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(Isaiah 2:3)

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The Model for the Messianic Community
What the First Century Messianic Community Looked Like
and Why We Should Look the Same Today

What did Messiah Yeshua expect His Body and Bride to look like,
and how close have we come to His expectations?

by
MRav Dr. Ari Levitt
ThM, ThD, DMin, MA, MBA, ND

Read it as a flip book

Back to Chapter 4

Chapter 5.
The Appearance of Yeshua

Into this mix of “people-types” that were in the synagogue came a young Jewish Rabbi/Theologian named Yeshua ben Yosef (literally, “Salvation, the son of Yosef” [usually transliterated as “Joseph”]) from Nazareth in the Galilee, teaching the people that the Kingdom of God had come among them in fulfillment of the writings of the Prophets. In fact, He went so far as to claim to be the Messiah the Jewish people had awaited for centuries, and frequently referred to Himself using the title “ben Adam” (“Son of Man” or literally “Son of Adam”; “bar 'enash” in Aramaic, Daniel 7:13-14) that some of the Prophets had used to describe the Messiah. Many, throughout the Galilee particularly, heard Him teach, some believed Him, many did not, and many followed Him around the countryside more out of curiosity than anything else.

Out of the hundreds of people who followed Him, Yeshua selected twelve men to be his core group of talmidim [students, disciples]. This was not at all unusual for Second-Temple Period Israel. Across the land of Israel, hundreds — perhaps thousands — of rabbis had each had a core group of talmidim who followed him everywhere, emulating not only his beliefs, but his lifestyle. It was not the responsibility of the talmid to just learn what his rabbi knew; rather the responsibility of the talmid was to become what his rabbi was, to emulate him in every way and eventually gather his own group of talmidim to perpetuate the lifestyle of the rabbi. This group of talmidim would be called the School of Rabbi-such-and-such. The talmidim followed their rabbi so closely (both figuratively and literally) that there was a common saying, “following in the dust of the rabbi”[1] (and several variations thereof).

For about three years they traveled throughout Israel from synagogue to synagogue, teaching Torah and emphasizing that the Kingdom promised in the Torah, the Writings, and the Prophets (the three sections of the Tanakh, or Hebrew Scriptures) had finally come to Israel. When He wasn’t teaching in the synagogue, Yeshua loved to teach in the Temple, which was filled with living illustrations that He used to explain the Scriptures to His talmidim.

After about three years, Yeshua was arrested, falsely charged with blasphemy and sedition, put through the pretense of a totally illegal mock trial (conducted in total disregard of Jewish law), and was turned over the Roman government for execution. Three days after His execution, He miraculously arose from the dead, appeared bodily to His talmidim and to over 400 citizens of Jerusalem. Forty days after His resurrection He ascended bodily into the heavenlies (the Scriptures literally say “through the heavenlies”), and at some future time He will return to rule over the entire earth from the site of David’s throne is Israel, which will then be the capital city of a united Earth.

What we must eventually come to fully understand is that neither Yeshua nor any of His talmidim after Him taught anything other than the Hebrew Scriptures and how to live them out in daily life! They did not start a new religion; they did not start even a new form of Judaism. They lived and breathed, walked and talked, wrote and taught, all within the confines of Judaism, the Temple, and the Synagogue. The only thing “new” that they taught was that the long-awaited Messiah had come and had brought the Kingdom of God to dwell among the Jewish people. Not a single one of them every became a “Christian” or taught anything contrary to Torah, and every one of them died fully Torah-pursuant Jews.

After His execution and resurrection, Yeshua appeared to a core group of His talmidim and instructed them to complete His work of taking the message of the Kingdom of God, first to Jerusalem, then to all of Judea [to the Jew first], then to Samaria, and finally to the rest of the world [and then also to the Gentile] (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:7-8). The simple core of that message was the nine-word phrase, “Repent [turn away from sin and turn back to God and His Torah], for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” After receiving this commission, these talmidim were referred to as His Shliachim, Ambassadors, or Emissaries.[2]

The reason that it is important to properly understand these concepts is that for the past 1,700 years or so, the “Church” has erroneously taught that the Jews rejected Yeshua, that Yeshua started a new religion called “Christianity” and rendered Judaism obsolete, that He nullified Torah, that all His disciples converted to “Christianity,” that “the Church” was born on the day of Pentecost, that on that Pentecost day there were 3,000 people in Jerusalem who became Christians, and that the Apostles continued planting “churches” throughout the known world and teaching that Torah was abolished. As we will soon see, none of these statements are true.

To Chapter 6

 

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 1. See, for example “Walking In His Dust,” Our Daily Bread website (https://odb.org/2005/09/ 13/walking-in-his-dust/), accessed August 25, 2019. [RETURN]

 2. Shlichim is the plural of the Hebrew word Shliach, which means an emissary; to send or one who is sent; one sent forth with the full power and authority of the sender; the Greek equivalent is apostoloß (apostolos), from which we derive the English word Apostle. The Ambassadors that Israel sends to foreign governments today are called Shliachim in Hebrew. [RETURN]

Page revised on August 25, 2019

Page last updated on Wednesday, 13 January 2021 01:32 PM
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