HOME   october 18, 2020  RAV SHAUL

Buy now

Chapter 1

The Emergence of The Nazarenes

Nazarenes were spoken of in the Dead Sea Scrolls as Guardians of The Torah, Prophets, and The Messiah. It is a mistranslation in our Bibles where it says “Jesus of Nazareth”, it should read “Yahusha the Nazarene”. The English word “Nazarene” (Greek “Nazaraios,” Aramaic “Natsraya,” or Hebrew “Notsri”) comes from the Hebrew word netser (branch), which itself, is derived from the verb natsar which means; “to guard, watch, keep, or preserve.” in context speaking of, The Torah.


    The NAS Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon - Strong's Number: 5341

Transliterated Word – Natsar the root of Notris or Nazarene

Definition: to guard, watch, watch over, keep (Qal) to watch, guard, keep, to preserve, guard from dangers, to keep, observe, guard with fidelity, to guard, keep secret, to be kept close, be blockaded, watchman (participle)

This is speaking in context of The Torah, Prophets, and The Messiah, foretold in The Heavenly Scroll. All Nazarenes were to keep and observe The Torah, guard it, watch over it and protect it! They were fierce opponents of all forms of paganism including the Babylonian Talmud and Hellenism (the worship of Greek gods). The Nazarenes rejected Incarnation outright and any concept associated with Babylonian demi-gods. They rejected the Virgin Birth, Proclaimed the Name of The Creator, followed the ancient Enochian Path (Enoch Calendar and Enoch Zodiac) and rejected Hesus Horus Krishna (Jesus H. Christ).

We see going back to the first few centuries AD, it was The Nazarenes who were “complete Jews”, who understood The Torah/Prophets, and how The Messiah fulfilled them. Let’s examine the first-hand witness accounts of The Nazarenes and discern who they were and what they believed. Did they believe then, what is taught today… Incarnation? Remember, they knew and were taught personally by Yahusha (or one of his direct disciples). So, whatever they believed, is what Yahusha taught them… was True!



Nazarenes were “complete Jews”

The Christian Church Father Epiphanius tells us:

Epiphanius; Panarion 29:9:4, A.D. 374.
“But these sectarians… did not call themselves Christians – but “Nazarenes” [Natsarim] . . . However they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do… They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as The Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion – except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the Resurrection of the dead and the Divine Creation of all things, and declare that God is One, and that His son is Yahusha The Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law (Torah), the Prophets, and the… Writings … are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to Faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by The Law – Circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest – they are not in accord with Christians . . . they are nothing but Jews… They have the Gospel according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written.”

So far, we can say that a Nazarene:

·         Based their faith in The Heavenly Scroll

·         Is a “complete Jew” who accept both the Tanakh and the Brit Chadashah (the OT and NT).

·         Kept The Law in the same fashion as Jews, but with ‘intent’ not bound to the letter

·         Accepted Yahusha as The Messiah

·         Believed in One God, Yahuah, and that Yahusha is His Firstborn Son, adopted upon his Mikveh!

·         Looked to the Hebraic Mindset and language for understanding and rejected the Greek Hellenistic Mindset.

·         Keep Circumcision, the Sabbath, and Holy Days

·         Preserve the Hebrew Alphabet to maintain the pictograph nature of Paleo Hebrew



Nazarenes originated as Essenes

Much more can be discerned about the Nazarenes by examining their origin as Essenes and Ebionites. As John the Baptist rose to prominence as Elijah, the “Great Nazarene Teacher of Righteousness”, the Essenes who followed John, became known as Nazarenes. Note, for the sake of maintaining the integrity of the quote below, I do not replace the name Jesus with Yahusha. Please just replace the name of the False Messiah with the name of the True Messiah in your head as you read along with this quote. That is not the point I am demonstrating here:

From “Ebionites & Nazarenes: Tracking the Original Followers of Jesus” by James Tabor:
This Ebionite/Nazarene movement was made up of mostly Jewish followers of John the Baptizer and later Jesus, who were concentrated in Palestine and surrounding regions and led by “James the Just” (the brother of Jesus), and flourished between the years 30-80 C.E. Non-Jews were certainly part of the mix but the dominant ethos of the group was an adherence to live according to Jewish law (Galatians 2:14). They were zealous for the Torah and continued to observe the mitzvot (Commandments) as enlightened by their Rabbi and Teacher…

I am convinced that Nazarene comes from the Hebrew word Netzer (drawn from Isaiah 11:1) and means “a Branch”—so the Nazarenes were the “Branchites” or followers of the one they believed to be the Branch–that is the Davidic Messiah…


They too, referred to themselves as the Way, the Poor, the Saints, the New Covenanters, Children of Light, and so forth. Perhaps their most common designation was the Yachad–the brotherhood or community, and they referred to themselves as brother and sister. They were bitterly opposed to the corrupt Priests in Jerusalem, to the Herods, and even to the Pharisees whom they saw as compromising with that establishment to get power and influence from the Hellenistic/Roman powers.

