The very beginnings of Judaism goes back to about the mid-third century BC, and possibly a little before that. However, it does not go back to Abraham, as most people believe. Judaism, as we know it today, actually had its start as the direct result of the Greek invasion. Judaism was birthed out of the Talmud, which was also a direct result of the Greek invasion. Much of today’s Judaism, and practically all of the Talmud, is very Greek. But before Judaism was, God’s Way was.
Judaism had its beginnings about 200-300 hundred years before Yeshua was born, but it was still considered God’s Way in His day. The terms Jewish, Jew and Judaism did not come into use until somewhere between the fifth and the ninth centuries. Although there were hints here and there in the early centuries AD, it wasn’t until the publishing of the Talmud that Judaism really began to evolve. Being exiled from their land, it seemed imperative to identify with the land to remain a people - the land of Judea. Rabbinic Judaism is based on this premise.
And so, we will not go all the way back to Abraham. As mentioned in the previous chapter, the invasion of Greek culture is why these changes to God’s Way came to happen, and why a religion was invented, and God’s Way forgotten (again).
Today, the Jews believe that the Bible is the cornerstone, and the Talmud is the foundation. They also believe that Ezra created a group of people called the Great Assembly (Knesset HaGadol), who offered oral rulings on the Torah and its precepts. This Great Assembly did not ever take place, as we have writings from Ezra that never mention it and he would never have strayed so far from the Torah as to allow it to take place. Most Jews hold to a belief that these oral rulings were actually given to Moshe on Mt Sinai. In reality these oral rulings eventually became the Mishnah, and then the Gemara was created to explain the Mishnah - both books together are the Talmud. The Oral Torah is a direct result of the Greek invasion and was never supposed to take the place of the Torah.
This article might appear to be about Jewish history, but you cannot separate the people from God’s Way (turned into Judaism), because the Jewish people ARE what is now known as Judaism. And thus this is not only a history of Judaism, it is also a history of the Hebrew people who turned into Jewish people - because of Judaism (via the Greek invasion). This article will also shed some light on what was added to the Torah, and the Talmud. And why I believe the Talmud has nothing at all to do with what is actually written in the Torah (OK, maybe a tiny bit of it is true).
Before the Babylonian Exile
Before the Babylonian exile, there were no sects in God's Way, nor was there any religion called Judaism. All religion was considered idolatry by God at that time and for all of the previous 3500 years. There were no odd doctrines of any kind, because they always lead to idolatry. Hebrew life during the 3500 years before the Babylonian exile was much different than it is today, or even in Yeshua’s time.
During this time, minus those times they were in captivity, for the most part the Hebrews followed God’s Torah as it is - no questions, no arguments or debates (except maybe about leadership as we see in the Korah rebellion). There was no need to explain anything in another book, because all had continually been passed down from generation to generation.
At times the Hebrews were in captivity for four hundred years, yet they still somehow knew God’s Way as it truly is, when they heard it read to them by the priests. They built the first Temple according to all the written specifications, and they worshiped God exactly as He told them to in the Torah, even if they had been away from this Way for quite some time.
God was teaching His people obedience to Him and His Way. This was vitally important to keep them alive and a pure people - and to eventually usher in the Messiah He had promised them.
Life during the Babylonian Exile
Life had always been pretty much the same for the Hebrews - follow God’s Way, then wander off into idolatry and eventually go into captivity. Then come back and start all over again. But each time, they still had God’s Way, and remembered it even after that first 400 year exile in Egypt.
But during those last seventy years in captivity, their lives began to change. One very profound change that happened was that before the Hebrews were taken captive, their alphabet was written using a pictographic script. It was the same script used by Moshe and King David. But sometime during those seventy years in exile, the Hebrews adopted the square style of the Aramaic letters for their own Hebrew alphabet, but the sounds of their letters and the spelling of their words remained most definitely Hebrew.
They found these Aramaic letters were much easier to write on papyrus, but the pictures were no longer clearly seen. However, the knowledge of the ancient script was never fully lost. Writers of the many Dead Sea Scrolls, centuries later, still wrote God’s name in the original script. And the Samaritans, who never went into exile, still use this ancient script today. No matter the shape of the letters, their language was still Hebrew the Hebrews spoke and wrote.
God’s Word had been lost during this last exile. But Ezra had come across a copy of the Torah and brought it with him when he returned to Jerusalem, and read it to the Hebrews who had also returned to Jerusalem at that time (there were three groups who went to Jerusalem, several years apart). Some teach that Ezra remembered the Torah and wrote it down. The Bible does not state this, but it is in one of the apocrypha books. Plus our Bibles call him a scribe, but that political position did not develop until after Ezra’s time. Ezra was a devout priest and was not political.
The Hebrew people weeped when they heard the words of the Torah for the first time in seventy years, and for awhile they kept God’s Torah faithfully. But only a couple hundred years afterward, the Greeks came marching in, spreading their culture and their language - at times forcefully and brutally.
What Happened When the Greeks Invaded Jerusalem
About 333 BC, when Alexander the Great invaded the land of Israel and then marched into Jerusalem, he brought with him a culture that was not only foreign to the sheltered Hebrews, but also extremely forceful in its nature. This culture threatened to infiltrate all aspects of Hebraic life. Alexander was not a ruthless leader in the countries he conquered, and he gave each country much autonomy. All he wanted was taxes and trade.
