The Halaka of Yeshua ha Mashiyach and the Set-Apart Believers
The history of the Netzarim (Nazarenes) dates to the days of Mashiyach Y’shua’s (Christians refer to Him as Jesus) ministry on earth. Y’shua was Himself called a Nasraya. Yochanan (John) 18:5, “They said to him, “Y’shua the Nasraya. Y’shua said to them, ‘I am he’.” Andrew Roth’s footnote says, “Y’shua is Mashiyach; the ‘Netzer’ of Yesha’yahu/ Isaiah 11…” On page 905 in the appendixes of the AENT Roth goes on to say, “The Netzarim designation clearly implies the ‘Tree of Life” which serves as a reminder of the Eternal Kingdom that was offered to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The term netzer (sprout or branch) is also the root word for the City of the Branch, Netzeret (Nazareth)… The designation of ‘Nasraya’ serves as a reminder for all his followers, not that he dwelled in Netzeret but that his ‘dwelling’ (the Spirit of Mashiyach) is within his people.” (see also Matt. 2:23; 26:71; Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67; Luke 4:34; Romans 11:16).
Jesus says he did not come to abolish the Torah or Nevi’im (Matthew 5.18), and that both would endure as long as the physical universe is maintained (Matthew 5.18); Revelation 1.1; 21.8 says that those who violate the Torah are punished by suffering in the hereafter.
The Gospel accounts report that this was not just lip-service, as Jesus kept Shabbat (Luke 4.16) and the Jewish Holy Days like Sukkot (John 7.2; 7.10; 7.37) and even Chanukah (John 10.22). The most well-known Jewish festival he kept was Pesach. We read proofs of this in his instructions to “keep the Passover” (Matthew 26.18), which is the equivalent of “eat the Passover” (Mark 14.14), which we are told he did (Matthew 26.21; Mark 14.18).
“Beyond the historical background of the Nazarenes, the first Jewish believers who founded the Jerusalem Church, the Messianic Seal itself proclaims to the world the pervasive Jewishness of Jesus Christ and the decidedly Jewish foundation and roots of the church founded in His name.
Netzarim Believers do not emphasize theology or doctrine as the standard of “Faith”, but righteous character and the action of true Faith. Torah observance by Faith is action demonstrating the anointing of the Ruach HaKodesh (Set Apart Spirit). If one says they have Faith, but has NO love for Torah, their Faith is vanity. YA‛AQOḆ1:22 And become doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. YA‛AQOḆ 2:18 “For a man says to you, „You and I have faith; I have deeds; Show me your faith
without deeds and I shall show you my faith by my deeds.‟”
The word “Netzarim” originates in Isaiah 11, the “netzer” or “sprout” which refers to the Kingdom of Elohim in Mashiyach.
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Netzer sprout) shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of YAHWEH shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of YAHWEH; And shall make Him of quick understanding in the Fear of YAHWEH: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 11:1-4
In 1870, an Aramaic manuscript entitled “The Gospel of the Nazirenes” was discovered, translated and published. It was hidden for centuries in a Tibetan monastery.
Some scholars have boldly declared that this legendary Gospel of the Nazirenes, later to be known as the Gospel of the Holy Twelve, is nothing less than the long-lost original Gospel which, legend holds, was collectively written by the actual 12 apostles in the period immediately following Christ’s death, and upon which all of the Biblical synoptic Gospels are based.
