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Showing posts from 2015

Yeshua’s Traumatized Society

Yeshua was born into a society traumatized by violence. His life was framed by revolts. The uprisings after Herod’s death occurred in the year of his birth, and he was brought up in the hamlet of Nazareth, only a few miles from Sepphoris, which Varus had razed to the ground; the peasants’ strike against Caligula would occur just ten years after his death.
During his lifetime, Galilee was governed by Herod Antipas, who financed an expensive building program by imposing heavy taxes on his Galilean subjects. Failure to pay was punished by foreclosure and confiscation of land, and this revenue swelled the huge estates of the Herodian aristocrats.  When they lost their land, some peasants were forced into banditry, while others — Yeshua’s father, the carpenter Joseph, perhaps, among them — turned to menial labor: artisans were often failed peasants.
The crowds who thronged around Yeshua in Galilee were hungry, distressed, and sick. In his parables we see a society split between the very ri…

Early Third Century Christianity

The Church was a new phenomenon in the Roman Empire. Christians had exploited the empire’s improved communications to create an institution with a unity of structure that none of the other faith traditions had attempted by the third century. Each local church was headed by a bishop, the “overseer” who was said to derive his authority from Jesus’s apostles, and was supported by presbyters and deacons. The network of such near-identical communities seemed almost to have become an empire within the empire.
Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyons (c. 130-200), who was anxious to create an orthodoxy that excluded aggressive sectarians, had claimed that the Great Church had a single Rule of Faith, because the bishops had inherited their teaching directly from the apostles. This was not only a novel idea but a total fantasy. Paul’s letters show that there had been considerable tension between him and Jesus’s disciples, and his teachings bore little relation to those of Jesus. Each of the Synoptic Gosp…

Once upon a time a Preacher, Professor & Rabbi . . .

Once upon a time a Preacher, Professor & Rabbi . . .” sounds like the beginning of a good joke, but in this case it is the beginning of a twenty-five journey. I am the preacher, Dr. Ike Tennison is the Professor and the Rabbi is Jeffrey Leynor. Our destination was to more accurately understand the words of our Bibles and the histories of our religions – Christianity and Judaism. We specifically wanted to focus on the first century CE when both of our religions were Jewish sects and part of Second Temple Judaism and learn more about how one of those sects – the Jesus Movement – became a universal Gentile religion, and the other – the Pharisees – became Rabbinic Judaism. What we discovered, however, is much more important than what we planned. Today, the social bonds that are required to hold Americans together and make it possible for our democracy to exist are breaking down and many of the problems we face – political, economic and religious – are the result. We believe that what…

Why Did the Magi Bring Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

Were the gifts of the magi meant to save Jesus from the pain of arthritis? It’s possible, according to researchers at Cardiff University in Wales who have been studying the medical uses of frankincense. Since the early days of Christianity, Biblical scholars and theologians have offered varying interpretations of the meaning and significance of the gold, frankincense and myrrh that the magi presented to Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew (2:11). Read the complete article at --

How did the Romans celebrate ‘Christmas’?

It wasn’t until the late fourth century that the church fathers could agree on the date of Christ’s birth – unlike the pagan Romans, Christians tended to give no importance to anyone’s birthday. The big day in the Christian religious calendar was Easter. Nevertheless, eventually the church settled on 25 December as the date of Christ’s nativity. For the Christians, it was a holy day, not a holiday, and they wanted the period to be sombre and distinguished from the pagan Saturnalia traditions such as gambling, drinking, and of course, most of all, worshipping a pagan god! Read the complete article at --

Why the Magi got a bad press

There were not three Magi. The number is not specified. It is only stated that they brought three types of gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. We can say with near certainty that there were not three but many thousands!The answers are clear once we understand the dilemma faced by the Roman State Church founded under Constantine in the 300s CE.It was excruciatingly painful for the priests of the Roman ‘Mother Church’ to explain why the Magi of Persia had worshiped the infant Jesus and the Roman Empire had destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. Parthia worshiped Jesus. Rome pillaged Jerusalem and destroyed the Jews. How could Romans justify a Christian heritage? The Roman Mother Church therefore blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus although the crucifixion was conducted by Roman soldiers, under Roman imperial authority and with Roman nails. Read the complete article at --

