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Episode 4 · 1 year ago

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

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 RightBible podcast, your weekly deep dive into the story of the very first Bibleand the Marcion I Christian Church. Find out more at the very first BibleDot Org. Stripping away two thousand years a false doctrine isn't easy, butwe've had lots of coffee now, your host, Darren Klama, and welcomeback to another edition of the Right Bible podcast on a beautiful Sunday and Iin fact it have some coffee and I think I need some more coffee fortoday'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 housekeepingfirst. Make sure you have your copy of the very first Bible with you, because today we're going to take the...

...training wheels off a little bit andstart getting into specific versus in scripture and to follow along, you really aregoing 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 onand 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 thingyou see on your screen. So the last few episodes we've covered things thatI'm pretty happy about. We got to cover the actual contents of the veryfirst Bible. We went through the ten epistles that are in it. Weyesterday 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 andthat's that's really important and and again I feel pretty good about it that we'redone with that. But now this gets...

...us into the history portion of thevery first Bible, and that means we're going to use a timeline to kindof help us work through it. Now people think that right after the resurrectionof Christ, you know, there was this period of tranquility and peace anda lot of singing of Kumbaya. Well, actually, none of that happened.It was a time of division, persecution and, above all, lotsof arguing about what it was to even be a Christian. There was ahuge 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 startedit immediately after Christ's resurrection. So call it from about thirty three a Dto about forty seven a d were the Torah wars, or or you couldeven 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 Judaismand the Hebrew law and the other side, led by the Apostle Paul. Thatsaid, we now have God's grace, we don't need all of these lawsand 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 onthe 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 littleBantu stands and we would have had, you know, bizarre sex of Christianityall 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 oneside 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 ofthe thing. Everybody's on the same page with that. Well, that's notwhat this battle was about, because the Hebrew Bible, or is your trendto say it, the Old Testament, actually contains over six hundred laws,six hundred and thirteen to be exact, and Paul saw that it was notpossible to be a Christian and follow these laws. It's just it's just notpossible. And the problem that we run into is on the on the Hebrewside of things. Say Peter and James, you've got people who are saying,wait, you know the this is the the Old Testament, the HebrewBible is literally the word of God.

You know, that means that allsix hundred thirteen of these laws are also the word of God. So everyletter, every jot and tittle in the Bible is the word of God.Well, not really, or at least not anymore. So. Things havechanged a little bit and those changes took place at the Council of Jerusalem inforty eight a d but before we, you know, really get into thecouncil of Jerusalem and the important decisions that were made there, maybe we shouldtake 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, justsome, some examples to kind of give you an idea of what it isthat we're talking about. They had laws for virtually everything. I mean fromthe moment you woke up till you went to sleep to every inner action thatyou could almost possibly have, would with another human being or with groups ofhuman beings within your tribe or groups of...

...human beings from other tribes, theways in which you worship this deity down to, you know, the lambthat you sacrifice to it couldn't have any blemishes on it, or and ifso, what kinds of blemishes? Women during their period, you know,how they had to be dealt with, how they were considered unclean for sevendays. People who had leprosy. If you're a leper, there were speciallaws that you had to follow. Just just, I mean little everything thatyou can possibly imagine happening from sun up to sun down. They had alaw for including how to let's say there was a murderer loose in your villagebut nobody could find him, nobody knew what to do. Well, theyhad a special law for that too, and that involved going out and findinga 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 werelost with involving money. Lots of laws...

...involving money, surprise, including lawson you weren't allowed to charge interest to other Jews, but if they weren'ta Jew, hey, the more the Merrier, pile the interest on.There were laws regarding what I call hot slave laws. Let's say you hada 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 slavesthat 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 hundredand eleven, it says, and see ust among the captives, a beautifulwoman 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 yourbusiness. And of course we have gourmet bug laws. In Leviticus,one hundred and twenty one, it says.

Yet these may ye eat of everyflying creeping thing that Goeth upon all four which have legs above their feetto leap withal upon the Earth. And apparently this is a the eating buglaw that they use for locusts. So the point I'm trying to make hereis not to gross you out, it's just to try to illustrate how manylaws there were dealing with so many things, and not to get lost in theshuffle here. You have to remember that, according to the Hebrews,their God told them specifically to do these specific things during these specific instances underspecific 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 theother first Christian said, look, we're not buying this. We didn't signup for this. Think about it this...

...way. When we build something onsand, we know it's not going to last very long, and a religioncreated and constantly changed and edited by man is no different. And so itis with the Hebrew Bible, or again is you've been taught to call itthe Old Testament. What they did is they just simply ascribe their own grouptraits and beliefs onto a deity and wrote it down. Now we went throughsome examples of why the early Christians thought this and specifically why the Marci UnitesThought this. But what else besides the six hundred laws concerning the Hebrew Bibleand the Deity that's portrayed in it, should the apostles have dumped in fortyeight a d at the Council of Jerusalem? Our contention is they should have dumpedall of it, not just six hundred laws, but the entire yersubtext, the entire Hebrew Bible, because none if it applies to you andI is Christians. And you know,...

...at this point you can thank theApostle Paul for the fact that you're not standing in your front porch right nowit 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 forJewish self worship, written by their high priests, with a violent, jealousand barbaric deity as its focal point. And one of the first things younotice when you read through the Hebrew Bible are the human traits and emotions thatare displayed by this Hebrew Deity, including lots of jealousy and rage and lyingand it's it's all there. It's all there. These are all very humantraits. So that that tells you right there. You know, you wouldexpect this kind of behavior that's exhibited in the in the Hebrew Bible, inany kind of written, fictional account written by a human being. And that'swhat we have here. Now. The antithesis of this is what is foundin the New Testament, what is found...

...in our Christian God that was revealedto 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 aad where everything was decided, I did and agreed upon. Even Peter andJames were on board and everyone agreed that the six hundred laws were ridiculous andto try to force them on to these new Christians or to try to convertother people to Christianity was going to be next to him possible if they hadto follow all these laws. And, by the way, I didn't evenget into the circumcision part of it, which which was a large part ofthe meeting. That also was cast aside and trashed. So this was thiswas a momentous occasion for Christianity and for the next roughly hundred years everything wasfine in terms of the doctrine, in the dogma underlying Christianity. Everybody wason 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. Theonly people who had things written down were the Hebrews. We still hadthis Hebrew Bible floating around, most of which now we didn't follow because ofwhat happened at the Council of Jerusalem. So we only had oral traditions togo by in terms of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. So people, you know, they just talked to each other. There were some documentsfloating around, but, but, but, very few, and in fact therewere very few churches really at this point. There were the ones thatthat Paul established throughout the Roman Empire, but, you know, writing andand and and formal structure, a lot of these things were lacking until someonenamed Marcion of sign up, who live from five a d to about onehundred and sixty a d came on the scene and he was the son ofthe 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. Usinghis shipping empire, he revisited all of the Apostle Paul's churches, gathered hisepistles, got a hold of his gospel of the Lord and put together forus. All Theologians agree, or many of them. We wouldn't even havea new testament if it wasn't for Mercian of signupe. So a very interestingcharacter and we're going to talk more about him and in depth in the nextepisode. 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, wewill see you next time.

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