Monday, January 7, 2019

Get Back to the First Century: Who is Yeshua?

Who is Yeshua the Messiah?

What is Jesus’ Real Name?

Don’t get me wrong, when someone says, “Jesus” I know who they are talking about.  But it is as if someone came up to me and said, “You know who Former President Bush is? He’s that Hip-Hop, East coast, rapp’n, gangsta, thug, who was the leader of the Free World.”  I know who they are talking about, but I also know that is not who Former President Bush really is.  Somewhere, somehow, that person got the wrong idea or impression about Former President Bush.  It is the same with Yeshua Ha Moshiach (the Messiah). I know when people say, “Jesus Christ,” I know who they are referring to, but the picture most Catholics and Christians paint in describing Him, is not who He really is!  The “traditional” paintings of “Jesus” we see today look like Kenny Loggins!  As far as His Name is concerned, I prefer to say Yeshua, because “Jesus” is not even a real name.  “Jesus” is NOT His Name.  “Jesus” is a Greek grammatical, syntaxual transliteration of Yeshua.  In the Greek translation of Scripture Yeshua in Hebrew becomes Iesous (Jesus). In the Septuagint, the Greek Translation of the Tanak (Old Testament), the Book of Joshua is called the book of Iesous by the Jewish translators themselves. My question is, why then do we not call Joshua of the Tanak Jesus, too? Or, vice versa, why do we not call Jesus the Messiah, Joshua the Messiah? Better yet? Why do we not call both by their Hebrew name anyway, Yeshua!? The Name Jesus tends to leaves a very bad taste in Jewish mouths, so I say, Yeshua. Yeshua Himself said, “I am come in My Father’s Name (Jn.5:45). And, we know through the Psalms that “Yah” is the first half of the divine name of God, though we do not know for sure how to pronounce the last half.  Hence, in reference to the Messiah, some say it is “YAH-shua”, and some say “Yeshua”.

“Dr. Daniel Botkin writes that the name Yahshua didn’t come onto the scene until 1936 and by people that didn’t really know Hebrew. Dr. Ben-Gigi says, ‘there is no such name in Hebrew’ and that people invented ‘the name Yahshua to fit their theology.’”--

One of the big mysteries in Christianity and Messianic/Natsari Judaism is the alleged cover up of Yeshua the Messiah’s Hebrew Name. There are a lot of religious conspiracy theorists out there who claim this. I used to believe it too because of all the Anti-Semitic and Anti-Nomian garbage that has made its way into the English versions of the Brit Chadasha (New Testament).

We know that the Messiah’s Name, “Yeshua” is shortened form of the Hebrew, “Yehoshuah (Joshua)” but why in the Greek Septuagint they used “Joshua” but for the Greek New Testament they call, Yeshua/Joshua; Jesus!?

I am by no means fluent in Koine Greek or Hebrew. Heck, I’m not the greatest of my mother tongue, English! But I have taken Koine Greek and Biblical Hebrew in College and I am increasing my knowledge and proficiency in the languages one day at a time and I discovered how they got Jesus out of Yeshua.

Since Yeshua means,“Yah’s Salvation.” I used to say, “Why not make the Greek name of Messiah, “Theo-Sotar” (which is Greek for “God’s Salvation”) to symbolize Yeshua’s Name in the Greek? But, I believe I have discovered why the translators did what they did, and it wasn’t to hide the Hebrew Name of Messiah, nor was it to secretly link Messiah to Zeus as I have heard and read by many Hebrew Roots believing circles. On the contrary, it was, I believe to distinguish Messiah’s Name from other Joshua’s.

My thoughts are confirmed by the author of this website:

“The reason that the interpreters made the mistake is because the Greek translation of Jesus and Joshua are exactly the same. The same translation is used in the Septuagint (for the name of Joshua) as in the Greek scriptures of the New Testament. I'm just guessing that somewhere along the line, someone thought that the Lord's name should be distinguishable from the other "Joshua’s" in the Bible (because there are others). I'm just guessing on that one. I also guess that Anglo Saxons, fresh from defeat at the Crusades, were willing to give the Lord a more Englishly pleasing name than, Yeshua (I'm using the more modern name and the one recognized worldwide as our Lord's true name in Hebrew), which had (and has) a Middle Eastern sound to it.” --  

In the Septuagint the translators transliterated the Hebrew name Yehoshuah to sound as close to the Hebrew as possible in the Greek and thus we get in the English; Joshua. Now, not to confuse the Old Testament Joshua with the Messiah or any other Joshua for that matter the translators translated Yehoshuah into Greek. They took the Hebrew Yud and made it a Greek Iota. The Shin became a Sigma and the Vav became an Omicron-Upsilon and it is necessary for a final sigma to be placed at the end of the word to distinguish that the name is masculine. Greek grammar rules require that the Hebrew Ayin, the “ah” sound be dropped and BAMB! Yeshua becomes Jesus in  English.

