Did Yeshua Come To Start A New Religion?
by Christine Egbert
Translation errors create big problems, even seemingly inconsequential mistakes like rendering a phrase written in the “future-perfect” tense as if it had been penned in “past-perfect”. This is exactly what happened when the KJV (as well as some others) translated Matthew 16:19 as: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
The passage should have been rendered (and is in the Literal Translation) as “whatever you bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven. And whatever you loose on the earth shall be, having been loosed in Heaven.”
This L.T. version is consistent with the Greek “estai dedemenon” and “estai lelumenon,” which are in the periphrastic “future” (not the past-perfect) tense. Literally it means “shall be, having (already) been bound,” and “shall be, having (already) been loosed.”
When correctly translated this passage remains consistent with God’s warning not to add to or take away from his Word, and with the Lord’s Prayer, which says: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Yeshua never gave Peter the right to change His Father’s established Law (as the Catholic Church falsely claims). Yeshua fully expected Peter—just like He expected Moses—to govern in accordance with His Father’s instructions and not to make up his own as the Roman Catholic Church has been doing since the 4th Century onward. For as Psalms 111: 7-8 says, “His commandments, all His judgements, are sure. They stand fast forever and ever.” These are the keys to God’s kingdom.
Was Peter The First Pope?
The Roman Catholic Church claims that Peter was Rome’s first Bishop and their first Pope. They also claim that the RCC is a continuation of the Messianic community established by Yeshua (whom they call Jesus), which was established (or so they claim) on the Feast of Shavuot (which they call Pentecost). Their Popes, they claim, are not only Peter’s successors, but are the head of the world wide Christian Church. Their Pope stands in the place of the Messiah, thus bearing the title “Vicar of Christ on Earth”. Their Bishops, in turn, represents the Pope in each RCC parish.
What Does Scripture Say?
Scripture tells us that Paul went to Rome after being imprisoned for two years (between 59 and 60), in Caesarea, Judea, under the reign of Governor Felix. Acts 28: 17-22, tells of Paul’s first meeting with some members of Rome’s Jewish community. Let’s read it:
Acts 28:17-22 Three days later Paul sent for some of the most important Jews. When they came together, he said, “My brothers, I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our fathers. But I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. (18) They asked me many questions, but they could not find any reason why I should be put to death. So they wanted to let me go free. (19) But the Jews there did not want that. So I had to ask to come to Rome to have my trial before Caesar. That doesn’t mean I am accusing my people of doing anything wrong. (20) That is why I wanted to see you and talk with you. I am bound with this chain because I believe in the hope of Israel.”
Act 28:21 The Jews answered Paul, “We have received no letters from Judea about you. None of our Jewish brothers who have traveled from there brought news about you or told us anything bad about you. (22) We want to hear your ideas. We know that people everywhere are speaking against this new group.”
In light of Peter’s exchange, with these Jewish leaders in Rome (some of whom became believers in the Messiah) about those Jews in Jerusalem who were not, we learn that Peter had never gone to Rome before this encounter, otherwise he certainly would’ve already spoken to these Jews about Paul and the Jewish sect Scripture calls the way. Not to mention, in Matthew 10:5-23, Yeshua instructed Simon Peter and the other disciples to go to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And in 1st Petter 1:1, we learn that Peter was “an apostle of Yeshua the Messiah to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion (Israel’s scattered lost sheep) in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” And in Galatians 2:7-9, we learn that Paul was “entrusted to spread the gospel to Gentiles, while Peter was sent to bring the gospel to the Jews.
So How Did This Lie Get Started?
In the 2nd century a man named Irenaeus wrote a book titled Against Heresies, in which he claimed that both Peter and Paul established the church at Rome. Wanting Rome to be made the sole authority, the epicenter, for all Christianity, he asserted a “preeminence” for Rome’s congregation, exalting it above all others. In Book III, Chapter 1, Irenaeus wrote, “Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, laying the foundations of the Church.” Irenaeus then goes on to say, in Chapter 3, “…of the very great, the very ancient, and universally [catholic] known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul…and it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority.”
Irenaeus’ writings laid the groundwork for Constantine in the 4th century to change the 7thday Sabbath to Sunday, outlaw all of YHVH’s Feast Days (Appointed Times), including Passover, and to mandate certain holidays which pagans already celebrated–Easter and Christmas–to be incorporated into Christianity.
Motives For Rome’s Mandated Changes
Was thirst for power the Roman Catholic Church’s only motive in demanding these changes in the 4th century? Absolutely not! Antisemitism was the other driving force. In Eusebius, Life of Constantine, Vol III Ch. XVIII, it says: “Let us then have nothing in common (no Torah, no Feast Days, no Sabbaths, and certainly no dietary laws) with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way.”
While Constantine certainly received a “different way”, that different way did NOT come from the Savior of Scripture, Yeshua. Nor did it come from YHVH, the God of the Bible, Who never changes. Yeshua, Israel’s promised Messiah, did not come to start a new religion called Christianity. In fact, the word Christianity is not found in Scripture, only the word translated as Christian! It’s found in Acts 11:26; 26:28 & 1 Peter 4:16.
This Greek word that is translated as Christian is G5546, khris-tee-an-os’. It means a follower of Christ (which is Χριστός, Christos G5547, taken from G5548 “anointed”). Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Messiah, and Christian is an epithet given to those who follow the Messiah.
SO WHO WERE THESE SO-CALLED CHRISTIANS?
Acts 11:19-20, “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they came to Antioch, spoke unto the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Yeshua.” Now the KJV translates Hellenists as “Grecians,” but the Greek word is Ἑλληνιστής, hel-lay-nis-tace’, which according to Strong’s dictionary is a Greek speaking Jew.
Acts 11:26, the first of three (and only three) biblical uses of Christian, says this, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the ekklesia (a called out congregation), and taught many people, and the disciples were first called Christians (from G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah) in Antioch.”
So you see, those followers of the Messiah who were dubbed “Christians” were not members of some new religion called Christianity. They were Greek speaking Jews who came to faith the very Jewish Messiah.
Israel’s Messiah, whether you call Him Yeshua or Jesus, did NOT come to start a new religion! Yeshua came ONLY to speak His Father’s words and to do His Father’s will.
John 12:49-50 “For I did not speak from Myself, but He who sent Me, the Father, He has commanded me what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His commandments are everlasting life. Then what things I speak, as the Father has said to Me, so I speak.”
Just before Yeshua ascended into heaven, He instructed His disciples to go and teach all nations to observe all that He had commanded them, which were His Father’s commandments. Yeshua never abolished the TORAH, for He said that those who break and teach others to break the least of His Father’s commandments will be least in the Kingdom (Matthew 5:17-19). And Paul wrote in Romans 8:4 that we have been given the Holy Spirit so that we can fulfill the righteous demands of the the Torah.
Tragically, many of the departures from Apostolic doctrine enacted by Gentiles during the 1st through the 4th centuries have been accepted by mainstream Christianity as foundational to the faith, rather than what they are, departures from Biblical truth. This reactionary, anti-Semitic trajectory severed Messianic Judaism (Christianity) from its original God-ordained form. So-called Church Fathers, motivated by pure hatred, distanced themselves from everything they (ignorantly) associated with being Jewish, laws that were ordained by the Most High Himself.
In spite of this, by the 4th Century, there were still many Jewish believers faithful to what Yeshua and the apostles taught. These Jews, known as Netzarim (Hebrew for “offshoot of a branch”) faithfully practiced the faith handed down from Yeshua to His original apostles. And like those apostles, they also considered themselves a sect within Judaism. Proof of this can be found in the preserved writings of Epiphanius, a 4th Century bishop of Salamis, Cyprus, who wrote:
“But these sectarians did not call themselves Christians, but “Nazarenes.” However, they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as do the Jews…They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion–except for their belief in Messiah. For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that God is one, and that his son is Yeshua the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law, the Prophets, and the Writings are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law–circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest–they are not in accord with Christians…. they are nothing but Jews…. They have the Good News (gospel) according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this in the Hebrew alphabet as it was originally written (Epiphanius; Panarion 29).
Did you catch the fact that the gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew?…as I am sure all the books of the so-called New Testament were, based on all the otherwise unexplainable “Hebrew-isms” found in Greek manuscripts. So where are they today? Some, I am certain, are still in Qumran caves, waiting to be discovered, but most of them, I am sad to say, are probably hidden under lock and key in the Vatican or have simply been destroyed.
Dialogue with Trypho (138A.D.–161 A.D.)
“We too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all you festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and the hardness of heart. The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and your cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of yourland be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men…as I stated before it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observance of the sabbath as a mark.”
Justin Marter’s words drip sarcasm, hatred, and colossal ignorance of what the Sacred Scriptures teach.
Gen 17:11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. And it shall be a token of the covenant between Me and you.
Gen 17:14 And the uncircumcised male child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.
Exo 12:48 And when a stranger shall stay with you, and desires to keep the Passover to YHVH, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it. And he shall be as one that is born in the land. And no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.
Isa 52:1 Awake! Awake! Put on your strength, Zion; put on your beautiful robes, O Jerusalem, the holy city. For never again shall come to you uncircumcised and unclean ones.
Ezekiel 44:9 So says Adonay YHVH: No son of an alien, uncircumcised of heart and uncircumcised of flesh, shall enter into My sanctuary, or any son of an alien among the sons of Israel.
Exo 20:11 For in six days YHVH made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore YHVH blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it.
Exo 31:13 Speak also to the sons of Israel, saying, Truly you shall keep MY Sabbaths. For it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I am YHVH Who SANCTIFIES YOU.
Feast Days (Mo’ed/ Appointed Times)
Lev 23:2 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, The feasts of YHVH, which you shall proclaim holy convocations, even THESE are My APPOINTED FEASTS.
Ignorance Expressed By Gentile Church Father,
Origen of Alexandria
Here are some unbiblical ravings penned by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 A.D.), whom the “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy” describes as “one of the greatest Christian theologians.” They call his treatise “On First Principles” a seminal work of Christian Neoplatonism. But old Origen either forgot (or more than likely never knew because he would not study the so-called OLD testament because of his hatred for the Jews) that God’s call on Israel, according to Romans 11:29, is without repentance.
Yet Origen wrote:
“We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming this conspiracy against the Savior of the human race…hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election.”
Polycarp, a pupil of the apostle John, and Bishop of Smyrna (in Asia Minor), lived between 70 and 155 A.D. The Church in Rome began referring to the day following the weekly Sabbath, not as “First Fruits” but as “Easter”, named for Ishtar the pagan sun-goddess.
Easter became a divisive issue between the churches of Asia Minor in the east and those of Rome in the west. Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, who’d been discipled by John, one of Yeshua’s original 12 disciples, argued for continuing to observe the Messiah’s death and resurrection during Passover week. His crucifixion was commemorated on on the 14th of Nissan and Yeshua as the “First Fruits of the resurrection” on the day following the weekly Sabbath during Passover week. This was the way Yeshua had taught John and John had taught Polycarp. And it was the way the 1st Century church in the east had always commemorated these events.
Anticetus, the Bishop of Rome, saw it differently. Wanting to distance Rome’s Christians from everything they saw as Jewish, Anticetus insisted that the entire church (both east and west) must commemorate the resurrection the way they had been doing it in Rome (from whence, I am certain, came the motto: “When in Rome, do as the Romans”). But Anticetus, Rome’s Bishop, could not convince Polycarp to change. So they agreed to disagree. Rome would celebrate Easter Sunday and believers in the assemblies of Asia Minor, who were now being smeared by the Romans as “Quartodecimians” (fourteenth-ers), held fast to the instructions Poycarp had received from John the disciple of Yeshua.
Several decades later, in 195, the Bishop of Ephesus, named Polycrates, argued with a new Bishop of Rome named Victor, over this very same dispute, as recorded by the historian Eusebius: “There was a considerable discussion raised about this, in consequence of a difference of opinion respecting the observance of the paschal [Passover] season. The churches of all Asia, guided by a remoter (older) tradition supposed that they ought to keep the fourteenth day of the moon (Nisan) for the festival of the Savior’s passover, in which day the Jews were commanded to kill the paschal lamb …persevering in observing the custom handed down to them from their fathers (Polycarp, John, Yeshua), [they] were headed up by Polycrates. He, indeed, had also set forth the tradition handed down to them in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome. ‘We,’ said he, ‘therefore, observe the genuine day; neither adding there to nor taking there from… Moreover, John, who rested upon the bosom of our Lord and also Polycarp of Smyrna, both bishop and martyr . . . Thraseas … Sagaris … Papirius and Melito … All these observed the 14thday of the Passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith…For there were seven of my relatives [who were] bishops, and I am the eighth; and my relatives always observed the day when the people (i.e., the Jews) threw away the leaven.”
Furious with Polycrates, Victor, the Bishop of Rome, sought to excommunicate Polycrates and every Christian who held to observing the 14thof Nisan. Then Irenaeus and some others interceded on Polycrats behalf, and Victor relented. But Polycrates’ letter proves that the congregations in Asia Minor never accepted Rome’s supposed authority. By the 4th Century, when Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea, there were even more Jew-hating Gentiles in Church, and the few remaining (14thers) had lost their earlier influence.
Council of Nicaea
At the council of Nicaea, no Jewish believers were allowed to participate. Had any of Yeshua’s 12 disciples still been alive, they too would’ve been blackballed. That Council’s decision regarding Passover and Easter began a process that was finalized a few decades later at the Council of Laodicean which severed this “new religion” known as Christianity from its original Hebraic roots. The Roman Catholic Church’s self-proclaimed possession of the Keys of the Kingdom gave them a wrongly-presumed right to “add to” and “take away from” Scripture and to redefine doctrine which the apostles had learned from the Messiah Himself. Rome’s hijacking of YHVH’s authority launched the world into what history calls the Dark Ages.
Rebuttal To The RCC & Her Protestant Stepchildren’s
“If his sons (Israel) forsake My Law, and do not walk in My judgments; if they profane My statutes and do not keep My commandments; then I will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their sins with stripes. But I WILL NOT ANNUL MY MERCY from him, and I will not be false in My Faithfulness. I will not profane My Covenant, nor CHANGE what goes from My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His Seed (Israel) shall be FOREVER, and his throne as the sun before Me. Like the moon, it shall be forever a faithful witness in the sky.”
Romans 11:2-27 “For I would not, brethren, that you should be IGNORANT of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own CONCEITS, that blindness in PART has happened to Israel, UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles come in. (26) And so ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED, as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. (27) For this is MY COVENANT unto THEM (ALL Israel) when I shall take away their sins.”