So each country had freedom to worship whom they wanted, and Israel most likely would not have been affected had they not been so taken with this new culture. Many liked the affluence, the theater and the games. Various aspects of this Greek life were embraced by the Israelites. We must remember that these Hebrews were the descendants of those who came out of the Babylonian captivity, so they were already prone to follow the crowd. The Hebrews most affected by this new culture were mostly the rich and the powerful. With each new empire, the Hebrews had to adapt, but they were pretty much allowed to worship their God (when they remembered) and adhere to their God’s commandments. But Greek culture had a life of its own, and it began to seep into the lives of the Hebrews almost from day one of the Greeks conquering the Persian empire. As a result of this foreign culture entering their lives, many of the Hebrews began to enjoy this new, foreign and very different way of living. Many of them learned and began speaking Greek rather than Hebrew. They even embraced many of the Greek ways, and within just a couple hundred years came to be what we call Hellenists today - Greek speaking Hebrews who embraced Greek culture (Hellenism was not a term known back then). The Hebrews even joined in the Greek gymnasiums (used for debates and learning, not sporting events), and began debating among themselves about the things of God. It didn’t take long for this to become a normal practice among the Hebrews - outside the gymnasiums. Soon these arguments became more than simple debates, and caused divisions among the Hebrews. These divisions led to sects being formed. One of these sects who opposed the Hellenists, came to be called the Parush (Pharisees). The Parush thought of themselves as pure and separated from the Hellenists, but truth be known, they had become just as Greek as those Hebrews who actually spoke Greek. By the time Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to Jerusalem, Greek ways had already infiltrated most Hebrew lives. Not long after the Parush sect formed (about the third century BC), they created doctrines from Scripture verses taken out of context. One being that they no longer spoke God’s Name Yahweh, giving His Name reverence that they assumed the Tsadek (Sadducees) did not. They claimed the proper name of God, YHWH, is too holy, and has mysterious and magical power, and it needed to be given reverence and respect. So to this day the Jews still do not say or write God’s Name. It was about this time that they began to call God the God in Jerusalem or the God of Heaven (actually a Persian practice). Later on the pronunciation of the Hebrew words Elohim and Adonai replaced YHWH. And today the Jews call God HaShem (The Name). The division and animosity between these Parush, and this other sect called Tsadek was strong. Both of these sects were represented on the Sanhedrin. These Tsadek were the rich and powerful who spoke Greek instead of Hebrew. The High Priests came from these Tsadek, who were appointed by the Romans in Yeshua’s day. Much corruption and briberies accompanied these appointments. Alexander’s successors were not so tolerant of the Hebrews and their strange beliefs. And the Greeks were backed by the Hellenist Hebrews. The Maccabees were a combination of the Parush and those who still clung to the Torah of God. When Antiochus IV Epiphanes marched into Jerusalem, it was the Maccabees who opposed him the most. While many of the Hellenists compromised God’s Way even more, and joined with Epiphanes in sacrificing pigs, and worshiping the Zeus statue in the Temple, the Maccabees began a war with the Greeks, and after many years, eventually chased Antiochus out of Jerusalem. While these events became the Chanukah (Dedication) celebration and of the Miracle of the Lights, the Greeks were still very present in Jerusalem. There are conflicting stories as to how the Romans came to Jerusalem and conquered the Greek empire, one being Herod Hyrcanus II (a Maccabean) asked them to come and save them from the Greeks. So the Romans did come to Jerusalem, conquered the Greek empire - and then stayed. Eventually, the Maccabeans (Hasmoneans) became a corrupt family and compromised their beliefs too. Herod the Great was a son of the Hasmonean prince Hyrcanus II (Antipater). Herod was so successful at courting the Romans for favor, they dubbed him King of the Jews and his descendants became rulers throughout the first century. Yeshua’s Appearance on the Scene Although a type of Messiah was expected in the first century, Yeshua’s coming shook up the Hellenists and the Hasmonean kings big time. The coming of Messiah would have totally destroyed the world of the Hellenist rulers in Israel, plus I doubt they realized He was God. Pontius Pilate and Quirinius were the ones who appointed Annas and Caiaphas as High Priests. And these High Priests were politically powerful Hellenists. Even with the animosity between them, the Hellenists, and the corrupt kings and priests had something to protect. If the Messiah had come, both of them would be out of their high positions - and their money. Note that these were most of the Parush and the Tsedek that did not believe Yeshua was the coming Messiah. Because they had changed the Torah so much by this time, they no longer understood why the Messiah had to come, nor that God would come Himself. For the first 4000 years, the Hebrews were the only people who believed in God, and knew Him as the One and Only Supreme Being Who created the earth and all mankind. But after the events of God’s coming to earth as Yeshua, and the destruction of the Temple, with the help of the influence of Greek culture, the Hebrews’ belief in God changed. It went from knowing a Supreme Being really exists, to a creation of Rabbinic Judaism which thinks it created the idea of One God. Even before the Temple was destroyed about 70AD, the Parush brought the purity laws, previously applied only to the priests of the Temple, into the Hebrew home, creating an alternate center for sanctity while the Temple still stood in Jerusalem. When Yeshua came into the picture in the first century, He came to restore His Way to His people - teaching the Hebrews the accurate worship of God and correct interpretation of the Scriptures (because of the way the sects had perverted the Scriptures, many wrong interpretations of Scripture had created many new, and false doctrines). The Hebrew Scriptures foretold the coming of the Messiah for four thousand years - and then He came. But Yeshua, the Hebrew Moshiach, did not come as most had come to expect - He was born into this world the same way all mankind comes, as a baby through a woman. Even though the Scriptures foretold this event, most missed Him because they were looking for another Messiah. He did not come to rescue them from the Romans as many had come to believe. God has allowed all these changes because the Hebrews felt them necessary in order to retain their identity as the people of God - Hebrews. Even though the Hebrews are in exile, they are God’s first love, and He will bring them back to His original Covenant - back to His Way - and He will save them all, just as He has always said in His Word. Yeshua is the name Miryam was told to name her Child. It was a common Hebrew name in those times, but it is also a Hebrew word meaning Salvation. Yeshua was born into a Hebrew family. He grew up in a Hebrew community, and He learned the Torah. Then when He became about 30 years old, He did in fact do as the Hebrews did, He taught Torah to those who wanted to learn (the priests no