Yeshúa cenando con sus discípulos

The Jewishness of Yeshua

After Yeshua’s departure and as the years went by, many non-Jewish people of multiple backgrounds entered the community of his followers, whose influence, little by little, began to distance themselves from the Jewish community…

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a few kilometers from Jerusalem. His parents were from the tribe of Judah. He was circumcised on the eighth day, according to the Law of Moses. He was raised and educated in Nazareth. At the age of 13, he visited the Temple to enter into his adult life, doing his bar mitzvah. Every year, he went up to Jerusalem at least three times for the Feasts of Yehovah: Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot), and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), as commanded by the Scriptures. His disciples were all Jews. He attended the synagogue on Shabbat (Saturday). As a member of the Jewish community, he kept the biblical diet. All his teachings were based on what we know as the Old Testament, primarily the Pentateuch or Torah. With all these backgrounds, don’t you wonder: Why then does he have a name that is not Hebrew?

At the time Jesus lived, there was much discontent because their land was occupied by the Romans. The Romans wanted to impose worship of the empire and its rulers as if they were gods, which conflicted with the Jewish faith, leading to frequent riots and uprisings against the Romans, who eventually destroyed the Temple in 68 AD.

By then, the community of Jesus’ followers began to be harassed by both the Romans and the Temple leaders, who were a corrupt caste, as Jesus had denounced.

(Let’s take a brief pause to clarify that Jesus’ original name was Yehoshua, although according to the custom of the time, the shorter name Yeshua was used. We will use this name to refer to our Lord from now on).

After Yeshua’s departure and over the years, many non-Jewish people from various backgrounds joined the community of his followers. Their influence gradually led to a separation from the Jewish community that did not accept them, which was continuously confronting the Romans due to their faith. History tells us that those of the Way, as the followers of Yeshua called themselves at the beginning, ended up being victims of the Romans as well.

It becomes evident that when they copied the gospels and other documents of the New Testament to make them available to the multiple groups that were emerging, they found an easy way to make adjustments to the names of people and places, thus disconnecting all the protagonists of the stories narrated there from their origins..

Thus, Yeshua became: Iesous in Greek, and eventually Jesus in English. A similar transformation occurred with all the other characters: Shimon became Peter; Yohanan, John; Mattityahu, Matthew; etc. This also happened with Old Testament characters: Yesha’yahu – Isaiah; Yirmeyahu, Jeremiah; Yehezkel, Ezekiel, to name a few. Places and city names were not exempt: Beit-Lehem (house of bread) became Bethlehem; Beit-Anyah (house of poverty) became Bethany; etc.

While we do not claim this diminishes the credibility of the Scriptures, it does disconnect the narratives from their cultural background; we cannot deny that when reading about a character named Peter or John, we think of people we know, and such names do not evoke images of people from another culture. It is curious that almost none of these transliterated or translated names relate to the original culture.

Why is the Jewishness of Yeshua important?

When we open our eyes to this reality, we realize that Yeshua is part of God’s plan with the people of Israel. Yeshua did not come to establish a community separate from Israel but to continue the Abrahamic faith, of which we are a part, restoring obedience to God’s revelation without disconnecting from its cultural roots.

At this point, it is important to see the effect of Yeshua and his teachings on his immediate followers. Did they abandon their culture and beliefs? No. On the contrary, they affirmed them. Did they renounce their Jewish identity? Not at all; the book of Acts testifies to their zeal and faithfulness in obeying Yehovah’s Word (Torah).

What is certain is that Yeshua restored obedience to the instructions (Torah) given by God to His people, teaching and modeling them with his own life, thus opening the doors of the Kingdom for anyone who wishes to enter.

This is what our work at A Rood Awakening is about: providing you with videos, topics, Bible studies, and everything you need to immerse yourself in Yeshua’s (Jesus’) cultural dimension and that of other characters, which will open your eyes to a surprising understanding of the message that our Father Yehovah has brought to you.

If you have any questions or need guidance, please do not hesitate to write to us using the Comment section below.


The history of the Apocryphal Books

One of the oldest books found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran is the Book of Enoch.

The Bibles we have today include a compendium of books that were written at a particular period in history. The word canon, whose origin is generally traced to the Greek κανών which is a measuring rod, actually comes from the even more ancient Hebrew קנה (cané) which is a reed, and, precisely, was used for measuring. So we can deduce that the biblical canon refers to the group of books that have authority in terms of religious doctrine, whether in Christianity, Judaism, or Catholicism, whose respective canons differ from one another.

Needless to say, such authority in doctrinal matters was decided by the religious leaders of the time, so it is logical to attribute a certain subjectivity to such selection. Although most Christians consider the 66 books of their canon as the only “inspired” or “worthy of being taken as doctrinal”, the reality is that depending on the religious culture in which one has been raised, this will change. Just imagine that until before Martin Luther, works such as the books of Tobit or Judith would have been common knowledge.

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – OCTOBER 13, 2017: One of the Dead Sea Scrolls, on display at the Book Museum. Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Israel

How old are these books?

The biblical period covered by the apocryphal books is mostly limited to the Second Temple period, between the last prophets, concluding with Malachi, and the New Testament literature. This spans from around 300 BCE to 50 or 100 CE. There are later works from this time that were used by the so-called Church Fathers, but these would be included in another category as they relate exclusively to the New Testament and were written even after the closure of the Jewish canon in the 1st century.

