Restoring the Feast of Yeshua

Restoring the Feast of Yeshua
By
Rabbi Robert O. Miller

There is an amazing and important Holy Day which was first mentioned in the 3rd Book of the Maccabees that was called the Feast of Yeshua (Salvation) which had been lost and had not been observed for 2,000 years because of the close tie to the name YahShua and because this festival was very important to the Netzarim. Since we are living in the times of the restoration of all truth, one of the things that we need to restore is the lost, biblical Festival of Yeshua.

What is the background of this festival? At the Battle of Gaza during the Syrian Wars, which was one of the largest battles of the Hellenistic kingdoms, between Ptolemy IV Philopator, Pharaoh of Egypt and Antiochus III of the Seleucid kingdom of Syria, that would determine the sovereignty of the land of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, Ptolemy was victorious, and Egypt took control of the land of Israel that had been dominated by the evil House of Antiochus.

One of the first things Pharaoh Ptolemy sought to do was ride to Jerusalem and forcibly enter the Holy of Holies of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

“After he had arrived in Jerusalem, he offered sacrifice to the supreme Elohim and made thank offerings and did what was fitting for the Holy Place…he marveled at the beauty of the Temple, and desired to enter the Sanctuary. When they said that this was not permitted…only the High Priest.once a year [could enter] –the Pharaoh was by no means persuaded… ‘why should not I at least enter, whether they wish it or not?’

Then the priests in all their vestments prostrated themselves and entreated the supreme Elohim to aid in the present situation and to avert the violence of this evil design, and they filled the Temple with cries and tears…” (3 Maccabees 1:9-16)

“Thereupon Elohim, Who sees all things, the supreme Father of all, Holy One among the Holy Ones, having heard the lawful supplication, scourged him who had exalted himself in insolence and audacity. He shook him on this side and that as a reed is shaken by the wind, so that he lay helpless on the ground and, besides being paralyzed in his limbs, was unable even to speak, since he was smittenby a righteous judgment. Then both friends and bodyguards, seeing the severe punishment that had overtaken him, and fearing that he would lose his life, quickly dragged him out, panic-stricken in their exceedingly great fear. After a while he recovered, and though he had been punished, he by no means repented, but went away uttering bitter threats.” (3 Maccabees 2:21-24)

Upon returning to Egypt he sought to punish all the Jews living in Egypt for his humiliation he had experienced in Jerusalem by the hands of Yahweh. “[Pharaoh] set up a stele on the obelisk in the courtyard with this inscription: None of those who do not sacrifice (to pagan deities) shall enter their sanctuaries, and all Jews shall be subjected to a registration involving poll tax and reduced to the status of slaves. Those who object to this are to be taken by force and put to death; those who are registered are also to be branded on their bodies by fire with the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysus… But if any of them prefer to join those who have been initiated into the mysteries, they shall have equal citizenship with the Alexandrians.’” (3 Maccabees 2:27-30) Pharaoh tortured and killed those that refused to renounce the Faith of Yahweh. An elder priest named Eleazar prayed for the deliverance of his people (3 Maccabees 6:1-25).

“Then the most glorious, almighty, and true Elohim revealed his holy glory and opened the heavenly gates, from which two glorious angels of fearful aspect descended, visible to all but the Jews. They opposed the forces of the enemy and filled them with confusion and terror, binding them with immovable shackles. Even the king began to shudder bodily, and he forgot his sullen insolence. The animals turned back upon the armed forces following them and began trampling and destroying them.

Then the Pharaoh‘s anger was turned to pity and tears because of the things that he had devised beforehand. For when he heard the shouting and saw them all fallen headlong to destruction, he wept and angrily threatened his Friends, saying, ‘You are committing treason and surpassing tyrants in cruelty; and even me, your benefactor, you are now attempting to deprive of dominion and life by secretly devising acts of no advantage to the kingdom. Who has driven from their homes those who faithfully kept our country’s fortresses, and foolishly gathered every one of them here? Who is it that has so lawlessly encompassed with outrageous treatment those who from the beginning differed fromall nations in their goodwill toward us and often have accepted willingly the worst of human dangers? Loose and untie their unjust bonds! Send them back to their homes in peace, begging pardon for your former actions!Release the children of the almighty and living Elohim of heaven, who from the time of our ancestors until now has granted an unimpeded and notable stability to our government.’ … the Jews, immediately released, praised their holy Elohim and Savior, since they now had escaped death.” (3 Maccabees 6:18-29)

The Jews declared an annual festival called “The Feast of Yeshua (Salvation).” “Then they feasted, being provided with everything by the king, until the fourteenth day,on which also they made the petition for their dismissal. The king granted their request at once …they kept the day as a joyful festival, since they had destroyed the profaners.” (3 Maccabees 6:40, 41; 7:15)

The festival enacted from the 8th to the 14th of the Egyptian month of Epeiph corresponding to 19 -25 of August 217 BCE on the Julian Calendar and 12 – 18 of Elul 3544 on the Hebrew calendar. This festival should begin on the 12th of Elul each year.

[This year beginning at sunset, Aug. 19th, 2021]

How did they observe the Feast? “…they kept the day as a joyful festival…crowned with all sorts of very fragrant flowers, joyfully and loudly giving thanks to the one Elohim of their ancestors, the eternal Savior of Israel, in words of praise and all kinds of melodious songs.” (3 Maccabees 7:15, 16)

How did the Netzarim see this festival? Once again wicked Pharaoh tried to destroy Israel by profaning the Faith of Yahweh and enslaving the remnant of Israel. And once again Yahweh delivered them miraculously. The Hebrew word for “deliverance” is YESHUA. The deliverance of the remnant of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh points us forward to the deliverance of Israel by King Messiah YAHSHUA (Yahweh is our salvation), the express manifestation of “the eternal Savior of Israel”.

What do we do on the Feast of YahShua?

  1. A meal called “The Banquet of Salvation” or “The Banquet of Yeshua” akin to a barbecue. (3 Maccabees 6:31)
  2. shout(ing) the HalleluYah…joyfully,”  “singing song of their ancestors, praising Elohim, their Savior and worker of wonders.” Particularly appropriate are songs about “Salvation” or which speak of Yahweh’s defense as our shield. (3 Maccabees 6:32)
  3. “arranged the…Dance.” (3 Maccabees 6:35)
  4. Obviously the festival should involve recounting the Story of Salvation.