longer taught the Torah in Yeshua’s day). On many occasions (in the New Testament gospels) Yeshua scolded the sect of the Parush for teaching their traditions of man and repetitious prayers, which had been developed by their leaders. God’s Way of Life was never about impossible to keep traditions of man, but about an actual Way of Life that had begun four thousand years before. Because of all the changes caused by the Parush, Yeshua came to the earth to restore this Way of Life back to His people. It wasn’t that they didn’t know the Torah for they had been taught from childhood, but most of the Hebrews had learned what the Parush had turned God’s Way into. So Yeshua taught Torah from the beginning, so they could hear it from God Himself. What Yeshua brought was the true Torah (Teachings) of God back to the Hebrews. The Hebrews had forgotten why they needed a Messiah (to redeem them from sin), thinking He would come to save them from the oppression of the Romans. Yeshua grew up in this same environment, but He had an advantage over them - He is the Word, so He knew the actual Word from a very young age. By the time Yeshua became a traveling teacher of Torah, He was well-versed in the Hebrew Scriptures. And because He is God, He of course knew the correct Way of God. God came to the earth to re-teach His people His Torah, the true Way of God. It wasn’t a new covenant Yeshua brought to His people - it was His restored original Covenant - Torah. In God’s Plan of Salvation, it was time to bring His true teachings back to His people. It is prophesied in Jeremiah and in Ezekiel that God would restore His Way (Jeremiah 32:39-40 & Ezekiel 36:26-27) and this is precisely what He was doing during those three and a half years on this earth (the word translated as new in Jeremiah and Ezekiel and elsewhere is chadashah, which really means to restore - see Chadashah). This is the miqra for today. So Yeshua came to restore His Way to His people. That is why we always see Him saying something like, "You've heard it was said....but I say it is...." He wasn’t changing Scripture, nor was He bringing a new covenant. He was redefining it as it once was in the Torah to bring His Way back to His people. We see the Way in Acts several times, and believers today think the writer was referring to Yeshua's sect. But God referred to His Way over one hundred twenty times in the Hebrew Scriptures, whenever speaking of a walk with Him. It was a Way of Life He spoke of, first recorded in Genesis 18:19 - very different than life was for the heathens. So we know that Yeshua did not have a sect, nor was He a part of any of the sects in His day. He chastised the Pharisees for many of their false teachings, and all the Hebrews for the sects that had formed. But He never condemned them as is thought today. Yeshua celebrated all Moedim Elohim (Appointed Seasons of God, (John 4:45; John 7:37-39; Luke 2:41-42; 1Corinthians 5:8; as well as Chanukah (Feast of Dedication - John 10:22) and Purim (Feast of Lots). Yeshua is a Hebrew and lived a Hebrew life, as well as speaking Hebrew; and He lived according to God’s Way, because He is God’s Way. After teaching Torah for about three and half years, Yeshua gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind - becoming the Lamb of God. He died on Pesach as God’s Passover Lamb - the last sacrifice for sin. He was buried the next day which was the first day of Matsot. And the day after that (the third day), was when Yom Bikkur fell that year, but it was also the day Yeshua rose from the dead. Yeshua was on the earth for forty more days after He rose from the dead, and then He ascended to Heaven. Ten days later on Shavuot (Pentecost in Greek), He gave His disciples His Spirit. They had gathered on the upper portion of the steps of Solomon’s Porch in the Temple area because it was the largest place where all the people could gather together. We must remember these were all Hebrews, and they were always very much involved with the Temple. Yeshua even taught in the Temple, as a Hebrew teacher of Torah. God did not come to the heathens until a few years after Yeshua ascended. You see, it was the Torah of God that protected the Hebrews as a people. God’s grace gave the Torah to His people to protect and preserve them as a people (see Grace or Torah?). As long as they obeyed His commandments, they had peace, good health and long life. Many who call themselves Christians today, believe the Jews are unbelievers. But this could not be further from the truth. Yes, they need God’s Spirit to dwell in them to bring Life to their own spirits (Salvation), but they never stopped believing in God. They simply didn’t realize Who Yeshua was then, and today they have never heard of Him and don’t know Who He is. (The only thing they need to do is to be introduced to their own Messiah, and recognize that He is their Moshiach - they do NOT need to convert to Christianity.) A few years after Yeshua had ascended, Kefa (Peter) was given a dream and he was led by Yeshua’s Spirit to take His message to the heathens as well as the Hebrews. The heathens would be offered the protection and salvation of God’s Teaching (Torah). They would be included in God’s protected family of Hebrews, and they would also be taught to live God’s Way - they would be taught His Torah. For forty years Yeshua’s disciples spread His Way first to the Hebrews, and then to the heathens (it was after the Temple was destroyed that things began to change for the grafted-in believers). Anyone who believed that Yeshua was God and therefore the Messiah, and obeyed His commandments, were accepted into the family of God as His people. Those Hebrews who would not accept Yeshua as their Messiah would not truly understand that they had rejected their God - again. While there is much to blame the Parush for, in the aftermath of the destruction of the second Temple, some believe it was only through the efforts of the Sanhedrin (Hebrew leaders and the heirs of the Pharisaic views), that the Hebrews were able to survive as a people at all. It is written in the Talmud that the Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty to twenty-three men appointed in every city in Israel. This court dealt with only religious matters. Sometimes the position of Nasi (leader of the Great Sanhedrin) was held by the High Priest. Each city could have its own (lesser) Sanhedrin of 23 judges, but there could be only one Great Sanhedrin of 71 judges. Among other roles this Greater Sanhedrin acted as the Supreme Court, taking appeals from cases decided by the lesser courts. The numbers of judges were determined to eliminate the possibility of a tie, and the last judge to cast his vote was the head of the court. The Sanhedrin were the only ones who could try the king, extend the boundaries of the Temple and Jerusalem, and were the ones to whom all questions of law were finally put. Before 191BC the High Priest acted as the head of the Sanhedrin, but in 191BC, when the Sanhedrin lost confidence in the High Priest, the office of Nasi was created. Prior to that (about the third century BC) the Sanhedrin did not exist. It had always been the priests who judged by the Torah. Yavneh is claimed to have been a place for Torah Scholars, but it was actually the Oral Torah that was studied, not the Scriptures. Yavneh soon began to flourish, and took on the role of the Sanhedrin. It spurred the founding and growth of a network of similar places of learning in the land of Israel. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70AD, the Sanhedrin moved and were re-established in Yavneh, but with reduced authority. It is said that Yokhanan ben Zakkai asked Vespasian to grant it to him as a center for study (Vespasian is the one who sacked Jerusalem). During the presidency of Gamaliel IV (270–290), because of the Roman persecution, this legislative body dropped the name Sanhedrin; and its decisions were issued under the name of Biet haMidrash. About the time that Yeshua was a teacher of Torah in Jerusalem, there were several other teachers of Torah, one being Yakhanan ben Zakkai. He was also a leader of the Parush. It was common among the Hebrews for a teacher of Torah to travel around and gather disciples, teaching them their version of Torah. It was Yokhanan who implemented Tzedakah (charity) as a substitute for the expiatory sacrifices after the destruction of the Temple. This substitute was one of the changes that were instrumental in beginning the process of recreating God’s Way completely, and creating Judaism for the dispersed Hebrews. After the Temple was destroyed there was no longer a meeting place for large crowds of Yeshua's believers, so like the grafted-in believers who were not allowed in the Temple, they began to gather in each others homes. Yeshua's Way was still in tact within the congregations at this time. (Acts 11:26 was added in the fourth or fifth century, as were many other verses to the New Testament (see Altered Verses). Yeshua’s disciples were never called Christians - this was a later fourth-century addition. All of Yeshua’s disciples were Hebrews, or grafted-in Hebrews, who chose to believe that Yeshua was the promised Moshiach spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures. Philo was born just before the first century, about 20 BC. He was apparently quite influential to both Yeshua’s believers (also Hebrews), and the Hebrews who rejected Messiah. He was also a philosopher who was highly influenced by Greek culture, and instrumental in bringing Greek philosophy into what eventually became Judaism. But with the collapse of the Bar Kokhba rebellion in the second century, about 135AD, many of the so-called Torah scholars were dispersed, some to Babylonia. Since then, the academy of Yavneh has moved several times. It was at Yavneh that the Talmud was born in a later century. Many Hebrews who did not believe in Yeshua, did however believe in Bar Kokhba as the Moshiach. But when He was killed in the revolt, all hope of him delivering them from the Romans was lost. After the Bar Kokhba rebellion, the Hebrews were banned from Jerusalem by Hadrian, because he thought they were to blame for all the unrest in Israel. After the Bar Kokhba rebellion, the Hebrews were scattered to other nations, causing them once again to adapt to wherever they landed. The Jews today believe this scattering shattered the already broken protective seal that enveloped Hebrew thought, and ultimately, the Hebrews themselves. But truthfully, they had already assimilated into Greek culture by this time. Although, many of the Hebrews were now forced to deal with the rest of the non-Hebrew world and its way of thinking in a very direct way. Hadrian attempted to wipe out the Hebrews’ Way of Life, and he prohibited the Torah. In an effort to wipe out all memory of Judea or Israel, Hadrian wiped the names off of maps and made it one region, called Syria Palaestina. He also built a Roman city on the Jerusalem ruins, and called it Colonia Aelia Capitolina. Hebrew leaders had to turn their attention to finding ways of preserving the integrity of Hebrew identity and practice. All that was left of the Hebrew leadership was a group of men who came to be known as the Rabbis (the Sanhedrin). They turned their attention to the codification of the unwritten oral law - THE traditions of man. It was about 170-220 AD (possibly even earlier) that an evil spirit came upon the Rabbis, causing them to take on the authority over the Bible, giving their authority and word the final say on a particular subject. A Rabbi’s word became God’s word. What is very interesting is about the same time, this same kind of evil spirit was overtaking the grafted-in leaders of the congregations of those who believed in Yeshua as the Moshiach. There was a twenty year period at the beginning of the third century where one man, Judah Ha-Nasi, created a constitution - an authoritative guide to Hebrew law for judges and teachers to use. Thus the Mishnah was born, or better known today as one of the books of the Oral Torah or Talmud. In the late third century, to avoid persecution, the Sanhedrin’s authoritative decisions were issued under the name of Beit HaMidrash. Also in this third century Rabbi Simlai stated that there are six hundred thirteen commandments given by God in the Torah. All of these things were put into the Mishnah and it was continually added to, thus the Gemara was needed to interpret all these additions. It is believed that the Mishnah gave the Hebrews a faith and practice not bound by the passage of historical time, because they felt their religion, which is how they had begun to see the traditions of the Oral Torah now, should be allowed to evolve and change. They had completely forgotten God’s Way (again). The Mishnah was also proof positive that God’s Way was no longer His Way - that which He gave to His people 4000 years before. There is much Greek philosophy in the Mishnah. One critic stated that two-thirds of the Mishnah is philosophical rather than theological in nature. There is barely any mention of God in the Mishnah. In the fourth century, in 324 Constantine I became the sole Emperor (after the battle of the Milvian) of both the East and West Roman Empires. He declared what had become Christianity to be the religion of the empire. In 351-352 the Jewish community began a rebellion in the region of Syria Palestina against the Caesar of the Byzantine Emperor Constantius Gallus (Constantine I’s son). The revolt was quickly subdued by Gallus' general Ursicinus. Later in the fourth century, the Sanhedrin was dissolved after continued persecution by the Roman Empire. Their last decision was in 358, when the Hebrew Calendar we know today, was adopted. Rabbi Hillel II introduced a permanent fixed ritual calendar. With the proclamation that Christianity was the religion of the land in the early fourth century, the Hebrews suddenly found themselves to be a minority in what was once their own land. But the Mishnah continued to grow, so much so that commentaries were written in order to explain it (which became the Gemara). The two books together later came to be called the Talmud - but there were two different Talmuds. The Palestinian Talmud was edited for publication in the fifth century. The Babylonian Talmud was in the beginning stages of editing for publication also at this time. The sixth century was during what is known as the dark ages, but still this new religion of theirs was clung to by the Hebrews no matter where in the world they were. In their desire to consolidate the realm under the new religion (Christianity), the Visigothic royal family under Recared converted from Arianism to Catholicism in 587. The Visigoths adopted an aggressive policy concerning the Hebrews. As the king and the church acted in a single interest, the situation for the Hebrews deteriorated. Recared approved the Third Council of Toledo in 589, which was to forcibly baptize the children of mixed marriages between Jews and Christians. In the early seventh century Sisebut (612-620) embarked on Recared's course with renewed vigor. Soon after upholding the edict of compulsory baptism for children of mixed marriages, Sisebut instituted what was to become a recurring phenomenon