Understanding Bible History Pt 7: The Rise of Rabbinic Judaism
“Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” (Matthew 15)
I just want to take a moment here and explain why I had taken so long to post this article since I had already completed my research and study on the exiles. I always thought that I understood Judaism, but alas, I was proven wrong. It was just after posting previous article that I came across One for Israel podcasts about Rabbinic Judaism and the “Oral Law” by Dr. Golan Brosh based on his book Rabbinic Judaism Debunked, which I read. Coincidentally prior to that week, I pre-recorded a movie on the life of Hasidic Jew, which I almost deleted because I thought that it might be biased against Jews and that it might be a boring tell of a religious man. So, after watching the film and listening to the podcasts, I watched the movie and began to research the beliefs and cultural lives of orthodox Jews. I have to say that I was shocked. Shocked to learn that none of the teachings that rabbis teach has anything to do with the Bible (Torah) rather it is based on the “oral law” teachings of Moses handed down to the rabbis. One of the things that shocked me also was the number of hours and hours they spend every day memorising and studying traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and the Torah, and Halacha (Jewish law) by attending Yeshiva.
“About 100 BCE a long struggle ensued as the Pharisees tried to democratize the Jewish religion and remove it from the control of the Temple priests. The Pharisees asserted that God could and should be worshipped even away from the Temple and outside Jerusalem. To the Pharisees, worship consisted not in bloody sacrifices—the practice of the Temple priests—but in prayer and in the study of God’s law. Hence, the Pharisees fostered the synagogue as an institution of religious worship, outside and separate from the Temple. The synagogue may thus be considered a Pharasaic institution, since the Pharisees developed it, raised it to high eminence, and gave it a central place in Jewish religious life.
The active period of Pharasaism, the most-influential movement in the development of Orthodox Judaism, extended well into the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. The Pharisees preserved and transmitted Judaism through the flexibility they gave to Jewish scriptural interpretation in the face of changing historical circumstances. The efforts they devoted to education also had a seminal importance in subsequent Jewish history. After the destruction of the Second Temple and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, it was the synagogue and the schools of the Pharisees that continued to function and to promote Judaism in the long centuries following the Diaspora.” Encyclopaedia Britannica
In the New Testament, when Rome was occupying Judea, the Jewish religious leaders comprised of four major groups:
Pharisees - The most known of the religious leaders were the Pharisees. They were a religious party. The Pharisees first appeared in the second century B.C. They appear to have originated from a group called the Hasidim (God's loyal ones). By about 135 B.C. they were known as Pharisees (the separated ones). The Pharisees were the keepers of the Mosaic law (The Torah). They believed that having guardianship of this law was proof that they were God's chosen people, to whom the Messiah would come. They believed that the Messiah would be an earthly king, a son of David whom God would raise up. He would establish an earthly kingdom, freeing them from Roman rule. They also believed that in order to remain in favour with God, the keeping of the Torah was essential. However, not all Pharisees were bad. Many of them actually tried to promote true spirituality and piety. Some of the well known men of the New Testament were Pharisees such as, Nicodemus (John 3), Gamaliel (Acts 5:34), and Paul himself (Philippians 3:5). Some of them became members in the early church (Acts 6:7). Paul the Apostle was himself a Pharisee before his belief in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:5). I will explore the ministry of the apostles in the Sanhedrin section - the Apostles were often arrested and put on trial by the religious leaders.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus violated many of their oral laws. He mixed freely with tax collectors and sinners, making Him ceremonially unclean (Luke 7:39). He ate and drank with them, and was called a glutton and a drunkard (Luke 7:34). He ate with ceremonially unclean hands (Luke 11:38). He broke their Sabbath laws by healing people, and gleaning corn to eat (Luke 13:14, Matthew 12:1-2). He forgave peoples' sins, which to the Pharisees was blasphemy (Luke 5:21). He also freely criticised the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and self-righteousness (Luke 11:37-52). The Pharisees were totally convinced that their laws (both written and oral) and religious observances were correct. The idea of the Messiah breaking these laws was unthinkable to them.