“The Feast of YAHSHUA” is now again being kept by a remnant of Israel

Originally written by Rabbi Robert O. Miller on August 28th, 2010
(Robert Owen Miller 1957-2021)

Official Declaration Concerning Vaccines from the International Nazarene Beit Din

International Nazarene Beit Din
Official Declaration Concerning Vaccines


The Torah commands,  ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם “Guard your selves/lives carefully” (Deut. 4:15a)  This Biblical commandment requires one to be very vigilant in caring for one’s nefesh (life/self), and to refrain from any action that may put his life or health in danger.  Additionally, many vaccines contain unkosher substances. The benefits and risks of vaccination are a much-debated matter in medical and scientific circles. Although one may follow the opinion of most doctors and choose to vaccinate his/herself and his or her children, the individual who has done his or her own research has the obligation to act according to his or her own knowledge. If one’s research has led him or her to understand that the risks of vaccination outweigh its benefits, and especially when his or her view is supported by many medical doctors and researchers, the commandment of ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם “Guard your selves/lives carefully” (Deut. 4:15a) obligates that person to shield himself/herself and his or her children from vaccines. Moreover, such an individual would also be bound to refuse such a vaccination due to its unkosher content. This is even more true when a parent has reasons to believe that his or her children are sensitive to vaccines. To act otherwise would be a transgression of the above Torah commandment.

The International Nazarene Beit Din
April 24th, 2019

This position was passed before Covid-19 is known to have existed, and long before Covid-19 vaccines existed. Where a religious exemption exists, Nazarenes may certainly claim such an exemption.

Yeshua’s Sabbath Halacha

Yeshua’s Sabbath Halacha
By
James Scott Trimm

The Essene Halacha concerning Shabbat was the strictest of any sect of Judaism. Josephus writes of the Essenes:

“…they [Essenes] are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting
from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food
ready the day before, that they not be obliged to kindle a fire on
that day, but they will not remove any vessel out of its place, nor go
to stool thereon.”
(Wars 2:8:9)

There is a lengthy discussion of the Sabbath in the Damascus Document, I will include here only some key points:

“No man shall eat on the Sabbath day aught save that which is prepared
or perishing (in the field). Nor shall one eat or drink unless in the
camp. (If he was) on the way and went down to wash he may drink where
he stands, but he shall not draw into any vessel. … No man shall walk
after the animal to pasture it outside his city more than two thousand
cubits. None shall lift his hand to smite it with (his) fist. If it
be stubborn he shall not remove it out of his house. No man shall
carry anything from the house to the outside or from the outside into
the house, and if he be in the vestibule he shall not carry anything
out of it or bring in anything into it. … Let not the nursing father
take the sucking child to go out or to come in on the Sabbath. … No
man shall help an animal in its delivery on the Sabbath day. And if
it falls into a pit or ditch, he shall not raise it on the Sabbath. …
And if any person falls into a place of water or into a place of… he
shall not bring him up by a ladder or a cord or instrument. No man
shall offer anything on the altar on the Sabbath, save the
burnt-offering of the Sabbath, for so it is written `Excepting your
Sabbaths’.”
(Damascus Document 10:14-11:18)

Note that the Essene Halacha was so strict as to place Sabbath observance above human life.

On the other hand, Pharisaic Halacha placed human life above the Sabbath. As we read in the Mishna:

Rabbi Mattiah ben Harash said, “He who has a pain in his throat, they
drop medicine into his mouth on the Sabbath, because it is a matter of
doubt as to danger to life. Any matter of doubt as to danger to life
overrides the prohibitions of the Sabbath.”
(m.Yoma 8:6)

Yeshua’s halacha on this matter was very similar to that of the Pharisees, and very different from that of the Essenes.

For example the Talmud says:

R. Jonathan b. Joseph said: For it is holy unto you; I.e., it [the Sabbath] is committed to your hands, not you to its hands.
(b.Yoma 85b)

While Yeshua says:

“The Sabbath was created for man and not man for the Sabbath.”
(Mk. 2:27)

The Talmud days:

“R. Eleazar answered and said: If circumcision, which attaches to one only of the two hundred and forty-eight members of the human body, suspends the Sabbath, how much more shall [the saving of] the whole body suspend the Sabbath!”
(b.Yoma 85b)

While Yeshua said:

“If a man is circumcised on the day of the Sabbath that the Torah
of Moshe be not loosed, do you murmur against me because I have healed
a whole man on the Sabbath day?”
(John 7:23)

So in general terms, Yeshua and the Talmud are singing the same song concerning the Sabbath.  However there is a difference.

The Talmud looses the Sabbath only when there is a “matter of doubt as to danger to life” but Yeshua’s halacha takes the matter a bit further.  Yeshua’s halacha concerning Sabbath is based upon the following verse from Hosea:

For I desire mercy (Hebrew: CHESED), and not sacrifice:
and the knowledge of Elohim, rather than burntofferings.
(Hosea 6:6)

“CHESED” is a Hebrew word meaning “mercy, grace, undue favor, loving kindness.”

From this verse we learn that any matter of CHESED overrides the sacrifices.  This is important, because we know that the sacrificial offerings override the Sabbath, because they are performed on the Sabbath despite the fact that they involve acts normally prohibited on the Sabbath.  This is what Yeshua means when he says:

7 But if you had known what it means, For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,(Hosea 6:6) you would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of Man is Adonai; even of the Sabbath.
9 And when He had passed over from there, He entered into their synagogue.
10 And behold, a man which had his hand withered. And they asked Him, saying, Is it lawful on the Sabbath to heal the sick? And all this was, that they might accuse Him <before the beit din. >
11 And He said to them: What man among you, having one sheep that shall fall into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
12 And is not a man better than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
13 Then said He to the man: Stretch out your hand. And he stretched it out, and it was restored to health, like as the other.
(Matt. 12:7-13)

This was not a “matter of doubt as to danger to life” but only a man with a withered hand.  So our halacha on what is permitted on Sabbath is broader than that of Rabbinic Judaism.  Rabbinic Judaism looses the Sabbath only when there is a “matter of doubt as to danger to life” however Nazarene Judaism looses the Sabbath whenever a matter of CHESED is at stake, this includes (but is not limited to) healing the sick, even when there is no question as to danger to life.

However if we allow Yeshua to teach us, we can go back to the second phrase of Hosea 6:6 and learn something new.

For I desire mercy (Hebrew: CHESED), and not sacrifice:
and the knowledge of Elohim, rather than burntofferings.
(Hosea 6:6)

Therefore, just as the Sabbath is loosed for a matter of CHESED, for the same reason, it is also loosed for a matter where “the knowledge of Elohim” is at stake.  For example carrying Scriptures to a Torah study, or taking notes in a Torah study, or driving to Synagogue would be permitted on Sabbath.

We are about to be in some real trouble. As many of you know, we were called out of town unexpectedly about three weeks ago for a family emergency. In less than a week we will be ready to head home. However finances are tight. We have not gotten any donations in this whole week, meanwhile the electric bill is past due, I have to pick up a $220 prescription for my wife in the next 24 hours, rent is due soon and we still need funds to make the trip back home. This is a terrible time for a “donation drought”. If you can help us out, please donate by Paypal to donations@wnae.org

We have faced a budget shortfall in July! Our electric bill is past due and must be payed by Friday (July 30th), other bills are pending now, and rent will be due on the 1st. We must raise at least $900 by the end of the day Friday (July 30th, 2021), to keep our power on and our account from going into the negative. Today I must refill one of my wife’s medications which costs around $220, and we just don’t have it!

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

Donations can be sent by Paypal to donations@wnae.org.

or click here

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

Emergency Alert Update – Time is Getting Short!

Update: Today is Wednesday and so far not one penny has come in this week! We need your help today!

We have faced a budget shortfall in July! Our electric bill is past due and must be payed by Friday (July 30th), other bills are pending now, and rent will be due on the 1st. We must raise at least $900 by the end of the day Friday (July 30th, 2021), to keep our power on and our account from going into the negative. Today I must refill one of my wife’s medications which costs around $220, and we just don’t have it!

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

Donations can be sent by Paypal to donations@wnae.org.

or click here

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

The Temptation of Yeshua – An Insight from the Midrash

The Temptation of Yeshua
By
James Scott Trimm

In the Goodnews according to Mattityahu, we read of HaSatan’s effort to tempt Yeshua:

1 Then Yeshua was led up by the Ruach HaKodesh into the wilderness, in order that He might be tempted by HaSatan.
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry.
3 And the tempter came; he said to Him, If you are the Son of Elohim, say that these stones be made bread.
4 And Yeshua answered and said: It is written, For not by bread alone will man live, but by everything that proceeds from the mouth of YHWH, will man live. (Deut. 8:3)
5 Then HaSatan took Him up to the Set-Apart city, and set Him on a turret of the Temple,
6 And said to Him, If you are the Son of Elohim, drop yourself down. For surely it is written, For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to keep you in all your ways; upon the palms of their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Ps. 91:11-12)
7 And Yeshua answered him and said: It is also written, You shall not tempt YHWH your  Elohim. (Deut. 6:16)
8 And again HaSatan took Him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all: from the kingdoms of the world, and their glory.
9 And said to Him, All these will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me.
10 Then said Yeshua to him: Get yourself gone, adversary, for it is written, YHWH your Elohim you shall worship, and Him alone you shall serve. (Deut. 6:13)
11 Then HaSatan left Him: and behold, angels drew near and attended Him.
(Matthew 4:1-11 HRV)

Note that in each and every case Yeshua responds to the Tempter by quoting Torah.  Yeshua is our example.  The best way to combat the Tempter is with the Torah!

The Midrash Pesikta Rabbati gives us information that gives us a remarkable insight on this event.  The Midrash says:

Our masters taught:  When the king Messiah appears  he will come and stand on the roof of the Temple and will make a proclamation to Israel, saying; “Meek ones, the day of our redemption is come.  And if you do not believe Me, behold, My light which rises upon you, as it is said. “Arise, shine, for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. (Is. 60:1)”
(Pesiqta Rabbati 36)

From the Midrash we can see more clearly that HaSatan had hoped to tempt Messiah to skip his suffering and death as Messiah ben Yosef and instead immediately claim his Kingship as Messiah ben David.  This is a temptation that followed Yeshua every day of his life.

20 Then commanded He, His talmidim, that they should tell no man, that He, Yeshua, was the Messiah.
21 And then began Yeshua to make known to His talmidim, that He must go to
Yerushalayim, and to suffer there: many scourgings, and many mockings, of the elders and scribes, and of the Chief Cohenim, and to be killed, and to rise again the third day.
22 Then Kefa took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Far be it from You, My Master: all this will not be unto You.
23 But He turned, and said to Kefa: Follow Me. Satan, you are an offense to Me, for you savour not the things that are of Elohim, but those that are of men.
(Matthew 16:20-23 HRV)

And later He prayed in the Garden as his death approached:

39 And He passed on a little, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying: O Father, if it is possible that this cup pass away from Me, let it be done. But let it not be done as I will, but as You will.
40 And He came to His talmidim, and found them sleeping, and said to Kefa: Could you not watch with Me a single hour?
41 Awake and pray, that you enter not [into temptation.] The spirit indeed is watchful, but the flesh is frail.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying: O Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me, but I must drink it: be it as You will.
(Matthew 26:39-42 HRV)

This temptation must have been tremendous.  Yet Messiah overcame this temptation and faced suffering and death as Messiah ben Yosef and instead of immediately claiming his Kingship as Messiah ben David, and in doing so he made way for our redemption. 

Update: Not one penny has come in this week! We need your help today!

We have faced a budget shortfall in July! Our electric bill is past due and must be payed by Friday (July 30th), other bills are pending today, and rent will be due on the 1st. We must raise at least $900 by the end of the day Friday (July 30th, 2021), to keep our power on and our account from going into the negative. Plus we will need funds to get home on (see info below) as we expect to head home early next week.

This month has been especially difficult for us. As many of you know, we had to leave home on a moment’s notice when two close relatives in the same household in my wife’s home state of Colorado, were hospitalized and near death. They both have survived and come home, and we are up here for a few more days helping them as they get back on their feet. (During this same time period, my old friend Rabbi Miller got sick with Covid-19 on July 9th and died just eight days later, on the eve of the ninth of Av.) This unexpected trip to Colorado has cost us unexpected travel expenses, at a time we really could not really afford them.

I have been busier than a one eyed tom cat watching two mouse holes, as I am caretaker for my disabled wife, and am also now helping take care of our recovering relatives.

Even so, the work however continues. I brought six boxes of books with me, and I have many resources on my laptop.

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

Donations can be sent by Paypal to donations@wnae.org.

or click here

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

Emergency Alert Update!

Update: Not one penny has come in this week! We need your help today!

We have faced a budget shortfall in July! Our electric bill is past due and must be payed by Friday (July 30th), other bills are pending today, and rent will be due on the 1st. We must raise at least $900 by the end of the day Friday (July 30th, 2021), to keep our power on and our account from going into the negative. Plus we will need funds to get home on (see info below) as we expect to head home early next week.