“Dr. Daniel Botkin pinpoints the interchangeableness of the names Joshua and Jesus noting that Neh. 8:17 has Yeshua (Jesus) for Yehoshua (Joshua). Joshua’s name in Greek is (also) Yeasous and is seen in the Septuagint (Josh. 1:12; 2:11; 3:1; 4:4, etc.) which predates the Messiah’s birth by more than 200 years. Botkin also says that this too is proof that ‘Yesous has no connection to Zeus’ for the Jewish Sages who wrote the Septuagint would have been well aware of the pagan god by that name and wouldn’t have used those Greek letters to form Joshua’s name with it if they thought there was a connection to it or to ‘Hail Zeus!’ as some infer.”--

I use Messiah’s Hebrew Name, Yeshua Ha Moshiach. But even though the issue of Yeshua to Jesus has caused a lot of confusion in religious circles today, I pray that a little knowledge of the languages involved can show how Yeshua became Jesus.

Yeshua, Jesus’ REAL Hebrew Name that his Mommy (Mary) and Daddy (Joseph) called Him by, means “Yah’s salvation.” “Jesus” is in essence a made up name. Yeshua’s English equivalent is Joshua.  Even in the Septuagint (Greek version of the Tanak) the book of Joshua is called, “Jesus”. In addition, “Christ” is not His last name.  “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of the term “Messiah” which means, “Anointed”. 

As it turns out in the Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts from which the HRV (Hebrew Roots Version) is translated, two versions of Messiah’s name are used, and that is Yeshua and Yahushua.

“Yeshu – This is a very controversial and somewhat
misunderstood word. The Hebrew name Yeshua is pronounced in
Aramaic as "Yeshu" or "Ishu" (depending on the Aramaic
dialect). In Aramaic this final AYIN is silent. Now if one wanted to
transliterate the Aramaic pronunciation of "Yeshua" into Hebrew
letters in a Hebrew document then one would do so by dropping the AYIN. The original followers of Yeshua may have seen in these three
letters an acronym taken from the first letters of a series of words of
a Messianic prophecy in Gen. 49:10. Perhaps in reaction to this
Rabbinic Judaism created its own acronym from the same letters spelling a Hebrew phrase meaning "may the name be blotted out forever." Unfortunately this derogatory acronym has largely been mistaken as the origin of "Yeshu" rather than the more obvious fact that "Yeshu" is the Aramaic pronunciation of Yeshua.

Yahushua (KJV "Joshua") (Strong's # 3091) – This
is the name for Messiah which appears in the Munster Hebrew text of
Hebrews and in at least some places in the manuscript which served as
the source for Munster's Hebrew text of Matthew. This is the same
name as that of "Joshua" of the book of "Joshua" in the
Tanak. The Masoretic Text transliterates all names which begin with the "tri-gammaton" (first three letters of the Sacred name) as
"Yeho-" but all names which end in the tri-grammaton as
"-yahu". This is because the Masorites transplanted the vowels
from the Hebrew word ELOAH ("God") into the name YHWH forming
the word YeHoWaH. These same Masorites transplanted these same vowels into names that started with the tri-grammaton while (for whatever reason) neglecting to make this revision to names that ended in the tri-grammaton. In the HRV we have restored "Yahu-" to the
beginning of these words rather than the Masoretic "Yeho-".
-- “Yeshua or Yahushua,” Rabbi James Scott Trimm

I would like to quote extensively from a booklet by Rabbi Daniel Harris and comment here and there regarding his work about the Jewish Messiah:

The Jewish Messiah

“For too long now has the true identity of the Messiah been concealed. For centuries, He has been grossly misrepresented as a white, European “Christ,” who came to deliver man from the “bondage and burden of the old law” (i.e. the Torah) and to start a new religion called, “Christianity.”  As modern day Netzarim (“Nazarenes”-Acts 24:5), it is our intention to represent a more authentic and biblically accurate portrayal of the One Who upheld the Law of God, fully identified Himself as an orthodox Jew and zealously practiced first century Judaism, Yeshua HaMashiach, Yeshua the Messiah.

If you could go back in time and see how He looked, how He dressed and how He practiced His religion, you would see a Jewish man with Semitic features, who had a full beard (Isaiah 50:6) and wore a kippah on His head at all times (Leviticus 10:6; 21:10. Ezekiel 24:23).  He would have dressed modestly and fringes would be attached to the four corners of His garment in accordance with the Torah and Jewish tradition (Numbers 15:37-41).  He spoke the Aramaic and Hebrew language (not Greek as most “New Testament” translations are based on).  He ate a strictly kosher diet (Leviticus 11) and regularly attended synagogue services.  He kept the biblical seventh day Sabbath (Exodus 20:8) and led a Jewishly Torah observant life in general.

How is it then that the main religion in America which claims to follow His ways and promote His Message, bears no resemblance whatsoever to the religion which the Messiah Himself practiced and taught?  If it was good enough for Him, isn’t it good enough for us?  If He observed the seventh day Sabbath, why then is the first day of the week observed?  If He upheld the Torah, why then is it taught that He came to do away with it?

Isn’t it time to unbiasly re-analyze the life, religion and practice of the historical Yeshua HaNetzri (Yeshua the Nazarene, Matthew 2:23)? 