Sadducees - Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, the Sadducees were a political party favorable to the Roman government. They were priests of Jewish aristocratic class. All Sadducees were priests, but not all priests were Sadducees. They accepted only the written law and rejected the traditions of the Pharisees. (Matthew 16:6, 11).
Scribes - Their job was to study and expound the law. The Pharisees were a religious party, whereas the scribes held religious office. Most of the scribes belonged to the Pharisaic party, whereas not all Pharisees were scribes. Scribes claimed positions of first rank, sought public acclaim of the people and wore long and expensive robes. They were the strongest opponents of Jesus because He refused to be bound by the letter of the law (John 5:10; Mark 7:7-13). They kept close watch over whatever He said and did (Mark 2:16; Luke 5:30; 15:2).
These sects were formidable people who wielded considerable power over the people; their rule was more constrictive than even the yoke of Roman rule, and so, dealing with Jesus was a challenge for them, as he was not afraid to confront them. They oftentimes looked diligently for a reason to arrest Jesus for his deliberate flaunting of their rules. The Pharisees and the scribes who without doubt were the most religious people of His time. They followed the law extremely carefully and were guardians of the religious establishment of Jesus’ time. Yet, they failed to interpret the Prophets even when their actions was foretold:
“I said to them, “8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.” 10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me." Zechariah 11:8-13
The gospels provides detailed interaction between Jesus and the Jewish hierarchy, how these leaders plotted against Jesus and incite the people, many who acknowledged Jesus but were afraid of the religious leaders for fear of being excommunicated from the synagogues, which is the centre of Jewish lives. The prophecy in Zechariah concerning the 30 pieces of silver was fulfilled by Judas Iscariot given to him by the chief priests and later “Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled” (Matthew 26:57). In Zechariah it also states that God “got rid of the three shepherds” of the doomed flock (verse 8). The “three shepherds” (bad shepherds) are a reference to the three religious offices during Jesus’ day that worked to condemn Jesus: the elders, the scribes, and the chief priests and this is confirmed in Matthew 16:21. “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised”. The three shepherds also refer to the three offices of Prophet, Priest and King that existed in Israel in the Old Testament but are also the titles of Jesus. But the Jews rejected Him and His Authority. Though the Jews rejected Jesus, God’s Covenant with their forefathers and King David is still valid. Ezekiel states:
For thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. Ezekiel 34:11-12
Another group, that is briefly mentioned are the Herodians. The Herodians were neither a religious sect nor a political party. They were Jews who supported the Herodian dynasty. They also joined with the Pharisees to oppose Jesus and attempted to trap Him by asking Him whether it was proper to pay tribute to Caesar (Matthew 22:15-22 and Mark 12:13-17).
We will now see how today these religious leaders continue suppress by hindering the reading of certain prophetic passages being read to the masses in the synagogue like Isaiah 53 and how they establish laws that are oppressive and unbiblical. Judaism of the Old Testament has been replaced with a new religion and a new religious book, Talmud (Oral Law). This new religion is called Rabbinic Judaism and it is totally controlled by the Rabbis who succeeded the Pharisees. Although the Talmud is the compilation of historic rabbis "discussing" or "debating" what the Torah means and serves as the basis for all codes of rabbinic law, there is an important element in that it catalogues important information about Jewish cultural history.
I used to think that Judaism was just about teaching the laws of Moses but it’s much more:
Torah – is the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (“Old Testament”) - Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy known as the “Law”.
Tanakh - Hebrew acroymn for “the Law, Prophets, and Writings”. Tanakh is essentially the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament only). Also referred to as Miqra.
Mishnah - is the Torah Sheba'al Peh, meaning “Oral Torah” or Oral Law. In the 2rd Century BC, Yehudah HaNasi wrote these laws down in a book called The Mishnah. Maimonides is the author of Mishnah. In studying and researching Rabbinic Judaism, what I found most difficult to understand was Mishnah. In some Jewish sites, it gives me names other than Mainmonides but from what I can gather, there are commentaries on the Mishnah that have been ascribed to sages and rabbis over a period of time.