This month has been especially difficult for us. As many of you know, we had to leave home on a moment’s notice when two close relatives in the same household in my wife’s home state of Colorado, were hospitalized and near death. They both have survived and come home, and we are up here for a few more days helping them as they get back on their feet. (During this same time period, my old friend Rabbi Miller got sick with Covid-19 on July 9th and died just eight days later, on the eve of the ninth of Av.) This unexpected trip to Colorado has cost us unexpected travel expenses, at a time we really could not really afford them.

I have been busier than a one eyed tom cat watching two mouse holes, as I am caretaker for my disabled wife, and am also now helping take care of our recovering relatives.

Even so, the work however continues. I brought six boxes of books with me, and I have many resources on my laptop.

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

Donations can be sent by Paypal to donations@wnae.org.

or click here

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

Emergency Alert

We have faced a budget shortfall in July! Our electric bill is past due and must be payed by Friday (July 30th), other bills are pending today, and rent will be due on the 1st. We must raise at least $900 by the end of the day Friday (July 30th, 2021), to keep our power on and our account from going into the negative. Plus we will need funds to get home on (see info below) as we expect to head home early next week.

This month has been especially difficult for us. As many of you know, we had to leave home on a moment’s notice when two close relatives in the same household in my wife’s home state of Colorado, were hospitalized and near death. They both have survived and come home, and we are up here for a few more days helping them as they get back on their feet. (During this same time period, my old friend Rabbi Miller got sick with Covid-19 on July 9th and died just eight days later, on the eve of the ninth of Av.) This unexpected trip to Colorado has cost us unexpected travel expenses, at a time we really could not really afford them.

I have been busier than a one eyed tom cat watching two mouse holes, as I am caretaker for my disabled wife, and am also now helping take care of our recovering relatives.

Even so, the work however continues. I brought six boxes of books with me, and I have many resources on my laptop.

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

Donations can be sent by Paypal to donations@wnae.org.

or click here

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

Discovery of a Lost Page of the Old Syriac Aramaic Gospels

In 1985 Dr. Daniel McConaughy discovered a previously missing page of the Curetonian manuscript of the Old Syriac Aramaic text of the Gospels.  Below is a copy of his report which was written and circulated at the time

At the time Daniel McConaughy was the Coordinator of the Biblical Research Department at the Way College of Emporia.  He is no longer a member of The Way International.

The reproduction of this item that once circulated in The Way International should in no way be taken as a endorsement of any of the unique doctrines of The Way International.

The material is presented here to show the important contribution that a small dedicated group can make to Aramaic NT Studies.

McConaughy holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he specialized in Syriac, Greek, and early Church history.

McConaughy’s discovery was documented and published in the academic journal “Biblica” (“A Recently Discovered Folio of the Old Syriac (Sy(c)) Text of Luke 16,13-17,1”;  Biblica Vol. 68- Fasc. 1- 1987; pp. 85-90).

He has been published in at least two academic journals (The Biblia cite above and “An Old Syriac Reading of Acts 1:4 and More Light on Jesus’ Last Meal before His Ascension”; Oriens Christianus; Band 72 1988; pp. 63-67).

In the May-June 1985 issue of The Way Magazine, McConaughy published an article titled The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament.

* * *


Report on Syriac Manuscripts Research Trip
(October 31,  1985–February 14, 1986)
By
Dan McConaughy  


The purpose of this trip was to locate unknown Syriac MSS and photograph all the New Testament MSS found (and any others of importance) and to establish contacts for future trips. Itinerary: Cairo/Wadi el-Natrun and vicinity, Jerusalem, Damaskus, Dehli and numerous places in the Southwest Indian state of Kerala, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. I traveled over 30,000 miles.

In September 1984, I spoke to Dr. Wierwille at the Way College of Emporia about going to the East. He was enthusiastic and quite supportive. With his blessing, I began to solicit spiritual partners, because I felt that the mutual believing of a group would make the trip more successful. I was able to raise more than my goal of $6,000.

The idea of going to Egypt had intrigued me, even though it seemed that Syriologists prefer expending their efforts further east in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. The current opinion is that nothing new is to be found in Egypt. Virtually all of the oldest known manuscripts in Syriac MSS is Deir el-Suryia, the Monastery of the Syrians, located in Wadi el-Natrun, midway between Cairo and Alexandria. Almost all the oldest known Syriac MSS have come from there. I didn’t believe what I had been told, that all the Syriac MSS were sold to the British Museum in the 1840s. For example, what if MSS were “checked out” at the time, MSS were lost, or MSS came in later from other places?

First, I went to St. Amba Bishoy Monastery, one of the four existing ancient monasteries established in the third and fourth centuries in the Wadi el-Natrun, to get oriented. Then I walked over to Deir el-Suryan, protected the occupants from Bedoiun raids. There was a small opening in the front, and I pulled on the rope hanging down from the bell. About five minutes later, I was greeted by a monk with a long beard, dressed entirely in black. After coffee and a tour of the monastary, I asked about the library. I was told, “Come back tomorrow.” Didn’t they realize how hard I had worked to come here and how much money I had spend? But the next day I arrived at 10:00 a.m. and was taken to the library. I then found out that the librarian is a hermit and comes in only twice a week! After coffee and conversation, I asked about Syriac MSS. The librarian said he had one and brought out a twelfth-century book of Psalms on parchment — not all that interesting. I asked if he had more, and he said, “Some papers.” Then he brought out a torn, dirty, folded piece of brown paper that held a stack of parchment sheets from 18 various MSS–some very old. All of these he kindly let me photograph. I became very good friends with the librarian and another monk. The library was now open to me anytime I desired! It was not until two month later that I found that one of the MSS, a folio containing Luke 16:13-17:1, is from the oldest known Syriac gospel MS (fifth century or earlier).

Next, I visited the Syrian Orthodox monastery of the St. Mark in Jerusalem ( the place of the Last Supper, according to the Syrian Orthodox Church). Unfortunately, the bishop with the key to the library had left for Amman, Jordan, that very morning, so I was unable to see the Syriac MSS there. Later, I met Bishop Behnam in Damascus, where I went next to use the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Library. There I met a number of the Middle Eastern archbishops because Patriarch Zakka was holding a meeting at the time. I was later able to eat with His Holiness, Patriarch Zakka, and the archbishops on two occasions, and twice I personally met with the patriarch. The library was in disorder, and I had to ask what I wanted. This was very difficult to do, since there was no catalog. I was told that all the Bibles are in Turkey; but thanks to some notes from Dr. Vööbus, I was able to see some rare, ancient commentaries by Moshe bar Kepha, which contain Biblical quotations of a very archaic nature. Some of these I photographed. Also, I got along well with His Holiness, and we even talked about the possibility of my coming out to teach Greek and Hebrew for a year at his seminary in Damascus. This would allow me to gain many connections and do much research.