One of the oldest books found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran is the Book of Enoch. This book, not included in the Jewish or Catholic canon, appears in more than ten different manuscripts in Qumran, written in what is believed to be the original Aramaic. Communities of believers in Syria and Ethiopia also preserved this book in their own languages (in Syria, Aramaic was spoken but had a different type of script, in contrast to the Essenes, who wrote Aramaic with the Hebrew letters we know today, which are originally Aramaic).

Other well-known works found in Qumran include the Book of Maccabees, Ben Sira, and Tobit.

Who decided which books entered the canon?

In the case of Judaism in Israel, a rabbinic assembly was formed, gathering in the city of Yavne around the year 100 CE. Although most writings in the Torah and the prophets were widely accepted, there was some controversy surrounding different books among the writings, such as the Song of Solomon and Daniel, the latter being written in Aramaic. One of the main reasons why many apocryphal books did not enter the Jewish canon was precisely because there were no Hebrew copies.

Other Jewish communities did not necessarily accept the authority of the rabbinic leadership in Israel and continued to use books they considered worthy of study. This is the case with the Ethiopian community of Beta Israel, which included, among others, the aforementioned books, the Book of Jubilees, the Testament of Abraham, the Testament of Isaac, and the Testament of Jacob.

The Catholic Church defined its canon at the Council of Rome in the fourth century, commissioning Jerome to translate the list of books into Latin. In the Eastern Church in Syria, different lists were maintained, and a unanimous decision regarding the canon was never reached. Some “extra” epistles found there include the Prayer of Manasseh and Psalm 151, while, for example, the Book of Lamentations is excluded.

During the Protestant Reformation, Luther decided to differentiate from the Catholic canon and moved seven books (Tobit, Judith, 1–2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch), placing them in the Apocrypha section (“books not considered on par with the Holy Scriptures but worthy of being read and studied”). Despite moving them, at least he included and promoted their study. Unfortunately, this distinction paved the way for their eventual exclusion altogether.

Is it relevant to study these books?

If we limit ourselves to what Martin Luther said, then yes. Beyond Luther, it is worth delving into the historical context of each work. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls shed new light, confirming that Jewish communities of this time, even in the Land of Israel, considered many of these works worthy of study. In each of these books, we can appreciate not only ethical, moral, or spiritual messages but also the cultural environment of the Jewish people in a period of history that is unfortunately absent from our current Bibles.

Who Was the Apostle Paul and What Did He Teach?

What was Paul’s cultural background? Where does he come from? Who was he? What school did he belong to? What did he think and teach before Yeshua revealed himself to him? Did Paul convert or create a religion after his encounter with Yeshua?

The above questions will help us understand many of the passages we read in the New Testament Scriptures, especially when Paul is addressing certain audiences in a particular way. We know that Paul came from a very different context than the one shown by Yeshua (Jesus), who was mainly developing his ministry in some specific areas of Judea, Galilee and Samaria in general, focusing mainly on the lost sheep of the House of Israel according to the records. biblical, unlike Paul.

Law and Grace

While the Torah was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Yeshua. John 1:17

So, let’s ask ourselves: If grace and truth came through Yeshua, are today’s believers under the law (Torah)? And what does it mean to live under grace and live under law? What did Yeshua say about the law? What do Paul and the other writers of the Renewed Covenant say about law and grace? These and other questions are discussed in this “Law and Grace” study.

The Shabbat

What is Shabbat? Should believers in the Messiah celebrate it? How should it be stored? What are the prohibitions on Shabbat day?

Discover with us, the bliss that is in the Scriptures when we celebrate Shabbat. Something essential on this day is to rest, which is established as a commandment.

Before indicating how Shabbat should be celebrated, the following questions must be resolved: What is Shabbat? What does Shabbat mean? And What does the word Shabbat mean?

The word Shabbat is typical of the Hebrew language, in English, it could be translated as “the day of rest.” Interestingly, this word is linked linguistically to the word Saturday, which happens repeatedly in many other languages giving testimony of what Elohim (God), Yehovah commanded from the beginning of creation, despite the confusion of tongues in Babylon cited in Genesis 11: 1-9.

The Month of the Aviv

When do we celebrate Passover? What is the importance of the new moon and ripe barley (aviv) and the Biblical reference to determine the first month of the Hebrew Calendar? Does the equinox have any relevance to the Biblical Calendar? We will be dealing with these and other questions in this special edition. To begin to understand a little more about this topic, we must ask ourselves some questions such as: What is the month of Aviv? Why is it so important? What does it mean? What happens in this first biblical month known as the month of the Aviv?

The Creator’s Diet

Does God really care what we eat? If not, then where in Scripture does it say that God changed his mind from what he said to his people in the book of Genesis? Are you thinking of Acts 10, Galatians 2, Mark 7, or maybe Colossians 2? You will be surprised and amazed to see for yourself that for over 1800 years we have read in the Scriptures things that are not there. You will be truly stunned to discover the power of tradition and how the doctrine of the “death of Jesus so we can eat it all” has survived for so long.