Monday, November 11, 2013

Do You Belong to "The Way?" Part 4

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Up to about 90 A.D. "The Way" was considered a sect of Judaism. The beliefs and practices were very much in line with Judaism except that Yeshua was believed to be the Messiah. What about after 90 A.D.? Did the Nazarenes continue in this manner?

The next important event in history for both the Pharisaic Jews and the Nazarenes was the Second Jewish Revolt in 132-135 A.D. The Pharisaic Jews supported Shimon Bar-Kokhba as their leader. Because Bar-Kokhba means "son of the star" and in light of Numbers 24:17, he was believed to be the Messiah.

Numbers 24:17 (KJV)
17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

However, the Nazarenes, knowing that Yeshua was the Messiah and had already come, refused to support Bar-Kokhba. The Nazarenes left the army. They were then labeled as traitors, deepening the divide between the Pharisaic Jews and the Nazarenes. Eventually, Rome, under the Emperor Hadrian, put down the revolt, plowed Jerusalem, and forbade any Jews from living there. Hadrian changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and the name of the region to Syria Palestina. He outlawed Torah study, circumcision, Sabbath observance, and other Jewish practices (The Bar-Kokhba Revolt 132-135 CE, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/revolt1). A Gentile Christian named Markus was made Bishop of Aelia Capitolina.

With the increased persecution of the Jews at this time, the desire for Gentile Christians to distance themselves from the Jews became even greater. Gentile Christian places of worship existed next to Nazarene places of worship in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.

At the Council of Nicea in 325 Christianity was basically standardized. The Nazarenes were excluded. Jewish practices were banned. Instead of Saturday Sabbath, the "Day of the Sun" (Sunday) was substituted. Nazarenes were called apostates. From this point on many of the Nazarenes fled the Roman Empire to the Parthian Empire where they assimilated with the Nestorians. Many were also wiped out because of the encroachment of Islam. The Nazarenes eventually disappeared from history probably around the fifth century.

"The Way" was the sect of Judaism that Yeshua's disciples carried on after their Master's death. Historically, they continued in existence at least until the fifth century. Their continued observance of Torah, which is historically verifiable, should cause all believers today to reexamine the beliefs and practices of the Christian church that we have inherited. We have long followed a pagan/Christian amalgam that should be rejected. If the church desires to be like first century Christianity, we must look beyond our current understandings and seek out those truths that were contained in "The Way."

(Much of this information came from Moreh ben Friedman, "What is Nazarene (Netzarim) Judaism?," www.yashanet.com/library/nazarene_judaism and Moshe ben Shaul, "The Nazarenes," www.yashanet.com/library/temple/nazarenes.)

4 comments:

  1. Hallelu-Yah.....The Way....Yahshua's Way.

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  2. Hallelu-Yah.....The Way...Yahshua's Way.

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  3. Amen. Most people have no idea just how much influence this Council and the six that followed had and just how they affected Christianity when they incorporated many of the pagan traditions and ways that we still practice today. While I am not familiar with “The Way,” I agree that if the true Church, the body of Christ desires to follow him, we must look beyond our current understandings and seek the truth. Awesome teaching.

    Blessings,
    KW

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    1. Thank you, Kingdom Worker!

      It saddens me to think of the paganism that is so overwhelmingly embraced by Christianity. What is perhaps even worse, is that when the paganism is pointed out many don't seem to care. Some are even proud that Christianity has "taken over" so many pagan elements, as if we can somehow make them pure by Christianizing them.

      Blessings, my friend!

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