Gemara (“completion”) - is where, in the following centuries, the Rabbinical discussions and debates regarding the interpretation of the Mishnah are recorded.
Talmud (“study” or “learning”) - is the compiled record of the Mishnah and the Gemara.
Midrash (“exposition” or “investigation”) - it is the rabbinic commentary and interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures. They are often metaphorical or allegorical in nature. There are two types of Midrash. Midrash Halacha clarifies legal issues. For example, whether tefillin are used during prayer and how they should be worn. Midrash Aggadah (also spelled Haggadah) is a collection of literature that consists of wisdom and teachings, stories, and parables. For example, why Adam did not stop Chavah (Eve) from consuming the Garden of Eden’s forbidden fruit.
I hope you got that. It is so complex but basically the rabbis (descendants of the Pharisees sect) do not feel bound by what is written in the Bible but by the Bible as understood according to the Jewish rabbinic tradition. In traditional Judaism the Jews live not by what is written in the Bible (the Written Torah) but by the Bible as interpreted and understood by the Jewish rabbinic tradition (the Oral Torah/Oral Law). Rabbi, (Hebrew: “my teacher” or “my master”) in Judaism, a person qualified by academic studies of the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud to act as spiritual leader and religious teacher of a Jewish community or congregation. In the world of Pharisaism, rabbis were the teachers who had been given the authoritative role to interpret God’s Word for the living of a righteous life – defining what behavior would or would not please God.”
After the destruction of the Second Temple and the failure of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the Great Sanhedrin moved to Galilee, which became part of the Roman province of Syria Palaestina. The last universally binding decision of the Great Sanhedrin appeared in 358 AD, when the Hebrew Calendar was abandoned. The Great Sanhedrin was finally disbanded in 425 AD after continued persecution by the Eastern Roman Empire. A key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea was Judah ha-Nasi. Judah the Prince was born in 135 AD to Simeon ben Gamliel II. According to the Talmud he was of the Davidic line. He is said to have been born on the same day that Rabbi Akiva died as a martyr. The Talmud suggests that this was a result of Divine Providence: God had granted the Jewish people another leader of great stature to succeed Rabbi Akiva. His place of birth is unknown.
Rabbinic tradition holds that the details and interpretation of the law, which are called the Oral Torah or oral law, were originally an unwritten tradition based upon what God told Moses on Mount Sinai. However, as the persecutions of the Jews increased and the details were in danger of being forgotten, these oral laws were recorded by Rabbi Judah HaNasi (Judah the Prince) in the Mishnah, redacted circa 200 AD. The Talmud was a compilation of both the Mishnah and the Gemara, rabbinic commentaries redacted over the next three centuries. The Gemara originated in two major centers of Jewish scholarship, Talmudic Academies in Syria Palaestina and Talmudic Academies in Babylonia. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Jerusalem Talmud. It was compiled sometime during the 4th century in Israel, renamed by the Romans as Palestine.
The Babylonian Talmud was compiled from discussions in the houses of study by the scholars Ravina I, Ravina II, and Rav Ashi by 500 AD, although it continued to be edited later. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism.
Rabbinical Judaism regards an Oral Law (codified and recorded in the Mishnah and the Talmud) as being equally binding on Jews, and mandated by God. In Rabbinical Judaism, the Oral Law forms the basis of religion, morality, and Jewish life. However, there is no biblical evidence from the bible that the oral law existed or that it was taught. None of the biblical prophets mentioned, instead they point out the idolatry and the adoption of false practices and rituals pursued by the leaders and the people.