in Spanish official policy, in issuing the first edicts against the Hebrews of expulsion from Spain. Following his 613 decree that the Hebrews either convert or be expelled, some Hebrews fled to Gaul and North Africa, while as many as 90,000 converted. Many of these conversos, as did those of later periods, maintained their Jewish identities in secret. During the more tolerant reign of Suintilla however, most of the conversos returned to what was well on its way to becoming Judaism, and a number of the exiled returned to Spain. The trend toward intolerance continued with King Chintila (636-639). He directed the Sixth Council of Toledo to order that only Catholics could remain in the kingdom, and taking an unusual step further, Chintila excommunicated in advance any of his successors who did not act in accordance with his anti-Jewish edicts. Again, many Jews converted while others chose exile. This problem of conversos not truly converting continued through several more councils (at least 16 councils of Toledo, with the 16th in 693). Islam was created by Muhammed (and the satan). Jerusalem was conquered in 638 by the Islamic Empire, but it wasn’t taken from the Hebrews - it was taken from the Catholics. Although Israel is their homeland, most of the Hebrews had long been scattered to other nations by this time. The Temple had long been destroyed by the Romans, so about the year 688, Muslims began to build a shrine on the Temple Mount, right over the location of where the Temple once stood - over the altar where Abraham had once offered up Isaac to God. This shrine still stands today - it is the Dome of the Rock. But from about 711 until about 942 the Jews had periods of exceptional prosperity. It was considered the Jewish Golden Age for the Sephardic Jews under Muslim rule. The rise of the Karaites, who are said to have descended from the Tsedek, happened about the eighth century. Today they claim to be of the original Judaism. Except Judaism did not officially begin until about the ninth century and is the direct result of the published Talmud - which the Karaites do not accept. Between the late 7th and 10th centuries, the Khazars were a semi-nomadic Turkic people who created the most powerful Western steppe empire, Khazaria. A major artery of commerce between northern Europe and southwestern Asia, Khazaria became one of the foremost trading emporia of the medieval world, commanding a key commercial role as a crossroad between China, the Middle East, and European Russia. For some three centuries the Khazars dominated the vast area extending from the Volga-Don steppes to the eastern Crimea and the northern Caucasus. Beginning in the eighth century, the Khazar royalty and notable segments of the aristocracy converted to what is now called Judaism. It is said that the group was compiled of a mosaic of pagan, Muslim, Jewish and Christian worshippers. This king had been so taken with Judaism, and thought it to be the truth of God. It wasn’t until the ninth century that Rabbinic Judaism was truly born out of what is today called the Oral Torah - the writings of the Mishnah and Gemara, which make up the Talmud. There was a Hebrew community who remained in Babylon after the Babylonian exile, and it was here that the Talmud was first published back in the fifth century. Practiced by virtually all Jews from the ninth century to the end of the eighteenth, is what has transformed into the form of Orthodox Judaism. Many believe it was also somewhere around this century that the Hebrews began calling themselves Jewish, which eventually became Jews. There is one belief that part of the Jews’ identity is tied with their land - the land they had been banished from, Judea. Which causes one to believe that they have forgotten who they are - those who crossed over the blood into Covenant with God (the meaning of Ibriy, the Hebrew word for Hebrew). But then there is another belief that the Jews’ identify with the tribe of Judah, making them a completely separate ethnic group, and very distinct from the rest of the twelve tribes of Israel. The problem with this theory is that the Benjamites and the Levites were in captivity with Judah in Babylon - which means all three of these tribes came out of Babylon together (see Ezra). No matter what the Jews believe today, they are still a part of Israel and God will eventually bring all Hebrews, both by blood and grafted-in Hebrews, into being One People. Also during this century, the Masoretic text, with vowel markings, became the accepted version of the Hebrew Bible. And Yiddish began to evolve in southern Germany as the language of German Jews. It was in the late tenth century or early eleventh century that the Golden Age ended for the Sephardim. It was also in the late tenth century that Judah HaLevi was born and lived to the mid-11th century. His work in this century actually refutes that of Maimonides a century later. In the early eleventh century, there were widespread persecutions of Jews in France beginning in 1007 or 1009. These persecutions, instigated by Robert II King of France, are described in a Hebrew pamphlet, which also states that the King of France conspired with his vassals to destroy all the Jews on their lands who would not accept baptism, and many were put to death or killed. Robert is credited with advocating forced conversions of the local Jews, as well as mob violence against Jews who refused to convert. Saadiah Gaon was born in Egypt in this century. He was a Jewish philosopher who wrote several books and commentaries, some of which are in the Talmud. One of the most famous and influential Jewish philosophers and Rabbis, Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzkhaki), who lived from 1040 to 1105, was born in this century. He personified northern French Judaism: its devoted attachment to tradition; its untroubled faith; its piety, and freedom from mysticism. His commentary on the Talmud is written in concise style suited to his subject, which made it easy to study that vast compilation, and soon became its indispensable complement. Every edition of the Talmud that was eve published has this commentary printed on the same page of the Talmud itself. His commentaries can also be found on almost every page of the Tanach today. The commentaries and interpretations in the Talmud that were done at Troyes, a school that Rashi founded, are the basis and starting point for the Ashkenazic tradition of how to interpret and understand the Talmud's explanation of Biblical laws. Thus, it is thought the eleventh century was a period of fruitful activity in literature. From then on, French Judaism became one of the principles within Judaism. It was late in this century that the first Crusade took place in 1096, which resulted in massive anti-Jewish violence in France and Germany. In the Rhineland thousands of Jews were killed by the crusaders. Maimonides was born in the twelfth century, and is supposedly the author of the legal code to the Torah (Mishnah Torah) - written in the late 12th century. Although he did not in fact create the Mishnah, he was supposedly the first to write it all down. Before this the Mishnah was still only passed on orally. He was, and still is, the most influential Jewish philosopher in Jewish history. It was about 1171 that the Jews of Blois, France were accused of having crucified a Christian child during Passover, known today as Blood Libel. This event is believed to be the beginning of Anti-Semitism in Europe. As a result of this false accusation, all the Jews of Blois were imprisoned. Eventually, over thirty Jewish people were burned to death. Immediately