Monday, September 23, 2013

Nathanael Bartholomew

Nathanael Bartholomew
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

If one were to list the 12 Disciples off the top of their head, it is likely that Bartholomew would either be left out and forgotten or named last, with an, “Oh yeah! I almost forgot about him!”

Scripturally, little is known about Nathanael, better known as Bartholomew.

Bartholomew’s real name was Nathanael bar Talmai (Nathanael son of Talmai) and from Bar Talmia we get Bartholomew.

Nathanael means, “God has given,” and Bar Talmai or Bartholomew means, “Son of the Plowman.”

So what do we know about this Nathanael bar Talmai (Bartholomew)? We first find his name in the book of John.

“Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” – John 1:45-51

Some believe from this narrative that Phillip and Nathanael (Bartholomew) were brothers, just as Andrew and Simeon Peter were brothers and as James and John were brothers (Matt. 10:2). If they were not brothers they were extremely close friends, like unto brothers.

“There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.” – John 21:2

This passage has caused some to conclude that this Nathanael (Bartholomew) of Cana in Galilee, though John 1:44 tells us that Philip was from Bethsaida (not to be confused with Bethesda) may have been brothers because if one were to investigate, Cana was likely their home town and Bethsaida (which means “House of Fishing”) was where Phillip moved to and was where he and Nathanael-Bartholomew were employed. The reason Bethsaida is connected with Philip is because this is where Philip introduces Nathanael-Bartholomew to Yeshua. The likely reason Cana is connected with Nathanael-Bartholomew is because many believe that He was the one who got married in John 2:1-11, where Yeshua preformed his first recorded miracle, at the wedding was in Cana.

It is believed also that Cana may refer to Nathanael-Bartholomew’s ethnicity, hinting that he was a dark skinned (black) man. Also, in John 1:47 calling him an Israelite hints that he was from a tribe other than Levi or Judah, likely Gad, or of another tribe of the handmaids.

In Acts 1:13 Nathanael-Bartholmew was there in the upper room with the rest of the disciples after Yeshua’s ascension. In John 21:2 he was at the sea side when Yeshua appeared unto the disciples.

So from the passages thus far what can we gather about this Nathanael-Bartholomew?

Well, first off, Yeshua deemed him a guileless Israelite (John 1:47), meaning he shot straight from the hip, pulled no punches and told it like it was. What you see is what you get; Nathanael-Bartholomew put up no fronts. Guile in the Greek means, “subtlety, craft or deceit.” These passages also indicate that Nathanael-Bartholomew was a devoted follower of Rabbi Yeshua the Messiah and was there at crucial Gospel events involving the Master.

Even in the Catholic prayer to Bartholomew, he is praised for his guilelessness and how this is seen as a prophetic, discerning, indicative trait.

“O Glorious St. Bartholomew, Jesus called you a person without guile and you saw in this word a sign that he was the Son of God and King of Israel. Obtain for us the grace to be ever guileless and innocent as doves. At the same time, help us to have your gift of faith to see the Divine hand in the events of daily life. May we discern the signs of the times that lead to Jesus on earth and will eventually unite us to him forever in heaven.”

This combined with the scriptures we covered above, some believe (since his occupation was not spelled out in the Gospels that) he was a Torah scholar who may have specialized in the writings of the prophets and the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.

As we have already discussed, Nathanael means, “God has given,” and Bar Talmai or Bartholomew means, “Son of the Plowman.” So all together his name means, “God has given to us the son of the plowman;” meaning (if all the above is remotely true) that Nathanael was a gift to the people from God. That likely coming from a warrior tribe (Gad) he had a disciplined warrior attitude in which he channelled by turning his warriors sword into a plowshare (Isa. 2:4, Mic. 4:3) and became gifted in plowing  and turning up the rich prophetic Word of God for the people, a soil in which they could grow and flourish! His mind was a plowshare and his tongue was a prophetic, apologetical, double edged sword in which he used while on his missionary journeys to win the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel back to God.

If Nathanael-Bartholomew was indeed a Gadite this prophetic-ness may have ran in his blood for it is believed that the Great Prophet Elijah the Tishbite of Gilead was a Gadite, for Gilead was the territory of Gad. There is also an apocryphal book called, “Gad the Seer.”

So what does post Gospel literature say about this Nathanael-Bartholomew? 

Well, there is no mention of Nathanael-Bartholomew in such literature before Eusebius, who mentions that Pantaenus, the master of Origen, while evangelizing India, was told that the Apostle had preached there before him and had given to his converts the Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew, which was still treasured by the Congregation. "India" was a name covering a very wide area, including even Arabia Felix. Other traditions represent Nathanael-Bartholomew as preaching in Mesopotamia, Ethiopia, Persia, Egypt, Armenia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, and on the shores of the Black Sea; one legend, it is interesting to note, identifies him with Nathaniel. His martyrdom is said to have occurred at Albanopolis in Armenia. Others say he was beheaded, still others maintain that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward, by order of Astyages, for having converted his brother, Polymius, King of Armenia in 71 A.D. Because of this he is usually portrayed with a knife in one hand and skin of the other arm draping down to where you can see the muscle underneath. There also exists a pseudopigraphal gospel which bears his name.