Yeshua was born into the tribe of Y’hudah (Judah), one of the twelve Jewish tribes of Israel. Matthew 1:2, “Avraham (Abraham) begat Yitzchak (Isaac), Yitzchak begat Ya’akov (Jacob), Ya’akov begat Y’hudah (Judah) and his brothers.”  Hebrews 7:14, “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Y’hudah….”  Revelation 5:5, “Behold, the Lion, from the tribe of Y’hudah, the root of David….”


His Jewish parents gave Him a Jewish Name, “Yeshua.”  Matthew 1:21, “And behold, she will bear a Son and you will call His Name, ‘Yeshua;’ for He will save His people from all their sins.”  Jesus” is the anglicized pronunciation of the Greek name, “Iasous.” There is no “J” pronunciation in Hebrew.  His parents, His tal’midim (disciples) and we today call Him by His given Name, “Yeshua.


Yeshua underwent B’rit Milah (circumcision) eight days after His birth as prescribed by the Torah. Genesis 17:10-12, “This is My Covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your seed after you; Every man child among you shall be circumcised….And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised.”  Luke 2:21, “And when eight days had passed so that the boy could be circumcised, His Name was called ‘Yeshua’…” 
It is a Jewish tradition to publicly announce a Jewish boy’s Hebrew name at his B’rit.”—The Jewish Messiah, Rabbi Daniel G. Harris


The life of Messiah from the “manger” to the start of his public ministry at the wedding at Canaan where he performed His first recorded miracle, turning the water into wine, is a mysterious one. The silence of Canonical Scripture has spawned many legends and Apocryphal documents, most of which were written not by Natsari Jews, but Gentile Roman-esk, anti-Torah, Constantinian “Christians” and it clearly shows in their writings. Much of what they say contradicts the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) itself, such as young Jesus getting even with the neighborhood boys by turning them into things, making clay animals come to life, etc. (The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ: XV, XVII). However, there are some clues into Yeshua’s life from the manger to the wedding as recorded in what is called the Archko Volume, which are the writings of the Sanhedrin and the Talmud. Some of these documents are interviews and investigations commanded by the Sanhedrin to find out more about who this Yeshua of Nazareth was. The Shepherds who were the first to receive the proclamation of Messiah’s birth were interviewed; Mary and Joseph were interviewed by the famous Gamaliel, the teacher of Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul). These are very intriguing documents. Although I read these documents with some trepidation, as more than likely, they have been altered from the original to attempt to shed an unfavorable view of Yeshua and his family in an attempt to discredit Him as any sort of Messiah.

Many wonder about Yeshua’s education, as most all Jewish boys went to a Yeshiva or had a personal tutor in the ways of Torah. All we see of Yeshua’s childhood is when during Pesach (Passover) he ditches his parents and is found in the Temple in a weighty conversation regarding the Torah with the Rabbis and Scribes. This occurred when he was 12 years of age.

Luke 2:41-52
41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
 43And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
 44But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
 45And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
 46And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
 47And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
 48And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
 49And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
 50And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
 51And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
 52And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
This is considered Yeshua’s Bar Mitzvah, before Bar Mitzvahs, as we know it today, were invented. Rabbi Jeffery Salkin said:

“None of the great Jews of antiquity – Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Rabbi Akiva – had Bar Mitzvah ceremonies. As a status, Bar Mitzvah comes into the Jewish world in the second century of the Common Era.”

According to Gamaliel’s interview with Mary and Joseph regarding Yeshua’s education said,

“His parents told me of an old man who lived on the road to Bethany who had once been a priest, a man of great learning, and well skilled in the laws and prophets, and Jesus was often there with him reading the law (Torah) and the prophets together; that his name was Massalian…” –The Archko Volume pg.87

Massalian is recorded as saying of Yeshua’s character:

“…He was a young man of the finest thought and feeling he ever saw in his life; that he was the most apt in his answers and solutions of difficult problems of any man of his age he had ever seen; that his answers seem to give more universal satisfaction – so much so that the oldest philosopher would not dispute with him, or in any manner join issue with him, or ask a second time” – The Archko Volume pg. 87

Regarding Yeshua’s teaching, Massalian said:

“His mother said that he had always known how to read the law (Torah); that his mind seemed to master it from the beginning; and into the laws of nature and the relation of man to his fellow in his teachings of talks, he gives deeper insight, inspiring mutual love and strengthening the common trust of society.” – The Archko Volume pg. 87-88

“Through Jesus, in his teachings or talks (his words sound so much like the teachings of Hillel or Shammai that I must call it teaching, though he has no special scholars),” - The Archko Volume pg.89

This backs up the fact that Yeshua was skilled and proficient in the two major schools of thought in His day, the school of Hillel, which he sided more with, and the school of Shammai; and this shows in the records of the Brit Chadashah (New Testament). It may be of interest to know that the school of Hillel though conservative, was actually considered liberal in comparison with the school of Shammai which was considered very conservative.

Further in the document it says:

“Massalian is a man of very deep thought and profound judgment. All his life he has made the Scripture his study. He, too, is a good judge of human nature, and is satisfied that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Christ (Messiah). He said that Jesus seemed to understand the prophecy by intuition.”