We know as Christians that Moses gave no further teachings oral or written outside the five books of the bible (Hebrew) written by Moses but amazingly many Jews do not even know that what the rabbis are teachings is not biblical. Eitan Bar and Moti Vaknin of One for Israel, has completely debunked the lie of Rabbinic teachings and the Talmud. Many rabbis, past and present, use mystic method of explaining some commandments, religious observances, and biblical prophecies; often quoting “hidden” codes and revealing details of the Messiah – they have a strong tendency to substitute a mystic Judaism, contrary to the Old Testament. One of the most disturbing ritual that rabbis promote is Lag BaOmer. Lag BaOmer is a Jewish religious holiday celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, beginning at the 2nd day of Pesach. It is celebrated as a commemoration of the memory of Rabi Shimon bar Yochai. A prominent sage of the Mishna, Rabbi Shimon is best known as the author of the chief mystical work, the Zohar, or “Luminescence” and he is also known as a powerful miracle-worker. The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. Kabbalah (also spelled Kabalah, Cabala, Qabala) is sometimes translated as “mysticism” or “occult knowledge. In Meron, the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Eleazar, hundreds of thousands of Jews gather throughout the night and day to celebrate with bonfires, torches, song and feasting. This was a specific request by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of his students. One of his pupils was Judah haNasi, the compiler of the Mishnah. According to popular legend, he and his son, Eleazar b. Simeon, were noted kabbalists. Both figures are held in unique reverence by Kabbalistic tradition.
The period of counting the Omer is also a time of semi-mourning, during which traditional Jewish custom forbids haircuts, shaving, listening to instrumental music, or conducting weddings, parties, and dinners with dancing. According to the Talmud, the reason cited is that this is in memory of a plague that killed the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva (ca. 40–ca. 137 AD).
Before the celebration Jewish households receive flyers to buy “holy candles” to “bless or sanctify the souls of the dead” in exchange for luck or whatever you need. At the cemeteries / tombstones of dead rabbis, the celebration of or the practice of certain customs includes praying, worshiping and bowing to dead rabbis for blessing, burning candles, lighting of bonfires throughout Israel and worldwide wherever religious Jews can be found. One for Israel has produced a 5min video, Exposing Rabbinic Necromancy!, it is truly disturbing as you watch the narrators with a video in the background of the rabbis at these events.
The 12th-century Jewish scholar Maimonides identified 13 principles of Jewish faith, one of which is "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, I will nevertheless wait for him." Many devout Jews would argue that one should not just be awaiting but constantly anxious for the coming of the Messiah, and prepared for his arrival. Over the centuries there has been numerous Jewish Messiah Claimants.
In the secondary century, Simon Bar Kokhba, during the revolt against Rome was hailed as Messiah-king by Rabbi Akiva. He was mentioned in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97b). Letters written by Simon Bar Kokhba were found in a cave near the Dead Sea in 1960.
Shabbetai Zvi, an eccentric ex-rabbi, who shook European Jewry to its foundations in the 17th century, as a student and devotee of Kabbalah, claimed to be the Messiah. He gained a following Europe and the Middle East, agreed to become Muslim in order to avoid death.
More recently, Menachem Mendel Schneerson (April 5, 1902 – June 12, 1994), known to many as the Lubavitcher Rebbe or simply as the Rebbe was claimed by his followers that he was the Messiah even after he died they believe that he will return.
According to Christian eschatology (study of end times) given in the Old and New Testament:
1. the church (true believers) will be raptured (1 Corinthians 15:52)
2. the Anti-Christ, a satanically empowered man will gain worldwide control with promises of peace (2 Thessalonians 2:7–8, Revelation 13:1; Daniel 9:27) He will be aided by another man, called the false prophet, who heads up a religious system that requires worship of the Antichrist (Revelation 19:20). 2 Thessalonians 2 says that this wicked one won’t be revealed as such until the believers are “taken out of the way.”
3. The tribulation - a period of seven years in which God’s judgment is poured out on sinful humanity (Revelation 6–16). The Antichrist’s (in place of Christ, false messiah) rise to power is associated with this time period. During the tribulation on earth, the Church will be in heaven. It is thought that at this time the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will occur in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 19:6–10).
4. The Battle of Gog and Magog - in the first part of the tribulation, a great army from the north, in alliance with several other countries from the Middle East and Africa, attacks Israel and is defeated by God’s supernatural intervention (Ezekiel 38–39). (Some commentators place this battle just before the start of the tribulation.)