According to the Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church, his martyrdom is commemorated on the 1st day of the Coptic Calendar (1st day of the month of "Thout"), which currently falls on September 11 (corresponding to August 29 in the Gregorian Calendar). His feast is June 11 in Eastern Christianity, and August 24 in both forms of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

In the Catholic Church he is thus the patron saint of shoemakers, leather workers, bookbinders and butchers. He is the patron saint against, nervous and neurological diseases. He is also the patron saint of the places he supposedly ministered and such places as Gad ended up or settled for a short time, such as Armenia, Plezn Czech Republic, Frankfurt Germany, Maastricht Netherlands to name a few.

According to Wikipedia:

“Of the many miracles performed by Bartholomew before and after his death, two very popular ones are known by the townsfolk of the small island of Lipari.
The people of Lipari celebrated his feast day annually. The tradition of the people was to take the solid silver and gold statue from inside the Cathedral of St Bartholomew and carry it through the town. On one occasion, when taking the statue down the hill towards the town, it suddenly got very heavy and had to be set down. When the men carrying the statue regained their strength they lifted it a second time. After another few seconds, it got even heavier. They set it down and attempted once more to pick it up. They managed to lift it but had to put it down one last time. Within seconds, walls further downhill collapsed. If the statue had been able to be lifted, all the towns people would have been killed.
During World War II, the Fascist regime (German/Italian) looked for ways to finance their activities. The order was given to take the silver statue of St Bartholomew and melt it down. The statue was weighed, and it was found to be only a few grams. It was returned to its place in the Cathedral of Lipari. In reality, the statue is made from many kilograms of silver and it is considered a miracle that it was not melted down.
St Bartholomew is credited with many other miracles having to do with the weight of objects.” -

Do such legends (as most legends do) hold any grain of truth to which the pearl around it is formed?

Recall, Yeshua did not call or send out the Disciples/Apostles to Gentile nations or peoples. He made clear that His and His Disciples/Apostles focus was to be to the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.

“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” – Matt. 15:24

“…Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” – Matt. 10:6

Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) was considered the Apostle to the Gentiles (70 Nations) and confirmed that Israel should be attempted to be reached first and then the Gentile (Rom. 1:16, 2:9-10).

Why go to Lost Israel first? Because there were two Kingdoms and two Captivities. Judah, the Southern Kingdom was taken off in to Babylon and returned. Yeshua and His Disciples were apart of and constantly among them (Judah) and thus the reason Yeshua has only targeted the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.” The Northern Kingdom consisting of 10 Tribes of Israel was taken into Assyrian Captivity and has never returned, they never came back into the Land and thus the reason the Apostle were sent out to the Lost Tribes. 

If one will care to notice the 12 Tribes represent being gathered together. The 12 Apostles represents being sent out. Thus the Apostles are SENT to REGATHER the 12 Tribes.

Israel ENTERED the Land of Promise and is honored in the New Jerusalem by the 12 Gates according to their encampment around the Tabernacle in the wilderness. The word Apostle, means, “One who is sent,” and is honored by the Foundation Stones of the New Jerusalem. In order to see the layered foundation one must “go out” of the city in order to view them.

Thus being said, it seems logical Yeshua would pick 12 Apostles and assign one to each Lost Tribe!

Recall what Yeshua said regarding His Talmidim (Disciples):

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. – Matt. 19:28

That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. – Luke 22:30

12 Apostles to Rule 12 Tribes.

In James 1:1, the letter is addressed, “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad…” which would seem to indicate that the whereabouts of the 10 Tribes of Israel were known to the Apostles of the time. But can we possibly determine if a particular Apostle was sent to a particular Tribe?

Yeshua’s command to His Apostles before He ascended into heaven said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matt. 28:19-20).” Coupled with the other verses above would hint that the Apostles were to go to the nations where the Lost Tribes have settled.

If any of the Tribes whereabouts became unknown, it was prophesied that God would send out (Apostle) those to fish and hunt for them among the nations of the world.

“Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” Jer. 16:16

In my book, “The 12/70 Principle I go into great detail regarding what tribe each Disciple/Apostle was sent to and I believe the evidence points to Gad and or Naphtali. For all the places where it is said Nathanael-Bartholomew went to minister after Messiah’s ascension, was to places it is believed Gad and Naphtali ended up, for the Disciple/Apostle fit the character and make up of those Tribes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

European Mission Trip Prayer Concerns

Shalom Everyone, November is closer than we think and my European mission trip to Igbos in the diaspora is fast approaching. I wish to sincerely thank from the bottom of my hear everyone who has contributed to the trip to make it possible. Everything has gone smoothly up to this point. In all endeavors for the Adonai there is always a snag, a test of faith somewhere.  I am still approx. $1200 short and there are some snags regarding the Germany and especially the London leg of the trip. Everything is set however for Ireland. Without getting into to many unnecessary details (GOD knows), please pray that it will all work out and come together for the Germany and London leg of the trip. 