They had their own developed Halacha (interpretation of Torah), some aspects of which Jesus picks up (ideal of no divorce, not using oaths, etc.). They followed one they called the True Teacher (Teacher of Righteousness) whom most scholars believe lived in the 1st century BCE and was opposed and possibly killed by the Hasmonean King/Priests at the instigation of the Pharisees. John the Baptizer seems to arise out of this context (and possibly the Great Notsri?) and rekindle the apocalyptic fervor of the movement in the early decades of the first century CE. Jesus joined this movement and it remains our best insight into the conceptual world of an apocalyptic, messianic, movement of this period, akin to the Jesus movement. Later, when Christianity developed in the 3rd and 4th centuries and gradually lost its Jewish roots and heritage, largely severing its homeland connections, the Gentile, Roman Catholic Church historians began to refer to Ebionites and Nazarenes as two separate groups—and indeed, by the late 2nd century there might have been a split between these mostly Jewish followers of Jesus. The distinction these writers make (and remember, they universally despise these people and call them “Judaisers”) …


They describe the Nazarenes more positively as those who accept Paul (with caution) and believe in some aspect of the divinity of Jesus (after his resurrection), even possibly the virgin birth (as simple a sign), but viewed him as “adopted” as Son of God at his baptism. What we have to keep in mind in reading these accounts from the Church fathers is that they are strongly prejudiced against any form of what they call “Judaizing” among Christians and they share the view that “Christianity” has replaced Judaism entirely overthrowing the Torah for both Gentile and Jew.


As far as “beliefs” of the Ebionites, the documents of the New Testament, critically evaluated, are our best sources, including some of the fragmentary traditions still embedded in the book of Acts (7:37-53). There are fragments and quotations surviving from their Hebrew Gospel tradition (see see A. F. J. Klijn, Jewish-Christian Gospel Tradition, E. J. Brill, 1992), the so-called Pseudo-Clementine materials, as well as some of the traditions reflected in texts such as the “Hebrew Matthew” preserved by Ibn Shaprut, and now published in a critical edition by George Howard (The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, Mercer University Press, 1995). Based on what we can reliably put together from these sources we can say the Ebionite or Nazarene movement could be distinguished by the following views:

  1. Jesus as a human being with father and mother but designated a “Prophet like Moses,” or “the Anointed of the Spirit,” who will be revealed in power as the “Son of Man coming in the Clouds of heaven,” following his rejection and death (Acts 7:37; Luke 4:18-19; Mark 10:35-45; 13:26-27).

  2. Disdain for eating meat and even the Temple slaughter of animals, preferring the ideals of the pre-Flood diet and what they took to be the original ideal of worship (see Genesis 9:1-5; Jeremiah 7:21-22; Isaiah 11:9; 66:1-4). This reflects a general interest in seeking the “Path” reflected in the pre-Sinai revelation, especially the time from Enoch to Noah. For example, divorce was shunned, as violating the Edenic ideal, even though technically it was later allowed by Moses (Mark 10:2-11).

  3. Dedication to following the whole Torah, as applicable to Israel and to Gentiles, but through the “easy yoke” or the “Torah of liberty” of their Teacher Jesus, which emphasized the Spirit of the Biblical Prophets in a restoration of the “True Faith,” the Ancient Paths (Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:28-30; James 2:8-13; Matthew 5:17-18; 9:13; 12:7), from which, by and large, they believed the establishment Jewish groups of 2nd Temple times had departed.

  4. Rejection of the “doctrines and traditions” of men, which they believed had been added to the pure Torah of Moses, including scribal alterations of the texts of Scripture (Jeremiah 8:8).

We can now add to our list of “what a Nazarene” believes, and we come to a very good idea of the fundamental ideas, concepts, and beliefs one would require to be called a “Nazarene”:

·         Based their faith on The Heavenly Scroll

·         A “complete Jew” who accept both the Tanakh and the Brit Chadashah (the OT and NT).

·         Keeps The Law in the same fashion as Jews

·         Accepts the Messiah

·         Believes in One God, Yahuah, and that Yahusha is His firstborn son.

·         Looks to the Hebraic Mindset and language for understanding

·         Keeps Circumcision, the Sabbath, and Holy Days

·         Believes Yachad was through Covenant and Family as we are Echad with Yahuah our Father.

·         Bitterly opposed to the corrupt Priests in Jerusalem, to the Herods, and even to the Pharisees whom they saw as compromising with that establishment to get power and influence from the Hellenistic/Roman powers

·         Had their own developed Halacha (interpretation of Torah), they did not rely on or accept Rabbinical interpretations.

·         Universally despised by pagan Gentile Christianity and called “Judaisers”) …

·         Accepts Sha’ul (with caution) and believe in some aspect of the Divinity of Yahusha (post Resurrection), even possibly the virgin birth (as a sign), but viewed him as “Adopted” as Son of God at his baptism.

·         Understood Yahusha was a human being with father and mother but designated a “Prophet like Moses,” or “the Anointed of the Spirit,” who will be revealed in Power as the “Son of Man coming in the Clouds of heaven,” following his rejection and death

·         Rejects the name Iesous (Jesus/Hesus) in favor of the Hebrew name of the Messiah

·         Rejects the label Christian

·         Uses the Sacred Name of the Father in public, calling upon Yahuah without using titles.

·         Seeks the ancient “Path” of Enoch and the pre-flood ancestors (i.e. understood and put their Faith in The Heavenly Scroll and kept the Enoch Calendar)

·         Dedicated to following the whole Torah, as applicable to Israel and to Gentiles, but through the “easy yoke” or the “Torah of Liberty” of their Teacher Yahusha the Messiah

·         Rejections of the “doctrines and traditions” of men, which they believed had been added to the pure Torah of Moses, including scribal alterations of the texts of Scripture (Jeremiah 8:8).

Nazarenes today are those true followers of Yahusha and they are those who Proclaim The Spirit of Yahuah (the He did not come ‘in the flesh or die’; He is Invisible, Immortal, and Spirit) and Proclaim The Spirit of Yahusha (that he did come in the flesh and die). We believe everything in accordance with those beliefs of the original Nazarenes… and we can prove these beliefs to be true in the Scriptures. We are going to look further into these beliefs and I am going to provide a Scriptural defense. First, we are going to look at the historical Nazarenes.



The Leader of the Nazarenes

We know the Nazarene sect was established by the great Prophet, John the Baptist, who was given the “Way of Salvation” by Yahuah. John’s role was to instruct and mentor the Messiah in the office of High Priest and teach Yahusha “The Way”. We know then, that Yahusha took over as the Leader of the Nazarenes from John. James the Just then took over for his elder brother Yahusha and led the early Nazarenes. Sha’ul the Apostle then took over for James the Just and became the most influential leader of the Nazarenes in history (second only to Yahusha). We also know that every “Leader of the Nazarenes” were outlaws to the establishment and met very untimely deaths for serving in that role.


John the Great Nazarene – The Teacher of Righteousness

The first leader of the Nazarenes was John the Immerser and mentor of Yahusha. It was John that was prophesied to be the coming of Elijah who would “set the path straight” for the Messiah (serve as Yahusha’ mentor). It was John, the rightful High Priest of Israel, who mentored Yahusha in the office of High Priest and taught Yahusha “The Way”. It was John the High Priest who Mikveh’d Yahusha, and passed the mantle of High Priest to Yahusha in the Jordan River. It was John, the Leader of the Nazarenes, that instructed his followers to follow Yahusha, the new Leader of the Nazarenes and rightful High Priest and King of Israel. Yahusha made his feelings perfectly clear about this man John, the FOUNDER of The Nazarenes and his personal mentor:

Matthew 11

…10 "This is the one about whom it is written, 'BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.' 11"Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!

So, the message of the Gospel was passed from John the Baptist to his disciple Yahusha who then took the leadership role over the Nazarenes. It was Yahusha’s brother Yaakov (James) who took over to lead the true Nazarenes after Yahusha’s death. Later, it would be Rav Sha’ul (the Apostle) who would rise to the top and lead the true “church” which was Nazarene not Christian. John was commissioned with the message of “The Way” by Yahusha himself, and later mentored by James the Just.

The Great Notsri

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, there is a figure called “The Great Notsri (Nazarene)” and “Teacher of Righteousness”, who would be sent by Yahuah to prepare the way for the Branch. The term Nazarene described all those that followed John the Great Notri, who prepared the way for The Branch… who is Yahusha the Messiah.

John 1:6-9

6 There was a man sent from (the Predestined Plan of) Yahuah, whose name was John (John was born a miraculous birth and “sent from Yahuah” just like Yahusha). 7 This man came for a Witness, to bear witness of the Light (Fulfillment of The Plan of Salvation foretold in The Heavenly Scroll represented by the Light of the Sun), that all through him (John) might believe (that Yahusha is the Messiah). 8 He was not that Light, but was sent (from Yahuah) to bear Witness (John too, was an Emmanuel, a true and Faithful Witness) of that Light. 9 That (John might bear Witness to Yahusha who) was the true (Emmanuel) Light which gives light to every man coming into the world (the Spiritual Fulfillment of the physical metaphor of the Sun in The Heavenly Scroll).

According to the Dead Sea Scroll, this Great Notsri (the Teacher of Righteousness) was said to have the proper understanding of the Torah, qualified in its accurate instruction, and be the one through whom Yahuah would reveal to the community “the hidden things in which Israel had gone astray”. He would rightfully be of the House of Zadok (a true High Priest of Israel). This was Yahusha’s mentor and teacher, John the Great Notsri who was of The House of Zadok and the “anointed High Priest” in succession to Yahusha III (see my book, Melchizedek and the Passover Lamb).

This description of “The Great Notsri” is found in the Damascus Document of the Dead Sea Scroll, which carbon dating has placed it around the time John was acting as High Priest in the wilderness.

John was prophesied to fulfill this very role by his father Zechariah:

Luke 1:76-80 - Zechariah’s Song

76 “And you, my child, will be called a Prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before Yahuah to prepare The Way for him (Yahusha), 77 to give his people the Knowledge of Salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender Mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven (Fulfill The Heavenly Scroll) 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the Path of Peace (be the Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6).” 80 And the child grew and became strong in Spirit (just like Yahusha Luke 2:40, 52); and he lived in the wilderness (with the Essenes) until he (was trained as a Zadok High Priest and) appeared publicly to Israel (as their High Priest to perform his duties in the wilderness because the Temple had been corrupted).

The Great Notsri, founder of the Nazarenes, at that time was undoubtedly John the Baptist, who was the rightful High Priest from the House of Zadok. Although there is a “debate” about who this Great Notsri was among current scholars, there should be no doubt. Yahusha told us exactly who this great Teacher of Righteousness among the Nazarenes and Essences was, it was his own mentor:

Matthew 11:11

“I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist.

If there was no one greater than John ever born of a woman (that includes all men, even Yahusha himself), then John is The Great Notsri. So much for that debate! Yahusha The Branch settled it! So, we have John "the prophesied Great Nazarene" and "Teacher of Righteousness (Torah)", mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls and identified by The Messiah, leading a sect called Nazarenes looking for The Branch and they were not called “Christians” they were called Notsris or Nazarenes!

Yahusha the Nazarene – follower of John

As we just learned, Nazarenes were a sect among the Jews in Israel who followed John the Baptist at the time Yahusha lived. Under John’s direction, the Nazarenes (knowing the prophecies of Daniel and the contents of The Heavenly Scroll, concerning the timing of the Messiah’s coming) bathed in the Jordan River (Mikveh) daily in expectation of the Messiah’s arrival. Which was prophesied by Isaiah to occur at the transition of the ages as “a woman will give birth to a King” which is a sign in the “sky” or The Heavenly Scroll. This is also known as ‘The Sign of the Son of Man’.

The Sign of the Son of Man is described in great detail, in Revelation Chapter 12. Daniel further defined the timing of Yahusha’s birth, place of his birth, manner of his birth, etc. The Nazarenes knew the prophecies, and John actually knew the Messiah personally from birth as they were cousins.

Yahusha and many of his disciples were first followers of John the Baptist and were all... Nazarenes. When John consecrated Yahusha as his successor, his followers then followed Yahusha “the Nazarene” and accepted him as The Messiah, as John had directed them.

James the Just, brother of Yahusha the Nazarene and Leader of the early assembly of Nazarenes

After the Messiah’s death, his younger brother Yaakov (James) took over the Nazarenes and led them, probably during the most important time period, as they were literally being hunted down and killed. I will talk more about James the brother of the Messiah next, as I explain how the most influential of all Nazarenes, Sha’ul, went from trying to kill them… to leading them into prominence in Jerusalem. Sha’ul went from seeking to kill James to learning to greatly respect James, and in an amazing twist, the two went from bitter rivals to trusted allies. It was that respect for James, that ultimately played a key role in Sha’ul’s conversion from a Pharisee to a Nazarene!

We see Sha’ul list James first among the most esteemed leaders.

Galatians 2:9
James, Cephas[a] and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the Grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Circumcised (Jews).

James, being of the same lineage as Yahusha (they were brothers), was next in line after Yahusha’s death to become the rightful Zadok High Priest of Israel. Below, I quote from the New World Encyclopedia. We learn the importance of the role James played as High Priest and his authority in Jerusalem, even being able to enter the Holy of Holies (a privilege only afforded High Priest of the House of Zadok):

“Acts of the Apostles, in later chapters, provides evidence that James was an important figure in the Christian community of Jerusalem. When Peter, having miraculously escaped from prison, must flee Jerusalem, he asks that James be informed (12:17). When the Christians of Antioch are concerned over whether Gentile Christians need be circumcised to be saved, and they send Paul and Barnabas to confer with the Jerusalem church there, James plays a prominent role in the formulation of the council's decision (15:13ff). Indeed, after Peter and Paul have made their case, it is James who finally delivers what he calls his "judgement"—the original sense is close to "my ruling"—and afterwards, all accept it. James, in other words, is shown in charge of the Jerusalem group. [4] And when Paul arrives in Jerusalem to deliver the money he raised for the faithful there, it is to James that he speaks, and it is James who insists that Paul ritually cleanse himself at Herod's Temple to prove his faith and deny rumors of teaching rebellion against the Torah (21:18ff) (a charge of antinomianism).

Paul further describes James as being one of the persons the risen Christ showed himself to (1 Corinthians 15:3–8); then later in 1 Corinthians, mentions James in a way that suggests James had been married (9:5); and in Galatians, Paul lists James with Cephas (better known as Peter) and John as the three "pillars" of the Church, and who will minister to the "circumcised" (in general Jews and Jewish Proselytes) in Jerusalem, while Paul and his fellows will minister to the "uncircumcised" (in general Gentiles). (2:9, 2:12). These terms (circumcised/uncircumcised) are generally interpreted to mean Jews and Greeks, who were predominant, however it is an oversimplification as 1st century Iudaea Province also had some Jews who no longer circumcised, and some Greeks (called Proselytes or Judaizers) and others such as Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Arabs who had converted to Judaism and were thus circumcised.

In describing James' ascetic lifestyle, Saint Jerome, De Viris Illustribus, quotes Hegesippus' account of James from the fifth book of Hegesippus' lost Commentaries:

"After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved, or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels' knees."

Since it was unlawful for any but the high priest of the temple to enter the Holy of Holies once a year on Yom Kippur, Jerome's quotation from Hegesippus indicates that James was considered a high priest. The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions suggest this.”


The Apostle Sha’ul – Leader of the Nazarenes, follower of Yahusha

Rav Sha’ul or The Apostle “Paul” (as he is known today) was a Nazarene or Notsri.
Being the Leader of the Nazarenes is a very powerful indicator of what Sha’ul believed and taught. We should all take the time to do our research of what belief system defines the Nazarene. Those who claim Sha’ul is a false teacher are immature, at best, in their understanding of history and what Sha’ul taught. Please see my book The Law and The Pauline Doctrine for the truth of what Sha’ul taught and to overcome the twisted Greek appropriate lie that is … The Pauline Doctrine.

Buy Now!

If the Nazarenes accepted Sha’ul as their Leader, then Sha’ul must have been an outspoken champion of their cause with unique understanding of the Torah and Messiah! So, what does it mean to be a “Nazarene”? This is very important, because whatever that means… THAT is what Sha’ul stood for, taught, promoted, and later died for, and it should be within THAT context we understand his writings (not within the Hellenistic context our English Bibles are written twisting his letters into “The Pauline Doctrine”). Sha’ul was a Hebrew Nazarene, not a Roman Hellenized Christian like he is portrayed today. Remember, after Sha’ul was arrested in Jerusalem; he was escorted to Caesarea to appear before the governor, Felix. Under the authority of Ananias, the “unauthorized” high priest, Tertullus brought the charges before Felix. Notice his accusation:

Acts 24:5-6
“For we have found this man to be a pest and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: Who also hath gone about to profane the Temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law”

So, here we see a firsthand account and eye witness testimony that Sha’ul was a Nazarene and follower of Yahusha. Sha’ul was, in fact, the Leader of the Nazarenes, having assumed that role upon James death in 62 AD. Sha’ul went on to make waves in Israel among the Jewish leaders and Pharisees (as Yahusha did), confronting them with the written Torah and overturning their traditions. Sha’ul was being tried for the exact same “crime” that Yahusha was put to death for! Sha’ul, like John and Yahusha, was the leading figure in defense of the written Torah, Prophets, and Messiah. He was a Nazarene after all!

The Emergence of the Nazarenes under Rav Sha’ul the Apostle

Initially, after Yahusha’s death and later the stoning of Steven, the Nazarene followers went into hiding fearing they too would be rounded up and meet the same fate. However, under the leadership of Rav Sha’ul the Apostle (and the protection of Gamaliel in the Sanhedrin), the Nazarenes began to steadily grow in number. They first began to emerge after Yahusha’s execution following Shav’uot when Yahuah breathed on (poured out His Spirit) the Disciples. They began to teach in public arenas with much more confidence; The Ruach giving them a Spirit of Comfort from the threat of death known as the Comforter. The Nazarenes would steadily increase their numbers and eventually grow to be the dominant sect in Jerusalem. The turning point would be as a result of Rav Sha’ul, a high-ranking Pharisee greatly respected in Jerusalem, converting to become a Nazarene follower of Yahusha. Let us look at Sha’ul’s journey to accept Yahusha as his Messiah.


Sha’ul attacks James the Just on the Temple steps

Sha’ul, as we all know, was a leading figure in persecuting the Nazarenes as he was a very prominent Pharisee and deeply dedicated to the preservation of The Torah (which he thought was under attack by this new sect called Nazarenes). Sha’ul was present at Stephen’s stoning, which later would haunt Sha’ul, and most probably, remained with him as his “thorn in the side”. Prior to the stoning of Stephen, while Caiaphas and his father-in-law Ananias were in control of the Temple, there was a significant event that took place found in the historical records… not recorded in the Book of Acts.

It was at this historical event that Sha’ul learned to highly respect James the Just (whom he was attempting to kill). How did that happen? It is important to investigate another earlier event (not recorded in Acts) in which the leadership of the Nazarene Ecclesia were challenged to a public debate with the Temple leadership over the claims that Yahusha was the Messiah of the Jews. This debate was to take place on the interior Temple steps in front of the population.

The Nazarene leaders felt this would be a good opportunity to present their message of the risen Messiah to the Jews in Jerusalem. The account of this event virtually became extinct (thanks to Christianity whose goal is to hide the truth of Sha’ul), except in the poorly preserved 4th century Latin translation by Rufinus of Aquileia of the 3rd century work, The Recognitions of Clements.

Clements was a disciple of Barnabus. Clements later became the third bishop of Rome dedicated by Peter the Apostle. His work, mostly unknown today, would be accepted as based on even earlier manuscripts, lost to antiquity, called the Preaching of Peter and the Ascents of Jacob. The Recognitions of Clements, were preserved and recognized as writings of the Nazarenes of the Zadok-Essene tradition called the Ebionites/Nazarenes (which I explained earlier in this book).

The Recognitions of Clements, documents a very important turning point with both the Nazarenes and the man who would later rise in their ranks to lead them (defining the Nazarenes to this day) … Rav Sha’ul the Pharisee!

This event is the debate between James the Just (the brother of Yahusha and Leader of the Nazarenes in Jerusalem), and Rav Sha’ul (the Pharisee) on the steps of the Temple. A very public debate that changed both men’s lives, ultimately serving as the foundation of their mutual respect and later their close relationship!

The opening debate topics included:

1.        Emphasis on Mikveh and self-sacrifice in opposition to physical animal sacrifices

2.        Placing Yahusha on the same level as Moses

3.        Attacking the teachings of Yahusha which attracted the poor by offering Earthly rewards and inheritances to those who maintained a Righteous life, and

4.        Charging Peter, a man not officially educated in the Pharisaic schools in Jerusalem, as portraying himself as a ‘teacher’ and using the title Rabbi.

The public debate broke down when Peter attacked the Temple sacrificial system, saying:

“We have ascertained beyond doubt that Yahuah is much rather displeased with the sacrifices you offer, the time of sacrifices having now passed away (been transposed to the Spirit with Melchizedek). And because you will not admit that the time for offering (animal) victims is past (been transposed to self-sacrifice as we are living sacrificial lambs in The Yahushaic Covenant), therefore the Temple will be destroyed, and the abomination of desolation shall stand in the Holy Place.”
Source: Recognitions of Clements liii to lxxi as quoted Schonfield, Hugh Joseph, The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 126.

“It took the mediation of Gamaliel, the chief officer of the Sanhedrin, religious court, to stop the debate to be resumed the next day, this time limiting the debate to Gamaliel representing the Sanhedrin and James (Yaakov) the Just representing the Nazarenes. This engaging debate raged for seven days in which at the end, “all the people, the high priest included, are ready to be Mikveh’d.”
Source: Schonfield, Hugh Joseph, The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 127

At this moment, in arrives an ‘enemy’, which Jewish historian, Hugh Schonfield identified as Sha’ul, the student of Gamaliel, who along with his supporters began harassing and reviling the priests and eventually incited them to murder. With that, Sha’ul seized a firebrand from the altar and began to attack the Nazarenes. At that time, according to the Ascents of Jacob as quoted in the Recognition of Clements, the following account occurred:

“Much blood is shed; there is a confused flight, in the midst of which that enemy attacked Jacob (James the Just), and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead, he cared not to inflict further violence upon him. But our friends lifted him up, for they were both more numerous and powerful than the others; but, from fear of God, they rather allowed themselves to be killed by an inferior force than they would kill others. But when the evening came the priest shut up the Temple and we returned to Jacob’s house, and spent the night there in prayer. Then before daylight we went down to Jericho, to the number of five thousand men.”
Source: Ascents of Jacob, quoted in the Recognitions of Clements liii to lxxi as quoted by Schonfield, Hugh Joseph, The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 126)

It was Epiphanius, accepting the historicity of this event quoted in the Ascents who states:

They (the Ebionites) have other Acts which they call those of the apostles, in which are many things filled with their impiety, whence they have incidentally furnished themselves with arms against the truth. For they set forth certain Ascents and Instructions forsooth in the Ascents of Jacob, representing him as holding forth against both Temple and sacrifices, and against the fire on the altar, and many other things filled with empty talk, so that they are not ashamed in them even to denounce Paul in certain invented utterances of the malignant and deceitful work of their false apostles.
Epiphanius, Parnarmour xxx 16, quoted in Schonfield, Hugh Joseph, The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p 128)

Let us dissect this critical event in the early history of the Nazarene Ecclesia very carefully. Epiphanius was the first recognized church historian for the Roman orthodox church, who felt that the books (the Recognition of Clements, and the Ascents of James) represented books of heresy. Later, in church history, all books of heresy were called Gnostics, but we must be careful to recognize that there were many competing ideologies and factions that were trying to gain control over the Jewish and later the Christian congregations. Yet Epiphanius, as a historian, still recognized that religious texts of opposing ideologies, did still, give historical accounts that were valuable in understanding the growing ecclesia of the apostles in Jerusalem called Nazarenes.

From every appearance, the writers of the Ascent of Jacob, did have a case against the Apostle Sha’ul, who in his rash younger days, did oppose and persecute the leaders of the Hebrew Ecclesia of Nazarenes (in Jerusalem) and sought to kill James the Just, during a debate in the Temple, against the leading rabbinic scholar in Jerusalem and the Ab Beth-Din (the Chief Officer of the Sanhedrin), Gamaliel. If this historical event is accepted even in part, then there was a very personal relationship, though initially acrimonious, between Sha’ul and the Apostle James the Just, before Sha’ul’s conversion. There is a saying in regard to very close intimate relationships; they are born first out of conflict, then change, leading to respect.

Intimacy = Conflict plus Change


Relating this formula, to the relationship of the Pharisee Sha’ul and the powerful oppositional high priest and Leader of the Nazarene Ecclesia, James the Just, both Rabbi Sha’ul and James the Just, did have a very personal and intimate relationship. Yet there was truly conflict between these two opponents in the Jewish first century Temple culture. Sha’ul, was the flaming zealot and guardian of The Law and the sacrificial system of the Temple culture. James the Just, was the Leader of the Yahusha movement in Judea, and the Oppositional High Priest (or Nasi) of the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia of Israel and also, the zealot for The Law of Moses. Their main conflict was over the life, ministry, death, and Resurrection of Rabbi Yahusha, Fulfilled the Torah type and anti-type shadow pictures of the spring festivals, as the Son of the God of Abraham, and the Mashiach of the Jews. Rabbi Sha’ul would later be the leading figure in history to reveal the meaning of the very things he sought to destroy!

The nemesis of the Nazarenes, Sha’ul, personally confronted James the Just and sought to destroy his life. It can be suggested that Rabbi Sha’ul, whom we know as the Apostle Paul, owed something to Jacob (James the Just) in his prior attempt to take his life. For the Nazarene Nasi, or High Priest, for James the Just to accept Sha’ul back into the fellowship of the Nazarenes, despite the prior attempt of Rabbi Sha’ul to kill him, says also something of the character of that man James (Yaakov) called, the Tzaddik (The Just). It might also fill in the blanks as to why the Apostle Sha’ul was so dutifully loyal to James the Just in later years.

As we shall later see, it the opinion of many scholars, that the Apostle Sha’ul and James the Just became close and personal friends, they respected each other for their positions as zealots of the Law of Moses. They both became fierce advocates that Yahusha, the brother of James, was truly the Promised Redeemer of Israel and they both gave their lives for allegiance to Yahusha the Nazarene, who became the Messiah. James lost his life by the hands of the same Sadducean families that sought to destroy his brother. Sha’ul lost his life at the hands of the Romans, by the neurotic and half crazed emperor, Nero, who pitted the forces of Rome against the zealots of Judea, when Rome burned to the ground in 69 CE.


Sha’ul emerges as The Leader of The Nazarenes


What was the atmosphere in Israel, at the time of Sha’ul’s ministry, that influenced Rav Sha’ul the Apostle leading to his acceptance of Yahusha as the Messiah?

In Acts, we see Peter Proclaims the Gospel in Jerusalem and 3000 men join the ranks of the Nazarenes and followers of Yahusha. Those 3000 men were all JEWISH (not a ‘Christian’ among them)! The Nazarenes were all Jewish. The proclamation continues in chapter three in the Temple with Peter and John taking center place. They are Witnesses that Yahuah raised Yahusha from the dead. In Acts Chapter four, Peter and John are arrested by the “captain of the Temple and the Sadducees” because they were preaching the Resurrection of Yahusha. At that same time, the number of the Nazarenes who believed in Yahusha had reached about 5000. This meant they outgrew the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes according Josephus’ numbers.

The Nazarenes were now the largest and fastest growing sect in Jerusalem! Not one of them were a Christian (Greek pagans). They all were Jews who accepted Yahusha as the Messiah and were all to a man Torah observant. This is the true early “church”.


It was in this environment that Sha’ul came to believe in Yahusha as well. The catalyst being Sha’ul’s confrontation with James the Just! Sha’ul was a “Doctor of The Law” (that is what a Pharisee is), who studied under the most influential Jewish Rabbi in history, Gamaliel. Gamaliel was such a respected figure during the time of Yahusha, that he literally dictated the proceeding of the Sanhedrin. His authority was such, that he even rivaled the authority of the High Priest, as we read in Acts Chapter 5! The epigram which Rabbinic literature gives to him speaks of the respect with which Gamaliel was held:

When he died the honor [outward respect] of the Torah ceased, and purity and piety became extinct"(Sotah xv: 18).

Even the Jews admit that upon Gamaliel’s death, the honor of the Torah ceased (succumbed to Hellenism) and purity and piety became extinct where it remains today, in the form of Rabbinical Judaism. From that point forward, history records that Judaism succumbed to Hellenization and paganism. So, the Jews recognize Gamaliel’s’ death as the defining moment when Judaism went astray.

Historically, we know that Gamaliel was an important Jewish leader of the first century, and the New Testament confirms that he was part of the Sanhedrin, a Doctor of The Law and respected by the people. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, records all this along with the fact, that he is a Pharisee and the teacher of Rav Sha’ul. To Luke, the term Pharisee was descriptive and not necessarily written with a negative connotation… for Sha’ul himself claimed to be a Pharisee (in the Acts of the Apostles). It was Sha’ul being the protégé of Gamaliel, that was instrumental in Sha’ul’s rapid climb in influence and position within the ranks of the Pharisees. Gamaliel flourished then from about 20 AD to 52 AD, this was the period in which the “Church” (or rather Nazarenes) first grew into prominence.

Gamaliel was a Nasi (head of the Pharisees) in this period. During this period that Gamaliel headed up the party of the Pharisees, Yahusha said: The Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, so all that they say to you, observe and do”. Since Gamaliel is said to have ‘sit at the steps of the Temple Mount’ (and issued letters from there), it is likely he saw Yahusha in action and heard him teach, and perhaps, even met and spoken to the Messiah, on at least one occasion, if not many. Gamaliel later became a follower of the Messiah and by all accounts, maintaining his position in the Sanhedrin to use his position of authority to protect the Nazarenes from prosecution (as we see him do in the book of Acts). This is not admitted or even mentioned in Rabbinical Judaism!

We then see Rav Sha’ul, an influential member of the sect of the Pharisees, become a believer and called directly by Yahusha, to bring the Gospel to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, scattered among the Gentile nations. It was a fellow Nazarene, described as “an observant follower of the Torah”, who came to restore Sha’ul’s vision.

Acts 22:12 Sha’ul going to a Torah observant Jew to be healed
A man named Hananyah, an observant follower of the Torah (
why would he add that statement?) who was highly regarded by the entire Jewish community there, came to me, stood by me and said “Brother Sha’ul, see again!”.

We have Sha’ul’s teacher (a devote Torah observant famous Rabbi), the man who healed Sha’ul’s sight, all Torah observant Jews! In fact, there was no such thing as a Christian among them at that time. There were the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essences, and Nazarenes and all of them were Torah observant Jews.

This is the historical context of Sha’ul’s transition from being a leading Pharisee, to becoming a Nazarene, to being influential in the conversion of his Rabbi Gamaliel to becoming a Nazarene, and finally later, becoming the “Leader of the Nazarenes” which ultimately lead to his own death. We have an environment where the leaders of the Pharisees (Gamaliel and Sha’ul) became converts to the Messiah Yahusha, and in Sha’ul’s case, the Leader of the entire Nazarene movement.

Today, after 2,000 years of pagan Greek influence in translating the Scriptures, Sha’ul’s Nazarene teachings have been twisted into a Greek appropriate lie called The Pauline Doctrine. Many so- called “Teachers” today have proclaimed Sha’ul a false teacher. This is because they themselves are “self-appointed teachers” void of the Ruach to teach them the truth of the letters that Sha’ul actually wrote. Since they cannot properly teach his letters, they instead declare him a false teacher so they are not exposed as very immature teachers at best, if not false teachers themselves who do not understand what they read. Any discussion of Rav Sha’ul the Apostle today, must come with a strong rebuke of those who would bear false witness against the most influential and anointed teacher of the Nazarenes!

What these ‘immature teachers’ are rebelling against is not Sha’ul’s actual writings, but The Pauline Doctrine of the ‘Christian Church’ which is a sound bite driven doctrine born out of twisted mistranslated texts!




The Sabbatarian Network provides information on the following numbers, words, and combinations of the following numbers, and words, and many more: 1, 2, 7, 15, 24, 40, 616, 666, 144000, Abel, Abib, abominations, abortion, Abraham, Acts, Adam, aggelos, Aish, Alexander Hislop, allegories, altar, analogies, ancient, angel, annual, anoint, anthr