I suggest that you read the Epistle of Peter to James, the Clementine Literature and the “canonical” Epistle of Barnabas as well as the “canonical” Didache for contextual discussion of what I am discussing in this article or upon completing reading what I have said and have questions, please first read the Epistle of Peter to James, and the Clementine literature, to get context and understand my points. Then read the Didache and once you have read those if you don’t see my point feel free to contact me further to discuss this. Be warned this is unfiltered truth from the pages of history the text of the bible, from canonical books of the bible and patristic works of the Apostolic Fathers, that are canonical in some traditions and in the earliest canons. So take time to pray and consider what I am presenting. This may be new to some but I pray you can take time to pray, study and discern the truth for yourself.
The whole context of the discussion between the Jerusalem Council (Ya’akov ha’Tzadik [James the Just, Jesus half Brother, and a Pharisee], Yochanan [yes, the Apostle who wrote the Gospel, Epistles and Revelation], Shimon Kepha [Peter, the Rock, the Bishop of the Roman Assembly until his death], Bar’nabba [also known as Barnabas], John also called Mark [cousin of Bar’nabba and writer of the Gospel of Mark] and the rest of the twelve Apostles and 70 Shlichim sent in Luke chapter 10 versus Paul and his stenographer Luke, the Jewish Convert, and writer of the Gospel of Luke and Acts, is an intense study. Paul pretty much takes on the entire Apostolic Community and Family that walked with Yeshua, and through a revisionist history, with the help of the likes of Marcion, Constantine and others Paul is declared the defacto winner but is this really what Yeshua intended.
Instead of going through all the academic arguments lets take a simple textual and historical study in the Acts, Epistles and the Apostolic (Ante-Nicene) Fathers’ Literature. Much of what I am saying is verifiable by many learned professors in the origins of Christianity, of Patristic documents namely the Apostolic Fathers and the Parting of Ways between Judaism and Christianity. Much of what I am going to write is common knowledge of the Patristic period or the period of the Apostolic Fathers.
This discussion is based upon a conflict that arose between Paul versus Barnabas and Mark, Paul versus James and Peter, and Paul versus the Messianic Jewish Establishment. Paul in essence goes up against James, John, Peter, Matthew, Mark, and Barnabas. In the end Paul declares himself the winner and self identifies himself as the chief apostle without any one ever having passed him the torch. Paul split with his mentor the Apostle Barnabas, the lead Rabbi of the Apostolic mission to the Antiochan communities. Yes, the Barnabas who wrote the accepted, canonical and historical Epistle of Barnabas and is detailed in the Clementine literature as a featured Apostle in relation to Peter and Clement, who works among them. Barnabas was a disciple of Peter and friend of Clement, of who Barnabas brought Clement to tutor under Peter. The reason for skipping the academic study is I want to present the points from the text and I may develop the academic study later, lets dig in.
This article goes to the root of the Good News, whose Good News is preached is it the Gospel that Yeshua gave, or does Paul teach something entirely different and in conflict with Yeshua’s teaching and that of Yeshua Apostles and Family. If you take a honest textual look at what happens its obvious. We can try to infer motives but that’s extra textual and has nothing to do with the fact that no matter why its recorded as being done. If you take time to notice the shift in dialogue in Acts 15, in Acts 11 it says that John, who in Acts 15 is says to be Mark the one they call John returned to Jerusalem to be with the Apostolic community.
Notice the Jewish-Christian focus and Hebrew mindset, slant, transition based on Aramaic and Hebrew thought that I bring to the nuances of the text and the take a ways that I shared here on Ephesians considering the extreme grace versus the Jewish concept of grace (if you have the time to consider it). The text of Ephesians is similar in many ways to Galatians which is a as some have speculated a response text to the Epistle of James (Ya’akov ha’Tzadik, also known as James the Just) and/or to First Peter (Shimon Kepha). Originally the canon of scripture had the Epistles that are called the “General Epistles,” or “Catholic Epistles,” or what is know called by some the “Messianic Epistles,” before the Pauline Epistles.
The “Messianic Epistles” as I will refer to them are the foundational Epistles that follow in the way of the teachings of Yeshua, that follow in line with the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, and are in line with the teachings of the Apostle Peter (Shlichim Shimon Kepha), the Chief Rabbi of the Jerusalem Council Ya’akov ha’Tzadik (James The Just), the Apostle Barnabas (who was sent as the premier Appstle and Shaul was his understudy – I will show this point at a latter time reflect upon these verses for now
Acts 13:13 “Having set sail from Paphos, Sha’ul and his companions arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. There Yochanan left them and returned to Yerushalayim…
This is John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark, he went to Jerusalem to be with the Apostles and the Jerusalem Council for some reason not mentioned, and this seems to have upset Paul for some reason.