Thank you, Shalom,
R. Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr (Kris Shoemaker)

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Importance of Research and Revelation

The Importance of Research and Revelation

Rabbi Yehudah "Tochukwu" ben Shomeyr

It’s not that God can’t use evolution, for God is Omnipotent. It is simply that He didn’t. I’m not speaking of micro-evolution, or adaptation, this is clearly evident in creation. For example, how goats who lived on the savannah over time and generations have adapted their hooves to live on and traverse the mountains. I am speaking of macro-evolution, where one species literally evolves or turns into another. My image is that of God’s, not the apes. This is about as ridiculous as a frog turning in to a prince. All we see is not the result of a grand explosion, that would be like me detonating a bomb in a junk yard and fully formed and functional vehicles be the result of that explosion. I do not look at a watch on someone’s wrist and wonder, “Gee, how many billions of years did that take to evolve!?” No, I see it and due to its complexity, function and purpose I see there was a designer and I ask myself, “I wonder who made that?” Because we are so fearfully and wonderfully made (Psa. 139:14), I see the intricacy of humans, animals, the ecosystem and the solar system and think, there is exactitudes and precisions therefore there must be a Grand Designer and Maker and that could be no ne but Almighty God.

Likewise with history, I see it through the eyes of a Creator with a Master Plan who gave us certain promises and prophetic clues on how things are going to unfold. How He is ultimately behind and has orchestrated major world powers and events to its ends. With this being said, God has promised a man named Jacob who had twelve sons who became twelve tribes that they would be so numerous and uncountable as stars and grains of sand (Gen. 22:17) and yet we can identify and number the sons of Judah and Levi; which, due to Assyrian exile leaves ten sons and their descendants “lost.” They could not have just disappeared and or died out. This would make God a liar and a covenant breaker, which He is not (Gen. 17:7, Titus 1:2). The only logical conclusion is that they were dispersed throughout the world. Some knowing who they are regardless of who believes their claim and others have lost their identity and have assimilated into the lands, peoples and cultures around them. For these reasons I confidently assert that the Igbos are Hebrews. For these reasons I know the humanistic, secular researchers, scientists, anthropologists and archeologists does not know it all. For these reasons I put little stock in their work that is a result of their world view which I reject. The evidences lay equally before us both. Do they have all the answers? Do I? Equally, NO. We both still have unanswered questions and more findings generate more questions and so there is more research to be done, but I have something they lack; FAITH and REVELATION which is like the component that causes concrete to solidify. It is the ribbon which holds the bundle together. FAITH and REVELATION further backs up the Research. Research without FAITH and REVELATION is like flying a plane or driving a car on instrumentations alone, without instinct, without “feeling” the plane or car beneath them.

The Igbos, being a portion of Gad as well as other Israeli Tribes were a part of the Assyrian captivity.; vomited out from the land of Israel mostly due to their idolatry. For a time on and off throughout their history in Nigeria they ended up deifying their ancestors and worshipping and adopting pagan deities and worshipping them alongside Chukwu Abiama (The God of Abraham). So European scholars as well as Igbo scholars who have done extensive research and study on these “gods” try to discredit or make light of the clear connection between Israel and Ndi Igbo through Igbo Omenana and the Hebrew Torah; completely ignoring Biblical and religious history in favor of honing in on the paganistic idolatry of the people. That is like a blind man examining an elephant’s leg and thinking it to be some sort of strange tree trunk; failing to see the bigger picture of the huge palm leaf like ears, its twig like tail and its serpentine like trunk. That is like trying to interpret a photo by a few puzzle pieces. Who am I going to trust? The elders who despite oral history has been consistent or European outsiders looking with a Western eye or Igbo scholars who wants to win favor in Western Academia? I’m going to go with the Elders and Scriptures backed by research and evidence. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Public Revocation of a Past Ordination

Public Revocation of a Past Ordination

During the times of the Temple those of the Essene/Qumran community (which included John the Baptist also known as Yochannon the Immerser) left the Temple and moved out into the desert in protest of the corruption of the Temple by the priesthood being in bed with the Roman government.  

The Messianic and Natsari movement has become rife with an infestation of people out for themselves, hungry for power and dominance, con-artist, and less than honest people that sometimes you do not discover until after the fact.  Many of folks in the movement have been harmed and are presently maimed by encounters and dealings with such folk.  

Due to these very things I hereby renounce and voluntarily forfeit the rabbinic ordination I received in 2007 by a now defunct organization and Rabbi that will remain nameless because I do not want to participate in any LaShone Hara (gossip/slander).

I still retain the ordination I received through the organization and people of AD International.

Having publically forfeited the 2007 rabbinic ordination that I had received does not negate the valuable training I received under that organization and Rabbi, but I cannot in a clear conscious continue to have my name attached them. I am not a stickler for titles, though I realize they are important and meaningful to some. Besides, who is it that really ordains a person anyway? Man or God?


He places the call and commission upon a person even while they are in their mother’s womb.

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. – Jer. 1:5

Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Kris Shoemaker