So, I’m reading this fantastic book, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church by Dr. Ron Moseley with a Foreward by Marvin Wilson, Ph.D. and I thought I would come here and share my thoughts on this great book as I read it.
I stumbled upon this book when a group of friends had mentioned wanting to read it as part of a book club. Unfortunately, I just don’t have time to participate in a formal book club these days, but I did purchase the book and have started reading it.
It is rare that I read a Foreward or Preface in a book (I know… it’s a character flaw 🙂 I’m impatient, I want to get to the meat of the matter!)… but I did for this book and I’m glad I did!
The foreward is written by Marvin Wilson, Ph.D., Ockenga Professor of Biblical Theological Studies, Chairman of the Department of Biblical Studies at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. I knew I would read this book just based on this one comment…
If one desires to be radically Christian, a thorough understanding of the Jewish origin of the Church is, by no means optional, it is foundational.
I could not agree with him more!! It is literally the beginning of understanding… You can’t start a book two-thirds through and expect to understand the content without the first portion of the book… which is what so many want to do.
The Preface is written by Dr. Moseley himself. It’s funny as I sit here to type up my thoughts, I am thumbing back through what I’ve read… I don’t have many books where practically the entire preface had highlighter marks all over it! I am going to share word-for-word from the Preface, since it is free out there to be read on Amazon (as well as the Foreward and Introduction).
Scholars agree, on the most basic level, that Jesus was a Jew who was born, lived, and died within first-century Judaism. His teaching methods, parables, proverbs, and symbolic style were characteristic of the Judaism of that day. Since both the Old and New Testaments are highly Hebraic, with the background, writers, culture, religion, traditions, and concepts being Hebrew, any analysis should be done from this perspective.
And a final quote from the Preface…
Finally, our study will suggest that the early Church was one of the many sects within first century Judaism, which neither Jesus nor Paul ever tried to leave. Because the early Church remained within Judaism for the first hundred years, the proto-rabbi and the Hebrew culture are essential to understanding it organizational structure.
In the introduction, Dr. Moseley discusses if Paul and Jesus were rebels or outcasts of Judaism…. which of course they were NOT. Research shows that there were over twenty different denominations within first century Judaism – including the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes, Hellenists, etc. And each of these were considered outside the mainstream at one point or another, yet still firmly welcomed and a part of Judaism. You can see that Jesus (Yeshua is his Hebraic name) was called rabbi by both Pharisees and his disciples in multiple areas of scripture… here are just a few examples from Scripture…
Joh 1:38 And Jesus turned around and saw them following him, and he said to them, What do you want? They said to him, Rabbi (Teacher), where do you live?
Joh 1:49 Nathanael answered, saying to him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.
Joh 3:1 THERE was there a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews;
Joh 3:2 He came at night to Jesus and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent from God; for no man can do these miracles that you are doing, except God is with him.
Dr. Moseley set out to delve into five areas that would greatly increase our understanding of Jesus and His Church:
- The commonly ignored fact that the Church was totally Jewish, long before it became the Gentile institution of today;
- The fuzzy picture of the organizational structure of the early Church, specifically in relation to its synagogue counterpart;
- The nearly complete absence of any knowledge concerning Jewish idioms used by Jesus;
- the difficulty understanding the purpose and requirements of the Torah, particularly pertaining to Christians;
- and The distorted image many have of the Pharisees.
Well, if this doesn’t whet your appetite to start reading this book with me, nothing will! I am actually already in Chapter Three, one-third the way into the book. But it is so good and so needed, I decided to stop and write about what I’m reading! I hope you will pick up a copy and read this book for yourself! You will see why my book has highlighting almost across the whole page!
Until next time… shalom!