Unearthing the World of Jesus

Surprising archaeological finds are breaking new ground in our understanding of Jesus’s time—and the revolution he launched 2,000 years ago. The Gospels say that Jesus taught and “proclaimed the good news” in synagogues “throughout all Galilee.” But despite decades of digging in the towns Jesus visited, no early first-century synagogue had ever been found.  For historians, this was not a serious problem. Galilean Jews were a week’s walk from Jerusalem, close enough for regular pilgrimages to Herod the Great’s magnificent temple, Judaism’s central house of worship. Galileans, mostly poor peasants and fishermen, had neither the need nor the funds for some local spinoff. Synagogues, as we understand them today, did not appear anywhere in great numbers until several hundred years later. If there were any in Galilee in Jesus’s day, they were perhaps just ordinary houses that doubled as meeting places for local Jews. Some scholars argued that the “synagogues” in the New Testament were nothi…

A Psychologist Replays the Trials of Jesus and Paul, and Uncovers Surprising Revelations About Judaism

Jesus and Paul were executed for the primary charge of blasphemy against Judaism, even though some biblical scholars claim that the charges were bogus — not blasphemous by Jewish law and tradition. In both instances, the charges were made by the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Judaism. The Roman authorities referred both cases to the Jewish authorities because “the charges were Jewish matters.” If Jesus didn’t launch Christianity, if Paul didn’t, who did? More puzzling, how did Christianity get away from Judaism? Interesting questions that beg for fresh thinking. Questions that psychologists, sociologists and historians may be more suited to investigate than theologians or biblical scholars, who are mired in traditional frames of reference. Read the complete article at --

The Bible’s First Lessons on Love

The Bible opens with the famous creation accounts, but few probably realize that these are also the Bible’s first lessons about love – the love of the Creator. These are lessons that are well worth learning and sharing with others, because if there is one thing our lives and world urgently need now – it’s the presence of the Creator’s love. See if you recognize the Creator’s in the real salvation message of Jesus (you won’t hear it at a church). Click on this article at --

Pope Frances Speech to the United Nations

If you have been learning about the Real Yeshua, then you will recognize that the pope's speech to the UN is loaded with the TOV Values that the Real Yeshua taught and the theological ancestors of the pope subordinated to their theological interests. Read this amazing speech at --

Lessons About Prayer: The Times for Prayer

Lessons About Prayer from the Jewish Culture of Yeshua Series #3 The Times for Prayer
Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninthhour. (Acts 3:1)
What time was the ninth hour? The following information from To Pray as a Jew provides us with important insights about this topic.
The Times for Prayer
When Ezra the Scribe and the Men of the Great Assembly prescribed the number of prayer services for each day, they also fixed the time framework in which to say them. The official time for the   various services was set to correspond to the time that the daily communal offerings were brought in the Temple.
An Explanation of the ‘Variable Hour” (Sha-ah Zemanit)
In order to understand how the exact time parameters of the daily services are fixed, one must begin by knowing that wherever the Mishnah or later halakhic sources referred to the time of the day, they were not referring to a fixed hour, nor, when they used the term “hour” did they mean our constant in…

Lessons About Prayer: Prayers That Will Not Be Answered

Lessons About Prayer from the Jewish Culture of Yeshua Series #2 Prayers That Will Not Be Answered
The Talmud tells us that God will not answer some kinds of prayer. God will not answer a prayer: that is:
(1) that is not sincere
(2) that asks Him to break one of His own laws
(3) that asks for Him to do what we ourselves should be doing
(4) that asks Him to help us by hurting others
There are two partners in prayer, man and God. Prayer does not always work in the way we want it to or think that it will. God is concerned with every one of His creatures. There is a great difference between speaking magic words and saying a prayer. In magic we believe that we can force something to happen. In prayer, we know that we are not the boss. In prayer we are trying to “get in touch with” God; not trying to force God to obey us.
We must also remember that sometimes the answer to our prayer may be “No.”
If you found this information useful, please let us know by going to The Real Yeshua Facebook page by C…

Lessons About Prayer: Whom Should I Thank?

Lessons About Prayer from the Jewish Culture of Yeshua Series #1 Whom Should I Thank?
Once a boy who had just eaten lunch turned to his mother and said, “Thank you very much.” But his mother said, “You should not thank me alone, for I only prepared the food.”
The boy wondered, “Whom should I thank?” He went to the grocery store and saw the grocer.  “Thank you, Mr. Grocer, for the very fine bread that I ate at lunchtime.”  “Oh,” said the grocer, “you should not thank me alone. I only sell the bread. I do not bake it.”
So the boy went to the bakery where all the bread was made; and there he saw the baker. “Mr. Baker,” the boy said, “I want to thank you for the wonderful bread that you bake. The baker laughed and said, “I bake the bread, but it is good because the flour is good. And the flour comes from the miller who grinds it.”
“Then I will thank the miller,” said the boy and he turned to leave.   “But the miller only grinds the wheat,” the baker said. “It is the farmer who grows the grain …

