THE RECLAMATION OF JESUS
The Christian church went on a diabolical offensive against the Jewish people during
its formative years. It started pretty harmlessly with the assertion that their movement was a continuation of Judaism based
on the Torah. They adopted this strategy because the Romans tolerated Judaism because it was an ancient religion even though
the Jewish God was an exclusive God whose worship precluded the acceptance and worship of other gods. Romans were pluralistic
and all of their gods were worshiped without prejudice. Since the Christian movement was new and in a proselytizing mode,
its God’s exclusivity was viewed as treason against the Roman gods upon whom the Romans relied on for every element
of their quality of life. When a flood, drought, plague, etc. occurred, Christians were persecuted. This 'continuation
of Judaism' strategy positioned the Christian movement as the biblical extension of the ancient Jewish religion in order
to gain acceptance and to stop the terror under which they lived.
a short time, this alignment strategy became "replacement theology". And now Christians claimed that their movement
was the continuation of and the true expression of the Hebrew Bible. Christian clerics beat every word, phrase and idea in
the Bible to a pulp to squeeze out every conceivable and ridiculous indicator that Jesus was the predicted Jewish Messiah.
Jesus, i.e., Yehushua, himself could never believe what they wanted Jews and others to accept. They aggressively promoted
the notion that the Jewish people had not only failed to evolve according to the Torah’s dictates and were therefore
no longer in compliance with their ancient religion, which only the Christians were observing faithfully, but were no longer
God’s chosen people. This replacement theology is prevalent today among modern Christians worldwide. The libels of early
clerics such as Oregin and especially the even more diabolical Melito, who decided in 190 A.D. (C.E.) that Jesus was God and that therefore the Jewish people murdered God, have yet to be redressed. Even Paul's ( if there ever
was such a person ) lies that followers of Jesus were forbidden to circumcise, keep kosher and follow the Torah
laws by which Jesus lived and died, still
be repudiated by honest Christian clerics who fancy themselves later day followers of Rabbi Yehoshua !
When the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and built the first Christian city,
Constantinople on the site of Byzantium, Christian clergy could have confessed at any time and certainly by the Council of
Nicea in 325 C.E. that the Jews were actually a separate people and deserving of at least the same respect and tolerance they
previously enjoyed. This they did not do! And as Christianity spread throughout the empire, Jews began their two millennia
history of terror as they were persecuted throughout Christendom as Christ killers and the children of the devil. As of yet,
no Christian groups, not even the Southern Baptists, and not even Pastor John Hagee, whose sentimental apology for this history
of persecution appeared on the first page of the Jewish Press in 2008, came forward and apologized for and repudiated the
insidious lies propagated and proliferated by early church fathers and canonized in the so-called new testament, in order
to generate, inflame and direct the wrath of the Roman and later empires onto the Jews. Anyone who reads through the New Testament’s
gospels can see that as time progressed, its writers portrayed the Jews as being more and more guilty and the Romans as being
more and more innocent. In Matthew, the Jewish crowds are described as having demanded Jesus' death while poor Pontius
Pilate washed his hands of the blood and the Jews said that Jesus' blood would be upon the entire nation of Israel and
their descendants forever. In John, the Jews are described as having said that if Pilate doesn't kill Jesus that Pilate
is not a friend of Caesar. In other words if Jesus is not killed, they would complain to Caesar. The most audacious of these
lies occurs in a Coptic sect which raised Pontius Pilate to the level of sainthood! I find it dishonest for modern Christian
scholars to accept the results of the Council of Nicea. If the identity of Jesus was transformed so dramatically inconsistent
with the real Jesus and the patron of the event was a pagan emperor with a distinct agenda, why would no one today question
his motives and the results of the Council if they really love Jesus ?
Jews for their part had also been transforming and reinventing themselves from Torah Jews to Talmudic Jews. This began with
their exile to Babylon after the Babylonians conquered Israel in 586 B.C.E., and destroyed the Temple of God in Jerusalem,
which was the focal point of Jewish worship. After 80 years of ritual crying by the rivers of Babylon, their captivity came
to an abrupt end. Cyrus, the new conqueror, had a dream. The God of Israel had visited and anointed him with the mission
to restore the nation of Israel to their land and to rebuild the Holy Temple. Cyrus rose to the task and promoted, financed
and protected the first post biblical Zionist movement. Unfortunately, the Jews own sentiments weren’t true to their
80 years of tears and longings for Jerusalem. Only about 50,000 of the exiles returned with Ezra and Nehemiah. That’s
not even two tenths of one percent! So much for crying beside the rivers of Babylon. The new Babylonian Jews had established
academies and a council of sages. These sages busied themselves with interpreting the Laws of the Torah and answering questions
regarding the adjustment of the Jews to their new life in exile. The succession of commentaries on the Torah, called the Mishna,
and commentaries on the commentaries, called the Gemarah, led to the Babylonian Talmud and the Jewish laws, called halachot.