I don’t think we can know for absolute certainty if these testimonies are absolutely true, but they are fascinating to contemplate, nonetheless, and as always, I weigh what is said against the Torah and the documents of the Brit Chadashah.  If what is found in extra-biblical sources backs up what is in the “Canonical Scriptures,” I tend to accept what is said therein. 

“Yeshua was taught at an early age to observe the Jewish holidays, to be zealous in attending the Temple and synagogue services and learning the Torah. Luke 2:40-42, 46, 47, “And the child grew and became strong in spirit and was filled with wisdom and the favor of Eloah (God) was upon Him.  And His people, during every year went to Yerushalaiyim (Jerusalem) for the celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, of Pesach (Passover).  And when He was twelve years old, they went up as they were accustomed for the celebration.  And after three days, they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers.  And He was listening to them and questioning them.  And all those who heard Him were amazed at His Wisdom and His answers.” 
*Where are the hearts of our twelve year olds today?*

It is interesting to note that Yeshua received His Torah education from Jewish rabbis, just as Rav Shaul did (i.e. “Apostle Paul” ~ Acts 22:3).


Yeshua began His ministry by preaching the Jewish concept of Mik’vat Teshuvah (Immersion of Repentance), which was an already well known Jewish doctrine.  Exodus 29:4, “And Aharon and his sons you shall bring to the door of the Tent of Meeting and shall immerse them in water.”  Luke 3:3, “And He came into the entire region that was around the Yarden (Jordan), proclaiming the Immersion of Repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

Many of Yeshua’s parables and teachings were not His own, but were direct quotes or paraphrases from the Torah and His rabbinic contemporaries. A parable from Midrash Shir HaShirim:  “Once upon a time, there was a king who had a desire to plant a beautiful garden.  He instructed his servants to procure the finest seed, to till the land and prepare it for planting.  After the planting was done, the king entrusted the garden to a tenant to watch over the land and to care for the newly budding flowers.  Sometime later, the king returned to inspect his garden.  Much to his dismay, he found it completely overgrown with thorns and thistles. He immediately ordered everything to be destroyed.

It was then that he noticed, intertwined among the thorns and thistles, one very beautiful and solitary rose.  From the very center of its petals, came the sweetest fragrance.  He inhaled its scent and its fragrance was so lovely that his anger subsided and his good mood returned.  Yet so intertwined was the rose amongst the thorns, that even if one thorny bush was touched, the rose would surely perish.  ‘For the sake of the rose,’ he declared,’ let the whole garden be spared.’”

Now see how astonishingly similar this parable is to Yeshua’s in Matthew 13:24-30, “Yet another parable put He forth to them, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is comparable to a man which sowed good seed in his field.  But while men slept, his enemy came in and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.  But when the blade grew up, and produced the fruit, then appeared there the tares also. So the servants of the householder came near and said to him, ‘My master, did you not sow good seed in your field?  From where then came the tares into it?  And he said to them, ‘A man that is an enemy has done this.’  Then the servants said to him, ‘Will you that we go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest and at harvest time I will say to the reapers, Gather first the tares and bind them in bundles for burning but gather the wheat into the floor.”  It only stands to reason that Yeshua’s Jewish education which He received from His rabbinic teachers would often be reflected in His own ministry.


Yeshua did not go to “church” or “Sun-Day School.”  He was a regular and faithful member of the synagogue.  He was especially careful to attend synagogue services on the Sabbath day (i.e. the 7th day Sabbath, Saturday). 

A popular misconception is that a synagogue is a “Jewish church.”  However, this is far from the case.  The differences between the church and the synagogue are substantial.  Yeshua attended the same synagogues that the P’rushim (Pharisees) attended and He was not even the rabbi there.  He actually sat under a rabbi!  What an example for us!  Luke 2:46, “And after three days, they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers.  And He was listening to them and questioning them.”

Matthew 12:9, “And when He had passed over from there, He entered into their synagogue.”  Matthew 13:54, “And when He had come into His native land, He taught them in their synagogues.…”  Mark 1:21, “And when they entered K’far-Nachum, immediately He was teaching on the Sabbath in their synagogues.”  Mark 3:1, “And Yeshua again entered into the synagogue.…”  Mark 6:2, “And when the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue….”  Luke 4:16, “And He came to Natzeret where He had been raised.  And He entered the synagogue as He was accustomed, on the day of the Sabbath.  John 6:59, “These things He said in the synagogue while teaching in     K’far-Nachum (Capurnaum).”  John 18:20, “I spoke in the open with the people and I always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple….”

It is quite apparent to those who are familiar with synagogue norms  that not only was Yeshua a member of the synagogue, He also held esteemed positions within the synagogue; otherwise, He would not have been allowed to teach in them as frequently as He did nor read from the Holy Scrolls.  In Luke 4:17-20, we see Yeshua publicly reading from the Bimah (“pulpit”), the  Haf’tarah (prophetical readings) in the Jewish tradition:  “And the scroll of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) the prophet was given to Him and He stood up to read and Yeshua opened the scroll and found the place where it was Written: ‘The Spirit of Adonai is upon Me, and because of this, He has anointed Me to proclaim to the poor and has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to proclaim to the captives forgiveness, and to the blind, sight and to send away the brokenhearted with forgiveness, and to proclaim the Acceptable Year of Adonai.’  And He rolled up the scroll and gave it to the shammash (servant) and went and sat down.  And all those in the synagogue had their eyes fixed on Him.”