I then went to India, not because of the really old MSS there, but because I thought it would be an easier place to work. My assumption was half right. The ecclesiastics were very helpful and friendly, but getting around was difficult, even with a native Indian believer traveling with me. I flew to Dehli and met my assistant, Sevi. Then we took a 52-hour train ride to Trichur in the southwest Indian state of Kerala, the home of the indigenous and Syriac-speaking church. We traveled extensively in Kerala, visiting churches, bishops’ houses, seminaries, schools, and scholars. I discovered over 40 unknown Syriac MSS of importance, adding 10 percent to the total of known MSS in India. We photographed 25 MSS, all or in part.

After a month, I went to London to use the resources of the British Museum. There I learned that the Old Gospel text I found was from their MS Add. 14,451, one of the two copies of the Old Syriac Gospels. Nothing this old has been found since 1892. I also visited libraries in Manchester and Dublin.

A few days before I was to return home, I got a telex from Walter Cummins telling me to return to Egypt to see if I could find more of the Old Syriac MS, since a lot of it is still missing, and to see what else I could find. Upon my return, I didn’t find any more of the Old Syriac Gospels, but a sixth-century text of I.Samuel did turn up at Deir el-Suryan. In addition, I found 10 unknown Syriac MSS at the Coptic Museum in Cairo, and I will publish a catalog for them. The oldest of these is from the fifth or sixth century. Two of these MSS are missing portions of the British Museum MSS. With help of my connections in Cairo, I should be the first to learn of any MSS that might turn up there in the future. I also found over 30 Syriac MSS at the Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Mary in Cairo. The scorecard for the second Egyptian trip was excellent: over 40 unknown MSS discovered!

The whole trip was a grand success. Dr. Brock, at Oxford, was amazed I found anything at all in Egypt on either trip, especially the second. He had tried twice and found nothing. During the trip I also located other places to look in Egypt, and I have solid evidence that there are more very ancient texts at Dei el-Suryan. The librarian just needs to find them.

* * *

The Missing Page (front) Above: Luke 16:12-22a
The Missing Page (back) Above Luke 16:22b-17:1

We have faced a budget shortfall in July! We must still raise at least $250 by the end of the day Monday (July 27th, 2021), or our account will go into the negative!

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

Donations can be sent by Paypal to donations@wnae.org.

or click here

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

The Aramaic Origin if the Pauline Epistles

Many assume that , even if other portions of the “New Testament” were written in Hebrew or Aramaic, that surely the Pauline Epistles were originally written in Greek. After all, would Paul have written to the Corinthians or Thessalonians in Greek?

Certainly Paul did not write his epistles in the native languages of their geographic designations. Few, if any, would argue for a Latin origin for Romans, and certainly no one would argue for a Gaulish origin for Galatians.

In fact, there are many Aramaic words transliterated into Greek letters in the Greek texts of Paul’s letters, remnants of an earlier Aramaic version. Some examples are “Father” Abba (אבא) (Romans 8:15; Gal. 4:6). “our Lord comes” Maranatha (מרן אתא) (1Cor. 16:22) “hosts” tz’vaot (צבאות) (Rom. 9:29) “token” ra’hubuna (רהבונא) (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:14) “basket” s’rigta (סריגתא)(2Cor. 11:33).

There are several scholars who have come to the conclusion that the Pauline Epistles were originally written in Aramaic, and not Greek at all. The following are a few examples:

Dr. Karen Tourne Masterson, who holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages from UCLA, has written:

The argument that Paul is a Hellenistic Jew because many of the quotes that appear in the Greek version of the Old Testament are from the Septuagint is inadequate. If his writings were originally written in Aramaic, his native language, the translator would not translate the Old Testament himself, but would use the version that was most familiar to his readers (the same approach is used today in translations). The evidence from God’s Word causes us to take issue with the tradition which contends that Paul wrote in Greek. Knowing that Aramaic was his native tongue should prompt us to consider the language of an Aramaic original which lies behind the Greek and other versions to which we have access today.
(An Aramaic Approach to the Church Epistles; The Way Magazine; March-April 1984 pages 17-20)

And Dr. Daniel McConaughy, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he specialized in Syriac, Greek, and early Church history, wrote:

“God’s Word itself does not explicitly identify the language in which the New Testament was written, but it does provide information that indicates what the original language was. This information can be further augmented by historical facts known about Israel and its culture during the Testament era, as well as by the earliest non-Biblical writings about the early Church. Both the Biblical evidence, which is primary, and the church historical evidence strongly indicate that the original language of the New Testament was Aramaic. …
Knowing that the New Testament writers wrote in Aramaic, not Greek, opens up new vistas of understanding and research. Primarily, this knowledge further enables the Biblical researcher to see that the Bible is not a compendium of random written and oral sources. Rather, it is the Word of God, revealed to men who recorded that revelation in the native Aramaic and later oversaw its translation into Greek, Latin, and Syriac; and it is with the descendants of these first translation endeavors that today’s Biblical researcher must work.”
(The Aramaic Origin of the New Testament; The Way Magazine; May-June 1985 pages 17-20)

McConaughy is former Coordinator of the Biblical Research Department at the Way College of Emporia.  He discovered a previously lost page of the Old Syriac Curetonian codex of the Gospels, and has been published in at least two academic journals.*   

Finally native Aramaic speaker and Peshitta scholar George M. Lamsa wrote:

The Pauline Epistles were letters written by Paul to small Christian congregations in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome. These early Christians were mostly Jews of the Dispersion, men and women of Hebrew origin. Paul on his journeys always spoke in the Jewish synagogues. His first converts were Hebrews. Then came Arameans… Paul emphasizes Hebrew law and history. He refers to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as our fathers. In his letters and teaching he appeals to the Jewish people to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. Paul’s mission was first to his own people… Paul was educated in Jewish law in Jerusalem. He was a member of the Jewish Council. His native language was western Aramaic but he acquired his education through Hebrew and Chaldean or Palestinian Aramaic… He defended himself when on trial in the Hebrew tongue. Acts 22:2… Very early the Epistles were translated into Greek for the use of converts who spoke Greek. Later they were translated into all tongues.
(George M. Lamsa; The New Testament according to the Eastern Text; 1940; pp. xi-xii)

In fact, in Ephesians 2:19-20 Paul begins a flow of logic, which only makes sense in the Aramaic not in Greek.