5. The Battle of Armageddon - at the end of the tribulation, Jesus returns with the armies of heaven (Mark 14:62). He saves Jerusalem from annihilation and defeats the armies of the nations fighting under the banner of the Antichrist (Revelation 19:11–21). The Antichrist and the false prophet are captured and thrown alive into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).
6. The judgment of the nations - Christ will judge the survivors of the tribulation, separating the righteous from the wicked as “sheep” and “goats” (Matthew 25:31–46). (It is thought that at this time the Old Testament saints will be raised from the dead.) The righteous will enter the Millennial Kingdom; the wicked will be cast into hell.
7. The binding of Satan - Satan will be bound and held in a bottomless pit for the next 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1–3).
8. The Millennial Kingdom - Jesus Himself will rule the world, and Jerusalem will be the capital. This will be a 1,000-year period of peace and prosperity on earth (Revelation 20; Isaiah 60–62). Memorial sacrifices will be offered in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40–48).
The Antichrist is the end-times false messiah who seeks and achieves, for a time, world domination so that he can destroy Israel and all the followers of Jesus Christ, who became Christians during the tribulation. According to Jewish traditions the Messiah will be bring peace and build the Temple, some also believe that they have to prepare / build the Temple before he comes. Unfortunately, instead of receiving the true Messiah, many Jews will be deceived and sign a seven-year covenant with the false messiah “Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, 15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, It will not come to us, For we have made lies our refuge, And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.” (Isaiah 28: 14-15)
The Rabbis maintain that the Sanhedrim existed in the time of Moses, and refer to the incidents related in Numbers 11 for its origin. But this refers to the seventy elders that were appointed in the wilderness to assist Moses in his task of judging the people and had ceased to continue. Though they “sat in Moses' seat” (Matthew 23:2) they were seen as interpreters of the law given by Moses and even then, Jesus rebuked them for their lack of spiritual understanding of the Torah.
Jewish tradition relates how this council continued in power until the captivity. It was remodelled by Ezra on the return. Its name, however, derived as it is from the Greek, points to a far later date—to some period in their history after the ‘Law’ came in contact with Greek thought and language. The place of assembly for the Sanhedrim was a chamber in the temple, situated between the court of the Israelites and the court of the priests, and was called Gazith. Some forty years before the fall of the city, this sacred council ceased to sit in any of the courts of the temple, and removed to a building without the temple precincts. After the fall of the city, the Sanhedrim was allowed by the victorious Roman Government to hold its sittings at Japhneh. It was subsequently permanently removed to Tiberias. Some have supposed that when the power of life and death was taken from the Sanhedrists, they ceased to sit in the hall Gazith. The Sanhedrim was the supreme court in the Jewish nation. Its decrees apparently were respected beyond Palestine, for we read how Saul was provided with credentials from the Sanhedrim to the Jewish synagogues of Damascus, when he went to search out and imprison the Syrian followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Its powers embraced all matters, civil as well as religious. It tried accused persons, and its decisions admitted of no appeal. In the New Testament, the trials before the Sanhedrim of the Lord Jesus, Peter, John, Stephen, and Paul are related. Besides its criminal jurisdiction, this court was the supreme arbiter in all matters connected with religion (Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament.
In Acts 3, Peter and John when to the Temple and at the entrance prayed for a lame man who was healed. Soon after, we learned that the people were amazed and Peter preached:
12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities. (Acts 3:12-26).
