QA: Is the New Testament Christian or Jewish?
Is the New Testament Christian or Jewish?”
There is a common mis-understanding amongst Christians in that they believe that the New Testament (NT) was written ‘to Christians’. This misconception withholds a GREAT amount of Light from those who hold to this traditional view. Christians grow up to believe that the NT was only for Christians, written by Christians and teaching about the Christian Faith.
History totally refutes this – and when one starts realizing this, then the doors of one’s mind start opening for the sublime Truth of the Original True Faith, which Jude 3 commends Messianic believers to return to. The Tanach (‘Old’ Testament) in its last paragraph in the Book of Malachi, also commends us:
Malachi 4:4 “Remember the Law of Moses, My Servant, to whom at Horeb I prescribed Laws and Customs for the whole House of Israel. Know that I am going to send you Elijah the Prophet before My Day comes, that Great and Terrible Day. He shall turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.”
The overwhelming majority of factual evidence though, prove, surprisingly, that the NT was a Jewish book, written almost exclusively by Jews, who were the spiritual leaders of the first Messianic congregations. These congregations, initially, were made up mostly of Jewish believers who came to accept the Jewish Messiah. At its inception, at the Jewish Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), 50 days after His crucifixion, 3 000 Jewish believers accepted Him. This was the birth, not as Christian believers like to believe, of the ‘Christian Church’, but of the Jewish Orthodox Messianic Movement. These original Messianics were in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem when they were “baptized in the Spirit”. They were all Jews – not Christians! Refer to The Oracle of God – A study on Shavuot (Pentecost)
Setting the record straight then, firstly, Messiah Himself was a Jew, an Israelite, born to a Jewish mother. He was circumcised at the age of 8 days (Luke 2:21) and was consecrated on the 42nd day according to Jewish Law (Luke 2:22). He grew up in a Jewish Community and had a Bar Mitzvah in the Jewish Temple at the age (then) of 12, according to Jewish tradition. He astounded the learned Jewish teachers even at that young age, with His Knowledge of the Scriptures (Luke 3:47).
As an adult, He was so conspicuously a Jew, that strangers addressed Him as Rabbi’ (John 1:38, 49; 3:2;26; 6:25; 20:16). He attended Synagogue Services on Sabbaths, “as His custom was” (Luke 4:16). He regularly taught in the Synagogues, “and everyone praised Him” (Luke 4:15).
He most certainly taught Judaism, as Matthew. ch. 5 testifies to. He never claimed or foresaw a ‘new’ religion (Matt. ch 5) and clearly claimed in Matt 5:20: “For I tell you, unless your virtue greatly surpass that of the Scribes and Pharicees, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven”.
The Inscription on His Death Stake labeled Him “King of the Jews”! Even at His Death, He was buried according to Jewish custom in a Jewish Grave. His opponents also, were Jews.
The Apostles who took this Message into the world, were Jews, teaching Judaism, with now a Jewish Messiah included! Thus, the first believers were not Christians, but Messianic Jews. The non-Jews who accepted Him, had to be brought into the Jewish Faith. The New Testament Scriptures speak of controversies, even amongst these Jewish Apostles and teachers, regarding the necessity of circumcision and the extent of the Jewish Laws which had to be kept by converts who accepted the Jewish Messiah.
This is where confusion started crawling into original Messianic Judaism. As more and more gentiles accepted the Faith, the Jewish Message became diluted. Learned theologians became commentators on what they understood was the True Messianic Faith. Non-Messianic Judaism which remained the mainstream of Judaism, fiercely persecuted Jewish Messianism. Gentile anti-Semitism further opposed the ‘new’ Jewish Sect and invaded the fast progressing Gentile Messianic faith – and thus, three centuries after Messiah, Christianity was officially born and constitutionalised in several Decrees and Councils, the most famous of which was the Council of Nicea, 325 AD. Its head Office? Rome with its State Religion of Roman Catholicism. Protestantism only came more than 1000 years later!
History as well as the New Testament confirm that all the first believers were Jews – either by birth or by conversion – who formed a Jewish Messianic Sect, known as Netzarim in Hebrew.