Their was a group of Jews who disagreed with the sages’ interpretations of the Torah and their fabrications of these
halachot. They were the Karaites who opposed the liberal interpretation of God’s Torah laws and the substitution of
man made laws, which contradicted the Torah. One of the chief sages of Babylon, Saadia Gaon, gained preeminence by attacking
the Karaites as being heretics. They were eventually excommunicated.
the Jews built a modest Temple under the direction of Zerubavel. And began their lives under the direction of the sages of
Babylon. After about 300 years, Alexander the Great included Israel in his necklace of conquered nations. The Jews found themselves
in the midst of a conquering force, which tempted them to participate in the liberal life of pagan Greece. Most Jews availed
themselves of the opportunity to become Hellenized and partook of Greek civilization with great enthusiasm. The Jewish sages
in Jerusalem began to explain and interpret the Torah laws liberally to allow for some degree of participation in this new
and attractive culture. These porshim, or Pharesees, i.e., explainers of the laws were the forerunners of today’s rabbis.
After a tragically short – lived career, Alexander died. On his deathbed
he gave his empire to his generals. In time warfare broke out between them. The descendants of two generals now flanked Israel.
The Seleucids in the north were at war with the Ptolemies in the south. The Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes fancied
himself a god and between 175 and 164 B.C.E. required that even the Jews make sacrifices to him in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Jews were killed for observing circumcision, Sabbaths and holidays, dietary laws, etc. The Torah was burned and those caught
teaching it were killed. One of the emperor’s deputies arrived in the town of Modiin and ordered
that sacrifices to the emperor be made at the alter of God. The priest, Mathetyahu of the Hasmonean dynasty began a revolt
in 166 B.C.E. by killing the Greek officer as well as the Jew preparing the sacrifice. After Mathetyahu died, his sons, under
the leadership of Judah Maccabee, defeated the Greeks, sanctified the Temple in Jerusalem and restored Jewish sovereignty
over the country. This is the history behind the Chanukah celebration. The Hasmonean dynasty now occupied both their
divinely ordained priestly role over the Temple and all ritual functions as well as the secular administration of the country,
which was reserved for the house of David of the tribe of Judah.
also called Pharisees, were at odds with the priests, known as Tzadokim or Sadducees. The Pharisees professed that their authority
over Jewish life was based on an oral Torah, which was given to Moses on Mount Sinai at the same time as he received the written
Torah. The Sadducees, like the Karaites, denied the existence of an oral Torah. Lauterbach, in his book, Rabbinic Essays,
calls the oral Torah a mythology.
By the time the Roman conquerors established their rule
over Israel just before the beginning of the Common Era, there were a few established factions influencing the nation. The
Pharasees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Sicari were the main groups. The Romans made Herod, an Idumean from Edom in
the south, the King of Israel. The Idumeans had been forcibly converted to Judaism. Herod was King when Yehoshua ben Yosef
was born in Bethlehem. His mother, Miriam and his father escaped to Egypt to avoid the slaughter of the male children, one
of whom Herod feared would supplant him as king.
Herod was a great builder
and he constructed a magnificent Temple around the existing, functioning one built by Zerubavel. It was about 80 years under
construction, but the Romans cut its life short after only 8 years of operation.
During Rabbi Yehoshua’s ministry it was common for rabbis to debate points of law. However, Yehoshua was at
odds with the other Pharisees even though rabbinic discourse was filled with controversy. He was criticized for healing on
the Sabbath. He was criticized for allowing his followers to walk through a wheat field on the Sabbath where they inadvertently
dropped grains and deliberately picked and chewed on grains of wheat. The other rabbis considered this a desecration of the
Sabbath. The controversy surrounding Yehoshua was due to the rabbinic mindset that developed with the sages in Babylon and
Israel. It was this mindset, which was ultimately crystallized in both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, which were canonized
in its current, form about 550 C.E. By this mindset, any individual element of work, which was proscribed
on the Sabbath, was itself considered as if it were the proscribed work. So since harvesting includes the picking of grains
of wheat, the picking of a grain to chew on as one traverses a field or the inadvertent dropping of a grain is also considered
work which is proscribed by the laws of Sabbath.