Acts 4 tells the story of their arrest and put on trial by the rulers, elders and scribes. “5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”. These were the leaders of the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish court which consisted of 70 men plus the high priest. The group included the wealthiest, most educated, and most powerful Jewish men in Israel. Throughout the Apostles’ ministry, they continually faced opposition and violence. Interestingly, in Acts 5, Peter and the Apostles are on trial at the Sanhedrin council, because they continued to preach gospel in Jesus' name and refused the high priest's order not to mention Jesus name. As they were plotting to kill them, Gamaliel, also known as Gamaliel the elder, encourages his fellow Pharisees to show leniency to the apostles of Jesus:
34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” 40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
Gamaliel is the son of Simeon ben Hillel and grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder. Remarkably, Hillel the Elder, was a Jewish religious leader, sage and scholar associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud, and the founder of the House of Hillel school of Tannaim. However, not all were as gracious as Gamaliel : “1 And Paul having earnestly beheld the sanhedrim, said, ‘Men, brethren, I in all good conscience have lived to God unto this day;’ 2 and the chief priest Ananias commanded those standing by him to smite him on the mouth” (Acts 23:1-2, YLT).
For many years now Israel has been cornered and bullied on every side, and although this has been the case of Jewish history, Jews are now in their homeland and the land and the people are prospering. The turning point for Israel religious awakening was the 1967 war, where Israel defeated their enemies against all the odds. Out of this victorious war emerged two leaders, who were energised to form two separate organisations, the Temple Institute, founded twenty years later, their goal is build the final temple and to “rekindle the flame of the Holy Temple in the hearts of mankind”. The founder and head of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, served in the paratrooper brigade which liberated the Temple Mount in the Six Day War of 1967, and was one of the first soldiers to reach the Mount.
The second organisation is The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, established in 1967 its leader and founder is a former Israel Defense Forces Offer, Gershon Salomon, during the participation in the liberation of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. The Temple Mount Faithful was the first significant group to advocate the Jewish takeover of the Temple Mount. Through these organisations all that is necessary to build the Temple has been constructed including over ninety ritual items to be used in the Temple have been made, a school for group of students, certified as being from the priestly caste (kohanim), has been established to learn how to perform the Temple Service. The creation of the sacred uniform of the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, and the ordinary priests, High Priest's Hoshen (breastplate) and Ephod, Tzitz, the golden crown of the High Priest and the garments for the lay priests has been completed.
The Rebirth of the Sanhedrin
On October 13, 2004, the Sanhedrin Council of the Jewish nation was reconstituted for the first time in 1,600 years. The Sanhedrin is a form of a Jewish rabbinical court. The ceremony took place in the Israeli town of Tiberias, located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. This was the site of the council’s last meeting in the year 425 AD. Nascent means budding and Sanhedrin basically means “council.” Sanhedrin is found 22 times in the New Testament.
In 2009, The Temple Mount and Land of Israel and Faithful Movement placed two symbolic cornerstone at the Dung Gate, the southern entrance to the Jewish quarter of the walled Old City. The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement and Temple Institute have created architectural drawings and layout of the Third Temple. More recently, after President Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Nascent Sanhedrin, Minted Silver Half Shekel with Images of Trump and Cyrus. More recently, they have established an international court to address legal issues relating to Israel and the land. Is there a prophetic significance?
Prominent Jewish Organisations, Modern Sects and Politics
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is based in Washington, with regional offices across the US. It was founded January 3, 1963 and advocates for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. A recent article states that “Members of its staff maintain an active presence in the halls of Congress, attending committee sessions and reviewing legislation that may affect the relationship between the United States and Israel.” During US Elections, Presidential nominees and their political parties attend AIPAC conferences and declare their support for Israel, to gain Jewish votes. Like many Western countries, the strategy to attract certain communities is not unusual. However, it is opposed, specially by the media, when American presidential nominees and their leaders attend Jewish organisations. Yet, these same leaders attend organisations that represent other communities or give speeches to gain support from the Black, Hispanic, Latino and the LGBTQ communities.
World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in August 1936 as an international federation of Jewish communities and organizations. According to its mission statement, the World Jewish Congress' main purpose is to act as "the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people."
Since 1945, World Jewish Congress leaders have been received by Catholic pontiffs a number of times. Pope Pius XII received WJC Secretary General A. Leon Kubowitzki in private audience in 1945. The WJC has managed to establish good relations with the Catholic Church, especially since the Second Vatican Council and the Declaration Nostra aetate in 1965. In 1967, Jewish advocacy and rabbinic bodies organized an International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) to represent the Jewish community to the Vatican and, later, other non-Jewish religions. This dialogue also included bringing together Jewish and Christians leaders through the World Council of Churches.