Acts 24:5 “The plain truth is that we find this man (Paul) a perfect pest. He stirs up trouble among Jews the world over and is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.”
Paul admits in verse 14 “It is according to the Way that they describe as a sect, that I worship the God of my ancestors (the Hebrew patriarchs) retaining my belief in all points of the Torah (Law) and what is written in the Nevi’im (Prophets of the ‘Old Testament’)”.
It is clear from this, that this first Messianic congregation was a ‘sect’ of Judaism, practicing Jewish Law and custom. (Refer to the comprehensive academic study with multiple cross ref’s to historians, clergy and academic treaties – “Nazarene Jewish Christianity” Ray A Pritz – Magnes Press, Hebrew University, Jerusalem).
Christians like to refer to the following text to prove that the early Messianic congregation of the Messiah was ‘Christian’.
Acts 11:26 “It was at Antioch that the disciples were called Christians.”
Well after the establishment of the Jewish Messianic Congregation on Shavuot (Pentecost), the establishment of this sect at Antioch probably was the first split away from the original Jewish Messianism to ‘Christianity’. It signified the split between Jewish Messianism and non-Jewish adherents of Messianism.
Some 300 years later, Christianity would be officially instituted and recognized under the auspices of the Zeus worshipping Roman Emperor, Constantine. He had purportedly been converted to Christianity, but the same year that he convened the Council of Nicea (which officially constituted the Trinity and Sunday-Sabbath), he gave private orders for the execution of Crispus, his eldest son and for the suffocation in a hot bath, of his wife of 20 years, Faista.
A literal translation of the Hebrew version of the above quoted text (Acts 11:26, according to a publication of the Trinitarian Bible Society), clearly contradicts their English rendering and confirms the Jewishness of what they promote as the “early church”
Acts 11:26 – literal translation “..and they settled there for a complete year closely with the Qahal…” (not church or ekklesia) – refer “The True Congregation”
“… and taught Torah to many…” (English translation renders: “and they taught many people”)
“… It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.” (Hebrew literal ‘”Meshichi’im” from the root Meschiach = Messiah). (Sterns Complete Jewish Bible renders this verse “…were called Messianic.”
How many Protestants today erroneously believe that the original Messianic Faith was their own brand of Christianity which they follow today? Few doubt it, especially amongst the average church goers.
Only someone who has been raised a Christian, can fail to recognise the Jewishness of this compilation of books known as the New Testament. Prime example – How many Christians today realize that Messiah Himself was an exemplary Jew? They simply assume and blindly accept that He was a Christian! Jews again, puppet the Christian interpreters by accusing Messiah of “having done away with the Torah (Law)!” Nothing can be further from the Truth than this! Messiah is quoted in Matthew 5:17 as stating: “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the prophets. I have come not to abolish, but to complete. Yes, indeed! I tell you, that until Heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud (hyphen, comma) or a stroke will pass from the Torah – not until everything that must happen, has happened. So, whoever disobeys the least of these Mitzvot (commandments) and teaches others to do so, will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches, will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Sterns Complete Jewish Bible)
It is only with this realization of the Jewishness of the NT, that one can truly understand the True Message thereof.
The astonishing and all over-riding fact is that Messiah was NOT a Christian! – and never ever instituted a new non-Jewish religion!
This does NOT mean that Christians are discriminated against, and left without hope of qualifying for entrance into His Kingdom.
Like any country has immigration requirements, God’s Kingdom is no different. It will require a ‘Jewish passport’ though, to enter this ‘Jewish’ Kingdom – to put it very bluntly.
In conclusion, back to our original question: The Book of Revelation, like the rest of Scripture, was to encourage human beings “of every nation, race, tribe and language” (Rev. 7:9), to qualify for citizenship of His Eternal ‘Jewish’ Kingdom.
The various studies on this Web Site has as its purpose to restore this Original True Hebraic Faith as instituted and mandated by the Creator God of Israel and confirmed by Messiah, Who was Himself that Lawmaker and Creator!