It was only recently that
Jewish law was changed to accommodate people who had sinks with drainpipes, which emptied directly out onto the ground. Heretofore
they were prohibited from washing dishes on the Sabbath. Now they are permitted to wash dishes and flush toilets too - provided
their intention was not to irrigate! This rabbinic mindset, which was the seminal psychological dynamic
underlying Jewish law, led to the establishment of Jewish tradition, called the 'mesorah', and Jewish life for two
During Yehoshua’s ministry, the rival factions were like
political parties. King Herod was finally gone and Pontius Pilate was the Roman procurator of Palestine. The Hasmonean priests
or Sadducees were allowed to retain authority over the people. They were limited in that only the Romans could decide capital
cases and carry out the death penalty. They still opposed the oral law professed by the Pharisaic rabbis and they denied the
prophesy of the coming of the Messiah from the house of King David, which was taught by the rabbis. In an epoch of liberal
interpretations, why would they acknowledge another temporal authority, which denied their position? Another group, the Essenes
divorced themselves from all the corruption associated with Jerusalem’s competing factions and settled into communities
in the Judean desert. Like the Sadducees and the Karaites, they denied the existence of the oral law professed by the Pharisees.
It was the Essenes who preserved biblical texts, which were found almost 2000 years later in 1947 at Qumran. All factions
hoped and prayed for God to send a deliverer who would free them from the Roman yoke and restore Jewish sovereignty over Israel.
One group however, the zealots, known as the Siccari, actively instigated revolution.
Very little is actually known about Rabbi Yehoshua. One of the foremost scholars in the field of the historical Jesus
is Professor Bart Ehrman, whose research into the life of Jesus, indicates that Jesus taught that the biblically predicted
apocalypse was at hand. Jesus apparently viewed himself as being somehow intimately involved with the restoration of the rule
of the Davidic dynasty over Israel. That he chose to come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover was not unusual, because the
Torah required all males to appear at the Temple to worship God during the festival of Matzot. If he was actually intending
to precipitate some kind of rebellious act, it was risky because the Romans had already learned to bring their troops to Jerusalem
during Passover, when feelings of rebellion were inspired by the celebration of the redemption from bondage under the Egyptians.
His arrest by the High Priest led to his admission that he was the awaited Messiah. This was not a heretical statement because
Jews have always been awaiting this redemption (though it did conflict with the secular leadership still exercised by the
priests since the Maccabean revolt). Several decades later in 135 C.E. one of Judaism’s most famous rabbis made the
mistake of supporting the claim that Bar Cozeba was the long awaited Messiah. Akiva, who also lost about 25,000 hateful students
to a plague, changed the false messiah’s name to Bar Cochbah to conform with the prophecy in Numbers 24:17, where the
Messiah is called a star. He then precipitated a revolt against Rome, which led to an exile of almost 2000 years until 1948
when the modern State of Israel was established.
Somehow Rabbi Yehoshua
presented a credible threat to the priests. The reason for this is not known though some scholars believe it was because he
prophesied the imminent destruction of the Temple. Some say that he was trying to end animal sacrifices. At this point in
time, no one could know which political faction, if any, would attain supremacy. From the perspective of biblical truth, each
group had an Achilles heel. The Sadducees held to the Written Torah as being Israel’s only law, but they denied the
coming of the Messiah. The Essenes also upheld the authority of the Written Torah, but just wanted to be left alone out in
the desert where they remained celibate and free to purify themselves. The Siccari were burning food stores to precipitate
revolution as the only possibility for survival.
I believe that Yehoshua’s
mindset was singularly different from that of the other Pharisees and similar to that of many priests, Essenes and Karaites.
That Yehoshua’s followers were apparently comfortable observing the Sabbath without feeling that any individual element
of work in and of itself constituted the prohibited work, indicated that he upheld the authority of the Written Torah and
disavowed the oral Torah espoused by the other Pharisees. Mathematically speaking, things equal to the same or equal things
are equal to each other. If Rabbi Yehoshua saw that illogical and dysfunctional mindset of the other Pharisees then he must
have taught his followers the simple observance of God’s Torah Law. The sheer logic and biblical proof to support his
position must have been a threat to the Sadducees, not to mention all of future Christendom!! If the people could be shown
that their salvation might result from a return to a strict constructionist compliance with the Written Torah, God Himself
might bless his ministry and the revolutionary context which he was creating. (Some early Christian sects, e.g., the Ebeonites
observed the Torah and had converts circumcised.) In addition, Yehoshua taught his followers to manifest brotherly love and
love of God. His leadership was a threat to the established oppression of the poor and to the oppression of women. According
to Torah a hireling is to be set free in the seventh year with enough substance so that he could be an independent. When Jeremiah,
the prophet warned the nation 600 years earlier, they released their hirelings, but then took them all back by force. Soon
after, Babylon made all of them slaves. To eliminate this potential revolutionary outcome of Yehoshua's ministry, the
priests had to accuse Yehoshua of a crime which would constitute a treason against Rome itself. The Romans didn’t care
if anyone violated the Sabbath or any other Jewish law. But if a person called himself a king, this was treason, because only
Rome appointed kings.