after the coronation of Philip Augustus in 1181, the King ordered the Jews arrested on a Saturday in all their synagogues, and plundered of their money and their investments. In the following April 1182, he published an edict of expulsion. But since then he had learned that the Jews could be an excellent source of income from a fiscal point of view, especially as money-lenders. Not only did he recall them to his estates, but he gave state sanction by his ordinances to their operations in banking and pawnbroking. Late in this century Ashkenazi Hasidim and early kabbalists sprang up in Spain. These sects are considered to be on the mystical side of Judaism. Also in this century, many Jews of York, England were massacred on the 9th of Av in 1190. About 1233 Catholics Frederick and Isabella, by way of Pope Innocent III, started the Inquisitions and many Jews were burned at the stake. It was in the thirteenth century when the Inquisitions were taking place in Spain, and then spread to France. These brutal trials and executions lasted until the late eighteenth century. Many Jews converted to Catholicism, but were secretly crypto-Jews: to the rest of the world they were Catholic, but in their hearts and worship they were still Jews. Jews and Christians were expelled by the Muslims from Morocco and Islamic Spain in this same century. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled south and east to the more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms. Maimonides died in the early thirteenth century, and about 1230, Rabbinic authorities argued for a ban on his Guide for the Perplexed. There were many persecutions of the Jews in this century (about 1242) and Talmuds were criticized for being anti-Christian by Pope Gregory IX. He ordered the censoring, and eventual burning of copies of the Talmud. Thousands of copies of the Talmud were burned across Western Europe. Life had pretty much come full circle for the Sephardim of al-Andalus. As conditions became more oppressive in the areas under Muslim rule during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Jews again looked to an outside culture for relief. Christian leaders of reconquered cities granted them extensive autonomy, and Jewish scholarship recovered and developed as communities grew in size and importance. In the Fourteenth century the Jews continued to have a very difficult time in Europe, which was during the later portion of the Middle Ages. They were continually accused of desecrating the Catholic blessed bread of the Eucharist. It was an excuse for many massacres of Jews. As the fourteenth century came to an end, European Jews were blamed for the Black Plague, disastrous harvests and severe famine in this century. As the plague swept across Europe in the mid-fourteenth century, annihilating nearly half the population, Jews became the scapegoats partially because they had better hygiene within the Jewish communities (they washed their hands often), and isolation in the ghettos meant in some places that Jews were less affected. But no matter the truth, accusations changed and spread that Jews had caused the disease by deliberately poisoning the wells. The first massacres directly related to the plague took place in April 1348 in Toulon, France, where the Jewish quarter was destroyed, and forty Jews were murdered in their homes These massacres occurred also in Barcelona. In 1349 the massacres and persecutions spread across Europe, with 900 Jews being burnt alive on February 14, 1349 in the Valentine's Day Strasbourg massacre (where the plague had not yet affected the city). Many hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed during this period. The plague began to wane in 1350, and so did the violence against Jewish communities. In 1351 the plague and the immediate persecution was over, but a level of persecution and discrimination remained. Some of the Sephardic Jews in Spain immigrated to Poland. Some were expelled from France, and were then readmitted for a price. The majority eventually immigrated to Poland, where their lives flourished. The first known examples of the bar mitzvah ceremony were in the fifteenth century. Also in this century, it was determined that the Inquisitions were not working, and so in 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain - they went to Portugal. And then in 1497 the Jews were expelled from Portugal. Many of these people hid their Hebrew heritage from their families, and were raised as Catholics. Today these Spanish families are just discovering their Hebrew heritage for the first time. I personally believe that many other countries, such as France (also involved in the Inquisitions) and their emigrants will also soon discover their own French Hebrew heritage. In the sixteenth century in 1541, Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I, a devout Muslim, sealed off the Golden Gate in Jerusalem to prevent the Jewish Messiah’s entrance. Apparently the Sultan thought Yeshua would be a mere man, and that this would actually work to keep Him out of the city. The Talmud again went under persecution in 1553, and many were burned. It was also in this sixteenth century that Joseph Caro completed the Shulkhan Arukh, the definitive code of Jewish law, and published it in 1565. In 1592 Clement II banned all study of the Talmud. In 1648 the Cossacks massacred over one hundred thousand Jews in Ukraine and Poland. In 1655 the Russo-Swedish War took place and thousands of Jews were massacred in Poland. In this seventeenth century, Baruch Spinoza was the first to believe that the Oral, and the written Torah was not revealed truth. He strayed further from the traditional path than even Maimonides did - and he was later excommunicated in 1656. In 1665 Shabbateanism spread across the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe. A Jew named Shabbetai Tzvi preached in Jerusalem, and then traveled back to his native Smyrna where he proclaimed himself to be the Messiah. He apparently had many followers who also thought he was the Messiah. It was in the eighteenth Century that Israel Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760) founded the Hasidim we know today. The Hasidim are the mystics of Judaism, who are proponents of the Kabbalah. Deeply rooted Jewish mysticism became a core value in what is today Orthodox Judaism. The birth of both Hasidism and Reform Judaism were the result of lay leaders who were dissatisfied with the restrictions of traditional Judaism as it was practiced in the eighteenth century. In 1757 Talmuds were burned in Poland. But later in this century, emancipation came to the Jews, in a gradual process that occurred at different speeds all over Western Europe. Napoleon headed up many battle campaigns in the region of Syria Palaestina during this century, and after the French Revolution, the National Assembly voted to grant citizenship to the Sephardic Jews of France. Later, emancipation came to the Jews in the surrounding countries: 1789 in US; 1791 in France; 1796 in the Netherlands. For the first time in recent Jewish history, the Jews were declared citizens of the nations that were their homes in what the Jews call the Diaspora (the rest of the world). They now had the same duties and rights as non-Jews. Previously the Jews had rights as members of a group. The Jews feel that these rights helped to preserve their solidarity - the cohesiveness of the Jewish community under constant pressure from their non-Jewish neighbors. Those rights no longer exist. Moses Mendelssohn was born in the 18th century, and is said to be the son of a Torah scribe. He is coined as saying, “If religion is based on reason, then it serves no purpose. Jews can only achieve fulfillment by adhering to the law of Moses.” But he believed in more than one path to God, and pushed for tolerance of other religions. He was of the Enlightenment era. It was in the nineteenth century that more sects began taking over modern Judaism. The first Reform Synagogue was dedicated in 1818. Israel Jacobson opened his synagogue, and introduced the Confirmation Ceremony. Many things began to take place in the late nineteenth century. In 1860 the first Jewish neighborhood was built outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Then in 1874 Jerusalem became an Ottoman administrative authority which gained the city a special administrative status. In 1882 the first Aliyah took place where 25,000 to 35,000 Jewish immigrants immigrated to what is today Israel (this took place over a period of about twenty years). In 1896 Theordore Hertzel published a book called The Jewish State in an effort to open the eyes of the world to give the Jewish people a homeland. In 1897 the First Zionist Congress was held in Basel, Switzerland where the World Zionist Organization was founded by Theodore Hertzel. The Basel Declaration was approved which determined that the Zionist movement’s ultimate aim was to establish and secure under public law a homeland for the Jewish people. It was late in this century that the Jews of Germany considered Germany their home, not Israel. When the Balfour Declaration partitioned a part of Palestine for the Jewish home, later in 1923, the German Jews did not want to leave Germany. They were prospering there and the thought of going to a land where they would have to start over again, because the land of Israel was a literal wasteland at that time (except for the Dome of the Rock on the Temple mount), was incomprehensible. They did not want to give up their prosperity in the lands that had become their homes. But God always warns His people before He sends His wrath, and He did warn His people before World War II. Jeremiah spoke warnings of the impending Babylonian exile, but these warnings were also a miqra - a rehearsal of future exile also, and retribution for not obeying God (Jeremiah 16:14-16). Hebrews were again exiled after 70 AD, when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans. They were scattered to every nation on earth. A couple of those nations were eventually Poland and Germany. (Some say that not all the Jews need to return to Israel, but based on the fact of Jeremiah 16:14-16, I’m wondering if this is true.) It was in the twentieth century, in 1917 the Balfour Declaration was published where the British Government declared its support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in what was later dubbed the Mandate Palestine. But, just as after the Babylonian exile, many Jews in the twentieth century did not want to return to their homeland. Those Jews who lived in Poland and Germany were prospering and living well. In Jeremiah 16:14-18 God says He will hunt His people down and bring them back to their homeland. In one translation it says fishermen, those who catch their prey alive. In another it says hunters, those who kill their prey. In verse 18 God is very clear about paying back their iniquity double. As you read before, the ancient Greek culture caused the Jews to begin questioning the Torah, even following their own traditions rather than the Torah. And when Yeshua came, most Hebrews rejected Him. For this, which He warned them beforehand, God destroyed the Temple and scattered His people again. But because they followed a facsimile of the Torah, namely their own man-made traditions, they thought they were still in God’s will. The holocaust was absolutely horrible, but God warned His people of the impending doom. They had become so comfortable in the other lands they had been scattered to, that when God began to bring them back to their homeland, many would not return. None of them had ever read the Bible telling them of the impending doom for doing so. When God says go, if you belong to Him, you must go. In the meantime, in 1922 Mordecai Kaplan opened his synagogue and his daughter was the first girl to undergo the bat mitsvah ceremony. And a new version of the Talmud was published in this century, the Buber-Rosenzweig translation. The door was wide open for Hitler and his atrocities against God’s people, and God did have the Jews hunted down since they would not return to their homeland. Hitler introduced the Jewish Question later in this century. He not only developed warped beliefs about the Jews (planted by the satan, of course), he acted on those beliefs. Jews in Germany and Poland were hunted down and eventually transported to Auschwitz. Hitler, Himmler and the rest of his followers murdered over six million Jews in Europe. I believe this holocaust was possibly the final Jacob’s Trouble. It was in 1945 when all of Israel’s Jacob’s Trouble with Hitler had ended. Thirty years after the Balfour Declaration in 1947, the UN General Assembly proposed to divide Mandate Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state. And against all odds, Israel as a nation was born again in 1948. The Jewish people now had a home to return to after almost two thousand years without a country. Although some tribes still need to be found, this time the Jews overwhelmingly chose to go home. Ever since May 14, 1948, Israel has been at war with her neighbors - the Muslim nations that occupy all her borders refuse to accept Israel as a nation and as a people. It has now been over sixty years, and Muslims are still at war with Israel. Although it appears as if Israel does not have peace, she really had no peace until May 14, 1948. Israel lost her sovereignty when ten tribes were carted off to Assyria, and then the Benjamites, some of the Levites, and all of Judah were taken to Babylon in the last group of the exile. Although they were back in Israel again for almost 600 years, they were scattered again and their land renamed. Israel was without a nation for 2500 years. I believe Israel’s exile was the cause of her unrest - lack of peace. Always yearning for her homeland. But Israel has been a nation again for almost sixty-six years (May 14, 2014). The Arabs have not allowed her to rest, but being secure in knowing God has returned Israel to her land, is her real Shalom. And just as when God’s people came out of Egypt, they supernaturally took with them Egypt’s wealth, given to them willingly, they also received money from the Germans. When the Jews came out out the concentration camps, Germany was forced to pay the Jewish nation $47 Billion for what they had done to Israel’s people. There were several more wars between Israel and the Arabs in 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1987, 2000, 2006. There have also been several IDF military operations to stop the continual Gaza attacks in Israel. The Arabs have been battling Israel since the day after Israel became a nation - in other words, there have always been “wars and rumors of wars” in Israel. The cries of “wars and rumors of wars” continue even today. Muslims will never accept Israel as a people nor as a nation, and it is a fruitless effort to keep trying to get them to make peace. While Israel would love peace, Muslims do not want peace. They want to annihilate them, removing all Jews from the earth. At the end of the twentieth century, IDF forces conducted secret operations to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1985 and in 1991. Today, in the twenty-first century, for the first time since