Christianity as a sect of Judaism?

Date: Wednesday, October 13, 1999

Various stories have been told to the world in the "New Testament", as well as in numerous extra-canonical texts, which for one reason or another have not been included in the New Testament.

Many stories are contradictory, but some general facts do come through -- and to Christian lay minds, they are not pleasant, but they are allegedly known and accepted by Christian ministers (according to the authors of the book mentioned at the end of the new section of this posting). I will not even get into the areas of so-called "proof texts" -- which are invariably based on mistranslation's or taken out of context by Christian missionaries.

Many good books have been written showing how the "proof texts" are in error. One example is "The Jew and the Christian Missionary: A Jewish Response to Missionary Christianity" by Gerald Sigal.

Jesus' name in Hebrew was Y'hoshua (Joshua). "Jesus" is the Greek equivalent.

He had brothers:- Joseph, Simon, James, Jude and Jude/Judah/Judas Thomas (Thomas means "twin", hence here we have a word play indicating Thomas was Jude's twin). (There is evidence there were at least two sisters.)

All were born and conceived in the normal manner.

John the Baptist was a first cousin through Jesus's mother's family.

They were devout Jews, members of the Essenes and also of the anti-Roman resistance movement, variously called Lestai (brigands), Sicarrii (dagger men -- on account of the curved daggers they used in political assassinations), Zadokites (after members of the priestly line), Zealots (those who are zealous for the Law) and Nazareans. (This latter term has nothing to do with the town of Nazereth, but of the "Nazarite" oath mentioned in Numbers chap. 6.)

Jesus was not the "meek and mild" person of Christian tradition. He was a warrior prince, a would-be king or prince messiah. He was not the messiah of Christian tradition, but to some he was one of the two the messiahs of Jewish expectation and tradition -- a warrior leader -- one who would hopefully lead the people out of the troubles and tribulation of the day (the other messiah is the "priestly messiah", who would interpret and administer the Law). In that the troubles and strife continued, he failed miserably in his quest.

He was born to a family laying claims to Davidic descent. King Herod knew this -- that he was a potential claimant to the throne he (Herod) usurped -- hence Herod's desire to kill all the male infants to ensure he also killed the rightful claimant.

Even the "Three Wise Men" came seeking "the infant King of the Jews". Later, Jesus did not admit he was a king, neither did he deny was a king (Luke 23.3) -- he quite wisely hedged the question, saying, "You are saying it" (and for some reason Pilate accepted this).

Jesus, besides being a warrior, was a devout Jew and preached Orthodox Judaism. He did not say anything about "doing away with the laws" (as many Christians claim). On the contrary, he preached Jewish Law and abided by it. Refer Matthew 5. 17 - 20. Every last little bit of Law was important to him -- a fact strangely overlooked by those who later preached in his name!!.

Jesus was certainly the leader of a band of warriors: In Luke 22.36 we find him instructing his followers each to buy a sword if they did not already have one, in preparation for a military action he anticipated -- the confrontation with the Roman cohort (600+ armed legionnaires) in the Garden of Gethsemene. As for Judas "betraying" him, Jesus INSTRUCTED Judas (his brother) to do so in order that certain prophesies may be fulfilled. Jesus was extremely aware of what the prophets had foretold -- after all, he was also a learned man -- a biblical scholar and had studied "at the feet" of some of the ablest sages of the time, and took great care that his actions were in accordance with the prophecies., e.g. riding into Jerusalem on an ass (to be greeted as a king).

The recorded fate of Jesus and the other two "brigands" who died with him was crucifixion. This was a punishment reserved by the Romans for those who took up arms against Roman rule.

Unfortunately, following Jesus' death, Paul (the apostate Saul) started to preach a heresy -- that Jesus was a god to be worshipped, a thing Jesus NEVER asked for. In fact, Jesus would have been absolutely horrified at the thought of it. Paul also preached doing away with the Law -- quite the opposite of what Jesus preached. Paul had apparently never met Jesus.

Regrettably, the Pauline tradition eventually held sway (perhaps partly as a consequence of the political and social upheavals of the period), and with the gospels being written anything from 60 - 200 or more years after the events, much hearsay and corruption crept into what was written. A close examination of the gospels actually shows up many direct contradictions (a strange thing for what is supposed to be "truth"). Since then, especially since the "Romanisation" of Pauline teaching, the world has a ghastly, terribly, perverted version of what Jesus was preaching. Actually, it is not recognizable as the same thing. Furthermore, it has assimilated numerous paganisms and pagan symbology (e.g. virgin birth, mother and child, cult of Astarte, etc.), not the least of which is converting the Sabbath day from the seventh day of the week to the first day (Sunday) -- in honor of the pagan sun-god (Sol Invictus), and also -- deliberately -- directly to add further distance between the new religion and its parent Judaism. This was one of Roman Emperor Constantine's reforms.

If you want to know more -- find and read "The Messianic Legacy" (0 552 13182 2) by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln. There is much about this topic in the first section of the book (and a few other surprises in the second section). Their previous book was "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail".

Alan Torrance
New Zealand