… 15:2 This brought them into no small measure of discord and dispute with Sha’ul and Bar-Nabba…
Apparently Sha’ual was the leader, or instigator of a disagreement with Bar’nabba, and the Jerusalem Council lead by Ya’akov ha’Tzadik chose to have the two of them go and deliver their decree to the Churches in which they had the dispute over the issues relating to the conversions of Goyim proselytes to Judaism albeit Notzrim or Messianic Judaism, which at that time was a branch of Pharasaic Judaism).
… 23 … “the following letter: From: The emissaries and the elders, your brothers To: The brothers from among the Gentiles throughout Antioch, Syria and Cilicia”… 25… “we have decided unanimously to select men and send them to you with our dear friends Bar-Nabba and Sha’ul”
Notice the order of names, who did they send first, Bar’nabba was the Chief Apostle sent not Sha’ul, Sha’ul was the chief person in the dispute, however Bar’nabba, along with others were sent with Sha’ul to mediate reconciliation based on the Jerusalem Council ruling, notice the shift in the letter of Acts now that is written by Luke the Convert to Judaism and member of the Antiochian community, who at this point follows Paul and not Bar’nabba.
… 37 “Now Bar-Nabba wanted to take with them Yochanan, the one called Mark. 38 But Sha’ul…
Notice that Sha’ul who is the understudy of Bar’Nabba didn’t want to follow Bar’nabba any more and apparently he had some unknown bone to pick with Mark for leaving them to go to Jerusalem and be with the other Apostles. I don’t know about you but if I had a conflict with a man who was at the stoning of Stephen and in the Clemintine literature grabbed a flogger and caused Ya’akov ha’Tzadik to fall of the steps of the temple and break his knee. Paul was a very conflicted man who seemed to have a lot of conflict issues with the other Apostles that landed him in prison, so much so that even the Apostles of Yeshua didn’t come to his aide.
… thought it would be unwise to take this man with them, since he had gone off and left them in Pamphylia to do the work by themselves. 39 There was such sharp disagreement over this that they separated from each other, with Bar-Nabba…
Bar’nabba is the lead Apostle sent by the Jerusalem council on this mission. So Paul has such a strong disagreement that he separates from Bar-nabba. Paul seems to have this affect upon people, or this reaction that he has to working with others. Maybe because he was a disciple of a lead Rabbi in his day before conversion, just maybe he felt he deserved a pass. However in his eagerness to go he missed some essential keys in discipleship so when three times he ask for HaShem to remove Peter, HaShem responds and says, “My grace is sufficient for YOU,” apparently Paul’s thorn ala Peter wasn’t the issue it was Paul his attitude needed to be adjusted. Paul needed HaShem to work on him.
… taking Mark…
Note, this is the writer of the Gospel of Mark, who is Barnabas’ cousin.
… and sailing off to Cyprus. 40 However, Sha’ul…
So, the understudy of Bar’nabba, is now on his own mission, having disputed the Apostle Bar’nabba, and John Mark the writer of the Gospel of Mark, and heeding on to Galatians he has a dispute with Peter, John and James, because they are of the “circumcision party” and he disagrees with their branch of Judaism. Peter Calls Paul his enemy, Paul calls Peter his thorn, James and Peter collaborate on a letter of correction regarding Paul’s errors. “However, Paul” declares himself as a chief apostle and continues on a mission of changing what he thinks needs fixed in the apostolic community. Despite his self will and self identification that is plan for all to see, many over look the historical record of this dispute and follow the wrong side of the dispute. The crowd, the throng is going in the way of perishing, the path is straight and narrow for those who choose to follow Adonai and its not popular and its not crowded.
…chose Sila and left.”
Did you see that in the text of Acts 15? If not go back and read it for yourself. Sha’ul had a dispute, he disagreed with the Apostles and Family of Yeshua, Bar’nabba and Sha’ul had a disagreement, Sha’ul and John Mark had a disagreement, and if you follow now Sha’ul is the person that Luke, the Convert, follows and records his acts. Now Luke chose to follow Sha’ul, not the Apostle Bar’Nabba, not Shimon Kepha (Peter), not Ya’akov ha’Tzadik (Jame the Just).
Note the confidence in which Shimon Kepha speaks with when the Ruach Ha’Kodesh is upon him and then note the insecurities that Paul had, that he felt weak and inadequate, that he was always trying to build himself in the eyes of others, he said if those who of the “flesh” meaning the fleshly, human, earthly, Family of Jesus. Sha’ul had issues with the true assembly of the rightjust.
Yeshua grew up with His brothers who are among the nasi’im of the Jerusalem Council-Sanhedrin, and are Chief Shlichim. Yeshua’s brothers are James the Just the nasi of the Jerusalem Council; Jude, the writer of the book of Jude, and the 3rd head of the Jerusalem Council after his brother Shimon; and Shimon who became the second nasi of the Jerusalem Council after Ya’akov ha’Tzadik was martyred in 70 CE during the destruction of the temple. Paul had contentions with Yeshuas’ brothers and those Apostles who walked with Jesus. Among the Apostles that Paul had contention with Peter (Shimon), John (Yochanan), and James (Ya’akov ha’Tzadik) are mentioned being that Matthew (Mattiyahu) is a member of the Antiochan community and possible author of the Didache, as well as Thomas, and Andrew among the rest of the twelve. Thomas was sent out from Antioch to India and Matthew was sent to Ethopia from there as well.
After all the tension and conflict Paul declares himself the winner, he says that he is more so an Apostle than the Family (flesh and blood) and Apostles (talmidim) who walked with Yeshua! Does this make sense to you. He was a Shlichim, a sent one for “one specific missions” which was given in Acts 15 and not completed in Acts 15 because he had a dispute with the head Shlichim (Apostle) of that mission. Thus Sha’ul’s covering and mission was over and yet he goes on. I will cover more on the conflict between Sha’ul and Kepha in an upcoming article.
Scripture says that to Kepha (Peter) was given the call to preach to the Gentiles not Paul, as Acts 15:7 says,
“…Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.”
Shimon Kepha was given the mission to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, Paul lays claim to Shimon’s mission. This is odd.
After Acts 15 Sha’ul experiences many trials and having no support from Gamaliel (his teacher and a believer in Yeshua), Shimon Kepha, Yochanan (John the Apostle), Ya’akov ha’Tzadik (James The Just, Chief Rabbi of the Jerusalem Council and Pharisee), Sha’ul turns to the Roman government to take him and save his life and take him to Rome. However Shimon Kepha is the Chief Rabbi sent by the Shlichim of the Yerushalem Council.
Historical records and documentation shows that Shimon Kepha was the presiding Chief Rabbi or (Bishop) of the Ekklesia (Congregation, Synagogue) in Rome. That both Peter (Shimon Kepha) and Paul were in Rome, and they both were martyred on the same day by Nero. Nero had hoped to squash both branches of Messianic Judaism, by killing one of the Chief Apostles and Bishop of the Roman assembly Peter of the Ebionite sect of Messianic Judaism, as well the ring leader of Notzrim Sha’ul, who was dissenting with the original Apostles of Yeshua and the family of Yeshua. It seems that Nero may have figured by killing leaders of the two main factions of the Messianic movement that it would destroy the movement.
Yeshua’s brothers had the prime directive to lead the body of Messiah after his death and until the year 110 CE they maintained a physical connection to Yeshua’s family and the Davidic family line in the seat of the chief Rabbi of the Jerusalem Council. It is true that Peter was the Bishop of Rome however he was not the Chief Rabbi of the movement James (Ya’akov ha’Tzadik, ha’Tzadik is a term used for the nasi or head Rabbi of the Sanhedrin, who was a priest in the temple). It is important to note that yes Peter was the Chief Rabbi of the assembly in Rome, but not of the entire movement. Peter did pass on his ministry to Clement in Rome where both Peter and Paul died. Nero’s attempt to destroy the body of Messiah by killing both Peter and Paul on the same day in no way stopped the move of Elohim.
The early Messianic faith was a participating Temple Sect. Zechariah ha’Tzadik, the father of Yochanan the Mikvahist was a High Priest of the temple during the time that Yeshua and Yochanan where conceived and born. He was soon after the birth of both Yochanan and Yeshua murdered by Herod because he would not reveal the locations of the infants Yochanan, who Herod believed to possibly be the Messiah, thus why some believed Yochanan to be the Messiah, yet we know Yochanan to be the one who came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare a way for King Messiah, Yeshua.
Yeshua’s father in law, who adopted him was Yoseph, who was descendant from David and Tsadok (from whence comes the name Sadducee’s which means Yoseph was of the line of David and Aharon), he had both Kingly and Priestly lineage. Yoseph, Yeshua’s adoptive father was a priest in the temple of Adonai according to the infancy gospels of Ya’akov ha’Tzadik. Yosef was a Pharisee and so were his four sons Ya’akov (James the Just), Shimon, Yehudah (Jude) and Justus. The Infancy Gospels of Ya’akov and Thomas are accepted canon in the Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. These are historical and accurate reflections of the early life of Yeshua recorded by Yeshua’ brother. Depending on which canon of scripture you read, for most in the western hemisphere there is a lot of control and manipulation of the text and a different narrative about the cannon of scripture that is not historically accurate.
The Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas are excepted books in the Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Canons, as well as the most earliest canon’s include these text as accept text. Most have these text following Revelation as text that are universally accepted as originating in the first century and in the Apostolic Community. These are considered Patristic works or works done by the Ante-Nicene Apostolic Fathers. The General Epistles are listed as being before the Pauline Epistles in the earliest canon’s.
The Didache was compiled by the Twelve Apostles around 50 CE and sent out from the Jerusalem Council as a discipleship manual for Gentiles who wanted to convert. They would be mentored in the teachings of the Didache prior to ritual Mikveh (or what is commonly called Baptism today). They would go through a process of discipleship with a mentor, while attending Synagogue weekly, as well as abiding with believers in Motzai Shabbat Havdalah ceremonies and teachings by the Shlichim who studied the writings of the Patristic fathers of the assemblies. Upon completion of discipleship with a mentor (Shlichim), the Goy Talmidim would fast, be immersed in ritual mikveh and then eat a meal of thanksgiving for having been brought into the Covenant with Avraham. Becoming a Convert to Judaism and being declare ritually pure from shunning the pagan G-ds and turning to Adonai through faith in HaShem’s Son, our Prophet, Rabbi and Mashiach, Yeshua ha’Notzri ben Yosef. This is the pattern of discipleship that Yeshua laid out when He said
“Go and make disciples (talmidim) of all nations (goyim) and teach the to keep all the commandments (mitzvot) that I have taught you,… baptize them (immerse them in ritual Mikveh)…”
The Didache follows this formula, it lists a teaching of commandments the way of life and the way of death, then it speaks of the requirements for baptism and follows with a covenant meal of thanksgiving once one has immersed in the living waters of a mikveh. This same process is delineated in the Epistle of Peter to James. It was first century Jewish practice to have a Covenant Meal with bread and salt after going through a ritual Mikveh. This seems to be the purpose of the Didache. It also lays out communal standards and expectations for traveling rabbinim, nevi’im and shlichim, ending with an short apocalyptic narrative.
Here is a glimpse of what the early Apostolic communities looked like. The early assemblies established a normative Jewish order to their “Churches” they would have a Bishop who was the Chief Rabbi or President of the Synagogue (commonly referred to as a Pastor in American Evangelical-Protestantism today), with Priests also called Elders who were serving as assistants to the Rabbi in teaching and ministry and then there were Shamash or Deacons who helped get the menial and labor intensive tasks of the Church accomplished freeing the Elders, Nevi’im (Prophets), Shlichim (Apostles) and Rabbi’s (Teaching Shepherds) to minister, study Torah and teach.
The early assemblies of the Apostolic-Messianic Jewish faith believed in the incarnation of the Logos (Memra) of HaShem as the Son of G-d born of an alma by the name of Mary, who was the Prophet and Mashiach, after Moshe, who was the Word and Wisdom of G-d pre-incarnate made manifest in the flesh. They believed that Yeshua was pre-incarnate as the Word (the Mamre-Logo’s = Torah), and the Wisdom of G-d, and the anthropomorphic Angel of HaShem. They believed Yeshua to be a Prophet and Mashiach. They started to have a pietistic life of ritual based on Jewish tradition with supplemental contributions coming from the Didache that included discipleship concluding with Mikveh and a Covenant meal of thanksgiving (what later becomes the Eucharist, or thanksgiving meal).
They also continue the practice of praying the prayers of the temple three times a day in addition they add Yeshua’s Tefilah as an additional prayer following “The Standing Prayers” commonly called the Shemoneh Esrei or Amidah which follows after the Shema. The community used the Didache as a manual for fasting, giving and testing the character of itinerant Rabbi’s, Shlichim and Prophets. They also began to develop a Messianic or Apostolic calendar of additional feasts and fast days, at first only added new days to an existing Jewish Calendar. At this time the Feasts, Fasts and Shabbats of Israel were still expressed as a normative part of the community. On the eve of Saturday, after the Sabbath (Motzai Shabbat), the early believers would meet after having attending Synagogue during the day to hear the Shlichim of Yeshua teach, or to hear the scrolls of the Apostolic Community read and thus remain in the Apostles doctrines. This is a small glimpse into the life of the early believers in Yeshua. Call them Yeshua’s Yeshivot if you will.