Prayer in the Real Yeshua’s Jewish Culture

Prayer is the human side of an unending dialog between God and man. It is through the Scriptures that God speaks to man. Man’s response to God is prayer. Most Hebrew prayers are expressions of adoration and gratitude. They are prayers of thanksgiving and praise for God’s boundless mercy and goodness, for His providential love and beneficence to all His creatures. Prayers also play an educational role, especially petitionary prayers.
 Petitionary prayers voice our needs, and they ask for deliverance from the various afflictions that beset us in the world. The function of petitionary prayer is to make us more conscious of our dependence on God, that we may thereby become more receptive to divine influences. God answers petitionary prayer, but not necessarily according to our specifications.
Man and God are partners in the work of creation; therefore man must be a co-worker with God in the struggle against the deficiencies which challenge him.
(1) We cannot expect God to overrule the laws …

If you read the words of Yeshua in the Bible -- You have a responsibility

From Jewish Messiah to God Incarnate

Dr. James Tabor’s latest blog provides a wealth of information about a subject that Christians have debated for almost 2,000 years now. Regardless of what one’s beliefs about Jesus are, it must be clearly understood that other Christians have held – and do hold -- other beliefs about it. Or, as we like to say, “many different memes have been attached to Yeshua over the centuries.” Dr. Tabor provides a good chronological presentation for that memetic evolution. Below are a few quotes from the blog.
For untold millions of Christians asking the “Lord” for guidance, help, and evensalvationis a complex and confusing business.Part of the confusion is that the God of the Hebrew Bible, who mostly goes by the name Yahweh/Yehovah, is referred to as “the LORD.”The problem comes with the New Testament in which Jesus isalsocommonly referred to as “the Lord.”So far as the Jesus movement goes our earliest evidence for this practice of conflating the name of God–i.e., Yahweh, with that of Jesus–that i…

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Elul: A Time of Repairing and Creating Shalom
One of the most important teachings of Yeshua isn’t taught in most churches, but you will find it in most Twelve-Step programs. Pay close attention to the words of Yeshua (highlighting added to stress specific words):
Therefore if you bring your QORBAN to the ALTAR, and THERE you REMEMBER that your brother has something AGAINST you, leave your QORBAN there, before the altar, and FIRST be reconciled to your brother, and THEN come and offer your QORBAN. (Matthew 5:23-24)
Yeshua was clearly addressing people who understood what he was talking about because it was something they and everyone they knew did. The Temple’s sacrificial rituals were part of Jewish life. QORBAN is usually translated as "sacrifice" or "offering.” In 21st century America, both words are understood to be an act in which the one presenting the QORBANlosses or gives up something.
But, in Yeshua’s world, the meaning of the root of QORBAN was understood -- QRB me…

Was Jesus the Son of God? It's Complicated

Scholars are aware of the rich and diverse ways in which the term "Son of God" is used in the Hebrew Bible, in subsequent Jewish literature, and in the New Testament writings themselves, not to mention various non-Jewish texts (including inscriptions and coins) of the Greco-Roman period. Most of us who teach in the field of Christian Origins get asked from time to time by students or in public lectures, "Professor, do you believe Jesus was X." Sometimes X is "Messiah," other times it is "Divine," but in my experience, most often, the question is "Do you believe that Jesus was the Son of God." In good Socratic fashion one is tempted to reply, "Well what do you mean by the term 'Son of God,' and such a counter question is certainly more than subterfuge. Here is a listing of most of the complex ways in which that term is used in the Christian Bible and other related traditions. Read the complete article at -- http://www.huffi…

Art that falsifies biblical history and reinforce the divide between Christians and Jews

I discovered, with Renaissance images of Jesus, his family and followers. In one respect a vast trove of Renaissance artworks inspire devotion and intensify faith in Christianity. On another level, though, they falsify biblical history and reinforce the divide between Christians and Jews, which has had lethal consequences for Jews over many centuries. The falsifications were all the more compelling because they were made subtly, by omission. What has been omitted is Jesus' Jewish identity. You can walk through gallery after gallery in museums around the world, as I have, and you will rarely see any evidence that Jesus was a Jew or had any connection to Judaism or to the Middle East where he was born and where he preached. Indeed, he is typically pictured as Northern European in appearance, with fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. And you will likely find him and his family and followers in regal attire, in palatial Renaissance settings, surrounded by symbols of a religion -- Chr…

The Yeshua Movement and First Century Judaism

The movement Jesus eventually forged had attractions for those who identified with the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes or Zealots. Jesus had his share of sympathizers even among the Pharisees. Under the reign of Jesus’s brother James, large numbers of Pharisees identified with the movement that John the Baptizer and Jesus had inaugurated. As surprising as it sounds to modern ears, there were in fact Nazarene or “Christian Pharisees” – and lots of them. Luke reveals that “large numbers: of Sadducean priests in Jerusalem became part of the movement even though Jesus seems to the least in common with the Sadducees. Even though the Essenes had a much more rigid interpretation of the Torah than Jesus, there were surely some who must have identified with the apocalyptic excitement that John the Baptizer and Jesus began to ignite all over the country. When we grasp the history, core values, and mythological world of this movement we will be able to place Jesus properly within the incredible di…

The Four Religious Sects

Four religious sects or parties existed in Israel at that time: the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Herodians. The most prominent were the Pharisees and Sadducees.  The Pharisees were the most popular sect; their main focus was on the primacy of the Torah, and their leaders were the expert interpreters of the Torah. The most conservative Sadducees, who represented an older establishment of priests, aristocrats, and wealthier merchants, had less influence on the religious views of the larger community, but they dominated the Temple worship and the Sanhedrin, the central religious council based in the Temple.  The other two sects were the Essenes, a pious brotherhood of separatists, who lived in isolated monastic communities in the desert, and the Herodians, a religious party allied to Herod the Great.

SOURCE: The Life and Teachings of Hillel by Yitzhak Buxbaum (Jason Aronson, Inc., Northvale, NJ; 1973); pp. 9-10.

Some Stats Every Christian Should Ponder

Ponder is defined as “to consider something deeply and thoroughly; weigh carefully in the mind; consider thoughtfully.”[1] Something I have done a lot of pondering about began when I became aware of the stats below.
(1) Christians trace the beginning of their religion to Jesus, the founder of a small Jewish sect in Palestine in 30 CE.
(2) In 1970, there were 1,130,000,000 affiliated Christians who belonged to 1,449,600 congregations/churches of 18,630 denominations / paradenominations.[2] Paradenominations have existed since the 19th century, operating alongside denominations, crossing boundaries and enabling joint efforts between various groups.[3]
(3) In 2000, there were 1,888,000.000 affiliated Christians who belonged to 3,447,900 congregations/churches of 33,820 denominations / paradenominations.[4]
(4) In 2000 there were 322 Baptist denominations alone.[5]
Some things to ponder:
(1) How did a single exclusively Jewish sect in Palestine become 33,820 denominations / paradenominations wi…

Being Right vs. Acting Righteously

My friend and TOV Center Partner, Jim Myers, received a 6 page list of Biblical quotes in a reaction to his blog about the Real Yeshua -- Jesus the Jewish teacher. I noticed after reading through this huge list, that the point of the writer was to convince and prove his "RIGHTNESS." This sense of "RIGHTNESS" is something I've experienced my entire life. Many people are absolutely sure that what they "BELIEVE" is "RIGHT!" So many expend their energy on defending their BS (Belief System), some even go to the point of killing others. The real crime, however, is that they ignore and do not practice the Values and Lessons that the Jewish Jesus taught – and are clearly recorded in those same Scriptures. Read Rabbi Leynor’s blog at --

Relationships of the Israelite Religion, Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity

For the past 30 years I have been engaged in research about the Jewish Yeshua (Jesus) and the evolution of Christianity from a Jewish sect to a universal Gentile religion. The work of Dr. David Flusser had played an important role in my work. David Flusser (b. 09/15/1917 – d. 09/15/2000) was a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he taught Judaism in the Second Temple Period and Early Christianity. He was a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Flusser published over 1,000 articles in Hebrew, German, English, and other languages.His work was rewarded by the State of Israel in 1980 with the Israel Prize.
His famous book, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (© 1988 Magnes Press, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel), is a valuable resource for anyone studying the Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity. I use it regularly in my work. Today, while working on something, I came across two passages that I believe are very important. I encourag…

History of the Name "Jesus"

The history of the name “Jesus” begins in the Torah in the account in which Yahweh commanded Moses to choose one man from each of the twelve tribes to spy out the land of Canaan.
Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea[1] the son of Nun . . .These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Yehoshua.[2]
The root word of Hoshea is HOSHUA, which means "salvation." It is important to understand that "salvation" in the Hebrew Scriptures or the Jewish culture did not mean “go to Heaven after death.” It meant “being delivered from some danger or threat.” When Moses changed Hoshea to Yehoshua the meaning of the name changed to "Yahweh-is-Salvation." When the spies reported back to Moses ten of them delivered the following report:
“The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants…