First Bible Network
First Bible Network

Episode 4 · 1 year ago

Why (and how) the First Christians Quashed 600 Hebrew Laws


A theological war was raging between the first Christians led by the apostle Paul and the judaizers demanding submission to the Hebrew bible (Old Testament), represented by Peter and James. 

The situation came to a head in 48 A.D. at the Council of Jerusalem and resulted in the dismissal of over 600 Hebrew laws - get the story behind the story on today's episode.

The Very First Bible 

ISBN: 978-0-578-64159-1
Library of Congress: 2020901841
255 pages, illustrated 

Time for another edition of the Right Bible podcast, your weekly deep dive into the story of the very first Bible and the Marcion I Christian Church. Find out more at the very first Bible Dot Org. Stripping away two thousand years a false doctrine isn't easy, but we've had lots of coffee now, your host, Darren Klama, and welcome back to another edition of the Right Bible podcast on a beautiful Sunday and I in fact it have some coffee and I think I need some more coffee for today's addition, because we're going to talk about, unfortunately, the Old Testament. There's really no getting around it. But just a little bit of housekeeping first. Make sure you have your copy of the very first Bible with you, because today we're going to take the... wheels off a little bit and start getting into specific versus in scripture and to follow along, you really are going to need that, that copy of the very first Bible with you. You can get that free. There's links show links that you can click on and get it free, or you can just get a paperback version on Amazon. Type in the very first five bile and it should be the first thing you see on your screen. So the last few episodes we've covered things that I'm pretty happy about. We got to cover the actual contents of the very first Bible. We went through the ten epistles that are in it. We yesterday went through the Gospel of the Lord got into some of its history. So now we've got a good framework on what's in the very first Bible and that's that's really important and and again I feel pretty good about it that we're done with that. But now this gets... into the history portion of the very first Bible, and that means we're going to use a timeline to kind of help us work through it. Now people think that right after the resurrection of Christ, you know, there was this period of tranquility and peace and a lot of singing of Kumbaya. Well, actually, none of that happened. It was a time of division, persecution and, above all, lots of arguing about what it was to even be a Christian. There was a huge tug of war between the Judaizers within the Church and the first Christians, and we like to call these the Torah wars, and they would have started it immediately after Christ's resurrection. So call it from about thirty three a D to about forty seven a d were the Torah wars, or or you could even call him the apostle wars, because...

...there was a battle between the apostles, two opposing sides, one that wanted to cling to the chains of Judaism and the Hebrew law and the other side, led by the Apostle Paul. That said, we now have God's grace, we don't need all of these laws and and that that war between the apostles raged for well over a decade. And so you had Paullen one side and you had Peter and James on the other side. And and at this point the church was deeply divided. In fact, things hadn't come to a head, if decisions hadn't been made, the church really literally could have benches broken up into dozens of different little Bantu stands and we would have had, you know, bizarre sex of Christianity all over the known world at that point. But but thank God that didn't happen. And when we talk about a...

...battle over these Hebrew laws on one side and grace on the other, what do we mean by Hebrew laws? Are we talking about the Ten Commandments? Well, you know, Darren, I know about the Ten Commandments. Everybody, what's the big deal about that? We agree on that. You know, the Hebrews have the Ten Commandments. We agree with the Ten Commandments. You know, that's all part of the thing. Everybody's on the same page with that. Well, that's not what this battle was about, because the Hebrew Bible, or is your trend to say it, the Old Testament, actually contains over six hundred laws, six hundred and thirteen to be exact, and Paul saw that it was not possible to be a Christian and follow these laws. It's just it's just not possible. And the problem that we run into is on the on the Hebrew side of things. Say Peter and James, you've got people who are saying, wait, you know the this is the the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible is literally the word of God.

You know, that means that all six hundred thirteen of these laws are also the word of God. So every letter, every jot and tittle in the Bible is the word of God. Well, not really, or at least not anymore. So. Things have changed a little bit and those changes took place at the Council of Jerusalem in forty eight a d but before we, you know, really get into the council of Jerusalem and the important decisions that were made there, maybe we should take a closer look at some of the six hundred thirteen laws. Now, obviously I'm not going to go through all six hundred thirteen of them, just some, some examples to kind of give you an idea of what it is that we're talking about. They had laws for virtually everything. I mean from the moment you woke up till you went to sleep to every inner action that you could almost possibly have, would with another human being or with groups of human beings within your tribe or groups of...

...human beings from other tribes, the ways in which you worship this deity down to, you know, the lamb that you sacrifice to it couldn't have any blemishes on it, or and if so, what kinds of blemishes? Women during their period, you know, how they had to be dealt with, how they were considered unclean for seven days. People who had leprosy. If you're a leper, there were special laws that you had to follow. Just just, I mean little everything that you can possibly imagine happening from sun up to sun down. They had a law for including how to let's say there was a murderer loose in your village but nobody could find him, nobody knew what to do. Well, they had a special law for that too, and that involved going out and finding a valley, taking a cow to that valley and then cutting its neck off. Somehow that was going to help you find the killer. And there were lost with involving money. Lots of laws...

...involving money, surprise, including laws on you weren't allowed to charge interest to other Jews, but if they weren't a Jew, hey, the more the Merrier, pile the interest on. There were laws regarding what I call hot slave laws. Let's say you had a tough day. You're out there, you know, killing the enemy, including women and children, by the way, and it's been a long day. You're kind of hanging out and in the along comes this column of slaves that they've captured and one of them looks pretty hot. Will Guess what? They have a law for that too. In Deuteronomy two thousand, one hundred and eleven, it says, and see ust among the captives, a beautiful woman and has to desire unto her that Thou wouldst have her to thy wife. So apparently, you know, it's like being at the mall or macy's. You see something you know you like, you just grab it and do your business. And of course we have gourmet bug laws. In Leviticus, one hundred and twenty one, it says.

Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that Goeth upon all four which have legs above their feet to leap withal upon the Earth. And apparently this is a the eating bug law that they use for locusts. So the point I'm trying to make here is not to gross you out, it's just to try to illustrate how many laws there were dealing with so many things, and not to get lost in the shuffle here. You have to remember that, according to the Hebrews, their God told them specifically to do these specific things during these specific instances under specific circumstances. So God took time out of the day to, you know, let them know what leg segments of a bug were. Okte now, you can go ahead and believe that. That's fine, but Paul and the other first Christian said, look, we're not buying this. We didn't sign up for this. Think about it this...

...way. When we build something on sand, we know it's not going to last very long, and a religion created and constantly changed and edited by man is no different. And so it is with the Hebrew Bible, or again is you've been taught to call it the Old Testament. What they did is they just simply ascribe their own group traits and beliefs onto a deity and wrote it down. Now we went through some examples of why the early Christians thought this and specifically why the Marci Unites Thought this. But what else besides the six hundred laws concerning the Hebrew Bible and the Deity that's portrayed in it, should the apostles have dumped in forty eight a d at the Council of Jerusalem? Our contention is they should have dumped all of it, not just six hundred laws, but the entire yer subtext, the entire Hebrew Bible, because none if it applies to you and I is Christians. And you know,... this point you can thank the Apostle Paul for the fact that you're not standing in your front porch right now it twirling a magic chicken over your head. Now the Hebrew Bible at its core, when you get right down to it, is an instruction manual for Jewish self worship, written by their high priests, with a violent, jealous and barbaric deity as its focal point. And one of the first things you notice when you read through the Hebrew Bible are the human traits and emotions that are displayed by this Hebrew Deity, including lots of jealousy and rage and lying and it's it's all there. It's all there. These are all very human traits. So that that tells you right there. You know, you would expect this kind of behavior that's exhibited in the in the Hebrew Bible, in any kind of written, fictional account written by a human being. And that's what we have here. Now. The antithesis of this is what is found in the New Testament, what is found... our Christian God that was revealed to us through Jesus Christ. It's completely the opposite. It's the antithesis. And that brings us full circle back to the console of Jerusalem in forty a ad where everything was decided, I did and agreed upon. Even Peter and James were on board and everyone agreed that the six hundred laws were ridiculous and to try to force them on to these new Christians or to try to convert other people to Christianity was going to be next to him possible if they had to follow all these laws. And, by the way, I didn't even get into the circumcision part of it, which which was a large part of the meeting. That also was cast aside and trashed. So this was this was a momentous occasion for Christianity and for the next roughly hundred years everything was fine in terms of the doctrine, in the dogma underlying Christianity. Everybody was on the same page. Everybody was in...

...agreement on what those core principles were. Now we still, at this point, didn't have anything written down. The only people who had things written down were the Hebrews. We still had this Hebrew Bible floating around, most of which now we didn't follow because of what happened at the Council of Jerusalem. So we only had oral traditions to go by in terms of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. So people, you know, they just talked to each other. There were some documents floating around, but, but, but, very few, and in fact there were very few churches really at this point. There were the ones that that Paul established throughout the Roman Empire, but, you know, writing and and and and formal structure, a lot of these things were lacking until someone named Marcion of sign up, who live from five a d to about one hundred and sixty a d came on the scene and he was the son of the Bishop of Pontis. Pontus is an...

...area of now it's modern day Turkey, and in our next episode we're going to get into Marcion's travels. Using his shipping empire, he revisited all of the Apostle Paul's churches, gathered his epistles, got a hold of his gospel of the Lord and put together for us. All Theologians agree, or many of them. We wouldn't even have a new testament if it wasn't for Mercian of signupe. So a very interesting character and we're going to talk more about him and in depth in the next episode. Let me just give you my closing comment on this whole Old Testament, Hebrew Bible business. It can be summed up in a very simple sentence, which is not your book not your God. On that note, we will see you next time.

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