bap'-to); a primary verb; to overwhelm, i.e. cover wholly with a fluid; in the N. T. only in a qualified or specially, sense, i.e. (literally) to moisten (a part of one's person), or (by implication) to stain (as with dye):
KJV – dip.
NT:907 baptizo (bap-tid'-zo); from a derivative of NT:911; to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the N. T.) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism:
KJV – Baptist, baptize, wash.
NT:908 baptisma (bap'-tis-mah); from NT:907; immersion, baptism (technically or figuratively):
KJV – baptism.
NT:909 baptismos (bap-tis-mos'); from NT:907; ablution (ceremonial or Christian): KJV – baptism, washing.
NT:910 Baptistes (bap-tis-tace'); from NT:907; a baptizer, as an epithet of Christ's forerunner:
KJV – Baptist.3
From the teaching of Michael Rood to the word comparison of the Strong’s Concordance, I then took a venture onto the internet. There are many who have written on this very subject about baptisms, plural. But one article in particular stood out from the rest. So in conclusion, I would like to introduce some of the introduction which was found on an excellent website which presents a study called, “Mikvah: A Study of Immersion/Baptism” by Peggy Pryor. In part, she states:
“The Greek word for baptism is baptizo meaning to immerse or dip a cloth into a vat of dye. The word is derived from an industry of dying cloth in Lebanon. The vats used to hold the different colors of dye, and the process of placing the cloth into the vats was called baptizo. As time passed the ritual purity process of immersion began to be known as baptism. The Hebrew word for immersion is tevilah and means literally immersing in a ritual bath known as a mikvah. Immersion is the act of washing performed to correct a condition of ritual impurity and restore the impure to a state of ritual purity. It is never for the purpose of cleaning or bathing the body.
“The mikvah/ritual bath was of great importance to the first century Jew. It was understood that if a community or village had only enough money for a synagogue or a mikvah, the mikvah would be built first. The Torah speaks of numerous things that make a person Tomeh/ritually unclean, and a number of processes of purification. The one act required in all purification processes was immersion in the mikvah.
“Life for the average Jew, in the average village, depended on access to the mikvah. A man from the tribe of Levi, a son of Aaron could not assume his office as priest until he had gone through a mikvah. Before a person could be tahor/ritually clean to enter the grounds of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he must be immersed in the mikvah. The severest punishment was imposed on a person for entering the Temple area in the state of tomeh/ritual impurity. A woman in her monthly cycle was required to wear special clothing so all would know that she was in a state of niddah (ritually unclean due to monthly cycle). She would not be tahor/ritually clean until after entering the mikvah. Immersion in a mikvah is an integral part of conversion to Judaism. Without immersion conversion is not valid. There are many more times an immersion in a mikvah is customary, we will endeavor to explore as many as space permits.
“There are two basic parts of Torah, one is the written Torah consisting of the first five books of the Bible, with which we are all familiar. The second part of Torah is just as important but not as well known. It is what we call the Oral Torah or unwritten law. This was handed down orally from generation to generation for about 1,500 years. About the third century C.E. Oral Torah was put into writing by Rabbi Yehudah the Prince and is the foundation of Mishnah. The Talmud was formed after discussion and commentary was added. All Jewish law is derived from this Oral Torah. We might call it the "how to" book. Detail instructions on how to carry out all worship, the festivals, sacrifices, commandments, including ritual purification and preparing the mikvah are in Oral Torah.
“The Mikvah is a ritual bath, the Hebrew word mikvah means a "pool" or "gathering" of water. Two direct references in the Bible to Mikvah are in the Bible. In Leviticus 11:36 it is written:
"Only a spring and a pit, a gathering (Mikvah) of water, shall be clean…"
“The second is Jeremiah 17:12-13 as it is written:
"A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. {13} O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters".
“The word translated hope in verse 13 is Mikvah thus giving us the understanding that Messiah is the cleansing fountain/Mikvah or hope of Israel.
“While Messiah still hung, on the cross a Roman "soldier pierced His side, immediately there came out blood and water"; John 19:34 NAS the opening of the cleansing fountain or Mikvah for Israel. In Zechariah 13:1 it is written:
"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness."4
The entirety of Peggy Pryor’s teaching is very informative. If you are finding that you are benefitting from this study concerning Mikvah/Water Purification/Baptisms, I strongly suggest that you continue on with her five-part series of this subject. Not out of laziness on my part, but I hold a firm opinion that there is no need for me to write further regarding this teaching when Yehovah has already, through His Spirit, used another servant to write the complexity of this topic down. She covers all that I had originally planned to address. Her website can be found below in the endnotes of this study. May Yehovah bless your continued reading as you pursue to learn more concerning “the doctrine of baptism(s).”