The World Jewish Congress was instrumental in the creation inter-faith bodies such as the IJCIC, and it has actively participated in the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC). The WJC also contributed to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See in the 1990s.
Orthodox Judaism and Politics
The Rabbinic authority influence varies considerably: In conservative Orthodox circles, mainly ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) ones, rabbis possess strong authority and exercise their leadership often. Bodies such as the Council of Torah Sages, Council of Torah Luminaries, the Central Rabbinical Congress, and the Orthodox Council of Jerusalem are all considered, at least in theory, as the supreme arbiters in their respective communities. In the more liberal Orthodox sectors, rabbis are revered and consulted, but rarely exert such direct control.
Orthodox Judaism is not a centralized denomination. Relations between its different subgroups are sometimes strained, and the exact limits of Orthodoxy are subject to intense debate. Very roughly, it may be divided between Haredi Judaism (ultra-Orthodox), which is more conservative and reclusive, and Modern Orthodox Judaism, which is relatively open to outer society. Each of those is itself formed of independent streams. They are almost uniformly exclusionist, regarding Orthodoxy not as another stream of Judaism, but the correct form of Judaism itself.
Hasidic Judaism is a much smaller group that follows the teachings of the Ba'al Shem Tov. The original concept of being a Hasid was to go "above and beyond the law". It has much of its roots in Kabbalah. Its members are often referred to as strictly Orthodox. Haredi Jews regard themselves as the most religiously authentic group of Jews. The chief political division among Haredi Jews has been in their approach to the State of Israel. Haredim who are more stridently anti-Zionist are under the umbrella of Edah HaChareidis, who reject participation in politics and state funding of its affiliated institutions. One of these sects are the Neturei Karta.
Neturei Karta was formally created in Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine, in 1938, splitting off from Agudas Yisrael, initially anti Zionist but after the Holocaust became non-Zionist and recognised the Jewish state. In Israeli politics the Agudas Yisrael are members of the United Torah Judaism. Neturei Karta’s motto is “Jews United Against Zionism”, they oppose Zionism and call for a "peaceful dismantling" of the State of Israel, in the belief that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Jewish Messiah and that the state of Israel is a rebellion against God. In 2006 Neturei Karta’s leaders attended the antisemitic holocaust revisionist conference in Iran hosted by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and praised Ahmadinejad for calling for the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem to vanish from the pages of time. In 2014, one of their members, Yitzhak Bergil, was arrested and sentenced by the Israeli court. He reportedly “visited the Iranian Embassy in Berlin in January 2011 and offered to spy on behalf of the Islamic Republic”.
The sect also repeatedly attends the Iranian regime-sponsored antisemitic global marches, Quds Day, organised and supported by Pro-Palestinians non governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), that works to stop investment and goods from Israel. There has been numerous attempts to cancel these marches, to no avail. In the UK, following complaints, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, cited that it is the responsibility of the Home Secretary to ban it. In 2018, a private prosecution was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). During this period number of MPs including the London Mayor wrote to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid (Muslim), to ban the march. Though on the surface, according to this article, the London Mayor supports the ban and calls for the loophole to be closed, I personally think that it’s just a PR strategy, the same way he responds to Islamic terrorists' attacks. Mr Khan is ambitious. Firstly, he is a devout Muslim and a Labour, on the other hand Sajid Javid is Conservative. Secondly, the mayor is known for his affiliations with radical individuals from the Muslim community.
While the interfaith and interreligion seems to be taking center stage in a globalised world religion, there has been an amazing growth in Jewish believers in Jesus in Israel today and one particular ministry that has been hugely active in ministering to Jews via social media is One for Israel. Their videos have been viewed over 50,000 and more recently over 100,000 viewed a single video exposing the lies of the rabbis concerning women, Viral Video ROCKS the Rabbinic establishment and shocks Israel - Anastasia - Pod for Israel.
These are some of their videos: