by Christine Egbert
Did Yeshua 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 it 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 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 it’s the continuation of the Messianic community first established by Yeshua (Jesus). Their Popes, they claim, are not only Peter’s successors, but the “head” of the world wide Christian Church, who stand in place of the Messiah. Thus, every Pope bears the title “Vicar of Christ on Earth”.
What Does Scripture Say?
Scripture tells us that Paul went to Rome after being imprisoned for two years (between 59 and 60) in Caesarea, 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, picking up in Acts 28: 21.
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 Peter’s exchange with the Jewish leaders of Rome, we learn that Peter had never gone to Rome before this encounter. In Matthew 10:5-23, Yeshua instructed Peter and the other disciples to go to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And in 1st Peter 1:1, Scripture tells us that Peter was “an apostle to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion (Israel’s scattered lost sheep) in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” And Galatians 2:7-9, we learn that it was Paul who was “entrusted to spread the gospel to Gentiles. Peter was sent to bring the gospel to the Jews!
How This Misconception Got 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 “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, in Chapter 3, went on to say, “…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…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 7th day Sabbath to Sunday, to outlaw all of Lord YHVH’s Feast Days (Appointed Times, starting with Passover), and to incorporate days which pagans were already celebrating (Easter and Christmas, called Satrinalia)–into Christianity.
What Motivated These Changes?
Thirst for power motivated these un-biblical changes! But power wasn’t their only motivation. Antisemitism was the other driving force. In Eusebius’, Life of Constantine, Vol III Ch. XVIII, it says:
“Let us then have nothing (no Torah, no Feast Days, no Sabbaths, and certainly no dietary laws) in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way.”
Constantine was right! His way was different! But it did NOT come from the Savior of Scripture! The God of the Bible NEVER CHANGES! Israel’s promised Messiah, did not start a new religion called Christianity. In fact, the word Christianity is not found in Scripture, only the word Christian! It’ appears three times (Acts 11:26; 26:28; & 1 Peter 4:16).
This Greek word translated as Christian is “khris-tee-an-os’” (G5546). 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. Furthermore, the word translated as Christian was originally an epithet given to Yeshua’s followers.
WHO WERE THESE CHRISTIANS?
Let’s find out…Acts 11:19-20 says, “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 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’. And according to Strong’s dictionary hel-lay-nis-tace is (now pay attention!) a Greek speaking Jew.
Acts 11:26 is the first of the three (and only three) times the word Christian appears in Scripture. Let’s read it.
“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 in Antioch.”
So you see, these followers of the Messiah, who were dubbed Christians, were not members of some new religion called Christianity (that nomenclature got codified some 300 years later, during the 4th century, by the political power of Rome). These Christians were none other than Greek speaking Jews, Jews who came to faith in their own Jewish Messiah.
Make no mistake, 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.”
HIS PARTING WORDS
Just before Yeshua ascended into heaven, He instructed His disciples to “go and teach all nations to observe all that He had commanded them.” Yeshua never abolished the TORAH! He said that those who break and teach others to break the least of His Father’s commandments would be least in the Kingdom (Matthew 5:17-19). And Paul, in Romans 8:4 , taught that we are given the Holy Spirit so that we can fulfill (do) the righteous demands of the Torah.
Tragically, many of the departures from Apostolic doctrine enacted by Gentiles during the 2nd 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. Many Church Fathers, motivated by antisemitism, failed to study that portion of Scripture the Heretic Marcion had dubbed OLD. Consequently, these men distanced themselves and their followers from everything they thought of as Jewish. This included instructions ordained by the Most High Himself.
By the 4th Century, in spite of this growing error, there remained Jewish believers, faithful to what Yeshua taught. These believers, known as Netzarim (Hebrew for “offshoot of a branch”) faithfully practiced the faith Yeshua had delivered to His apostles. They considered themselves a sect within Judaism. Proof of this is found in the preserved writings of Epiphanius, a 4th Century bishop of Salamis, Cyprus. He 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 letters of the so-called New Testament originally were. Modern scholarship concurs based on otherwise unexplainable “Hebrew-isms” found throughout the Greek manuscripts. So where are these Hebrew documents today? Some, I am certain, are still hidden in Qumran caves, waiting to be discovered. But most of them, I am sad to say, which have not already been destroyed, are probably hidden under lock and key in the Vatican.
The Prophet Zechariah (Zech 14:16) informs us that during the Millennial reign of the Messiah “all the nations that came against Jerusalem” will keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Even the Catholic Saint Jerome wrote of Judaeo-Christians in his day celebrating the “Feast of Tabernacles” and giving it a “millennial significance”. (PL 25, 1529 & 1536-7, Bagatti, Bellarmino, translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p.202).
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 your land 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.”
Circumcision According TO GOD
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.
Exodus 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.
Origen of Alexandria
Here are some unbiblical claims penned by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 A.D.), a man 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.
“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.” If that’s not replacement theology, I don’t know what is. But God’s call, Scripture says, is without repentance (Romans 11:29).
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 by its biblical name, “First Fruits”, but as “Easter”, a day named for the sun-goddess Ishtar, known in the Hebrew as Astarte/Ashtoreth (the pagan Queen of Heaven mentioned in Jeremiah 44).
Easter was 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 in favor of continuing to observe the Messiah’s death and resurrection during what is called Passover week. Yeshua’s crucifixion had always been commemorated on on the 14th of Nissan. Yeshua resurrection as “First Fruits” had always been celebrated on the day following the weekly Sabbath during Passover week. This was the way Yeshua taught John and John taught Polycarp. It was the way the 1st Century church in the east had always commemorated these events.
Anicetus, the Bishop of Rome, saw it differently. Wanting to distance Rome’s Christians from everything they saw as Jewish, Anicetus insisted that the entire church (both east and west) commemorate the resurrection the way they were doing it in Rome (from whence, I am certain, came the motto: “When in Rome, do as the Romans”). But Anicetus, 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, now being smeared by the Romans as the “Quartodeciman” (fourteenth-ers), held fast to the instructions which Polycarp received from John, Yeshua disciple.
Several decades later, in 195, the Bishop of Ephesus, a man named Polycrates, argued with Rome’s new Bishop, Victor, over this very same dispute, 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 14th day 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 14th of Nisan. Then Irenaeus and some others interceded on Polycrats behalf, and Victor relented. But Polycrates’ letter proves that the congregations in Asia Minor had never accepted Rome’s supposed authority. By the 4th Century, when Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea, the number of Jew-hating Gentiles in the Church had grown even more, and the remaining 14thers had lost much of their earlier influence.
Council of Nicaea
Jewish believers were not invited to participate in the council of Nicaea. The Council’s decision regarding Passover and Easter began a process, finalized a few decades later at the Council of Laodicea, which tragically severed the “new religion” known as Christianity from its Hebraic roots. The Roman Catholic Church “added to” and “took away from” Scripture. Hijacking Lord YHVH’s authority, the R.C.C. launched the world into the Dark Ages.
To quote Dr. Ron Moseley, from his book “Yeshua, A Guide To The Real Jesus & The Original Church”, page 39, “Since the first century, the Church, for the most part, has misunderstood the Law, which both Jesus and Paul dearly loved, and by which they both lived…when the early Church gradually moved from Jerusalem to the West, many of the Roman converts who became church leaders retained certain of their pagan practices. As a result, these Roman leaders interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures in the light of their Greek background, imposing on the biblical text a non-Hebraic interpretive scheme. This had the effect of foisting incorrect information into the Church’s theology concerning God’s Law, information that was irreconcilable with the Word of God as taught by Jesus and Paul…Paul never attempted to start a new religion that opposed Torah. His arguments that appear to be directed against the Law were actually against misuse of the Law by those who were putting Gentile congregations in bondage, teaching that keeping the Law was required for salvation.”
A Biblical Rebuttal To Replacement Theology
“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.”