the Hebrews wandered the deserts in the land of Caanan, one can be a Jew without believing in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This new phenomenon that has evolved is the secular Jew. From the time of the Babylonian exile to the present, there have always been more Jews in the rest of the world than in Israel. To the Jewish mind, the only responses to the pressures of maintaining a Jewish lifestyle among the rest of the world can be Rabbinic Judaism, Jewish mysticism or Jewish philosophy. It is thought that Jews may not have remained a people, but for Rabbinic Judaism. It has given them not only a foundation, but something concrete to hold onto - traditions and philosophies that have been handed down from generation to generation. But Rabbinic Judaism is full of traditions and philosophies that are not in God’s Word. Plus philosophy doesn’t leave much room for God. The exposure to non-Hebrew thought was what the Rabbis found to be objectionable about philosophy, however, it is this philosophy that has infiltrated Jewish thought almost entirely today. Every philosopher is supposedly the product of his or her own history. It is also supposedly an indicator of the nature of Jewish history that Jewish philosophers were affected in some way by events that befell each one’s Jewish communities. Today’s Jews believe it is impossible to separate Jewish philosophy and Hebrew thought from the extraordinary drama of Jewish history these past two thousand years. They also believe that it is equally impossible to understand today’s Judaism without understanding where and how it evolved during the last three hundred years. The problem with this, is that God does not evolve, and neither does His Torah. The religion of Judaism is not what God originally ordained, nor does He bless it. Judaism was created by the Rabbis who came out of the Sanhedrin, which came out of the Pharisaic sect, and Judaism is the religion of the Talmud - not the Torah. Rabbinic Judaism was never of God. Changes Many things changed within the Hebrew Way of Life that caused the Hebrews to abandon God’s Way, and create Judaism. Here is an incomplete list of those changes: •The Purity laws were brought into the Hebrew home. •Jews do not speak God’s name (YHVH; Yahweh), based on an incorrect translation, or interpretation of one particular verse; and perhaps because they believe His Name is too magical and powerful. He is called Hashem (The Name) or Adonai (Lord) instead. •Because of not speaking God’s Name, the Jews have replaced all the YHVH’s within Scripture with The Lord (and Christianity copied them). •All of God’s Feasts have been changed, and First Fruits is not even celebrated nor acknowledged (as far as I can find). •The position of Rabbi was created and pretty much took over the role of the Priest. •Debates continue today about the Torah and the things of God. •The Talmud is studied instead of the Torah. •Sanhedrin is a Hebrew word meaning assembly, as in the Great Assembly that never took place. I believe this story is an invention of the original Rabbis, and it has been passed down through the generations of the Jewish people. •The 613 commandments were not something Moshe told the Hebrews, they were invented in the third century by Rabbi Simlai. And then Maimonides included them in a book in the twelfth century. This false doctrine is still present today within Judaism. •I believe that God has already shortened our days, and that is why the Jewish calendar today is so complicated - they had to adapt the calendar so the Feasts would always fall in the right seasons. Today’s Jewish calendar is something that was not created until the 4th century (see God’s Calendar in Appendixes). God’s calendar was much simpler (see Book of Enoch1). •Because the Bar Mitsvah, the Confirmation Ceremony and the Bat Mitsvah did not happen until the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively, I believe they were not practices in Yeshua’s day, nor were they ever a part of God’s Way. And they are not in the Hebrew Scriptures. •The Rabbis gave themselves the authority to change God’s Word and Way. None of this was of God - God does not evolve - He does not change (Psalms 102:27, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8), and He commanded us to never change the Torah. God never gave anyone the authority to change His Way, nor His Word, the Torah. Yeshua does not want our opinions nor ideas, nor does He want us to debate about or discuss His Way - He wants our obedience to His Commandments in the Torah. •While the Hebrews began as a Covenant people for God, today some of them identify more with the land of Israel, or Judea to be exact, because they have been calling themselves Jews, rather than Hebrews. The word Hebrew in Hebrew is Ibriy, which means to cross over (the blood) into covenant. Others think they are a completely separate ethnic group than the rest of the twelve tribes of Israel. But they are all still Hebrews. We (Hebrews by blood and grafted-in Hebrews) are to become One in His Hand (Ezekiel 37:19). To continue to try and keep this group separate from the other tribes and the grafted-in Hebrews is rebellion against God. •The Greek debates continue on even today. No one ever dared to question God’s Way before the Greek invasion. Since there were no sects before the Greek invasion, I believe that God never intended there to be sects within His Way, and yet they are still springing up today - both in Judaism and Christianity. I believe the Hebrews went on a very similar route that Yeshua’s ex-heathen followers went - both of these groups changing, and corrupting God’s Way. These and many, many other things that evolved and eventually caused the creation of the many sects of Judaism today, but not one of these changes are in the Bible, nor were they ever a part of God’s Way. Today the Jewish people have come to believe that Judaism is to evolve and should evolve, in order for them to survive as a people. Thus it continually changes. But God never changes. God’s Way has been the same as it has for almost 6000 years. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God didn’t change His Torah, mankind did (and most of us still rebel against the Torah). Unfortunately, to this day I believe the Jews do not understand that they are still in rebellion to God, which is the reason for all their troubles. Those who still do not know Yeshua as their Messiah are still in exile - even if they now live in Israel. While the Jews were originally the only people who believed in God, they have now become just like the rest of the world. But I believe the phenomenon of the secular Jew is only a sign that Yeshua’s return is imminent. From about the third century BC until now, much has changed within the Jewish lifestyle. Once called God’s Way, this lifestyle that God gave to the Hebrews to protect them, became a religion called Judaism - which does not protect them. When Yeshua came to the earth He restored His Way to some of the Hebrews, but today the Jews of Judaism still need Him to restore back to them what they lost - the Torah. The true Cornerstone is Yeshua haMoshiach, and the Foundation is also Yeshua. Yeshua came almost two thousand years ago and although many Jews are coming to know their Messiah, Yeshua is waiting for just the right timing to pour out His Spirit on not only the Jewish remnant in Judea, but all the lost tribes of Israel. All of Israel will come to know Who their Savior and Moshiach is very soon - Yeshua!
Updated September 6, 2019
September 6, 2019––So sorry but this page got messed up, so I will have to fix it....soon!