The Jewishness of Jesus: Some Religious Implications For Gentile Christians By Jewish Christian

The Jewishness of Jesus: Some Religious Implications For Gentile Christians By Jewish Christian

The one whom Christians cliam is the foundation, the cornerstone of their religion is Jesus or Yeshua, as he was really called, which was a popular variant of Joshua – meaning “the L-rd is salvation.” It is interesting to note that Jesus was himself not a Christian. He in fact was a Jew. He did not go to Mass, or indeed any worship service, on Sunday morning. He went to services on the Sabbath. He did not go to church. He went to synagogue. He did not speak Greek, Latin, Church Slavonic, German, or English. He spoke Hebrew and Aramaic – two semitic languages. He had a Jewish mother, which means he probably looked a lot like other Jews, i.e., dark hair and complexion, perhaps with a so-called Roman nose, not too large in stature. No one addressed him as Father, Paster, Reverend, or Minister. But he was addressed as Rabbi. He did not read the New Testament, nor did he think it the inspired word of G-d. He did read the Hebrew Bible and thought it the Holy Scriptures. He never recited the Rosary, chanted Hospodi pomilui at a litany, nor sang a Wesleyan hymn. Rather, he recited the psalms; he died with one on his lips: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani?” (My G-d, my G-d, why have you abandoned me?) He did not celebrate Christmas and Easter. He celebrated Shavout and Passover – not communion, but a Seder. To repeat, Jesus was not a Christian. He was a Jew. He was Rabbi Yeshua. 

Rabbi Yeshua was not a mediocre, run-of-the-mill, secularized Jew. He was a very observant Jew. He wore tzitzit (the dancing fringes seen on observant Jew today) – recall the story of the woman with the twelve-year flow of blood who but touched the fringe of his clothes. What is really important to remember is that, whatever Luther or any other Protestant interpreter of Paul – or Paul himself – said, Rabbi Yeshua did not ocme to dispense with or do away with the Torah, the Law. He came to carry it out. One Orthodox Israeli scholar, Pinchas Lapide, said of Yeshua:

“never and nowhere broke the Law of Moses, the Torah of Moses, nor did he in any way provoke its infringement – it is entirely false to say that he did… This Jesus was a faithful to the Law as I would hope to be. I even suspect that Jesus was more faithful to the Law than I am – and I am an Orthodox Jew.” – (Pinchas Lapid and Hans Kung, “Is Jesus a Bond or Barrier? A Jewish-Christian dialogue,” [summer, 1977] 473)

Jesus, Yeshua himself makes the claim about keeping the Law, the Torah – until the end of the world. There is no notion whasover of the abolishment of the Law in his words – and it should be remembered that they are recorded by Matthew: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the prophets; I came not to destroy but to carry out” (plerosai, literally, to implement; Mt.5:17-19). Another Israeli Orthodox Jewish scholar put it this way: “Yeshua was “a Torah-true Jew” (David Flusser, Jesus in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten (Reinbeck, 1968), p.43). A Jewish professor of Rabbinics at Cambridge University stated the same idea thus: “Nor can I accept that Jesus’ purpose was to do away with Judaism as he found it. He had his criticisms, to be sure, but he wanted to perfect the Law of Moses, not annul it. The Christian hostility to this law strikes me as a betrayal of Jesus’ teaching” (Nicholas de Lange, “Who is Jesus?” Sidic, vol.12, no.3 [1979], p.12). The scholar of Judaistics, Johann Maier, made the same point: “There is no evidence that Jesus had intended a suspension of the Torah. Rather, he was perceived as so devout that the Pharisees displayed an even positive interest in him and viewed him as worthy or travelling around with. Likewise, the Jewish-Christian community saw no reason to give up the Torah either in theory or practice… In no individual concrete case – neither in relation to the Sabbath healing, nor in ritual practice, nor in the question of divorce – is there a fundamental conflict with “the Law” (Johann Maier, “Jesus von Nazareth und sein Verhaltnis zum Judentum aus der Sicht eines Judaisten,” 1980, pg.95). 