19 Henceforth, you are neither strangers nor foreigners, but sons of the city, who are sanctified, and sons of the house of Eloah.
20 And you are built upon the foundation of the emissaries and of the prophets: and Yeshua the Messiah has become the head of the corner of the building (Ps. 118:22-23).
(Eph. 2:19-20 HRV)

To begin with in verse 19 in the Greek, Paul identifies his audience as “fellow-citizens (συμπολιται) of the saints” and “of the household (οικειοι) of Eloah (Theos).”

However in the Aramaic Peshitta verse 19 literally says “sons of the city” (בני מדינתא) an Aramaic idiom for “citizen”.  Verse 19 then in the Aramaic has “and sons of the House of Eloah” (ובני ביתה דאלהא) in idiomatic way of saying “of the household of Eloah” in Aramaic.  It should be noted that the phrase “House of Eloah” (ביתה דאלהא) is also an idiomatic term in Hebrew and Aramaic for the Temple.  Remember, none of these idiomatic expressions appear in the Greek which simply reads “of the household (οικειοι) of Eloah (Theos).”

Then in verse 20 Paul refers to the “household of Eloah” as “having been built (θεντες) on the foundation of the emissaries and prophets, being the cornerstone (ακρογωνιαιον) himself, Messiah Yeshua”.  Verse 21 then says “In whom all the building (οικοδομη) being fitted together grows into a Holy Temple in YHWH.”  And finally verse 22 has “In whom also you are-being-built-together (συνοικοδομεισθε) into a habitation for God by the Spirit”.

However in the Aramaic “having been built” (v. 20) is ואתבניתון “cornerstone” is ריש קרנא דבנינא  literally “the head corner of the building”.  In verse 21 “the building” is בנינא  and “you are being built” is מתבנין .  The words for building here are all benyana (בנינא) and the verb root for “to build” in each case is b’na (בנא) which is the verb root for the word “stone” ‘abana (אבנא).

It is important to know that there is a common wordplay in Hebrew between “son(s)” ben (sing.) b’nai (plural) and “stones”.  A classic example is found in Matthew 3:9

And think not to say within yourselves,
We have Abraham to our father:
for I say unto you, that Elohim is able of these stones
to raise up sons unto Abraham.
(Matt. 3:9)

By using these related words Paul has implied a wordplay between believers as “sons of the House of Elohim” (2:19) and “stones of the Temple” (implied in 2:20-22).  The wordplay is very clear in the Aramaic and is clearly original to the document.  The use of the Aramaic idioms “sons of the house of” and “House of Eloah” becomes the transition point at which Paul’s argument turns to the subject of an allegorical Temple built out of believers in 2:20-22).  The whole point to Paul’s argument is embedded in an Aramaic word play that is absent in the Greek, that is itself rooted in an Aramaic idiom which is also absent from the Greek.  This is very clear evidence that Paul wrote in Hebrew or Aramaic and his work was then translated into Greek.

[*] (“A Recently Discovered Folio of the Old Syriac (Sy(c)) Text of Luke 16,13-17,1”;  Biblica Vol. 68- Fasc. 1- 1987; pp. 85-90.  and “An Old Syriac Reading of Acts 1:4 and More Light on Jesus’ Last Meal before His Ascension”; Oriens Christianus; Band 72 1988; pp. 63-67). 

We have faced a budget shortfall in July! We must still raise at least $250 by the end of the day Monday (July 27th, 2021), or our account will go into the negative!

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

Donations can be sent by Paypal to donations@wnae.org.

or click here

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

Yeshua the Pharisee

Yeshua the Pharisee
By
James Scott Trimm

Many use the term “Pharisee” as a slur. Yet, not only did Paul plainly proclaim in the present tense “I am a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6), but if we read the Scriptures carefully, we can see that it is revealed that Yeshua was also a Pharisee. We read in the Goodnews according to Yochanan:

19 And this is the witness of Yochanan: when the Judeans from Yerushalayim sent to him cohenim and Levites to ask him, Who are you?
20 And he confessed and did not refuse: but confessed, I am not the Messiah.
21 And they asked him again, Who then are you, Eliyahu? And he said, I am not. Are you a prophet? And he said, No.
22 And they said to him, Then who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent [us]? What do you say about yourself?
23 He said, I am a voice that cries in the wilderness, Make smooth–the way of YHWH, as Yesha’yahu the prophet has said.
24 And those who were sent were from the P’rushim.
25 And they asked him and said to him, Why then do you immerse, if you are neither the Messiah, nor Eliyahu, nor a prophet?
26 Yochanan answered and said to them, I immerse with water: but among you stands One, whom you do not know.
27 This is the One, who will come after me–yet was before me: the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to loose.
(Yochanan 1:19-27 HRV)

Yochanan tells us that when he says “among you… stands…. One, who will come after me–yet was before me: the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to loose” he is speaking to a group of Pharisees who have come to him! And Yeshua was one of them! Yochanan is telling us Yeshua was a Pharisee!

This comes as a shock to many Christians who have a poor understanding of what it means to be a Pharisee.

Part of the reason for this is that the Christian understanding of what a Pharisee is has been defined by Christian commentators, not by Pharisaic sources. As a result, in Christian culture, the word “Pharisee” has come to be used idiomatically to mean “hypocrite”.

I recall some years ago seeing a Reverend Twistruth comic strip several years ago in which the Reverend had just been teaching on the parable of the Pharisee and the Plebian. He asked a church lady to close with a prayer and she begins “Thank you Lord for not making me like that Pharisee…”

Of course Rabbinic Judaism is the modern descendant of Phariseeism. If one wants a good understanding of what Phariseeism taught, one should look to primary sources of the actual teachings of the Pharisees, the Mishna, the Talmuds and the early Midrashim.

Upon the invasion of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity the monarchy of Israel was brought to an end. When the Babylonian captivity finally ended and exiles returned, Ezra reestablished the council of Elders:Ezra 7:25; 10:14, 16) which immediately began making halachic decisions (Ezra 10:10-19). This body became known as the Great Assembly.