In Acts chapter 15, the Zik’ney Netzarim (i.e. Elders of the Nazarenes) pass a halachah,  a ruling, that the gentiles who have just converted to Nazarene Judaism should start their new walk by “abstaining from things sacrificed to idols; from fornication; from eating animals that were strangled to death and not to eat blood.” Ya’akov, James, then goes on to basically say that the gentiles can learn the rest of the Torah when they go to the synagogue every Sabbath day.  Acts 15:21: “For Moses [“the Law”] has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”


It is commonly taught and believed that Yeshua was adamantly anti-Pharisaical.  While it is true that some persecuted our Messiah and His followers and were hypocritical and legalistic, these certainly do not constitute the whole.  The P’rushim in general was God fearing men, who sought earnestly to teach people the Word of God and to lead them to a life of kedushah, holiness.

Dr. Philip Birnbaum, in his book, A Book Of Jewish Concepts, says of the P’rushim:  “The true Pharisees insisted on inwardness and sincere intent (kavannah) and despised all hypocrites and charlatans, not to be admitted in the Presence of God.  Hence, it has been concluded that of all the strange ironies of history, perhaps the strangest is that the word ‘Pharisee’ is current as a word of reproach.”  Both Yeshua and Rav Shaul (Apostle Paul) received their Torah education, teaching and preaching styles from their Pharisaic rabbis.

Abba Eban, who served as Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the United States, Minister of Education and Culture and Deputy Prime Minister, has this to say about Yeshua in his book, My People-The Story of the Jews,  “Yeshua was a Pharisaic Jew.  He lived among the common people of Galilee and was the spokesman of their ideas.  Galilee was the stronghold of a robust Jewish patriotism, which found resonance in the teachings of Yeshua insofar as they conformed with those of the ancient prophets.  He never considered Himself a universal prophet outside the Jewish context.  It cannot even be said that He was indifferent to the external forms of religion.  He meticulously kept Jewish laws, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Passover, ate unleavened bread and uttered a blessing when He drank ‘wine.’  He was a Jew in word and deed.

Yeshua articulated the ideas and manners of the masses.  Even His attacks on the hypocritical leaders were not unprecedented.  He Himself declared in the Sermon on the Mount that He ‘had not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it.’  Nourished by the ideas of Pharisaic Judaism, He stressed the Messianic hope, predicting its fulfillment in His own time.”

Aside from the numerous scriptures which detail the many negative traits of some of the P‘rushim, there are also scriptures which shed a more positive light on them.  In Luke 7:36-50, Yeshua was not the least bit apprehensive to visit with a Parush (Pharisee) at his house and dine with him.  In verse 40, Shimon the Parush even acknowledges Him as Rabbi, which means, “my teacher.”  Yeshua admonished the people and even His own tal’midim (disciples) to follow and obey the teachings of the P’rushim (but not to be hypocritical and legalistic about it).  Matthew 23:3, “And all that they (the P’rushim) say to you, observe and do [that’s a command!].  But do not you according to their works, for they say but do not.”

Yeshua actually had a following of P’rushim who believed in Him.  Their leader, Rabbi Nak’dimon (Nicodemas) referred affectionately to Yeshua as “Rabbi.”  John 3:1,2 “Now, there was there one man from the P’rushim.  His name was Nak’dimon, a ruler of the Judeans.  This man came to Yeshua at night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you have been sent from Eloah (God) as a teacher, for no man is able to do these signs that you do but He with whom Eloah is.  Acts 15:5 mentions a group of P’rushim who believed in Yeshua as the Messiah: “But there rose up certain of the sect of the P’rushim which believed….”

Rav Shaul (“Apostle Paul”) boasted in the fact that he was “taught the perfect manner of the Torah at the feet of the great Rabbi Gamaliel.”  He then proceeds to proudly proclaim that he IS a Parush (Pharisee).  Acts 22:3, “I am a Jewish man and I was born in Tarsus of Cilicia but I was educated in this city at the feet of [rabbi] Gamaliel and was instructed perfectly in the Torah of our fathers.”  Acts 23:6, “I am a Parush (Pharisee), the son of P’rushim!”  If being a Parush was such a terrible thing as some teach, why then didn’t Shaul cease from being one upon his acceptance of Yeshua?  Yet we see him speaking in present tense that he IS a Pharisee. Had Yeshua been so adamantly anti-Pharisaical, Rav Shaul would not have been so verboice in his proclamation.”
The Jewish Messiah, Rabbi Daniel G. Harris

Growing up in a Christian home and going to church most all of my life, one thing that was pounded into my head was the so-called “fact” that the Pharisees were conceited, haughty, holier-than-thou, selfishly evil men who invented the bondage of legalism and wanted Jesus killed. They were the “Bad Guys” and we should not desire to be like them in any way, shape or form. Even in Hollywood movies about Jesus, the Pharisees were always the arrogant, snotty, hateful ones who always wore a scowl on their faces.

However, I have come to the conclusion that the Pharisees were not the bad guys, and if it were not for them and their influence, Christianity and Judaism would not exist today.

Many misinformed Messianic Jews today foolishly believe that the 1st Century Messianic movement sprang from the Karite movement. The Karites are a sect of Jews who do not adhere to the Talmud (Oral Torah) but only to the Written Torah of Moses. However, the Karites did not exist then. The Essenes were similar in their beliefs to the modern day Karites but they were isolationist and too small of a sect to have any sort of influence upon Judaism as a whole, let alone the 1st century Nazarene Jewish movement.

In Yeshua’s day, there were two major sects of Judaism, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees pretty much ruled the Temple precinct and their form of Judaism were tied up in the Temple itself. Therefore, when the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E. their sect slowly died off. The Pharisees persisted to exist, and they were the forefathers of the modern orthodox Jewish movement today. The Pharisees lived their lives as if they were serving in the Temple, making every day mundane activities holy and sacred. They produced Yeshivot (schools) and Synagogues modeled after the example of Ezra, when Judah returned from exile. The home and the synagogue was the focus of activities in their form of Judaism. The Temple was important too, but their form of Judaism could exist on its own without a Temple and so it has even until this day. 

We see Yeshua interacting very little with the Sadducees. He mostly dealt with the Pharisees, because this was the sect in which He grew up, and in all their interaction, discussions and debates, the issues mostly revolved around Talmudic type issues, issues of custom, tradition and the hallakot (the customary way of performing the commandments of Torah) established by the Rabbis, not clear cut unarguable issues of Torah. And, it makes sense that one’s main opponents would be from one’s own sect. Why would the Sadducees care if Yeshua and His Talmidim ate grain from a field on Shabbat without washing their hands? This takes place in Matt.15:3-7 and was regarding Mishna Nedarim 64, regarding how by some of their man- made traditions they make null and void the Torah itself, which wasn’t penned until after the time of Yeshua but was taught and a well-known teaching in the time of Yeshua. Things they argued about would be comparable to two Christian pastors who believe in baptism by immersion arguing over the proper way to baptize a person, whether they dunk once or three times, and what formulated prayer or speech you say when performing the baptism.

There were two schools of Jewish though in the Pharisaical movement, the school of Hillel and the School of Shammai. Most of the time (except on the issue of divorce and certain customs) Yeshua sided with the school of Hillel, which may surprise one to learn it was considered the more liberal school of that day because they were accommodating to a degree when a commoner wanted to study Torah and turn to Judaism. Shammai was more harsh and intolerant of the common Jew or Gentile. They were more rigid in their religious observances as opposed to the House of Hillel, which was more flexible.

It was to the Pharisees He said that they do not need a Physician, for they were not sick, they were well because they followed and kept the Torah (Matt. 9, Mark 2). Yeshua said he was there for the common Jew who did not keep Torah, partially because of the man-made, imposed rules the Pharisees added to the simple commands of Torah.

Christianity’s greatest missionary hero and spokesperson, Paul, never gave up his Pharisaical Judaism when he accepted that Yeshua was indeed the Messiah (Phil. 3:5, Rom. 11:1, Acts 23:6, Gal. 1:13-14, Acts 28:17).

The major issue Yeshua had against the Pharisees is one He would have against most Christians of today, putting their denominational and man- made doctrinal traditions ahead of the Torah itself. He also took up issue with heartless devotion and performance of the Torah, not the Torah itself. And I think we can agree that all of us deal with mechanically living out our faith at one time or another in our lives. Therefore, in reality there were only a handful of conceited, haughty, holier-than-thou, selfishly evil Pharisaical men as seen in the story of the pious Pharisee and the sinner (Luke 18). Yeshua was strict upon Himself and His Talmidim (Disciples), but liberal with the commoner, who in essence, did not know better. This is how He won the love of the masses. He was unlike any other Pharisaical Rabbi at that time.

Yeshua did not start a new religion or a new sect in that of major opposition to the Pharisaical movement in which He was raised. However because of the people’s belief in His claim to be Messiah, a new Jewish sect was formed, called the Natsarim/Nazarenes. However, until the Bar Kochba revolt, they lived, fellowshipped, worked and worshipped side by side in synagogues and the Temple without major opposition. This is because they were in agreement with most of the traditions, customs and the teachings of the Pharisees.


Many of the aforementioned facts already conclude that Yeshua was obviously a traditional, practicing Jew.  The following however, are a few more facts to further authenticate His identification as such.

He observed the Jewish holiday of Channukah: John 10:22, 23, “And it was at Yerushalaiyim (Jerusalem), the Feast of the Dedication (i.e. Channukah) and it was winter.  And Yeshua walked in the Temple in Solomon’s Porch.”  Dedication” in Hebrew is “Channukah.

As is commanded by the Torah (Deuteronomy 16:16), Yeshua went to Yerushalaiyim (Jerusalem) to observe the Jewish holidays.  In Matthew 26, we see Him keeping the festival of Peysach (Passover) which is where Christianity derives the “Communion.” Matthew 26:18, “And Yeshua said… ‘I will celebrate the Passover with My tal’midim (disciples).’”   

He also observed the festival of Sukkot (“Tabernacles” – Leviticus 23:33-44).  John 7:10, 37,  “And after His brothers had gone up to the Feast (of Sukkot), then He also went up…And on the Great Day, which is the last of the Feast (of Sukkot), Yeshua stood and cried out and said, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.’”  At this moment, the Kohen (Priest) was pouring out a water oblation to God thanking Him for the life giving waters.

As a regular and faithful member of the synagogue, Yeshua was very familiar with and practiced Jewish liturgy in the synagogue services.  In Luke 4:17, Yeshua is filling the role of “Maf’tir,” which is the official reader of the Haf’tarah, the prophetical portions of the scriptures.  Luke 4:17, “And the scroll of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) the prophet was given to Him and He stood up to read and Yeshua opened the scroll….”   The role of Maf’tir still exists to this day in synagogues …

There are two basic t’filot, prayers, which are essential to the liturgy of the synagogue service.  They are, the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) and the Amidah prayer.  The Shema declares the Oneness of God and the Amidah offers praise, thanksgiving and benedictions of petition.  Yeshua actually quotes the Shema in Mark 12:29-30, “Yeshua said… ‘The foremost of all the commandments is: ‘Hear O Yis’raeyl (Israel), Adonai our God, Adonai is One.  And you should love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with your entire mind and with all your might.  This is the most important commandment.’”  When asked by the scribe, ‘Which is the Greatest Commandment?,’ Yeshua answered by quoting an “Old Testament” passage, the Shema.

The content of the Amidah prayer has gone through many modifications over the centuries but was very much an established part of synagogue liturgy in Yeshua’s time.  He most definitely would have prayed this prayer in the synagogues He attended.

The Amidah is called the Standing Prayer, for as the name implies, one stands during its recitation.  Yeshua makes a positive reference to this prayer in Mark 11:25, “And when you Stand to Pray, forgive anything that you have against any man, that your Father Who is in Heaven may also forgive you of your transgressions.”  It is interesting how Yeshua’s admonition of forgiveness directly coincides with the Forgiveness section of the Amidah prayer which says, “Forgive us our Father, for we have erred; pardon us our King, for we have willfully sinned; for you are the Good and Forgiving God.  Blessed are You Adonai, the Gracious One Who pardons abundantly.”

Yeshua dressed just like any other Torah observant Jewish man in His day.  He would have dressed modestly and had a full beard and decent haircut in accordance with the Torah.  Contrary to the classic, but very inaccurate, Leonardo de Vinci styled portrayals of the “Messiah,” Yeshua did not have long hair.  Ezekiel 44:20, “Nor shall they shave their heads nor allow their locks to grow long.”  1 Corinthians 11:14, “Does not even nature teach you that it is a shame for a man when his hair grows long?”  Leviticus 21:5, “…Neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard….”  Isaiah 50:6, “I gave My back to the smiters and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair.”

He also would have been easily identified as a Torah observant Jew by the tzitziot, the fringes, which were attached to the four corners of His garment, known as the tallit.  This is based on Numbers 15:37-41, “And Adonai spoke to Mosheh, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Yis’raeyl and bid them to make fringes in the four corners of their garments throughout their generations and that they put upon the fringe of each corner a thread of blue: and it shall be to you a fringe that you may look upon it and remember all the Commandments of Adonai and do them….”  It is this fringe which the woman with the issue of blood reached to touch out of faith for her healing in Matthew 9:20, “And behold, a woman which had an issue of blood twelve years, approached behind Him and touched the tzitzit of His garment….”


Contrary to the belief that Yeshua came to abolish or replace “the Law,” He emphasized to the people not to even think of such a thing!  He came rather to fulfill the Law and to teach it to men.  Matthew 5:17-19, “Think not that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill.  Truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one yod (the smallest Hebrew letter) or one hook (a decorative flourish on the letters) will pass away from the Torah, until they all be fulfilled.”  In Matthew 19:6, a man approached Yeshua and asked, “Rabbi, what good thing must I do to have Eternal Life?” Yeshua answered, “Keep the Commandments!

In Luke 16:19-31, Yeshua gives over the parable of the rich man and El’azar (Lazarus) the beggar.  When the rich man cries out from She’ol (“Hell”) that his brothers be forewarned, Abraham answers, “‘They have Mosheh and the Prophets (i.e. the Torah); let them hear THEM.’  The rich man replied, ‘No father Abraham, but if one went to them from the dead, they would repent!’ Abraham answered, ‘If they won’t hear Moses and the Prophets (the Torah), they won’t even listen to One Who Rose from the Dead!’” 

Many think of the so-called “Old Testament” as the old, dead, dry law which was eventually replaced by the so-called “New Testament.”  However, taking a closer look at the power behind the supposed old, dead, dry scriptures as Yeshua used them against HaSatan (i.e. Satan) reveals the fallacy of this view.  Whenever Yeshua says, “It is Written,”  He is quoting the TeNaCh, that is, the so-called “Old Testament;” He is not using His own words as some believe.  He actually relied on the Torah as His ammunition against HaSatan!  Matthew 4:3-4, “And the Tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of Elohim (God), say that these stones be made bread.’  And Yeshua answered and said, ‘It is Written, For not by bread alone will man live, but by everything that proceeds from the mouth of Adonai will man live.’”  Here, He is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “...Man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the Mouth of Adonai does man live.”

Matthew 4:7, “And Yeshua answered him (HaSatan) and said, ‘It is also Written, You shall not tempt Adonai your Elohim (God).’”  He is quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, “Do not tempt Adonai your God.”  Matthew 4:10,  “…Then Yeshua said, ‘It is Written, Adonai your Elohim (G-d) you shall worship and Him Alone you shall serve.”  Once again, He is using a direct quote from Deuteronomy 6:13, “You shall fear Adonai  your God and serve Him.”  Now look at the power and result which these “Old Testament” words had as Yeshua quoted them to HaSatan.  Matthew 4:11, “Then HaSatan LEFT Him!” – The Jewish Messiah, Rabbi Daniel G. Harris

Allow me to let a Nazarene Rabbi I once knew weigh in on this issue of the Jewishness and Torah Observance of Messiah.

“WARNING, if you don't want to be offended don't read this...
I have, after much thought and prayer, considered that I should do this, this being an expose’ on Yeshua (Jesus) and his Talmadeem (disciples). Now let me just say from the beginning and give a clear WARNING, this will offend some, and step on others’ toes, though it is only in my heart to share and teach in love and compassion. I really want to share the truth in a way that will impact your life. Maybe some of your own questions will be answered.
Whether to start at the end or proceed from birth is the question. I do like to establish a good foundation, but I also feel free to prove the solid-ness of my doctrine by being able to tackle any point on the go.
In Luke chapter one, it shows that Yeshua's parents were indeed strictly Jewish; if you are not sure get your scriptures and start in Luke chapter One. A child having this foundation would have continued in it. We are of course talking about the man, or the Man part of Messiah. Speaking of Messiah, it is written that HaShem (Adonai) does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets. That being said, where did He say to any of His prophets, 'Oh by the way I am gonna send my Messiah and He will do away with your religion completely and make a new one. If you don't get on board with this new religion, then I'll send you straight to hell, cause I am mad at you and I've decided to change.' It then goes to reason that the Messiah would come according to prophecy not conjecture.
Okay let me just start by sharing a few questions I have received by Yehudi (Jew) and Goy (Gentile) alike.

1.    Well if Jesus didn't do it we shouldn't be doing it. Show me where Jesus wore those fringes and that funny little hat?
2.    Show me where He or His disciples didn't eat pork.
3.    How do you know He was Torah observant?
4.    Well Jesus did away with all that law stuff.
5.    Oh no we here at... believe Jesus didn't do away with the law.
6.    Jesus created Christianity and His disciples followed, only later did some Jews try and go back to it.
7.    Paul said if you practice any part of the law you have made Christ of no use and lost your soul.
8.    See the NT is in Greek, and that shows that they were moving away from the Jewish ways.
9.    The church is built upon Peter who was no longer a Jew.
10.When Jesus comes back He will be a Christian.
11.None of the Gospels are Jewish.

None of these are of course true, and I will try for the sake of time and space break these up into manageable blog bites.
Well if Jesus didn't do it we shouldn't be doing it. Show me where Jesus wore those fringes and that funny little hat (Matt. 9:20 Mark 5:25 Luke 8:43)?
It is quite evident in scripture that the woman with an issue of blood was grabbing at something waist high. Even a cursory logical investigation into this section and we see many hidden in plain sight truths. They all state that Yeshua was walking not sitting, He wore the traditional robe at that time, no fringes on this garment, with a tallis (prayer shawl), upon which would be the Tzitzit (fringes) commanded by Adonai. At this point He is known as a Rabbi and would have had His tallis on, though if He did have the Tallis covering His head He would have worn a Kippah to keep it from touching His hair. If it was not up, then His Rabbi's Hat (kippah) would have been seen. His Tallis would have hung on his shoulders with the Tzitzit about waist high. Most pictures show the woman crawling on her hands and knees approaching a barely occupied Jesus. The evidence shows there was a crowd pressing in, so she couldn't crawl to him without getting trampled. The simple answer is she walked up pushing her way in and with an out reached arm grabbed hold of the corner, or Tzitzit, 'came from behind and touched the corner of His garment and immediately her flow of blood stopped', 'Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. In those days and at that time were intense teachings on Messiah. What the rabbis and sages thought and believed were the signs of the Messiah. The prophecies which are many include the one in Malachi the term Son of Righteousness was known at that time as a Messianic prophecy, because of the statement 'he will rise with healing in his wings'. The Hebrew root for wings is 'canphot' meaning corners; wings. This is where Adonai commanded that the Tzitzit to be attached. Now to Jews raised in Judaism this is no new thing, but to Christians an eye opener; this should reveal more of Messiah’s Judaism. Please, Please begin, if you haven't yet, to see the Messiah as the Jewish Rabbi that He is and was. This is just one example; I hope it has illuminated some of the Word for you.  Shalom.”