A specialist in researching the historical setting of the Natsarim, brother Norman Willis expresses it the best as he says:
“The Catholic Church Father Epiphanius lived and wrote in the fourth century CE, some three hundred years after the Messiah. Epiphanius was one of the key players responsible for the establishment of the official Roman Catholic Church dogma. In his doctrinal book, Against Heresies, Epiphanius wrote:The Nazarenes do not differ in any essential thing from them [meaning the Orthodox Jews], since they practice the customs and doctrines prescribed by Jewish Law; except that they believe in Christ.They believe in the resurrection of the dead, and that the universe was created by God. They preach that God is One, and that Jesus Christ is his Son….They are very learned in the Hebrew language.They read the Law [meaning the Law of Moses].Therefore they differ from the TRUE Christians because they fulfill until now Jewish rites as the circumcision, Sabbath, and others.[The Church Father Epiphanius in his doctrinal book, Against Heresies, Panarion 29, 7, Page 41, 402]Epiphanius tells us that the Nazarenes differed from what he called the True Christians. because they continued to fulfill until now such Jewish rites as the circumcision, the Sabbath, and others. Since Epiphanius lived and wrote in the fourth century, three hundred years after the Messiah, the Nazarenes and the Christians could only have been two Separate Groups at that time. The Next quotation is by a modern-day Catholic Christian professor named Marcel Simon. Marcel Simon lived and worked in twentieth Century France, and he was widely regarded as being one of the leading experts on the First Century Assembly.In his book Judeo-Christianity, Professor Simon disagreed with what Epiphanius had said regarding the Nazarenes. In an effort to correct history, the Catholic Professor Simon wrote:
They (meaning the Nazarenes) are characterized essentially by their tenacious attachment to Jewish observances. If they became heretics in the eyes of the MotherChurch , it is simply because they remained fixed on outmoded positions.[However.] They well represent (although Epiphanius is energetically refusing to admit it) the very direct descendants of that primitive community, of which our author knows that it was designated by the Jews, by the same name, of Nazarenes. [French Catholic Professor and First Century Assembly expert Marcel Simon, Judo-christianisme, pp 47-48.] Even though he was himself a practicing Roman Catholic, Marcel Simon professed that it was not the Catholic Christians, but the Nazarenes who were the very direct descendants of that primitive community, called the Nazarenes. By this, he means that the Nazarenes (and not the Catholics) are the direct spiritual descendants of the Apostles of the New Covenant.The Church father Epiphanius told us that there were two different groups, the Christians and the Nazarenes; and now Professor Simon tells us that it was the Nazarenes who descended directly from James, John, Peter, Paul, Matthew, Andrew, Phillip, and the rest. And yet, curiously, Professor Simon agrees with Epiphanius that these Nazarenes were indeed heretics, because they continued to practice the exact same worship as the Apostles had.In other words, Professor Simon says that the Nazarenes of the fourth century became heretics simply because they continued to practice the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints.” [end of quote]
WHO WERE THE “NAZARENES”? (more properly, “Natsarim”)The Natsarim (watchmen, branches) were the sect of followers of Yahushua ha Mashiach, of Natsarith (see Acts 24:5, where Shaul was termed “a ringleader” of this sect). How can a person discern whether or not another person is of Elohim or not? Very simply; if they guard Mashiach Yahushua’s Commands (Torah) – see 1 Yohanan for evidence. Which ones? The big Ten for starters. A person cannot live in darkness, being a lawbreaker openly, and claim to be a believer, loving Yahuah:
“He that has My mitzvot, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he who loves Me, shall be loved by My Abba, and I will love him, and will reveal Myself to him,” Yochanan 14:21.
“O Elohim, you are my El; early will I seek You: my being thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where no mayim is; to see Your power and Your tiferet, so as I have seen You in the Set-Apart Place. Because your loving chesed is better than chayim, my lips shall hallel you. So I will bless You while I live: I will lift up my hands to Your Name. My being shall be satisfied as with marrow and abundance; and my mouth shall hallel you with joyful lips: When I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches,” Tehillim 63:1-7. Selah.
God The Father, His Son The Lord Yah Yeshua The Messiah and The Blessed Spirit of Holiness, One God, Blessed to the eternity of eternities. Amen.
Alaha Ava, Brah MarYah Yeshua Meshiakha, w‟Rookha d‟Qoodsha Breeka, Khath Alaha, Breek lalam almeen. Ameen