It should be clear upon the briefest reflection that those Christians who attempt to set up some sort of dichotomy between the Law and grace, as if Judaism were a religion only of Law and Christianity were a religion only of grace – whaever they might be – in this regard are not followers of Jesus, of Rabbi Yeshua. He at any rate was committed to the keeping of the Law, the Torah, “as long as heaven and earth last!” and “whoever breaks even the smallest of the commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be the least in the Reign of Heaven.”

The Paul Of Tarsus: A False Teacher Or True Apostle?

Rembrandt’s painting of Apostle Paul

Rembrandt’s “Apostle Paul” courtesy of the National Gallery of Art

Yahushua knew that when He returned to Heaven, Satan would seek to destroy the fledgling Christian Ekklesia. By ridicule, by force, by deceitfulness, Satan indeed tried to destroy what Yahushua had raised up.

To meet the emergency, Yahuwah “gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of . . . Yahushua. (See Ephesians 4:11, 12.)

The goal of this great gift was so “we [could] all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of . . . [Yah], unto a perfect man. . . that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:13, 14)
One wind of doctrine that has been growing in strength is the belief that Paul was a false apostle, brought in by the devil to destroy the new Christian faith. Paul’s warning in Acts is applied to him, as an imposter and apostate:

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:29, NKJV)

Various phrases, once in a while a full text, from Paul’s writings are taken out of context and used to support the contention that he was a false apostle, brought in by the devil to wreak havoc on the “flock” of believers.

These phrases, taken primarily from First and Second Corinthians accuse Paul of:






Speaking NOT on behalf of YHVH;

Using trickery and deceit;

Passing judgment upon others;

Belittling Peter, James and John;

Consulting with Satan;

Holding an exalted opinion of himself;

Injecting his own ideas into Scripture;

Preaching “another” gospel;

Giving faulty marriage counsel;

Telling husbands to start living the single life again;

Dictating “proper” hairstyles for men;

Judging hungry, growling stomachs.

These scattered texts and partial phrases are taken out of context and used as “proof” that Paul himself was one of the ravening wolves he warned against. Taking verses out of context should always raise warning flags in every mind.

Such claims do not regard the context of the surrounding verses; they do not consider the environment in which Paul was raised nor the culture for which he was writing. 

The style of Paul’s writing is consistent with the literary style of the first century A.D. He used a “point-and-counter-point” style of reasoning that was commonly used by the Israelite scholars of his day.

Rejecting the writings of Paul typically does not end with cutting his epistles from the Bible, which account for 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament. Consistency demands that if Paul is a false apostle whose books should be removed from the Bible, then the two books written by his co-laborer, Luke, must also be rejected because Luke clearly supports Paul as an apostle commissioned for Gospel work by Yahushua.

But it does not stop there. If Paul were a deceiver whose writings must be rejected, then the authority of the other apostles is also called into question because the leading apostles, Peter, James and John, accepted Paul’s apostleship:

“. . . when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.” (Galatians 2:9)

The James who extended the “right hand of fellowship” to Paul, was not James, the brother of John, for he had already been martyred by that point. This James was the highly respected step-brother of Yahushua and author of the New Testament book of James. 

If Paul were a false teacher, then the trustworthiness of those who extended to him the right hand of fellowship, must also be questioned. The result is that eight more books of the remaining 11 books of the New Testament must be laid aside. These are:

The Gospel of John

First Peter

Second Peter


First John

Second John

Third John

The Revelation

The only books remaining in the New Testament then would be Matthew, Mark and Jude. Nor are these unassailable. 

The gospels of Matthew and Mark support Peter and John as men commissioned by Yahuwah. But if Peter and John are untrustworthy for accepting Paul as one of them, then the judgment of Matthew and Mark is questionable for accepting Peter and John. The only book left in the New Testament is the single-chapter book of Jude.

list of books that must be dismissed if one rejects the inspiration of Paul 

The real danger in setting aside the writings of Paul, however, is found in the motivation prompting such charges against this most prolific of the New Testament writers.

The whole Hebrew economy revealed the plan of salvation in type and symbol. This was why, when Yahushua wanted to explain His mission the evening after His resurrection, “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27)

Paul was raised and educated as a Pharisee. He was a member of the Sanhedrin. Israelite tradition demanded that any prospective member of the Sanhedrin have the Torah, the five books of Moses, entirely memorized by age 12.

Paul’s education as a Pharisee made him very well-acquainted with the Law as well as what part was merely the traditions of men. This made him an extremely capable teacher of the gospel, rightly dividing between Truth and Tradition.

Paul’s denouncement of the rite of circumcision has led some to reject his writings as a Law-breaker. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul upheld the divine Law as “holy and the commandment holy and just and good.” (Romans 7:12)

Circumcision is one of the statutes. Paul did not argue against circumcision as a statute. He simply clarified that it would not somehow earn one salvation.

The entire thrust of Paul’s ministry was righteousness by faith. Clearly understanding that salvation is by grace alone, through faith, Paul’s writings must be understood in the context of his struggle against the heresy of salvation by works.

All false religions are based on salvation by works, in one form or another. Even the Israelite religion had degenerated into a system of salvation by works under the traditions of the elders which Yahushua repeatedly rebuked.

Righteousness by Faith (Galatians 5:5)Gentile believers, coming out of paganism, were easily lured back into the salvation by works taught by “Judaizers.” The Judaizers claimed to believe in Yahushua as the Messiah, but their influence was to return to the traditions of men as the means to salvation. 

They rejected salvation as a free gift received when one chooses to believe in the Saviour.

Paul’s clarion call to the Gentile believers echoes down to truth-seekers today:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of . . . [Yahuwah]: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9, KJV)

Adopting the traditions of the Jews does not bring one salvation. Wearing tassels and head coverings does not recommend one to Yahuwah. Using Hebrew words that no one else can understand does not make one a better Law-keeper.

Salvation by works is very alluring to fallen human nature. Adopting Jewish traditions, clothing or words can easily make one feel superior to those who do not adopt the same traditions.

Whether the life-style choices are founded on Scripture or are merely Jewish tradition, the point is that salvation by works may feed the ego but will never earn anyone salvation. 

Law-keepers will be careful in diet and dress. But to use it as a standard by which to judge one’s merits, destroys the very essence of the Law which is Love.

The Pharisees rigorously kept the do’s and don’ts of the Law, but neglected love, kindness, justice and mercy. Yahushua told them:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” (Matthew 23:23)

Salvation by works will never save anyone.

“But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of . . . [Yahweh] is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ ” (Galatians 3:11)

Satan knows no one will ever be saved by works. He has led people to misunderstand Paul’s writings and reject the clearest teachings in Scripture of the vital doctrine: righteousness by faith.

Here is the real secret behind the rejection of Paul. Paul’s clear understanding of the Law versus Tradition led him to reject the law as the means of earning one’s salvation. 

Paul taught that the Law should be kept. However, he understood it can only be kept by faith in Yahuwah. 

The only hope anyone has is to cease trying to work one’s way to Heaven. Accept that all the “works of the law” you have performed cannot save you. 

“All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Righteousness by faith means Yahushua lives out His life in you. Your will is brought into perfect harmony to Him. Then and only then is the divine Law perfectly kept.

Paul, an apostle divinely commissioned by Heaven to take the gospel to the Gentiles, has a message for all today who would be saved:

I am crucified with . . . Yahushua: nevertheless I live; yet not “I,” but Yahushua lives in me: and the life which “I” now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of Yah who loved me, and gave Himself for me. (See Galatians 2:20)

Do not be swayed by the varying winds of doctrine. Be rooted and grounded in Scripture. 

Accept the righteousness of Yahushua by faith. You, too, can experience the joys of salvation through faith in the merits of the Saviour. 

Early Christianity Turned To Be Like a Philosophical School

1. Hellenistic philosophies saw themselves as distinctive sects, each focused on a central value/good.
There were, for example, Stoics, Cynics and Epicureans. Each of these had its own attitude toward life and idea of what is the single umbrella good to which one must strive.

Stoics taught that virtue was “the answer” to the question of life. Everything else, all the other values and attachments deemed to be good were subordinate to “unitary good” of virtue. Family, possessions, would always take second place in the event of any conflict in following the ideal of virtue.

For Epicureans the ultimate good was freedom from pain and friendship. And so forth.

For Paul, the single, overriding good was “life in Christ”. Other values such as marriage, the household, business, ethnicity, were secondary. Even the commandments of God in the Jewish scriptures were superseded by Christ.

Yes, Paul’s stress upon worship of only one God and not many, and his “apocalyptic intensification” of these beliefs was Jewish, but Paul ripped them away from their ethnic, cultic and legal Judean contexts.

  1. Hellenistic philosophies were contrary to conventional thinking

Ordinary civic virtue and conventional values were not the way to “happiness” or the “good life” according to Hellenistic philosophies.

The philosophies taught new ways of thinking, new motivations and desires to cultivate. Asceticism was valued.

The founders of the Hellenistic schools were not married and that Jesus and Paul were not married either. Paul challenged both Gentile and Judean norms of culture. The wisdom of God was set in opposition to both Greek and Jewish values.

Again, the structural similarities with the philosophies are obvious.

  1. Hellenistic philosophies led to a new life, a new orientation of the self, a conversion

Stoics taught that the conversion was instantaneous.

Other philosophies apparently ridiculed this Stoic idea of the way to attain virtue and taught, on the contrary, that virtue could only be attained gradually, over time, through a series of graduated steps.

There is, moreover,a literary tradition that becomes most prominent in the early empire in which writers give vivid descriptions of the turmoil and changes in the soul of those who convert to philosophy. Paul uses exactly the same language for conversion to the gospel.

  1. Hellenistic philosophies required techniques to master and remake one’s self

The philosophies agreed that false beliefs about the world led to people having base desires. They agreed, furthermore, that with right instruction and knowledge adherents could conquer their passions and reorient or reconstitute their souls.

Epicureans, for example, believed that the culprits responsible for misery were fear of death and fear of the gods.

Eradicating these false beliefs and destructive desires might begin with a dramatic reorientation, but typically also required a sustained and conscious process of rehabituation with the help of fellow Epicureans. The early empire seems to have been a time that saw an increasing specification of techniques for self-care and self-scrutiny.

Paul was all a part of this philosophical interest when he admonished his followers to strive for mastery with the determination of athletes seeking to win a prize, to be like him just as he himself imitated Christ. And all of this was done for the sake of the one overarching good, the furtherance of the gospel.

  1. Hellenistic philosophies developed the notion of the wise man

Socrates became an early model. He epitomized the ideal man who could stand up against conventional society and demonstrate remarkable self-mastery. Likewise, the founders of Pyrrhonism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cynicism were renowned for their exemplary lives and self-control. As we would expect, myths arose around such figures — Pyrrho, Epicurus, Diogenes the Cynic — to increasingly highlight their excellence of mind and character. Recall the story of Peregrinus who threw himself into the flames to prove how a wise man could remain tranquil even under extreme pain.

Paul, we know, was not beyond listing his own many trials and sufferings to make the same kind of point. And of course we can see the development of the same

  1. Hellenistic philosophies were essentially intellectual activities, renewing the mind Teaching, learning and moral training were central to both Hellenistic philosophical schools and Pauline Christianity.

The existence of Pauline social groups depended on his textual skills, his expertise in forms of esoteric knowledge, and his teaching abilities. In this regard, Paul resembled the teacher of a philosophical school.

Both the schools and Paul’s churches were also vitally concerned with the reading, writing, transmission and interpretation of founding texts. Both were focused on the cerebral sphere. In normative religions the minds were more concentrated on analysing the meaning of the entrails of a sacrificed animal, for example. But in Paul’s churches the central sacrificial meal was the Lord’s Supper and converts were required to examine themselves, their motives, their practices.

Paul instructed his readers to present themselves as living sacrifices; to become anew with the renewing of their minds.

  1. Hellenistic philosophies tended to develop nontraditional (radical) social formations

The focus on both a single principle of good and on mind or character transformation in the different Hellenistic philosophical schools could give rise to experimental and alternative social groupings.

Epicureans looked to the ideal of the originally simple life of the garden, a time when human relations were based on friendship as opposed to the patriarchal and other hierarchical structures that evolved later with urban civilization.

Early Stoic philosophers appear to have been behind a number of political revolutions that attempted to establish more egalitarian societies. Thus, for example,
Zeno’s state had no slavery, marriage, or traditional families. Men and women performed the same occupations, wore the same clothes, exercised naked together, and had sex and children in common. Zeno abolished temples and large public buildings, traditional Greek education, and money. People took common meals, and the glue that held the city together would be rational eros and friendship. 

The second-century Christian, Epiphanes, who tried to institute a community similar to Zeno’s, believed that he was following Paul. 

Later Stoicism shifted to the idea of a world society that transcended cities and might be interpreted in either a conservative or a radical way. 