The Mishna records the foundations of Pharisaic Judaism as follows:

Moses received Torah at Sinai and handed it on to Joshua, Joshua to the elders, the elders to the prophets, the prophets handed it on to the men of the Great Assembly…
(m.Avot 1:1)

This was a body of 120 Elders and is said to have introduced a regular order of prayers including the Shemoneh Esreh (eighteen benedictions) which eventually evolved into the Siddur. The Great Assembly collected the sacred writings and determined which books were to be regarded as canonical.

We do not know much more about the Great Assembly. We do know that one of the last members of this counsel was “Simon the Righteous” (219-196 B.C.E.). The Mishna says:

Simeon the Righteous was of the remnants of the Great Assembly. He used to say, “On three things the world stands: On the Torah, On the [Temple] Service, and on acts of piety (chasidim).
(m.Avot 1:2)

Ben Sira calls him “the leader of his brothers and the pride of his people.” (Sira 50:1) and dedicates an entire chapter to his good reputation. Simon was the earliest post-biblical sage cited in the Mishna. Simon was succeeded as High Priest by his son Onias III of whom we read in 2 Maccabees:

While the holy city was inhabited in unbroken peace and the laws were very well observed because of the piety of the high priest Onias and his hatred of wickedness.
(2 Maccabees 3:1)

About this time Antiochus Epiphanies rose to power over Israel and at about this same time period the High Priesthood passed from Onias III to his brother Jason by way of corruption:

…Jason the brother of Onias obtained the high priesthood by corruption, promising the king at an interview three hundred and sixty talents of silver and from another source of revenue, eighty talents… he at once shifted his countrymen over to the Greek way of life… and introduced new customs contrary to the Torah.
(2 Maccabees 4:7-8, 10, 11)

Jason’s High Priesthood was illegitimate and not regarded as valid as we read in 2Maccabees:

…Jason, who was ungodly and no high priest…
(2 Maccabees 4:13)

The corruption of the High Priesthood and the banishment of the true High Priest must have forced the disbandment of the Great Assembly.

At this time (175-140 BCE) many who wished to remain true to Torah escaped into the wilderness (1 Maccabees 1:62-64; 2:29) These refugees became know as the Chassidim (pious ones) (1 Maccabees 2:42-43).

While we know little about these Chassidim, they were probably led by a certain Antigones of Soko. The Mishnah says of him:

Antigones of Soko received [Torah] from Simeon the Righteous. He used to say, “Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of wages, but be like servants who serve their master with no thought of a wage – and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.”
(m.Avot 1:3)

The name “Chassidim” probably came from their devotion to the teaching of Simon the Righteous, that “CHASSIDIM” is one of the three things upon which the world stands.

The term CHASSEDIM is related to the same root as CHESED meaning “grace, mercy, loving kindness, charity”. You might say this was as “grace” movement.

One of Antigones’ talmidim (disciples, students), a certain Zadok, apostatized and formed the Sadducee sect (I laid this out in detail in my recent article “Paul argues Talmud Before the Sanhedrin).

The main line of Antigones’ talmidim went on to establish the body we know as the Pharisaic Sanhedrin (not to be confused with the political Sanhedrin that contained both Pharisees and Sadducees). In fact two of his talmidim went on to become the first Nasi and Av Beit Din of this Sanhedrin.

In other words Pharisaic Judaism was the succession of the Chassedim and the main line of Judaism. (The word “Pharisee” means “separate” and may well refer to the fact that the Chassidim had separated themselves from Jason’s corrupt apostasy from true Judaism). This was a CHESED (grace) based movement proceeding from the teachings of Simon the Righteous and Antigones of Soko.

Before proceeding let us therefore seek to understand the point of Antigones’ teaching:

“Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of wages, but be like servants who serve their master with no thought of a wage – and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.”

Antigones taught that we should observe Torah not as one trying to earn something, but as one who serves a master because he sincerely wants to from inside, out of respect and love for Elohim. He taught that Torah Observance meant nothing unless ones heart was right. Without this inner CHESED, Torah Observance was an empty outer expression, works without faith. This was the foundation of Pharisaic Judaism!

The earliest generations of the Pharisaic movement were known as the Zuggot (pairs). Hillel and Shammai were the last two “pairs” to lead the Pharisee Sanhedrin. The rift between them was so great that Shammai, who was known for his bad temper, forced Hillel to sit and listen to him at the point of his sword, as though he were his student. (b.Shab. 17a) The result was a complete split of Phariseeism into two Houses: The House of Shammai (the stricter school) and the House of Hillel (the less-strict school).

From this point forward the only Pharisee Sanhedrin we know of was led, not by “pairs” but by Hillel’s descendents.

Pharisees at this time polarized into two schools of thought: The School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. The two schools held differing view on many halachic issues and argued throughout the first century. Eventually the School of Hillel prevailed in these arguments and serves as the foundation of modern Rabbinic Judaism. There are also many important connections between the School of Hillel and the ancient sect of the Nazarenes.

Within Rabbinic literature we have record of over 350 disputes between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai. Generally Shammai gave the stricter interpretation, while Hillels understandings were more relaxed. According to the Zohar (Ra’aya Meheimna 3:245a) The School of Shammai was based on GEVURAH (“severity”) while the School of Hillel was based on CHESED (“grace”/”mercy”).

A classic example of the conflict can be seen in one of the first passages of the Mishna, which records a conflict between the two houses over how to recite the Shema:

The House of Shammai says: In the evening one should recline in order to recite the shema, and in the morning they should stand. As it is written “when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)
But the House of Hillel says: Everyone may recite the Shema in his own way, as it is written: “And you shall go by the way” (Deuteronomy 7:7)

(m.Berachot 1:3)

Note that the House of Shammai were concerned primarily with the outward expression, with whether one was standing or reclining, while the House of Hillel were less concerned with such outward expression and much more concerned with the way in which one recited the Shema, that they made it their own way, that they meant it and walked in it. Note the difference in emphasis of the two houses.

Hillel was more concerned with the inner man, while Shammai was more concerned with the outer man. Hillel was concerned with the Spirit of the Law, while Shammai was more concerned with the Letter of the Law.

This overriding concept of sincerity is also found in the Mishna in tractate Menachot:

“…all are the same, the one who offers much and the one who offers little, on condition that a man will direct his intention to Heaven.”
(m.Menachot 13:11)

You can imagine that a movement founded on sincerity of heart, would have no tolerance for hypocrisy. The Talmud lists Hypocrites as one of four classes who will not receive the presence of the Shekhinah:

R. Hisda also said in the name of R. Jeremiah b. Abba: Four classes will not recieve presence of the Shechinah, — the class of scoffers, the class of liars, the class of hypocrites, and the class of slanderers. `The class of scoffers’ — as it is written, He withdrew His hand from the scoffers.(Hosea 7:5) `The class of liars’ — as it is written, He that telleth lies, shall not tarry in my sight.(Ps. 101:7) `The class of hypocrites’ — as it is written, For a hypocrite shall not come before him.(Job 13:15) `The class of slanderers — as it is written, For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee,'(Ps. 5:5) [which means] Thou art righteous, and hence there will not be evil in thy abode.
(b.San. 103a)

The Talmud however does recognize a problem with hypocrisy among the ranks of the Pharisees:

King Jannai said to his wife’, `Fear not the Pharisees and the non-Pharisees but the hypocrites who are the Pharisees; because their deeds are the deeds of Zimri but they expect a reward like Phineas.’
(b.Sotah 22b)

It is this problem that Yeshua addresses when he criticizes hypocrisy among the Pharisees. Sincerity of heart is supposed to be the defining characteristic of the foundations of Pharisaic Judaism, Pharisaic Judaism stripped of its core principle became hollow. I believe this is what Yeshua meant when he said:

“You are the salt of the earth, and if the salt has lost its savor, how will it be salted? It is afterwards good for nothing, but to be cast aside, and trampled by men.”
(Matthew 5:13)

Note in Matthew Yeshua says:

“…they [hypocrites] delight to stand in the assemblies and at the corners of the streets to pray, that men may see them.”
(Matthew 6:5)

Some wrongly imagine that this is a blanket attack on a Pharisaic practice. In reality a similar condemnation appears in the Talmud “‘One who says the Tefillah so that it can be heard is of the small of faith’.” (b.Ber 24b)

Yeshua continues his attack on hypocrites saying:

“And when you pray, multiply not your words like the Goyim do…”
(Matthew 6:7-8)

Like verse 5 many mistakenly take this verse as a reference to Jewish liturgy. In fact the Pharisaic Mishna itself contains a similar instruction for behavior when praying:

Rabbi Simeon says: “Be meticulous in the recitation of the shema and the Prayer. And when you pray, don’t treat your praying as a matter of routine. But let it be a [plea for] mercy and supplication before the Omnipresent, blessed be He…”
(m.Avot 2:13)

Yeshua continues his criticism of “hypocrites” saying:

“…they begrime and disfigure their faces that they may appear in the sight of men to fast… when you fast anoint your head and wash your face…”
(Matthew 6:16-18)

Here Yeshua is not condemning a Pharisaic practice but an Essene practice as Josephus writes of the first century Essenes:

They think oil is defilement; and if one of them is anointed without his own approbation, it is wiped off his body; for they think to be sweaty is a good thing…
(Josephus; Wars; 2:8:3)

Yeshua continues his criticism of hypocrites saying:

“lay up for yourselves stores in heaven, where caterpillar and moth waste not, and where thieves do not steal, for just where your store is, there your heart will be also.”
(Matthew 6:19-21)

A similar teaching appears in the Talmud with very similar wording:

Our Rabbis taught: It is related of King Monobaz that he dissipated all his own hoards and the hoards of his fathers in years of scarcity. His brothers and his father’s household came in a deputation to him and said to him, ‘Your father saved money and added to the treasures of his fathers, and you are squandering them.’ He replied: ‘My fathers stored up below and I am storing above, as it says, Truth springeth out of the earth and righteousness looketh down from heaven. My fathers stored in a place which can be tampered with, but I have stored in a place which cannot be tampered with, as it says, Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of his throne. My fathers stored something which produces no fruits, but I have stored something which does produce fruits, as it is written, Say ye of the righteous [zaddik] that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat of the fruit of their doings. My fathers gathered treasures of money, but I have gathered treasures of souls, as it is written, The fruit of the righteous [zaddik] is a tree of life, and he that is wise winneth souls. My fathers gathered for others and I have gathered for myself, as it says, And for thee it shall be righteousness [zedakah]. My fathers gathered for this world, but I have gathered for the future world, as it says, Thy righteousness [zedakah] shall go before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.’
(b.Baba Batra 11a)

When Yeshua criticized Pharisees for hypocrisy he was challenging Pharisees to return to the Chassidic roots of Pharisaic Judaism. He was encouraging Pharisees to return to their foundational teachings, the Tanak and the teachings of Simon the Righteous and Atigones of Soko.

Yeshua was teaching CHESED, he was teaching Chassidism and he was teaching the values of Antigones of Soko. He was teaching us that we should not keep Torah as one wishing to earn something, but as one who has a sincere heart and inner desire to serve YHWH out of sincere love and respect for our Father.

In fact the ironic thing is that by this measure it is Christedom which is hypocritical. Talk to a Christian about Torah Observance and invariably they will respond that they do not have to keep Torah to be saved, and therefore they do not need to keep Torah. They are as ones only concerned with doing what they get paid for, and not as one serving YHWH simply out of love and respect for Him.

When Yeshua was criticizing hypocrisy among Pharisees, he was calling for a return to authentic Pharisaic Judaism, which is why Paul was able to say confidently “I am a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6)

There is an interesting parallel in the teachings of a later movement that also took on the name Chassidic and whose founder the Baal Shem Tov (c. 1750) taught that Judaism must be centered not simply around doing the Torah, but around feeling the Torah.

Now in closing I want to emphasize that the early Nazarenes also had deep roots in Essene Judaism.

Our Messiah was bringing together Pharisaic and Essenic Judaism. He was introducing Hillel style halachic teachings to Esseneism and introducing Essene Apocalyptic teaching to Pharisaic Judaism.

We have faced a budget shortfall in July! We must still raise at least $250 by the end of the day Monday (July 27th, 2021), or our account will go into the negative!

I want to thank all of you supporting this work. I literally could not do it without you!

This work takes hours of my time. As many of you know, my wife is very ill, and I spend most of my time at home as her caretaker. I work at a desk less than six feet from her bed. So I am in a position to dedicate many hours to this important work that I have been directed to do.

But I also realize that it is not the activity of James Trimm alone who is responsible to do this work, it is all of us together who are charged with the responsibility of accomplishing this work. I very much look on the efforts of this restoration work as a cooperative one with each one of you. We are all joint heirs with Messiah and should always be about our Father’s business. I am honored to be able to be partnered with truth seekers as this restoration of Scripture moves forward in fulfillment of prophecy.

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Nazarene Judaism
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Hurst, TX 76053