In not denying that he was the Messiah, Yehoshua was
in effect saying that he would be the king of Israel. I believe that it was this fact which the priests hoped would lead Pontius
Pilate to determine that Rabbi Yehoshua deserved to suffer the typical punishment reserved for acts of treason and rebellion
against Rome. This is apparently what occurred at Rabbi Yehoshua’s trial. If Rabbi Yehoshua denied the allegation of
the Sadducees, he might very well have been spared martyrdom. However, if he felt that the apocalypse was imminent in his
lifetime, one essential correction was inescapable. The people as a nation were unable to find it in their hearts to love
God with all their hearts and souls and assets. The people as a nation were also unable to correctly love their neighbors
as themselves. And I believe that the establishment of Pharisaic law as the law of Jewish life since the exile in Babylon
created a religion of substitutions and the mindset which supports it. The critical element in acknowledging a monumental
national error of this proportion would require something which was not common in the national character of the people. Humility
is the beginning of wisdom. It is also the beginning of genuine repentance. I believe that Rabbi Yehoshua’s vision and
understanding led him to see that if the people were not capable of repentance, they were doomed. I believe that he believed
that God would create a miracle around him to save the people. However, Jewish literature accepts the idea that if God wants
to punish a sinful nation, he removes the shepherds first. At his trial, Yehoshua must not have denied the allegation that
he was king of the Jews. It is the opinion of some
scholars that Jesus actually believed that he was to become the messiah. Statements he made to his followers
as reported in the New Testament regarding their positions in the future kingdom of God and about seeing the son of man and
not tasting death indicate that he may have bekieved that he would be the king of the Jews. Upon the cross, his disheartened
words to God indicate that he no longer felt this was his destiny. By pleading to God - as the New Testament writers record
- "My God, My God, why have You abandoned me", Jesus felt he was no longer going to be the king messiah". Did
he entertain the idea - as he hung dying on the cross - that he might be the suffering servant cited in Isaiah chapter 53
? Only God knows. However, we must consider that as the case because he allowed himself to be martyred. And he alone fits
the description in Isaiah 53 and in Zachariah 12 : 10-12. I believe that if the Jewish people had learned that he sacrificed
himself so that they could be humbled by his selfless act; that they would have accepted and honored his heroism to this very
day. Perhaps if this were allowed to transpire, the nation might have experienced the uncommon humility which could lead to
true repentance and the salvation that only God could provide. Unfortunately this did not happen and the valiant Rabbi Yehoshua
was mercilessly flogged and crucified because he loved his God and his people more than his own life.
It was not Rabbi Yehoshua’s fault that national repentance did not occur. It was not his
fault that his identity was hijacked by the pagan Emperor Constantine and the Catholic church and that his name and identity
were transmogrified into Jesus Christ. I believe that if Christians truly believe that Jesus is going to return, that they
would observe the Torah as he did! It was not his fault that the cruelty of the lying church fathers repackaged him as having
been killed in absentia by the entire nation of Israel - past and future. It was not his fault that future generations of
his devotees would brutally and bestially persecute and torture his people; i.e., the entire nation of Israel because we could
not accept a messiah who dies and does not reestablish the sovereignty of the Davidic kingdom in Israel.
It is not Israel's
fault that the name Jesus caused a knee jerk reaction that excluded him from being considered as one of our own. However,
it is Israel’s fault for allowing this brave son of Israel to loose his proper, true, honorable and venerable status
as a true son and hero of Israel !! And I personally believe it will be Israel’s fault, once
we consider and contemplate these facts, if we fail to honor his martyrdom with the kind of HUMILITY that finally leads our
beleaguered nation to the true humility and repentance for which God Himself will finally bless us by sending us our
Messiah and delivering us from our errors which have prevented us from true compliance with God’s Torah and led to the
the consequential terrors which history has inflicted on us.
It is incumbent upon honest Christians to acknowledge that the church fathers, inspired or coerced by Emperor
Constantine, repackaged paganism as monotheism with Jesus as the figurehead and his martyrdom as the distraction from the
absolutely essential lifestyle which Jesus required based on compliance with the written Torah of Moses. You Christians will
have to step up to the plate with the Jews and acknowledge that both our religions are farcical inventions to keep the people
under your clerical establishments' guiding, control rather than under the Divine wings of God whose eternal Covenant
offers Israel and all of mankind a benefits package that leads to the highest quality of life available.
all of you now, go and put down your 'new testament' and Talmud and rebuild your societies according to
compliance with THE TORAH OF MOSES. The world is about where it is almost certain that the Messiah will come. Let's act
in a way which will be difficult at first, but which has infinitely more potential to lead us through the coming storm safely
and provide mankind with the blessings of the Covenant of our benevolent Creator.