Philo and Josephus cast the Essenes and Therapeutae as radical philosophical communities.

Comparing Paul’s Christianity with the Hellenistic Philosophical Schools

The above seven characteristics are not just incidental, but relate to what the philosophers and Paul himself understood to be the goods internal to their central practices. . . .

[T]he network of practices that Paul conceived as assemblies of Christ had structural similarities to the Hellenistic philosophies because both organized themselves by similar practices and goals.

The core similar practices they shared were intellectual activities relating to the mind, the self, the character, as per #6 above. Those practices were all directed to one tightly focused and unitary idea of “the good”, as per #1 above.

I have some reservations about Paul’s treatment of Jesus vis-a-vis what we read in the gospels but it would take too long to discuss those points here. So suffice it to say that Paul does present the mind of Christ as the highest good to be emulated or even imbibed. Like the Hellenistic philosophers, Paul inculcated in his followers a single idea of goodness or virtue to which they must always strive and beside which nothing else in life mattered.

Comparing the Jewish philosophical schools

Josephus portrays the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes as philosophical schools that stand alongside the gentile Hellenistic philosophical schools. Those Jewish sects, too, are depicted as intellectually focused since they study and interpret sacred texts and teach certain doctrines. Like those other philosophical schools they are each mutually exclusive, distinct from one another as a consequence of being directed totally towards different ideas of “the good” expressed in different core doctrines.

The Pharisees resembled dogmatic Stoics attributing everything to fate and providence;the Sadducees, like the skeptical Epicureans, made humans free and removed God from dealings with the world (Ant. 2.162-166). (p. 96, my formatting and bolding)

We need to keep in mind that Josephus is keen to present his fellow Judeans in the best intellectual light to other nations so we do need caution in how we read his accounts.

“Material goods” versus “mind goods”

Recall from the first post in this series the central place of economics in normative Greek and Roman religions. Worship was an act of reciprocity: the deity bestowed material blessings and the devotees expressed gratitude with offerings and sacrifices at celebratory festivals.

Paul, on the other hand, taught that the acceptable sacrifices to God were “a disciplined body and a renewed mind” (Rom 12:1-2).

Sacrifices and offering in both gentile and Judean worship were typically described as objects of sublime beauty. All the fruits and other produce set out in decorous ways, the animals adorned with ribbons and garlands, the magnificent processions, these were inspiring spectacles.

By contrast, however,Philosophers were known more for their ragged dirty clothes and their foul smell than an aesthetic. If one wants to call it an aesthetic, then theirs was one of dialogue, books, self-mastery, and endurance in suffering.

Take the ritual of the Lord’s Supper

Paul reminds his readers that it is not even about eating or feasting. Eat at home if you are hungry, he says. The food consumed at the Lord’s Supper is merely symbolic. The ritual was an occasion to reflect, to examine oneself, to cultivate appropriate judgment and social bonding through meditation on the teacher’s words.

The Lord’s Supper does not even have an offering or an offerer. In the foundational story, Jesus does give thanks for the food, but no food is given back. Words and thoughts are enough. Philosophers knew that the gods did not need food. . . .

Paul’s social formations resembled those of Hellenistic philosophers because they were productive of “mind goods” in a way that subordinated other goods. In sum, Paul’s groups were constituted by social formations that “exalted” discursive practices over nondiscursive practices and tended to treat nondiscursive practices and affects as valuable to the extent that agents could attribute discursiveness to them (e.g. that eating bread symbolizes X; one’s sufferings indicate that Christ will soon return).

Paul’s ideal did not survive as Christianity grew, as we well know. The conflict of the two ways of life, the material and the intellectual or discursive, was resolved with the “Church” accepting two classes of Christians. There would be the majority who accepted the limited good and were content to follow a conventional lifestyle; and there would be the small elite who lived as monks and ascetics who devoted themselves entirely to the ultimate good and its intellectual practices.

Thus we live with the vestiges of the Hellenistic revolution up until this day.

Three caveats

  1. “Pauline Christianity was not a neat package, fully integrated and consistent.”

I am thinking here of Paul’s shifting back and forth between Jewishness and “Greekness” as we read in his Epistle to the Romans. Presumably Paul’s Christianity would be far more akin to a Hellenistic philosophy in the view of the gentiles given that they were required to give up much more (idolatry, porneia) than Judeans. One imagines that the “Judean Christians” (presumably led by James) may not have recognized anything resembling a Hellenistic philosophy in their worship.

It might be an interesting exercise to re-read Paul’s letters with both Stowers’ chapter and the arguments for the various substantial interpolations into Paul’s letters in mind.

  1. “Hellenistic philosophers tend to associate as friends. In Pauline Christianity, however, one finds the language of fictive kinship.”

Stowers suggests the difference between a Hellenistic philosophy and Paul’s communities here may be more apparent than real. If a family relationship is fictive then it is not a real family relationship. Paul uses throughout the language of friendship to describe ideal relations, so in practice, when Christians called one another “brother” and “sister” they were in fact relating more as close friends than genuinely genetic family.

  1. “Specific rituals play an intrinsic role in Pauline Christianity that they do not for the Hellenistic philosophies”.

Hellenistic philosophical schools, moreover, did not always completely abandon the religious rituals associated with local civic worship practices. Their discursive practices enabled them to embrace such rituals with a more refined understanding.

Further diluting the caveat is the fact that Christian rituals dispensed with animal sacrifice and almost all of the other practices central to ancient ritual, except for public prayer and ritual washing. But in traditional religion, the latter only had its sense in relation to temples and sacred places, where purity had to be maintained in order to sacrifice. Christian ritual in the first two hundred years was an odd sort of ritual by ancient standards. Its form decisively broke the link with land and lineages of peoples that was intrinsic to traditional Mediterranean ritual. (p. 101)

One final point

An observation that what we see with the rise of Hellenistic philosophies is the emergence of a specialist class of teachers and interpreters who appeared to understand specialist knowledge relating to the soul and mind, and the ways to live “the good life”. These specialists replaced the aristocratic leaders of the traditional ways of worship.

Christianity was a new form of religion based on the new shape of knowledge that depended on expert interpreters and teachers like Paul. It is not surprising, then, that Pauline Christianity might in many respects have more in common with the Hellenistic philosophies than with the traditional religions based in the landed aristocracies of Rome, Greece, and Judea.

The Pauline (Paul-Shaul) Christianity never been recognized by Jesus Apostles and Jewish followers of Jesus!The Paul evidently was to much involved in gentile philosophy instead sticking with Jewish teachings of Our Messiah and Lord Jesus-Yeshua.Shalom.

 “Why Are There So Many Differences in the Gospels?”

Poor Ancient Historians

How is this to be explained? Should these discrepancies be regarded as errors? Were the Gospel writers poor historians? Have they told the truth about Jesus?
Such is the strange and mysterious world of New Testament scholarship. How can we explain these bizarre questions?

According to some of today’s most prolific writers in biblical scholarship, the evangelists — the authors of the canonical gospels — were historians and writers of Greco-Roman biographies. They reach these conclusions via embarrassingly obvious cherry-picking, which leaves them with a pile of incongruous evidence, which they feel compelled to explain away.

If the Gospel writers were historians (as scholars desperately want them to be), then the evidence would indicate that they were pretty bad at it. And if they were writing Greco-Roman biographies (despite all the clear indications to the contrary), their works are missing nearly all of their defining characteristics. At the same time, all of the canonical gospels share these same peculiarities.

Consider the following examples. None of the New Testament gospels provides the name of its author. At least two of them copy another gospel, practically word for word, with no indication that the author is quoting a source. The typical Greco-Roman biographer will openly evaluate sources and decide which is more likely to be true. That never happens in the gospels. The material they present is not “probably true”; it is the very embodiment of truth.

Poor Historians of Ancient History

Even the time-honored tradition of sucking all the oxygen out of the room by churning out enormous books that say essentially the same thing in various combinations is, at its heart, a form of misdirection. For if we ever caught our breath and thought calmly for a moment, we would realize that the question is not, “Why do the gospels differ?” but “Why are they alike in so many ways?”

Seen from the perspective of believers, the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John are disconcertingly different. On the other hand, if we clear our minds of the anxiety of historicity, we see that Mark and John resemble one another much more than they do any “other” Greco-Roman biography.

Notice that both gospels don’t begin with the birth of the subject (Jesus) or even vignettes from his childhood. Instead, they start with John the Baptist. In fact, both John and Mark have the Baptist utter the very first words of direct speech.

Poor Structures Built on a Poor Foundation

I knew once the “gospel == βίος” idea took root in New Testament studies, we would see a rash of awful books built on a rotten foundation. What I failed to see was just how willing nearly all New Testament scholars would be to embrace it. It most certainly has become a consensus view — to the point where scholars will mention it in passing as a fundamental truism, without wasting their valuable time discussing or defending it.

Only by the clumsiest cherry-picking can we have arrived at this point. Calling attention to a difference and writing it off as a compositional device is scholastic malpractice. Insisting that the evangelists were just employing ancient literary techniques when they changed their sources is a lazy cop-out.

An Early Jewish Christianity By Jews and Paul-Shaul From Tarsus

Stop thinking of the “Jewish Synagogue” as the model for Paul’s churches.We must remember that first-century Jews were Judeans. Interpreters should not, in principle, segregate Judeans from Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and so on by creating something suspiciously like a modern religion called Judaism. Even Jews who lived permanently in Rome or Alexandria were Judeans living outside of their traditional homeland and therefore similar to Syrians, Greeks, or Egyptians who lived abroad. 

Judean worship was similar to the worship of other gods

Before 70 C.E. Jewish worship, even in the Diaspora, was centrally focussed on the temple in Jerusalem. The great temple festivals, tabernacles, pentecost, passover, were celebrated by Judeans throughout the empire. These were agricultural festivals that celebrated the gifts of produce and livestock that God gave his people, of success in trading and in acquiring the blessings of children.

Temple time with its agriculturally oriented calendar shaped the calendar of the Jews (sic) in general. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the festivals and sacrifices was a major feature of the period. Many Judeans of the Diaspora directly participated in the temple cultus sometime during their lives. The temple tax that supported the daily sacrifices in the temple and the first fruit offerings that signified the ancient pattern of reciprocity and divine giving of productivity were among the major yearly efforts of Diaspora communities. 

What of the place of the scriptures? It is generally agreed that the reading of scriptures was a very important for the religious life of Judeans.

The Torah, Prophets, and Psalms are . . . absolutely dominated by the centrality of the temple, priesthood and cult. The epics and myths of Judeans were about land, people, and socio-economic reciprocity with God and other Judeans. . . For Judeans, unlike for Christians, to study scripture was to be oriented toward an actual temple, a place where reciprocity with the divine was enacted in the imagined exchange of produce from the land and shop, womb and market. 

Judean religion was focused on the idea of reciprocal exchange with God. God blessed his people; his people offered sacrifices and gifts and communal worship in return. And the temple was the focus of this exchange. The religion of a Judean living 500 miles from Jerusalem differed little in principle from the one living 20 miles away.

Other cultural groups, those from places other than Judea, throughout the empire, recognized these Judean religious customs as counterparts to their own.

The dominant activities of the temple were sacrificial offerings of grain and animal products. Judeans shared these practices with Greeks, Romans, and most peoples of the Mediterranean world. Josephus proudly proclaims that Judeans share the practices of sacrificing domestic animals with “all the rest of humanity” (Ag. Ap., 2.137). (p. 85, my bolding)

Pauline Christianity did not look like a typical religion

— Paul has no altar to Hephaestus in his shop

— and he does not belong to an association of leather workers with a calendar of sacrificial feasts.

— He does not tell myths about how God or the gods gave human crafts, land, and agricultural skills so that they could possess the goods of human life.

— Nor does he instruct members of his churches to collect first fruits and tithes for the temple in Jerusalem.

— He tells those who have business dealings to act as if they were of no importance (1 Cor 7:30-31).

— He does not see his work as a source of goods for supporting a valued way of life organized as a household, but as an instrument to aid his work in teaching others the Christ myth (1 Cor 9:1-27; 4:11-13; 1 Thess 2:9).” 

Early Christian groups did not look anything like the above religious communities. They lacked temples ties to land animal and other types of sacrifice agricultural festivals or festivals for other types of productivity.

They also lacked rituals and other practices related to intergenerational continuity, not having rituals for birth and death sacrificial practices related to purification from birth and death pollution sacred spaces, i.e. altars, so that purity and pollution became moral metaphors nothing like circumcision no marriage rituals or sacrifices (Paul did not even encourage marriage!)

All that is missing here constituted the heart of ancient religion.

Such practices contributed towards ethnic identification. Earliest Christianity did not emulate contemporary religious praxis. Paul’s Christians organized themselves differently.So did the followers of Hellenistic philosophies.